Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The State of our Union

He's begun. Do you have your drink ready?

SotU blogging, revisited

Rep. Tim Ryan will NOT be at www.mydd.com after all. According to the Stakeholder, the DCCC's blog, Congressmen John Conyers, Rush Holt, Frank Pallone, Tim Ryan and Jim McDermott will be there also.

The State of the Union Blog Response


The following members of Congress will be participating in a blog response to the State of the Union speech this evening:

Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) www.bluejersey.net
Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-6) www.njfordemocracy.com
Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7) www.washblog.com

These start about 10:30PM, after the speech.

(hat tip to jmelli)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rep. Rush Holt podcast!

The first bluejersey.net podcast is up: an interview with Rep. Rush Holt of the 12th district.

I'm listening to it right now, and I can tell you it's a good interview. Also- for the few of you who may check this blog who aren't lucky enough to be residents of Our Fair State- this is not a Jersey-centered discussion, so listen anyway. Some highlights:

"It just makes no sense to continue our dependence- psychological, military and economic- on oil."

"I have found no one who actually feels safer, and can demonstrate that she or he is safer, because of our war in Iraq."

"I see no justification for the program that the White House has described. I see no need to have an ongoing spying mechanism against Americans. I see no need for them to be conducting this on their own suspicions, not by demonstrating a probable cause of action before a court."

Must... go... listen... again....

It was so easy to subscribe to the podcast, even I could do it without panicy phone calls to computer-savvy people.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Carnival of NJ Bloggers 37

The carnival, along with extensive historical data analysis, is over at SmadaNek.

We're number six!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Here, Ann, have some creme brulee

From CNN:

Poison Justice Stevens, Coulter jokes
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, speaking at a traditionally black college, joked that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned.
Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion.
Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members.
"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Or a threat. Why aren't this woman's fifteen minutes over yet?

The Xpatriated Texan is organizing action. Contact UPI, distributors of Coulter's column, and tell them her hateful ways and uninformed commentary are not wanted.

(And, if you haven't seen it, here's the video of Ann arguing about Canada's involvement in Vietnam. Just something more to get you in the mood to write angry letters about her.)

Next NJ Blogger Carnival

Don't forget to submit links to njcarnival@gmail.com by midnight tonight to be included tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Wait on the pitchforks

The Quinnipiac poll numbers from yesterday show that we're worried about the budget: 54% see very serious problems in our budget, 38% see somewhat serious ones. In general, we'd rather see services cut than our taxes raised, 57% to 28%. And we absolutely don't want a gas tax, even if it's to fix up the roads: 69% oppose that (increased 12 points from the same time last year.)

So, what are we gonna do about it?

Well, according to Gov. Corzine's budget advisory group, we have to consider expanding the state sales tax to include previously exempt sales (such as tanning salons and limo services,) implementing a temporary income tax surcharge, and:
For this fiscal year, to ensure state spending remains balanced, the group's
proposal includes requiring state departments to cut budgets, freeze work-force
levels, slice salaries of nonunion employees, mandate a week off without pay for
state workers and prepare layoff plans.

The unions flipped about the week off w/o pay. Carla Katz (you may remember her, she's president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, the largest state employee union) said "That's a pay cut as far as we're concerned, and we would vehemently oppose a program like that." And the Repubs were quick to condemn also; "I am disappointed by the direction this report has taken. It fails to consider the consequences of adding to the tax burden on New Jersey's families." said Sen. Peter Inverso, R-Hamilton.

I'm not ready to throw stones yet. First, it's a draft report, not strong recommendation. Second, let's see what parts of it actually get proposed as law. (That temporary income tax thing will never pass- really, who believes it would actually be temporary?)

The new Governor now has to reconcile his committee's proposal with the polls showing what residents of Our Fair State want, while remembering that he has the tough decisions of who gets how much of what they want. Before the Repubs and the Unions bring out the torches and pitchforks, let's see what happens next.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Let's just call him "Junior"

Tom Kean Jr. wants Senator Menendez to vote to confirm Alito to the Supreme Court. No big surprize there. But the senator hasn't yet said how he will vote, and hopefully he's listening to the people. Reported on NorthJersey.com:

"If we can't count on our two senators to fight for New Jersey and a highly qualified judicial appointment, who can we count on to fight for us?" Kean said.
""We take the views of all our constituents seriously," Menendez spokesman Matthew Miller said. "Right now, the calls into our office are going 83 percent against confirmation, but we'll add Junior's call to the list.""
With the Republican's campaign sometimes omitting the "Jr." in the candidate's name, Democrats have begun pointedly dropping the "Tom Kean." Kean is the son of former Gov. Thomas H. Kean, and his name is probably helping to make him more of a threat to Menendez than most Republicans would be in Democratic-leaning New Jersey."

