Author Archive: deciminyan

The Party of Death

Over the past two years, the Republican Party has justifiably earned the moniker of “The Party of No”.  Republicans have not only effectively blocked much of President Obama’s agenda, but have even blocked his attempts to pass initiatives that were originally introduced by their own party.  And they are unashamed to point out that the defeat of the President is their number one goal – not jobs, not healthcare – but the bringing down of the President.  

But the labeling of the GOP as the “Party of No” hides a more insidious aspect of their agenda – the fact that their policies cause orders of magnitudes more unnecessary deaths than terrorist attacks have done.

More below the fold…

20 Reasons Why I’m Thankful to Live in New Jersey

  1. I’m thankful that my wife and I live approximately in the geographic center of the homes of our 3 kids and their spouses.

  2. I’m thankful for the diversity of New Jersey’s people, and the fact that I live in a neighborhood with people of all hues, backgrounds, and ages.

  3. I’m thankful for Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey – not only for the occasional sports celebration, but for its consistent excellence in academics and research.

  4. I’m thankful for Cedar Lane in Teaneck with its abundance of excellent Kosher restaurants and Judaica shops.

  5. I’m thankful for the mix of serenity and bustle of Long Beach Island in the summer, and for The Chicken or the Egg restaurant year round.

  6. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live in a suburban area and yet be able to take advantage of the culture and sports in Philadelphia with a 25 minute drive and New York City with a short train ride.

  7. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live in a suburban area and yet be able to take advantage of the solitude and beauty of the countryside within a 15 minute drive.

  8. I’m thankful for New Jersey’s farmers’ markets and the fresh produce that’s available.

  9. I’m thankful that despite the advances made by the corporate-sponsored Tea Party, we still have politicians who are statesmen like Rush Holt, Loretta Weinberg, Bob Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, and Ed Potosnak.

  10. I’m thankful for the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton.

  11. I’m thankful for the New Brunswick theater district – especially the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theater.

  12. I’m thankful that New Jersey has four seasons without the extremes of North Dakota or Arizona.

  13. I’m thankful for the Camden Riversharks – where I can have fun attending a professional baseball game in a modern stadium without spending a fortune.

  14. I’m thankful for the dedication and professionalism of many of my friends who are public school teachers.

  15. I’m thankful that the state legislature passed the toughest anti-bullying legislation in the country.

  16. I’m thankful that as a blogger, I’ll never run out of material on New Jersey political shenanigans to write about.

  17. I’m thankful that the state Supreme Court ruled against the Tea Party’s idiotic attempt to negate our Senatorial election.

  18. Diners

  19. I’m thankful for the work being done by Garden State Equality and look forward to the day when the need for this organization ceases.

  20. I’m thankful for Rosi and Blue Jersey, especially in the age of corporate control of traditional news media.

    So, Blue Jersey – what else about the Garden State are you thankful for?

What Will the Bully-in-Chief Do?

As we celebrate the near-unanimous passage of the strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country, will Governor Christie sign the bill?

The Governor has 45 days to act on the bill.  While it may seem to be a no-brainer for him to sign it, remember that one of the Governor’s initiatives is pandering to the right wing.  He demonstrated this with his recent skepticism about global climate change.  There are many on the right wing who are against this legislation because in their convoluted minds, they feel it promotes a gay/lesbian lifestyle.  And it’s not in the Governor’s DNA to approve anything of substance that was initiated in the Democratic controlled legislature.

Given the mood of the state after the recent tragedy with Tyler Clementi,  an outright veto is not likely.  After all, the bill passed with such a large margin that an override by the legislature is almost a sure thing.   But the Governor could muddy the waters by issuing a conditional veto, changing some of the bill’s provisions to placate the right while weakening some aspects of the bill.  This would throw the bill back to the legislature for an up or down vote on the Governor’s version.

So what will it be, Mr. Governor?  Do you have the strength of character to go along with the will of the people, or will you use this bill as just another vehicle to promote your political agenda?

Let’s Party

So the convention of the New Jersey League of Municipalities is over.  The attendees were a Who’s Who list of New Jersey power brokers.  With one exception.  Governor Christie decided it was more important to hobnob with Republican Tea Party glitterati in San Diego than to interact with the people he’s paid to serve with.  But that’s another story.

Like any convention, there were working sessions, and there were after-hours parties where the politicians could interact informally with the various contractors who provide goods and services to the taxpayers.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  Public servants who work hard should be encouraged to have some off-hours fun, schmoozing with their peers in the private sector.  What is disturbing, however, is the way these events are paid for and the message they send to the politicians.

More below the fold…

Answering the First Amendment Deniers

With the gains made by the Republican Tea Party and their evangelical brethren in the recent election, we can expect additional assault on the First Amendment in the months to come.  One of the organizations that strives to protect our First Amendment rights is Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU).

