"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Corzine's Matt Stoller

Speaking of the members of the cultural elite blogging - Jon Corzine has hired Matt Stoller for his Corzine Connection website. Doesn’t it make you wonder why a person from outside New Jersey was chosen for this job? It’s hard to believe no one in the Garden State had the necessary qualifications.

Frankly we’re surprised Stoller was chosen by the Corzine campaign. You see Matt Stoller has been on the losing side of every issue and political race he’s touched. Perhaps it’s Matt’s prep school and Harvard University background that impressed someone, because it can’t be his knowledge of New Jersey’s issues, his political insight or writing skills.

Take a look at his previous projects:Wesley Clark for President, The Blogging of the President, Blogging at the DNCC, Simon Rosenberg for DNC Chairman. Somehow we think Stoller will be exposed for the for the self-aggrandizing, condescending, social climber that he most certainly will be exposed to be, sooner or later

And Stoller appraently also has a penchant for dissinforamtion:

ENJOYtheDRAFT.com is the latest creation of DC-based Internet gadfly John Aravosis, 40, and top liberal bloggers Matt Stoller, 26, of BOPNews.com and Kyle Shank, 20, of AmIPatriotic.com. The site is a hard-edged satirical effort to jump start a nationwide debate about the draft, and in the process get out the youth vote for John Kerry.

I've been doing a great deal of messaging work for www.ThereIsNoCrisis.com. The site's been successful, mostly because (a) there is in fact no crisis and (b) people are desperate for reasonable content surrounding Social Security.

So who is Matt Stoller? Well let’s take a look at Stoller on Stoller:

I went to St. Paul's School, a snobby little outfit in New Hampshire with an illustrative history and smart alumni.

Matt Stoller is the producer and cocreator of the Blogging of the President web project, an interactive media series on the ongoing digital transformation of politics and media. The nationally syndicated radio component, broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio in late January, was one of the first attempts to bring the conversation in the blogosphere directly into the broadcast media.

Matt has worked in software product management, holds a BA from Harvard University, and has curly hair and both a love and a fear of dogs.

Stoller on Blogging

Being interesting isn’t easy. You have to have a unique perspective, interesting sources, or the willingness to take risks and pick fights.

One of the things about being brought into the inside, as I would say is happening to me in some small way on the left, is that you can say less of what you know, but you know a lot more. Or, to put it more gently, you have to put out what you know in more narrowly targeted forums. And an email is not quite a Google search away, yet.

Stoller’s Political Insight

How to leverage the fact that Democrats are right on everything. It’s pretty clear that the left is correct on most of the policy issues of our time; we’re smarter, fairer, more thoughtful, and more republican (little r) than the right-wing.

Matt Stoller, who unsuccessfully approached Kerry's campaign in 2003 about creating an online movement, then migrated to the Draft Clark movement and now helps produce a radio show called The Blogging of the President, blames Dean's loss in Iowa on obnoxious supporters wearing signature orange Dean hats.

Matt Stoller — a 2000 Harvard grad who publishes the daily online newsletter the Clark Tribune — kept working to download Clark’s announcement. "He’s really a profound thinker," said Stoller, who seemed slightly out of breath. "His vision and ideas really do motivate the spirit of what works in this country."

I'm fascinated by intrablack politics. As far as I understand it, the civil rights movement was largely a middle class to wealthy affair.

Not Sold on Obama - Barack Obama came in and gave a little speech to the bloggers at the Blogger breakfast. To be honest, I don't get the big deal. I've seen him speak a few times. He seems very charismatic, but I have yet to cross that bridge with him where I feel like he's saying anything really interesting or useful. He's a lot like Edwards - charismatic and demographically useful for the Democrats. But is there there there?

While I didn't have numbers, I was on record two years ago as saying Bush was finished.

Stoller on Republicans
Stoller's Law: No matter how unethical you expect the Republican Party to be, they will not only be worse, but they will shock you with how they exceed your expectations.

The underlying criminality of the right-wing is the most galling component for the left-wing to accept.

Stoller‘s Thoughts on the Rich

While tech millionaires from Google strike me as A-OK, I f*cking hate rich Texans with their fur coats and preening Rolexes wandering around DC for the inauguration. Ugh. T-O-O-L-S!

As you can see, I'm basically a spiteful yet good-natured person. I write angry, and edit happy. And one thing that makes me angry is people who don't deserve immense amounts of wealth and power having it heaped upon them, to both our and their detriment. Yet, it's not that being rich is bad, for it's not. People that build or do cool and innovative and/or productive stuff should be rewarded. Americans know this.

What I actually dislike is not rich people, but elitists in any form. So why not switch from calling it a 'tax cut for the wealthy' to a 'tax cut for the business elite'. Who likes the business elite? No one. So how about it, Democrats? Let's get back to Jacksonian populism, and start attacking their elites.

Stoller On the Issues of the Day

My Chat with George Soros - George Soros is intensely frustrated. I was privileged to be on a conference call with him today.

The Pakistanis have lessened their hunt for bin Laden. Awesome.

I just bought the url www.ChristianTaliban.com. What should I do with it?

On the 2004 Election Results: F*ck the world.

Another stolen election - I think it's time to start realizing that this election was stolen as well.

I'm at the state directors meeting here in Orlando, getting ready to watch the various people give speeches on where they want to take the party. My agenda is to find out what their plan is to get rid of all the dorks in Young Democrats.

I want some amendments to the Constitution. Here are my amendments:

  • No American citizen should ever be allowed to be put to death by the state.
  • American citizens have an inherent right to privacy from the state or corporate bodies.
  • American citizens have the right to a free high school and college education pending sufficient demonstration of public service.
  • The public airwaves must be used to further a diversity of media, and the government must provide universal internet access to all citizens.
  • The electoral college should be abolished in favor of the direct election of the President and Vice President.

Blogger Giving Us Fits

We will be back to posting once Blogger gets back to normal

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Jon Corzine Member Of Cultural Elite To Join New Group Blog

Business 2.0 reports that Arianna Huffington, will soon launch the Huffington Report, a webzine that will host a group blog manned by the cultural and media elite. The first member of the group blog mentioned is none other than Senator John Corzine, candidate for Governor of New Jersey.

Huffington, the conservative-turned-liberal author, pundit, California gubernatorial candidate, and bona fide blogger, is adding "media entrepreneur" to her list of titles with a new online publishing venture, the Huffington Report.

Based in New York and staffed with a full complement of editors, the Huffington Report appears to be a culture and politics webzine in the classic mold of Salon or Slate. It will have breaking news, a media commentary section called "Eat the Press," and its most interesting innovation, a group blog manned by the cultural and media elite: Sen. Jon Corzine, Larry David, Barry Diller, Tom Freston, David Geffen, Vernon Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Harry Evans and his wife, Tina Brown. That's just to name a few, and Huffington is still recruiting.

Star-Ledger Highlights Democrat's Hypocrisy On Income Tax

It looks like the Star-Ledger has finally figured out that high federal income taxes favored by Jon Corzine and the other New Jersey Democrats disproportionately hurt New Jersey taxpayers.

The paper also managed to point out the hypocrisy of Assemblyman Reed Gusciora for blaming New Jersey’s 57¢ return on tax dollars on President Bush, rather the Democrat controlled New Jersey congressional delegation.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton Borough, criticized President Bush for the 57 cents New Jersey gets back for every $1 it pays in federal tax money. That ranks the state last in the nation, but states with higher per capita incomes pay more in federal taxes because the income tax is progressive.

Gusciora didn't blame the state's Democrat-dominated congressional delegation, most notably senior Sen. Jon Corzine, the Democratic nominee for governor. Gusciora also forgot to lambaste President Clinton. The state's federal return ranked at the bottom during his administration, too.

Food For Thought

Knowledge is one of the few things that can be given to others without reducing the amount you have left. -- Thomas Sowell

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. -- H. L. Mencken

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away. -- Barry Goldwater

A society of sheep must in time begat a government of wolves. -- Bertrand de Jouvenal

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The High Cost of Immigration

The High Cost of Illegal Immigrants in the United States

The costs of illegal immigration to the taxpayer are numerous, but the largest costs are education of their children, health care and incarceration for those arrested for crimes.

Despite being ineligible, some illegal aliens also get welfare the same way they get jobs: with identity documents falsely identifying them as U.S. citizens. In addition, if they have U.S.-born children, they may collect welfare assistance in the name of those children.

