Friday, February 23, 2007

A correct, but somewhat misleading headline?

As we poked around this morning, the following headline (the first on the site's "news stories" column) immediately jumped out at us: CORZINE NOMINATES REPUBLICAN CROOK FOR JUDGESHIP.

Our first reaction was "why the hell would the Governor appoint a felon to the bench?"

Then we cliked on the link, which brought us to an article containing the following information (emphasis ours):

Gov. Jon S. Corzine nominated Evan H.C. Crook of Mount Laurel on Thursday for a Superior Court judgeship in Burlington County.

Crook, 48, is the solicitor for the Burlington County Board of Freeholders. His law career since graduation from Rutgers University Law School in 1987 has focused on the public sector employment law, especially municipal and county government law.

Crook, a Republican, will fill a Republican vacancy on the Superior Court.

Although the new judge is in fact a Republican Crook, he's not a Republican crook. We're sorry that, in light of all the political corruption in New Jersey, we immediately thought he was an unsavory criminal.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Mazel tov!

Today is the first day for same-sex couples in New Jersey to legalize their relationship under the State's new civil union law. The first civil union performed was just after the stroke of midnight between Steven Goldstein and Daniel Gross of Teaneck. (We've mentioned Goldstein before on this blog, he is the head of Garden State Equality, New Jersey's largest gay rights organization).

Asbury Park, which opened their clerk's office at midnight for an hour and then for four additional hours today (despite the holiday), had five couples arive just after midnight.

We're glad to see this day come.


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NJ Democrats: Veterans and Memorial Day are meaningless

In an effort to curb property taxes by cutting the number of State mandates on New Jersey public schools, Assemblywoman (and Chairwoman of the New Jersey Democratic Party) Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) and State Senator John Adler (D-Camden) proposed a bill that would have would have eliminated the requirement that schools teach about Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Seriously. We're not joking. They really did it. And it passed both houses of the Legislature.

Thankfully Governor Corzine conditionally vetoed the bill and the two days were added back in to the costly government mandates.

Can someone please explain to us how teaching students about Memorial Day and Veterans day is a cost burden on the public school system?

We don't suppose cutting Veterans Day and Memorial Day from the paid holiday list for state workers would go over quite so well either. But think of the cost savings there!
What a way to remember our veterans and pay respect to the memories of those who have died fighting for and protecting this country.
Really quite pathetic.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cupid is CrAzY

Malik Cupid, an attorney, Democratic Party activist and current aide in New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine's administration, was arraigned in Westchester County (New York) Supreme Court yesterday (which also happened to be his 31st birthday) after being charged with stealing $1,400 from his ex-girlfriend's bank account and hacking into her e-mail account while she was serving on active duty with the Army in Iraq. All told, the Westchester County district attorney's office charged Cupid with four felonies, including grand larceny, identity theft and eavesdropping. He faces up to 16 years in state prison.

Caryl Lucas, a spokeswoman for New Jersey's Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, said her office would look into the incident but declined to comment on whether Mr. Cupid would be returning to his State House office and $102,350 salary. If he gets canned, he may be happy . . . given that he commutes from West 150th Street in Manhattan to Trenton each day.

What a touching Valentine's Day story. More here and here.


It looks like Cupid is an Iowa Law grad. Possibly a Colgate undergrad and a basketball player for the Colgate Raiders. If someone can confirm that its the same person, it looks like Cupid didn't leave the team on the best of terms.

(a few stylistic changes made @ 11:33a.m.)

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A few Democrats get it

We sound like a broken record -- property tax credits does not equal property tax reform (and they don't equal property tax cuts either).

We're gald to see that a few Democrats understand that the watered down "credit" proposal doesn't solve anything.

But Sens. John Adler, D-Camden, and Nia Gill, D-Essex, questioned how the state would pay for the $2 billion credit program in the long run. A financial quirk gives the state government extra money to use for this year only. Adler and Gill both said the credit program, which will take the bite out of tax bills but not address root causes of high property taxes, falls short of true reform.

"If we were selling this tax package as a product, we would be in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act," Gill said. She later added, "In plain language: We do not have the money to pay for this."

Adler said the caps had been "gutted" and called for lawmakers to go back to the property tax reform drawing board, rather than pass watered-down bills and declare them "good enough."