The South Jersey committee, part of the Delaware Valley Chapter of Americans United, is in the process of reorganizing after a two-year hiatus. At a meeting in Voorhees tonight, a small group of members discussed plans for advocacy, awareness, and outreach to like-minded groups.  The major issues tackled by AU and the local chapter are:

  • Church politicking

  • Preventing court stripping (removing jurisdiction from courts)

  • Faith-based initiatives.  

  • Religious symbols on public property.

  • Government-sponsored prayer.

  • Marriage Equality.

  • Intelligent Design and Creationism

In concert with a similar group in Bucks County, the South Jersey Committee conducts meetings with guest speakers, does phone banking, and staffs information tables at public events.  This year’s signature event will be an all-day symposium on church-state issues on April 9, 2011 at the National Constitution Center.  Keynote speaker will tentatively be Reverend Barry Lynn, who is the national director of Americans United

AU does not yet have a significant presence in New Jersey, with a Monmouth County chapter being the only other local outlet.  For more information, go to dvau.org or contact Janice Rael, Vice President at vice@dvau.org

Disclaimer:  I am a member of AU

Chris Christie, MD

Apparently, when Governor Christie ran for office, he hid the fact that he went to medical school.  This became apparent when he made the medical decision that $7.5 million (a small amount in the overall budget, and about 1% of the total amount of money he gave to millionaires) in women’s health care was unnecessary.  Now, he is practicing medicine again, ordering doctors across the state to nag their patients every three months to “wean” them off the palliative drug.  Is it OK to practice medicine without a license if you are governor?

In the Belly of the Beast – Part Deux

What do you call someone who hits himself in the head with a hammer and then decides that it was so much fun, he does it again?  Perhaps the answer is “deciminyan.”

After attending a Christie Town Hall 2½ weeks ago in Moorestown, I received an e-mail from the governor’s PR people letting me know that he would be doing an encore performance in Gloucester County today.  So I went, and wasn’t disappointed – at least by the crowd.  The small auditorium at the Washington Twp Town Hall was filled with the glitterati of the right wing – Christie acolytes and adorers from the NRA, birthers, 9-12ers, and the various strains of the Tea Party.  This time, however, I had some moral support, as my friend Jeff, who runs the anti-Christie Facebook page, was there with me. There may have been a few more closet progressives, and the teachers demonstrated outside, but for the most part it was like being at a Michele Bachmann family reunion.  The woman in front of me got visibly upset every time I turned off my camcorder, as if I were censoring the word of God.

More, including video clips, after the fold…

An Open Letter to Jon Runyan

This letter is based upon a profile of Jon Runyan by Cynthia Burton in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dear Congressman-Elect Runyan,

Congratulations on your recent election.  I hope you work as hard to represent all the people of the Third District as you worked in your campaign.

As you take the oath of office in January, you become one of the youngest members of Congress, and I am pleased to learn that you will follow in the footsteps of your predecessors Jim Saxton and John Adler in emphasizing constituent services.  Often, the federal government is the stop of last resort for those who have been hit severely by the Bush Recession, and I’m happy to see that you will help them utilize the government as a safety net so they can enjoy the fruits of what America has to offer without worrying about choosing between food and medicine.

More after the fold…

NJ Dem’s Marketing Fail

Markos Moulitsas (“Kos”) posted a diary today entitled “Barack Obama’s marketing fail.”  It points out how some of the mainstream media are twisting the results of the recent Deficit Commission announcement to pin the blame on the president for proposed cuts to social programs.

New Jersey Democrats are also failing at the marketing of their message to the mainstream media.  Case in point: today’s Philadelphia Inquirer article on how Pennsylvania governor-elect Tom Corbett hopes to emulate Chris Christie.

The Inquirer is one of the more politically balanced newspapers around.  Its editorial page is slightly left-of-center, but it has carried far right columnists like Rick Santorum.

In its reporting on what our governor has done with the budget deficit, the Inquirer states:

Because Christie plugged that budget hole without raising taxes, he raised enough eyes round the country to catapult him from Jersey pol to national figure.  (emphasis mine)

In discussions with several of my friends, it is clear that this is the common wisdom – Christie has cut taxes.  Democrats have to do better in debunking this falsehood.  According to the Home News Tribune, when you take into account the deferral of the homestead rebate, this year’s property tax bill will average out to a 23.5 percent increase.  And of course, other taxes and fees such as the NJ Transit fare increase are rising faster than inflation.

It’s ironic that Barack Obama, who lowered taxes on the middle class, is getting a bum rap from the mainstream media, while Chris Christie, who tells seemingly credible lies, is getting the royal treatment.