Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, Aug. 10, 2009

Studying #2 hopefuls

  • Trenton Times looks at Weinberg and Guadagno and finds one well-equipped with comprehensive knowledge of NJ, and the other knowledgeable but questions the validity of her campaign’s claims of her qualifications to become governor in an emergency.

    Stimulus pie

  • A pie-chart view of where stimulus money’s going in Mercer County, and what towns feel a let down.

    University diversity

  • Want to know which two universities in NJ are the most diverse?

    Expanding in South Jersey

  • Recession’s produced an uptick in shelter drop-offs, but the overcrowding of stray animals in Camden County’s animal shelter predates it. Time to expand.
  • Gloucester County’s Justice Complex is getting better parking.

    Rob Andrews credits the stimulus

  • Unemployment figures are improving in Camden, Burlington & Gloucester counties. Andrews points to the federal stimulus program.

    Get your arms ready, South Jersey

  • Health care professionals are practicing on peach-shaped stress balls to give you good injections for more vaccinations this year, including for H1N1 virus.

    Want to buy a casino?

  • You can get one cheap right now.

    Ocean County fortuneteller tells a man he’s headed for Hell

  • A 22-year old man, accompanying his grandmother to hear annual visit to a storefront fortuneteller, who says he’s full of negative energy and his family doesn’t accept him. Shouting match ensues.

    So … what’s going on where you live?

  • Weekend News Roundup & Open Thread for August 8-9, 2009

    Hrmmmm….. I wonder where he’ll start

  • Mayor Jerramiah Healy is calling for an independent audit and for ethics training for Jersey City employees.

    $10.67 million in property tax relief

  • Roseland, Bound Brook and South Orange get the largest shares.
  • With homelessness on the rise, some of NJ’s at-risk citizens will benefit from a $10.5 million surge in federal stimulus funds headed for homelessness prevention assistance.

    Searching for bodies in the Hudson River

  • Search resumed this morning for bodies in yesterday’s crash over the Hudson River, with low water visability hampering the search of the helicopter wreckage 100 yards off Hoboken. The crash occurred in clear skies and both craft – a copter owned by a Linden company and a plane taking off from Teterboro Airport – had a right to use that airspace.
  • The helicopter pilot was from Lacey Twp., in Ocean County.

    Princeton slips

  • In its annual ranking of America’s Best Colleges, Princeton U. has slipped from #1 to #2. Want to go to #1? You’ll have to keep your shoes shined, and your room clean.

    Sample ballots won’t be mailed to inactive voters anymore

  • Legislation that ends the mandate that sample ballots be sent to inactive voters was overturned with a signature by the Governor. That eliminates annual mailings to about 320,000 people.

    Arising from grassroots organizing

  • Parsippany will consider pay-to-play Tuesday, the result of a citizen-organized movement there.

    Trying to head off trouble in Maplewood

  • Mayor Victor DeLuca is looking to form a citizens committee for a smoother property revaluation.

    Getting Hatched?

  • The mayor and city council president of Salem, both Democrats who work for Salem County, may be unable to keep their elected offices after a Hatch Act investigation prompted by a local Republican.

    “I watched the dazzling flash in the sky …”

  • Sixty-four years after the atomic bomb was used to kill people on a mass scale for the first time, survivors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki speak out in Upper Deerfield Twp.
  • Unintended irony

    In not one but two diaries yesterday, a reader took issue with our posting Chris Christie’s disapproving remarks about Justice-elect Sonia Sotomayor. Twice, the reader linked to the same quote from Christie, as evidence he supported Sotomayor:

    After watching and listening to Judge Sotomayor’s performance at the confirmation hearings this week, I am confident that she is qualified for the position of Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    But here’s the thing; his link to the Christie quote above is from this Daily Record editorial. And – Holy unintended irony, Batman! – what this editorial’s about is how Christie’s kind words on Sotomayor are a decision “rooted in politics” … “showing he can read the political winds.” What does The Daily Record suggest is really behind Christie’s new warmth to the judge? Fear, that strident opposition to Sotomayor risks losing support from a growing voting block: Hispanics.

    I agree. That’s what I think too.

    And this is a problem. Christie’s very hip to the politics of self-preservation, of couching his answers so that he says very little.

    Avoiding uncomfortable topics …

    Dodging reporters’ questions…

    Controlling his perimeter …

    Getting prickly when called to explain his actions as US Attorney.

    And with Sotomayor, revising stuff not because he reconsiderswhich I’d respect – but because he’s figured out he aint got the winning strategy. Christie seems unwilling, or unable, to make decisions based on the merits.

    Christie’s laudatory words came after he dismissed Sotomayor with a gentlemanly “Not my kind of judge”. And after realizing- along with the rest of the right-wing fake outrage machine – that scare tactics mocking Sotomayor as some kind of crusading, white guy-hating racist wasn’t going to fly.

    I know he never said those words. Listen up: He did not have to. That’s what the right-wing fake outrage machine is for. They bleet the on Fox, and anywhere near a radio microphone. Then the candidate comes along behind with much, much more modulated language, and scoops up all the people riled up by the bull.

    That’s how it works. And we all know that.  

    Blue Jersey Friday political haiku

    Still unfolding fallout from those political corruption arrests just 15 days ago. A shiny new Supreme Court Justice. A feisty Democratic LG candidate shaping up as Corzine’s pit bull. Christie grandstanding on ethics. Christie’s trackers popping up with signs … everywhere.

    Oh, there’s plenty to work with, in this week’s Friday installment of daily politics in verse.  Rules are simple: You compose a haiku (5 syllables, then 7, then 5) on the topic the last poster suggests. Then you get to set the next topic.

    First topic: Sotomayor only the 3rd woman appointed to Supreme Court

    The Supremes need more

    I am woman, hear me roar

    Frank and Bob said yes

    Next topic: Feisty Loretta Weinberg

    Blue Jersey Friday political haiku

    Still unfolding fallout from those political corruption arrests of just 15 days ago. A shiny new Supreme Court Justice. A feisty Democratic LG candidate shaping up as Jon Corzine’s pit bull. Christie grandstanding on ethics. Christie’s trackers popping up with signs.

    Oh, there’s plenty to work with, in this week’s Friday installment of daily politics in verse.  Rules are simple, so jump in: You compose a haiku (5 syllables, then 7, then 5) on the topic the last poster suggests. Then you get to set the next topic.

    First topic: Sotomayor only the 3rd woman appointed to Supreme Court

    The Supremes need more

    I am woman, hear me roar

    Frank and Bob said yes

    Next topic: Feisty Loretta Weinberg

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Friday, August 7, 2009

    NJ keeps its credit rating, due to efforts to balance the budget

  • In time for a new state bond issue next week, Standard & Poor’s is maintaining New Jersey’s credit rating, citing recent efforts to balance the budget during tough times, and the fact the state’s spending is down for the second consecutive fiscal year.

    Corzine signs law limiting the sale of guns in NJ

  • One handgun every 30 days ought to be enough, right? Ceasefire NJ likes.

    Loretta Weinberg calls on Christie to release US Attorney records

  • “So why doesn?t he start with himself? What?s he hiding?” asks the LG candidate. Christie’s campaign website has a lot of rhetoric about transparency. Weinberg suggests a way for Christie to begin living up to that.

    Ex-Assemblyman’s aide to avoid jail time

  • Neil Cohen’s aide, indicted for stealing campaign funds gets to enter a pre-trial intervention program and stay out of jail. Apparently she also gets to keep her other job as chief financial officer for Teterboro, where her salary is $111,043 a year.

    Dueling protesters at Anthony Suarez’s house

  • The Republican-organized march against the Ridgefield mayor, arrested in the July 23 political corruption sweep were met by a group, protesting them

    Is Cory Booker keeping the lid on free speech for Newark Police?

  • How much can police officers say about their department and their city’s leaders?

    Election fraud probe widens

  • Every computer’s hard-drive in Essex County’s Hall of Records is being copied.

    Good news for Plainfield High School

  • The State Department of Education has dropped the “persistently dangerous” tag it applied to the school, in the first instance of eligibility.

    Drug companies don’t like generics

  • Shareholders decide today whether Merck will take over Schering-Plough, a $41 billion dollar deal. Merck votes near its Whitehouse Station HQ. They already market 2 drugs together. Sen. Chuck Schumer: The last time these two companies teamed up, it was to aggressively market a brand-name drug that may not have provided any additional benefits over existing generics.

