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News Roundup (Dec 13)

  • Ocean County prosecutor Thomas F. Kelaher is urging the state to abolish the death penalty saying that “the history of nonapplication of the law has been a cruel hoax on the families of the victims and the citizens of this state”. Codey opposes abolishing the death penalty, but supports a moratorium while the issue is studied. Sounds like he’s dragging his feet to me.
  • Democrats lost control of the Winslow Township committee in November and during their lame duck session awared over $600,000 worth of contracts to political contributors who had given them $93,000. Sick. This is why we need comprehensive pay-to-play reform.
  • The Meadowlands may soon be home to the largest solar energy system in the United States. The 5 MW proposed plant would provide enough power for about 27,500 homes. The current largest system in the U.S. is a 4.6 MW plant in Springerville, Az. New Jersey consumes about 18,000 MW of power per day and currently has a total solar generating capacity of about 10 MW.

  • Meanwhile, the first wind farm on the east coast (and first coastal wind farm) has gone up in Atlantic City with a maximum capacity of 7.5 MW using just five very large windmills.

  • Sgt. Clarence L. Floyd Jr, son of a New Jersey family and father of five was killed in Iraq on Saturday. His father: “He didn’t go there because he wanted to go…He went there because he had to go.
  • A bill passed the Assembly today allowing students to be exempted from dissecting animals in biology class.
  • The state launched New Jersey HealthLink today. According to a press release “New Jersey is believed to be the first state to provide a central online repository for consumer healthcare resources…Over the last year, Codey’s administration has worked with the departments of Health and Senior Services, Human Services, Labor, Commerce and Banking and Insurance, as well as the state Office of Information Technology, in order to consolidate vital information spanning six Web sites into one easy to navigate, consumer-friendly Web site.”
  • Franklin Township School Building Budget

    A reminder to Franklin Township residents that there is a one-issue vote on today.  Polls open at 2PM and close at 9PM.  The vote is on whether to allow issuing a bond to cover an additional $7.9 million to complete the new high school  This bond will cost residents more money in taxes every year for the next twenty years.  The cost overrun is allegedly the result of higher building costs.

    There has been a change in the polling location for District 6, which will now vote at the Griggstown Firehouse.  Refer to the Franklin Township web site for additional details (this link takes you right to the information).

    News roundup

  • Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas will challenge Assembly Speaker Albio Sires for Bob Menendez’ open Congressional seat. Vas has raised nearly $300,000. Bret Schundler rules out running for the seat.
  • The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would create a bond referendum next November asking voters want to provide $350 million for stem cell research grants.
  • The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved a bill which will provide for $1.5 million to help low-income families pay their heating bills.
  • The Senate voted to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 19. It still needs approval from the Assembly.
  • The Assembly approved a bill that would remove the immunity protections from religious institutions, schools and other non-profits accused of sexually abusing children. The bill was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Last, and most definitely least, everybody’s talking about Corzine’s love life.
  • Bring the Troops Home Petition Delivery

    For those of you interested in getting involved, Moveon is hosting a Petition Delivery in your area.

    Congress has reached a tipping point on Iraq. Over two-thirds of Americans want an exit plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. To make sure Congress gets the message, we’ve launched the Bring The Troops Home petition drive. On December 14th, MoveOn members will gather outside their representative’s office, speak about the need to end the war, and then deliver the petitions to congressional staff.

    They will be holding events at the offices of Congressmen Holt, Pallone, Saxton, Smith, Lobiondo, Pascrell, Garrett, Rothman, Payne and Menendez that I can see.  Find an Event near you

    Bring the Troops Home Petition Delivery

    For those of you interested in getting involved, Moveon is hosting a Petition Delivery in your area.

    Congress has reached a tipping point on Iraq. Over two-thirds of Americans want an exit plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. To make sure Congress gets the message, we’ve launched the Bring The Troops Home petition drive. On December 14th, MoveOn members will gather outside their representative’s office, speak about the need to end the war, and then deliver the petitions to congressional staff.

    They will be holding events at the offices of Congressmen Holt, Pallone, Saxton, Smith, Lobiondo, Pascrell, Garrett, Rothman, Payne and Menendez that I can see.  Find an Event near you

    Tom Kean Shrugs

    Tom Kean, Jr. refuses to take a position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

    Tom Kean, Jr. is wobbly on the Iraq War.

    And now Tom Kean, Jr. is unwilling to tell NJ Republican Chair Tom Wilson to be civil while saying the Kean campaign will be clean.

      So are we in for another nasty campaign, as Menendez gears up to run for a full Senate term next November?

    No way, says state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union), the likely Republican challenger.

    “The last race was the most expensive and nastiest statewide race we’ve had in many years, with the end result of having the lowest voter turnout in years,” he said. “We need to change that. I’ll be running a positive campaign focused on the issues.”

    Of course, Wilson could play the role of the bad cop, taking hard personal shots at Menendez, while Kean hovers above it all. When asked if he objected to Wilson’s statements out of the box, Kean dodged the question.

    “I can control what I can control,” he said. “I can only control my campaign.”

    Do we have a wimp factor here?

    Bear Hunt Done

    297 bears were killed harvested this year.

    Less than the 328 bears killed harvested in 2003.

    Wonder if there will be any fewer bear/human interactions (as Dr. Tavss report argues against) as a result.  Of Course, Dr. Tavss states that other Bear problem areas have achieved sucess with the simple act of bear proofing garbage cans.  But hey, we don’t even human proof our garbage in NJ so why Bear proof it. 

    Either way, don’t let your 12 guages get cold, it’ll soon be Goose hollocaust season!

    UPDATE: (Via Hester Jr.) Pigeons need not fear the wrath of the 12 guage:

    Meanwhile, … New Jersey statute 23:4-54 makes it very clear – it is still against the law to detain a homing pigeon. If you do, you’ll be subject to a fine of up to $25 or up to 30 days in jail.

    Pour Some Sugar on Bob

    The Jersey Journal is reporting on some of Senator Menendez campaign contributors – and it raises some questions.

    For example, we have this tidbit:

      The NNS analysis showed his single largest source of campaign cash was developer Charles Kushner and associates, who have contributed $167,500. In March, Kushner was sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating tax and campaign laws, and retaliating against an FBI witness – his sister – by luring her husband into a videotaped tryst with a prostitute.

    This is not a big deal.  Kushner gave money to pretty much everyone he could.  Moreover, Menendez did the right thing by giving the donation to charity when Kushner’s criminality came to light.

    Well-attended Counter Recruitment Rally in New Brunswick, Great Press

    Rutgers is starting to organize. At least 50 people showed up for the Rutgers against the War rally outside the Marine Corps Recruiting office in New Brunswick, and the Star Ledger and the Home News both covered it:

    Rutgers students march on Marine recruiting office
    Sunday, December 11, 2005
    BY JOHN WIHBEY

    Marine Capt. Sharon Dubow sat calmly doing paperwork yesterday afternoon in her New Brunswick recruitment office.

    It was just another day on the job. Almost.

    A group of 50 or so Rutgers University students and anti-war activists were howling “Liar” and holding signs that said “Killing Iraqis is Not a Career” just a few feet behind her. A pane of glass separated the Marine from protesters.

    “I think that it’s their right, and we respect it,” Dubow said afterward. She said there have been “no big changes” in recruiting numbers from last year to this year.

    But the revved-up group of anti-war campaigners wanted to change that.

    Rafael Greenblatt, a Rutgers graduate student and event organizer, told a crowd that marched from the school to downtown Monument Square the solution is “to starve the military of the recruits they need to keep this war going.”

    Speaking in front of a Christmas tree, Greenblatt said, “The only way to resolve these human rights abuses in Iraq is to bring the troops home.”

    Two activists were arrested last week on Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus for disrupting a government recruiting session, and protesters said yesterday they were energized by that event.

    Small mistake here.  The arrests in the language lab were at a presentation that was billed as govt jobs (CIA, etc.) and then only the ARMY showed up.  See two earlier write ups of the arrests here.

    One of those arrested last week, Tom Howard, 27, a writer from Mendham Township, said it had been “time to take a principled stand” against what he believed was a CIA recruitment event. He was the final speaker at yesterday’s rally, where he and other members of a workers’ solidarity group led anti-war chants.

    President Bush and administration officials were the ultimate targets of the day’s speeches.

    “They are filling their pockets on the blood of our children,” said Sue Niederer, a Mercer County resident whose only son, Army 2nd Lt. Seth Jeremy Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq while defusing a roadside bomb on Feb. 3, 2004. “We must ask them, ‘Why aren’t your children fighting?'”

    The protesters were seeking everything from an end to the war to a change in the military’s policy on gays. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week on whether universities receiving federal funds could ban military recruiters because of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.

    One of the Rutgers protesters’ chief gripes yesterday was an advertisement Dubow and the Marines had placed in the student newspaper in October offering “free helicopter rides” to students.

    Alex Van Schaick, a senior at the university, said it was an attempt “to get people to feel real macho” to seduce them into joining the Marines.

    Dubow said the newspaper notice merely had informational value.

    “A lot of people don’t know Marines fly. That’s why we do it,” she said. “When we’re up in the air, it’s not as if we tie you up and make you sign something.”

    Two counter-protesters showed up waving American and Iraqi flags and a banner that read “Support Our Troops.” One wore sunglasses and gave his name as Tom Dolan. Police told him to leave the area because he did not have a parade permit.

    “We’re just having a peaceful protest, and they’re here trying to block us,” Dolan said of an anti-war activist who batted at his flags.

    Bruno Corry, a 58-year-old former Marine Corps reservist, said he saw the Iraq war as “a repeat of Vietnam.” He and Dolan’s compatriot engaged in a shouting match.

    “He’s trying to tell me they’re not using dirty tactics to recruit,” Corry said. “I know it’s a damn lie.”

    And: