News Roundup and Open Thread for Thursday, July 30, 2015

A heat wave continues today: stay cool and hydrated.

Despite an appeal to the Appellate Court from environmental groups: oral arguments start this morning on the NJDEP v. Exxon settlement case. Among others in protest, Sen. Ray Lesniak will submit his statement indicating, “The court should reject Christie’s settlement because it violates laws of the State of New Jersey, in addition to being unfair, unreasonable and inadequate.”

To dig or not to dig: Christie says he and Gov. Cuomo are committed to building a new trans-Hudson tunnel and will meet with the US Secretary of Transportation shortly. Christie has his demands. He, Cuomo, and the Port Authority are looking to the feds for substantial funding. With a dysfunctional congress that now can not even agree on how to refund the depleted US transportation account, this plan could be a tunnel too far. However, any news seems like good news for NJ Transit riders who just went through a week in hell.

Sen. Sweeney wants a $1 trillion federal loan program to rescue the states’ public worker pensions. A nice idea, but is this an impossible dream?

Christie’s vanity campaign: Real Clear Politics today indicates he is 10th (3.2) with Kasich now ahead of him in the national polls, 13th (2.3) in Iowa, 7th (5.0) in New Hampshire and 9th (5.7) in South Carolina.

Christie’s campaign proposes to sharply limit federal health care funding under Medicaid: NJPP says, “It would result in the loss of about $15 billion in federal funding for New Jersey over eight years.”  

President Christie’s’ choice for Supreme Court: would be a Samuel Alito clone. No surprise there, but it makes one wonder after so many harsh pronouncements on the road what he will espouse when he returns to his governor’s job in blue New Jersey.

Super PAC’s start to dominate races in NJ: POLITICO: Four of the five Democrats considering a run for governor in 2017 have super PACs. There was even one for a town council race in Parsippany.

Super storm Sandy lingering effects: slow rebuilding of homes and businesses, long insurance battles and mold that refuses to die – have taken a toll on the mental health of residents in its path.

Rutgers to give stipends to scholarship athletes: Under new NCAA rules they will receive up to $4,900.

Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh coming to New Jersey: The Haskell Invitational horse race takes place at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport Sunday. Don’t expect to find hotel space anywhere near there this weekend.

How slavery was written into New Jersey’s DNA: Salon’s fascinating early history of slavery in our state – including Mendham Township.  

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