"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dirty Tricks

Someone is playing some dirty tricks on Enlighten-NewJersey. Wonder who?

Bringing Down The Cost Of Health Care

Straight Talk From Thomas Sowell:

Some believe -- contrary to all evidence -- that the government can provide things cheaper, that it can "bring down the cost of health care," for example.

Virtually everything that the government does costs more than when the same thing is done in private industry -- whether it is building housing, running prisons, collecting garbage, or innumerable other things. Why in the world would we imagine that health care would be the exception?

When people talk about the government's bringing down costs, what they really mean is that the government can impose price controls. But bringing down costs is wholly different from not allowing those costs to be paid in full.

Keeping prices lower than they would be under supply and demand produces shortages, quality deterioration, and black markets -- whether the price that is being controlled is that of food, housing, medical care or innumerable other things.

The only difference with medical care is that the consequences are more disastrous.


Politicians who claim to be able to "bring down the cost of health care" are talking about bringing down the prices charged. But prices are not costs. Prices are what pay for costs.

No matter how much lower the government sets the prices paid to doctors, hospitals, or pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, none of this reduces the costs in the slightest.

It still takes just as much time, equipment, and training to turn a medical school student into a doctor. It still takes just as many hospitals to care for the sick. It still takes just as many years of scientific research and clinical trials to create a new medicine.

Those who are dying to control the prices of pharmaceutical drugs are oblivious to the fact that other people may be literally dying unnecessarily if they succeed. There is no free lunch, even though politicians get elected by promising free lunches.

Government price controls on medicines and medical care simply mean that these costs do not all get covered. This works in the short run -- and the short run is what politicians are interested in, because elections are held in the short run. But the rest of us had better think ahead, if we value our health.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Corzine Is Out Of The Mainstream

According to an article in the Star-Ledger:

Over the past four years, New Jersey raised taxes more per capita than any state while piling up multibillion-dollar budget deficits.
Those are some mighty stark facts - facts, not our opinion. The politicians in Trenton can’t raise taxes fast enough to keep up with their unchecked spending. The state of New Jersey has gone through billions upon billions of new spending, but can you name one thing the state has accomplished in the past four years?

Small wonder the director of the Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll came to this conclusion based upon a recently conducted survey of New Jersey residents:

"People aren't confident government will do the right thing with revenues they raise," poll director Jeffrey Levine said. "A lack of trust in government makes something like increasing taxes hard to sell."
The Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll found:

Nearly 90 percent think budget savings should be sought by targeting dead wood and unnecessary spending

80 percent opposed a higher gasoline tax

Nearly 75 percent like the idea of a constitutional amendment that would limit state and local spending and return any savings to taxpayers

74 percent are against a boost in income taxes

51 percent support layoffs of state workers to save money
Based upon these findings, is Jon Corzine in sync with the citizens of New Jersey? Corzine has proposed a number of new state initiatives – Corzine universal health care; Edison Innovation Fund; Creation of "urban investment banks; and Enhancing the capacity of New Jersey’s ports.

Every one of these new programs must be financed with taxpayer dollars. Are the people of New Jersey really clamoring for more state spending? The poll findings would suggest otherwise.

That’s the spending side of Corzine’s agenda. How about the his tax policy side? This from the same Star-Ledger article:

Corzine, said he would "do everything to avoid net new taxes." He said he is leaving the door open to redistributing the existing tax burden if a property tax convention or special legislative session recommends it.
There is one sure-fire way to “avoid” new taxes - don’t start new state programs and don’t increase spending on existing ones. Has this concept escaped Senator Corzine?

Corzine’s tax policy should be of little comfort to taxpayers looking for tax relief and not tax shifting. The key phrases in Corzine’s remarks are “avoid net new taxes” and “redistributing the existing tax burden”. Taxpayers are looking for a net tax reduction, not a reduction in local property taxes on the one hand and an increase in income or other state taxes on the other.

Corzine has adopted a tax and spending government template that does not fit the state’s needs or the people’s preferences. The Senator enjoys using the terms “extreme” and “out of the mainstream” for his political opponents – descriptions that more accurately define the Corzine agenda for New Jersey.

Contrast Corzine’s positions with those of his Republican rivals for the Governor’s seat. Approximately 75 percent of people polled favored a constitutional amendment to limit state and local spending and for savings to be returned to the taxpayers. Four Republican candidates -- Schundler, Forrester, DiGaetano and Caliguire -- have proposed plans with those key elements. Corzine points to a constitutional amendment or special legislative session that would redistribute the existing tax burden. Big difference.

“All seven Republican candidates rule out higher taxes to help solve the state's budget woes.” Corzine is “leaving the door open” to tax increases. It’s that open door policy that has us worried.

We often find pundits and bloggers expressing the notion that Jon Corzine, with his financial resources, can't be beaten. If policy postions and ideas matter in this election, we can't see how he can win.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day

For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty's blessings.

From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to the Persian Gulf and today's operations in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service.

As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans who have died to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 citizens who were prisoners of war, and all those who were declared missing in action.

We honor all our veterans for their dedication to America and their sacrifice.

New Jersey Remembers Its Lost Sons

We remember and honor members of the American armed forces lost in Afghanistan and Iraq in the service of our country. We shall always be grateful for their ultimate sacrifice.

Petty Officer 1st Cl Tapper, David M. Atco, NJ

Spc. Kamolvathin, Alain L. Blairstown, NJ

Spc. Duffy, Christopher M. Brick, NJ

Spc. Seiden, Marc S. Brigantine, NJ

Spc. Baker, Ryan Travis Browns Mills, NJ

Spc. Spakosky, Philip I. Browns Mills, NJ

Pvt. Maria, Giovanny Camden, NJ

Pvt. White III, Robert C. Camden, NJ

Sgt. Carvill, Frank T. Carlstadt, NJ

Lance Cpl. Sullivan, Vincent M. Chatham, NJ

Maj. Spahr, John C. Cherry Hill, NJ

Pfc. Benish, Stephen C. Clark, NJ

2nd Lt. Dvorin, Seth J. East Brunswick, NJ

Spc. Griffin, Kyle A. Emerson, NJ

Spc. Hunte, Simeon Essex, NJ

Cpl. Kelly, Sean P. Gloucester, NJ

Cpl. Ryan, Marc T. Gloucester, NJ

Spc. Curtin, Michael Edward Howell, NJ

Spc. Jackson, Marlon P. Jersey City, NJ

Spc. Dixon, Anthony J. Lindenwold, NJ

Spc. Freeman, Bryan L. Lumberton, NJ

Spc. Mahlenbrock, David P. Maple Shade, NJ

Lance Cpl. Swain, Harry R. Millville, NJ

Staff Sgt. Walkup Jr., Thomas A. Millville, NJ

Spc. Doltz, Ryan E. Mine Hill, NJ

Staff Sgt. Goodwin, Anthony L. Mount Holly, NJ

Sgt. Sherman, Stephen R. Neptune, NJ

Maj. Plumhoff, Steven Neshanic Station, NJ

Spc. Aneiros, Yoe M. Newark, NJ

Sgt. Timoteo, Humberto F. Newark, NJ

Spc. Sullivan, Narson B. North Brunswick, NJ

2nd Lt. Wroblewski, John T. Oak Ridge, NJ

Pfc. Miller, Bruce Orange, NJ

Capt. Tarlavsky, Michael Yury Passaic, NJ

Spc. Mercado, Gil Paterson, NJ

Spc. Froehlich, Adam Pine Hill, NJ

Pfc. Choi, Min S. River Vale, NJ

Sgt. 1st Class Philippe, Gladimir Roselle, NJ

Sgt. Sherman, Alan D. Wanamassa, NJ

Lance Cpl. Parrello, Brian P. West Milford, NJ

Staff Sgt. Hemingway, Terry W. Willingboro, NJ

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #2

This is our second Carnival of the New Jersey bloggers. We think you’ll find an eclectic mix of blogs and subjects, but all with one thing in common, we all call Jersey home. All New Jersey bloggers are welcome to submit links for next Sunday’s Carnival, just send us an email with a link to the post you’d like us to include.

