"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, June 30, 2005

Corzine’s Dilemma – Campaign Contributors vs. Environmental Groups

Campaign contributions from developers to Democratic Party leaders and demands from environmental groups have placed Jon Corzine in an awkward position over the fate of Petty’s Island, New Jersey.

Environmental groups may abandon their endorsement of Jon Corzine for Governor of New Jersey, according to the Press Atlantic City. Jon Corzine's unwillingness to take a position on Petty's Island and his recent hiring of Susan Bass Levin as his chief of campaign operations are causing them to question his candidacy.

The groups wondered whether Corzine's alleged connections with county Democratic political bosses affected his decisions.

Southern New Jersey Democratic Party boss, George Norcross III, is heard boasting on the so-called Palmyra tapes that he controls New Jersey politicians, including former Gov. James E. McGreevey and Corzine. He has also called Corzine a "good friend."

"Are we going to have the same situation as Jim McGreevey when he tried to please everybody and then the county party bosses held sway?" said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the Sierra Club, which endorsed Corzine.

David Pringle, campaign manager of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, criticized Levin for pushing fast-track development around the state and for signing off on the Petty's Island redevelopment and the Xanadu project at the Meadowlands."She's willing to sell out her core beliefs at any second. Why would you want somebody like that working on your campaign?" Pringle asked.

Tittel said the Sierra Club would consider rescinding its endorsement of Corzine and possibly stay neutral. Pringle said the federation would meet over the next two months to discuss whom it will endorse.
Corzine did not take a postion for or against the redevelopment of Petty's Island citing federal and state obstacles to the plan.

But he did question the motivation of the land's current owners, Citgo Petroleum Corp.

"I also believe that the people of New Jersey should look very skeptically upon a foreign oil company that has chosen to cloak itself in the principles of environmentalism in exchange for huge tax breaks from the state, while avoiding substantial expense in cleaning up their own mess," Corzine said.

An underground storage-tank farm and a paved, industrial marine facility encompass more than half the island - once an oil refinery run by Citgo - which has made it difficult for the state to argue conservation merits over the objections of Pennsauken Township officials.

Here’s where eminent domain pop’s up again:

Citgo offered the property as a gift to New Jersey along with $2 million so the land could be converted into a wildlife preservation area after learning at least two American bald eagles lived on the site.
Pennsauken Township officials want to use eminent domain laws to take control of and redevelop the island, which sits on the Delaware River between Camden County and Philadelphia.
Critics say the deal reeks of pay-to-play; the exchange of governmental contracts for political donations.

The redeveloper expected to do the work, Cherokee Investment Partners, has given millions of dollars in campaign contributions to Democratic Party leaders throughout the state. Cherokee plans a $2 billion redevelopment project, including construction of golf courses, low-density housing and a hotel/conference center.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Individual's Rights, Ripe For The Liberal Taking

Where are the human shields when you need them? If ever there was a need to throw yourself in front of a bulldozer to protest government action, this is the time and New London, CT is the place.

You would think liberal groups would be out in force protesting now that the Supreme Court has ruled the City of New London can bulldoze privately owned homes to build a privately owned hotel and office. Nope, the usual suspects are not in solidarity with the “little guys” in Fort Trumbull. Why? In a word – taxes! As long as the government will be getting more taxes, who cares?

Now on the other hand:

If the Fort Trumbull families had been members of an endangered animal species, their homes might have been spared. Had New London tried to bulldoze bog-turtle habitat, liberal judges likely would have blocked it.
Liberal groups would have been on the warpath and liberal judges would have stopped the bulldozers had animals been involved. Kelo vs. City of New London only involved a few Americans and therefore, it’s not a worthy cause for liberal protestors. So what if people lose their homes, it's all for the greater good.

Conservatives really have their priorities backwards, don’t they? Just read Michael Kinsley’s article Activism, Ripe for The Takings. Among other absurdities, Kinsley explains how the Supreme Court’s liberal judges in the Kelo case thwarted a conservative brand of judicial activism.

But it would be fair to say that the takings clause is the conservatives' recipe for judicial activism -- imposing their agenda through the courts rather than bothering with democracy.

The Supreme Court has clung pretty tightly to literalism and declined repeated invitations to use the takings clause like a scythe to cut the government down to size.
Here are the words from the 5th Amendment Kinsley believes the Supreme Court has interpreted literally.

"No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Tell that to 87 year-old Gertrude Campbell, forced out of her home of 47 years via eminent domain by the city of Trenton. Her just compensation - $20,000 for a home that the city had assessed at $33,000 for property tax purposes. Campbell’s property was turned over to a private developer.

Explain the democratic principle upheld by the court to 84 year-old Alberta Thompson who was forced out of the Trenton home where she raised nine children and lived for 49 years. Her just compensation, less than she and her husband paid for the house in 1957.

"I thought it was my house," Gertrude Campbell said while standing in her former doorway just a few days before her move. "I thought that when you keep it up, it's yours. But I guess not - when they want it."
The term “public use” now means “private use” and just compensation is meaningless. Eminent domain and just compensation were at the heart of one of the many McGreevey scandals. Democrat fund- raiser David D'Amiano admitted extorting $40,000 in cash and political donations from a Piscataway farmer in exchange for “just compensation” for his property in a government taking case. McGreevey used the code word “Machiavelli" as part of the political payoff scheme, how appropriate.