The annual net cost of illegal immigrants (after subtracting their tax payments) to the American taxpayer is likely to be more than $45 billion.

New Jersey’s Immigrant Population

The increase in the foreign-born population during the 1990s accounted for 75 percent of the New Jersey’s overall population increase during the decade. Foreign-born residents now comprise 18 percent of the total state population, higher than the national average of 11 percent.

About 2.4 million people in New Jersey are immigrants or the children of immigrants, 29 percent of the state’s population. Demographers estimate New Jersey has between 300,000 and 500,000 illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans. Only a handful of states -- including California, Texas and Florida -- have more.

The average immigrant household in New Jersey consumes more public services than it pays for with taxes, incurring a 37 percent higher state fiscal deficit than natives and a 59 percent greater local burden.

New Jersey’s Immigrants Burden Taxpayers

Education Costs

In some states, the amount of money spent to educate illegal alien children accounts for a substantial portion of the state budget shortfall; in New Jersey, for instance, it accounts for 28 percent of the total state budget deficit. Estimates range from a high of one-half billion dollars to $359 million spent educating illegal immigrants in New Jersey.

The growth in federal grants for special language programs has more than doubled, from $157 million in 1995 to $460 million in 2002.

Bringing ELL-enrolled children up to the grade level of same age non-ELL-enrolled children has been estimated to increase costs by an additional 10 to 100 percent over usual per pupil costs.

Bringing students characterized by both poverty and limited English proficiency up to average levels of achievement increases average costs by a larger amount—about 30 to 200 percent over average per pupil costs.

Between 1990 and 2000, school enrollment in the United States increased by 14 percent. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the size of the student population will almost double by 2100.

Between 1990 and 2000, New Jersey’s elementary and high school enrollment increased 21 percent—a rate even the state Department of Education did not predict. Yet without school-age immigrants and the children of immigrants school enrollment would not be rising at all.

School capacity to absorb new students is an issue because overcrowded facilities are related to growth in enrollments which in turn leads to additional costs for enlarging or construct new schools, placing an additional burden on taxpayers.

Health Care Costs

Health care costs and insurance premiums are rising, due in part to burgeoning levels of uncompensated care.

One out of every four uninsured people in the United States is an immigrant. Immigrants and their children accounted for 59 percent of the growth in the size of the uninsured population in the last ten years

When immigrants receiving insurance through publicly funded Medicaid are factored in, almost half of immigrants have either no insurance or have it provided to them at taxpayers' expense.

New Jersey is considered among the top 10 states in the nation for the costs of caring for illegal immigrants. The NJHA estimates that New Jersey’s acute care hospitals alone spend at least $200 million annually caring for illegal immigrants without Medicaid or insurance.

The Star-Ledger recently highlighted the example of an uninsured illegal immigrant treated at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth at cost of more than $4 million.

High Public Health Risks

Because illegal immigrants, unlike those who are legally admitted for permanent residence, undergo no medical screening to assure that they are not bearing contagious diseases, the rapidly swelling population of illegal aliens in our country has also set off a resurgence of contagious diseases that had been totally or nearly eradicated by our public health system.

Crime and Incarceration

The cost of incarceration of illegal aliens in state prisons has also risen rapidly. In fiscal year ’02, the Department of Justice’s State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) distributed $550 million to the states to help defray their expenses, but this was estimated to cover only about one fifth of their outlays.

Employment and Income

Labor groups say the presence of illegal aliens can siphon jobs away from legal workers because the aliens will work for less. A Harvard University economist told Time magazine last fall that immigration from 1980 to 2000 reduced the average salary of native-born men by $1,700 a year.

Quality of Life

Immigration-driven population growth is taking a serious toll on New Jersey, bringing traffic, overcrowded schools, pollution, and lack of affordable housing to the state, decreasing quality of life and straining water and other vital natural resources.

Congressional Record on Immigration

Check out our congressional delegation’s report cards on immigration here.

For an in-depth look at the immigration related votes cast by your elected representatives in Washington click on the links below.

Corzine, Jon (Senator) - View
Lautenberg, Frank (Senator) - View
Andrews, Robert (District 01) - View
Ferguson, Michael (District 07) - View
Frelinghuysen, Rodney (District 11) - View
Garrett, Scott (District 05) - View
Holt, Rush (District 12) - View
LoBiondo, Frank (District 02) - View
Menendez, Robert (District 13) - View
Pallone, Frank (District 06) - View
Pascrell, Bill (District 08) - View
Payne, Donald (District 10) - View
Rothman, Steven (District 09) - View
Saxton, Jim (District 03) - View

Monday, March 28, 2005

Jon Corzine's Economic Blue Print – Reduce State Spending

This is the third in our series of posts analyzing the information, positions and promises found on Jon Corzine for Governor - Join Us New Jersey – campaign website. Our first, Who Is Jon Corzine – Fact check, may be read here and the second, Jon Corzine’s New Paradigm For New Jersey, may be read here.

As part of his Blueprint for New Jersey's Economic Growth Corzine has outlined the following steps to be taken immediately to rein in government spending in our state:

  • Examine more efficient ways to administer the State Health Benefits Program, which cost $220 million more this year than last year.
  • Lower the cost of state-supported prescription drug programs through bulk purchasing of high-cost items like prescription drugs.
  • Consolidate administrative functions in state agencies and cut their PR budgets by 50%.
  • Save millions by upgrading technology platforms help state agencies work more efficiently.
  • Reduce the number of political appointees in state government.

Senator Corzine doesn’t tell us how much money the state would save with these initiatives but, we are all for reducing state spending. Corzine should use his considerable clout to push for the enactment of his proposals now before this year’s state budget is finalized. The Democrats currently control the governor’s office, the state senate and assembly, so there is no need to wait until a new Governor is elected next year to begin saving taxpayers money.

The Democrats in Trenton are supposedly pulling their hair out trying to find ways to continue the popular property tax rebates. Why not adopt Corzine’s ideas now and use the spending reductions to help save the program? The voters of New Jersey should learn pretty quickly if the Democrats are all talk and no action and whether the Corzine proposals will bring about meaningful savings.

Who Is Behind The “GOP Talking Points” Memo?

Last week ABC News said it had obtained a "GOP talking points" memo on the Terri Schiavo case that predicted political benefit for conservatives who worked hard on this issue.

The Washington Post reported:

"An unsigned one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators, said the debate over Schiavo would appeal to the party's base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year and is potentially vulnerable in a state President Bush won last year. "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue."
The New York Times chimed in with:

“White House officials insisted that politics played no part in the president's decision, even though Republican senators were provided with talking points, apparently by Republican aides, that characterized the Schiavo case as "a great political issue" that resonates with Christian conservatives.”
Meanwhile Powerline, In the Agora, Fishkite and a number of other blogs began to question the source and authenticity of the memo. The almost identical language used in the "GOP talking points" memo and an earlier post on the Traditional Values Coalition website raised some red flags.

As we noted on Friday, this didn’t stop Frank Lautenberg's call for an investigation into the distribution of the memo:
"Those who would attempt to influence debate in the United States Senate should not hide behind anonymous pieces of paper," wrote Lautenberg. "In light of this troubling incident, I am writing to request that the Rules Committee conduct an investigation of the attached document, its source, and how it came to be distributed."
In the Agora blogger gave Lautenberg’s office a call and reports:

“I've just spoken with Sen. Lautenberg's office which claims there is plenty of evidence to support Republican authorship, or those close to Republican leadership. Lautenberg's staffer specifically cited the numerous uses of Ted Bundy in Senate speeches as evidence that the talking points are genuinely Republican.”
The Democrat’s echo chamber continued to reverberate with Newsweek's Eleanor Clift writing:

“The Republicans might want to rethink that memo of talking points they circulated last weekend about how intervening in the Terri Schiavo case is a “great political issue.”
Clift repeated the same charges on the Sunday morning talk show the McLaughlin group.

Now we learn Senator Lautenberg may get his wish:
Very quietly, Senate Republican leadership aides to both Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Mitch McConnell, as well as the Senate Republican Policy Committee, have been using the Senate recess break to reconstruct the purported distribution of a document that media outlets, including ABC News, the New York Times and a number of regional newspapers, identified as Senate "GOP talking points" on the Terri Schiavo fight.