Mary, blogging on Mary's Lame Attempt at Fame, has graduated from law school and has a nice picture posted of herself decked out in her cap and gown. Congratulations Mary! Somehow we missed this: PDC Ryan also graduated on Friday from Seton Hall Law School along with Mary. Good going guys!

Liz over at the new blog, My New Jersey says: “there's nothing like sitting around a patio, or on the beach, or on a deck enjoying a hot dog or two or three, thrown on a plate heaping with potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans, washing it all down with a good beer in a fresh from the freezer mug. m-m-mm-mmmm-mm.”

Lizzie at This Full House is hosting a blog party in honor of her 41st birthday. And in honor of her twin brother -- SSGKat -- for each comment she receives through Monday -- Memorial Day -- she will donate $1 to The Fallen Patriot Fund to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Suzette has been waiting all year for the month of May. Cripes Suzette, we can understand why; take a look at the rhododendrons blooming in her yard. Just as we were finalizing this week’s carnival post, we received an email from Suzette pointing out that we have been concentrating on her blog’s Garden State category and have overlooked her other – Dress Boutique. Her latest post in this category is MOB, but to truly appreciate dress boutique blogging, we recommend you click on this link, scroll to the bottom of the page and start at the beginning of Suzette’s project.

Gigglechick provides the definitions of the terms benny and shoobie. The author of My Life as a Rabid Blog offers a lesson learned on the necessity of sun screen. The Barista of Bloomfield Avenue always gives us the impression that Montclair is a great place to live. Sluggo had a good time at Yankee Stadium, despite the security measures.

Kate over at Kate Spot is the mother of two girls, ages 5 and 6. Reading her blog, we always thought she seemed like such a nice person. Imagine our shock when we read this: “We were even able to place the girls in a holding cell. Heh - they didn't like that too much, especially when the door was closed with a rather loud sounding "CLANG".” This is what happens when you take a quote out of context.

Shamrocket took her kids to see Velvet Revolver at the NOT-The-PNC Bank Arts Center and tells us: “other than the puking, and nearly exposing the kids to a contact high, it was cold, damp, and the sound system at the Arts Center leaves much to be desired, but in all the event was worth it.” Now that’s who we’d call a cool mom.

Tim Hill at the Atlantic Higland Muse says: “Viva La Revolution! - The SeaStreak boycott and email campaign worked.” Way to go Tim. PDC Ryan from, If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower, is giving up his AOL account, because without the people, without the communities... there is no AOL. Is blogging taking its place?

Tami, the One True, writes of impossible ideals and yet she remains optimistic that the “America of today is headed towards an inclusiveness that has never before been dreamed of. Or, at least, we were headed there.”

Tiger Hawk writes about the talk Paul Krugman gave this past week at Princeton University and he does a good job of unraveling the NYT columnist/ professor’s purported objectivity.

Fausta, the author of Bad Hair Blog writes on the controversy over embryonic stem cell research and weighs in on the question of government committing tax dollars to the stem cell industry.

NJ Conservative discusses the direct election of U.S .Senators and the loss of state’s rights. Ken Adams has joined the discussion and both guys seem to have come to the conclusion that the 17th amendment was not a very good idea.

DynamoBuzz has a new blue blog design, very easy on the eyes. Roberto directs us to a new blog, Vincelli For Governor. The author begins his first ever blog entry with this: “Today, I decided to throw my hat in the rinks. My father always told me – if you want something done right, kick a loser’s ass.

Roberto also highlights Jon Corzine’s property tax plan as explained in the NY Times: (1) Extend the Homestead rebate program and (2) Extend the NJ Saver rebate program. Corzine’s position isn’t going to make Sharon at The Center of New Jersey Life happy; she supports taxpayers foregoing property tax rebates so the money can be sent directly to schools. The Proprietor at Coffee Grounds writes on the reprieve that wasn't; apparently the folks in Trenton are with Sharon and are bucking Corzine.

Mr. Snitch gives us the low down on the politics of Hoboken and writes: “Contempt is directed not only at their political opponent, but at anyone not on their side of their dividing line.” Perhaps this explains Scott at Poetic Leanings referring to our blog as a web (site) of lies. Ah, come on Scott, can’t we agree that we just disagree and become friends? If not, Beck over at INCITE, has our back.

We hope you have a great Memorial Day and if you have some time, check out our posts:
Heroes Of The War on Terrorism and Medal Of Honor Recipient.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Heroes Of The War On Terrorism

What are the names of the heroes of our war on terrorism - of the wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan? Surely with news available 24/7 we should be able to rattle off a list of names and see the faces of these heroes in our mind’s eye. Having heard their stories of sacrifice and bravery so many times, we should be able to recount the specifics of their inspiring heroism.

And yet most of us can’t think of a single name of a service man or woman, connected to the war on terrorism, that hasn’t been tarnished in the media. Since the media covered the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch and the death of Army Ranger, Pat Tillman, it’s been nothing but Lynndie England, Charles Graner and the others connected to Abu Ghraib.

When the media weren’t fixated on the Abu Ghraib gang, we were blanketed with stories questioning the legitimacy of combat actions by Lt. Col. Allen B. West who fired his side arm to get information from an Iraqi terrorist to save his men; the marine filmed killing a terrorist in the battle of Fallujah; the check point shooting involving Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena; and Lt. Ilario Pantano who shot two Iraqi terrorists in self defense.

Next we were bombarded with endless reporting and an unbelievable amount of hand wringing about a Koran that was not flushed down the toilet by an American serviceman at Guantanamo Bay.

It didn’t end there though. Sensing another opportunity to create a scandal, the media are working themselves into a lather because military personnel have touched detainee Korans, by accident or within the scope of their duties, on five or six occasions. If you clicked on the last link, you will have discovered there are 1,196 articles related to this “abuse” at the hands of our military.

To balance these stories, the media from time to time have read or printed the names of our military men and women killed and they have reported on the rehabilitation of those grievously wounded in our country’s war on terrorism. Heroes everyone of them in our book, but have the media turned any of them into household names?

On April 4, 2005 President Bush presented the Congressional Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House. Name the solider that was the recipient - the soldier cited for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty?

If you can’t remember his name, we are not surprised. Go to Time’s website and search their archives for Medal of Honor winner, you won’t find a single story on this hero. Enter Abu Ghraib and you’ll find 107 articles. Enter Guantanamo Bay you’ll have a choice of 148 articles. Search Newsweek’s archives – same result. Medal of Honor winner – no articles on this soldier winning the medal. Abu Ghraib - 140 matches. Guantanamo Bay – 108 articles.

The name you remember - Lynndie England: Time - 8 articles, Newsweek – 9 articles,

The Medal of Honor winner - Sergeant First Class, Paul Ray Smith. Time – 0 articles
Newsweek – 1 article, A War's Rising Toll, in which Paul R Smith was listed among those killed in action.

Paul R. Smith – Medal Of Honor Recipient

Paul R. Smith 1Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor posthumously during a White House ceremony April 4, 2005.