Based upon the Kelo decision, the government now has the “right” to take your home or business and turn it over to someone else. That’s what we would call judicial activism and that’s what’s at stake with the appointment of judges. Keep the Kelo case in mind when you hear liberals scream a conservative judge is “out of the mainstream”. Remember these families when you vote:

The Ciavaglia family moved from Italy to New London's Fort Trumbull neighborhood in the 1880s. In 1901, they purchased the house, where, in 1918, Wilhelmina Ciavaglia was born. In 1945, Wilhelmina married Charles Dery, and for 60 years the couple has lived in that home.

Their son Matthew lives next-door with his wife, Sue, and son, Andrew. Their home was given to Matthew as a wedding present by his grandmother. "Before they were married, the younger Dery couple gutted the building and rebuilt it, hand-routing and sanding every piece of woodwork themselves.”

Susette Kelo lives nearby, in an old Victorian she bought in 1997 and renovated. Her porch overlooks the Thames River -- a vista she loves and shares with her husband, Tim, who was disabled in a 2002 car accident."
Conservatives believe individuals have rights and that those rights must be protected from the tyranny of the majority and the government. Liberals believe in their vision of the greater good at any cost, even at the expense of an individual's rights.

Book us some rooms at the Lost Liberty Hotel, we just might need a place to stay.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New Jersey Punished For Voting Blue

From yesterday’s Baristanet:

The good news: Essex County got the largest grant of any county in New Jersey in a special federal disbursement for homeland security.

The bad news: New Jersey's getting about a third less homeland security money from the feds than we got last year.

Could it be punishment for voting blue in the last election?
Since the question was asked, we’ll answer, but first some facts. We did a number of posts on this subject back in December when congress was voting on the allocation of homeland security funds, so we don’t have to look too far for information.

1, President Bush had requested Homeland Security funding be allocated to the states based upon risk assessment

2. Senate Democrats held out for a funding formula written by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that ensured funding would be spread around to all states, regardless of risk.

3. Senator’s Corzine and Lautenberg voted in favor of the bill based upon the Leahy homeland security funding formula that produced a cut in New Jersey’s allocation.

4. New York, a very blue state, voted for Kerry by a wider margin than New Jersey in 2004, just happens to have two Democrat senators, Clinton and Schumer and somehow they managed to secure a 344 percent increase in homeland security funding.

5. Washington and Los Angeles received double the amounts of their previous grants. Chicago and Boston will receive about a third more in homeland security funding. All “blue” cities in "blue" states, all represented by Democrats in the Senate.

So yes, you could say New Jersey was punished for voting blue - not for the last election, but as a result of the previous two – the ones in which Corzine and Lautenberg won their senate seats.

New Jersey is being punished by our poor representation in the senate. Corzine and Lautenberg are automatically against anything the President proposes, so they sided with the Democrat Leahy, even though the end result hurt New Jersey.

Clinton and Schumer did their homework and brought additional homeland security funds back to New York. After the vote, Corzine and Lautenberg held press conferences to lament New Jersey’s loss.

Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ), who is running for Governor, said that if elected, he would work with the congressional delegation to fix the funding formula "to make sure that people in Homeland Security all the way to the top understand the exposure [to an attack] we have here."
Corzine wants us to beleive he'll fix the senate funding formula once he's no longer a senator. Does anyone who follows the news actually beleive any of Corzine's lines?

Our previous posts on homeland security funding with links:

Action Required - Corzine Releases Statement To The Press
State Spending – It’s A Matter Of Choice
New Jersey Deserves Better
Corzine – Lautenberg To Blame For Funding Cuts To NJ
The Democrats Financial Mismanagement

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Corzine Horror Show

Jon Corzine has gone Hollywood according to the Star-Ledger

"We've seen this movie in Washington. Does New Jersey really want this film playing at a theater near you?" Corzine asked. "What George Bush has done in Washington is what Doug Forrester would do in Trenton."
What movie would that be Senator Corzine?

Is it the tax cutting movie? Is it the documentary in which President Bush reduced tax rates and federal tax revenues actually increased? Yes, we’d like to see that show on an extended run in New Jersey.

We’ve seen the scripts of the tax horror show you have in mind Senator Corzine and we’re not interested in financing your film’s production.

We’ve seen the previews of Doug Forrester’s film and he’s the leader that cuts spending and produces a happy ending for New Jersey residents, property tax cuts.

Is it the education accountability movie? Is it the one in which President Bush established education standards and incentives to ensure students become proficient or better in reading and mathematics? Is it the one that requires focusing taxpayer money on proven educational methods to make sure children learn? Yes, we’d like to see that movie in New Jersey.

We’ve seen your teacher's union and special interest financed movie a hundred times, Senator Corzine. No matter how many times you rerun that show, it’s always the same - more taxpayer money spent, not on the children in a manner that produces results, but wasted on union members, administrators, school construction contractors and the other vultures of the education industry.

We prefer a Doug Forrester movie where children and taxpayers come first. We’re looking forward to the premier.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Do We Really Need Another Law?

Jim at Parkway Rest Stop’s post on flag burning and the push for a constitutional amendment banning the desecration of the American flag, got us to thinking about what drives lawmakers to enact laws and the Supreme Court to rule as it does.

We elect people to federal, state and local offices and as soon as they’re sworn in, they think their job is to spend more money and pass new laws. Just think, when was the last time you heard about laws being taken off the books or total spending being cut?

Projecting into the future, at some point everything will be illegal and every dime earned will be taxed away and spent by government. We figure we are now at about the half-way mark towards that ultimate goal.

Let’s face it, all the basic laws necessary to protect life and property and to ensure a functioning society have long since been in place. Sure, as new technologies, businesses, etc. are introduced new laws may be required. When people began driving automobiles for example, motor vehicle laws became essential. But, how many new laws are enacted to regulate something new under the sun? Not many.

