Author Archive: deciminyan

Forgetting Who We Work For – Part Deux

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted to deciminyan

Last week, I blogged about the debacle regarding road and rail projects and the Transportation Trust Fund.  I reminded politicians on both sides that they work for us, and their lack of urgency in coming to terms with a multi-billion dollar issue is a failure their part to do the governing we pay them to do.  They ended up kicking the can down the road – postponing a real solution until the end of the year, but at least the road crews are back at work.

Now, there’s an even more egregious instance where one of our elected officials seems to have forgotten who he is working for.

I don’t begrudge Governor Christie for hitting the campaign trail.  Elected officials of both parties do this, and with today’s telecommunications infrastructure, a leader can be almost as effective (or ineffective) from Des Moines as he can be from Trenton.  But I am very angry at the way our leader uses sarcasm to belittle New Jersey’s citizens.    While campaigning in Iowa, Governor Christie mocked students and teachers by using a whiny voice saying “Mom, Dad, I can’t study.  I can’t work.  My grades are suffering because Mrs. Smith, she’s not getting her pay raise this year.”  Perhaps the governor thinks that our students are too dumb to read newspapers, but how is a student supposed to respect his or her hard-working teacher when the governor doesn’t?  The governor went on to categorize disagreements with his approach as “garbage.”  Since when is legitimate disagreement “garbage?”

Following that comment, the governor added, “…and you wonder why I’m in Iowa?”  Yes, governor – I wonder how your denigration of the Garden State will help attract business and tourists.  You are the ambassador from New Jersey to the rest of the world.  Keep your disagreements in Trenton – after all, you already have the legislature wrapped around your pinky.  But when on the road, you should be promoting New Jersey, not smearing it.  That’s what we pay you to do.

“…with liberty and justice for some.”

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

I am not a lawyer, and am presenting my opinion based on what I can discern from on-line articles.  Input and clarifications from any attorneys reading this blog are encouraged.

While our nation was founded on the idealistic principal of “justice for all”, and we continually strive toward that goal, it has never been truly attained.  The wealthy can take advantage of high-powered attorneys to help them skirt the law, while the poor obtain their “equal justice” by working with taxpayer-supported public defenders.  Often this works well, with defendants receiving a fair trial, but clearly there are limits.  A rich defendant has almost unlimited resources to spend on obtaining exculpatory evidence and judicial theatrics (remember the OJ trial?).  An indigent defendant’s resources are limited, even with free counsel.  Now, a new thumb on the scale of justice is making it even more difficult for the poor.

An article in USA Today reports that some states are now restricting public defender services.  In the landmark Gideon vs Wainright case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional right to an attorney for felony cases.  The participating justices in a New Jersey Supreme Court case on a related issue have ruled unanimously that legal representation for the poor must be provided in any case that might result in incarceration.

The USA Today article goes on, stating that some states are imposing fees for public defender services.  Defendants are either coerced to waive their right to an attorney or forced to amass huge debts.  Clearly, in a country where almost one person in one hundred is incarcerated, the “rehabilitation” aspect of prison life has been subsumed by a “lock ’em up and throw away the key” attitude.  Elimination of adequate defense for all, combined with the Tea Party’s drive to eviscerate defendants’ Miranda rights, and the growing initiative to privatize prisons under for-profit companies, simply increases the burden on the taxpayer, adds to corporate coffers, and does not address the root cause of the problem.

Forgetting Who We Work For

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan.

Before I retired, I worked for Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies for over 40 years.  Like most large conglomerates, Lockheed Martin has established a corporate slogan to instantly summarize its values and goals.  Several years ago, it chose the grammatically-challenged slogan “We never forget who we are working for.”  Part of the reason for this choice was to remind employees as well as customers that their ultimate customer is the American taxpayer, who foots the bill for a vast majority of the corporation’s military and civil programs.

It would be a good idea if Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney, and the other leaders of the State of New Jersey could adopt a similar attitude.  

Continue reading to find out why…

Sins of Omission

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Jews around the world recently observed the beginning of a new year, highlighted by a day of prayer and fasting known as Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement.  The day-long service gives us many opportunities to reflect on our deeds over the past year and enumerates the list of sins which we may have committed.  We contemplate sins in various aspects such as those we have committed under duress, and those which we have committed willingly.  Another way to categorize our transgressions is to consider those we have committed overtly versus those we have committed by not taking the correct action.

Continue reading below the fold

Tragedy on the Banks

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

The media coverage of the death of first-year Rutgers student Tyler Clementi includes parceling out the blame for this tragedy among fellow students, the ubiquity and spontaneity of the internet, and the pervasiveness of bullying and harassment among teen agers.  Yet one important factor is underreported.

