Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NJ Bits: Inaugural Edition

Little bit of news from all over the Garden State

Bitter Jon

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Secretary of the Treasury nominee Henry Paulson have a history. Both were top executives with the powerful Wall Street firm Golman Sachs in the 1990s. Both ended up serving as co-chairmen of the firm and co-CEO. But in early 1999, while Corzine was off on vacation in Colorado, Paulson orchestrated Corzine's ouster from the top job and took control of the firm. Corzine left. Paulson stayed and has been at the helm of Goldman Sachs ever since.

I think its safe to say that there is no love lost between the two. Despite that, Corzine had a few nice (although tempered) words for Paulson in a statement released by the Governor after yesterday's announcement by President Bush:
"With the selection of Henry Paulson Jr. as the next secretary of the Treasury, President Bush has placed an intelligent and diligent businessman at the helm of our nation's economic team; I expect he will do as good a job in this new position as he has done at everything else in life."
But could Corzine leave it there . . . without taking a single political pot shot?

Of course not. Corzine's statement continued:
"It is my sincere hope that Henry Paulson Jr. will move this administration towards a path of sound fiscal policy that grows our economy, creates jobs and capitalizes on our unique position in a worldwide economy."

Has Corzine been asleep at the wheel over the past few years or does he really believe that he can spout off any ridiculous and inaccurate "fact" he wants in an attempt to score a political point? His poll numbers -- with approvals around 35% -- would suggest the former; his obvious hatred for Paulson (and of course Bush) suggest the later. Maybe its a bit of both.

In any event, Governor Corzine, you might want to read up on the state of the U.S. economy -- with over 2.1 million new jobs created in the last 12 months and over 5 million created since August 2003 and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that grew at a rate of 5.3% for first quarter 2006 and 3.5% for full-year 2005, it would seem that the Bush fiscal policies are "growing the economy" and "creating jobs."

Bitter is not a pretty color on you.


According to Red State Aspirant, Corzine was a little emotional after the Paulson-led ouster.

Some more details on Paulson's and Corzine's relationship at the New York Post and Dealscape, including that Corzine was near tears when he was sent packing from the top job at Goldman.

Monday, May 29, 2006


May we remember always those men and women who fought to make and keep this nation free and made the ultimate sacrifice. Your service and sacrifice are a big example of what makes this country special. And may God bless the men and women serving in our Armed Forces today.

This poem is worthy of a read:

Last Monday in May” By John T. Bird

We pause to remember those who died
With so much courage, so much pride

They’ll never come back, yet memories endure

To remind us of freedom: fragile, pure

We’re worthy of their sacrifice if we pause each day

Not just on the last Monday in May

If you have time, check out the following tributes:

One nation, one moment

Happy Memorial Day

Freedom is Not Free


Another Remember

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Walkin' to work

And you thought walking to work during the New York City transit strike was bad! From the AP (via

A power outage stranded thousands of rush-hour commuters Thursday between New York and Washington, D.C., stopping five trains inside tunnels and forcing many passengers to get out and walk to the nearest station.

Three NJ Transit trains and one Amtrak train were stuck in a tunnel under the Hudson River heading into New York. A fifth train was stuck in a rail tunnel in Baltimore.

Krista Barry spent the morning of her 23rd birthday sitting on the floor of a sweltering NJ Transit car, reading a book for more than 90 minutes.

"Everyone is calling me on my cell and saying, 'Uh, happy birthday; too bad you're stuck,'" said Barry, who lives in Pennsauken, N.J. but boarded the train in Trenton bound for her job as an office temp in Manhattan. "At least I get to relax and not go to work."

Mike Kenny of West Windsor has been commuting to Manhattan for 30 years.

"This is shaping up as one of the worst ever," he said. "It's getting pretty hot in here, and the bathroom is getting backed up."

Train crews offered passengers the option of getting off and walking about a quarter-mile to the nearest station in North Elizabeth. ***

Elsewhere, passengers were taken off NJ Transit trains near the Secaucus and MetroPark stations and escorted to nearby stations, where bus service was waiting for them.

NJ Transit suspended all service on its heavily traveled Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast lines. Midtown Direct service was diverted to Hoboken, where commuters could catch PATH trains to Manhattan.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is honoring NJ Transit ticket holders on PATH trains. All New Jersey Transit rail passengers can use their tickets on NJ Transit buses and Light Rail lines for the remainder of the day.

More from the Star-Ledger here.

Up-to-the-minute NJ Transit travel alerts available here.

Update: WNBC has vidoe here.

Update #2: The AP is reporting that power has been restored.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Terrorists to Rick Engler: Thanks for your help!

Rick Engler, the executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) (an alliance of labor unions), needs his head examined.

