Tag Archive: Star-Ledger

QOTD: Lapdog Republicans won’t cross their supreme leader

The Star Ledger has an editorial up today blasting Assembly Republicans for failing to stand up and override a veto from Governor Downgrade of legislation that would have allowed SNAP enrollees to receive additional food stamp benefits when they qualified for $21 in home heating assistance. Then they provide us with the quote of the day:

“The override vote failed because the lapdog Republicans in the Legislature decided feeding children and seniors wasn’t worth crossing their supreme leader.”

Take the poll below and tell us if you think Assembly Republicans will muster up the courage to stand up to their fearless leader and override any of his vetoes before we have our next Governor?

How The Media Spreads “Truthiness”: Star-Ledger Edition

Perhaps my favorite media critic is Bob Somerby, who, for years, has run his Daily Howler blog completely independently.

Somerby’s primary thesis is that the media loves to write “scripts” about politicians. Once a script is established, facts are then distorted, twisted, and sometimes straight-out made up to support the preferred conventional wisdom that has been accepted and endorsed by those who occupy influential positions in the press.

These scripts have a standard form: a trivial, useless “fact” tells us something allegedly important about some prominent person. Perhaps the most famous example is Al Gore is a liar: he said he invented the internet! It doesn’t matter that Gore never actually said it; what matters is that it has been repeated so many times that it has become “truthy.” And it can be thrown into a column or a TV appearance casually, the declaimer knowing full well that, even if they are challenged, they can simply shrug off any criticism.

I’m reminded of Somerby today after reading what is an otherwise serviceable column from the Star-Ledger’s op-ed page editor, Tom Moran. Moran, writing on the fallout from Chris Christie’s Cowboy-gate scandal, says this:

A second look at today’s poll on a gas tax

Headlines all too often do not do justice to the article which follows, particularly where there are multiple issues being reported. A quick look at a headline or even a reading of an article about a poll often fails to provide the nuance revealed in the poll’s totality. This morning the Star-Ledger headline for an Eagleton-Rutgers poll is “Nearly 60 percent of N.J. residents oppose gas tax, with most saying state’s roads are just fine, poll finds.”

It’s true that for highways (excluding toll roads) throughout New Jersey respondents indicate conditions are excellent/good 54% and only fair/poor 44%. However, for local roads the respondents say excellent/good 39% and only fair/poor 60%. (The poll does not specifically mention bridges and over-underpasses which are expensive and important but not often thought as part of the total cost.)

It’s also true that when respondents are told legislative leaders have proposed increasing New Jersey’s gasoline tax, a majority oppose such a plan. However when asked, “with gas prices having fallen at least 70 cents per gallon in the last few months, do you think it is a better or worse time to increase the gas tax?” they respond 53% better, 34% worse. Furthermore when asked “If the only way New Jersey could raise the money to maintain and improve the state’s roads were to either raise the gas tax or borrow the necessary money, which would you prefer?” they answered raising the gas tax 58%, borrowing money 27% and neither / maintenance improvements not needed 10%.

The Star-Ledger article (but not the Record article) does mention the issue of borrowing money in the final paragraphs. It quotes the Poll Director David Redlawsk, “It may be that the only real hope for increasing support for the gas tax hike is to pit it against less desirable alternatives – borrowing the necessary money to fix roads or doing nothing at all.” Perhaps that is the most important message in the poll.  

Shorter @tomamoran: We Had To Destroy Camden to Save it

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

The fact that Tom Moran gave himself gobs of print space in the op-ed section of today’s Star-Ledger solely for the purpose of kissing South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross’s posterior pretty much tells us all we need to know about that newspaper’s sad decline.

But I just want to point out a few things for the record that Moran, as usual, completely misses:

– Let’s start with Moran’s rather selective memory about the history of policing and Camden:

For the drug dealers and gangs, things got even better when Camden was hit by the double-whammy of the Great Recession and cuts in state aid. City leaders raised taxes by 23 percent in 2011, but with so little property to tax, it wasn’t enough.

They went begging to the police for concessions, but the union wouldn’t budge. So despite the crisis in violence, nearly half the force was laid off in 2013. Violence, predictably, exploded. Response time mushroomed to 60 minutes.

You’ll notice that Moran’s construction, true to form, glosses over the massive cuts in aid to Camden Chris Christie made — all while lowering taxes on the wealthy and handing out tax goodies to corporations — and instead places most of the blame on public workers.

Moran goes on to catalog the many alleged abuses of Camden’s Finest, neglecting to mention that these brave men and women went out every damn day into what is arguably the most dangerous city in America, risking their lives. When’s the last time Moran ever wrote an op-ed thanking these people for their work, instead of publicly shaming them?  

QoTD to Politico: Scott Garrett “among the potential losers”

Quote of the Day goes to Politico, in a piece posted today, Mysteries in the race for the House:

Republicans are also fretting they could fall victim to some upsets. Among the potential losers are New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett and Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, both of whom are accustomed to easy reelection wins in conservative districts. Upton, the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, launched a late batch of TV ads, an indication that he’s taking his race seriously.

Is this race, close as it is and with so much energy flowing to and from Cho’s Ridgewood HQ, still an uphill climb? Yes, it absolutely is. Garrett is a 6-term incumbent. He’s been carried for years by the fact that his brand of do-nothing governance has been acceptable particularly to voters in CD5’s western territory, heart of NJ’s Tea Party. As the right fringe has taken control of the GOP, Garrett has become complacent. He has been for years. But this year, it’s cost him. Only one key newspaper – in crimson Sussex – endorsed Garrett. Every other – Star-Ledger, The Record, Express-Times, even The Jewish Standard – endorsed Cho, citing his energy and connection with voters against Garrett’s intransigence and dishonesty on Sandy. A retrograde culture warrior who wants to eliminate a woman’s right to choose and not enforce anti-gay hate crimes. Against that is Cho, a “smart and educated centrist,” as Star-Ledger calls him, with a “fresh look at government,” as The Record notes.

Garrett seems to know what’s up, because he’s been called out for ducking debates, perhaps unwilling to put his tired anti-gubmint routine up against the higher-energy Cho, who makes every effort to connect with CD5 voters. It just happened again today. Garrett declined a live video chat with the Ledger. But, working for every vote, Cho showed up.

Below the fold, Roy Cho takes questions in a live chat with statehouse reporters Matt Friedman and Brent Johnson. WATCH:

#NJ5: Scott Garrett moves to avoid another head-to-head with Roy Cho

Star-Ledger 5th Congressional District Live video chat

When: Monday, 11:45am

Hosts: Statehouse reporters Matt Friedman & Brent Johnson  

To Participate: Tweet questions using hashtag #AskGarrettCho or post here.

Candidates: Roy Cho. Scott Garrett declined the invitation.

Low-energy, appearance-phobic Garrett: With the 5th congressional district race coming down to a few dozen hours now, Roy Cho’s strong grassroots challenge to entrenched Tea Partier Rep. Scott Garrett is still one of the hottest stories this election cycle and the one that is most consistently getting national attention. Garrett is New Jersey’s peerless worst in Congress. A federal government functionary who expects re-election to a Congress he’s committed from the inside will do nothing to move the country forward. The ethically bankrupt far-right he champions is so distasteful inside the 5th CD that even moderate Republicans are rebelling. The sheer force of incumbency may not be enough this time to protect the low-energy Garrett. And stuff that he once got away with, he’s being called on now: Star-Ledger called him a “champion of fiction” for his campaign’s attempt to paper over his real record on Sandy relief – he was an impediment – to look better to voters. Then they endorsed him, so did The Record, and a clean sweep of every newspaper read in the district that’s endorsed – even in conservative Warren County.

Hard-charging Cho: In contrast to Garrett’s misuse of his privileged position is Roy Cho, whose campaign has defied expectations, and without some of the national Dem funding other candidates have had. Is Roy Cho the right candidate to topple the Tea Party? Dunno. What I do know? Energy is high.

Garrett head-scratchers: When Garrett comes out, there can be some icky moments. Take the this WNYC interview where Brian Lehrer talked first to Cho, then Garrett. First Garrett says he believes there is “no role for public education” and later when he has trouble explaining his No vote on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because of “unconstitutional provisions” he then couldn’t name (listen at 17:49).

Does Garrett think he can afford to ignore Bergen? Last week, Garrett ducked a candidate forum in Bergen, where most of his constituents live. And that was only sponsored by a League of Women Voters group, and organizations of rabbis and Jewish women voters, two African American organizations and The Jewish Standard newspaper. So I guess for Garrett the risk of pissing off major district constituent groups is worth the risk of not being able to keep up mano-a-mano with a confident and well-supported Cho.