So lawmakers are now left with passing laws against things people find offensive or annoying. How else to explain why the city of Trenton has a law against throwing a pickle in the street? Generic littering or garbage dumping laws apparently couldn’t get this prickle throwing problem under control. Doesn’t it make you wonder what was going on in Trenton to move officials to enact such a law?

This brings us to a few suggestions for officials to take into consideration before passing any laws.

1. Is the proposed law essential to protecting life, property or the effective functioning of society? If the answer is no, do not enact the law. If the law will actually protect life or property, consider passing the law. If the answer is yes and the vague “effective functioning of society” reason is the basis, consider the next question before passing a new law.

2. Does the action happen often and when the action does occur, is it significantly disruptive to warrant passing a law to regulate the action or ban it entirely? If the answer is no, do not enact the law. If the answer is yes, consider this next question before passing a new law.

3. Is the action really disruptive and does it pose a real threat to a functioning society or is it merely found to be annoying, offensive or perhaps intimidating? If the answer is no, do not enact the law. If the answer is yes, consider this next question before passing a new law.

4. Is the proposed law consistent with the banning or regulation of similar actions? A few examples may be necessary to give a better understanding of this question.

A. The Supreme Court allows states to ban cross burning

B. The Supreme Court does not allow states to ban flag desecration

C. Trenton has banned pickle throwing – no Supreme Court ruling to date

All three actions may be seen as annoying, offensive and depending upon the circumstances, intimidating and leading to violence. All three may be considered “politically expressive conduct”. (Imagine pickles being thrown in the street as a form of protest had Heinz-Kerry been elected President.)

We find cross burning and flag desecration equally annoying, offensive and potentially intimidating. Thankfully, pickle throwing protests never became necessary, but if people can burn or otherwise desecrate flags in protest, shouldn’t we have the right to throw pickles? See what we mean, no consistency in the law with respect to banning and allowing actions?

Maybe we don’t need an amendment to the constitution to ban flag desecration. Maybe we just need officials to make laws and the Supreme Court to rule on annoying, offensive and intimidating things and actions in a consistent manner. They don’t, and as far as we are concerned that is the problem.

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 6

The Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #6 is up at Riehl World View. Thank you Dan for hosting!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers

About The Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers

Each Sunday a New Jersey blogger hosts a Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers, offering just a sample of the topics Garden Staters have been writing about during the week. We hope your curiosity will be piqued to read more of the selected posts and you will take the opportunity to explore each blogger's site.

How To Participate In The Carnival

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are welcome to submit links for a Sunday Carnival. Just send an email containing a link to the post you would like included to: njcarnival@gmail.com

If you are a New Jersey blogger and would like to host a Carnival one Sunday, please send us an email to enlightennj@gmail with the dates you are available to participate.

The Carnival Schedule


June 4 – Carnival # 55 - Enlighten-NewJersey
June 11- Carnival # 56 - Enlighten-NewJersey
June 18 – Carnival # 57 - Lassiter Space (Cancelled)
June 25 – Carnival # 57 - Stock Market Beat
July 2- Carnival #58 - Jersey Beat
July 9 - Carnival # 59 - Citizen Mom
July 16 - Carnival # 60 - Bob the Corgi
July 23 - Carnival # 61 - Enlighten-NewJersey
July 30 - Carnival # 62 - Enlighten-NewJersey
August 6 - Carnival # 63 - Enlighten-NewJersey
August 13 - Carnival # 64 - Enlighten-NewJersey
August 20 - Carnival # 65 - Enlighten-NewJersey
August 27 - Carnival # 66 - Open

Carnival Graphics

The following graphics have been created by fellow New Jersey blogger Mister Snitch to promote the project and to point readers to this post. The author of Cripes, Suzette! is the creative person behind the Carnival icon - Tillie from Palace Amusements in Asbury Park. We hope you will consider adding one of these “buttons” to your blog.

Enlighten-Carnival-large 300 x 61

Code for 300 x 61:

<a href="http://enlightennj.blogspot.com/2005/06/carnival-of-new-jersey-bloggers.html">
<img src="http://photos17.flickr.com/21415102_8244ea345e_o.gif" width="300"
height="61" alt="Carnival-large" /></a>

Enlighten-Carnival-medium 240 x 49

Code for 240 x 49:
<a href="http://enlightennj.blogspot.com/2005/06/carnival-of-new-jersey-bloggers.html">
<img src="http://photos15.flickr.com/21415101_debf13b6d0_o.gif" width="240" height="49" alt="Carnival-medium"/></a>

Enlighten-Carnival-small 150 x 30

Code for 150 x 30:
<a href="http://enlightennj.blogspot.com/2005/06/carnival-of-new-jersey-bloggers.html">
<img src="http://photos16.flickr.com/21415100_862aeefdb7_o.gif" width="150"height="30" alt="Carnival-small" /></a>

Carnival Tags

The TTLB ÜberCarnival

Previous Carnival Posts

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 1
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 2
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 3
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 4
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 5
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 6
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 7
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 8
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 9
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 10
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 11
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 12
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 13
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 14
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 15
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 16
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 17
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 18
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 19
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 20
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 21
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 22
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 23
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 24
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 25
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #26 Part 1 & Part 2
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 27
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 28
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 29
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 30
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 31
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 32
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 33
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 34
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 35
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 36
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 37
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 38
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 39
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 40
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 41
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 42
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 43
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 44
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 45
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 46
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 47
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 48
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 49
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 50
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 51
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 52
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 53
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 54
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 55
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 56
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 57
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 58
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 59
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 60
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 61
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 62
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 63
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 64
Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 65

MSM articles about the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers

New York Times - In New Jersey, Blog Carnival Is WWWeird
Washington Post - The New Jersey Odd Blogger's Local #4
Herald News - Paging all of Jersey's blogs
Courier Post - Web blogs offer Jerseyans a place to express themselves and make a difference

Blogger Images

Blogger has just launched Blogger Images, a new feature that enables you to upload graphics and pictures from your computer or the web for use in your posts.

We've being using Flickr as our graphic host for Enlighten-NewJersey and hadn't noticed the picture icon on the Blogger compose screen is operational until just now. So if you use Blogger you might want to give this new feature a try.

We have a few Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers graphics we want to post and will give Blogger Images a try later today.

People complain about Blogger, but it's free and the Blogger team seems to be working on additional features and improving reliability of the platform all the time. If you have a problem with the Blogger system, you're pretty much on your own - but what the heck, our blog hasn't cost us a single dime.

Friday, June 24, 2005

All For The Greater Good

The right to own private property is considered the single most important condition for a free and prosperous society. John Locke wrote “Government has no other end but the preservation of property.” There are no human rights without property rights. It is your right to own property, not just your ownership of property that makes you free.

Picking up on Locke’s theme, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

It was the right to retain the fruits of one’s labor and to purchase, own, and control property Jefferson was referring to with the phrase - “pursuit of happiness”. This concept was enshrined in the Bill of Rights with these words: "No person [shall be] deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."

Fast forward to the present and we find the constant erosion of property rights in the United States. People and their property are seen as little more than tax targets to be exploited for the “greater good”.

Look no further than income tax laws imposed; more for the purpose of wealth redistribution than to provide for the common protection of life and property of citizens. You don’t decide how to use the fruits of your labor; the “government” decides and demands to be paid first, to hell with your needs or wishes. All for the “greater good.”

The IRS has the power to investigate your personal activities and finances; without a search warrant the IRS has the right to search your property and financial records; and without a trial, the IRS has the right to seize your property. All for the “greater good.”

Now we have the latest Supreme Court ruling that fails to protect property rights and instead gives the green light for government to seize people's homes and businesses for the sole purpose of giving it to others with the ability to generate greater tax revenue. All for the “greater good.”

When conservatives call for the appointment of judges that support an originalist interpretation of the U.S. constitution, liberals launch a full scale war and scream such judges are out of the “mainstream”. In the liberal world perhaps, where their concept of the “greater good” trumps all rights.

The number of Americans that have come to see the liberal agenda clearly grows every day. It has become evident to many, liberals seek to gain power, though any means necessary, to tax and seize personal property in order to create a society of their choosing.

A recent article in the Courier-Post provides us with an excellent example of just one of a multitude of outrages: “Sen. Wayne Bryant's ( D-Lawnside) has a $270,000 contract to represent Camden City in eminent domain matters against residents. Under the agreement, Camden taxpayers are footing the bill for one of their representatives in Trenton to aid their city in removing them from their homes.” Do you need to hear any more to realize what's happening?

The Bad Hair Blog has a terrific roundup of blogger reaction to the latest Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey bloggers are well represented, of course. These folks can’t be fooled with the mantra - All for the “greater good.”

Breaking The Power Law

TigerHawk made some science. Enlighten participated in the MIT weblog survey and:

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Now Corzine’s Outraged

Heap invective and smear the President of the United States, high ranking administration officials, presidential appointees, members of the military, Christians, Jews and Republicans – you express no outrage.

Call fellow Americans liars, losers, war criminals, racists, brain-dead, evil, extreme, and stupid – you utter not a peep.

Attribute every conceivable sinister motive to each action taken, policy proposed and position expressed by Republicans – you offer no rebuke.

Paint a picture of the United States as the greatest force of evil in the world, Photoshop Bush into Hitler and portray the country’s prosecution of the war on terror as blood for oil – you turn a blind eye.

Seek to turn the 9/11 Memorial into a guilt complex that diminishes the memory of Americans lost in the terrorist attacks with exhibits and multimedia presentations of Abu Ghraib – you’re silence is deafening.

Liken the Vice President to Saddam Hussein and publish your first blog post on a site whose author ran a picture of the burnt bodies of American contractors ambushed in Fallujah along with this quip: "I feel nothing over the death of the mercenaries. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them." – you are energizing your voter base.

When you learned Senator Durbin had the following to say about Americans, including more than 600 New Jersey National Guard members stationed at Guantanamo Bay – you were no longer available for a photo-op and the need to call for an apology never entered your mind.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
But when you read the following in the New York Times, you couldn’t get your press release out fast enough, demanding an apology of Karl Rove and attacking President Bush.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."

Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others.

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
Your actions are telling Senator Corzine. Besmirch the United States, the American military, New Jersey National Guardsman and provide propaganda for the enemy and you do not rise to defend, demand apologies or resignations. Why is that Mr. Corzine? Is it because you place your party above your country, above the citizens of New Jersey you are supposed to represent? Or maybe it’s because you are in complete agreement with Senator Durbin’s statement. Maybe it’s because your reasons are all of the above.

Now when Rove pointed out the over-the-top behavior and rhetoric of a large contingent of liberals in the aftermath of 9/11, you sprang to action. Did you think Rove was attacking you? Why? Do you see yourself as a liberal who saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers? If you didn’t see yourself in Rove’s words, why do you believe you are owed an apology? Why the need to lash out?
US Senator Jon S. Corzine today called on White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to immediately retract and apologize for his remarks regarding the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks against the United States.

