NJ climate crisis activists lobby Congress
Ananya Singh is 16.
The climate crisis is a very real threat to my generation.
Soak the Rich graphic in yellow
NJ ranks 12th-highest in income inequality.
And NJ has a budget crisis.
Babs Siperstein at 2016 Democratic Convention
Honoring the late Equality Rights Heroine BABS SIPERSTEIN
Gov. Murphy’s eulogy
The Political Power of Women’s Anger
WATCH. Before pink pussy hats, Hillary, the Midterms.
History of ignoring women’s anger to keep organizing down. Boom, like that. WATCH.
Covington Catholic HS boy
That white boy smugness.
Do you know it as well as Jim Keady does?
Green New Deal House protest
Green New Deal is PRIORITY.
Where does our new House delegation stand?

Latest Posts

Senate Voting Monday on Removing Cap on New Road Funding

New Jersey’s legislature is struggling with the maintenance of New Jersey’s roads and railways, but there is some question as to whether the latest legislative effort is the right answer to the problem. 

According to the Federal Highway Administration, New Jersey leads the country in the number of roads that are rated as “poor” and comes in 9th for bridges rated “structurally deficient”.  Our roads are in bad shape.  At the same time, our state budget isn’t doing terribly well either, so we don’t have a lot of money to throw at problems.

On Monday, the New Jersey State Senate will vote on S1470 (sponsored by Ray Lesniak, D-20th LD, and Joe Doria, D-31st LD), which proposes to remove a cap that was placed on money spent on new highways.  That cap required a portion of the transportation funding be spent on maintaining existing highways and bridges.  The cap was actually set at 4%, requiring that 96% of the transportation funding be spent on existing infrastructure.  There are a lot of angles to this issue.  In the first place, we know that the north/south routes in the state are the best, while east/west routes lag behind.  Still, we have a lot of roads in this state and a large expansion in road-building will mean, among other things, destruction of the limited amount of existing, undeveloped land (and there is not much of that).  In addition, this would mean that, even with our roads and bridges as badly in need of repair as they are, repairs would be even more neglected.

The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) is actively opposing this legislation as it is written.

Newark Politics in the Blogosphere

Newark political news is making the rounds over the last couple of days with Mayor James’ splash into the mayoral campaign.  Wally Edge of Inside Edge wonders if James is really, really running this time around, or if he might still just flake out of the race.  His observation about Booker’s campaign strategy is sound:

Booker’s strategy over the last four years was similar to the one used by Rudy Giuliani after losing the 1989 race for New York City Mayor. Giuliani never stopped campaigning, won over key backers of his old rival, and by the time he ran again in 1993 his campaign was more of a coronation.

Booker doesn’t need to get into a battle of wits and rhetoric with James.  His record just speaks for itself.  The Newark Star Ledger would seem to confirm Edge’s suspicions about James’ true intent with this race, by noting:

Even though James filed petitions, its unclear how much of a campaign he will mount. James has no signs, no campaign headquarters or literature. He can still withdraw his name before the March 24 ballot position drawing and could pull out as late as April 26 and have his name locked out of the voting machines.

A fellow Ironbounder sent me a link the other day to the New York Times Newark 2006 blog.  Thanks again, Peter.  Whatever the outcome of this race, I think this is a bit of confirmation that people want to tell and hear the story of this city around the web.  That, and Mayor James antics certainly make for good blog fodder.  They checked with third mayoral hopeful, Ron Rice, for an opinion on James’ quasi-commitment to run.  His take:

“With Sharpe, you can never tell what he’s going to do,” Mr. Rice said about the commotion on the third floor. “What it means is that the mayor has not made a decision yet.”

Whether the outcome of the race is another street fight or a coronation, these next few weeks should prove interesting.

Brought to you by Everything Newark.

News Roundup Friday March 17

Happy St. Patty’s Day! How will you be celebratin’?

  • AG Farber goes on the record saying she is against state sponsored murder. Good for her.
  • I’m no fan of “cutting the school budget,” but as a populist, I can’t stand when the bosses make 5 times what their subordinates make. This is Hudson county so maybe “$1,000 housing allowances” shouldn’t be a surprise, but something should definitely be done about this.
  • Speaking of Hudson County, looks like Jersey City will be plastered in campaign posters this year!
  • After being allowed to raise tolls as it pleased for 76 years, the Assembly voted unanimously to reign in the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.
  • Yesterday, Paul Mulshine suggested ending the rebate program. Today, Governor Corzine is actually considering it.
  • Corzine picked a Homeland Security guy. Presumeably, this is not a case where politics makes strange “bedfellows” (ouch-I just had to get that on in though).
  • National News. The Republican Senate bumped the debt ceiling by almost $800 billion (with a B), to bring the grand total to $9 trillion (with a T). They then spent themselves right over that limit with a $2.8 trillion (with a T) budget. The House passed their own budget. Things that didn’t make it included Democratic measures such as funding port security. Things that did, another $92 billion for the war. Only $19 billion for Katrina recovery. Republican priorities.
  • This weekend (March 19th) marks the third year we are in Iraq. Over 2,000 Americans, 120,000 innocent Iraqis have died, Countless have been injured. Pick a protest to show your disdain.

Please Help End Childhood Cancer

FIRST: Recommend This Diary on Daily Kos!

Tonight at hundreds of locations around the country, people will be shaving their heads at annual St. Baldrick’s Day celebrations.  This is not some drunken revel (though some of us will be drunk!), but a serious effort to raise money for childhood cancer research.  Already more than $1,000,000 has been raised in 2006 and the event hasn’t even started yet!  You can donate here.

