Voters stand in line
A convo about Dem Party reform
Toward a more transparent, justice-focused, fair & fierce progressive party
Cory Booker’s act of defiance at Kavanaugh hearing
In those docs: affirmative action, racial profiling, abortion.
Donald Trump & Bob Hugin
Here come the PACS targeting Hugin
Is a few extra billions worth making life harder for cancer patients?
Democrats conference
So, here’s what the Dem State Conf Agenda looks like.
Our takeaways on this. Are you going?

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Times of Trenton 2006 Predictions

From Tom Hester Jr., Capital Talk colmunist:

— Proving he does plan to impose a “Sixties Hippie Agenda,” as conservative Bogota mayor and likely 2009 gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan contends, incoming Gov. Jon Corzine will attend Pink Floyd laser shows at the state planetarium.
— Attempting to ward off the deficit, Corzine will sell the naming rights to the newly revamped planetarium.
— A special commission will be formed to find out whatever happened to West Brunswick.
— A Democrat will run against U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, and claim his abortion opposition is too radical for New Jersey. Smith will win by nearly a 3-1 margin. (Again, I need some safe predictions.)

Read ’em all for a few laughs and a few sighs.

What are your predictions for 2006?

Drink Liberally

Perhaps the day after National Hangover Day isn’t the best to write about this, but there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on with New Jersey’s Drinking Liberally groups.

New Brunswick finally got set up with a mailing list on the national website, so if you live in or around New Brunswick, or you like to drive long distances just to go to a bar, go and sign up for their email list. They will now meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays each month at Doll’s Place Restaurant and their official kick-off meeting will be January 11th.

After a two month hiatus, Hoboken Drinking Liberally will be back on January 18th from 8:00 to 10:00 PM at Mulligan’s, 1st St between Bloomfield and Garden. “Same bat time, same bat bar, different bat day of the week.” They’ve also got a new co-host. Sign up for their list.

Princeton’s Drinking Liberally is still going strong with new people coming out each week. Sign up for that list here. Or here.

Finally, Philly has a second Drinking Liberally location in Fishtown, which is conveniently on a different day of the week (Mondays) from the Center City one (Tuesdays).

News Roundup

  • Democrats took control of all county-level offices in Essex and Mercer counties by winning the Clerk position in Mercer and a final freeholder spot in Codey’s home district in Essex.
  • Richard Leone, the State Treasurer from 1973-1977 and director of Corzine’s transition team, says that “This is the worst [budget] situation I’ve ever seen. You’ve got a hole that’s been dug for 10 or 15 years, and we’ve got to fill it up in a couple of years to get back on track.”
  • Codey’s stem cell and smoking ban initiatives, both of which have passed in the Senate, are stuck in the Assembly, which has only one more voting day left. The death penalty moratorium bill has also passed the Senate but not the Assembly.
  • Defending Tom Kean Jr’s young age and relative inexperience, Minority Leader Leonard Lance compared him to Thomas Jefferson: “By the time Thomas Jefferson was Tom Kean’s age [37], he had written the Declaration of Independence.” Heck of a strategy, Lenny – Compare Kean to someone who’s actually accomplished something. That’ll win you votes.
  • The New York Times writes a piece titled In New Jersey, Party Bosses Meld Politics and Business. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
  • Investors and developers are hoping that Newark will soon experience its long-awaited revitalization.
  • Success?

    This is a quote from Congressman Mike Ferguson from the Express Times:

    “We saw both challenges and incredible successes in Iraq. We had elections, and continuing terrorist activity there, and deaths and injuries to U.S. personnel. We saw a lot of successes as well and great strides forward,” said Ferguson, R-Hunterdon.

    Incredible successes and great strides forward?  Wow.

    12 days of Christmas belated

    Ok, I know I missed christmas, but I also know i’ll start seeing commercials for next year’s holiday during the bowl games, so i feel this is still relevant.  This is a letter to the editor that appeared in the Bergen Record and i found it posted on Dump Mike

    The writer is organizing project manager of the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

    On the first day of Christmas my Congress gave to me tax cuts for the wealthy.

    On the second day of Christmas my Congress gave to me Medicaid reductions.

    more below….

    Four Thirty Five

    Nope, not AM. Not PM.