“It is now nearly four years later. Osama Bin Laden remains at large. The President is floundering, his policies are failing, and the American people are fed up. And now his senior advisor – standing blocks from Ground Zero – has injected petty, partisan politics into one of the most tragic but unifying moments of American history. It’s shameful.
The American people are fed up alright. We are sick of liberals using the realities of war, Koran touching and a few jerks at Abu Ghraib to attack the President, smear the country and raise campaign contributions for the sole purpose of liberals gaining political power.

Republicans believe the country’s enemies are terrorists; you Senator act as if the Republicans are the enemy. Doubt me, read this Senator and tell us Rove didn’t speak for the majority of the country. If you don’t think so, you are totally out of touch with the mainstream.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Carnival Goes On The Road

The Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers begins its road trip starting this Sunday. This week the Carnival will be hosted by Dan at Riehl World View with Mister Snitch! doing the writing to free up Dan for his reporting on the Natalee Holloway case.

All New Jersey bloggers and readers are welcome to submit links for this Sunday’s Carnival. Just send Mr. Snitch an email with a link to the post you’d like him to include. We will forward links we have already received, so it’s not necessary to resubmit for this week’s Carnival #6.

The Road Trip Schedule

June 26 – Carnival #6 - Riehl World View
July 3 – Carnival #7 - Enlighten-NewJersey
July 10 – Carnival #8 - Cripes, Suzette!
July 17 – Carnival #9 - Sluggo Needs a Nap
July 24 – Carnival #10 - The Bad Hair Blog
July 31 – Carnival #11 - SmadaNek
August 7 – Carnival #12 - The Center of NJ Life
August 14 – Carnival #13 - Mister Snitch!
August 21 – Carnival #14 - Shamrocketship
August 28 – Carnival #15 - If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower

The Case Of The Missing Income Tax Revenue

The Democrats in Trenton are squabbling amongst themselves over New Jersey’s budget for 2006 and property tax rebates are causing the Democrats in the Assembly a real headache. It is hard to believe the lawmakers can’t come up with the money for the popular program.

The income tax in New Jersey was enacted to provide property tax relief in two ways; direct aid to local school districts and through property tax rebates to homeowners. By law, the revenue the state receives from income taxes may not be spent for any other purpose.

The Acting Governor put the local school districts on notice that they would not be receiving any increases in state aid for 2006 and to homeowners he announced the property tax rebates would be eliminated or considerably reduced. Based upon the governor’s statements one would assume income tax revenue had fallen or at best, remained flat. If that’s what you thought, you would have assumed wrong.

Let’s take a look at the income tax revenue the state received in 2004 and the state’s projections for 2005 and 2006.
New Jersey Income tax Revenue
Notice New Jersey’s income tax revenue is up $1.7 billion for 2005 and up $600 million for 2006, for a total of $2.3 billion. So where did the additional money go? Did your local school district receive more in state aid? More than likely not, and that’s why your property taxes continue to increase. It’s certainly not coming to you in the form of a property tax rebate; after all they can’t find the money to fully fund the program. Your tax dollars obviously went to the usual special interests.

So the Democrats have been casting about looking for ways to save the rebate. In usual fashion, the Democrats hatched a plan to increase sales taxes to fund the property tax rebates. Rebates may come and go, but the new taxes are forever.

Other Democrats, hoping to keep their seats in this year’s election for state assembly, have taken the unusual step of looking for ways to cut spending. The Star-Ledger reports today the hunt for cuts isn’t going too well:

The Codey administration has rejected about 80 percent of the budget cuts proposed by Assembly Democrats, forcing a scramble to find nearly $400 million in other savings to fully restore taxpayer rebates.

Treasurer John McCormac said yesterday he can endorse only about $85 million of the $467 million in spending cuts and funding ideas proposed by the Assembly leadership because the rest were not realistic.
It looks like the “funding ideas”, commonly known as tax increases, have been given the green light. Spending cuts are just not realistic. True enough, when the Democrats are in charge. When you buy votes, it’s pretty hard not to pay up and still expect support on election day. What a dilemma.

How bad is the problem? Consider this statement from the Assembly Budget Committee Chairman:

"I find it laughable that out of a $27.4 billion budget we can't find half a billion dollars in greater efficiencies and cuts," said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden).
It’s not laughable Assemblyman Greenwald, it’s pathetic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Professional Journalist And The Amateur Blogger

Over the past several weeks Enlighten-NewJersey was been mentioned twice in the Jersey Side blog, written by John Shabe the editor of NJ.com. Yesterday, we were reviewing our site meter logs and noticed a few visitor referrals from Jersey Side. Curious, we decided to see what Shabe had written that prompted the visits. Here’s the first post we found:

Oopsie Doodle

I like to see somebody go out on a limb and make a bold prediction the way Republican blogger EnlightenNJ did today. But somehow for me at least some of the oomph gets sucked out of it when you can't spell ...

Enlighten Error

UPDATE: Enlighten had corrected the spelling of Corzine by 4 p.m. today. Fortunately I captured it for posterity ... nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Now here is where the difference between a professional journalist/editor and amateur bloggers becomes apparent. You see as amateurs, we would have characterized the misspelling of Corzine as a typo, especially because the Senator’s name was spelled correctly in the second sentence of the same post. As a professional, Shabe knows the difference between a misspelling and a typo and has provided us with a valuable lesson in journalism.