I like that. Let's just call him Junior.

Let's hope it's just his genetic popularity that's causing the closeness in the race so far: the latest poll figures (from Quinnipiac) show Menendez with a slim 2% lead over Junior, 38%-36%. However, for "favorable" ratings, 64% of residents state that they haven't heard enough to make up their minds about both Senator Menendez and Junior. There's plenty of time; I'm sure we'll hear a lot from both men in the next few months.

(hat tip to bluejersey for the NorthJersey.com link)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rep. Chris Smith on Oprah today

Smith to visit Oprah, discuss trafficking law
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, will appear on Oprah Winfrey's television show today to talk about a bill he sponsored to strengthen and expand the nation's laws against human trafficking.
President Bush signed the bill, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, into law earlier this month. Last fall, Winfrey encouraged her viewers to send letters and e-mails to their elected representatives in support of the bill.

Am not an Oprah watcher, so I don't know if I'll see it. It's good trumpeting for Smith though, an issue that is important and a bill he sponsored. I'd say it's all good publicity for re-election this year, but still no one has signed up to run against him for the NJ-4 congressional seat so I doubt he's very worried. (The 2nd and the 11th also have no Democrat challenger yet.)

So, who's going to run against Chris Smith? Who should?

Monday, January 23, 2006


If you've been around personal compters since the early eighties, you'll quickly recognize those letters. Now, go read Defective Yeti's Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure.

You are in a twisty maze of passages, all alike.

(Hat tip to The Contrarian.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers XXXVI


Welcome to the Carnival! The tents are up, the weather is pretty good for this time of year, and we're glad you're here. Let's see what's going on in the blogosphere in Our Fair State this week.

Our Stories

Daniella's (Mis)adventure this week was going to see The Daily Show taping. It's Handless Mutant-Retard Month over at Laughing at the Pieces. Truth wants to know what's wrong with me?"- but it's a slippery slope at Imaginary Therapy. We're Trading with Tom over at D'igital Breakfast, looking for the dummy spots. We're gettin' F.I.L.T.H.y over at This Full House. Shamrocketship is thinking about how someone might be remembered. Prussian Tiger over at Surrounded by Women knows whose fault it's not. Bob at the Rix Mix just can't get away from religion. GiggleChick is thrilled about the launch of a new website she's designed. *Rob at Usdin.net announces a new episode of the Jersey Jamcast. Catheters and drunks are on tap over at No/w/here. Jay tells us of the odd, ironic advantage to being HIV+ at Lassiterspace. Gil analyzes Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech at Virtual Memories. Tata at Poor Impulse Control may be controlling her temper, but she still can't take hypocrites.

New Jersey

Janet at The Art of Getting By is ready for smokers to Take it Outside. The Xpatriated Texan discusses Ocean County Lt. Laurel Hester as a hero who shouldn't be made a martyr. El Zorro over at The Old Fox's Den also expresses outrage at the treatment of Lt. Hester by Ocean County. BlueJersey.net announced earlier today that Lt. Hester should be receiving domestic partner benefits after all. Lou at Cinnaman wants the truth before we all River Dance down the Delaware Dredge. Roberto at Dynamobuzz discusses Corzine's inaugural speech and some challenges ahead for Our Fair State, while TigerHawk discusses Corzine's choice in locations. The Jersey Tomato mourns the loss of Krispy Kreme. Fausta discusses Ben Franklin on his 300th birthday. Suzette is leaving to get her mojo back. Jersey native Greg Gethard talks about one amazing acting class.

