Tag Archive: Mike Doherty

This week: Gonna be some PHYSICS up in here (thanks to Princeton & PPPL)

New Jersey – at least its Democrats – have something of a history with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a  U.S. Department of Energy national lab managed by Princeton University. Rush Holt, my old boss and NJ’s former scientist-congressman, was an administrator there before he came to Congress representing NJ’s left flank (and CD12), defeating supercomputers, advocating less hackable voting systems and better funding for science research & education. These days, Holt’s got a larger role repping science itself. But now another denizen of PPPL, its Science Education chief Andrew Zwicker, is running for Assembly in LD-16, which has more Ds than Rs (including heavily-Dem Princeton) but is longterm-repped by Republicans.

It’s why I still have a PPPL Google alert. So I wanted to pass on to those of you whose wonkiness extends from politics to science, this: All week, PPPL’s offering live-streaming of lectures on plasma physics & fusion energy that students in PPPL’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) and other programs are attending. The SULI Internship brings students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to the Lab from all over the U.S., pairing them with PPPL scientist mentors.  Lecturers include scientists from national labs like PPPL and Sandia and universities including MIT, Michigan, Columbia and TCNJ.

Yeah, it’s heavy. And you’ve already missed the introductory stuff this morning. But it’s all week and it looks fun to me. Here’s all the info:

The REAL Objection to Adequate School Funding

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Every once in a while, the school defunders give away the game:

[NJ State Senator Mike] Doherty [R- Tea Party] also brought up what he said was another broken promise from Christie. He said the governor had promised to make equal school funding a key theme of the 2013 campaign, in which all 120 seats in the Legislature were up for grabs. He expanded on that when I spoke to him Friday.

“It was the perfect issue for putting Democratic suburban legislators on the defensive and rallying our suburban base,” said Doherty. “But instead of fighting for school funding, it was all about running for higher office.” [emphasis mine]

State Street Juxtaposition: “Fair School Funding” & Occupy Trenton

Right now, there’s an interesting juxtaposition going on in Trenton. The Occupy Trenton folks, who have addressed American economics by pointing out the increased concentration of wealth in the country’s most privileged, have been maintaining 24/7 vigil for more than two weeks under a veterans memorial dome across the street from the State House, and broadcasting live video feed, with live chat, for almost that whole time.

They just turned their camera around when a podium made its appearance across the street in front of where the New Jersey legislature does their business. They’re catching on camera a press conference. It’s hard to hear, as you pick out words behind the buses, cars and street traffic of West State Street. But I believe we heard Senator Mike Doherty talking about his “Fair School Funding Plan”. Chiusano and Cardinale were also mentioned, and it’s possible they spoke. It may be their entire GOP stable. Somebody just mentioned Senator Loretta Weinberg in no doubt unflattering light.

What’s ironic is that the start of this press conference is that Mike Doherty’s school funding ideas are simply dripping with economic resentment that the “Abbott districts” are eating school funding that Doherty and other GOP reps of the wealthy suburbs think should be flowing to the suburbs. Got to have balls to make an economic resentment argument 50 feet from Occupy Trenton, which   is making a more credible argument of real economic malady affecting millions, not the mere slight of wealthier suburbs helping to underwrite the needs of school kids elsewhere in our state. Families that probably fit closer into that 99%.

Below’s a screen capture. Here’s Occupy Trenton’s live feed:

Occupy Trenton Screenshot 2011-10-24

Welcome to New Jersey, Ron Paul

RonPaul-150x150My state Senator, Mike Doherty, is endorsing Ron Paul for President today at noon at the State House. The Democrats are staging a little welcome of their own to protest his arrival. No speeches, just a stand that the Tea Party that Ron Paul’s candidacy represents is wrong-headed. If you want to join them, find them at Dem state HQ, 194-196 West State Street, Trenton.

I can’t go, but I wish I could. If only to spot the misspelled signs that make their appearance at pretty much every Tea Party rally.