Republican leadership staffers now believe the document was generated out of the Democratic opposition research office set up recently by Sen. Harry Reid, and distributed to some Democratic Senate staffers claiming it was a GOP document, in the hope -- or more likely expectation -- that it would then be leaked by those Democrats to reporters. In fact, the New York Times stated that it was Democratic staffers who were distributing the "talking points" document.

Other Republican staffers blame not only Democrats but also the mainstream media which once again put out a story to embarrass Republicans before checking all the facts first.
Republican Senate staffers point to Nathan Ackerman, a member of Senator Harry Reid’s “war room” as the source of the memo. Now it all begins to come together when we recall this article from The Hill:

Reid earned media attention around Washington when he created a communications “war room” to launch aggressive attacks on Republicans. “We will use every tool and innovative avenue available to us to get our message out,” he vowed in a November 2004 statement.

An aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was arrested on the West Front of the Capitol for disorderly conduct during President Bush’s inaugural address last week.

The aide, Nathan Ackerman, is a television producer on the Senate Democratic Communications Committee — an organization that was folded into Reid’s new communications “war room.” Ackerman previously worked for ABC News in Los Angeles.

About 20 minutes into Bush’s speech, Ackerman, 36, and another man held up a sheet that said “No War.” According to a Capitol Police report, Ackerman and another suspect “were blocking the view of the audience and they were engaged in a verbal dispute with members of the audience.”

The report states that Capitol Police officers told Ackerman and the other suspect to relinquish the sign or be arrested but that “neither complied and both were placed under arrest.”
Fred Barnes in his Op Ed piece: A Mystery Memo, Biased Reporting, and the Usual Suspects, writes:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist never saw it. Neither did the Senate Republican whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The number three Republican in the Senate, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, didn't get a copy. Nor did the senator with the closest relationship with President Bush, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. And the senator with the familiar Republican last name, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, didn't see it or read it. The same is true of Senator Mel Martinez, the rookie Republican from Florida.

The only basis for blaming Republicans was the unsubstantiated allegation that the memo was spread among Republican senators. Yet no senator stepped forward and said, "Yes, I got that memo." Now consider what would have happened if a damning memo had been distributed to Democratic senators, saying the Schiavo issue could be used politically against Republicans. Would anyone in the mainstream media have jumped on it? I doubt it. Only right-wing bloggers would have.

So rather than an example of aggressive reporting, the memo story turns out to be yet another instance of crude liberal bias, in this case against both Republicans and those who fought to have Schiavo's feeding tube restored.

Naturally the memo had a second life when the story was picked up by other news outlets, pundits, and columnists. How did ABC and others get wind of the memo in the first place? It came from "Democratic aides," according to the New York Times, who "said it had been distributed to Senate Republicans." Not exactly a disinterested source.

Clearly someone is not telling the truth in this saga. As the Left Coast blog said:

“The task before liberals, Democrat or otherwise, is to find ways to convince the electorate to spot lies and reject the liars.”

“That may not be as easy as it sounds. As a people, social science researcher Paul Eckman suggests, the evidence is "that most people do poorly in catching lies... ." One reason Eckman gives that I find convincing is, "we generally prefer not to catch liars, because a trusting rather than a suspicious stance enriches life, despite the possible costs." Another is that "we often want to be misled; we collude in the lie unwittingly because we have a stake in not knowing the truth."
We couldn’t agree more. The leftie bloggers are catching on. Now if only the MSM would take this advice, maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tension High At Water Treatment Plant Where Chemist Geetha Angara Was Murdered

The Passaic County prosecutor's office is still probing the Feb. 8 murder of senior chemist Geetha Angara, 43 — whose assaulted body was found at the bottom of a 35-foot water tank — at a Totowa, N.J., water plant.

Angara may have been incapacitated by the attack, according to Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano, though he did not offer details on the nature of the attack. Before dying in the icy waters, her killer assaulted her with his bare hands, leaving marks on her body, said the prosecutor, who would not elaborate.

“We do not believe a weapon was used. We believe it was a confrontation that turned physical, and possibly the individual panicked at that point in time and the murder ensued," Avigliano said.

Authorities believe the assailant opened one of two 50-pound steel panels set in the concrete floor above the one-million-gallon tank and shoved Angara through while she was still breathing.

Investigators have narrowed the list of suspects to three male co-workers all, like Angara, professionals, sources said "This was not a maintenance-type person.”. Several plant employees were grilled two or three times — included two lab workers who worked under Angara and a "high-ranking supervisor," a plant insider said

"Based on the interviews and based on the time frame, these are people who did not have a good alibi as to where they were when she was killed, or they have, in multiple interviews, said different things as to where they were," investigators said.

Investigators have yet to disclose a motive for the killing. One theory is that professional jealousy or a workplace argument was to blame, but Avigliano said no evidence had been uncovered to support that conclusion.

As the probe continues, tensions at the plant have risen to the point where one employee was suspended for threatening to "smash the head" of a co-worker. The incident occurred as the investigation dragged into its sixth week.

Dominick Gallone, an electrician at the Passaic Valley Water Commission plant, told another electrician in a dispute about overtime on March 10 that "he should take him off the grounds and smash his head in," Totowa police said. The threatened employee complained to bosses, who suspended Gallone. Co-workers did not file criminal complaints, and Gallone was not arrested..

Happy Easter

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Four Minute Workout

We can see “Four Minute Workout” centers springing up all over:

In the amount of time it takes to change into your gym clothes and lace up your sneakers, Paul Bahder, a local doctor who practices preventative medicine and homeopathy, says you can have a complete workout.

Dr. Bahder is part-owner of a new business called The Four Minute Workout, which employs a ROM — Range of Motion — machine at its Montgomery Professional Center location.

By requiring more muscle cells to mobilize, Dr. Bahder said, less time needs to be spent working those muscles. The machine, Dr. Bahder said, engages the three aspects of fitness — aerobic, strength and flexibility. It is the equivalent of 20 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, plus 45 minutes of weight training, topped off with 15 to 20 minutes of stretching, said Dr. Bahder.

The doctor describes the machine as looking like a "cross between a middle-age torture machine and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It is the only machine of its kind in the tri-state area available for public use”, Bahder said.

Taxpayer Satisfaction Surveys

Here’s an idea from our friends in Minnesota:

Governor Tim Pawlenty and State Rep. Philip Krinkie today unveiled the most important advance in government accountability in years.

Dubbed “Taxpayer Satisfaction Surveys,” Krinkie and Pawlenty’s proposal would give a voice to struggling property taxpayers who now often feel victimized by a confusing tax system. The satisfaction survey would be attached to the current Truth in Taxation statements, and would replace the current hearings that are sparsely attended.

Local taxpayers would be surveyed regarding the level of their tax increases; if 20% or more express dissatisfaction, a vote would be called to approve the level of taxes.

“This is a crucial reform to the property tax system, and will be our number one legislative priority this year,” said David Strom, President of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.

“Who could object to giving citizens a voice in the level of their property taxes. Many legislators have complained that property taxes have been going up, and this measure would help ensure that citizens can make their feelings known to local government officials.

“This is not an anti-tax measure so much as adding accountability to the property tax system. Citizens will get a voice, and be given a choice. That is the essence of democracy,” Strom added.

The Taxpayers League is Minnesota’s largest taxpayers advocacy organization.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Friday, March 25, 2005

Lautenberg’s Priorities – Who Done It?

Senator Frank Lautenberg is at it again:
In an effort to get to the bottom of how Republican lawmakers obtained talking points urging them to use the tragedy surrounding Ms. Terri Schiavo for political gain, United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today asked the top Republican and Democrat on the Rules Committee to conduct an immediate investigation.

Media reports suggest the anonymous talking points (attached) were circulated on the floor of the Senate chamber.

"Those who would attempt to influence debate in the United States Senate should not hide behind anonymous pieces of paper," wrote Lautenberg in his letter (attached) to Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT). "In light of this troubling incident, I am writing to request that the Rules Committee conduct an investigation of the attached document, its source, and how it came to be distributed."
No politics involved here, just another example of Frank Lautenberg working hard for the people of New Jersey. We hope the Senate gets to the bottom of this crisis. We wonder what Lautenberg will say when the source proves to be a Democrat dirty trickster.