Wife: Birgit Smith
Children: David A. Smith, Jessica M. Smith
Parents: Donald and Janice Pvirre
Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Like every one of the men and women in uniform who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Paul Smith was a volunteer. We thank his family for the father, husband and son and brother who can never be replaced. We recall with appreciation the fellow soldiers whose lives he saved, and the many more he inspired. And we express our gratitude for a new generation of Americans, every bit as selfless and dedicated to liberty as any that has gone on before -- a dedication exemplified by the sacrifice and valor of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith. (President of the United States, George W. Bush – April 4, 2005)

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003.

On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers.

As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round.

Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded.

His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

For more information on Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, please visit this website.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Republican Candidates For Governor of New Jersey 2005

The New Jersey primary election will be held on June 7. For those that may wish to vote in the Republican primary and haven’t settled on a candidate, we’ve pulled together some links that may be of help.

In addition, we have sent emails to each of the seven GOP hopefuls inviting them to submit an article explaining why we should vote for them in the primary. Responses received will be published beginning Tuesday, May 31.

The following links refer to information published by the Record in February. The newspaper asked the seven GOP candidates eight questions concerning the reasons for their candidacy and their ideas for solving problems currently facing New Jersey. We have created one post for each candidate. Quick links to each candidate’s responses below:

Todd Caliguire :: Paul Digaetano :: Doug Forrester :: Steve Lonegan

John Murphy :: Robert Schroeder :: Bret Schundler

The following are links to each candidate’s website:

Todd Caliguire :: Paul Digaetano :: Doug Forrester :: Steve Lonegan

John Murphy :: Robert Schroeder :: Bret Schundler

Corzine Care and Viagra

Corzine Care is supposed to provide health coverage for 760,000 citizens (well, we assume those eligible for coverage would be citizens) for an initial investment of $15 million. To give you an idea just how ridiculous the price tag Corzine puts on his proposed plan is, consider this from the Star-Ledger:

Overall New Jersey covered the costs of Viagra and related drugs for 18,163 people through Medicaid, NJ Family Care and General Assistance programs in 2004 at a cost of $3.9 million.

More than one-quarter of New Jersey's sex offenders considered most likely to commit their crimes again received state-funded Viagra, state officials said Thursday.
People can debate whether or not taxpayers should have to pay for Viagra, especially for sex offenders, but our point relates to the cost to provide coverage for only this one drug. New Jersey taxpayers are spending an average of $214.72 per person for Viagra. That’s why Corzine’s $19.33 cost per person for comprehensive medical care is absurd.

To add insult to injury, now it turns out Viagra may have a very serious side effect:

Federal health investigators are looking into reports that some men who used Viagra may have suffered a new and very serious side effect -- blindness.
We thought going blind was an old wives tale related to ….. You just can't make this stuff up.

Google Print

Google is really on a roll with new services and functionality coming on-line apace. The latest is Google Print.

Google is digitally scanning books and then including that content in their search index. Depending on any given book's copyright restrictions, users might be able to view anything from the full text of a book to just a brief excerpt and/or bibliographic information. Check it out.

We're a great fan of Google and their portfolio of products, but you still have to scratch your head at the company's market capitalization - $72 billion. Goldman Sachs is still beating the drums for Google stock. Consider the source. People are gonna get burned on this one.

Corzine’s One Promise

From WCBS News: Corzine Vows He'll Be Honest if Elected

"I promise you one thing, I'll be honest when I sit in that governor's chair,'' Corzine said in his speech to Democrats in Essex County.
Why do we have to wait until after the election for everything?

Today, we learn we have to wait until Corzine is elected Governor for him to be honest.

Monday we learned we had to wait until after Corzine’s election for the Democrats to trim billions in waste from New Jersey’s budget.

We’ve always been a bit suspicious of people that feel the need to promise you that they’ll be honest. Obviously Corzine thinks his honesty is open to question. How else to explain his one promise before the party faithful – I’ll be honest when…?

How about Corzine being honest now and how about cutting those billions of waste in New Jersey’s state government now – why wait?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Compromise: Fix Social Security On The Backs Of New Jersey Workers

If there's any truth to this compromise on Social Security – you’d better write your Congressman and our Senators. New Jersey workers are about to be screwed again:

BusinessWeek says Congress and the White House are inching toward a compromise on Social Security. Private accounts will not be part of the plan. Instead, the compromise would include (a) reducing the rate of growth in benefits paid to upper-income beneficiaries (as President Bush has suggested) and (b) sharply increasing taxes on upper-income taxpayers ( those that earn more than $90,000 per year). Via Malkin
As we have pointed out before, high cost of living – high income states are disproportionately hurt by federal income taxes rates. A “compromise” on Social Security that would remove the payroll tax wage cap would further place an unfair burden on New Jersey workers and effectively turn the program into another welfare plan.

Federal tax deductions for state, property and other local taxes are becoming a thing of the past for many taxpayers in high cost of living states such as New Jersey because of the Federal Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The more state and local taxes you pay, the more federal income you’re forced to pay. With a lift of the Social Security payroll tax cap, New Jersey workers would be forced to shoulder an even larger burden of federal programs.

Like the AMT, eliminating the wage cap to “fix” Social Security is just another one of those stick it to the “wealthy” ideas, but as in all “tax the rich” schemes, the truly wealthy are never touched. The rich derive their wealth and incomes from sources other than wages – property, stock and bond investments – sources of income not taxed under Social Security. People that have high incomes from wages, often for a brief period in their lives, are the ones that pay the penalty under these “tax the rich” programs.

Social Security produces a lousy return on investment for many American workers as it is now. Eliminating the wage cap will not improve the program’s long term sustainability, but will certainly hurt the individual trying to save their own money for retirement, not to mention the negative repercussions a tax increase would have on the economy.

Scuttling private accounts funded by a portion of payroll taxes, eliminating the payroll tax maximum and reducing Social Security benefits for those that pay the most into the system is a raw deal for New Jersey workers. How bad? Read Bruce Bartlett‘s The Stealth Tax.- Excerpts below:

Since the Social Security system was created, the payroll tax has applied only to a portion of total wages. Originally, the limit was $3,000, which Congress raised from time to time. Since 1972, the wage base has been indexed and rises automatically each year. Starting on Jan. 1, the taxable wage base will rise to $90,000.

As it is, there is already an increasingly tenuous relationship between [Social Security] taxes paid and benefits received by workers with incomes equal to or greater than the taxable base. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 1980 a retiree with lifetime earnings at or above the Social Security wage cap got back all of his and his employer's contributions in 3.1 years. By 2000, it took 24.9 years, and by 2010 it will take 35.3 years. Under current projections, a worker retiring in 2030 will need 55 years worth of benefits to get back all his contributions.

If the cap is removed and benefits are limited to current levels, the return for workers taxed at the maximum will become nonexistent. This means that Social Security will no longer be a pension system to which one earns benefits, but will instead be nothing but a welfare program.

Of course, another consequence of raising the cap is that it will constitute a massive marginal tax rate increase. The top rate on wages will, in effect, rise by 12.4 percent, raising the de facto top rate from 38 percent to more than 50 percent (including the 2.9 percent Medicare tax, which has applied to all wages since 1993).

Even if benefits are frozen, the revenue gain from lifting the wage cap isn't that great. According to Matt Moore of the National Center for Policy Analysis, it would only increase the life of the Social Security trust fund by seven years.
When you hear a politician say tax the rich, understand what they really mean – tax the workers of New Jersey.

Republican Primary Poll

According to a SurveyUSA poll Doug Forrester is leading Bret Schundler 45% to 29%. These results were based upon:

6,000 New Jersey adults were interviewed 5/21-5/24, 5,103 of them were registered to vote. Of them, 1,723 identified themselves as being registered Republicans. Of them, 621 were judged to be "likely" Republican Primary voters. The poll results reflect the 621 "likely" Republican Primary voters.
Is this poll reliable? We don’t know; no margin of error statistic was provided. We have noticed television ads for everyone but Schundler.

