Author Archive: toaonua

Remembering Ella Filippone

“…the river is a toxic disgrace that needs to be cleaned up. ‘It’s government at its worst,’ she said.”New York Times, July 12, 2009

I’m going to get right to the point here. That’s how Ella would have wanted it.

Ella Filippone was one tough broad, not afraid to take on anyone. You either loved her, or hated her. It’s that simple. And Ella honestly didn’t care.

Love her or hate her, there are few people who would argue the fact that New Jersey’s environmental community lost a bold, brash, and tireless advocate with her death on Friday, June 21, 2013.

Ella was a friend and a mentor to me, as she was for so many others during her 43 years as the Passaic River Coalition’s Executive Director.

My relationship with Ella didn’t start that way. We’re both very headstrong and opinionated people, and when we first met, I’m not sure she knew what to think of me. But over time, as we worked side by side on Highlands issues and projects and she cautiously assessed my character and motives, Ella took a liking to me. If you gained acceptance into her circle of trusted associates, you had no greater friend than Ella.

Why does the Tea Party fear children with kites?

Oh the humanity! Children flying kites on the beach! You'd think New Jersey was under attack by terrorists with Predator Kites if you believed the panic Americans for Prosperity are in over a planned celebration of Global Wind Day by the Sierra Club.

 The Koch-backed AFP is organizing a counter-protest to uphold the “rights” of the billionaire carbon fuel barons, and defend oil and coal subsidies from attack by “Kids with Kites” supporting clean, renewable energy. How daring and patriotic of AFP!

Just what are these “environmental extremists” thinking in their support public investment in a local clean-energy industry? Big tax subsidies belong solely to big oil & coal companies, right? 


The “Battle on the Beach” is garnering national attention, as witnessed by this Maddow Blog entry, and a write-up by Stephen Lacey on the ThinkProgress Cllimate Progress blog.

NJ – a Tea Party astroturfer???

I just read comments on the Tittel vs. Lonegan RGGI debate post at… (sorry, I’ve been busy trying to pay bills and only got back to it today), and I was a bit shocked at some links and comments from “RightOne ” and a response from Jeff Gardner, as I had researched for several prominent enviro who were interested in exposing them to legislators being pressured to repeal RGGI.

I would like to share this with all of you now – long but necessary to read – and you can draw your own conclusions. From my Feb. 21, 2011 report to enviros:

Follow the bouncing astroturf ball from a “” alert posted today –… –  (and notice the “Blue Dog” theme of the web site) one can only assume this is Tea Party/Koch-connected? (check these out also: Neb. Governor: Palin Qualified to Be President (… ) and this Missouri Governor spends $400,000 flying on state plane (… ) Yikes


2) part of the “Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity…

Originally sponsored by the government transparency and accountability advocacy group, the Sam Adams Alliance, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity currently operates independently, having received 501(c)3 tax status from the Internal Revenue Service on June 5, 2009.

3) Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity


Elizabeth Hillgrove

Elizabeth Hillgrove is a staff writer and researcher with the Franklin Center. Ms. Hillgrove’s passion for journalism and politics evolved from her interest in history and literature. Ms. Hillgrove received her training from the National Journalism Center in Washington D.C. She then served as a beat reporter with the Washington Times before earning a Koch Summer Fellowship with the Sam Adams Alliance.

4) Sam Adams Alliance…

Sam Adams Alliance works on behalf of individuals and groups who support free market and free enterprise causes, and greater government accountability at all levels of government. The organization does not take overt policy positions, and evaluates the causes it supports on a case-by-case basis, judging them by the amount to which they advance individual freedoms and responsible government.


Eric O’Keefe is the Chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance. O’Keefe also serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Center for Competitive Politics and Wisconsin Club for Growth.

5) Institute for Humane Studies (Sam Adams CEO Eric O’Keefe on their Board, operates Koch Summer Fellowships)…

6) “Tea Parties”: an astroturfed Koch family movement (FreedomWorks, Instapundit, Rick Santelli)…

… was just one part of a larger network of Republican sleeper-cell-blogs set up over the course of the past few months, all of them tied to a shady rightwing advocacy group coincidentally named the “Sam Adams Alliance,” whose backers have until now been kept hidden from public. Cached google records that we discovered show that the Sam Adams Alliance took pains to scrub its deep links to the Koch family money as well as the fake-grassroots “tea party” protests going on today. All of these roads ultimately lead back to a more notorious rightwing advocacy group, FreedomWorks, a powerful PR organization headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey and funded by Koch money.

7) Anatomy of the Tea Party Movement: Sam Adams Alliance…

Long before Sam Adams Alliance’s recent website redesign, they altered an internship recruitment page that connected Sam Adams Alliance to Koch Industries: “Interested parties can apply for a Sam Adams Alliance internship through the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program administered by the Institute for Humane Studies and the State Policy Network.” The internship is still listed on the IHS website. Charles Koch founded the IHS. The internship page existed up until the site’s ongoing redesign, but recently the Koch reference was absent from the Sam Adams Alliance website.

Draw your own conclusions, but in my opinion, it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

Oh to be a fly on the runway

 Promoted by Rosi

President Obama arrived in Newark Wednesday afternoon as part of a whirlwind day in the metro area for the Commander-In-Chief. He was scheduled to tape an episode of “The View” to air Thursday, attend a private DNC fundraiser at New York's Four Seasons hotel and a second fundraiser at the home of Vogue editor Anna Wintour – all this after a lunch stop at the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, NJ.

Eagerly waiting to greet the President on the tarmack at Newark Liberty International (as shown in these photos released by the Governor's office) were Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie, in what could have been a rather uncomfortable political Ménage à trois. You see, Christie just might like to take Obama's job, Booker would probably settle for either Christie's or Obama's job, and Obama was just wanting to get the formalities over so he could grab half a “Super Sub” at Tastee and hang with Whoopi Goldberg & Co.

Only three people REALLY know the conversation that took place during that brief encounter, but wouldn't it be fun to speculate?

More after the jump.

Runway Rendevousz

So what was Mayor Booker thinking? Perhaps this:

“Not only can I block his shot and kick this skinny guy's ass, I'm smarter than him.” (HT to 'Winston Smith' for that one)

It was suggested that the “toilet paper” reference might be a bit harsh, but Mayor Booker did start this, after all! And the Mayor even good-naturedly “re-Tweeted” a post of the above photo to his Twitter followers Wednesday evening.

And Governor Christie, his expression is priceless – what was going through his mind?

“What on earth am I doing on this hotter-than-hell runaway with these two clowns? Why not bring “Snooki” and “The Situation” along while we are at it!”

There are certainly topics we know were NOT brought up by the Governor:

“You know, Mr. President, I really have NO idea what goes on in the minds of Congressmen Frelinghuysen and Garrett.”

“Mr. President, I'm working on this “Municipal Tool Kit thingy…would you happen to have a few hundred million dollars of stimulus funds laying around that aren't needed?”

So what conversation do you think took place on the tarmack? Inquiring minds want to know!