In the News

Tami, the One True wants legislators to Read The Bill! Dossy notes that witchhunts may still be around in Mass., especially if there's kinkiness involved. The Nightfly notes: "Severed fingertip - fifty dollars. Putting that fingertip in restaurant chili - nine years. Cost of subsequent frostees at restaurant - zero dollars. Making fun of everyone involved - PRICELESS." Karl isn't going to let the terrorists stop him. Steve Hart at the Opinion Mill wants respiratory distress related to Ground Zero to be called "Whitman Lung." Andrew at Did I Say That Out Loud? is sick of the same old 9/11 song. Media in Trouble discusses David Drier's interview on NPR, the deaths at this year's hajj, and the Washington Post's ombudsman. Tom at Fractals of Change wants the NY Times to discuss all the alternative fuel options. Roderama has us a little worried about Rutgers breeding fearless mice.

Around Town

Dossy found a new family place- Unbelievea-Bill's. Tammany on the Hudson notes that Public Safety is Job Zero when it comes to the Lincoln Highway bridge. Enlighten is no fan of the Sports Arena Deal for the Medowlands.


The Contrarian notes the connection between Comedy Central and NJ pols- but, what can we say, he's not a Springsteen fan. Maureen at Jersey Writers discusses Boardwalk Memories: Tales of the Jersey Shore, about thirteen shore towns with actual boardwalks. We're talking Ferris Bueler over at A True Jersey Girl. Nordette Adams and Aberjhani will be together- on CD, that is.


Mike at the Ipso Facto Comic tells it like we all know it really is. But, Noreen Braman has turned her blogging into a "blook!" Fred at The Eternal Golden Braid is distributing erotica with his blog!- or is he?

Thanks for visiting the Center of NJ Life, and we hope you enjoyed reading what our fellow residents are saying. Next week the carnival travels over to SmadaNek. You can submit posts during the week at njcarnival@gmail.com . Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tough luck, casinos!

Press of Atlantic City:

Corzine not ready to ban smoking on casino floors
Asked if it was fair to only give an exemption to casinos, Corzine answered, “Is
it fair to undermine the economic well-being of an enormous asset like the
casinos, which claim that this will have real impact with their ability to
compete with Las Vegas or all of the other elements of gaming around the country
or around the globe?”

I ask, is it fair to treat casino workers as second-class citizens compared to other workers around Our Fair State?

The bill is S-1089/A2067. Write your state senators to let them know how you feel.

Carnival Submissions for tomorrow

I'll be accepting submissions until about 11PM tonight, if you want to be included in the Carnival of NJ Bloggers tomorrow. Send to njcarnival-at-gmail.com.

HR 550: Keep trying!

Eariler this week, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) stepped down from his chairmanship of the House Administration committee due to his involvement in the Abramoff scandal. He says it's temporary. Yeah.

Anyway, HR 550- the bill sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) that has gotten so much blogswarm attention late last year- was being held up in that particular committee! The new, uh, temporary chair is Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), who is the longest serving member of the committee. Rep. Ehlers authored some of the language of the Help America Vote Act of 2001 and is considered more moderate than Ney. Hopefully, he'll see some merit in a paper trail for voter verification!

Two things can be done here: first, if you haven't signed Rep. Holt's petition about HR 550, go now and do so. Second, contact your representatives and make your wishes known about verified voting- then contact Rep. Ehlers and tell him you want the bill passed by the committee. (Only residents of his district can contact him electronically, so it's the old-fashined snailmail, phone or fax for the rest of us.)


NJ is a bit more fair today

From the Ocean County Observer:

Hester to win as freeholders change mind
Will vote to extend benefits Wednesday
Posted by the Ocean County
TOMS RIVER — Reversing themselves after months of battering at public meetings and in the press, Ocean County's freeholders are scheduled to vote Wednesday to extend pension benefits to the domestic partner of Lt. Laurel Hester and other members of the Police and Fire Retirement System.
The decision came after a political teleconference among the Republican leaders of the county yesterday afternoon.
The agreement that emerged calls for the freeholders to vote Wednesday, after a closed-door meeting that is a routine part of their caucuses, to extend the pension benefits to Hester and her partner, Stacie Andree.
In addition, state Sen. Andrew Ciesla, R-Ocean, has asked the state Office of Legislative Services to prepare a bill he will sponsor that will eliminate the difference in the pension inheritance rights of members of the police and fire retirement system and other state public employee retirement systems.