Update: Margin of Sampling Error: ± 4%

Corzine Must Be Stopped

Alexander McClure writing on Polipundit has this to say about New Jersey’s race for governor:

The Democrats will attempt to portray Forrester or Schundler as too conservative for the “moderate” state of New Jersey. Corzine will run on guns and abortion, just like McGreevey and Lautenberg did before him.

Republicans must concentrate with near robotic zeal on taxes and corruption, the two issues where Corzine is very vulnerable and respond to the Democratic attacks by demonstrating that Corzine is so far left he is almost right.
McClure then points to our post on Corzine Care as a prime example of the Senator’s out-of-touch liberal views.

We were struck by just how out-of-touch Corzine is with the people of New Jersey. People in our state are concerned with the high cost of government and Corzine’s response is to ignore the major issues and propose another major government program.

Ken Adams, the author of SmadaNeK performs a logical calculation and comes to the conclusion Corzine Care would cost the people of New Jersey billions. Billions of dollars and Ken’s calculation doesn’t include the cost of the Corzine plan requiring New Jersey businesses to insure the “children” of employees up to the age of 30. What a prescription for driving businesses out of New Jersey and ensuring thousands of people will lose jobs, along with their medical insurance benefits.

Corzine would have us believe all but $15 million of the total cost of Corzine Care can be paid through better management of the state and wringing out waste. Let’s produce the savings first and then let the people of New Jersey decide how the money is to be spent.

We call upon Corzine to put the pressure on Acting Governor Codey and the Democrats in the legislature, currently finalizing the state’s budget, to show us billions in savings this year. Why wait? Corzine is confident the money can be saved; let him provide Trenton with the ideas and policies that he’s developed to make Corzine Care “affordable.”

Thankfully, Ken and the Enlighten gang are not the only folks in New Jersey concerned about these issues. Fausta at the Bad Hair blog answers our question: "Do you ever get the idea we're the only ones that care?" with “Trust me, I do.” She expresses her concerns about Corzine Care and provides a great overview of the property tax crisis in New Jersey. If you haven't already, give her a read.

Fausta’s right, writing about NJ taxes won't get us an installanche or a TV guest appearance, but write we must.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Corzine Proposes ‘Fundamental Reorganization of Health Care’ For New Jersey

For those that don’t believe Corzine Care would be a radical health care program and far more expensive than the $15 million Jon Corzine claims his plan would cost, perhaps this quote from the candidate’s site will make you think again:

But make no mistake about it; Jon Corzine is proposing a fundamental reorganization of how medical care is delivered in this state. – Matt Stoller, Editor - Corzine Connection

Celebrate New Jersey 2005

Concentrating on New Jersey politics we sometimes forget there’s more to New Jersey than taxes and corruption. We have an opportunity to turn the state around in November, but until then let’s take some time and celebrate the good aspects of the state. Let’s celebrate New Jersey. More information - Celebrate New Jersey Org.

Dean on Meet The Press - Part II

The following are quotes are from Howard Dean’s interview on Sunday’s NBC News’ Meet The Press with Tim Russet.

A reader thought we were giving Howard Dean a hard time in our post yesterday. Well, here a few things Dean said on which we can agree. Via WSJ

Russert: Republicans will say that the Democrats are speaking a different tune now than they did when they were in control. Robert Byrd, when he was a majority leader in '79, said, "Now, we are at the beginning of Congress. This Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past." And the filibuster used to need 67 votes. They changed it to 60.

Dean: Mm-hmm. . . .

Dean: When the Republicans were in power, they kept a much larger percentage of President Clinton's nominees to the bench. They didn't do it with the filibuster, they did it by bottling them up in committee and not allowing them to move forward.

Russert: The numbers are pretty similar actually.

Dean: OK. They're similar. . . .

Russert: Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction.

Dean: Some of the things that the president said on our way into Iraq, they just weren't true, and I don't think that's right. So--

Russert: Such as?

Dean: Such as the weapons of mass destruction, which we have all known about, but the--

Russert: Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction.

Dean: I said I wasn't sure, but I said I thought there probably were. . . .

Russert: When did the president ever suggest that Saddam Hussein was responsible for September 11?

Dean: He didn't. . . .

Russert: Let me stay on your rhetoric. January, I mentioned that [you said] "I hate the Republicans, what they stand for, good and evil, we are the good." In March, you said, "Republicans are brain dead." You mentioned you're a physician--and this is April. "[Dean] did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh. 'I'm not very dignified,' Dean said."

Dean: Well, that's true. A lot of people have accused me of not being dignified.
Compared to Dean, Bush is a veritable Demosthenes.

They Can’t Be Trusted

A deal is a deal, unless you’re Senator Jon Corzine and Senator Frank Lautenberg. More here.

NJ Democrat Discovers 'Soak The Rich' Tax Policy Is Bad For New Jersey

Assemblyman Douglas Fisher (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem) has sponsored a series of bills to alter how the state handles the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

One measure would urge the governor to join Connecticut in its recent lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education, claiming No Child Left Behind inequitably distributes funding and forces states with higher income levels to pay for the law's implementation.
In just one measure, Fisher pretty well sums up what is wrong with the Democrats tax and spending philosophy in New Jersey and the nation. Let’s start with his complaint about the federal government’s inequitable distribution of funding for public school education to New Jersey and then we’ll look at why states with higher income levels shoulder more of the burden.

Mr. Fisher thinks it’s wrong for New Jersey to receive less than its fair share of education money from Washington. Then he must have some idea how the people, in municipalities that receive little to nothing in state aid for education, feel about state funding inequities. He should and yet, Fisher and the other Democrats in Trenton support and perpetuate the inequitable distribution of funds to school districts throughout the state.

Our representatives in Trenton have the power to change the unfair formula currently in place for distributing funds to local school districts. Yet they do nothing to fix the problem. They point fingers and blame New Jersey court rulings. This is a convenient, but poor excuse.

If New Jersey courts stand in the way of equal treatment, then the legislature has the power to take back authority and return it to where it belongs, with the people. If the legislature acted now, we could vote on an amendment to the state’s constitution this November that would provide a formula that treats all municipalities equally.

Let Mr. Fisher sponsor this measure in the branch of government in which he serves and leave the federal funding matters to our representatives in Washington, that’s their job. But Fisher won’t work toward equality for all; he’s bought and paid for by the tax receivers.

Fisher and his follow state Democrats know perfectly well that the inequity in state aid for public school funding is one of the major causes of spiraling property taxes in New Jersey. The Democrat’s proposed solution to the property tax problem, raise income taxes. Or better yet, call for a constitutional convention, to be stacked with representatives, which will draft an amendment calling for higher income taxes.

Never mind fixing the inequitable funding formula, just raise income taxes in the hope the money will find its way back to the local school districts, which in turn would allow for a reduction in property taxes. New taxes have been created and others have been raised over the years for this very purpose, property tax reduction. It hasn’t worked yet and it never will.

This leads us to Fisher’s complaint that states with higher income levels, shoulder more of the burden for funding education. What a shocking discovery. High cost of living – high income states like New Jersey pay a disproportionate share of all federal programs. Why? The progressive federal income tax – the more you make, the higher the income tax rate. It’s all part of the ever popular Democrat mantra of tax the “rich”.

Rich is a relative term. The progressive tax schedule is a double whammy in states like New Jersey. To achieve a similar level of purchasing power, people in New Jersey and other states with a high cost of living, have to earn more to support a similar lifestyle as those in lower cost of living states.