    A van, ticking from the inside

  • A parked van with Canadian plates, ticking from inside, brought out Atlantic City’s first responders. It turned out to be nothing, but it was scary.

    Former Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, dead at 61

  • Impreveduto, longtime Democratic assemblyman from Secaucus, who resigned his seat after admitting misuse of campaign funds, died after a brief illness.  
  • Congratulations, Justice Sotomayor!

    alg_sotomayor

    Just a short while ago, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as our newest Supreme Court Justice. The vote was 68-31, with nine Republicans joining the unanimous Democratic caucus, with her champion, Sen. Ted Kennedy, unable to vote because of illness.

    For Sotomayor’s rise from the housing projects in the Bronx to the top of the legal profession, people all over New Jersey are high-fiving today’s vote. She is only the third woman on the US Supreme Court; she is the first Hispanic in the Court’s history. And she overcame a nasty opposition campaign that tried to manipulate public opinion by mocking her for referring to herself as a wise Latina when what she was really doing was trying to inspire a room full of women and Latinos to study hard and think about pursuing a life in the law. Exactly the kind of aiming high we always say we hope Americans do.

    Meanwhile, Chris Christie gave every evidence of lining up behind the right-wing spin on Sotomayor, the same spin that just fell flat in record time in the Senate. “Not my kind of judge,” he said, about her.

    Well, Justice Sotomayor is Jon Corzine’s kind of judge. It took about 15 minutes after the Senate’s vote for the campaign to issue this:

    Today’s vote is a victory for selecting members of the Supreme Court –  who serve lifetime terms –  based on merit, and not allowing propaganda and nonsense to get in the way of getting the best people working for us. It’s a victory. Who can you send this video to, to celebrate it?  

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Masters of the Tubes, unite!

  • The huge annual gathering of the netroots, Netroots Nation, is in one week. Headlining are Howard Dean, Valerie Jarrett (Obama’s Karl Rove), and Gov. John Corzine, who keynotes the last day. Blue Jersey will be there – it’s not too late for you to come too.

    Maybe some shovel-ready projects weren’t shovel-ready after all

  • Millions in federal stimulus dollars need better oversight and transparency by local and county agencies, to avoid the kinds of accountability and compliance issues state auditors have found.

    Stealing money from the homeless

  • A Hillside police officer pleads guilty to stealing funds from a program set up to prevent homelessness.

    Courting Jews

  • Leonard Lance is in Israel, part of the largest Republican delegation ever to visit that country. Lance criticized President Obama’s tough love policy towards Israel, and doesn’t think much of us putting pressure on them not to build in the West Bank. He’s certainly entitled to express his opinions. What a relief if Republican fake outrage at criticizing America on foreign soil has come to an end.
  • Chris Christie met with leaders of NJ’s orthodox community, discussing support for tax credits for parents sending their kids to private and parochial schools (Christie’s children attend parochial schools). Gov. Corzine has also been invited.

    Oppo

  • AFL-CIO jumps into the race with an anti-Christie info site.

    Union County

  • Dueling campaign events.

    Go to jail, pay $50 bucks

  • Hunterdon Freeholders approved a plan to require a $50 fee from inmates when they get released from the county jail. It’s a cost-savings idea, copying fees jails in other counties already charge.

    Wheels

  • Assemblywoman Grace Spencer leads more than 100 bicycle riders through a tour of the state Sunday, to spotlight legislation she sponsors calling for a 3-foot buffer when cars pass cyclists.

    Grilled cheese for everybody!

  • A landmark diner in Metuchen, closed due to a sagging economy, just might rise again.

    First Amendment showdown

  • Montville Democrats don’t want to disclose their finances just to be able to have a meeting at the senior center.

    Former NJ Supreme Court Justice dies at 94

  • Sidney Schreiber was 94, and wrote decisions expanding the power of living wills, extending use of public beaches, and made clearer the responsibilities of drug companies to guard against suspected harmful side effects.  
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

    Corruption aftermath

  • Assemblyman Vincent Prieto will lead the Secuacus Democrats following the abrupt arrest and resignation of Mayor Dennis Elwell. First task up: pitch 3 names to the Council to choose a new Mayor.
  • Busy night in Jersey City. Councilman Steve Fulop used the occasion of the National Night Out anti-crime events to organize a rally about a different kind of crime, drawing a couple hundred residents agitating for Council President Mariano Vega to resign.