As part of a WEC report titled "Safety and Security First: Protecting Our Jobs, Families and Hometowns From Toxic Chemical Disasters," Rick thought it appropriate to include a complete list of all 110 chemical facilities in New Jersey. Not only did he list them by name, but he included the street addresses and chemicals produced at each and every plant.

Why not just Mapquest them for the terrorists while you're at it, Rick?

What is so surprising about Rick's distribution of the names and street addresses of the chemical plants is that the WEC Report he just released is all about how a chemical catastrophe in New Jersey could kill and injure millions of people. If you're so concerned about a chemical catastrophe at the hands of terrorists, then why give them a list of each and every location -- including the plants WEC deems most hazardous?

Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, is, to say the least, livid that list is being distributed and stunned that Rick is the one doing it:

"We do everything in our power to protect these facilities from potential terrorist attacks and here we are having Americans giving a roadmap to terrorists, he ought to be ashamed of himself."

"It's a travesty that somebody would release this kind of material in a report when this information should be kept as confidential as possible . . . what are we trying to do here?"

Rick is unapologetic: "Covering up the problem doesn't solve the problem."

Giving terrorists a hit list with such precise information doesn't solve the problem either, Rick.

Rick can be reached at this e-mail or by calling (609) 695-7100.

[Thanks NJ 101.5]

Monday, May 22, 2006

I don't think he means Barnes & Noble

For those interested (we're still debating whether we actually are), the reading public got a taste of what's to come in Jim McGreevey's memoir due out in September.

According to excerpts of the book, "The Confession," published Sunday in The Star-Ledger, McGreevey engaged in secret, anonymous sexual encounters at rest stops on the Garden State Parkway as well as adult bookstores because he feared having a relationship with a man would ruin his chances of success as a politician. In McGreevey's words:

"So, instead, I settled for the detached anonymity of bookstores and rest stops -- a compromise, but one that was wholly unfulfilling and morally unsatisfactory."

There is no mention whether such trysts continued after he took office as governor as well as no mention of the affair McGreevey had with Golan Cipel (which ended up forcing McGreevey to resign from office), no mention of his two marriages and certainly no mention of his new relationship with Mark O'Donnell.

I'm sure there are some more tawdry details to come!

Update: McGreevey's father, Jack McGreevey, statement made the day after excerpts from the book were released: "The kid's doing what he feels is right . . . It's a courageous act on his part. Perhaps a bit foolish, but still . . ."

Previous McGreevey:
Smile, Jim
How did I miss this one?
McGreevey's portrait
Jim McGreevey, the Gay Blogging American

Friday, May 19, 2006

Smile, Jim

McGreevey hasn't has this much press since he resigned:
The official portrait of the nation's first openly gay governor will be hung at the New Jersey Statehouse in a private ceremony this summer, a spokesman for former Gov. James E. McGreevey said today.

The former governor and his partner, investment adviser Mark O'Donnell, plan to attend the unveiling, which will happen in July or August, McGreevey spokesman Jonathan Capehart told The Associated Press. The date will be set after the state budget is adopted on July 1, Capehart said.

A memoir by McGreevey, who stunned the nation when he proclaimed himself "a gay American'' in August 2004, is due in stores Sept. 19.

More on McGreevey and his partner (and McGreevey's trip to visit O'Donnell's parents) here.

We didn't like the guy as governor and we certainly didn't like his attempt to portray himself as a martyred gay man, but we're glad to see he's getting on with his life.

How did I miss this one?

From Page Six of yesterday's New York Post:

DISGRACED former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey is going to get the star treatment from Oprah Winfrey. The daytime talk queen has booked the pol, who resigned and came out of the closet after admitting he'd given his secret male lover a job, to appear in September for the launch of his tome, "I Am a Gay American." But unfortunately for McGreevey, the tell-all is not being mulled for an Oprah's Book Club selection, her camp told us.
We're glad that McGreevey finally stopped living a lie and can now be comfortable with who he is, but let's not forget what a truly horrendous governor he was. I hope Oprah doesn't gloss over those itsy bitsy facts in her interview.

Once the book is published and he kisses Oprah's ring, can he please go away? His 15 minutes ran out 35 minutes ago.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The slope is starting to get slippery

The New Jersey Supreme Court handed down a decision today which essentially holds that illegal aliens (which the NJ Supremes refer to as "undocumented aliens") are residents eligible to collect from a state fund set up to compensate victims of accidents involving uninsured motorists. Pursuant to statute, the fund is reserved for New Jersey residents and residents of other states or countries that give reciprocal benefits to New Jerseyans.

