News Roundup for Monday, Jan. 7, 2019

230 years ago today we picked out first president ever – George Washington. 743 days from today, the idiot we have for president now will finish his first, hopefully only, term in office. In both 1789 and 2016, we can thank the Electoral College for the outcome.


UPDATE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not on the bench as the U.S. Supreme Court meets for its first day of oral arguments in 2019. She is recovering from December surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung. Ginsburg will still be able to vote on cases by reviewing transcripts. This is not Ginsburg’s first bout with cancer, but this is the first time she’s had to miss oral arguments because of cancer.

NEW JERSEY

This is how we find out how our government actually works. And for whom. Four months after the PSEG got a whopping annual sum of corporate welfare it pretended it needed – but refused to document that it needed (because PSEG’s nuclear plants were profitable), pushed through by Senate President Steve Sweeney, PSEG tried to give a $55,000 donation to a dark money group closely tied to George Norcross, whose chief operator in the Legislature is Steve Sweeney. But PSEG goofed and gave the money to General Majority PAC, which much disclose its donors. That little operation George Norcross, Steve Sweeney, and PSEG fixed up is going to cost you the taxpayer $300 million annually. Danielle Muoio & Matt Friedman have the story.

Tom Moran: Gov. Murphy’s dark money grab.

Steve Sweeney thinks the people who pick the vegetables on your plate should earn less than you do. We’ve known this for a while, with Sweeney pushing a carve out for farmworkers. Now we have a dollar amount he thinks they should earn … eventually. $12.50/hour. Sweeney vows he’s just trying to save Jersey farms, but that’s dubious when stacked up against economic advice that doesn’t come from the NJ farm group that represents growers. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says farmworkers make a median wage in NJ between $11.70 and $12.92 an hour. That means Sweeney thinks we should be raising minimum wage for other workers and leaving farmworkers in the dust. Literally.

Somebody’s been studying Trump. In small town Springfield (Burlington County), Councilman David Frank is suing 3 local residents for defamation, arguing that a petition statement that they submitted to the municipal clerk contained falsehoods. Think this is a Dem vs. Republican thang? Nope.

Anti-bear hunt activists rally for prominent protester jailed for the 9th time.

5 hours. Multiple firings. Panic button. Englewood Cliffs Council meeting was chaotic.

A tiny fee on your monthly phone bill is worth more than $1B. But you’re not getting what you paid for, NJ.

Where’s your Governor? Making political rounds today – speaking at the Middlesex Freeholder reorganization (5pm), then swearing in Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes (7pm)

Star-Ledger editorial: The minimum wage haggle must stop now. Make $15 a reality.

NATIONAL

This blue wave House still has to prove itself, but don’t go thinking they’re not different. That’s the transgender flag hanging outside House freshman Rep. Jennifer Wexton’s office. She says she wants everybody to know they’re welcome.

As climate change rises to top of Democratic agenda, New Jersey’s Frank Pallone gains a front-row seat.

Jeff Van Drew says his first day in Congress was ‘surreal’. He describes a bustling, chaotic House chamber with so many people there for the swearings-in there weren’t enough seats and seats aren’t assigned like he’s used to in the NJ Senate. He’s sold his home dental practice, and hopes to do some volunteer dentistry going forward (nice!). JVD didn’t do a ceremonial photo with Speaker Pelosi. Van Drew bobbled in his first vote in Congress, the vote for Speaker. And social media noticed.

Words Donald Trump doesn’t understand – STRIKE. Trump told lawmakers he prefers the word ‘strike’ to ‘government shutdown’

Mitt Romney is not your savior. Romney pledges support for border wall after slamming Trump administration.

 

 

 

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