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The News Roundup Thursday March 23

  • Tom Kean Jr. likes to get his drink on early. As in 9:30 AM early. According to Wally Edge, Tom Kean Jr. wants to get the old “would you like to have a beer with me” question settled early in this campaign season.
  • Also from the Edge There is a major Broo Ha Ha over this Sami Merhi guy, who apparently said some bad things about Ariel Sharon and palestinian suicide bombers in the past. In any case, this guy is running for Freeholder and it looks like Bill Pascrell (as in the Congressman) is gonna take a major hit because he supports him. (Wally, I know you have been waiting to be called “The Edge” for a long time).
  • Linda Stender doesn’t mince words, her pro-impeachment stance may not sit well with Republicrats or Demublicans, but isn’t that the point? GO STENDER! (disclaimer – this is my opinion and not necessarily that of bluejersey.net)
  • It turns out the Governor CAN bail out friends from jail without suffering any ethical repercussions. The Ethics panel hath spoken!
  • Controversial Cory gets the Newark Firemen to endorse him. Hopefully for Booker, this works better for Mayoral candidates than it does for Presidential candidates.
  • Also good news for Booker, Don Payne Jr. drops off the Sharpe James’ City Council team. This is significant because he got the most (105,000) votes for his Freeholder race last time around.
  • When things like this happen, you feel less sorry for the municipality aid freeze Corzine proposed.
  • Prediction, based on the things comming out of everyone’s mount, there will be no sales tax hike.
  • Have you voted for us for the Koufax award yet? Get on it!
  • Have you thought about what you would like to ask Rahm Emanuel? If so leave some questions in the comments here.

 

My campaign for NJ-11

Folks – a few weeks back someone posted regarding my campaign to unseat Rodney Frelinghuysen in NJ-11.  I appreciate the post very much, but found its reception quite interesting.  The banter went back and forth with regard to how viable I was, and whether or not Frelinghuysen could actually be considered vulnerable.

Let’s check our thinking on this.  With regard to my viability – I’m as viable as you and all your friends (as well as any other people you can persuade) want me to be.  Last time I checked – that was how democracy worked.  As Blue-minded folks with our strong emphasis on community (vs. the bootstrap, take-care-of-yourself mentality of the right) isn’t it second nature to us – that each one of us that steps up actually stands on the shoulders of those who believe in them?

Do I sound naive?  Good!  If you see my viewpoint that way – I suspect that you’ve come to only know a system that works for folks who can score the big bucks in donations – or already have a personal arsenal to launch themselves into the political fray.  These folks will use those resources to hire high priced consultants and big-gun campaign managers to help them calculate and triangulate… (Ok – hold on…sound familiar yet?)

If you actually like it that way – logoff this site and return to the site you enjoy more… (www.cato.org)  If you don’t accept it, keep reading….  Now, then again, if you don’t like it, but you’re not willing to do anything more but shake your head at the nightly news, yuk it up with Jon Stewart (not that there’s anything wrong with that), or occasionally read and post to endless blogs,  then have fun while Karl Rove continues to eat your lunch…..

How is Fergie spending his newly minted St. Patrick’s Day recess?

The House is taking its first ‘in-district working period’ of a week for St. Patrick’s Day and will members be meeting with constituents to get a sense of what issues matter to them?  Here’s how Ferguson kicked his off:

ISELIN, N.J., March 17, 2006

PRNewswire-FirstCall — Pharmos Corporation announced today that United States Congressman Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) will visit Pharmos headquarters in Iselin, N.J. on Friday morning, March 17, 2006. Pharmos’ Iselin offices are located in Congressman Ferguson’s 7th Congressional District. The Congressman plans to tour Pharmos’ facility and meet Company employees…

Pharmos discovers and develops novel therapeutics to treat a range of indications including neurological and inflammatory disorders. The Company’s core proprietary technology platform focuses on discovery and development of synthetic cannabinoid compounds.

Did they allow him to try some while he was there?

Now we know why Mike didn’t have time to pause to consider EC for women and whether a bill on the issue is before the health committee.

News Round-up for Wednesday, March 22

News Round-up for Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

  • The big news story around the state is the Governor’s budget address, which fueled concerns about how the state’s budget will affect residents of Our Fair State: Higher education, tanning parlors, municipalities who use state police services, smokers, drinkers, luxury car dealers, property owners, those expecting rebates, and environmentalists.
  • Business leaders cheered the budget proposal, which would reduce revenue raised from business taxes by 10%. “Allowing those anti-business taxes to expire will send a signal that he is serious about creating a climate that will allow businesses to thrive here,” said John Galandak of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.
  • Owners of the state’s four nuclear power plants should reimburse the state for security expenses, according to the new budget proposal. Both the State Police and National Guard supplement private security at the plants.
  • Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee has denied Merck’s request to dismiss cases of two New Jersey men who blame Vioxx for their heart attacks. The pharmeceutical comany must begin their defense in the case.
  • Former state attorney general Robert Del Tufo was sworn in yesterday as chairman of the board of Trustees for the troubled UMDNJ.  He called for the examining of operating committee’s dealings, as well as opening the trustees’ actions to more public scrutiny.
  • A specialized Camden high school, designed to attract top students interested in the health-care field, has become the focus of an investigation into grade-fixing and cheating on standardized tests.
  • Tom Moran dissects Tom Kean JUNIOR’s lame excuse that he got stuck in traffic on his way to a fundraiser with Dick Cheney on Monday night. Anyone who decides to travel the length of Rt. 1 at rush hour and expects to arrive somewhere on time is either completely out of touch with Our Fair State or avoiding showing up- you decide.

Time For a Second Look at Cory Booker

Because he’s up against such a manifestly unattractive incumbent, and because Newark, N.J., is a city so badly in need of help, it’s very easy to overestimate Newark mayoral candidate Cory Booker. After watching the hard-hitting documentary Street Fight and comparing the youthful and passionate Booker with incumbent Sharpe James, an over-the-hill machine pol, most people would be ready to sign on as Booker supporters without a second thought.

Well, maybe they should have that second thought — and a third, fourth and fifth.

Talk About Community Blight: Ann Coulter Coming to N.J.

I try not to make the elementary mistake of imputing bad motives to people I have political disagreements with. For example, while I find New Jersey Right to Life’s anti-choice political stance to be medieval and ignorant, I remind myself not to assume they’re acting out of a Dr. Evil-like desire to turn all uteruses into state property. Honest people can have good-faith motives for denying a woman the right to decide what happens to her own body . . . uh, right?

On the other hand, when I see that New Jersey Right to Life has hired the odious termagant Ann Coulter to be the featured speaker at their annual banquet, I have to conclude that I’m cutting them too muc slack. Anyone who can eat dinner and then the food down while listening to this sleaze get big yocks with jokes about how Timothy McVeigh should have bombed the New York Times building, or how a few Supreme Court justices will have to be assassinated to ensure a better ideological tilt, has forfeited any claim to being given the benefit of the doubt.

In terms of substance, Ann Coulter is just a Don Rickles-style insult comic with slightly better legs and ideological bile curdling her soul. Maybe for a followup, New Jersey Right to Life can hire David Duke to host a minstrel show, or get Fred Phelps to show home movies of his followers picketing the funerals of gay people and American soldiers.

Sleazeballs.

*****

Cross-posted at The Opinion Mill.

Assemblypersons Linda Stender and Joe Vas to Speak at Progressive Caucus Regional Meeting

Assemblywoman Linda Stender, the strongest Democrat to run for Congress in the 7th Congressional District in my lifetime (35 years) has agreed to speak at the Central Jersey East regional meeting of the Progressive Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee at the Springfield Free Public Library (66 Mountain Avenue) in Springfield on Sunday, March 26 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Also speaking at this meeting will be Assemblyman Joe Vas, who is running against former Assembly Speaker, Albio Sires, in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary.  Sires has also been invited to speak at this meeting, but has not responded to date.  Congressman Frank Pallone has also been invited to speak, but has also not responded to date.

Assemblywoman Stender has also accepted an invitation to speak at the Central Jersey West regional meeting at the Somerset County Library (1 Vogt Drive) in Bridgewater on Saturday, March 25 from 3:00pm to 4:45pm.

Also speaking at this meeting will be Tom Wyka, who is running against Jack Hartford in the 11th Congressional District Democratic primary.  Hartford has also been invited to speak, but has not responded to date.  Congressman Rush Holt has also been invited to speak, but has also not responded to date.

To RSVP for these meetings or obtain more information about the Progressive Caucus, please e-mail bertinlefkovic@njfordemocracy.org.

To join our listserv, please go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/progressivecaucus_njdsc/.

The Governor’s 2006 Budget Address

Governor Jon Corzine made his Budget Address earlier this afternoon. As reported in most of our newspapers in the last few days, Corzine mentioned raising and expanding the sales tax, elimination of 1000 state jobs, cuts in over 70 state programs, restructuring of the child welfare system, and an increase in cigarette taxes. The governor also stated that “economic growth should be the engine to expand revenues, not taxes,” and announced some strategic investment concepts to increase economic growth, specifically for pharmecuticals and biotech industries.

The governor stressed that this budget contains “hard choices” and that those hoping for a magic solution from the former Wall Street CEO are out of luck- the budget solutions come down to “old-fashioned arithmetic. We can’t keep spending more then we take in.” The budget proposed today is only the beginning; the legislature will spend the next two months hammering out the final version.

The address and commentary are available on NJN, and will also be rebroadcast tonight at 10PM. Text of the address is available here.

Cory Booker Blogs

Cory Booker has a post up on the Huffington Post, which apparently has more reach than our little blog here.

Cory, you can always sign up for an account and post something here if you want! Consider this an open invitation. Besides, you are running for mayor of Newark, NJ right? Not Los Angeles!

Next up for Kean, Marlboro Man

Luckily, noone was shot in the face yesterday when Dick Cheney came to town. The thought of a real shot as well as a photo shoot drove Tom Kean from showing up on time. Anyone who has half a brain shouldn’t have a hard time knowing why it is bad for Tom Kean Jr. (or any politician for that matter) to align himself with anyone who has an approval rating of 18%. Let alone a Vice President who, on a good day, resembles a trigger happy Elmer Fudd crossed with Darth Vader.

Speaking of Darth Vader, the next right wing nutjob to visit NJ in hopes of bolstering Tom Kean Jr.’s war chest is Sen. Mitch “Darth Vader of Campaign Finance Reform” McConnell (R-KY). Ironic since the Sen. John “Crusader of Campaign Finance” McCain was another of Tom Kean Jr.’s recent visiting Fund Raisers.

This is the same Mitch McConnell who has said intelligent and progressive things like:

“More young people believe they’ll see a U.F.O. than that they’ll see their own Social Security benefits.”

Besides being obviously in favor of Privatizing Social Security (something Jr. is “committed to keeping the promise of”) , Sen. McConnell has done such wonderful things as recieving almost $20,000 in Jack Abramoff related money, as most Republicans, McConnell has lots of other interesting donors.

Perhaps what should be of most interest to Tom Kean Jr. is perhaps #2 on Sen. McConnell’s list of donors, a company called UST Inc. which as Open Secrets reminds us:

the “T” stands for tobacco

The Tobacco industry as a whole is #15 on McConnell’s list of supporters with $91,000.

Then again, why should any of this pique the interest of the cosponsor of a recently passed bill entitled “The New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act”?