From Powerline:
Meanwhile, the memo's contents deserve a second look. It is alleged to be a "talking points" memo, and some of its entries are consistent with that description. But other entries--the very ones that reporters and Democrats are pointing to as significant--do not. A reader named Andrew makes the point very well:

I used to work on the Hill too, and have worked in journalism and public relations. That so-called GOP talking points memo obtained by ABC News is perhaps the most poorly worded TP memo ever written.

The whole purpose of a TP memo is to provide compelling arguments to officials to use when addressing the media and public. And these arguments are usually presented in descending order of effectiveness.

Are we to believe that two of the most compelling talking points in favor of the Schiavo legislation are that: a) "the pro-life base will be excited" and b) "this is a great political issue" and "a tough issue for Democrats"?

Are these the sorts of things that a Hill staffer would suggest a senator mention to reporters when questioned about this matter?

So, to sum up: The memo itself contains no clue as to its origins. That in itself is suspicious; the memo's contents are hardly appropriate for an anonymous communication. The fact that the memo appeared in Senators' offices (or, for that matter, at ABC News) proves nothing, as anyone, including a Democratic dirty trickster, could have distributed it.

Mike Allen of the Washington Post says he knows something he can't tell us, but his only argument for why the memo is authentic--some Senators had it--is silly. Further, the content of the memo is highly suspicious. Why would anyone mix political strategy points--the ones the Democrats want to talk about--with talking points for Senatorial argument? A competent staffer preparing a talking points memo wouldn't do that, but a Democratic dirty trickster would.
More here, here and here.

Update: Michelle Malkin posts on Lautenberg’s demands

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Howard Dean’s DNC Playbook – Chapter I

Howard Dean said, ''I've been called worse things than a liberal. The reason the Republicans call names is because they have nothing to say about balancing the budget, creating jobs or doing anything about health care or education.''

We agree with Howard Dean, people without constructive ideas and logical arguments often resort to name calling. Perhaps that's why Chairman Dean called Republicans “brain dead”, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) compared Republicans to Hitler and Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) likened the Vice President, Dick Cheney to Saddam Hussein. Those are some exceedingly convincing ideas for balancing the budget, creating jobs, improving education and reducing health care costs.

It’s interesting that Dean admits the word liberal has a negative connotation. Especially when he says: `The majority is on our side.” Apparently the Chairman believes the majority of the American people are brain dead because the majority failed to vote for their side this past election. (Interesting choice of words “brain dead” with the Terri Schiavo case so prominently in the news)

Beyond referring to someone as a liberal, can anyone give even one example of a major Republican politician calling a Democrat a derogatory name? We can’t think of any but, we’re sure our friends on the left will help us out if we are mistaken.

Great Moments in Public Education

For all the great teachers out there, please don’t think we are picking on you. But we just couldn’t pass up this from today's opinion Journal - Great Moments in Public Education. Read the whole article, the story it's beyond belief.

"A Bronx teacher who repeatedly flunked his state certification exam paid a formerly homeless man with a developmental disorder $2 to take the test for him," New York's Daily News reports:

The illegal stand-in--who looks nothing like teacher Wayne Brightly--not only passed the high-stakes test, he scored so much better than the teacher had previously that the state knew something was wrong, officials said. . . .

Brightly, 38, a teacher at one of the city's worst schools, Middle School 142, allegedly concocted the plot to swap identities with Leitner last summer. If he failed the state exam again, Brightly risked losing his $59,000-a-year job.

The News notes that the test has a 95% pass rate, which makes the inaptly named Brightly's repeated flunking--and the school system's failure to fire him long ago for incompetence--all the more appalling.

Jon Corzine’s New Paradigm For New Jersey

Our reader Socrates asked us at about 11:00 pm tonight if we would “care to comment on the speech Corzine just made, and the plan he's set out. What's good and what is bad?” He provided two links Economic Blueprint and NJIT Speech. Due to the late hour, we only have had time to scratch the surface of Corzine’s Economic Blueprint. We promise to continue our analysis over the coming days. We think it is probably better for us and our readers if we take this a bit at a time.

Jon Corzine will bring a different set of experiences to the office of Governor. He will move the state from a pattern of tax, borrow and spend, to a new paradigm: invest, grow and prosper.
Anyone would bring a different set of experiences to the office of Governor and Jon doesn’t identify those experiences that make him uniquely qualified. We have previously written why we believe Corzine is not the right person for Governor of New Jersey and our most recent post on the subject may be read here.

Corzine promises to move the state to a new paradigm (a buzz word beaten to death in the ‘90’s) of invest, grow and proper. The socialist philosophy is not aligned with ours and we believe socialism has long since proven to be a losing economic model. We are not looking for the State (government) to invest, grow and prosper. We want the people of New Jersey to be free to invest, grow and prosper.

Invest, is a euphemism for spending taxpayer’s money, so there’s nothing new there and our concern remains how much more tax money Corzine would like to “invest;” grow, state government is already growing at an unsustainable rate, the people of New Jersey can’t afford any more state growth; prosper, in our book state employees are prospering quite nicely without any additional help from Mr. Corzine.

Corzine believes that growing New Jersey’s economy and creating good-paying jobs cannot and will not happen unless we achieve four important things first: (We will pick up our analysis with the four important things in a later post)
The government is incapable of growing an economy or creating private sector jobs - good paying or otherwise. The state can create good paying government jobs, but these jobs do not create wealth, they subtract from the capital available for wealth creation. Every communist government has tried this approach, as have the socialist countries in Europe with disastrous results. So there’s no need to repeat those mistakes in New Jersey.

The government can create a climate that ranges from hostile to favorable towards business and economic growth. A look at Corzine’s Senate record and ratings by various business and consumer groups complied by Project Vote Smart, do not inspire confidence in Corzine’s philosophy or record for economic growth.

Corzine received 27 ratings ranging from a high of 50% to a low of 0 %. We believe this would be considered an “F’ under anyone’s grading scale, even in New Jersey. There is nothing in Jon Corzine’s record to suggest he would be successful in growing New Jersey's economy or as we would say, creating a pro growth climate in the state.

Small business is the great job creating engine in the United States. For the years 2003-2004 the National Small Business Association rated Senator Corzine 0% (zero) and the Small Business Survival Committee gave Corzine a 20%. (We will continue this area of research and report any additional information.) To date, here are the findings:

2004 U.S. Chamber of Commerce 47 %
2004 Small Business Survival Committee 20 %
2003-2004 National Association of Manufacturers 9 %
2003-2004 National Federation of Independent Business 0 %
2003-2004 Business-Industry Political Action Committee 4 %
2003-2004 National Retail Federation 12 %
2003-2004 Associated Builders & Contractors 10 %
2003-2004 National Small Business Association 0 %
2003-2004 National Restaurant Association 14 %
2003 National Retail Federation 12 %
2003 Associated Builders & Contractors 0 %
2003 Business-Industry Political Action Committee 4 %
2003 U.S. Chamber of Commerce 27 %
2003 National Federation of Independent Business 0 %
2002 National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association 36 %
2002 American Coalition for Ethanol 0 %
2002 U.S. Chamber of Commerce 50 %
2001-2002 Associated Builders & Contractors 22 %
2001-2002 National Federation of Independent Business 25 %
2001-2002 Small Business Survival Committee 0 %
2001-2002 Business-Industry Political Action Committee 0 %
2001-2002 National Association of Manufacturers 0 %
2001 National Federation of Independent Business 17 %
2001 U.S. Chamber of Commerce 36 %
2001 National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association 40 %
2001 Small Business Survival Committee 0 %
1999-2004 National Ready Mixed Concrete Association 20 %

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

There’s An Elephant In The Room

Have you noticed the elephant in the living room that the liberals keep trying to ignore even as they lose election after election? It's the huge "idea gap" between conservatives and liberals. While conservatives are open about what we think and our reasoning, liberals often try to obscure what they believe in or worse yet, publicly run from it. This is why -- as USA Today reported -- Americans think the Democratic Party is out of gas intellectually.

Yes, we have noticed that trend. Senator Jon Corzine has turned obfuscation, duck and run into an art form in his quest to become Governor of New Jersey. Lacking ideas, Corzine along with his fellow Democrats, substitute trite phases, obstruction and name calling for serious political debate and solutions to problems. Here’s a prime example from yesterday:

U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine supports publicly funded stem-cell research, but likes the California model compared to anything he has seen. If you want to know his stance on other hot campaign issues important to New Jersey, you're going to have to wait.

