Tag Archive: Tom Moran

Welcome to the Party, Star Ledger

promoted by Rosi

I know this has been covered elsewhere on Blue Jersey (including today’s roundup) but I wanted to comment on the Star Ledger’s change of heart on Chris Christie.  There’s a little happiness that they’ve joined the game finally, but also a little fury that they waited until after the man got power to figure him out.

And two, we have learned more about Christie. His ethics are selective. As governor, he has solicited secret donations from state contractors, a practice he used to consider a form of legalized bribery. When officials at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Authority were caught operating a sleazy, self-dealing patronage pit, he went ballistic in public; but when his friends on the Elizabeth Board of Education were caught behaving just as badly, he barely made a peep.

Yes, this is all guesswork, peering into Christie’s heart to judge his motive. But for the record, our guess has changed.

Of course, we were doing that back in 2005, and the huntsus were having arguments with Tom Moran as far back as March 2007 in which he actually engaged Blue Jersey’s reporting and investigations on Chris Christie.

In re: Boycotting the Star Ledger

There’s been some “controversy” here between a number of front pagers regarding the Star Ledger, Tom Moran and boycotting the paper.  In the last go ’round, I noted in the comments that the blogger writing in support of a boycott did not speak for Blue Jersey, but did speak for himself.  There are a wide variety of voices here, and unless something is posted under the site’s name it is not the site’s opinion.

The same applies to the Star Ledger, which is why I do not support boycotting it (besides the disagreement I have with the interpretation of my fellow blogger).  While Tom Moran said the other day that he supports the bulk of Governor Christie’s program, the Star Ledger today came out with this:

Republicans aggressively fought the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and came away with a big scalp: Warren herself, the architect of the new agency, stepped down as nominee and returned to Massachusetts to run for the U.S. Senate. With any luck, voters there will send her back to Washington to continue challenging those who would shield banks and big business at the expense of the American consumer.

I maintain that we should support a paper that comes out that strongly for a good progressive like Elizabeth Warren, and against shielding the corporations that got us into this economic mess.  And doing it about a race in another state.

A Challenge For Tom Moran:

Dear Mr. Moran:

As the Editorial Page Editor of the largest newspaper in New jersey, you command a pulpit on public policy that is arguably second only to the governor’s. Today, you used that pulpit to, once again, push a specific version of education “reform”:

Sadly, the first casualty could be education reform, the next big item. Christie wants to reform tenure, introduce merit pay for teachers, provide vouchers for private schools, and expand and improve charter schools.

And yet not once in this column – or in previous columns about this subject – have you made the case that this “reform” will actually work.

Tom Moran Almost Says Republicans Wrong

Tom Moran writes a piece today that maybe, sort of, kinda suggests the Republicans may be doing something a little bit, well, not wrong but, you know, ickery.

In a piece noting that slashing the federal budget would cut eleven percent from the already hurting Centers for Disease Control that protect us from things like SARS , teen pregnancy, hospital infections and deadly diseases, he waits until paragraph seven of eight to note the following:

When Republicans say they will not raise any taxes, or even end tax subsidies for oil and gas companies, it means agencies like the CDC take an even deeper hit. And this happens at a time when the federal tax bite is at a post World War II low.

That’s right, Tom.  These cuts are wholly on the backs of Republicans.  If John Boehner would just give an up or done vote on the debt limit with no strings attached it would pass.  Instead he and the Republicans are holding the country hostage in order to put our collective health at risk.

Talk about burying the lede.  This is a 100% artificial calamity created 100% by the Republicans and 0% by the Democrats, and the result will be things like a country more at risk for a major disease outbreak or biological attack.

But let’s keep writing articles that bury the blame, that say both parties are at fault.  Because that’s what an independent, watchdog media is for — confusing a perfectly plain issue.

Tom Moran’s False Equivalency

I like Tom Moran.  I think he’s a heck of a writer, and often has pretty good things to say. However, he has been infected by an insidious sickness running through the news media of false equivalency.  

This is the disease that causes TV news shows to cover evolution by giving the scientists and young earthers equal time, thus creating the impression that both have valid points.  Young earthers do not.  It’s the disease that allows major news magazines to give scientists and oil company shills the same weight when covering global climate change, thus slipping doubt into what is a close to scientific fact as we get.

In Moran’s case, it is the pretense that both Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for the dearth of African Americans and Latinos in the state legislature.  In yesterdays column, Moran’s infection oozed the puss of false equivalency all over the pages of the Star Ledger in an opinion piece called “New Jersey’s parties both fall short on blacks, Latinos.”

Republicans in New Jersey don’t have a single African-American or Latino in the state Legislature. Their governor has none in his inner circle and he has removed the only African-American from the state Supreme Court.

On the whole, their record on minority representation is somewhere between bad and awful.

Not a bad beginning, pretty clear.  A good description of the situation.  Yet for some reason he then goes after the Democrats.

But let’s not just pick on Republicans. Because the Democratic machines that control the slate of candidates are mostly controlled by white men who have a keen affinity for their own kind as well.

Take Camden. When the African-American senator representing Camden resigned last year, the South Jersey machine boss George Norcross knew just what to do: He put his brother, Donald, in the seat.

What Moran doesn’t note is that this anonymous “African-American Senator” is Dana Redd, and the reason she resigned was to become Mayor of the state’s second largest city.  Not exactly a demotion for her.  Oh, and the Democrats also selected Redd as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party and a rep to the DNC for the past six years.  How dare they treat an African-American so badly?

And it’s not until much later that Moran notes that the two Assembly members who run with Norcross are African American and Latino.  So now the three major races in the district are all represented, and — not for nothing, here — that district has more minorities than the entire GOP state delegation.  Again, damn those Democrats!

But Moran tries to redeem himself after using false equivalence to damn the Democrats, noting that while his headline and article has so far slammed the crap out of them,

On the whole, Democrats are light years ahead of Republicans. One in three of their state legislators is black or Latino, and they can reasonably defend the Norcross and Ryan appointments.

But before he completely recovers from his disease, Moran has a relapse by allowing the Republicans to re-frame the debate.  Here’s the final quote of the piece.

“Both sides have to do better,” says Republican Bill Palatucci, a confidante of the governor who is leading this fight over the map. “Since Gov. Kean left office, my party’s record on diversity is nothing to write home about. I’m not saying we’re 100 percent right.  But neither are they.”

And there you have the most exquisite diagram of the virus that causes false equivalence, plotted out and sitting there for all to see.

Republicans have exactly zero African-Americans in the State House or the Governor’s cabinet.  Democrats have more than 20 percent of their delegation as blacks — far higher than the state’s 14 percent African-American population — and 10 percent of their delegation as Latinos — far higher than the state’s Latino voting population.

But Palatucci gets to say, “Our 0% is the same as their 90%. A pox on both their houses!”

And Moran let’s it slide.  

News Roundup & Open Thread for Monday, January 17, 2011

      “Chimps are going ape, giraffes remain above it all.

      Elephants remember, though just what I can’t recall.

      This is the morning report. Gives you the long and the short.

      Every grunt, roar, and snort. Not a tale I distort.”


                                                 – The Morning Report: Lion King

THE KING REPORT

We celebrate today the memory of a a true American hero.

   Video of Martin Luther King’s full speech “I Have A Dream”

   Selected MLK events in NJ

THE WANNABE KING CHRISTIE REPORT

In case you missed it:

   A long, dreary list of Christie’s tax increases.

National Republican Congressional Committee selects Christie as keynote speaker

   at Washington DC fundraiser in March

Tom Moran reminds us Christie did not cut $11 billion in state spending.

   it’s a myth. He cut $2.7 billion.

THE OTHER POLITICS REPORT

After closing Reform Jersey Now,

   Republicans use Center for a Better NJ to raise funds for redistricting efforts.

According to a poll released this morning by Fairleigh Dickinson University,

   U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez  polls “comfortably ahead” of Republicans who may oppose him.

Following the resignation of Sen. Sweeney as Gloucester Freeholder,

   Heather Simmons was selected to fill the seat.

THE MEDICAL REPORT

Five of the 58 family-planning clinics in the state have closed.

   However, Planned Parenthood announced a national expansion that could double the number of abortion clinics it operates in NJ from three to six by 2013.

Compassionate Marijuana Law

   Health Department’s re-proposed regs and RFP

   but Senator Scutari considers rescinding the regs:

   “Every corner you turn there is another obstacle,” he said.

Want to know how your local hospitals compare to others?

   NJ Health Department Hospital Performance Report.

THE SHARING SERVICES REPORT

To reduce top brass and centralize policy making and IT staff,

   Tim Smith, Roxbury councilman, proposes setting up four regional police departments with substations throughout Morris County.

THE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT REPORT

After all that trash talk,

   Jets triumph 28-21over Patriots.

Were you in Asbury Park Saturday night?

   The Boss held the stage for over ninety minutes at the Paramount Theater.

Golden Globe honors Boardwalk Empire

   Wins Best TV Series – Drama, and Steve Buscemi wins Best Actor – Drama.

“The heat is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into the public domain.”

The title of this diary is a quote from an email from CIA officer Jose Rodriguez, former head of clandestine services (sounds sanitary, no?), who destroyed tapes of interrogation of high-value detainees – terrorism suspects – in Thailand early in the Iraq War.

Rush Holt, Chair of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel &  senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke out when the Justice Department closed a 3-year investigation into the destruction of those taped records, without filing criminal charges.

Over the weekend – I’m catching up with it now – Tom Moran published an excellent Q & A with Holt about this, as usual Moran asked a lot of the right questions. I won’t reprint it all here, just the first couple questions, and I’ll direct you to Moran’s post at nj.com for the rest:

Q. What do we know about the contents of the tapes?

A. Evidently, they showed practices that any reasonable person would call torture, practices we would never want carried out against Americans.

Q. Why did CIA officers destroy them?

A. It was not for lack of space in their storeroom. They destroyed them because they contained things they didn’t want anyone else to know. In particular, so that Congress would not learn about them.

The Vindication of Tom Moran

promoted by Rosi

It’s easy to imagine the high-fives and doofy text messages between Christie and his gang when the Tom Moran viral video first started catching on. [Watch the video here – Rosi]

Holy crap, right? He totally took a legitimate question about his confrontational style from a reputable journalist and turned it into a bloodbath! No matter that the governor’s response itself completely answered the question; all attention was now trained on Moran’s twitching remains. Confrontational style? Honest. Refreshing. Move along, and let me humiliate you like the true bully I am, so you never mess with me again. Oh, and everyone in the room better take note. Chris Christie – here to kick your ass if I don’t like the question.

The Moran clip helped cement Chris Christie as a viral video genius.

(find out why below the fold)

Quote of the Day: Someone stamping his feet in a partisan temper tantrum

JRB is out with his latest column looking at the exchange heard round the viral world at this point between Tom Moran and Governor Christie. While the right has gone gaga over their newest hero, Jack has a different spin:

So while the notion is that Christie is an example of the mad-as-hell Tea Party rant-haver, consider that he is just another politician, insulted and pouting that even after winning 48.5 percent of the vote, his partisan power-plays can be infringed upon by pesky details like that his political opponents still have a say in things. See it that way and know that this is less a video of someone putting his foot down on political games, and more of someone stamping his feet in a partisan temper tantrum.

JRB has a bonus quote of the day in the same story, because I just couldn’t choose one:

Gov. Christie’s straight talk ends at the Republican Party line. He’s brought no “common sense” to the statehouse, for he seeks no common ground.

JRB’s whole column is really worth a read. The Governor is getting what he wants though. People are paying attention to the show while taking their eye off the substance, just as Christie would hope. While we watch the show, it’s important we keep peaking behind the curtain to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.