Monday: The Ledger says they’ll forward Garrett’s questions to him, and post them when (if?) he answers. But Cho will be there.  

5 Reasons I urge you to back Roy Cho – Now.

#CHOmentum Online Flash Fundraiser for Roy Cho

If you’re looking for a place to throw some GOTV jingle, I recommend you get behind Roy Cho’s surging campaign. Today’s Team Cho’s 24-hour “flash fundraiser” – Fund the #CHOmentum.

Here are my reasons why I urge you to back Cho:

(1) Do it for Hurricane Sandy victims: It’s the 2-year anniversary. Garrett is dishonest, promoting himself as helpful to victims. In reality, he’s the only member of the NJ delegation who refused to sign a letter urging House leaders to act, and he was silent when his party’s Speaker Boehner delayed a vote. (He was against Katrina funding, too.) Star-Ledger calls him out – bigtime.

(2) Garrett’s destructive: He distrusts and undermines the very federal government he wants you to re-elect him to. That’s nuts.

(3) Newspaper endorsements, a near clean-sweep: The Record endorses, citing Cho’s “fresh look at government.”. Ditto Star-Ledger, Express-Times & Jewish Standard.

(4) Rain Hell down on the Tea Party: Rep. Scott Garrett is NJ’s worst in Congress, a Tea Party guy from before that was a thing. Boom.

(5) Send a message to the DCCC: Respect grassroots work. Not for nothing, but Team Cho got to within striking distance on their own. Even when House Majority PAC pulled funds out of Aimee Belgard’s race (DCCC’s only designated NJ Red-to-Blue race), did it go to Cho, whose climb merits support? Nope. It went to Norcross, whose race is pre-ordained by his brother’s power. F*@k that shite.

Give to Cho if you can. Today. He deserves it. And we deserve another fighter in the NJ delegation. GO.

ICYMI: Audio of CD5’s only ‘debate’ & 3 huge endorsements for Roy Cho

We had all three of these in the Weekend News Roundup. But it was a gorgeous day outside, so maybe you didn’t see it. And this is a BFD. So here are 3 huge news organization endorsements for Roy Cho. And below the fold, audio of the only event Rep. Scott Garrett would agree to have with the now-surging Democrat Roy Cho. Star-Ledger excoriated Scott Garrett. The Record, go-to daily in CD5’s most populous county cites Cho’s “fresh look at government.” And The Jewish Standard, which hardly ever endorses anyone, says Garrett’s dismissal of an important invitation to meet voters “should have ramifications” on Election Day.

No matter how you feel about Scott Garrett, this is undeniable: After serving 12 monotonous years in Congress, he isn’t what you call a Tough Read.

Essentially, the Republican from New Jersey’s Fifth District was an ideologue from the rattletrap Far Right long before the Tea Party was ever conceived; he is a retrograde culture warrior who wants to eliminate a woman’s right to choose and not enforce anti-gay hate crimes; and he is a pint-sized government monomaniac who regards all cuts not merely as cost savings but as shimmering moral triumphs.

Star-Ledger: Roy Cho for Congress in the fifth district

Cho is a political novice. He does not have Garrett’s decades of government experience. What Cho does have is a fresh look at government. He speaks of the need for inclusive debate.

     – The Record: Cho in the 5th District

He did not take questions from the Jewish Community Relations Council, nor from the hundreds of people who went to Temple Israel in Ridgefield for the forum. He did not show up. Our report on the forum on page 8 accordingly is very one-sided. That’s not our choice. That’s Congressman Garrett’s.

Given the chance to come to address the Jewish community, Scott Garrett declined. Those of us who live in the 5th District will remember that on election day. We hope you do too.

– The Jewish Standard: Voting for the candidate who shows up

Star-Ledger journalist alums: Requiem for a Newspaper

Star-Ledger alums

I love this photo of last night’s gathering of some of the old hands now gone from the Star-Ledger, as the Ledger itself is now gone from Newark. That was the subject of discussion last night at an event on the Rutgers Newark campus called Requiem for a Newspaper: the Star-Ledger Leaves Newark – a bittersweet title. It is most certainly now gone from Newark, whose name it once carried on the masthead and housed in a nondescript office building in Woodbridge.  I asked our friend Bob Braun, who was on hand last night along with mayor Sharpe James, and others, what the discussion got him thinking. Bob: