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?

Latest Posts

Coming Soon: NJ Politics 101

The first version of New Jersey Politics 101 should be ready to go within a matter of days. In it, we cover the following:

Government/Politics: Federal Representatives, State Government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial), County Government, Local Government, Democratic Party, County “Bosses” and Primary Elections.

Issues: Highlands, Suburban Sprawl, Urban Issues, Pay-to-Play, Home Rule, Property Taxes, Verified Voting, Women in Government, Stem Cell Research, and Domestic Partners.

Important Names: John Adler, Dick Codey, Leonard T. Conners Jr, Jon Corzine, William L. Gormley, Tom Kean, Jr, Bob Menendez, George Norcross, Joe Roberts and Bob Toricelli.

We already received lots of great suggestions from the community, and we hope to continue to improve the document by incorporating more of your ideas. If you think there are any major topics that we’re missing, let us know in the comments below. If you’re interested in contributing to the document, send us an email.

A bad advertisement for Rutgers University’s journalism school

I started out at the Rutgers University journalism school back in the late 1970s but ended up switching my major to English. It had become apparent that a J-school degree was just an English degree for people who didn’t want to read, and since I like to read I decided to read things that were substantive, rather than struggle to retain consciousness through the umpteenth debate over some evanescent thought-experiment about journalistic ethics. Especially when most of those thought-experiments were on the level of Bart Simpson debating theology in Sunday school: “What if a robot had a human brain and it died — would it look like a robot in heaven?”

I’ve been told that the Rutgers J-school has become a great deal more substantive since then, but you couldn’t prove it with this op-ed piece by David Greenberg, who teaches journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, and who takes what might charitably be called a contrarian position on the exposure of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA operative and New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s grandstanding over her role in the affair. To Greenberg, the crime is not that Plame’s identity was exposed — the crime is that her identity was a secret to begin with and that the people who exposed it are now subject to prosecution:

Toxic Legacy in New Jersey

At Wolfe for Congress*, the “webmaster” is telling the story of three decades of failure in Ringwood, NJ.  It is exactly the sort of situation for which the Superfund was created, but Congressman Scott Garrett (5th CD) appears to be dragging his heels on the situation.

Is Tom Kean Jr. a Moron?

If there is any justice in this world, this should effectively end the 2006 Senate race before it even begins. From the Hunterdon Review by way of David NYC at Swing State Project.

Kean said he sees democratic gains in Syria and Lebanon as evidence of the United States’ ability to help foster freedom in the region.

As David put it, “Democratic gains in SYRIA? Is he KIDDING?” This is a huge gaffe for someone running for the Senate. Simply put, there have been no Democratic gains in Syria, especially not as a result of the Iraq War. Here’s an instructive passage from earlier this month in The Guardian that he pulls to illustrate just how wrong Kean is about Syria.

It was early in the morning as Anwar al-Bouni drove to the court in Damascus where he works as a human rights lawyer. He had just spent 10 days in hiding, afraid that the regime was trying to frame him in a criminal case to silence his outspoken views. He barely noticed the two motorbikes next to him.

When he slowed to make a turn, the second bike pulled up and the pillion passenger kicked at Bouni’s door. He stopped the car. “What happened? What’s the matter?” he said. The man jumped off the bike, opened the door and began punching and kicking Bouni.

“He didn’t say anything. He just beat me on my head, my nose, my mouth. He hit me, he kicked me and then when people started to gather around us, he got on the bike and drove off,” said Bouni, sitting in his apartment chain smoking, and sipping black coffee. He was bruised and badly shaken, but escaped serious injury.

The incident was a crude reminder of the perils of criticism in Syria’s closed society. During decades of dictatorship all opposition movements have been firmly repressed. There are few who dare to publicly condemn the regime. Bouni is one of them and now he is too scared to go back to work. Others have been forced into exile or sent to jail.

While both David any myself are understandably mystified at Kean’s ignorance of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, it’s interesting that Kean is indicating that he will be running as a Bush ally. Here are a few quotes from the Hunterdon Review profile:

The war in Iraq looms as a flashpoint in the campaign, and Kean said had he been in the U.S. Senate in 2002 he would have voted in favor of authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq.

“Applying any moral lens to Saddam Hussein and what he had done to his own people, seeking to remove him from power was the right thing to do,” said Kean….

Kean said he does not believe American boots on the ground are stoking the flames of an insurgency so much as serving as the harbingers of a new era in the Middle East….

The candidate would have voted for the renewal of the United State Patriot Act, he said.

Now, to be fair, there are a few things tucked in the article that indicates Kean is willing to at least appear independent. He says that he finds some of the aspects of the war frustrating. He pays lip service to the idea that you can’t deliver democracy at the barrel of a gun.

But none of that obscures the fact that, at the end of the day, Tom Kean Jr. wants to go to Washington for one reason and one reason only — to be a rubber stamp for George W. Bush and the national Republican Party.

Is the DSCC Trying to Mess With NJ?

Ok. This isnt directly about NJ, but it sort of is, so bear with me….