In my hometown, North Plainfield, NJ we have more than 40 people getting their heads shaved and have raised nearly $40,000.  Tonight we will collect even more.  I am Council President in North Plainfield, and I convinced six of the seven members — all of the Demcorats — to get shaved. It is the second year that a quorum of the Council participated in the fundraiser.  You can donate here.

My 20 month old daughter, who thankfully has had only two sick days in her life and doesn’t have cancer, is getting her first haircut tonight.  Not a shave, but a trim!  Already she is learning that collective grassroots action can help change the world.  You can donate in her name here.

About Freakin’ Time

The Washington Post: Longtime Newark, N.J., Mayor to Run Again

Mayor James comes riding to the city clerk’s office on…a bicycle.  I think he’s officially transitioned his campaign from “stunt” to “gimmick.”

After filing a petition Thursday to seek a sixth term, Mayor Sharpe James did not make any major speeches to a crowd of reporters and photographers assembled at City Hall.

“I filed the petition and that should speak volumes,” said James, 70.

Brought to you by Everything Newark.

News Roundup For Thursday March 16

  • Dave Graham, FDA whistleblower, has been ordered by the judge to testify against Merck in the Vioxx case. This “despite FDA’s abjections.” WOW! I am sure the Merck folks are not going to sleep tight tonight. However, why would the FDA object to this guy going on the record? They shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
  • A motion to add a 9th seat on the Senate Health Panel was shot down. Loretta Weinberg was slated to fill that 9th seat. Word on the street is that this is due to her support of AIDS reducing measures like the Needle Exchange programs so adamantly opposed by the Senators (*cough*James, Rice Sr.*cough*) who voted against her nomination. (we will have more on this soon)
  • Sharpe James has about an hour to make up his mind on wether or not he will defend his title as King of Newark. Though the feeling is that he will at least file the papers.
  • NJ Catholics celebrating St. Patrick’s day can have their corned beef with their green beers this Friday.
  • Laura Bush gives Newark kids $14 million reasons to love her.
  • A poll shows that NJ folks don’t want tax hikes and do want spending cuts. No word on what programs these folks would want to cut. If you have any ideas you can send them right to the Govna here.
  • The Assembly passed the Transportation Trust Fund ReFi. The Republican response can be found here. (see fair and balanced).
  • The Tom Kean Jr./ Bergen County Republican soap opera continues, and it just seems to keep getting better. Now, there may be a primary challenger comming out of the BC Reps. The Law of Thermodynamics is at play here (see implosion), and the Bergen County Republicans are meddling with powers they cannot possibly comprehend!
  • Corzine is thinking about taxing the smokers some more, I look forward to another million stripper march.

Call Reps – House voting on permanent bases in Iraq today

Here’s an alert from UFPJ

The Supplemental  Appropriations bill is being debated on the House floor right now.  The following amendment on No Permanent Bases in Iraq will be considered.  Votes are expected from 2:30 to 5:30pm this afternoon.

Please make a phone call to your Representative’s office as soon as you get this! 

Tell your Representative to support the No Permanent Bases Amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill!  You should also tell your Representative to vote against additional money for the Iraq War.

You can reach the Capitol Hill Switchboard at: 888-355-3588 or 202-224-3121

Here’s the appeal from Lee and Allen:

Support the Lee-Allen-Hinchey-Schakowsky Amendment:

No Permanent Bases in Iraq

March 16, 2006

Dear Colleague:

The President has stated on several occasions that we will stay in Iraq not one day longer than necessary, a policy reiterated in the President’s Strategy for Victory in Iraq . Last month Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that:

” We have no desire to have our forces permanently in that country. We have no plans or no discussions under way to have permanent bases in that country.”

Military experts have cited our very presence in Iraq as a recruiting tool for the insurgency. Last year, General George Casey testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that:

“to gradually reduce the visibility of coalition forces across Iraq [will be] taking away one of the elements that fuels the insurgency.”

As Congress debates supplemental funding for the war in Iraq, we should not miss this opportunity to send the positive message to our troops on the ground and to the Iraqi people that we will not establish a permanent presence in that country. The Lee-Allen-Hinchey-Schakowsky Amendment would accomplish this by assuring that “None of the funds in this Act may be used by the US government to enter into a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq.”

Is This Site Next?

Cross-posted from Tammany on the Hudson

From the Jersey Journal:

By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

City Hall’s ban of an Internet message board critical of the administration has raised the eyebrows of the site’s owner, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

City officials said they banned the Web site getnj.com roughly three months ago because of its below-the-belt comments, which one official described as “anonymous garbage.”

Hey, one man’s garbage – you know the rest.

Mike Ferguson Says Medicare Chief Doing “Great Work”

Congressman Mike Ferguson was an avid supporter of the Medicare Part D prescription plan when the bill passed back in 2003 after much arm-twisting by Republican leaders in the House and intentional misstatement of the true costs by the White House. 

The implementation of the plan has been disasterous, with many seniors who signed up for plans not being entered in the system and unable to get the drugs their doctors prescribed, “being turned away or overcharged at pharmacies, prompting more than a dozen states to declare health emergencies and pay for their life-saving medicines.”  Throughout the country, participation in the plan is significantly below expectations because of the confusing and often incomprehensible number of plan choices. 

On March 10, the Courier-Post reported that the State of New Jersey has stepped in to protect its seniors from being overcharged and denied needed drugs to the tune of $150 million.  That’s your state tax dollars being used to pay for a federal program that is not working properly, and the federal government is refusing to help out.