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Rep. Rothman on the Colbert Report

Rep. Steve Rothman (NJ-9) was on the Colbert Report last night in the ninth installment of the 434-part series “Better Know a District.”

Although it didn’t make it into the episode, Stephen Colbert asked Rothman his signature question: “George W. Bush: Great President or greatest President ever?” Congressman Rothman responded that Bush “was the greatest former male cheerleader ever to be elected President.”

Ain’t that the truth.

If you missed the episode, you can watch it here.

Andrews is Out

PoliticsNJ.com is reporting that Rob Andrews has dropped from the race to succeed Corzine.

Rep. Rob Andrews will not seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2006 and is expected to make an announcement today.  This leaves Rep. Frank Pallone as the only major potential primary challanger to Sen.-designate Robert Menendez. Another candidate, Rep. Rush Holt, has endorsed Menendez.  (01/13/05)

This means there is no Southerner is the race.  With Holt out, the last player is Pallone.  Does it make sense to have two non-Southern candidates slug it out?  Check the poll after the flip:

Si, se habla.

PoliticsNJ is reporting that Zulima Farber, Governor-elect Jon Corzine’s selection for State Attorney General (SAG), may “hit a few speed bumps” in her road to confirmation, but will be confirmed.

The article discusses the fact that Corzine has named two Hispanics to prominent offices one right after the other.  First Cuban-American Congressman Bob Menendez was named to replace Corzine as the state’s representative in the US Senate and now this.  Bith individuals are certainly very qualified for the positions, don’t get me wrong.  But while being blind to ethnicity is generally viewed as a good thing, in politics you have to stay as aware of ethnicity as any good ol’ boy bigot might.  Ethnicity can mean gaining votes from this group or losing votes from that group.  When you appoint someone with a particular ethnic background, you have to make sure that person is qualified, but you do it hoping that it will solidify the votes you receive in that community.  So when someone appoints two Latin-Americans to prominent positions, well, that’s what I call courting the Hispanic community.

Laurel Hester’s ongoing impact

The irony of Ocean County’s freeholder’s coldhearted refusal to grant pension benefits to Laurel Hester is that their bigotry has served as the catalyst for advancing civil rights in New Jersey:

Goldstein said that the attitude in Trenton toward expanding the partnership law was enhanced dramatically by the recent, highly publicized refusal of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders to extend benefits to Lieutenant Laurel Hester, a 24-year veteran police officer with the county prosecutor’s office who is dying of cancer. This past October, Hester personally asked the Board for such benefits, which the county can extend under the 2004 law, so that her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, could have the same pension rights that surviving spouses of county employees enjoy. Despite widespread protests and public condemnation of the freeholders—some of whom cited the “sanctity of marriage” as a defense—Ocean County has refused to budge. Several other counties, however, have since acted to extend domestic partner benefits to their employees.

“The Hester case was a real factor,” Goldstein said. “It was mentioned by every legislator I talked to you.”

And we learned yesterday that yet another county (Passaic) will also be extending domestic partner benefits soon.

Laurel is sick and will not be able to attend the freeholder meeting on January 18th, but there will be a video message from Laurel – her last direct appeal to the freeholders – played at the meeting. If you’re in the area, considering coming out to support her on Wed, Jan 18 at 4 pm at the Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Toms River.

Champion of Gay Rights in NJ

The Princeton Packet reports today about a champion of gay rights who was instrumental in in passing recent rights legislation, Hill Wallack attorney Stephen J. Hyland.
 

Legislation pertaining to same-sex couples also includes New Jersey Senate Bill 2083, signed by Gov. Richard Codey on Wednesday, to clarify the rights of inheritance for domestic partners. This update to the probate code was introduced in response to the case of Betty Jordan, a Hill Wallack client, who was denied the rights of inheritance when her domestic partner of more than 20 years died without a will. Other bills clarifying the rights of domestic partners in the areas of guardianship, health benefits and mental health directives were also passed this week.

“My interpretation of the Domestic Partnership Act is that the Legislature intended to include far more rights, not the four or five, or 20 or 30, rights that people seem to believe were explicitly put into the act,” Mr. Hyland said.

An expert on the Domestic Partnership Act, Mr. Hyland is the author of “New Jersey Domestic Partners: A Legal Guide,” the second edition of which was published this month by Rivergate Books/Rutgers University Press.

Mr Hyland maintains a website on the law of domestic partnership in New Jersey at njdomesticpartnership.com

Way to go!

What if they gave a protest and nobody came?

The Brain-Damaged duo (aka Jersey Guys) organized a “100 Stripper March” to protest the smoking ban recently passed by the legislature. Despite the unusually mild weather (57 degrees), it was a TOTAL FLOP. The Associate Press says that “there were far less than the 100 strippers promised by New Jersey 101.5 shock jocks.” According to one source, there were only about a dozen. CBS 3 says there were about 20 strippers.

The pompous buffoons actually thought that they delayed signing of the bill. The station sent out a press release saying that Codey “has agreed to postpone his signing of the antismoking bill into law until after the demonstration.” That’s cute. A spokesman for Codey said that the governor had planned to sign the legislation on Sunday – regardless of any “100 stripper march.” Pathetic protest. Pathetic radio show. Pathetic publicity stunt.

A BlueJersey Exclusive!

This just in:

At next week’s Passaic County Freeholders Meeting, Passaic County’s all-democratic freeholder board will vote on a resolution to extend both health and pension benefits to its county employees.

The measure is expected to pass, making Passaic County the 6th in New Jersey to extend benefits to domestic partners of county workers.

(Take that Ocean County!)

What if I joined the Klan after Rutgers and just don’t remember?

What we conveniently forget when we hail the heroes of the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, and every great American struggle for dignity, freedom and equality is that so many people fought really really hard AGAINST these great societal changes, and continue to do so here in NJ and around the nation.

They are the unsung anti-heroes of selfishness, greed and hate, and those who have prospered mightily by willingly associating with these dishonorable folks deserve far more attention than they usually get. So, for the tears of a wife too shocked or ashamed to hear her husband called out for his bigoted past, or lying about it, that sound you hear is the world’s smallest fiddle.

Kean: I’d Vote for Alito

In case any progressives out there were considering supporting Tom Kean, Jr. because he seems like a nice moderate conservative, you can stop now: he’s not:

“After reviewing Judge Alito’s judicial record and listening to his testimony in the Senate hearing, it is clear that Judge Alito will make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice. Throughout his time on the bench, Judge Alito has shown himself to be a principled, fair and capable jurist. The American Bar Association awarded him its highest possible rating and finds him eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

“Judge Alito’s background is a classic and inspiring story. He is the son of an Italian immigrant. Both of his parents were school teachers. Reared in Hamilton Township, Judge Alito, distinguished himself as a hard working student, a capable attorney, and a contributing member of his community. Judge Alito has already made his home state of New Jersey proud, and I am sure he will continue to represent our State and our country with pride and judicial wisdom when confirmed to the Supreme Court.

“I support Judge Alito’s nomination to serve on the United States Supreme Court and urge the members of the United States Senate to confirm Judge Alito.”

This could have been written by the White House, and probably was.

Gas Tax

Must be tax day around here…

Ant Bites over at the Phillyburbs blog has a decent post about gas taxes and how even “smart” legislators are baffled by the plethora of misinformation out there.

Ant even comes up with an excellent idear:

The New Jersey tax is 14.5 cents per gallon, which would be 10 percent of a $1.45 pump price.

So what would happen if New Jersey was able to institute a tax of, say, 8 percent? That would come out to 16 cents on a $2 price and 24 cents on a $3 price per gallon.

Would the public hate it? Sure. But when prices are skyrocketing, the extra tax bite will not make that big a difference in the pain. And, the state coffers will swell. The big advantage, however, is the pressure it would put on the oil industry pipeline to cool it.

This sounds like a good thing. Everything in this world gets pinned to a percentage. Everything but the gas tax. So what do y’all Blue Js think?