Ron Paul is commonly known as the intellectual godfather of the Tea Party movement. Paul, an interesting dude, is often referred to as the intellectual godfather of the Tea Party movement. I don’t think Paul is any dummy, but the idea that there’s any common understanding that the Tea Party movement has much intellectual heft only proves how nonsensical the idea of a ‘liberal media’ really is. The Tea Party was conceived and funded by people whose corporate interests directly benefit from the swing in policy the Tea Party proposes. And it’s peopled by, well, many of my neighbors here in Hunterdon County. God’s country, as the local Democratic Chair loves to remind people.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Tea Party. I like, and am charged-up by the fact that thousands of people who were for the most part non-voters who did not engage much with politics – but of course engaged with their communities all their lives as we all do – were encouraged to jump in. I have to like that; I’m a civic-engagement junkie myself. My appreciation of the movement does not in any way extend to its leaders. The Tea Party was conceived and funded by people whose corporate interests directly benefit from the swing in policy the Tea Party proposes. So, they can go to Hell. And, once they’ve got their followers hooked (and hook them, they do) they do nothing to encourage their people to think for themselves. Therein lies my strong dislike. I’ve been to a few big Tea Party gatherings And this brand of scary-assed crap is common.

Mike Doherty is my Senator. For now. Legislative redistricting blessedly lifted me out of his LD-23 and into LD-16. And I agree with Doherty on, I think, only one thing:

I don’t think the United States should be the world’s policeman. It’s bankrupting the country and chewing up a lot of good young men.

Right on, right on. Beyond that, Mike Doherty and I don’t have much in common. We won’t be supporting the same presidential candidate. And the fact that Doherty doesn’t agree with much in Paul’s platform but is still aligning himself, has much to do with the fact that Doherty’s looking for powerful friends and allies as he considers his next move to challenge Bob Menendez. Of course, Joseph Kyrillos also has that move in mind. And he already has a powerful friend.

His name is Chris Christie.  

Don’t tangle Hagedorn in some web of GOP position-jockeying

Today’s Express Times carries an editorial strongly urging a rethink of Gov. Christie’s plan to close Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital, and they quote Sen. Mike Doherty – who reps the region and says he wants it open – saying Christie is “mulling” his decision. Hagedorn, the only state-run facility specializing in mentally ill elderly, is also a haven for many patients who encountered abuse at other institutions.  

TParty food fight (at each other)

Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine has ended his neutrality and chosen sides in the ongoing war between various tea party groups and their respective supportive bloggers on the internet.

Now it’s gotten to the point where TParty standard bearers like Steve Lonegan are getting hit by stray pies in the escalating political food fight. A real casualty is uberwingnut Mike Doherty, who may have some cracks in his base to take on Joe Kyrillos for US Senate next year. If Doherty has any realistic chance to beat Kyrillos he needs the TNuts totally united behind his candidacy, and right now that’as not happening.    

Special Master finds Christie cuts hurt poor schools; Republican senator whines

Judge Peter Doyne, the special master appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to handle ongoing Abbott v. Burke litigation, issued an opinion earlier today finding that students in poor urban schools suffered the greatest impact from school funding cuts to poor urban schools in Chris Christie’s first budget. Doyne distills the record, which is thousands of pages long, and his findings of fact on page 93 of the opinon:

1. If the SFRA formula had been fully funded for FY 11 an additional $1.6 billion would have been required;

2. Despite the State’s best efforts, the reductions fell more heavily upon our high risk districts and the children educated within those districts;  

3. The aid reductions have moved many districts further away from “adequacy”; and

4. The greatest impact of the reductions fell upon our at risk students.

The special master’s hearings and opinion constitute the record upon which the Supreme Court will base its decision in this most recent round of the Abbott litigation, and the court is likely to give a great deal of weight to his recommendations. Barring a dramatic shift in the court’s approach to school funding cases, the court will probably declare Christie’s cuts unconstitutional.

Most Republicans realized that the special master is simply doing his job—namely, answering the questions the Supreme Court asked him by finding facts based on evidence applying the law as set out in statute and caselaw—and therefore directed most of their criticism at the Supreme Court. But one Republican State Senator aimed his infantile rant against the ruling not only at the State Supreme Court, but the special master as well. That Senator is Mike Doherty, and as a lawyer, he should know better. He must understand that the Special Master, like lower court judges, has no authority to overrule the State Supreme Court or ignore its opinions. Yet Doherty would have the Special Master disregard a quarter century of precedent from the same Supreme Court that appointed him.

Doherty may think the Abbott cases are bad precedent. He’s entitled to his own opinion, one that the Christie administration surely shares and will probably argue before the State Supreme Court. But he shouldn’t attack the special master in the press for doing his job.