Tag Archive: Ohio

President Obama to NJ Wednesday, Romney Embarrassing Himself in Ohio

The President will skip a planned trip into battleground Ohio tomorrow, and come here. He’ll be with the Governor. From the White House Press Office:

Tomorrow afternoon, the President will travel to New Jersey where he will join Governor Christie in viewing the storm damage, talking with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thanking first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities.

What’s Mitt Romney doing? He’s in Ohio, where he announced he’d swap out a campaign event to host instead a ‘relief rally’ and asked supporters to bring items to his rally – instead of donating cash directly to the Red Cross (far more efficient for the Red Cross mission). There is some conflicting info about where those supplies are destined, with one report saying Romney was only sending to swing states he might win and not to New Jersey and New York. And another late report, after that one, that a Red Cross facility in NJ was accepting those supplies. Romney ducked questions from reporters about whether he would defund FEMA – see Mitt Romney in 2011: ‘We Cannot Afford’ Federal Disaster Relief.

Before Pres. Obama arrives in NJ, he’ll be in the office working on pumping some federal dollars into New Jersey. Earlier today, the President signed major disaster declarations for New Jersey & New York. This makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties. That can mean temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs for recovery post-Sandy. In other areas, damage assessments are ongoing, and more counties may be added (please, let that be Hunterdon, land of horizontal trees and live wires). White House:

The President will remain in Washington, DC on Wednesday to monitor the response to Hurricane Sandy and ensure that all available federal resources continue to be provided to support ongoing state and local recovery efforts. As a result, the President will not participate in the campaign events that had been scheduled in Ohio tomorrow.

Well, I want him in Ohio. But we need him in New Jersey.  

Bread & Roses

There’s a song at the end of this. I’ll dedicate it to women in NJ’s labor movement.

Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the most important moments in labor history, in women’s history, and in American history. From AFL-CIO blog:

The Bread and Roses Strike

On Jan. 12, 1912, some 25,000 workers at the mills of the American Woolen Company in Lawrence walked off the job when the company cut their pay-already a mere $8 a week for the men, and less for the women and children-after the state legislature passed a law shortening the length of their workweek from 56 hours to 54 hours. Workers stayed off the job for months, enduring beatings from police and the Massachusetts militia, who spared not even women and children.

Massachusetts, not New Jersey. Yes, this is outside our coverage area, same as when I took note of the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (NYC). A history professor at University of Massachusetts calls Bread and Roses “the first Occupy”–  “the 99% against the 1% of 1912.” Income disparity drives the Occupy movement, now a crossroads. And Labor is in flux, weakened in some states as historic collective bargaining rights are being challenged to varying degree. Wisconsin. Indiana. Ohio. New Jersey. There’s something in the story of this strike – led by women, and successful – that’s still inspiring. Especially to women.

When I was very young, one of my mother’s friends in the school integration movement outside Detroit (where we lived) gave her a song – Bread and Roses – she said reminded her of me: Bread and Roses. An amazing song, Judy Collins’ silvery soprano and Mimi Farina’s liquidy mezzo. And it’s about the best compliment I ever had.

Late-night musical bonus. Listen – under the fold.

Governing New Jersey – Making Fundamental Changes in a Sluggish Bureaucracy

The following is an extract from a white paper that I sent to selected New Jersey legislators. A link to the complete paper, including references, is at the end of this post.

Pundits are fond of pontificating that “government should be run like a business.” What they are really saying is that since businesses answer to shareholders and must squeeze out every cent of profit, those who run a successful business must constantly keep their eye on the bottom line. From there, it’s an easy leap to the conclusion that every decision made by a business or government entity should be viewed through a fiscal lens.

Like all simplifications, the pundits’ manifesto has some grain of truth, but upon closer inspection one realizes that the real world is much more complex.

First, running an entity “like a business” is not a recipe for success. Remember Borders? People Express? Enron?

Like running a government, running a business requires the use of continually improving tools and techniques. But tools in and of themselves are not the answer.

Take, for example, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno’s “Red Tape Commission.” No one can argue that the elimination of red tape is a good thing. Or can they? Some so-called red tape provides the checks and balances necessary to ensure that promoting a good business climate does not have the side effect of destroying the environment or putting unsafe products in the hands of consumers. So while the elimination of unnecessary red tape is a desirable goal, one must wonder if that’s the real impetus behind this commission. The Guadagno Commission is a Band-Aid, not a long-term solution. As we will describe later, the real goal is the elimination of waste, not red tape. There’s a difference.

Click here for the entire article.

Fracking Causes Ohio Earthquakes – NJ Next?

Hydraulic fracturing – better known as fracking – has been popping up in New Jersey a lot lately. It’s a process whereby natural gas is shaken loose and captured from deep underground deposits. Fracking is widely controversial for multiple reasons, all of which relate to the safety of the practice. We’ve reported on it a few times here at Blue Jersey.