The state of New Jersey is targeted by the Democrat’s “soak the rich” philosophy just as people deemed “rich” are by federal, state and local taxes. This income tax inequity needs to be addressed in Washington. Interestingly, reductions in income tax rates, that would help the people of New Jersey, are routinely opposed by our Democrat representatives in Congress.

Soak the Rich. The people and state of New Jersey are being soaked and Democrats have just discovered it’s not fair. It never was Mr. Fisher.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Corzine Care

New Jersey’s going broke and Jon Corzine, the soon to be Democrat nominee for governor, is proposing a universal health care plan.

Jon Corzine has proposed a health care plan that would provide care for hundreds of thousands of state residents who lack health insurance.

Corzine said that all children and pregnant women would have "universal access to health care." He also proposed allowing more families to join the state's FamilyCare program at half the cost of buying health insurance on the open market.

Corzine said his proposal would require an "upfront investment of no more than $15 million."
Corzine Care would cover 776,000 people for an up front investment of $15 million. What’s the $15 mil for - the marketing campaign to get to people to sign up for Corzine Care? Let’s see, $15 million divided by 776,000 comes to $19.33 per person. How dumb does Corzine think we are? Upfront indeed.

Howard Dean On Meet The Press

The following are selected quotes from Howard Dean’s interview on yesterday’s NBC News’ Meet The Press. As you’ll see, Dean has taken hypocrisy and turned it into an art form. He has become so accustomed to speaking before partisan crowds, cheering his every utterance; he forgets there are people in NBC’s audience that are actually aware of the facts.

Dean’s so busy ripping Republicans in this interview, he fails to provide a single Democrat idea or policy to solve the problems he rails against. If we were Democrats we would be cringing every time this guy opens his mouth. Surely there must be someone that can better articulate Democrat positions and ideas than Howard Dean.

Dean believes he’s better qualified than voters to decide who should be in the congress; he knows those in need of a trial to determine guilt and those that are guilty beyond question; he knows a politician’s political philosophy better than the actual politician.

However, in the spirit of bipartisanship, there is one thing we can agree on with Dr, Dean. - Ultra liberal Democrats, Jon Corzine comes to mind, are in essence socialists.

Dr. Dean: But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false.

Dr Dean: Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings. I don't think we ought to give a whole lot of lectures to people--I think the Bible says something to the effect that be careful when you talk about the shortcomings of somebody else when you haven't removed the moat from your own eye. And I don't think we ought to be lectured to by Republicans who have got all these problems themselves.

Mr. Russert: But should you jump in the fray and be mocking those kind of people?

Dr. Dean: I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy.

Mr. Russert: But, Governor, you did on May 14 say something about Tom DeLay that raised a lot of eyebrows. Let's watch Howard Dean on Tom DeLay.

Dr. Dean: I think Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston, where he can serve his jail sentence down there courtesy of the Texas taxpayers.

Mr. Russert: "Serve his jail sentence"? He--what's he been convicted of?

Dr. Dean: He hasn't been convicted yet,…[Dean blathers on explaining Delay’s “crimes”]

Mr. Russert: You said in December of 2003 that we shouldn't prejudge Osama bin Laden. How can you sit here and have a different standard for Tom DeLay and prejudge him?

Dr. Dean: To be honest with you, Tim, I don't think I'm prejudging him. [Dean blathers on explaining Delay’s “crimes”]

Mr. Russert: But in order to have a civilized debate about these kinds of issues, a robust debate, can we be doing this to each other in the political process? Here's the Democratic National Committee Web site this morning. It is, in effect, a mug shot of Tom DeLay. You can see his height in the back with inches there, a serial number, 18821. Is that appropriate, a mug shot?

Dr. Dean: I don't think it's appropriate for Tom DeLay to be in Congress, Tim. I really don't. …. Look, we're not going to stoop to the kind of divisiveness that the Republicans, are doing and we're not going to stoop to the kind of abuse of power, but we are going to be tough as nails. This is a fight for the soul of America between the Republicans and Democrats.

Mr. Russert: In your home state of Vermont, there's a vacancy for the United States Senate about to occur. Bernie Sanders, the congressman from Vermont, wants to run for that seat. He is a self- described avowed socialist.

Dr. Dean: Well, that's what he says. He's really a populist.

Mr. Russert: But is there room in the Democratic Party for a socialist?

Dr. Dean: Well, first of all, he's not a socialist, really.

Mr. Russert: He...

Dr. Dean: He hasn't said that for a while.

Mr. Russert: Oh, he has a--he wrote in his book: "Outside or in the House, I am a Democratic socialist."

Dr. Dean: Well, a Democratic socialist--all right, we're talking about words here. And Bernie can call himself anything he wants. He is basically a liberal Democrat, and he is a Democrat that--he runs as an Independent because he doesn't like the structure and the money that gets involved. And he actually has, I think, some good points about campaign finance reform. The bottom line is that Bernie Sanders votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time. And that is a candidate that we think...

Mr. Russert: So you'd support him?

Dr. Dean: We may very well end up supporting him. We need to work some things out because it's very important for us not to split the votes in some of the other offices as well.

Mr. Russert: In 1996 you said you would never have voted for Bernie Sanders. Instead, you opted in recent years to leave the ballot blank.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Out Of The Mainstream Federal Judges

Imagine, if you will, that a Democrat President nominated a judge whose constitutional and policy views were, by any measure, on the extreme left fringes of American society.

Let’s assume, for example, that this nominee had expressed strong sympathy for the position that there is a constitutional right to prostitution as well as a constitutional right to polygamy.

Let’s say, further, that he had attacked the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts as organizations that perpetuate stereotyped sex roles and that he had proposed abolishing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replacing them with a single androgynous Parent’s Day.

And, to get really absurd, let’s add that he had called for an end to single-sex prisons on the theory that if male prisoners are going to return to a community in which men and women function as equal partners, prison is just the place for them to get prepared to deal with women.

Let’s further posit that this nominee had opined that a manifest imbalance in the racial composition of an employer’s work force justified court-ordered quotas even in the absence of any intentional discrimination on the part of the employer. But then, lo and behold, to make this nominee even more of a parody of an out-of-touch leftist, let’s say it was discovered that while operating his own office for over a decade in a city that was majority-black, this nominee had never had a single black person among his more than 50 hires.

Imagine, in sum, a nominee whose record is indisputably extreme and who could be expected to use his judicial role to impose those views on mainstream America. Surely such a person would never be nominated to an appellate court. Surely no Senate Democrat would support someone with such extreme views. And surely Senate Republicans, rather than deferring to the nominating power of the Democrat President, would pull out all stops—filibuster and everything—to stop such a nominee.

Well, not quite. The hypothetical nominee I have just described is, in every particular except his sex, Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the time she was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993.

President Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 22, 1993. A mere six weeks later, on August 3, 1993, the Senate confirmed her nomination by a 96-3 vote.

(The source for the information in the second through fourth paragraphs is “Report of Columbia Law School Equal Rights Advocacy Project: The Legal Status of Women under Federal Law,” co-authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Brenda Feigen Fasteau in September 1974. The information in the fifth paragraph can be found in the transcript of Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing.)

Written by Edward Whelan
National Review - Putting Judicial Nominees in Perspective, Part III

Condi Rice in '08?

According to U.S. News' Washington Whispers:

Political associates of Secretary of State Condi Rice are stirring the 2008 presidential pot on her behalf. While she takes the high road, they're pushing her name out there. "She definitely wants to be president," said one. But, the friend added, Rice isn't planning on quitting to run. "She wants to be drafted," he said.

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #1

This is our first Carnival of the New Jersey bloggers. If our readers enjoy the format, we’ll try to make a habit of it every Sunday. All Jersey bloggers are welcome to submit links for future Carnivals, just send us an email.

Roberto at DynamoBuzz does a great job of covering the nuts and bolts of New Jersey politics and points us to the latest Quinnipiac poll on the Republican candidates for governor and a Bret Schundler profile. He shows his softer side too, with this post.

Sluggo has dropped out of the governor’s race and has thrown his support to Bret Schundler. Sluggo Needs a Nap because of all the work required to achieve this major blog milestone. Congratulations.

Speaking of being in need of a nap, when does Fausta the author of Bad Hair Blog ever have time to sleep? From her base in Princeton, she covers the globe - Iraq, Spain, Great Britain, France, Brazil, Venezuela and U.S energy policy, media, movies. Oh, and New Jersey and ….

Property Tax NJ is a link-o-matic to articles on this ever popular subject and keeps us up-to-date on the progress of the constitutional convention in the legislature. Ken Adams at SmadaNeK in Burlington County is still waiting to hear from the gubernatorial candidates about the the Columns and he’s becoming impatient. New to blogging, NJ Conservative provides examples of our state’s out-of-control judges and politicans.

PDC Ryan, blogging at If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower, warns of the secret subsidy in cities like his hometown of Jersey City. Mr. Snitch covers the Hoboken beat and reprints a neighbor’s letter to the editor - "I would like to support Senator Corzine [for governor], but...". Tim Hill at the Atlantic Higland Muse writes Let's Play Jeopardy!

That reminds us, Ken Jennings will be back this coming week on Jeopardy’s Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

The ever humorous Jim at Parkway Rest Stop has a link to a must see video of Norwegian soldiers in Kosovo doing a takeoff on the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”. Don’t miss Jim’s daughter blogging at Twisty asking for advice on handling requests for donations. While on the other hand, you can click on over to the Tomato Nation for some fresh from the vine TN advice.

John Beck at INCITE thinks Huffington's Toast and spars with a reader. Advantage Beck.

Jersey Beat is looking for talented, creative, artistic, clever, DIY people to design a Jersey Beat button. The Proprietor at Coffee Grounds is branding New Jersey’s towns and My Life as a Rabid Blog reminds us of the pleasures we are not allowed anymore. Patrick at Jersey Style has an AH HA! moment.

We had wondered where this picture was taken and now we know - Montclair. Thanks to the Barista of Bloomfield Avenue who posted a more recent shot of the marquee. Frenchtown NJ Blog gives us a photo tour of New York City - helpful for those out-of-town guests that want the NYC tour.

From our most famous bloggers: Gigglechick of MSNBC fame, is pondering a redesign of her slick looking site and Kate recently featured on CNN, continues to delight readers with blogging about life with her husband and two daughters at Kate Spot. Mary's Lame Attempt at Fame is well on her way with the live blogging skills she displays with her American Idol post. Our fingers don’t move fast enough to live blog.

Suzette, at the most appropriately named blog, The Garden State writes “this garden thing - you either do it, or you blog it - not both.” She’s decided to do it, but you can still catch her blogging as The Soup Lady over at the Joy of Soup and as Suzette at her main blog, Cripes, Suzette!

Shamrocket has a very professional and attractive site. We’d say that even if all of the Enlighten-NewJersey bloggers were not of Irish decent. Anyway, we are predisposed to taking her advice: “And if any of you blog writers out there want to increase traffic to your site, try complaining about Microsoft.”

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Price Of Corzine’s Accomplishments

Last week we noted the bio Senator Jon Corzine placed on the Huffington Post bragged: “His long list of accomplishments includes spearheading legislation cracking down on Wall Street abuses (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), and most recently pushing through the Senate the Darfur Accountability Act to end genocide in the Sudan."

Corzine’s long list of accomplishments includes and ends with those two. The Huffington Post provided a full web page for Corzine to list away, he was under no space constraint. He has nothing else to point to with pride during his time in the Senate.

The Darfur Accountability Act was a feel good bit of legislation in its original form and as “pushed through” by Corzine had no hope of bringing about the end of genocide in the Sudan. Good intentions no doubt, but no accomplishment.

Now the The Economist calls into question Corzine’s remaining accomplishment - the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The magazine asks: “America's response to Enron and other scandals was the Sarbanes-Oxley law. It is costing plenty—but is it working?”

It is early days for academic appraisals, but the ones that have been ventured so far tend to the view that costs will exceed benefits. Meanwhile, many of America's businessmen are deeply unhappy, and with reason: the initial costs of the new law have been bigger than expected. And it can be argued that, when it comes to repairing American corporate governance, the law anyway addresses symptoms more than causes.
Read the whole article, Sarbanes-Oxley has been costly for all businesses and a disaster for smaller firms, the job creation engine for the nation. So much for Senator Corzine’s accomplishments.

Google Personalized Homepage

You knew sooner or later Google would offer a personalized web page. Well it’s here.

Enlighten-NewJersey has a gmail account that we use from time to time, but now that the personalized Google page allows you to see your gmail inbox, perhaps it’s time to change our email address on our blog. Gotta check with the gang.

If anyone would like a gmail account, just email us enlightennj@gmail.com and we’ll send an invite right out to you.

Pepsi’s President Apologizes

An apology is what we wanted and an apology is what Indra Nooyi, President and CFO of PepsiCo has provided. She now recognizes her own speech was an example of the behavior she ridiculed at Columbia Business School this past Sunday.

She’s hit the nail on the head in her apology. We were hurt. We were the hosts that provided Nooyi with the opportunity to excel in the international business world and to reap extraordinary financial rewards. We were that hosts that said, you can move in permanently and become a member of our family.

Nooyi became an American citizen – became one of us and it hurt when she stuck her finger in our eye. We never asked for her gratitude, but a bit of reflection on the good the United States and the American people have brought to her life would have been appreciated.

Nooyi has now done just that and in the process has taught business men and woman a far more valuable lesson than she set out to impart last Sunday – when you make a mistake, admit it and apologize.

And Pepsi, after an attempt to spin the story, posted the speech and let the public pass judgment. Openness works, spin creates suspicion and negative fallout. Another valuable lesson for all.

For what it’s wroth Ms. Nooyi and PepsiCo, Tropicana orange juice and Fritos are back on our shopping lists.

Indra Nooyi’s apology posted below, the link here.
Following my remarks to the graduating class of Columbia University’s Business School in New York City, I have come to realize that my words and examples about America unintentionally depicted our country negatively and hurt people.

I appreciate the honest comments that have been shared with me since then, and am deeply sorry for offending anyone. I love America unshakably – without hesitation – and am extremely grateful for the opportunities and support our great nation has always provided me.

Over the years I’ve witnessed and advised others how a thoughtless gesture or comment can hurt good, caring people. Regrettably, I’ve proven my own point. Please accept my sincere apologies.

– Indra Nooyi

The Idleman Case

In 1988 Cynthia and Douglas Idleman married and eventually had two children, the younger of whom is autistic. Cynthia became a stay-at-home mom and Douglas worked at AT&T. In 1998 Douglas was “downsized” from his position at AT&T and received $350,000 in a buy out package.

Douglas and his wife used most of the $350,000 to purchase a $775,000 home in Denville, New Jersey and Douglas began his own business as a public relations and marketing consultant.

In 2002, Douglas was diagnosed with liver failure, and in 2003 underwent three transplants in three months, followed by months of hospitalization and rehabilitation. When Douglas had became too ill to work, his parents stepped in to pay the family’s bills.

Then in 2003 the couple separated and Douglas moved in with his parents, Lee and Sue Idleman, in Madison, New Jersey. Cynthia and the children continued to live in their Morris County home and her in-laws, the Idleman’s continued to pay the bills. Somewhere along the line, Cynthia racked up $45,000 in credit card charges.

Cynthia, 40 is now filing for divorce from Douglas, 43 and is suing her in-laws for support payments of about $20,000 per month. At this point you might be wondering why Cynthia believes, the heretofore generous grandparents, should be legally required to pay her $240,000 a year. (We also wondered, how much after taxes do you have to earn to give someone nearly a quarter mil per year? But, that’s another story.)

The soon to be ex- Mrs. Idleman’s lawyer, Tom Snyder has the answer to our question:

He believes a judge could find the grandparents set the standard by supporting the family these years and must continue to do so. It is an argument often used in divorce cases, that the wife should be afforded the lifestyle she is accustomed to.

Douglas on the other hand claims his parents' financial support was temporary and once he is able to work he will provide for his sons. In the meantime:

Based on his current monthly income of $3,638 in Social Security and inheritance money, Idleman said he is only obligated to pay $70 a week in child support, but is willing to pay nearly $8,000 a month with help from his parents, according to court papers.

Another Cynthia Idleman requirement is continued support from New Jersey taxpayers:

Cynthia Idleman said she is most concerned about keeping her home in Denville, because the school system pays to send her younger son to a specialized program, where tuition is $45,000 a year.

What do the legal experts have to say about Cynthia’s lawsuit?

"I think it's a creative argument," said Ann Freedman, associate professor of law at Rutgers Law School in Camden, where she teaches family law. "It could go either way."

Charles Matison, president-elect of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said "it's a stretch," but a judge must weigh what's fair. One question judges consider is "will both people live a reasonably comparable lifestyle?"

"The judge is going to have to make some hard findings of fact, and some hard decisions," Matison said.

Interesting, no? New Jersey law does not require grandparents to pay support and yet somehow a judge could find otherwise? Well, why not? The law is merely a guideline and judges are free to make up laws from the bench to suit their personal concept of “fairness”. Don’t like it? You can always appeal to …Oh yea, another judge. No, the judiciary is not an out of control, unaccountable branch of government. This is just a conservative myth.

Now, if we were the judge, we’d have no trouble finding that Cynthia is not entitled to anything beyond the support her former husband can provide from his income. That’s the law.

We would remind the greedy ex-Mrs Idleman that she is free to accept the generous gift of $8,000 per month from her former in-laws, assuming the offer is still on the table. However, this judge will not order the grandparents to pay anything and any financial support she may receive from the elder Idleman’s is completely voluntary.

“It’s for the children” is a completely worn out canard and this judge is no longer fooled by the argument. The louder someone cries ‘it’s for the children” the more comfortable this judge becomes in finding otherwise.

We do have sympathy for the children in this case – the disability of the youngest child, the extremely ill father and a mother …. Better keep that thought to ourselves.

Doffing our black robes, we’d vote to kick Cynthia off the peninsula of New Jersey. The “reality show” that is New Jersey is beyond belief.

The New York Post article here and the Star-Ledger here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Senior Citizen and Me

Periodically we help out some senior citizens in our community and today was one of those days. It went something like this:

SC: Honey, can I get your help with something?
Me: Sure, what do you need?
SC: Well, I received my absentee ballot for the primary election in the mail today and I have a few questions.
Me: Okay?
SC: What’s a Surrogate?
Me: Someone that takes the place of someone else, you know like a substitute- like a surrogate mother. Why?
SC: Well, my ballot asks that I vote for one Surrogate. So who would this person be a substitute for?
Me: Someone in government.
SC: So you don’t know what a Surrogate is either, do you honey?
Me: No, I guess not, but I’ll find out for you.
SC: Good, because I never like voting for something I don’t know anything about.
Me: I wish more people were like you.
SC: I have another question.
Me: Okay?
SC: Why do they want me to vote for one male and one female for State Committee? Seems rather silly. One male and one female. What if I wanted to vote for two females?
Me: Good question, I don’t know.
SC: Sigh
Me: I’ll try to find out for you.
SC: Other than governor, there are no choices on the ballot.
Me: What do you mean?
SC: For every office except Governor, there’s only one choice, even for the half male and half female.
Me: Half male, half female?
SC: Yes, on the Democrat’s ballot they want people to choose a male for a half a vote and a female for half a vote.
Me: Oh.
SC: Why don’t they just have you vote for one whole person vote?
Me: Gosh, I don’t know. I’ll try to find out for you.
SC: Don’t worry about it honey, I’m not voting for the Democrats anyway. I used to be a Democrat. Never going to vote for ‘em again, that’s how I ended up here.
Me: How’s that?
SC: Property taxes got so high, I had to sell my house, didn’t know where else to go, so I’m here. Life goes on, but I’m never voting for a Democrat again. Not even for a half vote female. Te-he.
Me: Sorry you had to sell your house, it just doesn’t seem fair.
SC: The Republicans don’t have half vote males and females.
Me: Well that’s good.
SC: But just like the Democrats, they don’t give you any choices either, except for Governor. Well, the Democrats aren’t even giving you a choice for that.
Me: What do you mean?
SC: Well, they’ve already picked everybody, except Governor. Why do they want people to vote if they’ve already picked all the winners? Vote for one and they give you one name, vote for two and they give you two names. Even for the State Committee male and female. Somebody’s already made all the choices. What’s the point of asking people to vote?
Me: I don’t know.
SC: Honey, I thought you wrote about New Jersey politics on the intercom?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Republican Debate

Well, the Republicans candidates for governor participated in a prime time televised debate Tuesday and we noticed no one bothered to “live blog” the event. Looks like no one bothered to watch either. Which of the major TV stations serving the people of New Jersey carried the debate? Oh, yea, NJN Public Television. What channel is that again?

What do the newspapers have to say?

The Star-Ledger - Leaders Forrester and Schundler accuse each other of lying.
The New York Times - Forrester and Schundler hammered each other's property tax relief plans.
The Philadelphia Inquirer - GOP hopefuls spar over spending, social issues.
The Asbury Park Press - Tax-cutting ideas debated by GOP rivals.
Bergen Record - New Jersey's Republican gubernatorial candidates traded insults and witticisms.

The leading candidates?

Doug Forrester – Forrester handily won the second ELEC debate.
Schundler’s communications director Bill Pascoe - Bret Schundler was ‘hands down the best’.

Steve Kornacki at PoliticsNJ.com - Yawns

American Moral Values

Some interesting factoids from a Gallup poll of 1,005 American adults, conducted May 2 to 5 concerning moral issues. The survey findings were summarized in this Washington Times article and we have not changed the descriptive terms used in reporting the results.

Cliffs Notes version: Seventy-seven percent of Americans think the country's moral values are on the decline.

A majority of Americans accept (in descending order): the death penalty, divorce, gambling, medical testing on animals, the use of animal fur in clothing, sex between unmarried men and women, and children born out of wedlock.

A majority of Americans do not accept (in descending order): marriage infidelity, polygamy, human cloning, suicide, homosexual relations, abortion and doctor-assisted suicide.

The Statistics

93% of Americans find romantic dalliances between married men and women morally unacceptable.
92% disapproved of polygamy.
87% said human cloning was wrong.
82% could not support suicide.
82% of Republicans think the country's moral values are on the decline.
77% of Americans think the country's moral values are on the decline.
72% of Democrats think the country's moral values are on the decline.
70% percent of Americans think the death penalty is morally acceptable.
66% accept divorce, gambling, medical testing on animals and the use of animal fur in clothing.
58% accepted sex between unmarried men and women.
54% did not have a problem with children born out of wedlock.
52% felt "homosexual relations" were unacceptable.
51% believe abortion is morally wrong.
49% felt doctor-assisted suicide was morally acceptable.
18% of Democrats felt the moral climate was improving.
14% of Republicans felt the moral climate was improving.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Corzine’s Campaign Strategy

The Corzine campaign released a ‘State of the Race’ memo “intended to give you a sense of where the Corzine for Governor campaign is and how we see the political lay of the land.” You can also read the New Jersey GOP response by Steve Berlin on the same page.

