Saturday, June 24, 2006

Afraid of history

There is a simple reason for the Democrats in the New Jersey legislature to be nervous about voting in favor of Governor Corzine's proposed sales tax increase: History.

July 1966: Democratic Governor & Democratic Legislature impose sales tax at 3%. Next election: Democrats lose 19 seats in the Assembly.

March 1970: Republican Governor & Republican Legislature increase sales tax to 5%. Next election: Republicans lose 20 seats in Assembly.

July 1990: Democratic Governor & Democratic Legislature increase sales tax to 7%. Next election: Democrats lose 22 seats in Assembly and 10 seats in the Senate.

We would rather the Democrats see that incredible error in raising the sales tax as the reason not to vote for it, but if fear of losing their next election does the trick, we'll take it.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jim and Mark buy a house

It looks like former Governor James E. McGreevey and current "partner," Mark O'Donnell, are set to buy a $1.2 million mansion in Plainfield's historic Sleepy Hollow neighborhood:

The ivy-covered Georgian Colonial boasts eight bedrooms, five fireplaces and four bathrooms. The neighborhood is home to several local politicians, including former Plainfield Mayor Al McWilliams and Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union).

* * *

The palatial home, which includes a solarium, a butler's pantry and in-ground swimming pool, sits on 1.7 acres and was originally built for a founder of the New York Stock Exchange. Its gardens were designed by the firm of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who created Central Park.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: you were a horrible, scandal-plagued governor, but I'm glad Jim is at peace with himself and trying to be happy. Good luck with the new house, Jim -- it sounds fancy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The sweet smell of Staten Island

By now you've probably head all about Ron Goldstein, the Staten Island man who accidentally threw his wife's 3.5 karat diamond engagement ring away in the trash. He realized his mistake when the garbage truck was pulling away. He quickly called the Department of Sanitation, found out where the truck was going and then followed it there. He and some friendly sanitation workers then spent a few hours going through the trash looking for the ring. They found it!

Anyway, why I am writing about this now? Well, on my somewhat-daily treck through posts over at Gothamist, a "website about New York City and everything that happens in it," I noticed their post on Mr. Goldstein's trash nightmare-turned-garbage fairytale. Of course it contained the obligatory crack against New Jersey -- this time its smell:
The Daily News reports that a Staten Island man accidentally threw out his wife's 3.5 carat diamond ring, but was able to call the Department of Sanitation, who let him follow the truck to New Jersey (yes, yes, that's the smell).

Obviously the Gothamist has forgetten that Staten Island -- the home to both Mr. Goldstein and the world's largest garbage dump -- is part of its beloved New York City.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where was the ACLU on this one?

Busy fighting for a male high school student's right to wear a skirt to school, the ACLU forgot to step in and help Thomas Sypniewski in his fight with the Warren Hills Regional School District over wearing a Jeff Foxworthy "Redneck" t-shirt to school:
Thomas Sypniewski Jr. was suspended for three days during his senior year in 2001 for wearing a T-shirt that listed blue-collar comedian Jeff Foxworthy's Top 10 reasons someone might be considered a redneck sports fan (Reason No. 4: Your bowling team has its own fight song).

District officials said the T-shirt violated the high school's anti-harassment policy, enforced in the wake of racial incidents in which students referring to themselves as "Hicks" and "Rednecks" harassed black students.

Sypniewski, now 23, dropped his lawsuit against the district last month, saying he was working as a union carpenter and had moved on with his life. He maintained, however, that he wore the shirt simply because he thought it was funny.

Like the case of the boy in the skirt, Sypniewski was victroious in his fight to wear what he wanted to school (even though he agreed to drop the lawsuit).

Unfortunately for Warren Hills, the ACLU didn't give Sypniewski pro bono representation in his free speech lawsuit. Instead, he had private counsel who are owed attorneys' fees of $710,871. Since Sypniewski is considered the "prevailing party," a judge ordered the school district to pay most of those fees -- $574,245. All this for a stupid $5 t-shirt.

But my question is, why was the skirt worth the ACLU's time and money but not the t-shirt? My guess, not many "rednecks" donate to the ACLU.

Joyce Powell, president of the New Jersey Education Association, supports Governor Corzine's budget and the billions in new taxes and fees. Why? Because she doesn't want her overpaid, underworked constituency to be forced to give anything back:
"We're concerned about where they are going to find the revenue. It shouldn't come from the backs of public workers."