In this specific case, Victor Manuel Caballero, a Mexican national who had been living in the Jersey Shore area for about 5 months prior to his accident, was a passenger in a car driven by a co-worker whose vehicle was not insured or registered. The co-worker fell asleep at the wheel and hit a parked tractor-trailer. Caballero, who was 17 years old at the time, suffered permanent (but not disabling) injuries.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, Caballero sought payment from the uninsured motorist fund. The trial court denied him benefits because, as an illegal alien, he was not a bona fide New Jersey resident. The appellate court agreed. The decision issued today by the Supreme Court holds that the lower courts were incorrect and allows further proceedings on Caballero's claims.

Mr. Caballero is seeking payment from a fund that is financed by insurance companies doing business in New Jersey (its a tax, plain and simple). Those costs, of course, are then passed on to the insurance companies' customers -- better known as you and me. The result is that our car insurance rates -- already some of the highest rates in the country -- go up when the fund needs more money.

We think that this decision highlights a problem much larger than merely allowing one illegal immigrant to collect $50,000 from this particular state fund. Simply put, while illegal immigrants consume resources and use infrastructure built and maintained by hardworking citizens and legal resident aliens, they do not pay into the system. Mr. Caballero is a prime example. While his injuries are unfortunate, he is not paying into this uninsured motorist fund. Nor will he ever (unless he somehow becomes a citizen, gets a driver's license, buys a car and can afford insurance). He is also likely not paying income tax on his wages (which the court stated were about $400 a week). But he expects the legitimate taxpayers (and insurance policy purchasers) of this state to foot the bill when he needs help. We're sorry Mr. Caballero, it just doesn't work that way. Or so we thought before the Supremes in Trenton spoke today.

In a state with a $5 billion budget shortfall, higher-than-average job loss, a governor who is hell bent on raising taxes, and a Supreme Court that "do[es] not consider federal immigration law" when making decisions concerning illegal aliens, the last thing we need is to open up the coffers to yet another taxpayer financed (essentially) fund. What's next, the almost-defunct social security trust fund?

Note: So that we are not accused of being uncaring, we empathize with Mr. Caballero and are sorry that he suffered permanent injuries at the hands of a driver who broke the law in operating a motor vehicle without insurance. We hope he heals and can live a productive, law abiding life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gifts all around

First is was about $500,000 to his ex-girlfriend (and president of the state's largest public employee union), then it was $100,000 to his former employees on his campaign and in his Senate office (which we agree with Enlighten NJ, there seems to be nothing improper there) and now its $5000 in bail money to Karen Golding, a former lobbyist who Corzine bailed out in February after she was arrested and charged with stalking Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, chairman of the Democratic State Committee.

Somewhat interesting that this came out today, after the Star-Ledger did a lengthy piece on Golding, Cryan and the ridiculous amount of resources to capture this criminal in the act this past Sunday. The story can be found here (until May 28).

Fill'er up!

We have no problem pumping our own gas, but Governor Corzine's proposal to allow certain gas stations to adopt self serve -- something New Jersey hasn't had in over 50 years -- was just stupid.

It seems like many other people in New Jersey agreed:

In New Jersey, motorists who need to fill 'er up haven't pumped their own gas in 57 years. But in the face of soaring gas prices, Gov. Jon Corzine came up with a novel plan last month to try to ease the pain: allow self-service at some stations along the New Jersey Turnpike and see if prices dip. He believed prices could drop 5 to 7 cents a gallon.

Corzine retreated after about 1,400 e-mails and calls poured in from a mostly outraged public. Concern about other state issues paled in comparison. A proposal to raise the sales tax by one cent, for example, received about 200 responses from the public, says Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for the governor.

Although I'd glad to see the proposal die, I find it funny that Corzine gives in so easily. He claims he's willing to make "tough decisions," yet as soon as a large enough number of people disagree with him he gives up. So remember, if you want Corzine to change his mind, just send him and e-mail.

Its going to be a long four years of getting nothing done.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Air America: Street peddling for listeners

In what might be some serious last ditch efforts to gain a few listeners in New York, Air America Radio has put up a large scaffold advertisement at the corner of 39th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan highlighting its Franken, Rhodes and Garofalo shows.

We're not quite sure why they chose this spot -- although a busy road its the fashion district and if you speak English around here you're either listening to Air America already or you couldn't give a rat's ass about their opinions (I fit in the later of the two groups). Given Air America's financial woes, maybe its the only place they could afford. Or maybe its an attempt to remind New Jersey and Long Island residents that this radio network still exists since 7th Avenue going north from 34th Street is a large commuting thoroughfare, with many Long Islanders and Jerseyans walking to work in midtown from Penn Station.

In any event, it seems like its way too little, way too late.

We'll have to start walking up a Franken-free Broadway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Save the stairs

The World Trade Center Vesey Street staircase, which provided a path of escape for hundreds (if not thousands) of people on the morning on September 11, 2001, has been listed by the National Trust for Historical Preservation as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Places.

We think the stairs are worth saving, as part of the history of what happened that day and one of the only pieces of the towers that still stand.

The National Trust suggests that people send letters to the officials (including Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki and Governor Corzine) involved in the reconstruction effort asking them to incorporate the stairs in the design on the new buildings (click on the link, the letters are already written for you).

While you're at it, ask Governor Corzine to help save the Doo Wop motels in Wildwood, New Jersey.

(ht Gothamist)

What do Bob Torricelli and Congress have in common?

Both have "so little relevance to daily life."

AMC Theaters: We prefer no tatoos on our veterans

AMC Movie Theaters recently fired an 80-year old World War II veteran, William C. Smith of Bridgewater, New Jersey, because the two tatoos on his arms -- a Marine Corps emblem and his Marine Corps serial number -- were a violation of the company's dress code. It seems that the company doesn't like its employees to have visable tatoos, a policy I can somewhat understand given some of the bizarre tatoos I've seen on people roaming the streets.

But come on! We're talking about an 80-year old guy who served as a Marine in World War II when he was 17. Give the guy a break! Not to mention, Mr. Smith, who has been working as a ticket taker for 15 years and has been employed by AMC for the last 4 years, is an exemplary employee who works on Thanksgiving Day in order to let other employees spend the holiday with their families.

Smith worked during the Friday matinee, weeks of local school vacations, and holidays.

Every year, his family postpones Thanksgiving to the following weekend so he can work that day — one of the busiest for movie theaters — and fellow employees can have the day off with their families.

"I'm from a generation that grew out of the Depression. When you have a job, you make damn sure to hold on to it. People come around every day looking for work," said Smith, who has been working since he was 14 years old and delivered beer on his bicycle, using 15 cents from his paycheck for movie tickets. "When I had a job, I did what I was supposed to do and a little extra."

The good news is that AMC has done some back-peddalng and has re-hired Mr. Smith (with back pay). The guy deserves a raise, an apology and our thanks.

Read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Corzine to poor, impotent men: No more pills for your johnson

In an effort to save the state of New Jersey $1.5 million and put an ever-so-slight dent in the $5 billion budget deficit, Governor Jon Corzine announced that Medicaid coverage for Viagra, Cialis and similar impotence medications would be discontinued beginning in the next fiscal year (to start July 1, 2006).

Of course, this is in addition to the $12,500 the state saved this year after it stopped paying for erectile dysfunction drugs for 55 men on the state's registered sex offender's list.

Sorry men, no more stiffies on the public tit.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The French heart Hanoi Jane

Sixty-eight year old Jane Fonda (a/k/a Hanoi Jane) has been hired by French cosmetic maker L'Oreal as its new "spokesmodel." The French and Jane, I can't think of a better alliance!

Of course Jane, whose nickname "Hanoi Jane" came from her traitor-like opposition to the Vietnam war which led her to take a smiling photograph with North Vietnamese soldiers (they were the enemy) on an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down U.S. aircraft and kill U.S. military personnel (see pictures here), can now be referred to as Do-What-I-Say-Not-As-I-Do Jane. The woman, who has admitted to having breast implant and surgery to remove bags from under her eyes, now has plans to start a campaign to discourage fellow actresses from plastic surgery. I assume Jane will be highlighting natural beauty enhanced, of course, by some new line of L'Oreal cosmetics.

Thanks for taking on this important cause, Jane.

NJ: Slogan-less again

It looks like the state slogan picked by former Governor Codey -- "Come See for Yourself" -- is a no-go given that other states have previously used the phrase (as well New Jersey's phobia of lawyers and its fear that West Virginia will come after them for trademark infringement?).

I wasn't a big fan of the slogan anyway -- I still think my idea was better.

I will admit that the New Jersey's tourism commercial featuring the Bon Jovi song "Who Says You Can't Go Home" is pretty good and was even mentioned by a radio d.j. in Maryland on a drive through that state two weeks ago.

So another summer without a slogan. Does anyone really care?

Its Slogan Time
"New Jersey: We'll win you over."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Again, Zulima?

It was bad enough that Zulima Farber, New Jersey's Attorney General and top law enforcement official, attended an illegal immigrant rally last week in Newark (on Sunday), but now she chose to skip work and attend another illegal immigrant rally today (a Monday) in Newark.

Not only should Zulima resign for publicly dissing the oath she took just a few shorts months ago in which she promised to uphold the law (that's all laws, not just the ones you want to uphold and enforce), but she should be docked a day's pay for skipping out of work.

I just hope she didn't drive.

(Hat tip Corzine Watch through Michelle Malkin)

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