    Get the popcorn and fire up the remote!

  • Christie says he’s unveiling a specific plan to combat corruption today. Much easier than dealing with his own.

    Invitation only

  • Chris Christie’s roundtable event on higher education was invitation-only to keep the event “intimate.” Participants were hand-picked by the campaign. Maybe if the Republicans had allowed some more knowledgeable people to participate, Christie wouldn’t have tried to get away with this kind of malarkey.

    NJ’s murder rate down by 24% in year’s first half

  • 158 homicides reported from January-June, compared with 209 during the same stretch in 2008. Camden murders cut nearly in half; 17 killings to ’08’s 30.

    Bomb threats to synagogues in Deal & Long Branch

  • Three synagogues were the target of bomb threats last night. In one, Long Branch’s Congregation Brothers Israel, a wedding was in progress, and hundreds of guests & residents were evacuated. Torahs were walked out and a neighbor invited the wedding to continue in his house. There was music, and the happy couple danced in the backyard. That part, the best news of the day. Mazel tov.

    Hal Turner’s hearing postponed

  • The North Bergen blogger who likes to threaten lawmakers, has a few extra days before his CT hearing comes up. No matter. He’s in jail in Illinois for threatening some federal judges.

    Indictments in Sen. Teresa Ruiz’ ’07 Senate campaign

  • Three campaign workers are the latest to be indicted on election fraud charges in the 2007 election.

    NJ colleges, universities get ready for an influx of new vets

  • New programs are launching to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan succeed in college. Support Veterans for Education here.
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

    Guns v. teachers

  • How big donors are sidestepping NJ’s contribution limits via the Democratic Governors Association and its GOP counterpart; NEA and NRA pick sides. Big Pharma, predictably, plays both. Citizens Campaign on how it works.

    Monmouth University/Gannett NJ poll

  • Shows Christie up by 14

    “In the state of New Jersey, the environment’s for sale.”

  • So says Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club, who thinks now’s a good time to revisit pay-to-play, examine the influence developers have over the state DEP, increase DEP transparency. State DEP says: not so much, no.

    Chris Christie’s confuses some basic NJ education info

  • Christie’s so intent on repeating his mantra that Corzine’s made public higher education too expensive that he scrambled some facts at an education event in Westfield. Christie claimed a NJ student attending SUNY Albany or Binghamton pays less than one going to Rutgers. So not true.

    Corrections officer kills baby son, then herself

  • An awful few hours yesterday in Newark’s South Ward.

    Saving millions

  • Parolees who commit technical violations – like missing a meeting or failing a drug test – are no longer automatically cycled back into prison in a NJ Parole Board program getting a national award this week. Cost savings to the state, in the millions.

    Pressure builds on Mayor Suarez

  • Gov. Corzine signed an executive order freezing state approvals for development projects in any municipality where a mayor is charged with public corruption but refuses to resign. The order- very specific to the Ridgefield mayor’s circumstances, but not mentioning him by name – took effect immediately. State takeover of Ridgefield’s finances is still a possibility, and his Council President also wants Suarez out.

    Wall Street says it, so it must be true. Right?

  • Moody’s Investors Service is reporting that New Jersey’s credit outlook is now negative.

    Health care reform

  • With 4 out of 5 congressional committees endorsing bills with some kind of a public plan, focus now shifts to the Senate. And in the Finance Committee, will Sen. Bob Menendez go to the mat for the public option?

    Former Plainfield mayor & activist Rev. Rick Taylor dies

  • He was a 3-term Council President before becoming the city’s second African-American mayor in history, and remained active after his time running the city was over, attending last year’s massive protest against the closure of Muhlenberg Regional Med Center in a wheelchair.

    NJ to receive $10 million in federal swine flu funding

  • Funding’s from a U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services $350 million national grant program to get the nation ready to fight the H1N1 pandemic.

    Pirate ships in the corn

  • How itinerant professional cutters of maize mazes are helping NJ family farmers hold on to their land and keep demanding agri-tourists entertained.