On Wednesday (11/16/05), DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) chair, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), started interviewing potential candidates to fill Corzine’s seat in January. These interviews were not supposed to be leaked to the public, however, (in true Washington tradidtion) within HOURS Schumer leaked them to the AP.

This irked alot of potential senators, as they were not interviewed. Some notables who were not met with include Bill Pascrell and Donald Payne. Both of these men have made it blatently obvious that they were interested in the vacant seat.  Even Acting-Governor Codey have mentioned that Payne would be a good choice for the seat.

Then the question must be asked “WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THE DSCC THINKING??????” Corzine Camp has said publically that they have a MAJOR issue with what Schumer did. And I don’t blame them. Who gives them the right to choose the man who will represent our state in the Senate? Corzine and his advisors should be asking for the DSCC’s opnion on whom they should choose but oh wow, the DSCC took it a step too far.

(More Below)

Whatever Happened to Thanksgiving?

I’ve come to grips with the reality that there are some aspects of my childhood that will simply not be repeated for future generations.  Things like: watching a black-and-white TV with a set of rabbit-ears and having the incredible choice of three channels, watching the McDonald’s being built and counting the days until Ronald McDonald would whip out his huge scissors and the first Big Mac in town would be sold, and hearing from the pulpit that our faith should be shown, not shouted.

And I’m wondering how long it will be until Thanksgiving disappears. Christmas, despite right wing attempts to portray it as “under attack”, will never disappear.  The twin American Gods of Football and Shopping (both of which bow down before Gluttony) are simply too powerful.  Quite simply, there is too much cultural significance to Christmas for it to be endangered.  

Thanksgiving, however, gets a parade, two NFL football games (Dallas and Detroit), and – oh yeah, let’s not forget a four day weekend.  That four days is about the only thing that keeps Thanksgiving going.

Republicans Refuse to Honor Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen famously was “born in the USA,” but he’s getting scorned in the U.S. Senate.

An effort by New Jersey’s two Democratic senators to honor the veteran rocker was shot down Friday by Republicans who are apparently still miffed a year after the Boss lent his voice to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

The chamber’s GOP leaders refused to bring up for consideration a resolution, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, that honored Springsteen’s long career and the 1975 release of his iconic album, “Born to Run.”

No reason was given, said Lautenberg spokesman Alex Formuzis. “Resolutions like this pass all the time in the U.S. Senate, usually by unanimous consent,” he said.

Telephone calls to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s office seeking comment were not immediately returned.


Murtha’s bill & the NJ delegation

The Repug’s are pushing for a vote today on Murtha’s bill.  He’s a defense hawk who is asking for troop withdrawal from Iraq within six months, since he doesn’t see the point of continuing.  

In an attempt to stop the momentum generated by Rep. Murtha’s courgeous
stand yesterday, it looks like the Republican Leadership is going to hold
an ‘up or down’ vote on Congressman Murtha’s Iraq resolution (H J Res 73)

Take one minute and call your Rep. urging them to vote yes on Murtha’s
bill for immediate withdrawal from Iraq!
Capitol Switchboard:
(while this is not the perfect bill, it does call for immediate withdrawal
from Iraq.  This sudden vote is an attempt by the Republicans to silence
the call for an end to the war, we cannot let them succeed!)

Sue Udry
Legislative Action Coordinator
United for Peace and Justice

I called Pallone, Holt, Andrews and Menendez’s offices.  The staff won’t state their positions, but the vote is up next on the floor (4pm).  They are supposed to adjourn at 6pm.

Will this vote affect their jockeying for the senate seat?

A conservative Christmas tradition

While waiting for the Wednesday morning traffic report on the way to work I had to endure the sound of Jim Gearhart playing Dr. Moreau to a livelier-than-usual mob of New Jersey 101.5 mouth-breathers, all whipped to a frenzy by the notion that Christmas is about to be banned by secular humanists in league with the ACLU.

This tired refrain, which used to be the province of the Tim LaHaye/James Dobson crowd (the sort of religious hysterics who scream about persecution because the eagle on the national seal hasn’t been replaced with a 3-D image of Jesus), is apparently going to be a popular conservative Christmas carol for years to come. I guess it really took hold last year, when Bill O’Reilly started babbling about liberals stealing candy canes off his Christmas tree and Ann Coulter exulted that whenever she said “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” she felt like she was saying “Fuck you.” Leave it to the family-values crowd to set an uplifting tone for the holidays.

Now, I’m sure we’re all impressed by the ability of right-wingers to turn anything — even Christmas! — into a vehicle for resentment and political attacks, but I’m also a traditional kinda guy. So let’s set at least one ground rule — no lying about Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. The radio squawkers should like that: after all, there’ll be more people on the roads driving to the malls to do some shopping. And it will give the term “Black Friday” a whole new level of meaning. How about it, wingers?

Cross-posted at The Opinion Mill.

Runoff Voting

The Times of Trenton yesterday posted a letter about runoff voting from Steve Welzer, which discussed the Green Party’s impact on recent elections. He mentions that the Green Party candidates each received more than 2,000 votes; if those votes had gone to the Democrat Robert Morgan, the outcome of the election would have been different. This is a great argument for Instant Runoff Voting where voters can rank their choices. To quote Mr. Welzer’s letter: