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

Misplaced Priorities & Part 3 of “Laurel Hester’s Wonderful Life”

Ocean County’s freeholders now cite a “tremendous cost” as the reason they are unable to extend pension benefits to domestic partners. According to their inflated estimates, the costs would be between $114,000 and $220,000, or 23 to 45 cents per taxpayer in the county.

While they complain about the costs for petty things such as death pension benefits, they approve $175,000 worth of funding for expanding a library, including $60,000 for a “floor…with a special seascape.” They then go on to hand out 192 turkeys and 400 toys to Ocean County veterans saying that each and every one deserves a “blessed holiday season.” How ironic that as they honor war veterans, they refuse to let Laurel Hester – a veteran herself of the county’s prosecutor’s office – have the benefits she has worked 23 years for. Apparently they feel no shame in ruining her holiday season.

Part three of “It’s Laurel Hester’s Wonderful Life” is below, stolen completely from The Big Gay Picture. Read it all, and considering sending the Ocean County freeholders To Kill a Mockingbird before their January 7th meeting.

OK, So Maybe This Is Not So Good

Assuming she did it, this is shocking, and stupid. 

Assemblywoman Evelyn Williams was arrested for shoplifting on Monday at a variety store in Irvington. Williams, a former Deputy Mayor of Newark, is charged with changing price stickers on two items. She took office on December 12th after winning a special election convention to replace the late Donald Tucker.

The amazing thing about this is that she couldn’t have saved that much money.  She just ruined her reputation and probably lost her Assembly gig for a few bucks at a variety store.

It’s shocking how people will risk their livelihoods and families for bribes of $1,000, $2,000 or $5,000.  It’s unthinkable to do it for what probably amounts to less than $10.

Monmouth County is first Republican-controlled county to approve domestic partner benefits

Monmouth County tonight joined Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Union and Mercer counties as the 6th county to provide domestic partner benefits. The vote was 4-0, with one absence. All five freeholders of Monmouth County are Republicans making Monmouth the first Republican-controlled county to pass domestic partner benefits. The decision will extend pension benefits, but not health benefits, to domestic partners.

New Jersey’s domestic partnership law allows each municipality and county to decide whether to grant their employees domestic partner benefits. Laurel Hester, a 23 year veteran of the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, is dying of lung cancer and her partner will lose their home if she cannot receive Laurel’s pension benefits. In response to the situation, the Asbury Park Press editorial board urged both Ocean and Monmouth County’s freeholders to pass domestic partner benefits. Since Laurel’s request, Mercer and Union Counties approved domestic partner benefits as a direct result of Laurel’s plight.

Monmouth County freeholder Tom Powers said that they also acted in response to Laurel Hester’s situation in neighboring Ocean County.

Hester, who has been told she has only a few months to live and who can no longer walk on her own, praised the Monmouth freeholders yesterday for their “courage.”

“If I were there, I would have given them a standing ovation, and that’s not easy,” she said.

Ocean County’s freeholders, who have double-dipped into the pension system, have made excuses about violating the “sanctity” of marriage and the “tremendous cost” (45 cents) to tax payers, but shamefully refuse to act. These are just lies and smoke screens. If Laurel had married a man, none of the freeholders would utter a word about the “tremendous cost”. These men feel threatened that a dying woman might expose their cold hearts and their willingness to appeal to a homophobic voting bloc, which is why they ran out the back door when pressed for an explanation from consituents at a recent freeholder meeting. It’s about time that they follow the example of their neighbors in Monmouth County and do the right thing. Laurel has given so much to her county – the least they could do is let her die a peaceful death knowing her partner will be taken care of.

News Roundup

Slow news day today. Feel free to add anything I missed in the comments.

  • Rep. Rush Holt announced he will not challenge Menendez for the Senate seat.
  • 26 Congressmen, including Rush Holt, have signed onto a resolution of inquiry giving Attorney General Alberto Gonzales 14 days to turn over any documents authorizing the NSA to conduct warrentless spying on American soil.
  • Rep. Pallone says that federal funds are needed to replenish the state’s beaches and fight erosion.
  • Why Would They Fake an Arrest?

    There’s an article in the NY Times about how the NYC police department has been caught on tape spying on local protests.  That in itself is disturbing, but it appears they were not just passive observers:

    Beyond collecting information, some of the undercover officers or their associates are seen on the tape having influence on events. At a demonstration last year during the Republican National Convention, the sham arrest of a man secretly working with the police led to a bruising confrontation between officers in riot gear and bystanders.