"We should step back, take a breath, ask for a do-over," Adler said.

At the end of the day this bad bill will become a bad law.

But at least some Democrats understand that it won't solve anything.

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Diane Allen for U.S. Senate

It's been just a few months since the end of the bitter U.S. Senate race between Senator Robert Menendez and State Senator Thomas Kean Jr., but some are already looking to 2008's Senate election where Senator Frank Lautenberg, now 83-years old, plans to stand for re-election to a fifth term.

We personally think Frank needs to retire (again) or be retired.
But who is up to the challenge to remove him?

Given that the GOP's one big name -- Chris Christie -- has already said he won't run for the GOP nod and Tom Kean Jr.'s poor performance against an ethically-challenged (and fairly unpopular) Menendez, the state GOP isn't left with many high-profile names to toss out to the voters. Mercer County Assemblyman Bill Baroni (a moderate Republican) and Warren County Assemblyman Mike Dougherty (a conservative) have both publicly noted that they would be interested in running. But no one has heard of them and unless they decide to quit their jobs tomorrow and spend the next 18 months campaigning door-to-door, they don't have a chance in knocking Lautenberg off.

What the GOP needs is Diane Allen, the State Senator from Burlington County who ran for the 2002 GOP U.S. Senate nomination (but lost). Since then, she has been content to stick with her State Senate seat (although in 2003 was talked about as a possible candidate for governor against the ever-sinking Jim McGreevey).
Well, we think its time for Senator Allen to think statewide again.

Why? Here are a few reasons:

1) She has name recognition. Although not well known throughout the state, she does have significantly more name recognition north to south than either Baroni or Dougherty. She did run a statewide primary campaign a few years ago -- and some people will remember her name from that. She is also a fairly well-known quantity in South Jersey, one part of the state that the GOP certainly needs to pick up more votes if they ever want to win statewide again. Name recognition will be important here, given that Lautenberg has been in the public eye for the last 25-years and won four statewide elections already. Diane is the best GOP candidate we can think of who can seriously take on Lautenberg's name.

2) She's a moderate. We are big believers that moderate Republicans can win statewide office in New Jersey. Voters are tired of high taxes, corruption, big government, etc. These are issues that the GOP should own in New Jersey. Social issues and softer topics, including abortion, gay rights, the environment, etc., are things that most New Jersey voters take a more moderate stance on. We need a candidate that can take that stance and have the credibility to back it up. That's why we need someone like Diane -- a fiscal conservative and a more socially moderate candidate.

3) She's well spoken, a good debater and has camera appeal. Diane spent many years on camera as a news reporter and anchor. She speaks well. She has a public presence that many state legislators never acquire. She can debate the issues. All of this is important given that Lautenberg is a lousy speaker and can't debate his way out of a paper bag and that we need someone who can really shine against him.

4) She's smart. From what we can tell she has a great grasp of the issues important to New Jersey voters. For those issues she needs to brush up on, we have no doubt she can do so and do so quickly. She runs her own business, has been a successful news anchor and reporter and has been successful in the State Senate. She's got the brains to win this campaign and be a great U.S. Senator.

5) She's a woman. We won't lie -- we think gender is very important for this race, especially if the Democrats have a woman running for president. Republicans usually have a tough time bridging the gender gap. We think Diane can make up serious ground here.

6) She will appeal to younger voters. For many of the reasons listed above, she will appeal to a broad range of voters, including the very important 30-and under group.

So that's our initial opinion. We'll be offering more shortly. But for now, there is just one important question to ask:

Senator Allen, will you please consider running for the U.S. Senate?

We're ready, willing and able to come work for you and make your campaign a success.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dual officeholder ban might actually happen

We weren't very optimistic that the proposed ban on dual officeholders would ever come to a vote in the State Legislature, especially since Senate President Richard Codey told us it was being taken off the board this time around.

But a bill banning the practice -- allowing a State Assemblyman/Assemblywoman or Senator to also be an elected mayor, councilman/woman, freeholder -- has already passed the Assembly and is set for a vote in the Senate tomorrow. Governor Jon Corzine has said he will sign the bill into law.
There are some unfortunate parts to the bill -- i.e., the ban won't likely go into effect until this time next year, allowing current elected officials to get in on the grandfather clause (if you hold dual offices before the effective date, you can continue to do so). But overall, we're happy that this practice will soon be a thing of the past.

