Monday, October 30, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Goin' on the record

My Assemblyman, Michael J. Panter, has a blog where he wrote a post last May about rights for same-sex couples. He was very clear that he would not support a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Does that mean he would vote for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage?

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Assemblyman Brian Stack and Assemblyman (Speaker Pro-Tem) Wilfredo Caraballo have stated that they would propose a bill to allow same-sex marriage. I just put a comment on Asm. Panter's blog requesting he tell us how he would vote. It's time to start hammering away at our legislators, telling them how we feel so they know when they go to vote on the bill (and the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which will be out there too.)

It's time to stand up for what you believe in- "separate-but-equal" simply won't cut it. If some people aren't allowed to use the word "marriage," it ain't equal.

News-You-Didn't-Want-To-Hear Department

As if we needed another reason to lose weight, besides all the health benefits: Weighing more hurts your gas mileage.

Americans are spending more money on fuel these days in part because adult men and women on average are at least 24 pounds heavier than their counterparts were in 1960, a study has found.
Collectively, today's automobiles are burning more gasoline to haul all that extra weight around -- about 1 billion gallons more annually, in fact, than they would if drivers weighed the same as they did in 1960. At recent gas prices of $2.20 a gallon, that adds up to $2.2 billion more spent at the pump each year because of America's weight problem.
"What we have here is a socioeconomic implication of obesity," said (Sheldon) Jacobson, an industrial engineer. "If people decide as a nation to get healthier and lose weight and be fitter, not only will we have a healthier country but we're actually going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil very covertly, simply because we're going to be using less."

So, losing weight is now not just good for your heart, decreasing your chances of certain cancers and reducing your risk of diabetes. It's also a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil! (It also reduces our dependence on french fry oil...)

Google bombin'

I'm with Tami: I'm a joiner, too.

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl--AZ-01: Rick Renzi--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth--CA-04: John Doolittle--CA-11: Richard Pombo--CA-50: Brian Bilbray--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave--CO-05: Doug Lamborn--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell--CT-04: Christopher Shays--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan--FL-16: Joe Negron--FL-22: Clay Shaw--ID-01: Bill Sali--IL-06: Peter Roskam--IL-10: Mark Kirk--IL-14: Dennis Hastert--IN-02: Chris Chocola--IN-08: John Hostettler--IA-01: Mike Whalen--KS-02: Jim Ryun--KY-03: Anne Northup--KY-04: Geoff Davis--MD-Sen: Michael Steele--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht--MN-06: Michele Bachmann--MO-Sen: Jim Talent--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns--NV-03: Jon Porter--NH-02: Charlie Bass--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson--NM-01: Heather Wilson--NY-03: Peter King--NY-20: John Sweeney--NY-26: Tom Reynolds--NY-29: Randy Kuhl--NC-08: Robin Hayes--NC-11: Charles Taylor--OH-01: Steve Chabot--OH-02: Jean Schmidt--OH-15: Deborah Pryce--OH-18: Joy Padgett--PA-04: Melissa Hart--PA-07: Curt Weldon--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick--PA-10: Don Sherwood--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee--TN-Sen: Bob Corker--VA-Sen: George Allen--VA-10: Frank Wolf--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Marriage Equality Decision Today

The State Supreme Court decision is expected today around 3PM. Check with for the latest news.

Keepin' fingers crossed...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keith Olbermann does it again

Special Comment: Advertising Terrorism.

'Long about the 9 minute mark, I swear he looked mad enough to spit.

Everyone knows it's windy

Offshore wind power is a good idea, say residents of Our Fair State:

More New Jersey residents and Shore visitors favor development of offshore wind energy power plants than oppose them, and the margin grows wider if the turbine towers are to be installed farther offshore and out of sight, according to a newly released public opinion report.
Support for offshore windmills was strongest in Monmouth County, where 58 percent of people interviewed at beach locations said they could live with rotors and towers on the sea horizon, according to the poll commissioned by the state Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission.
"Overall, the study found that people favored wind power," said commission spokeswoman Karen Wolfe.
Skeptics and supporters are drawing different conclusions from the public opinion report, which was released Friday by the commerce commission and discussed Monday at a state energy master plan meeting. Based on interviews with beachgoers in the four Atlantic coastal counties during July and August, the report showed that on balance there's support for building offshore turbines, by margins that increase with the distance from shore.
"It's exactly what I said after I did my own survey two years ago," said Michael Mercurio of Island Wind, a private wind research and development firm. "Line of sight is about eight miles out in the ocean . . . About 80 percent of people are in favor as long as they don't see it."
"Because of haze and the curvature of the earth, they're not very visible three to five miles offshore," said Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club, which has supported wind power.

Having a bunch of coastline and medium-bad air quality, wind is something we should be using. Sounds like folks have come to realize that.

Before you shout, "But what about the birds?" read this, and this, and while you're at it, this. To sum up: bird mortality from wind turbines doesn't compare to the numbers that are killed by power lines, buildings, cars & trucks, or anything else. Migratory birds, the ones who would be offshore here Jersey, quickly learn to fly around wind farms. I hope having a cleaner environment will impact birds positively, as well.

Tell it to her Tuesday- embarrasingly short edition

As we might have guessed, Janet's TITMT question is, "What are your favorite bands or artists of today?"

These days being AiP (After iPod) as well as having kids around a lot, I listen to even less current music than I did before. I only have a few from the current decade:

Gorillaz: When I first got the iPod, I bought exactly two songs: 19/2000 and Clint Eastwood. Not long after that, Feel Good Inc. hit the radio, and I recieved both Gorillaz CDs in my stocking this past Christmas. I love 'em both. The videos for the songs are worth seeking out, too. Bonus- Rise of the Ogre comes out next week!

Foo Fighters: we already talked about them. I saw them live last year and it was one kick-ass show.

Cake: already talked about them too. I saw them live about two years ago; also an excellent show.

That's about it. I might add more later if it comes to me, but I'm afraid I just don't listen to too much radio these days. Why bother when I can pick what I like?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clearing the air

Earlier today a friend sent me a link to an article, which I wanted to share with Sunshine and any other pro-smoking trolls who visit CoNJL:

As Smoke Clears, Scotts Breathe Easy Behind the Bar

Since it'll be behind the paywall in a heartbeat, I'll quote here:

The researchers, from the University of Dundee, just down the road, did tests on 77 nonsmoking bar workers in and around Dundee — particularly those with asthma — examining them one month before and then for two months after the ban. Similar research has been carried out elsewhere, including in the United States.

What was most surprising about the study, said Daniel Menzies, its author, was the speed with which health improved — particularly among asthmatics — and inflammation in the bloodstream was reversed. “We didn’t expect to find that,” he said in an interview.

In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Oct. 11, Dr. Menzies, a clinical research fellow in the Asthma and Allergy Research Group at the University of Dundee, said the study showed that the smoking ban “has led to a rapid and marked improvement in the health of bar workers.”

“Indeed,” he added, “on average employees had been working in a bar for more than nine years, but improvements in health were evident only one month after the introduction of a smoke-free policy.”

The tests recorded nicotine levels in participants’ bloodstream and showed that lung function improved by 5 to 15 percent, Dr. Menzies said, with the most significant increase among asthma sufferers. The findings also have implications for the incidence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, he said.

Shock, that. The employees' health improved after they weren't subject to second hand smoke all day! Just like everyone who could read the previous research knew it would- except those folks who will grip their cigarettes until their dying day. Lucky for (non-casino) nonsmoking workers in Our Fair State, our dying day will be a little further off because of the indoor smoking ban.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shameless Plug

Jeri Smith-Ready's new book, Eyes of Crow, has been released and is shipping from Amazon (and others, I'm sure.) Sweet!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tell it to her Tuesday

Janet's Tell it to me Tuesday is pretty predictable this week- last week was 80s, the week before was 70s (and I missed it!), and this week:

What are your top ten nineties artists or bands?

Again, in no particular order:

Foo Fighters: Ok, I lied about no particular order. Am lovin the Foo Fighters. We were almost out of the 1990s when I realized that all those songs I liked were from the same band, and I started buying their albums. If Janet does a top 00s list next week, they'll be on there too.

Matthew Sweet: I remember "Girlfriend" being on the radio a lot when I started dating this guy named Andrew in 1992. He bought the album. A few years later, 100% Fun came out like a kick in the head. Loved it, still do. Some of the more recent stuff is more hit-n-miss, but Girlfriend, Altered Beast and 100% Fun are fantastic albums.

Cake: Like the Foos, this might also be on a 00s list as well. Like most folks, I came in with Fashion Nugget, hearing The Distance on the radio, and have never looked back.

Offspring: Specifically, Smash. We played the hell out of this disk.

Neo Psuedo: You probably don't know who these guys were. If you do, you're lucky, and I'm sure we went to a show or ten together. While the rest of Our Fair State was gaga over Bruce and Bon Jovi, those of us in the Great Free State of South Jersey had the hoppin' local Philly music scene to enjoy. Many a night, we went with Rob S. and other friends to see these guys at the North Star Bar or some other venue, dancin' the night away. (Obviously, that was pre-kids.) These guys are the reason I'm Sharon GR not R, a story for another time. Buy Vanity Frisbee (which is good but doesn't compare to the sound they had live) and see if you can figure out why.

John Hiatt: Papagoose started playing Stolen Moments when we were in college, and I spent the next several years seeking out old and new John Hiatt albums. I know much of his music was recorded in other decades, but the 90s in music means John Hiatt to me.

Black Crowes: Loved Shake Your Money Maker and Southern Harmony and Musical Companion; I kinda lost interest after that. Great stuff, though.

Live: I was just listening to Throwing Copper yesterday. Great disk, that, and Mental Jewelry. If all you've ever heard is Lightning Crashes, you've missed a lot. Go get more.

Stone Temple Pilots: No explanation, none needed. Good stuff back in the 90s.

Again, I can't quite come up with ten. I remembered who I forgot in the 80s, though; Melissa Etheridge. Maybe next week I'll remember who I forgot in the 90s.

UPDATE- I remember who I forgot. Sonia Dada. How could I forget? Their great vocals and sound were amazing. The only song you ever heard was probably "You ain't thinkin' bout me," which is a great opening to the band, but you should have looked further; the whole album (like "Day at the Beach" after it) was remarkable. They had a 2-song cd, which was mostly a radio promotion at Christmas and had then singing "Silver Bells" on it. Lucky me, a former DJ friend gave us a copy- and I love it.

Sorry, guys. I didn't mean to forget you.

UPDATE #2- They Might Be Giants! Good lord, how could I have forgotten them? Well, maybe because they're almost a '00 band to me now- my kids listen to them incessantly. Not just their current kids albums, either- Flood and Apollo 18 are big hits here right now.

Registered? Go vote!

Today is the LAST DAY to register to vote to be eligible to vote in the election on Nov. 7th. Go here if you need information, and pass it on! You can also go vote now, if you'd like- no reason is needed to vote absentee in Our Fair State.

Watchin' the odometer change

300,000,000 Americans, as of 7:46AM today.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fightin' Gay!

Stephen Colbert really had fun with Carol Gay's name last night on the Colbert Report. Didja expect anything less?

"Chris Smith- Fun Fact: he's a coward."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Fleecing of Hamilton and NJ- 40 lots and a scam?

It turns out that forty lots will fit on the Klockner Woods property in Hamilton, according to a recent consultant's plan. This kind of justifies the price that was agreed to for the property, right? Right?

Except the way they did it was to reduce the lot size:

The plan by Van Note-Harvey Associates that Hamilton released yesterday shows that 40 lots could be carved out of the property off of Klockner Road without being built on top of the protected wetlands comprising one-third of the land.
Many of the lots in the Van Note-Harvey plan are smaller than those in an earlier plan drawn up for Fieldstone Associates, which sold the property to the township last year.
Council President Tom Goodwin, who had not seen the plan yesterday afternoon, questioned its conclusions and asked who ordered Van Note-Harvey to lower the lot sizes.
"Gilmore is just trying to maximize whatever he can to say he's right," said Goodwin.

And, who exactly did say they could lower lot sizes? How low can they go? Does this even justify the $4.1 million price tag for land that only cost $375,000 a few years earlier?

The council members who were trying to get this deal annulled are still on that hunt. The interest paid by Hamilton has topped $380,000- now more than the original purchase price. And while the posturing and finger-pointing goes on, the interest accumulates.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tell it to her Tuesday

Janet's Tell it to me Tuesday is "What are your top ten eighties artists or bands?"

Man, this one is hard.

I spent most of the Eighties avoiding popular music. Back BiP (Before iPod) we had to use tapes and a primitive device called a "Walkman" to avoid radio. I listened to a lot of Sixties and Seventies music in the Eighties.

However, there are some things that stand out. I won't put them as a top ten, because I simply can't choose an order:

AC/DC, specifically Back in Black- You can't beat this as a hard rock band. You can't beat this album in the Eighties. You may think you can, but you can not.

Styx- Now, I know many of the better Styx albums came out in the Seventies, but I wasn't listening to them then. Paradise Theater and Kilroy are Eighties albums, and were the jimmy john when they came out. (If you don't know what the jimmy john is, well, recognize that I just dated myself big time and leave it at that.) I must've worn out my tape of Paradise Theater, playing it over and over while I played Monopoly with my friend Carin. Interestingly, the only time I saw Styx play was in the 90s- 1991, to be exact, the night before I graduated from college.

Prince- Was a huge fan of Purple Rain and 1999. I completely lost interest after that.

Guns and Roses- Appetite for Destruction was a revelation, a true hard-rock album right when the hair bands were starting up. I first heard it when a college roommate played it in the fall of 1987 and we must've played it hundreds of times. When "Sweet Child o' Mine" became the overplayed single of the summer of 1988, I was already ready to never hear it again. But it was a great, great album.

Asia- I'm not defending it. I liked them. I did. I don't think I ever owned any of their albums, but they were one of the first bands I thought of for this list.

Don Henley- I was a massive Eagles fan, am still. I even paid the exorbitant price to see them in concert once. Henley's solo work was really good. It's part of the soundtrack from the Eighties, fer sure.

Phil Collins- Again, no defense. Face Value, No Jacket Required, Hello I Must Be Going: loved 'em. Lost interest after that, too.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Are they an Eighties band? Sorta. I include them because the first video I ever saw on MTV was "You Got Lucky." That's when I started listening to them. Plus, Tom's solo Full Moon Fever is a great album.

The Hooters- I lived in South Jersey in the Eighties and was lucky enough to know of the Hooters in their very early years, before their brief stint in the spotlight. I have all their early albums and EPs on vinyl, just sitting in the basement waiting for me to replay them. Once upon a time, I couldn't hear the "Nervous Night" version of All You Zombies without thinking of the original; now I can't remember the original. I should get those albums back out. Someday.

I'm sure I'll think of someone else later. For now, that's my list.

The other side of global warming.

I spent a small part of my vacation visiting my ultra-conservative, anti-choice, gun-loving uncle.

We talk about gardening a lot.

Seriously, we do talk about politics and current events some. 80% of all topics we are polar opposites but occasionally we find common ground. It always shocks me that we find common opinions, but we have more than you might think, certainly more than I expect. Maybe he's so far right and I'm so far left that we meet around the back.

Anyway, he did say something that stuck with me. He used to be a geological engineer and had an interesting perspective on global warming. Unlike most Republicans, he completely agreed that it exists and greenhouse gasses are a significant cause. He said it just doesn't bother him much. The climate changes all the time, and nature changes with it.

Now, under no circumstances does this change my opinions that the CAFE standards are ridiculously low, the Kyoto Protocals should be adopted immediately or that we should be using vastly more solar and wind power than we do. We should stop the hideous contributions we are making to climate change as soon as possible.

But it's an interesting perspective. Nature will adapt, he's right. The earth will just be a very different place than we live in now. And "we" as a race may have a very different or nonexistant place in it.

I guess the difference between him and me on this topic is that it does bother me. I have kids, and I'd like them to have a planet to live in that is able to support them. He doesn't have that worry.

Et tu, Jennifer?

The Republicans called for a focus on ethics this year. They like the "Corrupt NJ" banner because they're not the party in charge, and they've been beating the drum to ferret out corruption. You have to hand it to them; it is a noble goal.

Before pointing fingers, however, the Republicans should remember to look to their own house first:

An Assembly Democrat has asked for a criminal investigation into the role a Republican assemblywoman and her former lobbying firm played in helping the state's lottery operator gain a new contract despite bidding nearly $32 million more than a competitor.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, sent a letter Sept. 29 to Gregory A. Paw, director of the state Division of Criminal Justice, asking for an investigation to determine whether Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, and her former lobbying firm, the MWW Group, illegally helped GTech get a new five-year, $106.7 million contract when competitor Scientific Games bid $75 million.
In a quasi-court hearing before former Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. O'Hern Jr., lawyers for Scientific Games said that state officials skewed the bidding process to keep GTech and that there was a conflict of interest because the MWW Group held a public relations contract with the New Jersey Lottery while also lobbying for GTech.

A full probe will determine if there's something there, but it sure looks like there is. Certainly more than in other alleged scandals being pushed at this time of year.

Home, Home again

Thanks, Rob.

I've had a near-total news embargo for the last week, and it's been great. It sure would be nice to let my head stay on vacation for a few more days, but now it's time to get back to what's going on.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I had the hiccups something fierce after lunch. But Paul Harris’s guaranteed hiccup remedy made them go away on the first try.

I don’t know about guaranteed, but I can report that it worked for me.

