Tag Archive: Joey Novick

The Confederate flag over Flemington, NJ

Last night, Dylann Root – whose Facebook photos show him wearing the flags of apartheid Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa – opened fire on men, women and children in prayer killing 9 in Charleston’s historically-important Emanuel A.M.E. Church. Today, the Confederate flag is flying in front of the South Carolina State House as it has every day for decades.

Here is a photo I took a few minutes ago, of the Confederate flag displayed in a house in Flemington, New Jersey where I live.

That flag in South Carolina speaks of that place, and what its leaders tolerate. My story isn’t about the official flying of that flag; Flemington’s stars and bars are in a private home. But where that flag is positioned to face – a certain business in town – speaks of this place, of some of its people and of who the Republicans in this town are willing to be.

Follow me below the fold; I have a story to tell.

Confederate flag, Flemington, New Jersey

In Flemington tonight: School security plans leaked, Will there be more calls for resignation?

Tonight 7pm is the first meeting of the Flemington Borough Council since an explosive meeting – one week ago tonight – of the school board that serves the same town. We’ll know by tonight if there’s reverb from last week, and whether Republican members of the Borough Council, some of whom were leaked confidential info and apparently didn’t report it, have anything to say for themselves. Here’s what’s going on:

School security documents leaked: At last Monday’s Flemington-Raritan School Board meeting, we learned that Board member Alan Brewer (Flemington) sent details of the emergency security plan now being drafted for all the district schools to 10 Republicans active in Flemington politics. Board member Anna Fallon, who confirmed this leak via public records request, demanded Brewer’s resignation. Board member Robin Behn also demanded Brewer resign. And that was echoed during the meeting’s public comments, including from me. I am a Flemington resident and Brewer represents me on that Board.

Why is that a big deal? What Brewer leaked are plans that first responders need immediately in an emergency, like what hallway kids are told to run down to escape if there’s a shooter in the building, or where the hidden cameras are placed. Now that info has been leaked past the confidentiality of school officials. That plan was expensive and months in the making. But what is far worse is the risk to the safety of children and staff that Brewer might have caused.

Who did Al Brewer leak to: Erica Edwards (Flemington mayor), Brian Swingle, John Gorman, Phil Greiner and Phil Velella (the Republicans on Flemington Borough Council), Bill Reed (Republican Party municipal chair), Marcia Karrow (former state senator), Bob Hauck (former Flemington councilman), Mary Melfi (Hunterdon Clerk) and Elaine Gorman (Councilman Gorman’s wife, who represents her voting district to the Republican Party).

My question to the 10 Republican he leaked to: Why didn’t you immediately report this breach to the Board?

Raritan Twp. waters down, then fails to pass gun resolution

But I would also offer that there’s over 800 other towns and cities – as well as 5 towns within Hunterdon County – who have decided this is not a constitutional challenge, this is about safety. So, you would not be the first – we even have one Republican town in Hunterdon County whose mayor signed on to this. So, it shouldn’t be political …

Michael Pohle of Raritan Twp., whose son Michael was killed at VA Tech

Last night, Raritan Township took a sensible resolution – calling on NJ lawmakers to close loopholes in the national background check system, limit availability of military-style weapons & high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime – and watered it down. And then they failed to pass even that.

What’s remarkable in two township meetings on this issue is that Raritan residents spoke up for the resolution – and with one exception, everyone who showed up against it lives somewhere else. Far away, some of them.

Among supporters of the resolution – from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and signed by over 800 cities in America (more than 80 in NJ) – was Michael Pohle. Pohle knows more than he wants to know about gun violence. His son was shot to death at Virginia Tech. Pohle said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ and that the meeting sounded more like a “Republican conference,’ in line with our congressman, Leonard Lance. Lance is a GOP footsoldier trying to distract from a national post-Newtown call for common sense pushback against the gun lobby by focusing only on mental illness. Badly.

As sad-assed as what we watched Raritan Twp’s electeds do last night, it’s better than the charade we saw last month in Flemington. Councilman Joey Novick (a member of my household) brought the resolution to council and (GOP) Mayor Erica Edwards refused to even put it on the agenda. It’s “not borough business,” she said.