"There will be plenty of time for that later," the gubernatorial candidate said Monday.

They're [Republicans] asking Corzine to explain how he plans to solve the state's nearly bankrupt financial status and property-tax crisis. They're also asking for his perspective on issues like gay marriage and the governor's proposed slashing of property-tax rebates.

The Republican candidates answered most of those questions at length last week during a debate in northern New Jersey.

He did, however, offer a slight explanation of the $37,000 his mother donated to Bergen County Democrats even though she lives in Illinois.

"I've answered that question already," he said. "My mom and my family have always tried to help each other out. It's ridiculous. We're here to celebrate Frank Lautenberg's career."

Since acting Gov. Richard J. Codey announced in early February that he would not challenge Corzine for the Democratic nomination, Corzine has not said much.

After a reporter asked him two questions, Corzine refused to answer any more.

"You're not going to get anything out of me that you haven't already gotten," he said.
And what about Republicans accusing him of staying silent on issues?

Campaign manager David Wald stepped in and said, "We're not saying anything else."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Who Is Jon Corzine – Fact Check

Jon Corzine has a new campaign website - Jon Corzine for Governor – Join Us New Jersey.
We have no idea what “Join Us New Jersey” is supposed to mean. Perhaps it will come to us upon further reflection. Anyway, we are happy to see the Senator has decided to provide us with some information about his campaign.

To keep Senator Corzine honest, we thought we’d start fact checking his boasts. Today we will begin with the “Who Jon Is” web page - starting with his first, middle and last boast on the page. (He certainly does have a way with words – “who Jon is”?)

Jon Corzine was elected to represent the people of New Jersey in the United States Senate in November 2000. Since that time, he has established a record of accomplishment for the state, from securing federal funds to protecting open space and water reserves in the Highlands to protecting New Jersey’s PAAD and Senior Gold programs from federal charges that would have hurt New Jersey.

Jon Corzine grew up on a small family farm in central Illinois. After graduating from college in 1969, he began his financial career at the Continental Illinois National Bank in Chicago. In 1970, he enrolled in business school at the University of Chicago, first attending classes at night. He earned his MBA in 1973. In 1975, Corzine and his family moved to New Jersey after being recruited by Goldman Sachs, where he eventually rose to become CEO. Now he is working to bring his independent thinking, business expertise, and integrity to New Jersey as the state’s next Governor.

In 2000, Jon entered public service and brought his leadership skills to bear on some of the toughest challenges we face. He has fought for New Jersey, taking on the chemical industry to make us safer. He has also stood for corporate reform, using his Wall Street experience to craft laws cracking down on corporate abuses. Jon is known in the Senate and in New Jersey as a tough, principled leader who rises above partisan politics to do what's right for the state and get things done.
Corzine Boast: Record of accomplishment for the state - securing federal funds.

Fact: Worst record in securing federal funds - for every dollar of income tax New Jersey taxpayers send to the federal government New Jersey receives 57¢ in return, the lowest return in the nation.

Corzine Boast: Rose to become CEO Goldman Sachs.

Fact: Became CEO of Goldman Sachs in the Fall of 1994 and fired at the end of 1998 when his executive-committee colleagues unanimously voted to remove him from his post as CEO. It’s hard to believe any CEO of a Wall Street firm could have been fired during the go-go years of the 1990’s. A firm on auto-pilot would have raked in the dough.

Corzine Boast: Principled leader who rises above partisan politics.

Fact: Digging all the back to yesterday for an example: In a conference call with reporters Monday (March 21, 2005), Sen. John Corzine, D-NJ, one of the leading opponents of the president's plan, said Cheney had "a virtual career of disdain for Social Security," and compared his appearances to sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq.

If this is Corzine’s idea of a principled leader who rises above partisan politics, we don’t want to be around when things get ugly

Codey: State Pensions, Benefits "Strangling" New Jersey Taxpayers

New Jersey's finances are in such a mess that even Acting Governor Codey is admitting it will take years to put the state back on solid footing. What is a major cause of our State budget nightmare?

Codey puts a lot of blame on generous pension and benefit packages for state employees and retired teachers that squeeze New Jersey's budgets. If anything, we've got to pull back from these entitlements that are strangling the taxpayers of New Jersey.
The tax receivers will be out in force pressuring the Democrats to maintain the status quo and to place their interests above all others and especially above the taxpayer’s. State and local government can not continue the lavish spending on government employee benefits and retirement packages.

Why should people that can’t afford to pay for their own health care insurance or to fund their retirement be forced to pay for benefits not available in even the most generous private sector programs?

The fall back position of tax “the rich, aside from being unfair, is not a long term solution to covering these escalating costs. There are not enough “rich” taxpayers to soak and rich is currently defined as those making $70,000 a year.

The $2.2 billion annual state price tag for teacher and public employee health insurance and retirement benefits is expected to triple in just five years. At the current pace, those costs will soar to $6.7 billion by the time the state budget is drafted in 2009, and account for more than one-fifth of all state spending.

Make your voice heard and tell your State Senator and Assemblyman to take action now. If they fail to act on behalf of the taxpayers, we do have the power to elect replacements this November that will understand their job and will act on their responsibilities.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Jon Corzine – Resorts To Name Calling

Call attention to problems and seek solutions in order to save a collapsing ponzi scheme called Social Security and you’re likened to Saddam Hussein. Name calling is usually a fall back position when you lack facts and logical arguments. Jon Corzine is certainly bereft of facts and solutions to problems facing the country or New Jersey.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Sen. John Corzine, D-NJ, one of the leading opponents of the president's plan, said Cheney had "a virtual career of disdain for Social Security," and compared his appearances to sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq.

"He's certainly not being sent on the road to convince Democrats, moderates or Baby Boomers," Corzine said.
Hold a different opinion than Jon Corzine and he compares you to a ruthless dictator. Not just any dictator, but Saddam Hussein, a sworn enemy of the United States who tortured and killed anyone that dared to express a different opinion. How open minded, how statesman like.

This little temper tantrum hardly makes Corzine a poster boy for democracy in action. Of course Corzine may have a point – Chaney isn’t trying to convince Democrats, moderates and Baby Boomers about Social Security, the majority already have been convinced. Perhaps this is why the Senator is pouting and acting like a child, he is losing the argument.

Like it or not Senator Corzine, Dick Cheney is the Vice President of the United States and deserves respect for the office he holds. You owe the Vice President, the country and the people of New Jersey an apology. You have disgraced the office you hold.

Update: Thankfully other blogs have picked up this story and are posting on this outrage. Read more here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Update II: Bret Schundler says : ’That’s about as ugly a thing as you could say, and it’s far beneath the level of discourse New Jerseyans have a right to expect from their leaders.

“Jon Corzine should immediately apologize – to the Vice President, to New Jerseyans he represents, and to his own mother, who must surely be aghast at her son’s foul mouth.”

Terri Schiavo – May We At Least Act With Mercy

The case of Terri Schiavo is a troubling and an upsetting one on many fronts. Much has been written on the legal aspects of this case and we will leave it to those with expertise in those areas to comment.

Our problem with this case doesn’t revolve around who has the right to make the ultimate decision for Terri – her husband, her parents, state courts or federal courts. This can and will be decided. Our problem comes with how this procedure is carried out, if her husband’s right to make this decision on Terri’s behalf prevails.

In this instance, the state has allowed Terri’s life to end naturally, by removing her feeding tube. This begs the questions, is removing the feeding tube without consequence beyond her death and is it natural? Does Terri feel pain?

Is it natural and humane to deprive someone of food and water whether it is by glass and plate or by feeding tube? Is the method for providing sustenance the key factor in answering the question and ultimately the one upon which the decision should rest?

Terri isn’t being kept alive by mechanical means, her heart beats and she breathes on her own. We believe the decision to remove Terri’s feeding tube is merely a hands off approach to killing her. It is a way for us to pretend that a life was not taken, but rather that a life was lost. We would not wish to live in Terri’s circumstances but, we would not wish to die as she might.

Deprived of food and water, will Terri feel no pain, will she not suffer? How can we ever be certain of the answer to these questions? Did Terri require anesthesia when she was operated on to insert and remove the feed tube? If the answer to that question is yes, that leads us to conclude her doctors believed she is capable of feeling and reacting to pain.

