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

Payne & Rothman cosponsor Murtha’s bill

Updating my diary on the NJ delegation and Iraq exit strategy legislation:

Payne and Rothman signed on to Murtha’s bill on 12/7. As of 12/8, Murtha has 59 cosponsors including leader Pelosi and an early cosponsor, Holt.

Is the rest of the delegation too distracted by the Menendez pick?

Payne remains the only NJ cosponsor of McGovern’s ‘cut the funding’ bill , which only has 14 cosponsors.

Rob Andrews Unsure About Primary

A press release sent out today.

Statement by Rep. Rob Andrews

I extend my congratulations to Congressman Menendez. I know that we will work together for the benefit of the people of New Jersey.

I am in public life to serve my constituents and to advance the causes and ideals that will make our country stronger. With respect to the Senate race in 2006, my top priority is to change the misguided policies of the Bush Administration that are putting our jobs at risk because of runaway deficits, our safety at risk because of our reckless foreign policy, and putting our national unity at risk because of a divisive right-wing social agenda.

I will consult with my family, friends and supporters in order to determine the best way to advance this agenda, and the causes and ideals to which I have devoted my efforts in the Congress.

CALL about the Patriot Act Reauthorization

Let’s hope some of the senators can be moved on the flag burning amendment and that Menendez won’t provide the vote to allow it to pass. Of course if the reauthorization of the Patriot Act goes through in the next week, we’re in big trouble on civil liberties.  We will be taking a step back and the hard won compromises will go out the window. 

Call our NJ senators as well as Feingold, Kennedy, Leahy, also Larry Craig, R-Idaho; John Sununu, R-N.H.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Ken Salazar, D-Colo who have said in the past they want the civil rights protections put back in.  The following 800# was working yesterday for the capitol switchboard (800) 614-2803.  Tell them to filibuster the Patriot Act reauthorization and push for a 3 month reauthorization, so they can go back to the drawing board and work the civil liberties protections back in.

The 800# number is being provided by a coalition of peace groups including Peace Action.  Senators also need encouraging to come up with a bill for the Senate pushing harder for an exit strategy from Iraq.  It’s unlikely they’ll do anything more on that next week.  (Parts of?) the Patriot Act expires Dec 31, so they have to do something about it next week.

Primaries Benefit Democracy (and don’t hurt candidates)

One minute after it became clear that Menendez was Corzine’s choice, the calls started coming in for “unity” to avoid “a bloody primary battle” that would “hurt our chances to hold the seat.”

In every race in every place, some candidate’s supporters (usually the frontrunner; always the party leaders’ choice) calls for “unity” to avoid a “damaging” primary. Those who don’t heed the call are labeled foolish, or worse, disloyal. Over at Swing State Project, and elsewhere, it’s stated as a given that a primary diminishes the democrats’ holding the Senate seat.

Is there any actual evidence to support the anti-democracy mantra that primaries hurt general election chances?

I’m all (tiny little) ears.

We’re Number 4!

A year later, and with the death penalty much in the news, including the 1000th person recently being put to death in the United States since capital punishment was resumed 28 years ago, it bears remembering our place in the Gang of 4 Nations responsible for 95% of all worldwide executions:

China, Vietnam, Iran and the United States – perfect together.

So much for promoting a culture of life.

Menendez pick jeopardizes free speech

Last year by a vote of 286-130, the House of Representatives again voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that would essentially repeal a portion of the First Amendment rights to free speech. The Amendment, which would make desecration of the flag a crime, was introduced by disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham and was supported in the House by NJ Democratic Congressmen Menendez, Andrews, Pallone, Pascrell and Rothman. Only Congressmen Holt and Payne had the courage to oppose it.

In the Senate, 65 Senators supported the Amendment – two shy of the 2/3rds needed for it to pass the legislature. Both Corzine and Lautenberg were opposed. As today’s Trenton Times editorial points out (and Sharon already mentioned), Corzine’s decision to move Menendez into the Senate, brings the number of votes “in favor of this frivolous and harmful amendment” to 66. As they point out, if just one member of the opposition fails to show up for the vote, they will have the required 2/3rds, and our nation will move one step closer towards the authoritarian regimes that our flag stands against.

“We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.”
– Justice William J. Brennan in the majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson

Asbury Park Press urges Ocean County freeholders to pass domestic partner benefits

After weeks of silence on the issue, the editorial board of the state’s second largest newspaper is urging Ocean (and Monmouth) County’s freeholders to pass domestic partner benefits for county employees. Extend benefits to gay partners:

The Ocean County freeholders should drop their opposition to extending domestic-partnership benefits to county employees. This would finally allow a county Prosecutor’s Office investigator dying of lung cancer to pass along her pension benefits to her domestic partner.

The freeholders have resisted the request by Laurel Hester of Point Pleasant primarily on financial grounds, citing the impact on the state’s deficit-laden pension system. Freeholder John P. Kelly also has voiced concern that a domestic partnership resolution would violate the sanctity of marriage.

The freeholders are wrong on both grounds. This is a matter of civil rights, a matter of fairness. The state Domestic Partnership Act provides health and pension benefits for state employees and permits counties and local governments to do the same for their employees. The Ocean freeholders should join their colleagues in Bergen, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties, as well as more than 100 municipalities, in passing a resolution extending domestic partnership rights. The Monmouth County freeholder board should do the same.

Menendez accepts; announcement Friday at 2pm

From the AP:

Rep. Robert Menendez late Thursday formally accepted New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine’s offer to serve out the remaining year on his Senate term, Democratic congressional sources said.

Corzine will appear with Menendez Friday at 2 p.m. at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., to formally announce his choice, the sources said. hey spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not yet been made.

Corzine had decided on Wednesday to choose Menendez over several other candidates, but he did not formally offer Menendez the job until Thursday night.

Legislature finally approves pay-to-play bill

New Jersey has weak pay-to-play laws, but permits local governments to enact their own more stringent regulations. Those local laws were set to expire on January 1, 2006 unless the legislature passed a bill to allow them to remain.

Unfortunately, some Democrats in the legislature have taken the lead in opposing any significant pay-to-play ban. As the party in power, they rely on the pay-to-play cycle to keep them there.

On June 27, Sen. Peter Inverso (R-Hamilton) tried to put S-1987 , a bill which would permit local pay-to-play bans to remain in place, up for a vote, but it failed 20-17. Today, however, the Senate unanimously approved the bill which passed in the Assembly on Monday. Codey is a co-sponsor of the bill, so there’s no doubt he will sign it into law.

This bill is a small step in the right direction, but we need comprehensive pay-to-play reform at all levels. Democrats in the legislature should stop making excuses and get it done.