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Announcement likely this week, but not today

Hotline says the announcement won’t be today:

“Corzine’s camp confirmed as of late 12/5 there were no plans for a 12/6 announcement.”

But politicsnj says it’ll probably be this week:

Advisors to Gov.-elect Jon Corzine say they expect an announcement on the U.S. Senate appointment this week, and there continue to be indications that he will name Rep. Bob Menendez.

Bear Hunt Update

As of 8:30 PM Friday night, 272 fewer Black Bears to help you carry your shopping bags out of the mall.

The hunt is over tommorow (December 10th).  Lucky for the bears, it has been harder and harder (as the hunt goes on) to find one willing to “take one for the team.”  This can be due to any number of reasons like weather, hunter fatigue, or simply that the original number of estimated bears was totally and completely wrong.

It is unclear what role the Black Bears played in the 12th’s recent recount.  However, Michael Panter’s first action as an Assemblyman was to write the head of the Commisioner of the DEP with a good summary of why we should really start wondering if the hunt is a good idea:

“Data from three national parks, three local communities, four states and one Canadian province were studied to determine the effects of these two approaches (a. non-violent population control and b. hunting) on the reduction of human complaints/conflicts. The results demonstrate that at every site in which the non-violent program was evaluated, it was demonstrated to be markedly effective in reducing human complaints/conflicts, while at every site in which the hunting approach was evaluated no effect in reducing the human complaints/conflicts was observed.”

Below the fold you can read the whole thing.

Corzine “leaning very heavily” towards Menendez

The Star Ledger reports (and The Hill confirms) this morning that Corzine is heavily leaning towards Menendez as his pick for U.S. Senate, and fears that picking another candidate would lead to a primary battle:

Jon Corzine is “leaning very heavily” toward choosing U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, a source close to Corzine said yesterday.

The source close to Corzine cautioned that no final decision has been made. U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews remains Menendez’s chief rival for the job, the source said, adding that the governor-elect spoke to Andrews on Sunday and the two may speak again today.

Other Democrats interested in the job include Reps. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.), Rush Holt (D-12th Dist.) and State Sen. Nia Gill of Essex County. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.) interviewed with national Democratic officials in Washington, D.C., but yesterday issued a statement endorsing Menendez’s bid.

The governor-elect fears that going with one of those candidates would be “an invitation to an all-out primary,” the source close to Corzine said.

I’m not sure why that last part makes much sense considering Bob Menendez, Rob Andrews and Frank Pallone have basically said they will run. Unless they are all bluffing, we can expect a primary no matter who is chosen.

Support Laurel Hester on Wednesday

Laurel Hester, a police officer dying of lung cancer, has been denied her pension benefits by Ocean County’s freeholders because she is a lesbian. Her struggle and the freeholder’s grotesque decision has spread to over 140 papers across the country and the world.

On Wednesday, Laurel Hester and her partner will attend the Freeholder’s meeting in Ocean County and speak to them face-to-face.

Laurel’s courage has already resulted in two counties passing domestic partner benefits, yet her own freeholders cowardly throw up morality as a smokescreen for denying her the same benefits they have double-dipped into.

Please come out and show your support for Laurel. The meeting is this Wednesday, December 7 at 4:00 pm, in Room 119 of the Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Toms River.

Ocean County freeholders
Ocean County freeholders

The Big Tent Party

You may or may not remember Bob Novak getting upset over this, but Hester Jr. points out an interesting factoid regarding how the Republican Party treats their own members:

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, banished as House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman during a House Republican inquisition a year ago, isn’t deterred. Smith wants to become chairman of the House International Relations Committee when its chairman retires next year.

Smith is the committee vice chairman and has competition from two others, but hopes time has vindicated his stint leading the veterans committee, one widely praised by veterans.

After all, Smith was dethroned for advocating a need for more veterans’ care spending, notably for health care. Since that didn’t fit in well with the Republican’s mantra of cutting spending, even if they haven’t actually cut spending, Smith was sent to his room without a chairmanship.

But, surprise, the Bush administration conceded over the summer that, yes, indeed, they needed more money for veterans’ care. Somehow, that shortfall was just about exactly what Smith had said was needed.

“The budget controversy proved that we were right,” Smith recently told The Hill newspaper. “That should count for something.”

The “Big Tent Party” beats on its own clowns? Why do Republicans like Smith hang around their party? He worked hard for 10 years on the committee.  Doesn’t the Republican mantra automatically qualify Smith to reap the rewards for his hard work?

It is like that time when those rumors were flying about Dave Drier (R-CA) not getting the top spot in the House because he is gay.  If true, how do gay people associate with the Republican party?

Why was Smith kicked off the committee?  All he wanted to do was “support the troops.” Alas, it must have been the spendthrift conservatives (like those now facing indictments and such) that kicked him off the committee.

Budget Deficit

Thanks to the New Jersey Media, I am throughly confused as to what the budget gap for fiscal year 2006 will be.

$4 billion?

$5.3 billion?

$12.1 billion?

So which is it?  Media folks, this is your job, to seperate the wheat from the chaff so us underlings can understand the issues of the day.

So if you are going to quote numbers like those above, please provide context (as the $5.3 billion source does) as to where you got them. This is rather meaningful to readers since it can help us know which number more closely reflects reality.

If Kean the Father is Saying Bush & GOP Screwed Up Protecting Us…

What exactly is Kean, Jr. going to run for Senate on as a GOP candidate and defender of the White House party in 2006?

The more I read the news accounts about how 9/11 Commissioners Tom Kean Sr. and Lee Hamilton are critical of the US government for not implementing any of its recommendations, it doesn’t jive with the NJ story I’m hearing about Kean’s son.  I’m wondering why his son would want to go join the national GOP party that, according to his father, has screwed up our basic security. 

I think Kean Jr’s could have a future as a state politician, but going for Federal office in 2006 will be a terrible way to squash a budding GOP career (OK, I’m not THAT sad about it.)

OK, Dad didn’t exactly come out and say Bush messed up, but he’s basically saying that the US is not doing enough to implement his recommendations.  Last time I checked, that US government being run completely by GOP in the House, Senate and White House.  Therefore his is the party that is not implementing any of the 9/11 commish recomendations he worked so hard on.  Dad seems real legit with this, he seems real concerned. 

So why allow your son to run to be ‘one more’ Senator from a party that can’t get done the issue that’s the most important to you?  Why send a message that the GOP is doing just fine and should increase its Senate total?  Why not have Sonny run as an independent, then?  (I know, cuz he’d get crushed…but it’s the morally right thing to do)

Its obvious to me that Tom Kean Jr will have to put up with a lot of stuff that the Tom Delay National Republicans are doing that will embarrass him in Montclair, Middletown and Livingston and Lincoln Park.  Their lack of action on his father’s commitments will be the most blatant.

Is Menendez The Choice?

The Fix — a political blog for the Washington Post — is reporting that Congressman Menendez rushed back from vacation to meet with Governor-elect Corzine.

Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) interrupted a trip to Puerto Rico over the weekend to return to the Garden State to meet with Gov.-elect. Jon Corzine (D), according to several knowledgeable sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the meeting.

The sources would not discuss the nature of the meeting, though it seems likely to have been centered on Menendez’s possible appointment to the remaining year of Corzine’s Senate term.  Many informed New Jersey observers expect Corzine to announce his pick this week. Menendez has been mentioned as the likely pick, though Reps. Rob Andrews, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone are also in the mix.

Menendez’s political opponents — both within the Democratic Party and in the GOP — appear to be circulating negative stories about him in the press, such as a New York Times article from last week that mentioned Menendez’s relationship with a top aide.

Earlier I posted a link to an Inside Edge piece wondering about money Corzine had given to Albio Sires, widely considered Menendez’s successor should one be necessary.  But XpatT noted that Air America was saying Nia Gill was to get the nod.

At this point it is all quesswork and supposition.  I still think Juan Melli should get it.  Anyone who sets up a weekly political happy hour is definitely suitable for the US Senate, but that’s just me. 

I included a poll for the fun of it after the fold.  Vote for who you THINK will get it, not who you WANT to get it.  I included Mr. Melli!  If you choose OTHER, please say who it is in the comments.