Quoted on Bluejersey.net:
Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality: "Truth be told, we did lose hope for a reversal in the last couple of weeks. We had applied all the pressure in the world, embarrassing the freeholders and few public servants had ever been embarrassed before in the state of New Jersey or in this country, and they would not budge. Finally they did. Hallelujah! There is a God....Now that the Ocean County freeholders have done the right thing, we thank them with all our hearts and welcome them to the New Jersey of the 21st Century, where compassion and common-sense prevails over hatred and outmoded homophobia."

In Ocean County, a change is coming. Our Fair State is a better place to live today, for all of us.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here, here and here. I'm remiss by not blogging in a long time on this issue, which has big impact on the life of one woman, and on the equality of all residents of Ocean County- indeed, the equality of all residents of Our Fair State.

(Big ol' tip of the hat to bluejersey.net.)

Friday, January 20, 2006

I can't believe he's really doing that

Tom Kean Jr. has decide to run for senate under his dad's name. Wait- I mean, he plans to drop the "Jr." from his name, reports Wally Edge of PoliticsNJ:
The presumptive favorite for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination will run as Tom Kean -- not as Tom Kean, Jr., as he did in previous races for Congress, State Assembly and State Senator. Tom Kean is the son of Thomas H. Kean, who served as Governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990.

I guess daddy's coattails weren't enough; he wants to be absolutely sure that voters confuse him with his dad.

Scott Shields (from whom I lifted almost this entire post) said it best at BlueJersey.net: "really, really gross."

Interesting interview

On this morning's Radio Times, second hour, is an interview with Duncan Black (aka Atrios.) Atrios is one of the few bloggers who makes a living at our hobby. He's being interviewed by Dave Davies of the Philadelphia Daily News, who also discusses blogging with Michael Cornfield of the Pew Internet and American Life project.

I heard the very end of it earlier and am relistening to it now. The RealAudio and mp3 is available at the above link.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Include the casinos!

Shirley Turner(D-Ewing), and John Adler(D-Cherry Hill), have introduced S-1089 - and in the Assembly, Jim Wheelan(D-Atlantic County) and Reed Gusciora(D-Trenton) have introduced A2067- to include Atlantic City casinos in Our Fair State's Smoke Free Air Act, which goes into effect April 15.

Why should casino workers not get the protection from secondhand smoke that the rest of Our Fair State gets? The casinos should never have gotten an exemption in the first place, so let's get them in now.

The bill is supposed to be in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee soon. Make your voice heard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

NJ Carnival is coming here!

The Carnival of NJ Bloggers will once again be here this Sunday, January 22nd. If you are a blogger in Our Fair State you can submit a post for the big tent at njcarnival@gmail.com.

(Your blog doesn't have to be about Our Fair State, BTW. As long as you're a NJ blogger you can participate.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

There's a new sheriff in town

"What we need is not a new day of reform, but a new era. An era where working with or serving in New Jersey state government is not viewed as a chance to make a deal, but as an opportunity to make a difference. A way to enrich, not the well connected, but the lives of our children, our working families, our veterans, and retirees." -Governor Jon Corzine, Inaugural speech

Text is here. NJN has the rebroadcast here. I did get to see some of the speech and festivities on NJN this afternoon.When the colors were brought in- and the pipers were playing- it's such a stirring moment, I was so proud to be from NJ. Even more than usual.

Now, the real work begins.

Real Life intrudes on the Center of NJ Life, AGAIN

Been busy lately, in monumental proportions. But thanks for stopping by, and I hope to be back with snarky commentary and sarcasm a'plenty by the end of the week.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Come See For Yourself!

"New Jersey- Come See For Yourself" is our new slogan.

It's not so bad. It kind of reflects what most residents of Our Fair State feel- that we have something of a bad rep, but if you live here you know what's good, and why we love Jersey. Check it out.

It's also a bit defensive. "Ya made up your mind about NJ without even visiting? Ya should come see for yourself, ya bozo!" We're nothing if not defensive about Jersey.

So, come see for yourself.

Indoor smoking ban discussion

My post The Costly Indoor Smoking Ban is getting hits due to a high position on Yahoo Search and is therefore suddenly getting more comments. If you're interested in reading some of the debate, join us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly lawsuits

Right next to each other in today's Times of Trenton:

Judge won't block appointment
TRENTON (AP) - A superior court judge yesterday rejected an effort by two lawyers to force a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat Jon Corzine will vacate next week. Corzine, when he becomes governor next week, will name his own replacement, and has chosen Rep. Robert Menendez, D-Union City, for the senate seat.
After hearing about an hour of testimony, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg ruled that state statutes and the U.S. Constitution clearly allow a governor to make such appointments.
The ruling was another defeat for Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran, two Princeton Township lawyers known to accuse both Democrats and Republicans of subverting the democratic process.

Bowling alley owners fight smoking ban (Also AP article but not up on Times's site, found on newsday.com)

TRENTON, N.J. -- Bowling alley owners, who oppose an imminent statewide ban on indoor smoking, have filed a lawsuit asserting that Richard J. Codey does not have the authority to sign the measure into law. In its filing Tuesday, the Bowling Proprietors Association of New Jersey claims that his service as governor ended with the passing of the 211th Legislature, which formally ended Tuesday morning. Codey, who is state Senate president, became acting governor in November 2004 after Gov. James E. McGreevey resigned.
The bowling group maintains that Codey is no longer governor because the new Senate term does not begin until Jan. 17.

Makes my head spin, the resources that are wasted on silliness such as this.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ban Passes Assembly

The headline on 1010WINS is, Smoking Ban Bill Arrives on Gov. Codey's Desk.


The Carrot Screams For Thee

The Screaming Carrot Award for Best NJ Blog of 2005 has been awarded over at Bluejersey.net, and the winner is:

The Opinion Mill by Steven Hart.

Congrats to Steve! The Center of NJ Life garnered an honorable mention, along with Blanton's and Ashton's and Dump Mike. Thanks to everyone who voted.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Dear Jim Goodman,

Dear Jim,

I read your article, "Codey leaves much for Corzine to deal with" in today's Times of Trenton early this afternoon and, frankly, I'm still going over it in my head, even at this late hour. Let me see if I can explain why.

First, let's start at the very beginning- that's a very fine place to start.
Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, one of the most popular chief executives in state history, is about to put the 211th New Jersey Legislature to bed without making the deals that might have reformed property taxes, cleaned up the state's corrupt image and launched a new era of embryonic stem-cell research. Perhaps that helps explain why he showed little enthusiasm for the proposal of a new state slogan declaring New Jersey as the state where you can get a "real deal" and why incoming Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine's main job might be getting his Democratic legislators to play ball on the same team.

Now, I see why you're all upset about Acting Gov. Codey not reforming property taxes, cleaning up the state's image or starting his own stem-cell research facility because these were all things he had campaigned for governor on- OH, WAIT, he didn't campaign for this job, right? That's why he's Acting Gov., not Gov. We didn't get a lot of promises not kept; we got someone stuck holding the bag, a big ol' bag filled with corruption, the skeletal remains of scandals, screaming citizens angry about property taxes- and with a massive budget hole in it to boot. He had to do his best to move the state forward, with some dignity. He sure did that.

Moving on:
(Suddenly being Acting Gov.) has given Codey all the clout of an elected governor, plus the rights of a Senate president with power over all legislation and political nominations. ...
In theory, Codey could do almost anything he wanted. But he soon discovered that the Assembly considers itself a separate but equal entity to the Senate.

Did I miss something here, where Codey had an "oh, I could've had a V8" smack on the head when he realized he wasn't omnipotent? No reason he may have known there was an Assembly before- Oh, wait, except his four terms in it, ending in 1981. While he was in the Senate he might have been tipped off, too. I think Codey has some knowlege of the Assembly and its role as a government body, Jim.

You go on to discuss rivalries between Codey and Assembly Speaker Albio Sires and Assembly Majority leader Joseph Roberts, and how they showed in the Acting Gov.'s term by the Assembly not voting on some of Codey's proposals, most notably the stem cell research bonds. I won't go into whether or not there are rivalries in Trenton, there undoubtably are. But if you're going to suggest that the Assembly didn't consider a valid proposal on such a controversial issue because of a schoolyard squabble between boys, I wish you'd offer something more than:
Some call it revenge. Others say it was just a matter of timing.

