Tag Archive: featured

Kuperus’ Garden State

The first in a series of videoblogs with top cabinet officials in Trenton.

This week, Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus discusses locally grown goodies, “food miles,” environmental stewardship, agri-economics, green energy and more.

And…for the aurally inclined – you can get the audio version here. 

Or – take it on the go as a podcast by subscribing through iTunes, or your own favorite podcatcher.  You don’t need an iPod – any MP3 player will do, even that cheap one you got at Columbus Fleamarket!

(Hat tip to our podcast wiz Rob for the quick turnaround time on everything podcastable!)

LoBiondo: Troop Splurge Failing in Baghdad

The big news today is that after returning from a trip to Iraq where he wasn’t even able to get a tour of the capital, Congressman Frank LoBiondo has finally acknowledged reality: the troop escalation is not working in Baghdad.

Of course Gannett News went with the predictable headline “NJ congressman: Troop ‘surge’ works … outside Baghdad” rather than the more relevant fact that reality has finally seemed to pierced his bubble of denial. At least somewhat.

No, the splurge is not working, because it can’t. There isn’t a military solution to the situation. And nobody should need a dog and pony show through Iraq to understand that. More American troops have been killed this summer than in any before since the war started, and August isn’t even over yet:

June-August American Deaths
2003 113
2004 162
2005 217
2006 169
2007 229

LoBiondo has so far been complicit in enabling the war to continue by rubber stamping whatever the President has asked for without any demands for accountability. That is why the military is spinning it’s wheels while chaos ensues around them. They were given an impossible mission thanks to LoBiondo and his colleagues’ unwillingness to demand more for them.

He’s finally acknowledged things aren’t working. How much longer will he allow our troops to continue to die in Iraq without a plan for bringing them home safely?

How You Can Help Sustain NJ’s Progressive Movement

Earlier this summer the folks at BlogPac had launched a nationwide contest:

“to find the five best new, grassroots progressive infrastructure projects in America, and provide those projects with the money, exposure, and connections necessary to get off the ground.”

We think what we’re doing at Blue Jersey is pretty innovative, especially our coverage of Trenton and hiring an intern.  So we made our pitch and said a Hailmary and hoped for the best.

Well, we just found out that of the 100+ applicants Blue Jersey snagged top prize, a $5ooo grant to sustain our efforts in Trenton while taking Blue Jersey to the next level of online activism here in the Garden State.  How cool is that?!

BlogPac also chose four other netroots innovators whose ideas you simply must read all about!  The amount of talent and innovation  in the liberal blogoshere is pretty amazing and it feels really good be be in such company. 

Since the grant’s purpose is to help this project “get off the ground”, it’s up to us to keep it going.

So we’re turning to you – the Blue Jersey community – to help us do that. In order to make this sustainable, we need the continued support of the community. It’s as simple as that. 

To do that, we’re turning to BlogPatron – a new website that lets supporters of independent communities like Blue Jersey support their favorite sites through a monthly contribution. The benefit to you is we won’t have to beg for support every couple of months, while knowing that you’re directly supporting the work we’re doing.

Our goal is to have 50 readers supporting our efforts on a monthly basis.  That would go a long way to creating a sense of continuity and help us continue to grow and build.

So if you want this to continue and grow, consider making a small investment today in the future of New Jersey’s independent, progressive community: $5, $10, $25 or whatever you can afford.

You guys are the wind beneath our wings and we love you for it.  But you also love us too  or you wouldn’t keep coming back.  Worth a small investment wouldn’t you say? 

Who wants to go first?

New Poll Shows Strong Support for Marriage Equality

Garden State Equality today released the results of a Zogby poll they commissioned. The poll has a sample size of about 803 likely voters and a margin of error of +/-3.5%. The big result is that a plurality of the state supports marriage equality:

Q: New Jersey allows gay couples to enter into civil unions but not marry. Do you agree or disagree that New Jersey should give gay couples the same freedom to marry as heterosexual couples?

