Michael Avenatti
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti
The Fluffer.
“Welcome to Herointown
NJ’s Opioid Crisis
Who’s got the best ideas?
Democracy is not for sale
Midterm Elections
“Money ... Money"
Moms Demand Action logo
How did Moms Demand Action “Gun Sense” group end up looking like they back the same guy the NRA does?
Good question.
Jeff Van Drew & NRA logo
DCCC pre-selects Jeff Van Drew - passing over the Black woman, Tanzie Youngblood, who DIDN’T wait for Lo Biondo’s retirement announcement
NRA: “A” rating. Marriage Equality: Voted No. Pro abortion limits. Pro pipeline. Awful enviro record. DINO.
Bob Menendez
To nobody’s surprise, Bob Menendez is running for re-election
Who do you talk about when you’re still under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee? Somebody whose ethics are worse ... Trump.
Let Us Be Part of the American Dream
Immigration Yesterday Today Tomorrow
There is nothing new in U. S. history about Trump’s anti-immigration policies.
Republican NJ Rep. Chris Smith
DCCC now has all 5 NJ Republican seats targeted for take-down
Chris Smith’s held his seat for 37 years. Dems now intend to take it away.

Latest Posts

Gear for Centrist Democrats

A client of mine sent me a cartoon a few months ago from the Buffalo Art Voice (at least I think that’s what it is — his writing is hard to read).

It’s really funny: At the top, it states:

THE FORMER CLINTON ADVISORS HAVE PRODUCED THE NEW REPORT, “THE POLITICS OF POLARIZATION,” WHICH DISCOURAGES LIBERALISM AND STATES THAT “SEIZING THE CENTER REMAINS THE KEY TO VICTORY.”  WITH THEIR ADVICE IN MIND, MARCH PROUDLY TO THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND CHECK OUT THE LATEST

  GEAR FOR CENTRIST DEMOCRATS

They have a placard for protest marches, which says, “Bring The Troops Home! …at an appropriate time, no rush.  I’m not a peacenik or anything but if others insist on reevaluating the situation in Iraq then I won’t argue…”

They have a t-shirt:  “Save the Court…unless the nominees are polite and friendly”

There’s a book:  “Profiles in Timidity” by the Democratic Leadership Council — spells out unthreatening baby-steps to improve our nation (a little).

And lots, lots more!  I like the bumper sticker which says, “Hate is Not a Family Value (but I’m sure we can find a compromise)”

Do you bloggers think this stuff is as funny as I think it is? 

Anyone who wants a pdf copy of this great cartoon can email me at camille@abateforcongress.com

Maybe He Shouldn’t Have Run Away?

Tom Kean Jr. is attacking the proposed Corzine budget today in an effort to stem the lousy press he’s gotten from being invisible on the Dubai Ports deal and then ducking the event with Cheney last week.

Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., running for the U.S. Senate, today challenged his opponent to oppose tax hikes in the state budget envisioned by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

“We’re raising taxes in New Jersey for the fifth straight year when other states are cutting them,” said Kean, R-Union.

“It’s time to take a stand,” Kean said at a Statehouse news conference, daring U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., to oppose the more than $1.5 billion in tax hikes proposed last week in Corzine’s budget plan.

Of course, if Junior were really serious about making a difference on the budget process in Trenton this year, he shouldn’t have resigned his seat on the Budget Committee so that he could duck the hard issues as he campaigns for a promotion. 

Menendez took a harder job — a statewide US Senate seat instead of a local House seat — and is still able to campaign while doing his job.

If Junior wants to criticize Menendez, Junior should do his own job first.

Monday, March 27, 2006 News Roundup

  • Major déjà vu with the Senate racethis year. Taxes are going to play a big part in it, with NJ’s budget bothering a lot of people. Even though the Senate race is a federal race, state issues could become the main focus for voters in November.
  • Heather Howard, kicks major butt not only in DC but in Trenton, as a member of Governor Corzine’s staff.
  • Colleges, both public and private, are letting Corzine know how his proposed cuts for education funds are not only going to adversely impact the schools but hurt residents as well.
  • Senate hopeful, Tom Kean jr. has called for his rival, Senator Menendez’s support on state and federal tax cuts.
  • NJ-11: Hartford Out, Wyka In, Frelinghuysen and Kean Out of Touch

    The Daily Record has a good rundown today of the goings-on in the eleventh congressional district, currently occupied by Rubber-Stamp Rodney Frelinghuysen.

    Chatham Township Committeeman William “Jack” Hartford, who was poised for a Democratic primary battle against Tom Wyka, the congressional candidate from Parsippany, will instead join a saturated pool of contenders seeking a seat on the Morris County freeholder board.

    “I am no longer in the race for congressman,” Hartford said at his home on Sunday evening.

    “That’s where my heart was, but I think there is a greater need here (in the county).”

    In my mind, though I’m certainly not opposed to open primaries, this is a good thing. A strong Democratic team of Jack Hartford and Dana Wefer running for two open Freeholder seats in Morris County is great news. And with such an entrenched incumbent as Rodney Frelinghuysen, Tom Wyka will benefit from being able to focus all of his attention on the general election.

    As I said, incumbents don’t come any more entrenched than Frelinghuysen. But judging by his recent sloppy rhetoric, it seems that he thinks this race is going to be the typical cakewalk against a token challenger. Tom can chime in on this point, but I think Rubber-Stamp Rodney’s sorely mistaken. Here’s a sampling from Frelinghuysen:

    Frelinghuysen told the crowd that he wants to make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent.

    “I don’t apologize for cutting taxes,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in making those taxes permanent. What we really need to do is control spending.”

    Kean, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, said he too supports making the tax cuts permanent.

    A standing ovation erupted after Frelinghuysen said staying the course in Iraq and Afghanistan is “truly essential” for freedom and for the troops. …

    “In every sinew of my body, I believe what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is truly essential and is for freedom,” said Frelinghuysen, a Vietnam War veteran himself. He then added that backing out of the fight against the “global jihad” would negatively affect the troops overseas.

    …[M]ore people are growing dissatisfied with the president.

    Frelinghuysen made it clear that he is not one of them.

    “I am proud of our president,” Frelinghuysen said at the rally.

    After his talk, Frelinghuysen, who had signed on to the Contract with America 12 years ago that had a provision suggesting that state representatives not run more than six terms or 12 years in office — an issue raised when it was known that he would seek re-election — said he had not supported that particular stipulation.

    For the record, Frelinghuysen thinks tax cuts are great, the War in Iraq is awesome, and that he gets to retroactively pick and choose which parts of agreements he signed that he should live up to. And his nonsense about supporting tax cuts and spending cuts is little more than empty rhetoric.

    Time to Pay the Piper: The Budget Fight

    The main issue in last year’s race was the budget.  I know it might have seemed like it was who could spend more money on mean-spirited ads, but the reality is that New Jersey is in dire financial shape and both candidates probably knew it.  New Jersey picked the right candidate to deal with the problem.

    Jon Corzine is confronting the budget crisis, with a blueprint that calls for spending cuts and tax hikes.  South Jersey Democrats are going to fight him because they are haunted by the ghosts of Florio past and because their political strength is not built on fiscal responsibility.

    Tom Moran’s column is a must-read.

    The budget Corzine presented last week is nothing but bad news. It was all spending cuts and tax hikes. It’s no wonder there were no applause lines in his speech.

    The governor wrote this one himself, mostly. He didn’t use the TelePrompTer. And he cracked a smile only once, when he flubbed a line.

    But this lack of polish has its charm. It’s almost as if Corzine is telling us he has no time for frills and no interest in puffery. He has work to do.

    “We haven’t done much for my re-election prospects,” he said later. “But I love this stuff.”

    The man is a classic wonk. For the last two months, he’s been por ing over budget minutia, working marathon days that start with staff meetings as early as 7:30 a.m. and often end with late-night work ses sions over take-out pizza.

    Now we have his work product.

    And like it or not, this is a budget with integrity. He’s closing a deficit he inherited with two parts spending cuts and one part tax increase.

    He’s averting a looming disaster by funding the pension system, putting in more money in one year than previous governors did in the last nine years combined. And by raising the sales tax, he’s picking the one that makes most sense by far.

    Wall Street is impressed. And most legislators say they see no sign yet of a tax revolt, probably because these tax hikes are only one-third the size of the Florio tax hikes, and because voters aren’t as grouchy in today’s growing economy.

    Watch this fight.  It is going to color the Menendez-Kean campaign, it is going to reveal the true characters in the legislature, and it is a model for what the USA will have to deal with when Bush is no longer President and the Chinese decide they’ve had enough of lending us hundreds of billions a year.

    Somerset GOP Chair Is Tobacco Lobbyist

    You have to wonder where Somerset County Republican Chairman Dale Florio’s — the tobacco industry’s tob lobbyist in New Jersey — allegiances lie.

    The news release headline looked suspicious: “Delaware Proposes New Bridge to Accommodate New Jersey Smokers.”

    It said that in response to Gov. Corzine’s plan to raise New Jersey’s cigarette tax to $2.75, the highest in the nation, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner would construct a new span parallel to the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

    “We have reached capacity on the Delaware Memorial Bridge due to the multiple cigarette tax increases in New Jersey,” the release had Minner saying. “Absent a new bridge, we are concerned with increased boat traffic that will clog the Delaware.”

    Groundbreaking was conveniently set for April Fool’s Day.

    Dale Florio, a lobbyist for tobacco company Philip Morris, was the obvious suspect. Reached by telephone, he confessed immediately.

    “I was hired by the state of Delaware for about the five minutes it took me to hand out the press release,” he quipped.

    Is he a policial boss to make things better for his county, or to make things better for his clients?

    Wage Gap Increases: You and Me get it in the shorts.

    From The Wall Street Journal Online, that hotbed of populism and progressivism:

    Since the end of 2000, gross domestic product per person in the U.S. has expanded 8.4%, adjusted for inflation, but the average weekly wage has edged down 0.3%.

    That contrast goes a long way in explaining why many Americans tell pollsters they don’t believe the Bush administration when it trumpets the economy’s strength. What is behind the divergence? And what will change it?

    Some factors aren’t in dispute. Since the end of the recession of 2001, a lot of the growth in GDP per person — that is, productivity — has gone to profits, not wages. This reflects workers’ lack of bargaining power in the face of high unemployment and companies’ use of cost-cutting technology. Since 2000, labor’s share of GDP, or the total value of goods and services produced in the nation, has fallen to 57% from 58% while profits’ share has risen to almost 9% from 6%. (The remainder goes to interest, rent and other items.)

    The Bush administration’s defenders, and many private economists, say wages are bound to catch up. “Everything we know about economics and historical experience is that when productivity goes up, real wages go up, too,” says Phillip Swagel, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who worked in the Bush White House. It took a couple of years for wages to catch up with accelerating productivity in the late 1990s, he says. “This time, it’s taking three, maybe four or five.”

    More: http://tinyurl.com/pfubj

    Stender Stem Cell Event Makes National News

    Cross posted from Dump Mike

    Today Rahm Emmanuel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is coming to New Jersey for an event with Mike Ferguson’s opponent, Linda Stender.  The visit made the Sunday Chicago Tribune and the wires.

    As state Rep. Linda Stender tries to oust Republican Rep. Michael Ferguson from his congressional seat representing north-central New Jersey, she hopes the promise of embryonic stem cell research, and Ferguson’s opposition to it, gives her a distinct advantage.

    “If you know anybody who suffers from diabetes or Alzheimer’s or has had a spinal cord injury, I think that you want to see a cure,” Stender, a self-described “progressive,” said in an interview. “There are people in my family that have been affected by terrible diseases. And I choose to put my faith in science to find a cure, and the promise of a cure appears to be in stem cell research.”

    Ferguson, a strong opponent of abortion, is clear in his opposition to stem cell research for moral reasons. But he insists he always has been a champion of medical and biotechnology research _issues important to the sizeable health care industry in his district_during his five years on Capitol Hill.

    “I just think efforts to politicize this issue are misguided and will ultimately be unsuccessful, and that’s because of my very strong record in field of health care,” Ferguson said. He said his mother survived bone marrow cancer for six years thanks to scientific advances.

    Notice he says that supporting stem cell research is politicizing it, and not his own efforts to make it illegal!  In Mike Ferguson’s bubble, backing legal scientific research is politicizing and trying to make scientific advances illegal is not.

    I’m also seeing a trend that just about every response from Ferguson or one of his staffers portrays issues in terms of winning elections.  Anyone else noticed that?

    More Evidence the “Republican Revolution” Was Bankrupt

    Back in 1994 the “Republican Revolution” promised us that Newt Gingrich and his followers would remove the professional politicians from Washington DC, and return the (fictional) day of the citizen legislator.  Perhaps the largest promise they made to bring about this change was to voluntarily term limit themselves and then to enact term limits on all House members.

    Neither promise has been kept, and New Jersey’s own Frank LoBiondo broke his own.

    Tennessee Republican Rep. Zach Wamp this year is breaking a pledge he made in 1994 to seek no more than six terms, or 12 years, in the House.

    Wamp also is overwhelmingly favored to win a seventh term this November — a fact that speaks volumes about how much the issue of congressional term limits has faded in recent years.

    Wamp is far from alone. The advocacy organization U.S. Term Limits counts seven other members, all Republicans, whose personal term-limit pledges are coming due in this year: Barbara Cubin of Wyoming, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Timothy V. Johnson of Illinois, Ric Keller of Florida, Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey and Mark Souder of Indiana.

    All are seeking re-election; all are solid favorites to win.

    The 1994 “revolution” was nothing more than smoke and mirrors, and generated the current culture of corruption that pervades Washington DC.  It’s amazing that there are still people who say that Democrats need their own Contract With America, when all that contract held were platitudes and promises with little or no substance.

    On the other hand, this appears to be a good start from the Dems.