To absolve ourselves from the guilt of taking a life, we take refuge in the natural consequences of our inaction. It is not what we give Terri that will kill her; it is what she is unable to give herself that will. Somehow we’re off the hook when we remove her feeding tube, sinners if we provide medication that puts her to sleep and then to death.

So whose interests are we really deciding in this case? Some say Terri’s parents are selfish for fighting to keep her alive. They aren’t fighting for Terri, they're fighting for themselves. Other’s, including Terri’s husband, claim they are fighting to let her die as she would have wanted under these circumstances. In the latter case, perhaps the ends aren’t selfish, but the means to that end protect their interests and not Terri’s. Does anyone believe Terri would have chosen to die a slow and painful death?

Why the need to remove Terri’s feeding tube? Wouldn’t she die just as surely if nutrients were no longer administered to her through the tube? No, the tube was removed to ensure her death. So let’s stop pretending this is a natural and acceptable way to end a life. This is a selfish way to bring about death. More intervention was required to remove Terri’s feeding tube than to give her a shot that would have quickly ended her life.

If we are willing to take on life and death decisions, then let’s also be willing to take on the burden of ending a life in a manner that is as quick and as painless as possible. If we are not willing to take on this responsibility, than let’s stop dehydrating and starving a person to death, it is cruel and unnecessary. Withholding sustenance or injecting a lethal substance, death comes at our hand either way – it is a distinction without a difference. If it is for us to choose death, may we at least act with mercy?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Republican Party Send Some Money Our Way

Jayson at PoliPundit has this to say about the Republican Party:
We don’t have the built-in advantages enjoyed by the Democratic Party.

Unlike the Democrats, we don’t have CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Time and NewsWeak, USA Today, the Associated Press, Reuters, and the overwhelming majority of big-city newspapers, out there, running around, chanting our talking points, and carrying our political water for us.

And our voters are all live persons who only cast one ballot a piece.

So, it was with great interest that I perused this report, concerning the GOP’s recent fund raising activities.

Glad to see the Republicans are raising money, we just wonder if any of it will make its way to New Jersey, because unlike other states, we have Democrat Jon Corzine running for Governor, $20 million is chump change to him.

Corzine: It’s Premature For Me To Offer Specifics

Jon Corzine likes to refer to himself as “among his party's chief economic and finance experts” and in recent months he has promoted himself as “one of the nation’s foremost experts on the economy and financial markets”.

Senator Corzine is such a wiz with all things financial, he was able to offer “prebuttals” to President Bush’s State of the Union and to Alan Greenspan’s Senate testimony on the economy and Social Security. No need to actually hear the speech or the testimony, he’s way ahead of everyone on these matters.

When it comes to our nation’s budget, the very day the President submitted his 2006 budget to Congress, Corzine was able to release a statement to the press proclaiming the budget was bad for New Jersey. The next day he was denouncing the budget, after his preliminary analysis, as representing fiscal irresponsibility.

Now Corzine is running for Governor of New Jersey and three weeks after Acting Governor Codey unveiled his proposed state budget, Corzine is incapable of offering any specific comments or proposals.

Asked what he would do about the state budget, Corzine said it was "premature" for him to offer specific proposals because all the details of Codey's plan, including numbers and assumptions, had not been released.

What are we to make of this Corzine statement to the press? It wasn’t worth his time to familiarize himself with the budget and the state’s finances. He hasn’t bothered to give any thought to the subject. The State’s budget and finances are so complex that it’s beyond his expertise. Or maybe Corzine just doesn’t want to let the public in on his ideas about New Jersey spending and tax policies.

Lazy, disinterested, incapable and hiding positions on major issues from voters are not qualities most people are looking for in a Governor, even when the state is New Jersey. How long is the press going to let Corzine get away with nonsense? Yea, we know the Senator is rich but, is that the only qualification for the office?

Anytown, USA

Have you seen Sirk Production teaser trailer for Anytown, USA? The film features Steve Lonegan, Mayor of Bogota, two political challengers and citizens behaving badly. People never tire of presenting New Jersey in the worst possible light and if the trailer is representative of the movie, a new wave of ridicule will be coming our way.

Sirk Productions website provides this description:
This feature documentary film gives viewers a look into a local election in the small town of Bogota, New Jersey. With its quirky characters, dilapidated infrastructure and impassioned citizens, Bogota presents a stark contrast to the sterile, slick, professional campaigns at the state and national levels. The film provides an uncompromising look at local politics, warts and all.
We’ll give you a teaser of our own. Watch Democrats whip themselves into a frenzy as they rip up Lonegan campaign signs, throw eggs at his signs in protest and …

Now that we have you on the edge of your seat, take a look.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Blogging For Dollars

Who says there is no money in blogging? Henry Copeland of Blogads gives hope to legions of bloggers with the dream of turning their hobby into some extra cash. Copeland in an interview says:

I think the numbers will continue to grow at LEAST until bloggers get 0.1% of the total US annual advertising spend, $250 billion. That may take 3 years or it may take 18, but it is inevitable. Bloggers understand their subjects and their audiences better than anyone else in media AND they've got the lowest overheads. After all, pajamas cost much less than suits.
When asked how many bloggers do you see reaching the "earning a living" threshold over the next few years? Copeland said:

I'd be thrilled to reach 500. But 5000 is possible. And if things go really well 50,000.
Quite a range isn’t it? Well, best of luck to our blog buddies that hold this dream – we’re just hoping to enlighten a few folks and change a few minds.

We couldn’t help but notice that the Daily Kos tops the list with an estimated $6800 per week in Blogad revenue.

Isn’t it amazing the “champions of the little guys” often seem to lead the league in the money making department? The rhetoric from the left invariably paints Republicans as the greedy, idle rich and the Democrats as members of working families, struggling under the domination of those on the evil right.

Can we lay this meme to rest? Just thinking of Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg should do the trick for most people. John Kerry, anyone?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Jon Corzine – Predisposed To Spending

We can’t imagine the Democrats putting up a worse candidate than Jon Corzine for Governor of New Jersey. Corzine’s political philosophy is really a throw-back to the period of the 60’ through the 80’s. – universal health care, universal preschool, universal college and a whole litany of other social programs – all paid by taxpayers. The country is moving into the era of the “ownership society” and Corzine is stuck in a “great society” time warp.

Given the State’s financial situation and the property tax rebellion brewing, Corzine is really not a good fit for Governor, especially under present circumstances. Corzine wants to cast himself as the champion of the little guy – with his mind set, do you think he could bring himself to actually cut spending? His inclination is to expand and create new social programs – it makes him feel good, we suppose. Whether it’s his personal philosophy, guilt over his financial success or a need to buy people’s approval – he is predisposed to spending.

Just think of the money Corzine has spent to win a Senate seat and to capture his party’s nomination for Governor. A person that just wanted to “give back” to the country (state, community), that “gave him so much”, could have spent the +$75 million actually helping people. Think how many homes he could have built, children he could have sent to school, the medical research he could have funded – you get the idea. He didn’t do that – why?

That’s our beef with Corzine and the money he has spent on his political ambition. He didn’t spend the money to help people; he spent the money so that he could take credit for helping the little guy with other people’s money. Quietly helping folks with his own money, getting an occasional mention in the news about his good works, was not enough.

Corzine was stung when he was fired by Goldman Sachs and he needed a way to heal his bruised ego – to regain recognition and status. As luck would have it, Frank Lautenberg had decided to retire from the Senate and opportunity knocked. Corzine needed a job with status and the Democrats needed a candidate with bucks - the stars were aligned. The rest is history.

So how can you judge Corzine’s potential actions as Governor? He can’t tell you or you wouldn’t vote for him. So he’ll continue to hide in the Senate, playing the demagogue and doing nothing for the people of New Jersey. And why not - he’s gotten by with it so far.

Bret Schundler's Property Tax Calculator

That's what we like, a man with a plan and facts to back up the talk. No guessing how you'd make out with Schundler's property tax reform - he's got it figured out to the penny.

You choose your county, enter your house number and zip code - hit enter - find your name and address then hit the button. Your property tax reduction under the Schundler plan in black & white. Check it out.

Bret Schundler's Property Tax Calculator

We wonder how Jon Corzine's property tax reform plan compares to Schundler's? Oh, that's right, Corzine is waiting until after he's elected Governor to tell the citizens of New Jersey his plans. Probably in a press release.