In a nutshell, Corzine plans to run against President Bush, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the hot-blooded right-wing rhetoric coming from the national Republican leadership and we suppose, a Republican candidate for governor.

We’ll post a more thorough analysis when time permits, but for now here a few money quotes from the memo written by Tom Shea, a senor advisor to the Corzine campaign. We couldn’t help adding a few quips of our own.

Even though New Jersey is a solid blue state, this election is considered a partial referendum on President Bush’s second term, and a sound victory by Jon Corzine can impact his agenda.
We can hear Karl Rove now. “Mr. President we have to change our agenda, Jon Corzine was just soundly elected Governor of New Jersey.” Corzine has no record to run on, so he has chosen to “partially” run against President Bush.

For instance, Pat Robertson, a popular conservative figure just referred to the Federal judiciary as worse than terrorists, which is consistent with the hot-blooded right-wing rhetoric coming from the national Republican leadership.
Popular? We didn’t know any conservative figure was popular? Heaven knows, whenever we think of a major conservative figure, Pat Robertson is the first person that comes to our mind. We wonder if Robertson’s comment is similar to Corzine’s likening Vice President Cheney to Saddam Hussein?

The campaign is structured to allow broad participation. Many of our fundraisers are low-dollar, there is a lower-than-the-legal-limit ceiling on donations, and in an effort to promote transparency we are not accepting corporate checks.
Amazing how far the nickels and dimes from the common man can go in a modern campaign - how does Corzine do it? Corporate checks won’t be accepted, but bags full of cash may be dropped in the usual spots as directed by George Norcross.

While the Republican candidates cannot completely escape their socially right-wing base, we believe the eventual nominee is quietly handling the divisive social issues in the primary and will emphasize cutting property taxes to the exclusion of all else during the general election.
Shush, we’re trying to handle those divisive social issues, you know like abortion and guns. Would someone please tell Corzine, the governor can’t change the second amendment or the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. Do it quietly, we don’t want to embarrass the Senator.

Look for Corzine to talk about everything but property taxes.

After the Republican primary, the Republicans will settle on one candidate and close ranks against Jon Corzine. Expect a vicious negative ad barrage as they turn their fire on this campaign. Don’t be alarmed if our lead narrows; this is natural and expected.
We’d be alarmed if Corzine’s lead didn’t narrow. It would be only natural and expected that once New Jersey voters begin to concentrate on Corzine’s record and his tax increasing agenda, for his lead to evaporate into a loss. We enjoyed the “vicious negative ad barrage” bit.

Additionally, Jon Corzine has created the 'Corzine Connection' to bring more people into the political process, and over the next few months we will be rolling out internet tools to allow for even broader reach.
Speaking of vicious and negative …. Have you ever read anything by Matt Stoller?

Regardless of what they do, Jon Corzine will set the agenda during this campaign. This will be a (sic) election based on ideas and broad participation. The reason is not pie-in-the-sky idealistic, but practical in nature.
What happened to power to the people? Corzine will set the agenda and pie-in-the-sky idealists need not join the “Corzine Connection”? How will the base react to that? “Practical in nature” will be the new code phrase for “raise your taxes.”

Broad participation is a key driver of an effective agenda for New Jersey, especially during a time of massive budget deficits, high property taxes, and a Federal government intent on punishing blue states like New Jersey. So when the Republican candidate attacks Jon Corzine, we will see it not just as an attack on the candidate, but as an attack on all of us and our desire for a better New Jersey.
Corzine votes against tax cuts and the federal government is punishing the “blue states”. How long will the media allow the Democrats to get away with this myth? And here’s a new twist – from “I feel your pain”, to “make sure you feel my pain”. We’ve said it before, it’s all about Jon Corzine, and it should be crystal clear by now.

Did PepsiCo Give U.S.The Middle Finger?

According to a Powerline reader, Columbia Business School students receiving MBAs, along with their guests, were treated to an incredibly childish and insulting speech by Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s President and Chief Financial Officer. Snips from the Powerline post:

Ms. Nooyi began to compare the world and its five major continents (excl. Antarctica and Australia) to the human hand.

First was Africa - the pinky finger - small and somewhat insignificant but when hurt, the entire hand hurt with it.

Next was Asia - the thumb - strong and powerful, yearning to become a bigger player on the world stage.

Third was Europe - the index finger - pointing the way.

Fourth was South America - the ring finger - the finger which symbolizes love and sensualness.

Finally, the US (not Canada mind you) - yes, you guessed it - the middle finger. She then launched into a diatribe about how the US is seen as the middle finger to the rest of the world. The rest of the world sees us as an overbearing, insensitive and disrespectful nation that gives the middle finger to the rest of the world.

According to Ms. Nooyi, we cause the other finger nations to cower under our presence. But it is our responsibility, she continues, to change the current state of world opinion of the US. It is our responsibility to make the other fingers rise in unison with us as we move forward.
Nooyi’s speech, apparently a take-off on "This Little Piggy", is a ridiculous analogy and interpretation of history and current world affairs. Isn’t Ms. Nooyi clever and insightful? We’ll see.

Our fingers will be dialing Pepsi to verify the contents of Ms Nooyi’s speech. If we have an accurate account of her speech, we’ll be giving Pepsi the middle finger and purchasing alternatives to Pepsi, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Gatorade and their other products.

We called PepsiCo and were referred to the public relations department. The person we spoke with was not familiar with the contents of Nooyi’s speech, but promised to call us back with the facts.

Update: We just received a call from Elaine Palmer from PepsiCo. She said PepsiCo will be releasing a statement to clarify Nooyi’s speech delivered at Columbia Business School. Palmer said Nooyi’s comments were taken out of context, but yes, she did refer to the United States as the middle finger. She conceded that in hindsight the five finger analogy was childish, but was meant as a metaphor for the importance of the world working together for the betterment of all.

Palmer characterized the Nooyi speech as actually pro-American and read a portion of it that noted the middle finger as the longest and strongest of the fingers. She indicated some people misinterpreted Nooyi’s remarks and the significance of her relegating the United States to the middle digit. No disrespect was intended. We pointed out that if the finger analogy had to be used, surely the U.S. could have been the index finger, pointing the way to democracy.

Palmer tried to down play information one reads on blogs as “bubbling up from nowhere” and said she had never heard of Powerline until today. She has heard of them big time now. We told Palmer, Powerline didn’t just make up the speech or the student’s interpretation and that we looked forward to PepsiCo’s statement and release of the Nooyi speech. Releasing the actual speech and not snippets is the best way to clear up the matter.

Palmer has been placed in a tough spot, unless of course she vetted the speech, then she’s on the hot seat where she belongs. We're sure we will be reading more on this story, especially after PepsiCo releases the complete speech. Don’t hold your breath on the latter.

Executive Offices PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 253-2000

Update 2: Readers have provided this email address for PepsiCo's Board of Directors:

And Powerline has updates in their post The Strawberry Statement and Play the hand. Powerline linked to Enlighten-NewJersey and we greatly appreciate the nod. Now, if we could get people to pay a bit more attention to New Jersey's race for Governor this year, we'd be ever so grateful.

Update 3: PepsiCo has posted a message from Indra Nooyi here and the text of her speech at Columbia Business School may be read here (in PDF).

Update 4: We've posted the complete speech in html here

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