(Cross-posted at Laughing at the Pieces.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Stupid AND Stubborn

Looks like we may be getting a second helping of Brownie:
President Bush reserved the right to ignore key changes in Congress's overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- including a requirement to appoint someone with experience handling disasters as the agency's head -- in setting aside dozens of provisions contained in a major homeland security spending bill this week.
And we've got 28 more months of following this fool down whatever blind alley he wants to lead us.


Clockworks Broken Down

I'm sorry to hear that the production of A Clockwork Orange I mentioned here has been postponed. I'm not sure what happened; the mailing list I'm on said the production was dealt a "sudden and temporarily debilitating blow." I have high hopes that the show will go on in mid to late winter.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Profiles in Courage

Firedoglake reports that NRCC head Tom Reynolds, hip-deep in the Foley scandal, decided to hold a press conference today with a whole mess o’ kids, apparently to keep reporters from asking him uncomfortable questions.

Check out this classic exchange:

Reporter: Congressman, do you mind asking the children to leave the room so we can have a frank discussion of this, because it's an adult topic. It just doesn't seem appropriate to me.

Reynolds: I'll take your questions, but I'm not going to ask any of my supporters to leave.


Reporter: Who are the children, Congressman? Who are these children?

Reynolds: Pardon me?

Reporter: Who are these children?

Reynolds: Well, a number of them are from the community. There are several of the "thirtysomething" set that are here and uh I've known them and I've known their children as they were born.

Reporter: Do you think it's appropriate for them to be listening to the subject matter though?

Reynolds: Sir, I'll be happy to answer your questions, I'm still, uh…

"Hey, I'm not saying you can't ask your questions. Fire away. Don't mind the fragile sensibilities of innocents or anything." Sheesh.

I think the bet part is the question: "Who are these children?" It gives the impression that he never even mentioned why there were there, he just was ready to duck behind them for cover. Sorry, buddy. A +2 bonus to AC isn't gonna make that much of a difference in this one.


Hey, Droogies!

So, sleepy though I am, I promised another post about an upcoming New Jersey happening, and I want to deliver. Besides, this looks like a lot of fun.

From October 26 through November 4, the Raconteur bookstore in Metuchen is presenting a staged version of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Directed by Alex Dawson, the play stars Michael Nathanson, and will be a stylistic departure from the Stanley Kubrick film (which I own on DVD but still haven’t seen – gotta do it before opening night!). Costumes are by fashion designer Anu Susi, and the press release says she “abandons the sleazy seventies vibe of Kubrick’s film for a sort of banged-up, industrial elegance: Victorian suits with goggles, massive buckled boots and, of course, the iconic bowler.” It’s a Steampunk Clockwork Orange, and I couldn’t be more intrigued.

The show is appropriate for ages 16 and up. I’m reproducing the nuts and bolts of the press release:

Oct 26 – Nov 4.
With shows on Mischief Night and Halloween!
Preview: Thurs 8pm (pay what you can!)
Fri 8:00pm/ Sat 8:00pm & 11:30pm/ Mon 8:00pm/ Tues 8:00pm/ Thurs 11:30am/ Fri 8:00pm/ Sat 8:00pm.

Tickets: $15 (student/senior/artist); $25 (general)

Tickets available in advance at both The Forum Theatre and The Raconteur (431 Main Street, Metuchen).
For reservations contact Alex at or 732.906.0009

Special weekday matinee for high schools: 11:30 am, Thurs. Nov 2
Q & A with cast and crew followed by a short discussion of the philosophical implications of Burgess' relevant fable.

I don’t know what night Kathy & I are going, but we’re not going to miss it.

(Cross-posted at Laughing at the Pieces.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Schecter 3:16

Too busy for a proper post right now (one on an upcoming NJ event is coming tonight), but I thought you might like to see Dem strategist Cliff Schecter lay down the smack on MSNBC. He lists the current Republican scandals with such speed and glee that it's like listening to Adam McNaughton's "Three-Minute Hamlet."

So yeah, it's a political talk show, the equivalent of professional wrestling for political junkies. But Schecter's litany is like a spinning headlock elbow drop.*


*I think; I had to go to Wikipedia for a list of wrestling moves, but that one sounded sufficiently terrifying.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Down So Low

For all my low opinion of Republican politicians, I'm genuinely shocked that some of them, including the House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL) and Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), as well as the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Reynolds (NY), have been covering up for a sexual predator. Not in a million years would I have expected them to do this. Oh, and let's throw in Reps. Rodney Alexander (LA) and John Shimkus (IL), making it an even five congressman involved in this coverup.

That's beyond unreal. And beyond vile.