Author Archive: deciminyan

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.

The Back of the Envelope

One of the things that my engineering professors taught me 45 years ago is that the ability to make accurate and quick “back of the envelope” calculations is just as valuable as a detailed analysis and computation that gives results to within a gnat’s eyelash.  Each has its place.  A quick estimate can help determine if a hypothesis is anywhere near reality, while detailed computations are necessary for implementing a plan and design.

So let’s do a back of the envelope analysis of the projected ARC tunnel overruns.

read more below the fold

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Everyone knows the story of the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s quest to help her three new found friends.  With the trouble New Jersey is in, we need our own wizard who can help our leaders with the attributes that L. Frank Baum told us about so many decades ago.

The most obvious need is to find Governor Chris Christie a heart.  He needs it more than Baum’s Tin Man ever did.  Christie is the leader of the new “compassionless conservatives” who value the wealth of millionaires and the welfare of corporations more than the well-being of public servants and the disadvantaged.

…more attributes below the fold…

Burlington County Democrats: MIA?

I have to admit.  Up until about a year ago, I’ve been pretty apolitical.  Sure, I got caught up in the Obamamania of 2008 and canvassed door-to-door both here in New Jersey and in Florida.  And I vote in every election – usually Democratic – sometimes because I’m for the candidate, but most times because I can’t stand the opponent.  The only other time I really got involved was in the 1972 presidential campaign for George McGovern, because even then, I knew Nixon was a crook.

Almost a year ago, I started my own blog.  After retiring from the military-industrial complex, I needed an outlet for my political rage that had been suppressed in the interest of career advancement.  I attended one of Jim Dean’s DFA workshops, met Rosi,  started writing for Blue Jersey, and was honored when Rosi asked me to be a staff writer.  Initially I was reluctant to sign on because I felt that I was not as connected to local politics as my fellow bloggers.  But Rosi is persistent, and here I am.

More after the fold…