Tag Archive: CNN

Do The Booker Backwalk!

Have you heard about the new dance craze sweeping the nation? It’s called the Cory Booker Backwalk, and it goes something like this:

1) Put your foot in your mouth. Do this by calling “nauseating” and “ridiculous” the completely legitimate questions being asked by the Obama campaign about Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. Bain is a cornerstone of Romney’s message, so what makes the topic unsavory isn’t exactly clear. Maybe, like Steve Kornacki points out, Booker just doesn’t want to anger his many friends (and potential future friends, wink wink) in the finance sector.

2) Take your foot out of your mouth. Do this by frantically publishing a YouTube video intended to squish any notion that Booker would say such a silly thing. Call it a clarification, even if it’s essentially a complete reversal.

Got it? Good, because the Booker Backwalk is all over the news today, and you don’t want to miss out. His pals at Morning Joe think it’s no big deal and are holding out hope for another video of Booker and Christie running hand-in-hand through a meadow.  At CNN they have reported that Booker is “Backtracking Bigtime.” And Talking Points Memo is focusing more on how Booker’s gaffe/possible moment of too much candidness gives Republicans new ammo no matter how you slice it.

It’s interesting that coverage of this debacle casts Booker as a progressive Democrat. Think Progress, for example, calls Booker the “popular and progressive” mayor of Newark, even though Booker’s take on one of  the biggest issues of the day – education reform – is in square alignment with Republican governors like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels and Tom Corbett. Journalist Glen Ford has reported on Booker’s direct ties to the right’s agenda of privatization and union-busting. Just two weeks ago, Booker spoke at a pro-school voucher event sponsored by ALEC. Progressive?

Glen Ford doesn’t think so. In fact, Ford calls Booker “a major player in a huge historical saga in which the corporate right successfully bought its way deep into Black American politics.” That saga, argues Ford, is at the root of the current attack on public education in NJ and across the U.S. Watch and think:

This is Flemington, my town, in tony Hunterdon

We may have all come on different ships.

But we’re in the same boat now.

                    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hunterdon – bucolic, small-towny, rich farmland dotted with McMansions. This is the kind of place Forbes Magazine has recognized and pointed people to for years. We make lists like 4th-richest county in America (richest in NJ), America’s Best Places to Raise a Family – 7th best in the country.

Now they’re calling Hunterdon the new face of food stamps. Hunterdon, where the median household income is $98,000 a year, just saw a spike in food stamp usage in 3 years of 514%. Flemington, my town, is the county seat, a small town with more empty storefronts than it used to have and its anchor, the historic Union Hotel, shuttered. People who live in Flemington generally make considerably less than those in the surrounding burbs of Raritan Twp and Readington. But this has always been a middle-class town.

CNN just came to town to interview people at the Flemington Food Pantry, which has also seen a surge in use, and in usefulness. It’s a wake-up call, for anybody still needing one, of what’s happening to the middle-class.  For some people suddenly unable to make it, it’s bewildering, they’re not prepared, and they never thought they’d “be there”. To be sure, the numbers here started out low. And there are places in New Jersey where poverty is more deeply settled, where people have been struggling for years, for so long that some of the rest of us have forgotten to think much about that. This is what OWS has been about – and Occupy Trenton, and Newark. The census now tells us about half of us are low-income or living in poverty now, a statistic still sinking in, for me. But not for everybody.

If you can spare it, a food bank donation is a great way to honor whatever you’re celebrating this season.

Short ad. Click to stop video at end, or CNN will play their next video

From CNN:

Occupy Trenton: Waiting for “Here Comes the Judge”

While we await the judge’s decision in the October 26 ACLUNJ court case on behalf of Occupy Trenton, a similar federal case in Tennessee resulted in a favorable ruling for Occupy Nashville. Polls show growing support for the Occupy Movement, particularly among Democrats. Occupy Trenton continues to work on strengthening its infrastructure and defining its goals. Even Governor Christie has expressed his opinion on the occupation.

The Mercer County Superior Court judge who presides over the Occupy Trenton case is the Hon. Mary C. Jacobson. In February 2009, she broke legal ground by granting permission to a lesbian couple married in Canada to divorce in New Jersey, saying the state has a long history of recognizing marriages that are valid in the country or state where they are performed. (However, same sex couples married elsewhere are accorded civil union status in NJ.) More recently she put a temporary halt to “robo-signing.” In August she provided approval to four banks to resume uncontested foreclosures in New Jersey. The fact that twelve days after the hearing we do not have a ruling may be a result of her extra assignment as chair of the Conference of NJ General Equity Judges.  

Chris Christie on CNN, and then Loretta Weinberg on MSNBC

Fresh on the heels of a Piers Morgan CNN session with Gov. Christie that has to be the softest softball interview Christie will ever have, Loretta Weinberg will be on MSNBC, and she may have some tougher words for the Governor than Morgan did.

Sen. Weinberg is a guest on The Ed Show with Ed Schultz, which runs from 10-11pm. She’ll be the guest in the later part of the show.

Plenty to talk about. Sweeney’s benefits reform bill. Coptergate. Women’s growing disaffection with Christie. The nasty things he’s said about women legislators, quickly becoming a defining element of his governorship (not that droolish Piers Morgan would ever ask him about it). Perhaps the rally taking shape for Monday afternoon on the State House Steps to demand the restoration of state funding for women’s health.

Whatever it is, it won’t be as boring as the Christie CNN love fest. Piers Morgan tweeted tonight that this interview will spur a lot of Republicans to urge Christie to run for president. But I doubt it. If he runs, that’s the end of fawning interviews like this one. And given that Christie’s even willing to commandeer anti-terrorism choppers to fly places where people tell him he’s wonderful, I doubt he’s ready for the kind of questions people actually running for president tend to get.  

Sneak Peak #2 of CNN Christie interview tonight: Education & liberals

On Piers Morgan Tonight – 9pm tonight on CNN – the full-hour interview with Gov. Christie unspools with Christie commentary on a number of issues – including coptergate, during which this was taped – and warm ‘n fuzzy moments with Mary Pat. Told a famous constituent of his asks why he sends his kids to parochial schools if he’s such a big believer in the education system in New Jersey, his answer is: That’s none of her business. Then he goes on to complain about his $38K property tax bill, most going to public schools, while making sure to claim he’s not complaining.

Christie then excoriates the “liberal, know-nothing thinking” that prompted the unnamed famous person’s question. Who knows, he might be talking about you …

Show airs on CNN tonight, 9pm.

Sorry, can’t scrub the brief ad from the code.

Full-hour Tuesday night: Christie on ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ (CNN). Here’s a sneak peak.

Nobody who’s made any serious study of Chris Christie expects him ever to admit a mistake or man-up and take responsibility for his own wrongdoing. This from a guy who drove the wrong way down a street, hit a motorcyclist and sent him to a Trauma One hospital, then blamed that guy going the right way for the crash. Not to mention blowing $400M on a hissy fit against NJEA. So, one of the things you’ll see in Piers Morgan’s full-hour interview with the Governor tomorrow night (taped last week at the height public attention to liberties he’ll take with taxpayer money for his own comfort and desire to show off to Iowa GOP bigwigs, is Christie once again denying he did anything wrong. You can write this crap. But the comparatively new Christie habit of pushing his kids in front of him to shield himself from blame (or try to) really brings out the ick factor.

Show airs Tuesday night 9pm on CNN.

Sorry, couldn’t scrub the 30-second ad from the code.

Coptergate Update: Press Conference & Some Math that May Not Add Up

FYI – CNN is going to cover Christie’s presser live as soon as the Governor steps into the room in Denville. Expect some serious questions to be asked.

UPDATE post-CNN presser coverage: Well, apparently this is all your fault, New Jersey citizens. Christie just told America he reimbursed because he didn’t like the “distraction” and “political theater” questions about his behavior turned into. He also blamed the press: This is a “fun media story” and you “like to write these things”. He even stood behind his kids, saying he’s Gov 24/7 but he’s also a father (heard that song before with his irresponsible trip to Disney during NJ’s blizzard). He says he was told there was no cost, which I guess means he’s also blaming the State Police. One thing’s for certain, he’s not blaming himself. He’ll continue to use his own judgment when he copters. And might even take it to another ball game.

Bottom line: I wrote a check. Damn you for making me do it. Now, STFU, because I am Christie and you cannot tell me what to do. People more important than you came from Iowa to promise a shower of money on me. And I’m so down for that. I am what I am and I do what I wanna.

Okay, I’m just going to completely overhaul and update this diary. Because, wait a minute. Some of this does not add up. Follow along with me:

(1) Yesterday, State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes told reporters that his boss’ travel to his kid’s ball game and then to meet Iowa GOP bigwigs didn’t cost the taxpayers anything, and Christie’s little trips are just counted as “training time”. So … if that’s true (and if it was never cover-up bull forced on the State Police by the front office), then what’s Christie reimbursing for, exactly? Yeah, looks like they needed to scramble together a new version of the facts over at Christie, Inc.

(2) Yesterday, State Police spokesman spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones said Christie’s trip Tuesday included 1 hour of flight time (Star-Ledger).

Cost of the helicopter per hour is $2,500/hour (Star-Ledger)

Got that?

So …Christie and NJGOP are reimbursing New Jersey taxpayers $2,251 to “cover the cost of all trips,” according to Christie spokeswoman Maria Comella (AP)

So … if he flew an hour, it costs $2,500/hour to fly, and he’s only paying $2,251 … are the taxpayers picking up the rest of the cost? Or, are the Christie’s getting a cut-rate?

(3) Another question arises out of numbers not adding up and what may be chaotic information coming from the Christie front office. For example, check this out: AP and Star-Ledger have entirely different versions of what NJGOP is kicking in $919 to reimburse the taxpayers for:

  • Star-Ledger says that $919 pays for a Christie trip to another ball game.

  • AP says that $919 is to pay for carrying Christie to his meeting with Iowa GOPs.


