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What’s brewing at Dunkin’ Dubya’s coffee shop?

Good morning, sir, and welcome to Dunkin’ Dubya’s coffee shop. What can I do ya for?

Oh, you want to try some of our Sam Alito custom brew? That’s fine, sir — lots of people are wondering about that particular brand, especially since that Star-Ledger story ran the other day. It’s getting’ me a lil’ hot under the collar, if you don’t mind my saying so. All these people asking questions about the coffee. When I tell them to just shut up and drink whatever I give ’em, they get all huffy on me. Take it from me when I say . . .

The Price of Government

If you’ve spent ten minutes in New Jersey, you’ve heard people complain about taxes.  It’s been much the same everywhere I’ve lived.  The damn government’s too big and too much of my check goes for things I don’t want.

Well, I took it into my head to look at New Jersey and find out what the actual price of government is.  The total of the 2005 budget was $27.4 billion dollars.  That’s a chunk of change!  But is it “too much”?

Through data collected by the US Census Bureau and several state governments, I came up with these figures.

With a $27.4 billion budget and 8,698,879 people, New Jersey spends $3,149.83 per person.  With a per capita income of $38,383, that means each resident of New Jersey pays an income rate of 8.2%.  Honestly, that isn’t bad.  The problem is that quite a large number of those residents are kids and don’t pay taxes for themselves.  Nor are the taxes paid equally by everyone.  However, there are no reasons to believe that there is a much higher percentage of non-tax paying residents in any given state.  In other words, all other things being equal, it allows a bit of comparison.

Focusing our Energy

In an Ideal situation, increasing the number of seats in the House ought to be something to strive for.  In a House and Senate with a democratic majority this would be something to push for.  What we need to do right now and by we i mean all concerned and active democrats is to focus on the congressional campaigns and win them all!!! We must defeat Kean in ’06.  We must demolish the Republicans in key congressional races.  We may never control all of New Jersey’s congressional seats, but does it hurt to try?  Lets kick them out one at a time, every two years.  Hold our ground and advance.  We can make our own contract with America!  One to free the American Populous from the Iron Grip that is the Republican Party and the Religous Right.  A Contract that will reimpower the working class, the poor, the elderly, and in my opinion most importantly the students.  These groups can be mobilized and we CANNOT take them for granted.  We must take a page from the Republican playbook and appeal enmasse, we must have unified positions, we MUST have a party line.  If we are simple the Anti-Republicans or Anti-Bush’s we will have gains, but they will be short lived. And our current dream of sweeping Democratic victories will become further and further from the reality.

Kerry for President – Part Deux

John Kerry is reported to want another crack at running for President.

Traveling extensively since his 2004 loss, Kerry generated nearly $5.3 million for dozens of Democratic candidates, state parties and charitable causes, according to aides.

He gave more than $200,000 to help Washington state Democrats prevail in Christine Gregoire’s gubernatorial recount.

Wow – if donating money to local pols for support works elsewhere like it works in New Jersey, he might as well start printing up the lawn signs – the nomination’s in the bag. Although, this time around, New Jersey will actually have a say in who our nominee will be. So, he may need to start throwing some money around here.

Times of Trenton 2006 Predictions

From Tom Hester Jr., Capital Talk colmunist:

— Proving he does plan to impose a “Sixties Hippie Agenda,” as conservative Bogota mayor and likely 2009 gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan contends, incoming Gov. Jon Corzine will attend Pink Floyd laser shows at the state planetarium.
— Attempting to ward off the deficit, Corzine will sell the naming rights to the newly revamped planetarium.
— A special commission will be formed to find out whatever happened to West Brunswick.
— A Democrat will run against U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, and claim his abortion opposition is too radical for New Jersey. Smith will win by nearly a 3-1 margin. (Again, I need some safe predictions.)

Read ’em all for a few laughs and a few sighs.

What are your predictions for 2006?

Drink Liberally

Perhaps the day after National Hangover Day isn’t the best to write about this, but there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on with New Jersey’s Drinking Liberally groups.

New Brunswick finally got set up with a mailing list on the national website, so if you live in or around New Brunswick, or you like to drive long distances just to go to a bar, go and sign up for their email list. They will now meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays each month at Doll’s Place Restaurant and their official kick-off meeting will be January 11th.

After a two month hiatus, Hoboken Drinking Liberally will be back on January 18th from 8:00 to 10:00 PM at Mulligan’s, 1st St between Bloomfield and Garden. “Same bat time, same bat bar, different bat day of the week.” They’ve also got a new co-host. Sign up for their list.

Princeton’s Drinking Liberally is still going strong with new people coming out each week. Sign up for that list here. Or here.

Finally, Philly has a second Drinking Liberally location in Fishtown, which is conveniently on a different day of the week (Mondays) from the Center City one (Tuesdays).

News Roundup

  • Democrats took control of all county-level offices in Essex and Mercer counties by winning the Clerk position in Mercer and a final freeholder spot in Codey’s home district in Essex.
  • Richard Leone, the State Treasurer from 1973-1977 and director of Corzine’s transition team, says that “This is the worst [budget] situation I’ve ever seen. You’ve got a hole that’s been dug for 10 or 15 years, and we’ve got to fill it up in a couple of years to get back on track.”
  • Codey’s stem cell and smoking ban initiatives, both of which have passed in the Senate, are stuck in the Assembly, which has only one more voting day left. The death penalty moratorium bill has also passed the Senate but not the Assembly.
  • Defending Tom Kean Jr’s young age and relative inexperience, Minority Leader Leonard Lance compared him to Thomas Jefferson: “By the time Thomas Jefferson was Tom Kean’s age [37], he had written the Declaration of Independence.” Heck of a strategy, Lenny – Compare Kean to someone who’s actually accomplished something. That’ll win you votes.
  • The New York Times writes a piece titled In New Jersey, Party Bosses Meld Politics and Business. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
  • Investors and developers are hoping that Newark will soon experience its long-awaited revitalization.
  • Success?

    This is a quote from Congressman Mike Ferguson from the Express Times:

    “We saw both challenges and incredible successes in Iraq. We had elections, and continuing terrorist activity there, and deaths and injuries to U.S. personnel. We saw a lot of successes as well and great strides forward,” said Ferguson, R-Hunterdon.

    Incredible successes and great strides forward?  Wow.

    12 days of Christmas belated

    Ok, I know I missed christmas, but I also know i’ll start seeing commercials for next year’s holiday during the bowl games, so i feel this is still relevant.  This is a letter to the editor that appeared in the Bergen Record and i found it posted on Dump Mike

    The writer is organizing project manager of the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

    On the first day of Christmas my Congress gave to me tax cuts for the wealthy.

    On the second day of Christmas my Congress gave to me Medicaid reductions.

    more below….