You go into a discussion for the second half of the article about the challenges facing Jon Corzine- and there will be many. But what I'm angry about is the title of the article, and the first half, insinuating that Codey acomplished nothing while he was governor. From the Star-Ledger's article and interview:
He negotiated a deal for a new stadium for the Giants and the Jets, raised the state's minimum wage, cracked down on teen steroid use, delivered a budget that won the state's first credit upgrade since 1976 and enacted a series of ethics reforms.
"He'll go down in the history of New Jersey for restoring integrity to the governor's office," said Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon).
He said his biggest accomplishments were in the area of mental health. Despite budget problems, Codey invested $200 million in housing for the mentally ill and provided $40 million for other programs. He also went along on surprise inspections of mental hospitals to push for improved conditions.

Codey had limited time in the big chair and may not have achieved massive property tax reform, which should be the biggest goal of any politician in Our Fair State. He may have not achieved complete unity of purpose and harmony between all Democrats in New Jersey. He may not have been all-powerful in passing any legislation he wanted. However, he made a difference in the lives of many New Jerseyans, and brought some integrity back when we needed it. According to the interview in the Star-Ledger, Codey said he wants to be remembered "as someone who in a very tough time came in and did a decent job." You bet, he gets that. As he returns to the Senate, I believe his time as governor will be remembered as a lot more than the guy who left much for Corzine to deal with.

As I return to my regular life, I'll remember you as the guy whose headline ended with a preposition.

-Sharon GR

I get -cough- searches

I've had an increase in traffic in the last week. I can't say for sure why, but I think my search engine keyword report may have the reason. My top search terms are: NJ smoking ban - nj indoor smoking ban - Petty's Island - nj cable choice - smoking ban nj - nj smoke ban - smoking ban in nj. Versions of 'indoor smoking ban in nj" or phrases incorporating the bill number S1926 comprise fully half of the next eighteen terms on the list.

I see a theme here. Clearly, this is an issue in which residents in Our Fair State have an interest. I've made it pretty clear how I feel about it here. Enact the ban, and now.

The full Assembly vote on this bill is expected to be tomorrow, and it is expected to pass; Acting Gov. Codey has said he'll sign it if it does. Like I said before, if it's important to you (and it really looks to be important to visitors to TCONJL) contact your legislators quickly. On those pages you can get phone numbers to their offices to leave messages or you can email and hope it gets read before tomorrow morning.

Jersey Jamcast

I updated the side panel a few times in the last month or so, adding several blogs that should have been there. Right now, I want to plug one:

Jersey Jamcast

The Jamcast is a podcast focused on NJ music. I downloaded the three podcasts available so far and listened to them in rapid succession yesterday. Very, very cool. A forum for local music that should be heard. (On the #3 cast, especially the Jim Testa song.)

It's remarkably easy to subscribe, even I figured it out. Head over and listen to some of NJ's own music.

Carnival of NJ Bloggers 34

"D"igital Breakfast has the 34th Carnival of NJ Bloggers. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Vote for the Screaming Carrot!

The Screaming Carrot Award voting closes this Sunday at midnight. If you haven't voted, now is the time to get over there and do so.

Now, some of the competitors have gone into begging and groveling for votes. I won't sink to that level. I'll stick with thinly veiled hints that I would love to place a little higher than I am as of this writing. Plus, there's some seriously good blogs nominated who haven't gotten the showing they should have yet. Get over to Blue Jersey, read about Our Fair State from some of the best blogs out there, and vote! (You do have to sign up, but you won't start getting buckets of email if you do.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Monday's votes

Monday will have several votes in our Assembly. Two of the more publicized ones, the moratoriam bill on the death penalty, S-709/A 2347 and the indoor smoking ban, S1926/ A3424 are out of the Judiciary and the Health and Human Services committees, respectively, and should go up for full Assembly vote on Monday.

There is a very short time left to get your voice heard by your Assemblyfolk. Contact your legislators and voice your support. (Or, voice your dissent if you feel you must.) I have received responses from my Assemblymen on weekends, so I don't believe it's too late. Make your opinion known!

"We have lost our way in this country in terms of values."

"Imagine where we could go as a nation if we all started looking up again, looking to our dreams for our own lives and for our children, instead of just looking down on each other."

