Saturday, September 30, 2006

Divided Country, Unified Government

So, given the power of the Bully Pulpit, I’m answering Bob’s comment down below with a full-blown post.

Of course Clinton knew it was coming. You don’t walk into the lion’s den without expecting to get bitten. And as Clinton said in the interview, it’s a legitimate question. But the timing of the question was in violation of their agreement (first half on the CGI, second half on other issues), and the phrasing of the question (“people have been emailing us, so we’ve gotta ask”) was the standard cowardly Fox M.O. for broadcasting something that they don’t want to explicity say themselves. (It’s astonishing how often they use this tactic – watch Outfoxed.)

Yes, Clinton should be held accountable for his actions as president. But George Bush should be held accountable for his inaction – his lazy, head-in-the-sand, brush-clearing, gross negligence – in completely ignoring Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida until he murdered three thousand of our citizens while Bush struggled through a children’s book. And Bush needs to be held accountable for making every step this country has taken since, with the exception of the invasion of Afghanistan, a step in the wrong direction. And there’s not one branch of the government with the power or the will to hold him accountable for any of that.

We do live in a divided country, Bob. I only wish our government reflected it and fought over these issues with the contentious tenacity that people display on message boards rather than accepting them with the singlemindedness with which it embraces every new nightmare conjured up by this treacherous crew.

We need a change in government. George W. Bush is at the wheel of this car. We need someone else at the brakes.


Friday, September 29, 2006


If you haven't seen Kieth Olbermann's special commentary about Clinton's Fox News interview, you'll want to.

Dead-on, as usual.



As Sharon said, I’ll be taking the helm here for the next week. Which is a pretty good gig, I have to say, since the GR’s brew their own beer and there’s half a pizza in the fridge.

So what do I bring to the party? For the most part, snark. Snark and Doritos. And I apparently hold the secret key to embedding videos, so that’s a plus. (And, as anyone who knows me can attest, a pretty astonishing technological achievement for someone who can barely set an egg timer.) My three weapons are snark, Doritos, and embedded videos. And a fanatical devotion to the church. No, wait, I'm sorry...that's the Spanish Inquistion. I bet you weren't expecting that.

We’ll see what the week brings. I hope you stop by now and then to find out.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Busy, busy

I'll be away for the next ten days or so, paying homage to the rat who owns Florida and visiting family who live too far away.

You might have noticed that Rob S. is back in da house, and will be posting and/or crossposting here for a while. Thanks Rob!

Central NJ gas price watch- postscript

I saw $2.17 today. How long before it dips below $2?

The Fleecing of Hamilton and NJ-"Like a bad marriage"

From today's Times of Trenton:

HAMILTON -- Like a bad marriage, the GOP-controlled council is seeking to have the township's purchase of the plot known as Klockner Woods annulled because the three Republican councilmen say it violates state contract laws.
In a memo to township Business Administrator John Mason, Councilman David Kenny, who is a former municipal attorney, said the $4.1 million contract to purchase the 51-acre property is not valid because the money was never appropriated by the township council.
Kenny cites state law as well as case law that requires the governing body to appropriate money for any purchase and asks that the administration attempt to void the purchase completed in 2005.
"Accordingly, it is my view that (township attorney Paul) Adezio should file a motion with the court to set aside or vacate the judgment as it is void and in violation of the law," the memo said.

Nice try. Think it'll stick?

Hamilton Twp. is, of course, paying interest on the money it is not paying to Fieldstone Associates while it balks at honoring the horrendously overpriced deal it made. So far the interest has amounted to $330,000- almost as much as Fieldstone paid for the property when it bought it from Hamilton 2001. If this hold on another couple months, Fieldstone breaks even, regardless of whether Hamilton can pull an annulment.

No matter what, this property should be preserved wetland, but we shouldn't all have to pay through the nose like this for it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yes We Have A Video!

Lets see if I can help you with that...

(makin' myself useful)

Carol Gay - Comcast Candidate On Demand

Carol Gay, interviewed for Comcast's Candidates On Demand.

I tried, in vain, to post the video- maybe it'll work another time. Oh well. You can just follow the link.

(hat tip to mitch at BlueJersey)

Life imitates art

So, I and my younger child had to take the oldest cat to the vet yesterday. (pleasedon'tdiepleasedon'tdiepleasedon'tdie) While waiting in the lobby there, we found a book in a stack called Stella Louella's Runaway Book. It's a cute story about a girl who misplaces a library book and runs all over town tracking it down, adding people to help her as she goes; she finally gets to the library to say she lost the book only to find out that someone turned it in for her.

The book was a Mercer County Library book that someone had left there. I returned it for the person who lost it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Remember what it's all about

We've all had a lot of fun watching the outing of the Kean JUNIOR campaign troll on Blue Jersey. Y'know, If they had just blamed it on a low-level staffer and said that they would ferret out any deceptiveness in their campaign, it would've gone away in a heartbeat. Instead, they tried to deny it without ever checking if it might be true. Lie first, ask questions later; that's the Republican way.

Now, it's time to remember this election is really all about:

A group called Military Families Speak Out has complained publicly that Kean has refused to answer its questions on Iraq. The organization, which supports Menendez's call to withdraw troops within a year, said that while Kean met with them, his answers were incomplete and he has refused repeated requests to clarify his position.

"The war in Iraq is the most important issue," Menendez said. "If you can't explain to New Jerseyans why you are sending their sons and daughters to war, you have no right to ask for their vote."

The war in Iraq IS the most important issue. That's what it's all about.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Presidential Seal

Kevin Sires, The Charlotte Observer

September Quinnipiac Poll

The headlines read about how Kean is locked in a dead heat with Menendez in yesterday's Quinnipiac poll on Our Fair State's Senate race. The actual numbers are: among likely voters, Kean Jr. 48%, Menendez 45%; among all voters, Menendez 41%, Kean Jr. 38%. With a +/- of 3.7 points, that's a statistical dead heat if I ever saw one.

Well, we've got two months for folks to see Tom Kean JUNIOR for what he truly is. In the meantime, let's look at the non-headline numbers, always the most fun part of the Quinnipiac Polls:

  • 45% approve/36% disapprove of the way Corzine is handling the job as governor. That's up from 44/43 in July, and 39/41 in June. Maybe it's the great way he's winning over people to his sensible financial ways? Maybe it's that he got the ball rolling on legislative changes to property taxes? Or, maybe it's that gas prices have decreased steadily since July. (Why do I just know it's that last one, even thought the Gov. has not thing one to do with it?)
  • We hate the state legislature, 27% approve/55% disapprove. Get goin' on that property tax reform, guys, or you'll all be looking for new jobs next time around.
  • We hate George W. Bush, too: 33% approve/64% disapprove. We know what we don't like here in Jersey, and we don't like Bush. Nice to know.
  • 41% of us think the federal investigation of Bob Menendez is politically motivated, 42% think it's a serious issue. The 41% are right.
  • 48% of us think Tom Kean Jr. is a George Bush Republican who supports administration policies. That number has heald pretty steady over the last couple months. I'm not sure about this one, personally; Junior has gone out of his way to distance himself from Bush policies lately, see the point above about how we feel about Bush. I won't vote against him because he's a Bush lackey; I'll vote against him because he's basically useless as a legislator, he's running on daddy's name alone, and that once he's in office he'll be a Bush lackey.
  • 50% of us think the United States is losing the war in Iraq, 20% don't know, 29% say winning. 59% of us think that it was the wrong thing to do to go to war with Iraq. Nice to know we pretty much agree on this one.

Completely aside, on every Quinnipiac poll result site, they include a pronunciation guide on their name: it's KWIN-uh-pe-ack. I think it's harder the other way- hearing the name on the radio, then trying to spell it.

Full articles on the Kean JUNIOR Troll story

The New York Times
The Star-Ledger

Am glad that the Star-Ledger mentioned what the XT's original post was about: the fact that the Kean JUNIOR campaign is basically making up a scandal to smear Menendez:

The posts challenged a story by one of the site's 10 contributors in which a former House ethics lawyer, Ellen Weintraub, appeared to corroborate Menendez's claim that he got verbal clearance in 1994 to rent a property to a nonprofit agency he helped to win millions in federal funding.

I wish they'd mentioned it earlier in the article, and explained what XT found in the article- evidence reported in 1996 that Menendez had sought- and recieved- confirmation from a House Ethics lawyer that his renting of real estate to a non-profit did not violate confilct-of-interest laws.

The Kean JUNIOR folks are hoping that manufacturing a scandal smearing Menenedez will help them translate a slim lead into a win in November. Um, yeah- blowing up a ridiculously minor issue, being outed on it, then getting your press person's name in the paper as being deceptive- Good move!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wait! It gets better!

The Star-Ledger picked up the Kean JUNIOR Troll Story. So has a New York Times blog.

From The Star-Ledger Newslog:

(Jill) Hazelbaker argued that the address Melli said was on the postings is not the campaign’s IP address.

But it is the same IP address that appears on numerous official campaign e-mails sent by Hazelbaker to The Star-Ledger through the course of the campaign.

Oh, sweetie, you are SO nailed.

Kean staffers trollin'

I have almost no time to blog today, so please forgive the lazy linkin'. I just spent all my on-line time for the day reading how Tom Kean JUNIOR staffers, after spending the last few days making up scandals to try to smear Menendez, are now posting troll comments on Blue Jersey.

Read the comments. The thread is hysterical, and very, very sad.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Avast! The Truth.

In February 1996, the Jersey Journal ran an article stating that then-Congressman Bob Menendez had approval from a House Ethics lawyer to rent his former business office to the North Hudson Community Action Corporation. Why does this matter? Well, as Xpatriated Texan so clearly explains to us on Blue Jersey, it's important because the Kean JUNIOR folks are going out of their way to make it sound like it was some kind of corrupt deal, when actually it's nothing of the sort.

Remember, of course, the Kean JUNIOR folks don't have a shred of evidence of a scandal- they're just trying to make it sound like there is one. Pathetic.

This swift boat is filled with bilge rats.

Sing it, matey!

Ahoy, mateys! Janet's Tell it to me Tuesday question this week is a pretty good one- What are the best albums you believe most people have never heard? Aye, Aye!

The album that jumped to mind first is easy: Live from 6A, The Conan O'Brien Show: Bear with me here. It's not a comedy album nor clips of his best interview segments- it's some of the best of his musical guests. Just look at the list: Ani DiFranco, David Bowie, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Elvis Costello- and, of course, Matthew Sweet perfoming "Do Ya", which is the reason I bought the album. I heard that song once, on the radio, and bought the album without hearing another thing on it. If it had been the only good performance on it, it still would've been worth the money, but I was pleasantly surprized to find that the whole damn collection is that good. Really, check it out.

Another unheard great: John Hiatt, Stolen Moments. John Hiatt has already been mentioned by someone else responding to Janet's question, but not this album. It's hard to pick a favorite John Hiatt album, but this one has special memories for me. Understand, though, that it's not its sentimentality that makes it special; the fact that it's so good is why I had it playing at one of the best moments in my life. (It's still a little joy, a little peace, and a whole lotta light.)

Bear with me on this one: Keith Richards, Talk is Cheap. Yep, I just plugged a Keith Richards album. Never was a Stones fan, even. Y'know, I won't even try to defend the choice; just go find it in a discount bin somewhere, buy it, and you'll know I'm right. It's really that good. Oooo- cool tie-in- Richards is playing a pirate! Arr!

I know I'll probably think of more as the day goes on, so I'll put them in the comments. What be ye favorite hornpipe, mateys?

Arr, me hearties!

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day! All posts today will somehow honor this imporant holiday.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Re-lighting the fire

I've kinda taken some time off politics here because, well, I've been busy, and I had a class-A case of burnout. I know this year's fight to take back the Congress is important, even if I'm not so fired up right now; so tonight, I volunteered for some phonebanking for Carol Gay.

I'm back on the bandwagon.

It's easy, when you get to push for someone like Carol Gay. If you live in the 4th, go check out her web site and see what I'm talking about. This is who we need right now.

I couldn't bring myself to listen to Bush's speech the other night, with him spewing his tired "stay the course" rhetoric while people die. People need to vote for candidates like Gay, and Rich Sexton, and Linda Stender; candidates who know that this war is unjustified, unwinnable and just plain wrong. Candidates who understand that supporting our troops means not using them as pawns to muck up Iraq only to be brought home to shrinking veteran's benefits (or worse yet, in body bags.)

The election's in less than two months. It's time now to get these folks heard.

To the woman in the copper-color minivan talking on her cell phone who had a stop sign but yet almost hit me in a clearly marked pedestrian crossing:

Hang up the damned phone and pay attention!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

TITMT: What'shisface

Janet's Tell it to Me Tuesday question is:
Today I want to hear about the actors who are your favorite little known gems. You know, the type that you love to see in a movie, but from time to time even you have to look up their names?