    Christie’s behavior regarding the state helicopter use has been troubling. This math, if we’re reading it right, is confusing. Christie’s about to have a press conference that is being carried live on CNN, it should start in a few minutes.

  • Lame Stream Media?

    Just wondering why, with 100,000 people standing inside and outside the state capital in Wisconsin, all I am hearing about on CNN is Charlie Sheen’s drug-addled rant, controversy over an actress buying some narcissistic ad time and then wishing the Tea Party a happy birthday.

    Did the Koch brothers acquire CNN?

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Friday, Aug. 20, 2010

    Potosnak and Adler make it into CNN’s Top 100 House Races

  • For very different reasons.

  • Runyan takes to the airwaves to bash Adler.

    Lautenberg & Menendez meet with Lockerbie victims’ families

  • As they labor to uncover whether a BP oil deal was behind the early release from prison of the Libyan convicted for blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 22 years ago, both our senators will meet with the families today – one year after Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi’s got freedom.

    Poll: New Jersey doesn’t agree much with Christie’s Hanson Report

  • Quinnipiac poll finds New Jerseyans want the state to do pretty much the opposite of what the governor’s panel recommends.

    Christie: The Movie

  • A 20-minute film about Chris Christie’s first 8 months in office will premiere Sept. 8 in a D.C. theater, and on line. Yes, really. (it’s an extended Republican Governors Assn. ad).

  • Watch a preview.

    We’re on the dark side of the moon

  • When Howard Dean wants a NYC mosque to move, and an ACLU-NJ staffer lauds Chris Christie (for saying the opposite).

    Shouldn’t Someone in New Jersey Be Prosecuted for Pension Fraud? Here’s a Nominee.

  • Slate Magazine says they think they know whose fault it is that NJ became the first state ever charged with securities fraud. Who it is might surprise you.

    No bail for Joe Coniglio

  • Former NJ state senator was hoping to be released from federal prison camp in Lewisburg, PA while his appeal is being reviewed.

    NJ Legislature

  • Assembly bill aims for more training, accountability in emergency medical services.

  • Counties without county executives will now have veto power over specific actions of county authorities, as per legislation signed by the Gov today.

    Riding the rails

  • NJ man pressures transportation officials to fix rusting, crumbling railroad bridges.


  • Trenton: Auditors find that school district officials deliberately kept inaccurate records.

  • Passaic County: After expressing interest in sheriff, Girgenti backs Currie’s decision to go in another direction.

  • Hoboken: Former council candidate accused of bank fraud.  
  • NJ-7 Lance/Potosnak & NJ-3 Adler/Runyan on CNN Top 100 races list

    Two NJ races show up in CNN’s Top 100 Races to Watch. These are the kinds of posts I hate to do because there are plenty of other places where politics is reduced to horserace. But I’m posting this info because it confirms what we’ve always said here: Forward-thinking candidates who inspire voters with a vision of meaningful progress deserve to do well, and sometimes defy expectations. And politicians who compromise the ideals they were elected on, often don’t get the chance to lather, rinse, repeat. So –

    CNN’s list is broken down into 2 categories. It’s  bad news for one NJ district, and good news for another. Both races involve incumbents elected to open seats, and now facing their first re-elections. Bad news first (you already know it):

    NJ-3 John Adler is on the 50 Most Vulnerable House Seats list: In 2008, Adler benefitted tremendously by the fluke power struggle between GOP power brokers in Ocean & Burlington counties after Rep. James Saxton retired. That feud that had nothing to do with him but created an opening, and Adler was prepared to walk through it. But Republicans have their act together this year (at least, by comparison). Of course, they gave the nomination to a pro football player with a mean reputation on the field and a political profile that ranges from woefully unprepared to downright embarrassing, , who crumples under normal press scrutiny. So, given Runyan’s obvious chinks, Adler should be walking away with this, even given Runyan’s sports wattage.

    But he’s not. Adler’s got base problems. His opposition to meaningful health care reform pleased conservatives, but infuriated many of the people who elected him. And the problem with pleasing the other side is they won’t love you at election time – they’ll still choose their own, Runyan. (Perhaps smelling blood in the water, the GOP just added Adler to their target list for their first big ad buy). John Adler’s website.

    NJ-7 is on the 50 House Races to Watch list:

    The news up here’s way better. Leonard Lance, like Adler a skilled politician, was savaged in the GOP primary by 3 Tea Party challengers. He spent big bucks defending himself, and had only $359K cash-on-hand as of the 6/30 report (compare to Adler’s nearly $2 million). He’s weakened, but his time in the Senate and GOP legacy family are advantages. Ed Potosnak, the Democratic challenger, is a much more grassroots candidate – the fundraising powering his race comes from many small donations. But he’s savvy, and his negotiation of political pitfalls is assisted by time he spent as an Einstein Fellow working alongside Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in Washington.  He scored early with infrastructural Dems in all four counties by aggressively cultivating relationships with the voting county committee members who decide endorsements.  Even in battle-scarred NJ-7, Potosnak – who is younger by a generation than Lance – Potosnak’s work ethic and warm, wonky personality are cracking open some hope. Ed Potosnak’s website.