NJ’s Governor’s Race Heats Up

Boy, things are really heating up and New Jersey’s race for Governor has barely begun. What's up with the name calling by the commenter over at Jersey Style? A small taste of what’s to come, we suppose. We’ll stick to the issues for the time being and support Patrick – he didn’t deserve the nasty comment.

State finances and taxes are the major issues facing New Jersey. Social issues are important to some voters, but neither party will upset the status quo – regardless of which wins the governorship.

Now the courts are another matter. It is the judiciary, at the federal and state level that has imposed its will on the people - social policy right on through to the crazy school financing edicts that have led to the current property tax crisis.

Let’s face it, abortion law can not be changed at the State level, so why get all bent out of shape trying to pin someone down on the issue. It may make someone feel good to vote for a candidate that is strong on national defense, is pro life, etc. - but a Governor has no impact on these issues. We think it makes more sense to concentrate on the issues the Governor can impact.

We like Bret Schundler because he really changed government in Jersey City – a city that was only about 6% Republican when he ran for mayor. Just winning the mayor’s race was an amazing accomplishment, and once elected he wasn’t complacent in office. He has a record of innovation, of cutting spending and holding down taxes. They must have liked Schundler in Jersey City, they elected him three times. He has provided information about his reform agenda and his position on property taxes. If we’re looking to do more with less in New Jersey, we believe we’d have a better chance with Schundler as Governor.

As for Doug Forrester – everyone seems to find him dull. We don’t know enough about the man to make a judgment at this point. He ran for the Senate in 2002 and probably would have won had Torricelli not quit the race at the last minute amid a corruption scandal. The New Jersey court stepped in, rewrote the law and Lautenberg was resurrected. Forrester seems suited for the Senate and we were clear on his positions for that job. At this point he has not laid out his positions and ideas for solving New Jersey’s fiscal problems as Governor. However, he clearly recognizes the major issues facing the State and raising taxes is not his answer to the State’s woes.

Honesty, political record, truthful explanation of agenda and ideas for solving the State’s problems, demonstrated ability to lead and effect change, and a willingness to represent and treat all New Jersey citizens equally, are the factors we will use to determine our vote for Governor.

We hope all candidates will be candid and present detailed positions and plans – press releases, vague platitudes, demagoguery and slick campaign ads just won’t cut the mustard. Are you listening Mr. Corzine?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Slap In The Face

Did you ever just want to smack someone? We are not violent by nature and would never raise a hand to anyone – but in our mind we can just picture ourselves slapping this woman right across the face. Actually, we feel that she slapped us first.
Rumu DasGupta is not a U.S. citizen, but she is an American in her mind.

"I'm not a citizen, but in many ways I grew up in this place," DasGupta, who now lives in Freehold Township [New Jersey], says in one of the classrooms at Georgian Court University, where she chairs the sociology department. "When I came to this place, I was 20 years old."

DasGupta, now 54, still has not decided whether to formally pledge her allegiance to this country.

To abandon her heritage and become a citizen of the United States is a difficult proposition — especially for a political activist who protests what she believes is government abuse.

"I have very strong feelings about being identified with the United States, especially because I feel so strongly American foreign policy is destroying the rest of the world," she says. "It is not an easy decision."

DasGupta may be an American in her mind, but she certainly is not in ours. She is a smug college professor that has lived a privileged life in the United States, wrapped in the cocoon of academia.

Why would she want to live in a country that is “destroying the world”? She should be encouraged to move, either back to her country of origin or to one that better reflects her values. We'll even help her pack.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

HaloScan Track Back Added

Ken Adams at Sadanek has been after us to install TrackBack. After much trial and error we believe the feature has been installed. We have retained the Blogger comment component and have just added the HaloScan trackback feature. It remains to be seen if trackback will actually work and how we will use our new toy.

We understand the trackback concept. How in the world you actually use it is another matter. Very embarrassing but, Jim at Parkway Rest Stop was willing to admit to he is a techno-chicken.we can own up to being a techno-ameba if our trackback doesn't work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

New Jersey’s Constitutional Convention – If Duty Calls

Here’s an update on the New Jersey property tax Constitutional Convention. We noticed the tax receivers are debating the parameters for the convention; taxpayers are never to be consulted on these matters.

Lawmakers and lobbyists debated over changing New Jersey's property-tax system, as an Assembly committee voted to support a constitutional convention different in some key ways from recommendations made by a state task force.

One change would delay the election of convention delegates until April 2006, rather than this November, when the convention question would be on the ballot. Critics said an April vote assures a low turnout and makes it easier for interest groups to influence the results.

The delay means the convention, which would be at Rutgers' New Brunswick campus, would start in May, not December, and wrap up in August 2006. Its recommendations would still be on the November 2006 ballot.
Nothing like kicking the State’s problems further down the road. On the other hand, if we can be members of an interest group that will influence results – we just might come to appreciate the delay.

New Jersey has the highest property-tax rates in the nation, 50 percent higher than the national average, according to Assembly Majority Leader Joseph J. Roberts, D-Camden, a sponsor of the convention plan.

"The convention would not be looking at spending," said Roberts.
Roberts apparently believes there is no connection between government spending and taxes or he thinks we are stupid enough to go along with this reasoning.
Not dealing with spending concerned Michael Carroll (R-Morris). He asked the bill's supporters how they could come up with a way to stem rising property-tax bills without addressing state expenditures.

Carroll also asked why a convention, and not the Legislature, had to decide on reforms. "Isn't that what we are paid to do?" Carroll said.
Those few quotes pretty much sum up the difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties. However, it is not safe to vote the party line; members of both parties have been guilty of profligate spending.

So here are a few tips to help voters choose an Assembly candidate come November: Vote for the candidate that agrees with Mike Carroll’s opinion –members of the Assembly are responsible for fixing the State’s spending and tax problems.

Don’t vote for any candidate that shares Robert’s view - which apparently amounts to admitting he is not up to the job and prefers to have a convention that will recommend raising taxes through amendments to the State’s Constitution.

Should the legislature fail to act on our behalf, then let’s have a Constitutional Convention and as Mr. Roberts recommends, prevent delegates from recommending any changes to New Jersey’s Constitution related to spending. Instead delegates can ask voters to amend the Constitution by abolishing the property tax and replacing it with a fee for government services used model. That ought to please everyone.

The Democrats will be pleased that spending wasn’t addressed, homeowners will no longer be taxed out of their houses and people will be free to consume and pay for as much and as many government services as they choose.

Any calls for us to serve as delegates to the convention?

We Have A Dream

Which political party was the third largest vote getter in last year’s race for U.S. President? If you picked the Libertarian Party – you’re right. Michael Badnarik the party’s nominee garnered 0.3% of the vote in the 2004 Election. That’s three times more than the Green Party with 0.1% of the vote.

Julia Gorin in Opinion Journal writes:

Most of us have heard at least vaguely the party's [Libertarian] guiding principles, which usually center on a "government out" ideology that says the government has exactly two functions: to protect citizens from foreign attackers, and to create and defend a body of law that protects citizens' property rights and physical safety. There is also an emphasis on personal liberty and individual responsibility.
Can you imagine such a wacky philosophy? How could anyone vote for a party that espouses such extreme ideas? We hazily remember learning about this ideology in school. Ah yes, we remember now, it was in the U.S. Constitution. Sad isn’t it - the ideas in our country’s founding documents - our Declaration of Independence and Constitution – are no longer considered “mainstream”.

Gorin goes on to say there’s a bit more to the Libertarian Party than the guiding principles noted above:

Libertarians generally bill themselves as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. But that's the straight-faced answer. When those who still haven't quite grasped the nature of this political party or its adherents ask, "So what's a Libertarian, anyway?" it can be summed up with any or all of the following quips:

• A conservative with an unhealthy preoccupation with sex.
• A Republican with a wild side.
• An amoral Republican.

Comedian Jeff Jena defines a Libertarian as a Democrat who wants to own a gun, or a Republican who wants to smoke pot.
Guns and pot aside, we believe there are a good number of people, calling themselves Republicans, who whole-heartily agree with the Libertarian Party’s guiding principles. The call for limited government and a judiciary bound by the Constitution’s original intent and meaning is an appealing message.