John Cazale is the the actor who played Fredo in the best movies ever, The Godfather and Godfather II. He was only in five feature films- all of which were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Al Pacino called him his "acting partner," with whom he could have acted his entire life. When he was acting in the Deer Hunter, he became weak from bone cancer, but his fiance Meryl Streep threatened to quit if he was fired; he made it through filming and died shortly after. He died far too young.

In the spirit of Lazy Linkin' Tuesday, here's Andrew post (and the reason I know most of this,) the Story of John Cazale, from April.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sex, Death and the Spirit

Dove, Torch. Nicole Maynard, 2005, oil on panel.

The artist Nicole Maynard is having a solo show at the Bowery Gallery. (Warning- link is not family-friendly!) Nicole is formerly of Central NJ and used to teach at Brookdale College and the Printmaking Council of NJ, as well as Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

The show is a combination of politics, religion, sex and death- not your typical landscape painting exhibition. It makes you think, wonder, and occasionally gasp. She's an impressive artist and this is a show not to be missed.

Some of the work in the show is in her online gallery, but seeing them in thumbnails simply doesn't compare to seeing them in full scale. If you will be in the city or are willing to make the trip, go see this show.

The Bowery Gallery is located at 530 West 25th Street (4th Floor) New York, NY. The show is hanging now and runs through Sept. 30th, with the opening reception this weekend on Saturday afternoon.

*The artist gave me permission to use Dove, Torch because I asked nicely. Please ask before you reprint it, too. Thanks!

Update 9/12: Nicole Maynard has started a blog: Art Weekly.

Bill's right. Again.

Now that I'm a parent, I can go back and watch Bill Cosby-Himself all over again and laugh like it was the first time. (I can probably recite it, too- it was on Cable Overkill when I was younger and must've seen it a dozen times.) Bill's got his problems, to be sure he certainly has, but when he's right about something, he's right.

He's right yet again.

Cosby told about 100 veterans at a rally in Newark yesterday he doesn't think the federal government is doing enough to support the men and women who have fought in America's past and current wars.
"I can't believe they bring home our warriors and then turn out the light on them," said Cosby, a Navy veteran. "People coming home sick and not allowed to be. This is a cause no one can deny."
"When we were attacked, all the politicians sang 'God Bless America,'" Cosby said. "Then they went in a back room and said 'Let's make some cutbacks (to veterans programs.)"

-Bill Cosby, speaking at a rally for veteran's rights in Newark Yesterday.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Carol Gay for Congress NJ 4th

Times of Trenton did a nice write-up on Carol Gay and the major issues in the election for the 4th district seat. Go Carol!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

Last night, Chris A., Rob S., his intrepid spouse and I went to see Snakes on a Plane.

I can say, without exaggeration, that was the most fun I've had in a movie theater in a very long time. This is moviemaking at its squirmy, ludicrously silly extreme.

It is not a great movie- Oh, far from it- but it is so campily scrumtacular, so predictably craptastic, so deliciously fun that you simply must take as many of your sarcastic and jovial friends as you can round up and go see it. You will love it.

It had everything in it I could have possibly wanted from a movie with Samuel L. Jackson about Snakes on a Plane. It really, really did.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Central NJ gas price watch Wrap-Up

Ok! All summer, I've been periodically posting the gas prices around Central NJ as I've seen them. Based on my completely unscientific survey, here's what we've learned:

  • Predictions of $3.00+ gas by Labor Day were way off the mark. June and May averages were $2.89, July average was $3.00, August average was $2.83. Today, I saw $2.65 a couple places as we head into the holiday weekend. It was an arc, and prices now lower here in Central NJ than they were at Memorial day.
  • Keep your eyes open. Several times there were widely different prices very close to each other.
  • Bob told us about this survey of NJ gas prices, and Jack informed us of this little gadget, both of which would have saved me a lot of time scribbling on scraps of paper at stop lights.
  • Don't buy gas at Quaker Bridge Rd. and Sloan Ave. Yikes! Completely out of whack with local prices.

As gas prices fall again, folks will gripe a little less. We'll continue our Great American Love affair with the automobile and not change in the slightest our driving habits, our vehicle-purchasing trends, or our fascination with exurban enclaves which create vicious commutes.

At least, not until the next spike in gas prices comes along.

Central NJ gas price watch

$2.65, Valero, Rt. 33 Westbound, Manalapan 3:30PM 9/1.