Joey Novick Knocks ‘Em Dead at NN12

Blue Jersey’s Joey Novick appeared tonight at the Laughing Liberally comedy show that put the exclamation point on the finish of a long day here at Netroots Nation in Providence, RI. I’ve never heard Joey’s schtick prior to tonight, but I can tell you that the man is as funny on stage as he is in person.

I’ll be posting my thoughts about the conference periodically on my blog.

The Love of My Life is a “Clueless Liberal”


Usually I try not to engage the get off my lawn! folks. Partly that is because history has taught me how boring, how sometimes troubling those conversations can be. Part of it, dude, is that I live in Hunterdon. I am surrounded. I swim in the blood-red soup of the county that delivered Chris Christie his highest-percentage victory (eat my dust, Ocean County). I have friends and neighbors who define, promote and fund the other side. I reserve my politics for direct organizing, and for the homeblog and other writing.

Some of the friendly faces around me would cheerfully step in the way of a woman walking into an abortion provider, or write a check to somebody advocating murdering one. Some of them would cheerfully send my adorable little cousin, the brand new National Guardsman, to a pointless war for oil in some roughneck part of the world that would get her killed.

I live in Hunterdon, which means I talk politics all the time with people I don’t agree much with (though, more than they think, sometimes). I’m endlessly interested in the opinions of people with dramatically different worldviews. But I don’t much care what snarly dogs have to scream about.

And that brings me to Paul Mulshine. Mulshine, in a column under his byline for Star-Ledger Sunday, called the love of my life, Joey Novick, a “clueless liberal”. I thought all week about letting that go. What Paul Mulshine thinks, or very often appears not to think, about anything doesn’t matter much to me. Mulshine seems pretty interested in Blue Jersey, which is fine with me. His opinions are predictably harsh –  he likes to call us ignorant, amateurs and neophytes full of class envy, saddled with shocking ignorance. Boo boo boo. I couldn’t care less, except that when we’ve had to express substantial criticism of Mulshine’s colleague Tom Moran, like we did here for example it’s impossible not to remind Moran that we go a lot easier on him (and with more cogent arguments) than Mulshine does on us (so much Mulshinola, still the best thing I’ve read on the man).

But as to replying directly to Mulshine? Feh. I can’t see the point. Man’s stock in trade is to be grumpy, a crank. Get off my lawn!. That doesn’t interest me much.

But this week, he called Joey Novick – my family – a “clueless liberal”. And what was Joey’s crime in Paul Mulshine’s tilted world? Well, Joey sat down and conducted a nearly 40 minute videotaped interview with Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll for Blue Jersey, with our Deciminyan behind the camera. MPC’s worldview is very different from mine, probably from yours, from Deciminyan’s and from Joey’s. Believe me. But Joey is endlessly fascinated with conservatives and libertarians, how they became activated to the way they think, the spark to their ideas. And you know something? If you only talk to people who already agree with everything you think, who dress like you, vote like you, greet each other with the same secret handshake and talk in pre-approved  codes, you’ll live a very comfortable life. But you won’t necessarily learn how to craft a great argument or persuade anybody of anything, ever. And Joey’s about what makes people tick.

Joey likes to find the bedrock ethics of some of the people on the right, and use their own assumptions of the world to show them the world a way they might not have thought of. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the right-wingers are trying to work their own voodoo on him (he remains my true blue). But it’s interesting.

Joey’s known Michael Patrick Carroll for several years; they’re friendly. And I have to say, the assemblyman couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming to his lefty interviewer and videographer (this whole deal was Deciminyan’s idea – I give him big credit). We appreciated his willingness (even though some of our own readers thought we’d gone around the bend, or were kidding that we let MPC into the clubhouse).

Believe it or not, Joey’s friendly with Mulshine too, and Mulshine’s insults this week just roll right off his back (not mine). Some other pretty well-known conservatives too, on both the state and national level, Joey knows. He’s an interesting guy. Liberal, but not the way Mulshine means it (pond scum). But Joey’s nobody’s “clueless” anything.

Have a nice day, Paul Mulshine. And get off your own lawn.