Well, it looks like those urging caution and re-evaluation of the practice might not be alarmist party poopers after all. In Youngstown, Ohio, fracking waste water caused two earthquakes on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. The quakes measured 2.7 and 4.0 respectively on the Richter scale; they did little damage and no one was injured. However, scientists know for sure that the quakes were in fact caused by the operation of a fracking waste water injection well used by nearby Northstar Disposal Services. How do they know this? Because between March and November of 2011, nine earthquakes took place in the otherwise earthquake-free Youngstown area. Nine! And so the Ohio Department of Natural Resources teamed up with scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LEDO) to place seismographs around the area, to test what seemed like the glaringly obvious answer: that the fracking waste water operation was, in fact, causing earthquakes.

The Christmas and New Years quakes provided the LEDO scientists with conclusive evidence – with a 95% rate of certainty, that fracking caused all 11 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio between March and New Year’s Eve.

Fracking – it makes people sick, makes tap water flammable, fills dangerous pipelines and CAUSES EARTHQUAKES.

Here in the Garden State, the latest action in this fight came in November when the Delaware River Basin Commission decided to postpone a vote on natural gas regulations which could have opened the door to the construction of up to 35,000 fracking wells in the Delaware basin. That basin provides drinking water for 15.6 million people – 5% of the population of the United States. The postponement of the vote was considered a victory by environmentalists, but it was only a delay – not an outright rejection of fracking.

New Jersey should ban fracking, as well as the transport of natural gas acquired through the process – at the very least until the EPA completes its study on the practice’s safety, which concludes in 2014. (One can only hope the EPA will incorporate the Youngstown earthquakes into their final report.) This summer, legislation banning the practice was sent to Governor Christie; he issued a conditional veto, weakening the ban to a one-year moratorium with no teeth and all of the important loose ends left un-tied. And though legislators are currently considering override legislation that could protect NJ against future DRBC regulation changes, it’s not clear why the DRBC would move on fracking at all without some clarity from the EPA.

Fracking is an issue that impacts all of New Jersey. Here are recent related bits from Cumberalnd County, Jersey City and Trenton.

And if you know anyone in Ohio, they can help by signing here.

On the Floor of the Senate, Sen. Sherrod Brown calls out GOP Gov. Christie

The other day, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown took to the Senate floor to point out the difference between Christian teaching as he understands it and what is being practiced in the governors office of his own state (that’s Gov. John Kasich) and in Trenton (Christie) and Wisconsin (Scott Walker).

We actually picked up the video from a scandalized (presumably) right-winger, who thinks Brown is “slandering the religious faith” of those men. Actually he’s discussing what that faith actually teaches.

Brown talks about the Rerum Novarum, the words of Pope Leo XIII in 1891. This is Catholic social teaching at its most fundamental, the foundation of doctrine developed by the Catholic Church over decades on matters of poverty, wealth, economics, social organization and the state. It was no wild-eyed lefty document; it abhorred communism (but also unrestricted capitalism) and supported the right to private property. But it also talked about how the free market cannot escape moral responsibility:

Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.

Poverty. Fairness. Equality. Egalitarianism. This is the bible Sen. Brown wants to remind our governor about; as he targets workers on behalf of the wealthy. Increasingly, particularly in Christie role as Mitt Romney’s traveling pitbull, you will see our booming governor as the hero of the wealthy against the rest of us, and model for lesser GOP leaders.  Brown nails the tensions Christie should be feeling, but probably is not.  Watch:

GOP Voter Suppression (Again!)

There are few Republicans that I would consider voting for. But if I see a member of the GOP who I think would bring the party back to becoming a viable loyal opposition instead of a bunch of extremist corporatists, I would consider voting for that candidate.

Shelley Lovett was such a candidate in the recent election, a Republican running for Assembly from the Fourth Legislative District in Gloucester County. While she lost to political neophyte Gabriela Mosquera, Lovett was the kind of Republican we need in Trenton. When I met with Lovett back in October, she said “public education is the most important thing we can give our children” – heresy in the Christie religion.  Lovett was open to the idea of giving voters a say in the establishment of charter schools and had concerns about the use of standardized tests in teacher evaluation as proposed by Governor Christie’s “reforms.” Lovett’s Assembly running mate, Pat Fratticcoli, is also a member of that dying breed of moderate Republicans, and had either one been elected, I would not have been disappointed.

President Obama in Columbus, Ohio

The president and First Lady are rallying with Democrats in Columbus, Ohio tonight on the Ohio State campus, with a gaggle of performers including John Legend as a warm-up act. I’m going to post this now while the other performers and speeches are going on. The latest news I have from DNC is that the President will walk to the podium around 8pm.

This is the smaller view. Let me know if you’d prefer I post the larger widget.

Adopting a new label for teabaggers

Today, Ohio’s state Democratic chair publicly referred to teabaggers as “f*ckers”. Chris Redfern made his remarks while talking to the United Steelworkers. See the article and video on HuffPo:

http://huff.to/9IAstZ

Now all the other state party chairs need to follow this example. I call on John Wisniewski to make clear that Dems in New Jersey regard teabaggers and their leaders as a bunch of f*ckers. And that’s being kind.