If only we could encourage more politicians to embrace this philosophy. Unfortunately, an abrogation of government and judicial power is not popular with the ruling class. But we can keep working to convince our fellow citizens that there is a better way. Just imagine the day when the two major political parties in the country are the Republicans and the Libertarians. We should live so long - but sometimes it’s nice to have a dream.

Surprise, Surprise

Gee, here’s a surprise – School leaders are poorly educated:
The principals and superintendents who run the nation's schools are unprepared for their jobs by education colleges, where training ranges from inadequate to appalling, according to research by a leader in higher education.

Yet most graduate education programs that train these school administrators are deeply flawed, suffering from irrelevant curriculum, low standards, weak faculty and little clinical instruction, he said. Many programs are doing little more than dishing out higher degrees to teachers who are trying to qualify for salary increases, Levine said.
The next time an “educator” tries to explain why their salaries should be commensurate with other professions, they like to point to doctors, lawyers, engineers and other professionals, let’s just remind them of this story. Those unparallel benefits and pensions are looking rather uncalled for as well.

Now this is a surprise via DynamoBuzz:
You know the deer problem in New Jersey has gotten out of control when environmental groups are in favor of deer hunts to trim the size of the herds. That's exactly what happened yesterday when the New Jersey Audubon Society came out in favor of hunts, hired guns and just about any other measure to reduce the NJ deer population, currently estimated to be an all-time high of nearly 200,000.

The problem is that the deer are eating all the low lying shrubs and flowers in the state along with many of the leaves from bushes and trees. Native plant species are being eliminated, and birds and other critters are losing their habitats.

It’s the destruction of the native habitat that’s pushing the environmental groups. When it was merely the death of motorists and the destruction of millions of dollars in suburban landscaping, it was a yawn. Now when can we get a permit and a gun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Another New Blog Template

This is about the fifth blog template we’ve had for Enlighten-New Jersey, which averages out to about one new template per month. We were never quite comfortable with any of our previous layouts, as each seemed to lack a clean, easy to read look we had hoped to present. Hopefully this template will last a bit longer, before we get sick of looking at it. There are still some things we’d like to change, but right now we’re worn out on the project.

Isn’t it amazing how much time you can waste choosing colors and a layout for a simple thing like a blog? Hours and hours spent reaching a consensus, only to discover that each monitor and browser displays the colors and layout differently. We know there is a small issue with the dividing line between the header and the main body of the page – it looks fat in Firefox, fine in Internet Explorer. We finally gave up trying to fix the problem. If anyone has any ideas for a fix, please let us know.

Should you notice any other problems, please keep it to yourself – the thought of messing around with this template for one more minute, is more than we can stand right now. Just kidding, if you come across any bugs, we would appreciate it if you would let us know. Now as to which of the technically challenged Enlighten gang will fix it, is a topic for later discussion.

We’ve spent so much time changing this damn thing that we haven’t had time to post. We have been keeping up with all of the must read Jersey blogs and will post our thoughts on some of the highlights later.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Victory Wednesday

Every Wednesday PoliPundit hosts Victory Wednesday in support of Republican candidates running for office across the U.S. PoliPundit provides a list of blogs that have joined the effort by asking their readers to donate to an important Republican campaign. Each week a different Republican candidate is chosen for Victory Wednesday support.

The following is a list of blogs currently participating in Victory Wednesday.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bloggerman
Reagan Country
Jarhead Journal
Davidson's Law
The Mind of Mike

Radio Free Roider

Entropy Manor

PBS Watch



The Conservative Edge

The MANTIC Pundit



The Longhorn Mafia

Feste...a foolsblog

Bush-Cheney 2004 (unofficial blog)

The Conservative Vampire

Mark Kilmer

A Rice Grad


Southern Conservatives

Imaginary Conversations and Random Thoughts


Spot On


The Countertop Chronicles

Scared Monkeys

The Jogging Blogger

Boycott the Left

GOP union man

Jilly M

The Black Republican

Gateway Pundit

toothdigger's comeback

Republican Sentinel


The Bully Pulpit

The Ole Miss Conservative

Riehl World View

Army of One

Passionate America

The Right Side

Regarding Good and Evil

Polish Immigrant

My Little Corner of the World

Progressive Conservatism

Backcountry Conservative

Strategy Revolutions

Redneck Infidel

Right Wing Ruminations

Quotes, Thoughts, and other Ramblings

Blogging For Bush (unofficial blog)

The Permanent Revolution

The Political Teen

Further Right Than Middle

Curiouser and Curiouser

Planet Parmasan

All The Right Stuff

The Hedgehog Report

Pajama Jihad

The World of Tomorrow

Democrats Give Conservatives Indigestion


euphoric reality

Eternal Rebels

Aaron's Rantblog

William Webb

The Michigan Partisan

West Virginia for Bush

Harig Report

Viking Pundit

It Is What It Is

VikingSpirit's political musings

She Who Will be Obeyed

My Domestic Church

The Rinse Cycle

Democrats for Bush


Right Wing Drummer

Chuck's Daily Blog


Bush 2004 (unofficial site)



The (vast) Right Wing Conspiracy

I am Right

Mediocre but Unexciting


Boxer Watch

Peace for Our Time



Louisiana Conservative

Election Projection


Kilabe's Hive


Ramblings of a Jackhole

My Pet Jawa

Winning Again!

Viewpoint Journal

Rice's Ruminations

The Physics Geek

Strike Thee With Curses


Between the Coasts

Conservative Eyes

Patriot Blog

Blogs For Blackwell

Jim "Big Dog" Gerkin's Weblog

Miss O'Hara

Fox Watcher

Random Thoughts

Joshua's Place

On the Right Track

BUSH over Kerry

Sneakeasy's Joint

Junto Boyz

Matt Margolis


Right Journal


Slings and Arrows

You're in the Right Place


Stephen Blythe

Brandon Speaks

Ryne McClaren

Everything I Know Is Wrong

La diosa del lago

Pennsylvania for Bush

LifeLike Pundits

The Daily Diatribe

Krotchety Kegler

Clearing Datum

Red, White And Right

Nuts and Dolts

Ben's World

Chance Clay

King of Fools

BushBlog.us (unofficial blog)

Avoiding Evil


Left and Right

Resistance is futile!

This is War.info


Erika for President

Stars 'n Stripes

Bowling for Howard Dean

A Redder State of Mind

Urth:The Drowned Land

Flyover Country

Ohio For Blackwell

Drink this...

Miller's Time

Left Coast Conservative

Conservative Dialysis

The Coliseum

Conservative Nation

Rizzay?s Ramblings

Pencil In Your Hand

Of The Mind

*2Flower* To You

The American Patriots

J. Alexander Lollie

Don's Attic


North Georgia Dogma

The SmarterCop

Cao's Blog

The Galvin Opinion

Dharma Pundit

Confessions of a Political Junkie

The Conservative Republican

Pennsylvanian in Exile

Breaking News At Ten

Down Range

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Captain Mainline

Pop Politics

Malarchuck Rants & Raves

Jeremy Kissel

The Young Conservative

The Chapin Nation


The Irish Lass

The Urban Grind

Neophyte Pundit

Pardon My English

Obiter Dictum

Patriot Paradox

Two Rights: Conservative Political Discourse

Amarok's Blog

Right-Wing & Right Minded

Let the Voice be Heard


The Vatican of Liberalism

Random Numbers

Marlo's Musings

Young Pundits

The Fighting Gamecock


Republican Senate

The Open End

OkieMinnie Me


Rightward Bound


Proud Veterans

The Templar Pundit

The Hedgehog Blog

The Commons

Apologies Demanded

Mind of Mog

Blogged & Dangerous

Freedom of Thought

Small Town Veteran

The Political Influentials


Matt's Rants

Dingo's Calzones

Boots and Sabers

Confederate America


Opinion Times

Right on Red

American Liberty Journal

Tomfoolery of the Highest Order

Decision '08


Six Meat Buffet

Deep Thoughts...or not?

Blogs for Bush

Back and Forth

Brain Shavings

Alamo Nation

Patriots for Bush

Right Wingin-It

Atlas Shrugs

Daily Inklings

Gribbit's Word


Ace of Trump

Go Dubya!

Joefish's Freshwater Blog

Dagney's Rant

The Politicker

Clay Calhoun

Dayton v. Kennedy

Civil Commotion

Stranded On Blue Islands


Truth, Lies & Common Sense

The Patriette



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