As amateurs, we would have mistakenly highlighted the prediction aspect of the post, assuming the content would have the most potential to interest readers. For example, we might have titled the post - Bold Election Prediction or Dream on Enlighten. See here again, we would have been wrong. A professional knows from experience and with his finger on the pulse of his readers, you draw them in with the title Oopsie Doodle and highlight the fact the Republican bloggers at Enlighten can’t spell.

As far as we know this was the first Enlighten-NewJersey post John Shabe has ever linked to on his Jersey Side blog. We read Jersey Side periodically and have never noticed a mention before of any of our more than 400 posts. Clearly, Shabe hadn’t found anything in our efforts, prior to this one, of potential interest or value to his readers.

Fair enough, he used his expertise as a professional journalist and editor to choose just the right post to introduce his readers to our blog. Lucky for his readers, Shabe doesn’t post on all of our misspellings and grammatical errors, his blog would be packed with them, no doubt.

Don’t get us wrong, we now know Shabe’s post was to be taken all in good fun. Just look at how he updated his post after we corrected our error. He provides his readers with a screen shot containing the error for “posterity” and adds ... nyuk nyuk nyuk. You see once again, the professional knows how to convey the spirit in which the post was written. As amateurs we would have missed this opportunity.

Our second link from the Jersey side came this past Monday:

Pass The Cotton Candy

I have to say I'm kinda miffed that local bloggers are all a-twitter of Enlighten NJ's weekly Carnival of The Jersey Bloggers, which basically links to a laundry list of Jersey blog posts each week. I'm miffed because ... well ... that's what I do like every day. But nobody gets all excited when I link to their posts ... sigh

and this has nothing to do with the fact that none of my posts have made it onto Enlighten's Sunday list ... OK, maybe it has a little to do with it.

All we can say is - gee John, all you had to do was send us an email with a post you wanted linked and we would have included you. Consider yourself personally invited. You are also welcome to host the Carnival. We have an opening for this Sunday if you’re interested and if this Sunday’s not good for you, pick a date that’s not already taken and it’s yours. It seems to take forever for us to write up the laundry list, but as a professional you could probably dash it off in a few minutes. You’d do a better job of writing too.

Before we were able to finish and publish this post, it seems more is being written on this subject in the Jersey blogosphere that should be added. See Mister Snitch’s post here and John Shabe’s post here.

John in his latest post writes:

I'm a sensitive fellow, likely too sensitive to be a blogger, so yes it does bother me to be criticized like this, but it's OK.

Just a few observations from an amateur blogger to a professional: When you criticize others, you’re likely to be criticized in return. When you elevate blog dialogue to the level of interesting ideas, facts, analysis, events and stories, it takes away the personal sting when a debate ensues. The content of the post is criticized, not the person and hard feelings are less likely to develop.

Of course when the attacks become petty and personal, every blogger should take the opportunity to point out the attacker has chosen the low road. After that, let it go, your readers will decide if you have been treated fairly and have treated others likewise.

Ah oh, we just received a few slaps on the wrist. Did we mention we’re just amateurs. Okay, no excuses – we promise to try harder in the future, especially with misspellings.

P.S. We’ve heard all publicity is good publicity – just as long as the name’s spelled right. Any chance you could spell our blog’s name correctly, John?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Political Promises, Programs and Plans

This is the season of political promises, spending programs and tax plans. The New Jersey legislature is talking about levying new taxes, to pay for tax rebates, which were previously promised to gain acceptance of an income tax, which was enacted as property tax relief. Has anyone noticed creating new or raising existing taxes to reduce other taxes hasn’t worked?

Once the raise taxes to lower taxes strategy has been taken about as far as any politician dares to go, it’s on to plan B. This is the ever popular we’ll raise the other guy’s taxes to provide government services which you and yours just can’t live without. Has anyone noticed the other guy that winds up being taxed is you?

How many people believe they don’t pay enough in taxes? Anyone that believes their taxes are too low is welcome to submit a H.O.T. Tax return along with payment to your local government and/or the state’s treasury department. Now that we’ve raised taxes in a democratic fashion, let’s talk about the services the government really must provide.

Let’s have everyone name five (5) state or local government services each considers to be essential. Those services the individual, the individual’s family or community just could not possibly live comfortably without. Once we have democratically decided the government services we need, we can figure out how much we are willing to pay for those services and who is going to pay for them.

Is Jon Corzine A U.S. Senator?

Jon Corzine has apparently decided to run his campaign for Governor of New Jersey as a political outsider. This requires pretending he is not a U.S. Senator and that he has not played a major role in New Jersey state politics.

The Corzine strategy also requires pretending that Doug Forrester is not a private citizen and that from time to time Mr. Forrester votes in Washington and Trenton.

Roberto points us to this article in Newsday:

Seeking to gain traction among senior citizens, Democratic Sen. Jon S. Corzine's gubernatorial campaign on Monday linked his GOP opponent to a Bush administration plan for prescription medicine that has critics predicting disaster for the elderly.

The new program, sponsored by Republicans, pushed by President Bush, and supported by candidate Doug Forrester, is designed to help low-income seniors meet spiraling drug costs. It goes into effect Jan. 1.
Just a couple of points the Newsday article failed to mention:

1. The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is voluntary - no one is forced to participate in the plan.

2. Senator Jon Corzine voted in favor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill.

3. Senator Frank Lautenberg voted in favor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill.

4. Doug Forrester is not a member of the U.S. Senate. He lives and works in New Jersey as a private citizen.

We assume both Senators Corzine and Lautenberg voted in favor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit because the national and state AARP organizations supported the plan. The Newsday article provides the following quote:

"We supported it because it really does help people with catastrophic drug costs," said Marilyn Askin, president of the state AARP.
To sum up, Senator Corzine is trying to scare senior citizens into believing, a voluntary prescription drug benefit that he personally supported with his vote in the U.S. Senate, which is supported by AARP, will be a disaster and it’s all Doug Forrester’s fault.

