Author Archive: admin

How Progressive is Jersey?

Hi.  I don’t live in Jersey.  I’m a software developer in Colorado who created SoapBlox, and a political junkie.  SoapBlox is currently trying to fulfill the ’50 state strategy’ by helping progressive bloggers focus more of their attention on local politics.  

The way I see it, time spent on national politics has the least Return on Investment for any sort of activist.  The constituencies are too huge (especially for Senators), and most of what DC does has a very negligible impact on most people’s day to day lives (well, accept pay day).  Sure, the feds can make huge sweeping decisions that affect us all, but most of the time, our daily lives are dictated more by the acts of our state and local governments.

So Jersey is a Blue State, right?  But how blue?  How progressive?  Does the NJ state house or senate have rabidly lefty/progressive leaders?  Is their at least a recognizable caucus at the state level whom “hard core” progressives could support?  Are their safe “blue” state house districts where we as Progressives could get behind more progressive candidates (and kick out ‘old guard’ Dems who don’t share our beliefs?), and try to fill the legislature (and the future bench for national politics) with leaders who are anything but Republican-lite?

That’s what I think these State blogs should try to do: fight for more progressive candidates throughout the entire state legislature, to try and pass progressive legislation that can serve as a template for other progressive policies in other states, then on a national level.

I’m going to be stopping by here all the time to see how a blog running on me software is doing, so I might as well get to know y’all, and your state a little better.

About Blue Jersey

Dedicated to being the progressive source of news, political analysis and activism in NJ, Blue Jersey was launched on September 28, 2005.

After signing up, you can post diaries as well as comments to diaries and main posts after a one day waiting period. Diaries are just blog entries that any registered user is allowed to post. You can also recommend other people’s diaries. If a diary receives enough recommendations, it moves into the “Recommended Diaries” list. The front page authors may also promote user diaries directly to the front page. Join us and help build our community.


Blue Jersey has received significant attention from the traditional media such as the Associated Press, New York Times, the Star Ledger (2), The Times (Trenton), Montclair Times and The Beacon. See press clippings here.

Blue Jersey has been featured or linked to on blogs like Daily Kos, Eschaton, MyDDInside Edge, Think Progress, The Daou Report, Wonkette, The Agonist, and AmericaBlogClick here for a more complete list of blogs linking to Blue Jersey.

In addition to blogs, other traditional media outlets have also noticed Blue Jersey. The National Journal’s Hotline has referenced Blue Jersey on several occasions: 10/11/05, 11/7/05, 11/8/05, 11/9/05, 11/15/05 , 12/5/05, 2/23/06, 3/8/06, 3/13/06, 3/16/06, 3/17/06, 3/28/06 and 6/7/06. MSNBC featured Blue Jersey on the “Blog Connection” on November 9th, 2005.

What they’re saying about us

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ)
“Blue Jersey is an extremely valuable resource for all those who care about a progressive view of local, state, and national issues. Its New Jersey perspective and edge make it even more important and fun to read.”

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
“Blue Jersey keeps the political activity alive.”

Matt Stoller at MyDD:
“Bluejersey is starting to be read by the machine in New Jersey, and it is becoming an important place.”

Chris Bowers at MyDD:
“Blue Jersey is a powerful new collaborative site dedicated to progressive politics in the state.”

Tim Tagaris at Kicking Ass, the Democratic Party blog:
You can find a good deal of information about daily New Jersey politics over at Blue Jersey.

Politics1:
Our Politics1 Site of the Day winner is BlueJersey.com — a great Dem blog covering NJ politics.

Hotline’s Blogometer
“NJ state politics too confusing? Not sure who Goerge Norcross is, or why you should fear him? Blue Jersey has a handy beginners’ guide to NJ politics, which will expand in the near future.”

All Spin Zone:
Allow me to introduce you to a great new blog that is, in some ways, a dKos spinoff, but in other ways, has already established it’s own identity. BlueJersey.com is covering NJ politics like a rug. Not just the state-level stuff, but county and local as well. While there are other NJ political blogs online, BlueJersey.com has a national netroots heritage that’s going to be hard to argue with. They’re going to be major players in statewide organization in the weeks and months to come.

I’m particularly excited by BlueJersey.com’s potential for impacting the 2006 mid-terms. For a change, there’s actually the opportunity to unseat some rubber-stamp GOP congressional reps (are you listening, Saxon and LoBiondo?).

Bob Geiger:
Blue Jersey is a site devoted exclusively to New Jersey politics and, boy, do they ever cover it like the proverbial blanket. With everything from coverage of local, county and statewide issues, Blue Jersey features great writing, good research and also produces some excellent podcasts starring the likes of Senator Robert Menendez and Representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone.

All of this from a blog that was just created in September of 2005.

If you live in New Jersey, are interested in the state’s politics or simply understand what an important state this is for the national progressive movement, I strongly recommend that you check it out.