Agree: 48.1%
Disagree: 44.6%

Even 28% of Republicans surveyed agreed with the statement along with 48.5% of independents and 61.5% of Democrats. But the more interesting division is along generational lines:

Age Agree Disagree
70+ 35% 60%
55-69 42% 48%
35-54 51% 39%
25-34 55% 43%
18-24 77% 23%

It’s clear that as the new, more open-minded generation replaces the old, equality is inevitable. Poll respondents overwhelmingly indicated that regardless of their position, change is coming soon:

Q: Regardless of where you stand on the issue of allowing gay couples to marry, do you agree or disagree that gay couples will be allowed to get married in New Jersey in a couple of years anyway?

Agree: 61.2%

Disagree: 28.3%

Even 55% of Republicans believe it will happen. Besides New Jersey’s residents that until now have been delegated to second class status, the poll also brings good news to legislators. The poll showed that the legislature also has nothing to fear from granting equal rights:

Q: Which of the following do you think is most likely to happen to legislators if they were to allow gay couples to marry?

Nothing would happen because people care about other issues more: 71.8%

Those legislators would not be reelected: 20.8%

That view is pretty consistent for Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters.

Finally, voters were asked how they would react if the legislature determined that civil unions were not effectively providing true equality and decided to grant true marriage equality:

Q: If public officials in New Jersey come to the conclusion that civil unions for gay couples have not worked to provide equality under the law, and that the way to fix the law is to give gay couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples, would you be fine with that or would you be upset by that?

Fine with that: 62.5%

Upset by that: 31.1%

Perhaps most surprising is that even among Republicans, only a narrow majority of 50.6% would be upset with the move while 43.2% would be fine with it. This might be a good time for them to remove the Hate-mongering divide and conquer chapter from the campaign playbook, unless they want to slice and dice their own party up. Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein noted the importance of this result:

“Regardless of whether any public official supports marriage equality or wants to maintain the state’s failed civil unions law, no official in New Jersey can credibly say that marriage for gay couples is a divisive issue in the state. Even voters who oppose marriage equality are ready to accept an upgrade of the state’s civil unions law to real marriage equality.”

Asked how they would react to companies that refused to provide same-sex couples with the same rights they grant to straight couples, 35% of respondents said they would be less likely (15% somewhat less and 20% much less) to do business with that company.

Now, if you knew that a company refused to give the same benefits to gay couples that it gives to straight married couples, would that make you much more likely, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely, or much less likely to support that company with your business, or does it make no difference in your support?

Much more likely: 7.8%

Somewhat more likely: 3.5%

Somewhat less likely: 15.3%

Much less likely: 20.1%

No difference: 50.5%

Overall these are incredibly encouraging numbers. A plurality of residents support marriage equality, they believe it is inevitable, and only a small minority think there will be any backlash from it. The only piece missing is the legislature that until now has been completely tone-deaf and way behind the electorate.

Is Opposing the 6th Amendment Really A Good Campaign Strategy?

The Sixth Amendment is pretty clear in guaranteeing the right of counsel to the criminally accused in America:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Given such Constitutional clarity on the matter, why is it that Republicans continue to attack Assembly candidate Tracy Riley for a judge assigning her husband to defend one of the accused Fort Dix Six? In an article featured in Campaign & Elections yesterday, here’s what Riley opponent Dawn Addeigo had to say:

“I do believe everybody is entitled to legal representation,” said Republican candidate Dawn Addeigo, a practicing attorney. “But there is an inherent conflict in representing this man who threatened Fort Dix and those who live in the surrounding area. [Riley] wants to represent those same people [in the Assembly].”

How is there a conflict of interest here? Since Mr. Riley is committed to defending one of the most important Constitutional rights that exists, his wife is somehow a terrorist-coddler? That’s just laughable! Every accused person, in the American legal tradition, gets a defense attorney. Everyone. Period. Mr. Riley didn’t choose this case; he was assigned to it by a judge. He’s just fulfilling his civic duty– defending the Constitution.

The Burlington County Times has already slammed the kind of sleazy attack Addeigo is peddling, calling it “political manuevering at its basest” that assumes “Burlington County voters are stupid.” Joe Pinto, President of the County Bar Association has already said folks making this kind of attack “need a civics lesson on what the Constitution provides.”

Such shameful attacks are repugnant to founding spirit of the American legal system. And they reek to high heaven of a desperate GOP, willing to slime even the Constitution to try and score a cheap political point.