    House seats.

    The US House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The other day I was idly wondering – why 435? why not 434, or 436? Where did 435 come from? The Constitution specifies only that each House seat shall represent at least 30,000 people – so why 435?

    Why indeed? Historically, the size of the House was increased after every decennial census, as the Constitution calls for. The last time, though, was in 1911, when it reached its current size. In 1920-21, Congress could not decide on what methodology to use to do the reapportionment and so they did nothing that session. By 1930, they’d apparently decided that they really liked the idea of not watering down their influence and power any further – so ever since then we’ve had just 435 seats in the House (with a 4-year blip to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii entered the Union).

    The House of Representatives is supposed to be the People’s House – but a House member now represents, on average, about 660,000 people. That’s way too many – a far cry from the constitutional lower limit of 30,000. It makes Congressional district constituencies so large that no individual constituent is adequately represented in Congress. How often have YOU spoken to your Representative? Have you even MET him or her? Odds are you haven’t. Because they have to reach so many people, over such large geographic areas, it also makes Congressional campaigns so expensive that ordinary citizens without the ability to contribute to those campaigns have become almost irrelevant to them. The limited number of seats leads to rampant dishonesty and corruption of the re-districting process – as we’ve seen in Tom DeLay’s recent indictments in connection with Texas’ redistricting 2 years ago.

    It’s time to take a look at true Congressional reapportionment. The US population as of the 2000 census was roughly 282 million. If we went with 30,000 constituents per Member, the House would swell to almost 10,000 seats. Kind of unwieldy, I’ll admit (it would be difficult to fit them all in the Capitol Building). But there are many compelling reasons for a serious increase in the size of the House – if not all the way down to 30,000, at least to something far lower than the 800,000 constituents per member it will likely be after the 2010 census.

    I’ll be doing some research over the next weeks, figuring out how this would work and what its likely advantages and disadvantages might be. I’ll be posting my findings and analysis as I go.

    Here’s hoping for a more democratic (and a more Democratic) 2006, and I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year.

    [Cross-posted from Mapleberry Blog]

    Happy New Year!

    New Jersey would like to welcome you to the new year by screwing you over yet again. As of January 1st, EZ-Pass users will now pay up to 20% more than before to drive on the Turnpike. First they suckered us in with the promise of saving time and money.

    The whole idea of the discount, Orlando added, was to encourage drivers to switch to E-ZPass after its debut five years ago. Now that more than half the turnpike’s drivers use E-ZPass, the need for an incentive is all but gone, he said.

    Ahhh…the old bait and switch. Wasn’t this system supposed to save money? How many turnpike employees lost their jobs because of EZ-Pass? Why are EZ-Pass users now paying more than those who don’t use it? Happy New Year!

    News Roundup

  • After taking heat for voting to use taxpayer money to send 6 Hamilton school board officials to Washington to witness Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, they backtracked yesterday and decided to pay for the trip themselves – plus now they’re including three actual students on their trip. It took public pressure for a school board to decide to bring students on what they called an educational experience. They should be fired.
  • A vacancy in the Morristown Superior Court needs to be filled, but tradition holds that the hometown senators get “veto power” over the governor’s nominations (a similar “rule” used to hold for Presidential Supreme Court appointments, too – until Bush came to office. Do you think Alito would have passed the “veto test”?). The two Republican Senators won’t support David Ironson, who is Morristown’s Democratic party chairman’s pick. The Daily Record’s editorial board suggests that tradition be abandoned and that whoever is in power should be allowed to pick whoever they want, or for Corzine to just pick an independent. But there is often wisdom in “tradition”, and the national GOP has shown us over the past 5 years what happens when you break the rules in favor of political expediency (particularly when it comes to appointing judges). We need to learn from their foolishness, not copy it.
  • Hamilton mayor Glen Gilmore announced a “fairness and openness” policy for how the township will hire professional services. “Gilmore said the practice has been in effect in Hamilton for his entire time in office, but the new policy will create a paper trail for residents to follow to learn why a particular professional was chosen.”
  • A bill to impose a death penalty moratorium which passed the Senate last month (30-6) but has been held up in the Assembly has now gained Assembly leader Joe Roberts as a cosponsor.