Read A Question of Doing What's Right by ReddHeadd over at Firedoglake. I dare you not to get tears in your eyes, chills, and inspiration- all at the same time.

(Thanks to Curmudgeon at Mapleberry Blog for the link. For some reason, I can't comment on his post to thank him there, so I hope he sees it here.)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Fleecing of Hamilton and NJ- The money begins to flow

Hamilton has made its first three interest payments to Fieldstone Associates in regards to the Klockner Woods land deal. This would be the payments due on Oct. 1, Nov. 1 and Dec. 1; January's payment hasn't been made yet, according to Hamilton Township officials, as reported in today's Times of Trenton. These payments may possibly someday hopefully but probably not be credited toward the purchase price of $4.1 million, but under the current deal they are on top of it. The township also owes $100k on a loan for money alloted to buy the property, so right now we're looking at approx. $4.3 million.

All for a bit of land the developers bought in 2001 for $375,000.

Back at the end of October, someone in Hamilton's administration leaked that a deal was reached to build 100 age-restricted housing units on half of the property and conserving the other half. This was close to the deal Fieldstone wanted in the first place, but several township council members were in danger of losing their seats in the following week's election and it really looked like they were trying to save face. It turned out to be even worse- the deal was never struck and they were grasping at straws.

Weak straws. The three council seats in play, all held by Democrats, were turned over. And the Republicans danced, as they regained control of the town council.

Hamilton has just over 90,000 residents, making it NJ's eighth largest municipality, and politically has a lot of focus from both parties. It was solidly Republican until just about six years ago, when the longtime mayor lost reelection due to a nice scandal involving gambling, possible Mafia ties and lots of politicians. (PoliticsNJ has the rundown on that story in a piece currently on their front page about Hamilton and the Republican hopes.) A loss of this town by the Dems is felt far and wide.

The Republicans spent a good deal of time campaigning on the Klockner Woods issue, but really, did they have to? It was front page fodder for the Times of Trenton several days a week. (Probably the Trentonian too but I can't bring myself to read it and find out.) The Republicans promised to try to void the deal as is and and seek to pay a reasonable price for the land. New councilman Dennis Pone is quoted in the Times today, "Our goal is to preserve it, but we want to preserve it having all of the information about the land and preserve it at a fair price. It's unfortunate that the deal was brokered with this interest payment, but we really can't do anything about that at this point." Ah, but it made good campaign fodder, whether or not you could actually do anything about it, right?

Mind you, Hamilton isn't the only ones paying for this soggy boondoggle. Hamilton pays some and Mercer County covers a bit, but much of the purchase price is to be paid by Our Fair State through grants and loans. That's why the DEP balked at paying so much and requested a study of how much of the property is swamp- oh, I'm sorry, "wetland." This study will be completed in the spring. I wonder after how many more interest payments are sent will the results come back.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Screamin' Carrot

BlueJersey is hosting the Screaming Carrot Award, for Best NJ Blog of 2005. Shockingly, The Center of NJ Life has been nominated- and it's an honor to be nominated, fans and friends. These folks are the heavy hitters of NJ liberal political blogs, places I try to visit most days. Just check out the company I'm in:

Blanton's and Ashton's
The Contrarian
Dump Mike
Jersey Perspective
Mapleberry Blog
Media In Trouble
The Opinion Mill
Tammany on the Hudson
Xpatriated Texan

The polls close on Sunday the 8th at midnight. Head on over and vote.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Carnival of NJ Bloggers 33

The first Carnival of 2006 is up over at The Coalition of the Swilling. Happy New Year, NJ!

Times of Trenton's 2006 Predictions

From Tom Hester Jr., Capital Talk colmunist:

-- Proving he does plan to impose a "Sixties Hippie Agenda," as conservative Bogota mayor and likely 2009 gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan contends, incoming Gov. Jon Corzine will attend Pink Floyd laser shows at the state planetarium.
-- Attempting to ward off the deficit, Corzine will sell the naming rights to the newly revamped planetarium.
-- A special commission will be formed to find out whatever happened to West Brunswick.
-- A Democrat will run against U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, and claim his abortion opposition is too radical for New Jersey. Smith will win by nearly a 3-1 margin. (Again, I need some safe predictions.)

Read 'em all for a few laughs and a few sighs.

(cross posted at bluejersey.net)