Joyce, hon, we all have to feel a little pain -- public and private workers alike.

Can't trust him with loose change

Governor Corzine attended a rally of state workers in Trenton yesterday. The rally was to show support for the Corzine budget and its billions in new taxes as well as whine and moan about the suggestion that state employees work a 40-hour week (instead of the very French-like 35 hours they work now), take less days off (they now get 15 paid sick days a year, 14 paid holidays, 3 paid personal days and up to 5 weeks -- or 25 work days -- of vacation, for a total of over ELEVEN weeks off a year) and actually pay for some of their benefits.

Corzine does not support the suggestion that the state's unionized work force should work less or see any reduction in their pay of benefits. In fact, as he shouted into the microphone at yesterday's rally, "I'll stand with you. I'll fight with you." We all know what that means -- the unions will win big next year when their contracts are renegotiated. Mr. Corzine, you need to realize that you sit on the "management" size of the collective bargaining table, not labor.

Be prepared for the store to be given away.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Zulima to corrupt pols: Keep your freedom and your pension

New Jersey's attorney general, Zulima Farber, doesn't think that elected officials who are caught with their hands in the till, the kitty or the cookie jar should be subject to mandatory jail time and forfeiture of their pensions. From the Courier Post:

Corrupt politicians, those unsavory symbols of New Jersey who have tarnished its national reputation, should not necessarily have to go to jail or lose a pension, the state's top law enforcement officer said Thursday.

"I oppose mandatory sentences," including jail time, said state Attorney General Zulima Farber at a Senate committee hearing. "I would oppose forfeiture."

The forfeiture would mean the loss of a pension by a politician or other public employee who had gone bad.

Farber, whose opposition to mandatory sentences is well-known, said it would be unfair, for example, to deny the pension of a 30-year government veteran who was corrupt in year 31.

I tend to agree with Senator John Adler, D-Camden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who is all for the jail time and pension forfeitures: "Crime is a crime."

How will New Jersey ever stop the incredible amount of public corruption that plagues the state, its counties, cities and towns if it does not punish those who violate the public trust with severe penalties. Elected and appointed officials need to know that if they are caught in any sort of corruption scandal that they will face criminal penlaties of the highest order. That means jail, fines and forfeiture of pensions.

Ms. Farber (and Governor Corzine), its time to stop protecting the criminals at the expense of the taxpayer.

Previous Zulima:
Zulima, girl, what were you thinking?
Again, Zulima?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Speaker Pelosi, Leader Murtha and Chairman Moran

Yet one more reason to pray that the GOP can maintain a majority in the House of Representatives:
If Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran said he would use his position in the majority to help funnel more funds to his Northern Virginia district.

Moran, D-8th, told those attending the Arlington County Democratic Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner on June 9 that while he in theory might oppose the fiscal irresponsibility of “earmarks” - funneling money to projects in a member of Congress's district - he understands the value they have to constituents.

“When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the shit out of it,” Moran buoyantly told a crowd of 450 attending the event.

I think Wayne and Garth said it best:
Wayne: I smell bacon. Do you smell bacon?

Garth: I definitely smell a pork product of some sort.

What a classy group.

[Red State Aspirant]

Monday, June 12, 2006

Didn't Robert Byrd already make Senate history?

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia made Senate history today:
Robert C. Byrd became the longest serving U.S. senator in history Monday. And, with almost 48 years of service, he's not finished yet.

Byrd, D-W.Va., surpassed the record of Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and has spent 17,327 days in the body, where he's the epitome of an old-school senator.

But I think he's already in the Senate history books -- the first open member of the Klu Klux Klan to also be a member of the U.S. Senate. Even if he wasn't the first, he's now the longest serving senator who is also a former member of the Klan.

Ridiculous Fidel

Come on Castro, you can do better than this:

The Cuban government cut off electricity to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana a week ago, and U.S. requests for power to be restored have gone unanswered, the State Department said Monday.

The facility has been operating with generator power.

Work at the mission continues, including interviews of refugees and outreach programs for the Cuban people, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"I would just say that the bullying tactics of the Castro regime aren't going to work," he added.

He said Cuban authorities also reduce the availability of water to the mission from time to time.

McCormack said he suspects that the decision to cut the power was in response to efforts by the mission to provide information to the Cuban people.

"That, of course, is not something that the Castro regime takes kindly to," he said.