Rules

Blue Jersey is a community and, as in any community, there will be people with whom you agree and people with whom you disagree.  As with any other community, we can all manage to get along reasonably well if we just observe some simple, common sense rules for our interactions. Blue Jersey has no objection to heated discussion or disagreement and we welcome impassioned discussion, but there are lines that your common sense should be enough to keep you from crossing. These are our rules:

  1. Don’t be an ass. This should be enough for most people, but if you need clarification, keep reading.
  2. Racism, bigotry, threats of violence and other hate-filled language is strictly prohibited.
  3. No personal attacks or revealing of private information is tolerated. This is grounds for immediate banning.
  4. No comment spam. Advertising an unrelated site by posting a comment or diary is not tolerated. If it’s not relevant to the blog, don’t link it.
  5. Stay on topic. When responding to a diary or comment, don’t hijack the diary with random issues. Respond to the topic being discussed, or write your own diary.
  6. Troll ratings are for trolls, not people you disagree with. They play an important role in the community self-moderating itself, so use the ratings appropriately.

Rule #1 is the most important, basically covers everything and is obviously up for interpretation (ours). If you’re here just to pick a fight or start trouble, it’s pretty easy to tell, but for most people, these rules are common sense and shouldn’t be any problem.

How to use this site

What is a blog?

A blog is a website in which journal entries are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts,” “entries,” or “diaries”.

What is Blue Jersey?

Blue Jersey (www.BlueJersey.com) is a blog about New Jersey politics, written by over a dozen New Jersey residents. While we all have different political views and opinions, we generally consider ourselves to be progressives. However, we welcome guests of all political views, as long as they engage in respectful dialog.

Getting started

Most features on BlueJersey.com require that you have a user account and be logged in. If you do not already have an account, you can create one by filling in a desired username and a valid email address at this form. You will soon receive an email at the address you specified containing a temporary password with which to log in. Return to www.BlueJersey.com, enter your username and password.

If you forgot your username or password, you can retrieve them by visiting this page.

The password you receive by email will be randomly-generated. After logging in, you may want to change your password to something easier to remember. In the Menu on the top right of the page, click on the link for your page. If your username is HarryP, the link would appear as HarryP’s page. Next, click on the “Profile” link:

Then, click on the “Email/Password” link:

Finally, fill out the form to change your password.

Diaries

Once you log in, you can create your own “diary” entry. A diary is just an entry that anyone can write up and have appear on the website. Any registered user that is logged in can create a diary. Once a diary is posted, it will appear under “Recent Diaries” in the right hand column. Users can read any diary by clicking on its title. Diaries can be “recommended” by users by clicking on the “Recommend Diary” button within a particular diary.

If enough users recommend a diary, it will be promoted to the “Recommended Diaries” list, right above the “Recent Diaries” list. Any of the front page bloggers may also promote diaries directly so that they are displayed on the front page.

To post a diary, click on “New Diary” link in the Menu on the top right of the page. Fill in the Title, Main Test, and Extended Text. If your diary is more than 3 or 4 paragraphs long, place the rest of the text in the “Extended Entry”.

Tags

Tags are a way of classifying diaries which serve as a search tool. Appropriate tags include people, issues, races or locations. Tags should be separated by commas. Some tips (heavily borrowed from dailykos):

  1. Use combinations of simple tags rather than inventing complex ones.
  2. Try to think of what tags people might use to search for something and use those. Remember, tags are like categories. And people don’t search for “humor” or “satire”. They search for issues, races, locations, and people.
  3. Try to re-use existing tags.
  4. Keep it simple. Don’t use tags that are redundant.
  5. To identify congressional districts, use the format NJ##. To identify legislative districts, use LD##. For the 7th Congressional district, you would use NJ7. Use the full county name: “Camden County” rather than “Camden”.
  6. Use first and last names for all people. Believe it or not, people sometimes share last names.
  7. Don’t use tags that would apply to every diary like “politics” or “New Jersey”.

Any “Trusted User” can edit the tags in any diary. You attain Trusted User status by receiving high ratings by other users from comments you make.

Comments

You must be a registered users to post comments. To respond to a diary that is on the front page, first click on the “Discuss” or “There’s More” button at the end of a diary. Once within a particular diary, you can respond to it by clicking the “Post a Comment” link at the end of the diary. Fill in the Subject and Comment sections of your comment. Click on “Preview” to make sure it’s formatted correctly. If it looks acceptable, click “Post”, otherwise revise it and click “Preview” again. You can use HTML formatting.

Comment Ratings

All users can rate all comments, except their own, between 1 and 4. Users who have a history of comments rated above certain minimum and who have posted a sufficient number of comments are considered “Trusted Users”, and have the added capability to rate comments below the normal minimum rating (in other words, their rating scale is 0-4, rather than 1-4.):

Ratings are intended to help elevate those posters that consistently make clear, good arguments and points, regardless of content, and to prevent trolls from invading the message board. Downrating commenters on the basis of agreement or disagreement with their arguments leads to a monolithic forum, free of new ideas and input.

So, please don’t downrate comments just because you disagree with them!