Why does Newsday peddle this nonsense?

Tangle Of Immigration Laws

Yesterday, Fausta at the Bad Hair Blog wrote about The New York Times article - For Illegal Immigrants, a Harsh Lesson. She does not support in-state college tuition status for illegal immigrants as proposed by Democrats in New Jersey’s assembly and neither do we.

The New York Times reporter clearly sides with the state assembly Democrats and attempts to drum up support for the legislature with a human interest story. The Times article revolves around Esteban Navarro, whose “dream of becoming a mathematician [was] dashed in a tangle of immigration laws.”

The “tangle” the Times refers to is the illegal immigration status of Navarro, his parents and at least one brother, Julio. The situation seems to pretty straight forward to us, Esteban Navarro and his family have been living illegally in the United States for at least the past 15 years and should have been deported long ago. Well, let’s not let a little thing like the law get in the way of a good yarn.

As a matter of fact, the “tangle of immigration laws” didn’t stop the Navarro boys from going to taxpayer financed public schools in New Jersey. Unfortunately, several hundred thousand taxpayer dollars later, we have let one of the two Navarro brother’s down. According to the Times, Esteban Navarro was denied the financial assistance necessary for him to attend Princeton or other leading American universities.

What does Navarro’s story have to do with in-state tuition status at New Jersey state colleges? Nothing, but he is an illegal alien who attended New Jersey public schools and wanted the taxpayers to subsidize his college education at Princeton. Apparently, the Times thought this was close enough to make their point.

Afraid to risk flouting federal law, Princeton and other leading universities could not process Mr. Navarro's applications, according to several people with knowledge of his situation.
Would these knowledgeable people familiar with Navarro's situation happen to be at Princeton or other leading universities or is the Time’s reporter just repeating rumor and speculation? Why is the reporter protecting sources familiar with the circumstances? Would they lack credibility to the reader? Does the reporter know for a fact that Navarro actually applied to any colleges? Has the reporter been shown Navarro’s returned or rejected college applications? Okay, pesky facts might get in the way of the point the reporter was trying to make.

The Times explains why Navarro had his sights set on Princeton and other unnamed leading universities:

Two years ago, Mr. Navarro, a quiet and gifted student, was headed for top honors. His teachers said he was a star soccer player who received a perfect score on the advanced-placement calculus exam and was named class valedictorian.
Here’s where the Time’s story gets confusing:

By spring 2003, when he was a senior, Mr. Navarro's plans to attend college unraveled. And at graduation, as the principal called on him to deliver the valedictory speech, Mr. Navarro had already dropped out.
Had Esteban Navarro dropped out of high school before graduation? Doesn’t a student actually have to graduate to be named class valedictorian? Does anyone believe the principal actually called on Navarro at the graduation ceremony, only to discover he had dropped out of school? We can only assume he dropped out of school before graduating based upon the facts presented and the article’s first line:

Esteban Navarro disappearance broke a lot of hearts at Trenton Central High School; where the dropout rate among Hispanic students is triple the state average.
So what happened to Navarro? Did the immigration “tangle” catch up with him and deport him? No.
"He just gave up," his 19-year-old brother, Julio, recalled. "He didn't even put up a fight."

Mr. Navarro refused to talk about his situation for this article. Now 21, Mr. Navarro, who had attended school in the United States since the first grade, works in a pizza shop outside Philadelphia.
Does this story hang together for you? Navarro dropped out of high school because he wasn’t eligible for financial assistance to attend Princeton University and he now works in a pizza joint instead of studying to become a mathematician. Would in-state tuition for illegal aliens have made any difference in the outcome of this story, assuming any of this tale is true? Apparently not, it was Princeton or nothing and community college was not an option.

Now that you’ve been softened up with Navarro’s story, on to the purpose of the Time's article:

Opponents believe that the bill, if approved, would strain classrooms and budgets at public universities and provoke tension between legal immigrants who might not qualify for lower tuition and illegal immigrants who would.
Of course state budgets and immigrant tensions are merely excuses for the real reason citizens aren’t clamoring for college benefits for illegal aliens:

In New Jersey, many advocates of the measure blame racial politics for stalling its passage.
Yes, if the 100,000 or so illegal immigrant students in New Jersey were Irish we’d be begging for more state spending, higher taxes and subsidized college tuition for illegal aliens.

Immigration laws? Who needs immigration laws and after all the Irish even speak a funny kind of English. Okay, you caught us, it’s a race thing. Riiight!.

The article goes on with more anecdotal stories and cheerleading for changes to state and federal laws, but the conclusion can’t be missed:

Immigration papers arrived in April for the Navarro family. But they were too late for Esteban, who gave up his dream to go to college two years ago and cut off all contact with high school friends and teachers.

"It hurts me a lot," said his brother, Julio, who recently graduated from high school and plans to attend Middlebury College, where he was awarded a scholarship. "When you are growing up, you hear of family members, really smart, who ultimately end up in roofing or as janitors. I see a lot of kids get the door shut in their face. You don't hear many success stories. It keeps me up a lot of nights, wondering why."
It’s called the law, Julio. And by the way, you’re welcome.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Promise To Answer Comments

In the last day or so, we’ve had a number of questions raised by readers in our comments section. We promise to answer them in a post or in a series of posts as soon as time permits. We won’t forget and we’re sure our readers won’t let us.