Wow Fidel, you so powerful!

Zarqawi miscellany

A few Zarqawi tid bits:

You gotta love the New York Post, conversation bubble and all.

It seems like Mr. Zarqawi was alive for almost an hour after the bomb interrupted the meeting with his spiritual advisor. His 52-minutes of suffering and subsequent death does not nearly make up for the suffering and death he inflicted on others.

Zarqawi's successor is named. The new guy with a target on the back of his head is Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. Good luck, Abu, but we're not gonna give you a head start.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi to Allah: Where are the damn virgins?!?!


Boy is he gonna be pissed when he ends up in Hell and realizes that the 72 virgins aren't exactly what he expected.

Some of the reactions I've read so far this morning:


Zarqawi dead…for real

Important Symbolism in Zarqawi Reaction by Iraqis

The meeting ended early

More On Zarqawi (includes links to video)

Although I agree that Zarqawi's death is a major victory and a setback for the insurgents, I think it will have only a small impact on the deeds of Zarqawi's organization. I hope I'm wrong.

Now its Osama's turn.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Its not just Patrick Kennedy . . .

. . . the entire state of Rhode Island sucks at driving:

The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance.

Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly. The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

This (plus the Ambien, the alleged stomach flu and the martinis) may help explain Patrick's recent driving problems, but what about Ted Kennedy's indiscretions behind the wheel?

[Thanks Miriam]

Friday, June 02, 2006

That Kerry sure can spell

Congratulations to 13-year old Katharine "Kerry" Close from Spring Lake, the winner of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Ursprache was the winning word, meaning "a parent language, especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages." Some other words that Kerry correctly spelled on her way to the championship: "recrementitious," "psittacism," "aubade," "kanone," "izzat," "tmesis" and "kundalini."

And the word that did in Kerry's final competitor: "weltschmerz," which means sadness over the evils of the world.

Good job, Kerry!

Oh, while we're speaking of spelling bees, if haven't seen the movie Akeelah and the Bee, get to the theaters now!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Can you say "crackpot"?

We'll save our opinions on the Department of Homeland Security's formula for handing out anti-terror funding for later, but in reading comments to the Gothamist's post on the issue we came upon this crazy, unhinged alleged New Yorker who thinks Manhattan should go it alone in the world:

It's time for NYC to secede from this self-interested, anti-urban, unthinking country. The US of A-holes. Not only do we already give a lot more money in taxes than we get back, but then they shortchange us the money we need to protect ourselves. Watch what'll happen if there is another terrorist attack on NYC: people in Omaha, Louisville and everywhere else will hold candlelight vigils and say "We're all New Yorkers now," but then when money is apportioned for security, they'll want it all for themselves yet again. If we ask for our reasonable share, their internal John Rocker comes out and they wonder why they should bother to protect a city full of immigrants, queers, and liberals.

The mentality of this government and the people who elected it is perfectly summed up in a blog post I saw a few weeks ago that railed against people in NYC for saying it was "too soon" for United 93. These conservative jerks asserted that it was important to portray the heroism of the passengers on that flight because people "have forgotten about 9/11," and it called New Yorkers liberals and wimps. Meanwhile, we never have forgotten about 9/11. We live with it every damn day, because we were the ones who got attacked and who are in the biggest danger of getting attacked again. They're happy to use New York as a prop for their convention and their maudlin 9/11 tributes, but they don't live with the reality of that day's aftermath or the fear we all feel in the back of our minds every time we're on the subway or near Times Square or walking across one of the bridges.

Fuck this country. I'm proud to be a New Yorker, but not to be an American.

And as for Tightwad (you can always count on some malicious, ill-informed conservatives [that's redundant of course] commenting on Gothamist posts): the money isn't "for politicians." As the NYT article detailed, among other things, it's for police overtime for officers guarding all of the monuments and potential targets we do have. And that is needed. And as for the monument/icon thing, the entire island of Manhattan is an icon! How is that not obvious.

He wants "NYC" to secede, but we know he just means Manhattan (and probably only those portions below 92nd Street). Now, does Hillary Clinton want to be President of the United States or Queen of Manhattan? And is this the type of person Hillary (and Chuck) want on their side?

More: Another unhinged New York crackpot thinks President Bush deserves a "bullet between the eyes" (paraphrased). This one though isn't an anonymous blog commenter; instead he's statewide elected official Alan Hevesi. [Michelle Malkin]

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