Tyler Clementi was the victim of what Garden State Equality’s CEO Steven Goldstein correctly categorizes as a Hate Crime.  Allegedly, Mr. Clementi’s roommate and another accomplice surreptitiously broadcast video of Mr. Clementi having a homosexual encounter in his dorm room.  Once this was revealed, it may have led Mr. Clementi to commit suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.  Sadly, this was not an isolated incident.

In their reporting of the Clementi affair, the media unsurprisingly include the lurid details of the web video and the suicide jump.  Some, such as the article by Amy Ellis Nutt, provide some background on other crimes where the internet and social media have been used as an enabler.  

(continue reading below the fold)

Ten Fundamental Truths that the Tea Party Needs to Understand

Okay, who’s got Truths #10-15? – promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

  1. The IRS is not evil.

  2. You can support the troops while still be against the war.

  3. Labor unions are not evil.

  4. It’s easy to compare someone you don’t like to Hilter, Attila the Hun, or Pee Wee Herman.  Why not look for people you could compare to Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, or Jesus Christ.

  5. America is not a Christian nation.  

  6. Who my neighbor chooses as a life partner is not my concern, and will never impact the sanctity and wonder of my marriage.

  7. People have souls.  Corporations do not.  Hence, corporations are not people.

  8. Free, quality public education is a cornerstone of American society.

  9. We can differ on opinion.  We can’t differ on facts – even if Fox “News” says so.

  10. Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.  

A Tale of Three Executives

Hm… promoted by Rosi

  1. Billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spends $100 million of his own money to help school kids in Newark.
  2. Billionaire ex-EBay CEO Meg Whitman spends $119 million of her own money to buy the governorship of California.
  3. Millionaire New Jersey CEO Chris Christie blows $400 million in Federal dollars by abrogating an agreement between his Education Commissioner and the Teacher’s Union.  Then he has the chutzpah to go on Oprah and bask in Zuckerberg’s generosity.

So the 26-year old is more fiscally responsible than his older peers.  Maybe there’s hope for this country.

Seeing Red

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Acting New Jersey Governor Kim Guadagno’s executive order establishing a bi-partisan commission to reduce red tape is a feel-good exercise in futility.  While the commission will certainly meet the GOP’s goal of eliminating some of those pesky regulations which help consumers and the non-wealthy, it will be ineffective in making a significant dent in the burgeoning state budget.

The nine-member commission, to be headed by no other than the same Kim Guadagno, will review “administrative rules and regulations, which the administration says can have an impact on job creation, investment and economic growth” according to the Press of Atlantic City.  That would be a great approach if we were living in the 1950s.  

Over the past half-century, better techniques for elimination of bureaucratic waste have been proven more effective and efficient.  

Why won’t it work? more below the fold

One Step Forward – One Step Backward

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Today is a significant day in the quest for access to health care for all Americans.  While it is the day when the first of several insurance reforms take effect at the federal level, we are also seeing the immediate impact of Governor Christie’s mean-spirited veto of women’s health care.

On the national scene, several provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect including forbidding denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions in children (unfortunately the same reform does not go into effect for adults for a few more years), elimination of lifetime coverage limits so that families can cope with catastrophic illness with one less thing to worry about, a common-sense approach to inadvertent errors on insurance applications to avert frivolous policy cancellation at the time patients are most vulnerable, coverage of children on parents’ policy  until age 26 which is a must in today’s challenging job environment, and an emphasis on preventative medicine which will drive down costs.  Other provisions are phased in through 2014. While not as good as a single-payer not-for-profit insurance approach, we should celebrate this small victory in today’s toxic political environment.

Meanwhile, here in New Jersey, several women’s health clinics have announced their closing or reduction in hours because our governor would rather balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class than tax millionaires.  The $7.5 million for health care that he vetoed is a pittance in the $29 billion state budget and much less than the impact of the tax cut for the very wealthy.  Maybe if instead of flying to Chicago and congratulating himself on Oprah, the governor should scrub the budget, reconsider the breaks for the wealthy, and solve this problem.  While Governor Christie touts his “right-to-life” credentials, I wonder how many lives will be lost and families destroyed due to these senseless actions.  

Witches Brew-HaHa

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted from deciminyan

Liberal talk radio is having a field day with mainstream Republican senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell’s admission that she dabbled in witchcraft a decade or so ago.  The talking heads are suggesting that Ms. O’Donnell secure the services of exorcist-turned-governor Bobby Jindal to “cure” her of this malady.

There’s a lot to discuss about Christine O’Donnell, but liberals should know better that religion is not one of them.  

find out why beneath the fold