    Why would the police fake an arrest during the RNC except to incite the crowd? 

    Since the protests were predominenltly peaceful, there was no reason to extract an informant as you would from a gang or a fight.  The guy could just walk away and be debriefed, or could just stand there and talk to a cop about what they saw.

    And why would they fake the arrest in a way that generated violence?

    All I can see is that the cops wanted to cause trouble to show middle America watching the nightly news that those anti-war, anti-Bush traitorous f**ks were violent and unreasonable.  And the only reason to do that is to help Bush win the presidency.

    And on top of the Patriot Act, on top of the forced reenlistment of troops, on top of the hamhanded tactics of the Congressional Republican leadership, on top of the Cunningham/DeLay/Abramoff corruption, on top of the illegal NSA spying, and on top of the Pentagon spying on PETA and Quakers I can only see one result: the beginnings of a Police State.

    Rush Holt To Stay in Congress

    From PoliticsNJ.com

    Rep. Rush Holt will not seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator in 2006, and will back Bob Menendez for the seat. “My interest in the Senate is rooted in my belief that New Jersey will be best served by someone who stands up for people without privilege, who  values civil liberties, who is committed to a responsible foreign policy, and who will not let principle bend to expediency,” Holt said.  “Last week, I met with Bob Menendez to talk about several legislative issues and the preservation  of Jon Corzine’s progressive legacy in the Senate.  I have a great deal of respect for Bob’s abilities, and our conversation about issues important to our state has led me to the conclusion that Jon Corzine made a good  decision.  I therefore do not intend to challenge Bob in a primary for the Senate.” (12/22/05)

    It’s Laurel Hester’s Wonderful Life, Part Two

    Below I’ve reproduced part two of a three part series written by The Big Gay Picture on Laurel Hester. But there are also two important letters to the editor in today’s Ocean County Observer on this issue.

    A letter by Dane Wells rebukes the freeholders’ claims that the pension benefits requested would be a “tremendous cost”:

    Using the county’s own inflated numbers, it seems the price of providing death benefits to the partners of all county workers would amount to about 23 cents a year for a typical taxpayer, or about half the cost of a single mile traveled in just one take-home county car.

    Aside from a certain five freeholders with an annual budget exceeding $300 million, I don’t think there are many county residents unwilling to pay just half the price of this newspaper to ensure the dignity and peaceful death of a fellow human being, let alone one who was such a loyal and devoted public servant.

    As for the benevolence of the freeholders in pointing out the value of Laurel’s employee life insurance, how horribly cruel that they left out the part that she has to die before her sick time runs out in a little more than a week for her beneficiary to collect it. I can only assume this deception was somehow sanctified.

    But I was pleased to see that Lt. Hester is in the freeholders’ “personal prayers.” As they gather with their own pension-protected loved ones at Christmas, I would ask each of them to remember Laurel, struggling in agony for every breath, and yet hoping her last gasp will come before Jan. 1, when the stone coldheartedness of the Ocean County freeholders will leave her family homeless.

    State Sponsored Family Leave

    Quite amazing really, that for about $75 a year we can all have the option to take as much as 12 weeks off to care for a family member in distress:

    For about $1.35 a week, New Jersey employees could help create the nation’s second statewide paid family leave program, say a group of labor, religious and consumer leaders who hope to have the measure introduced by lawmakers early next year.

    Modeled after a law that passed in California last year, the proposal would apply to the 2.8 million workers employed by New Jersey companies who already pay into the state’s temporary disability insurance fund, said the New Jersey Time to Care coalition during a Trenton news conference yesterday.

    Deductions of roughly $1.35 a week ($0.50/week for minimum wage earners)paid into the fund would provide workers with two-thirds of their usual wages, with a maximum of $488 a week for 12 weeks a year, said Jon Shure, executive director of New Jersey Policy Perspectives, a Trenton think tank championing the idea.

    I think this is a fine idea, at a politically poor time. The citizens of this state are already pissed off about the amount of taxes they pay.  Anything, no matter how small, would be accepted about as much as being the object of warrantless Presidential spying. Add to it the fact that taxes collected by the State of New Jersey intended for one purpose are readily diverted to some other curropt unforseen purpose.

    Anyway you slice it, great idea, politically inert.