Update: The Senate Democrats and Assembly Democrats can't get themselves on the same page -- they both want to ban the idea, but can't agree on when the ban should go into effect. We can't believe we're going to say this, but Sharpe James is right:

Sen. Sharpe James, D-Essex, who himself held two elected offices as Newark mayor from 1999 to 2006, said it would be "insincere" and "playing politics" to delay the ban until after November's election.

"Why are you waiting? So people can run, and then they would be grandfathered in? Then you're not sincere. It's not from the heart then. It's not gut. It's a political action," said James. "I don't think we should target the bill for any particular individual or what have you.

"I never wanted to be a dual-office holder. But if I resigned as mayor, it doesn't solve the problem," James said, before claiming that he quit his post to prove a point. "I voluntarily quit one to lead by example. Hello!"

Just get this done already.

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You should have named him Penny

Qualeem has one hell of a birth story. From the AP:

An Atlantic City woman playing the penny slots Saturday morning left the Resorts Atlantic City casino with her own little jackpot — a new baby boy.

Eight-months pregnant Nyree Thompson, 32, went into labor on the casino floor about 9:30 a.m.

Thompson told The Press of Atlantic City for Sunday editions that she mistook labor pains for gas at first, but after going to the restroom told a security guard that she might be giving birth.

Thompson said the guard thought she was joking. Then her water broke. "A guard came over and said, 'Don't push,'" Thompson said. "I said, 'Forget you, this baby is coming right now.'"

Minutes later, a boy weighing less than 5 pounds was born. Thompson named him Qualeem.

Four security guards helped Thompson deliver the baby, wrapping the child in a jacket until paramedics arrived at about 9:40 a.m., said Steve Callender, vice president of operations at Resorts.

Mr. Callender, who has worked at Resorts since it opened in 1978, said the birth was a first for the casino as far as he knew: "We've had people die here," he said, "but we've never had people born here."

Mother and baby are doing fine.

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Thanks for the subsidies, but we're outta here

Cable news station MSNBC is set to ditch New Jersey and move its operations from its current Secaucus, New Jersey home to NBC's home in midtown Manhattan. Not only is New Jersey losing roughly 450 jobs as a result (as well as the tax revenue, economic revenue, etc.), but MSNBC is breaking the promise it made to stay in the state for at least 15 years after receiving millions in subsidies.

Its a lose-lose situation for New Jersey.

Tune into Fox News of CNN instead.


New Jersey's cigarette tax is #1

The American Lung Association has ranked the 50 states by the tax charged per pack of cigarettes. New Jersey comes in at number one on the list, with an score of A, for its $2.575 tax on each pack sold in the state. If you smoke a pack a day, that's $939.87 of taxes you contribute to the State each year -- in addition to the 7% sales tax added on top of your purchase. And if you don't think the sales tax adds up, ask these guys.

Now, we aren't opposed to the cigarette tax when its used to either deter potential smokers from picking up the habit or encourage current smokers to quit. But with such a high tax on each pack sold, the State is certainly taking in a good deal of money as a result.

Our question: With such a high cigarette tax, did we really need to raise the sales tax?

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The Asbury Park Press gets it wrong

Ok, so its really Tom Hester Jr. of the Associated Press who got it wrong, but the Asbury Park Press is exacerbating the situation by printing Hester's article entitled Senate to vote Monday on property tax cut.

This is all quite simple: A property tax credit is not a property tax cut.

Joe Ryan of the Star-Ledger gets it right by calling the Democrats' plan what it is -- property tax relief.

But remember, property tax relief through tax credits is not property tax reform.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Um, Dina, what were you waiting for?

Its official, the McGreevey's are getting divorced.

Some tid-bits from the Associated Press:

Oh, not so fast, Mr. McGreevey:

"I note from news accounts of my husband's filing that he claims we have reached a comprehensive agreement. That is not true," Matos McGreevey said through her lawyer, John N. Post. "We continue to have profound differences about what our daughter should be exposed to, and until they are resolved, there will be no agreement."

Looks like this might not be so neat and clean after all. Maybe Dina will dish some dirt in her upcoming book "Silent Partner," due out in stores on May 1, 2007

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