Another week, another dollar. Though the eyes of the nation (especially progressives) were on the Wisconsinrecalls, Governor Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney found the heart – nay, the brotherhood – to once again exchange knowing glances. George Norcross claimed a school founded in his name would never fail because, well, it’s in his name. Oh, and LD-25 Assembly candidate George Stafford dissed Sheila Oliver. Other stuff happened too – but you know, life’s a blur and stuff.
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Monday’s Quote of the Day comes from LD-25 Assembly candidate George Stafford. George, you see, is in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to be associated with the likes of Sheila Oliver, whom he considers a misguided turncoat. On the other hand, George is trying to win a seat in the Assembly and can’t avoid good campaign opportunities just because Oliver will be there, too. Over at PolitickerNJ, they have reported it thusly:
“Now as an underdog State Assembly candidate these are the very folks I need to work and vote for me in the coming election,” (Stafford) said in his email. “How can I ask for their support if I am seen to embrace the frankly cold, calculating, amoral practices of the likes of Ms. Oliver? On the other hand how do I avoid contamination if I attend the fund raiser? If I do not attend how best to explain my absence to my fellow Democrats? If I attend do I confront Ms. Oliver with her treachery? After all, I’m an old school Irish gentleman, chastising distinguished ladies in public is simply not in my nature.” Stafford said if Sweeney were present he would get the senate president in a corner and challenge him.”
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Oh, pesky facts. Why won’t you just go away? As reported by Jeremy Rosen over at the Courier-Post, documents released by the Christie administration in the wake of Coptergate don’t actually absolve the governor of any and all wrongdoing with respect to inappropriate use of state helicopters. The issue? Missing flight information; unnamed guests and passengers; contradictions between administration documents and other relevant records. Here’s a taste:
Yet records show Christie’s Aug. 28 Newark meeting with city Mayor Cory Booker and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was surrounded with helicopter flights to the governor’s shore house. Further details of that flight were redacted, so it’s unclear if Zuckerberg or Booker were on board.
Check out the big brain on Kevin Riordan over at the Philadelphia Inquirer. On Sunday he called major BS on South Jersey Democrat power broker George Norcross III, who is pushing privatization efforts across Camden. This bit comes from the paper’s Sunday Edition, but the whole thing is worth reading.
“In the last 25 years, it’s fair to say Camden has gotten, in large part, not better but worse,” (Norcross) says. “Many would argue it’s gotten remarkably worse.”
He’s right. Many would.
Many also would argue that “the political establishment” and “leadership” in the city have long been wholly owned subsidiaries of the Camden County Democratic organization.
You know, that sophisticated, impressively financed operation with which Norcross has been synonymous for . . . pretty much 25 years, if not longer.
The organization’s hallmarks include an almost uncanny ability to sniff out and snuff out (or, at least, co-opt) any competition – the sort of competition he now finds so lacking in, say, the school system.
Norcross doesn’t particularly care for my observation, but he’s not about to lose his cool.
Plus, he has a pretty good comeback.
“If I was so influential in Camden’s government over decades,” he says, “it would look a hell of a lot better than it does today.”
So much for the pretty good part.
“There was no [Democratic] machine in the city of Camden,” he insists. “No such thing.”
When Chris Christie was running the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey, he got a complaint from a small New Jersey business called Floorgraphics. The company, based in Cherry Hill, had turned down an offer to be bought out by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. At the time, Paul Carlucci (now publisher of the New York Post) was the CEO of News America Marketing, the News Corp division that wanted Floorgraphics. And after Floorgraphics turned down the buyout offer, Carlucci allegedly threatened to destroy the small business in retaliation. Years later, Floorgraphics’ founders discovered that their website had been hacked numerous times, with sensitive and confidential information having been stolen.
So Floorgraphics’ founders complained to the U.S. Attorney’s office – which, again, was being run by Chris Christie at the time. And they didn’t prosecute the case.
A civil suit in 2009 settled the deal – a $30 million buyout for Floorgraphics, and an admission from News Corp that they had hacked the company’s computers.
And is it a coincidence that a few years later, Christie is pals with Rupert Murdoch’s Darth Vader, Roger Ailes – and we’re not allowed to know what they discuss?
Okay, it’s really the Quote of Yesterday, but oy, what a mess. Because in describing why he thinks it’s perfectly fine to lower the bar on requirements for becoming a superintendent in NJ’s toughest districts, Board Vice President Ilan Plawker said this:
“Our end goal is a business product – getting our kids through school and ready for work or college.”
It’s a gut check for parents across the state; how many of us thought we were raising “business products”?
If signed into law by Governor Christie, a New Jersey’s law banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – will become the first such in the country. As noted previous by Blue Jersey, fracking is Halliburton’s proprietary method of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits. It sounds great if you’re in the natural gas business, but not so much if you live near a fracking site; fracking contaminates underground water supplies and makes people sick. It can also make your tap water flammable.
In 2004, the EPA concluded that “the body of reported problems considered collectively suggest that water quality (and quantity) problems” could be linked to fracking. The documentary Gasland has brought the fracking and its implications into the mainstream. And perhaps most presciently, the measure to ban this practice passed the New Jersey State Senate 32-1 and the Assembly 56-11 with 8 abstentions. So far, Christie has yet to comment, let alone sign this measure into law.
Could the governor’s silence and inaction have anything to do with the letter he received from Energy In Depth? They’re a Washington front group backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and various other Big Oil/Gas players. You know, just the kind of monied corporate masters Christie loves to please, as women, the disabled, AIDS patients and school children eat cake.
Because with conclusive scientific evidence of fracking’s dangers, acknowledged risks as noted by the EPA, and overwhelming support for the measure in the state legislature, it’s difficult to imagine any other reason for Christie’s silence.