GOP To Pump Money Into N.J. Governor's Race

According to the New York Daily News:

The national Republican Party is looking to pump some money into New Jersey for a change, citing the prospect of winning this year's race for governor in the Garden State.

In the past two presidential elections, the GOP has looked to New Jersey as a place to gather money, not spend it in search of votes.

But this year, the national Republicans see New Jersey as an attainable prize, and plan to work hard for Doug Forrester, the GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Corzine Care Vs. Reality

Corzine Care seeks to provide health care insurance for the estimated 1.2 million New Jersey residents currently uninsured. Corzine’s aide Curtis Fisher has reiterated the Senator’s claim that the various schemes within Corzine Care will cost taxpayers a total of $15 million.

Neither Senator Corzine nor Mr. Fisher has been able to provide the specifics of the various proposals that would logically explain the unbelievable $15 million Corzine cost estimate. Waivers and State of New Jersey “bulk rates” referred to by Fisher don’t square with reality.

Take for example the costs taxpayers currently pay for people we already insure – state employees and employees in our local schools districts. As we struggle to reduce state expenses and property taxes, we wonder why Trenton hasn’t been able to purchase insurance at the fabulous state “bulk rates” Senator Corzine has used in his Corzine Care cost calculations.

Beyond the initial shock that New Jersey taxpayers insure so many employees that contribute nothing toward their health and prescription drug insurance, these rates don’t seem particularly discount, special or “bulk” to us. $3,095 a year for a drug plan for an employee and spouse seems beyond reason.

Using these state published insurance rates, the Corzine budget of $15 million would cover 2,750 mothers with one child for medical insurance only and 2,066, if prescription drug coverage is part of the Corzine Care plan. That still leaves 1,197,250 people uninsured. Perhaps Mr. Fisher or Corzine could tell us how much it would coast to insure the remaining million or so people.

Now in terms of ideas to reduce the state’s budget and our property taxes, we have a few suggestions:

1.) State and school district employees should contribute toward their health and prescription drug insurance costs at the same average rate as private sector employees in the state. The average state employee earns more than the average private sector employee, so please don’t write us about the lower pay for better benefits meme, it isn’t accurate.

2.) Contact Doug Forrester, he has figured out how employers can provide a quality prescription drug benefit, while at the same time managing and containing costs. As a matter of fact, Forrester’s Benecard company has been so successful at helping employers contain their prescription drug benefit costs, he’s become a multi-millionaire with his expertise . Too bad the State of New Jersey isn’t one of Forrester’s clients; he could have saved taxpayers a ton of money.

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 5

tillieSluggo Needs a Nap has the story of Detective Gullace, a cop and a very brave man.

Parkway Rest Stop asks “What five things do you miss from your childhood?” Jim’s reminiscing in response to his question takes you back to the days that really couldn’t have been all that long ago, could they?

While we’re reminiscing, Suzette takes us through some of those wonder years with her post Hello Dorkness My Old Friend and she has the pictures to prove it.

The author of Shamrocketship shares her story of healing.

KateSpot posts one scary looking photo and “sings” a little ditty if you click the correct link.

Lizzie at This Full House has put up some great pictures and turns her blog over to “a most adorable, loving, funny and little muffin of a blogger.”

Mary’s Lame Attempt at Fame has an artist rendering of Michael Jackson as he may have looked today sans plastic surgery. The picture was generated through the application of aging trends to one of Michael Jackson's childhood pictures.

GiggleChick will be performing on July 20th (Wednesday) at 7pm at the New York Improv Comedy Club.

Mr. Snitch hosted the Carnival of the Vanities this past week and managed to interject a number of interesting New Jersey issue inspired graphics throughout his post.

The Barista blogs about the Purple Wave and generates a tsunami of comments. The Proprietor at Coffeegrounds quips: They Eat Their Own Young.

Sharon from the Center of NJ Life writes: Screwed Up. Priorities - "Looking for money to restore property tax rebates, Assembly Democrats have targeted a fund used to help the poor pay heating bills.”

NJ Conservative has great news: “Managers of the State's Pension Fund have found a way to save us from the $30 billion shortfall in the fund.” Makes you wonder how the private managers were chosen to handle the state’s investments and the huge fees these lucky guys will receive. Follow the money.

Roberto at DynamoBuzz has the latest on the fallout over the Corzine Connection to the various New Jersey political corruption scandals over the past several years.

From Tami, The One True: “I think that New Jersey Government is too big. I think that 12 people are doing jobs that could be done by 4. I think that we have too many different levels of people doing the same things over and over, and that it's wasting our (NJ residents) money.”

The New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers has taken exception to PDCRyan’s post about a certain light rail and it wasn’t this one.

The Political Dogs blog: The Truth About PETA is Revealing.

Poetic Leanings offers a post with the title: Letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

TigerHawk provides a non-partisan review of how we got to where we are with North Korea.

Weinish at BeLow Me thinks; “Things have to get worse before they get better, and things are certainly not good. Things still need to get even worse. Much worse for people to realize their leaders aren't good for them, or the country.”

Fausta reports on the “Aubenas kidnapping, the Romanian connection, and a whiff of Oil-For-Food", over on the Bad Hair Blog.

The blog Blanton's and Ashton's has changed their subtitle from “Reality-Based and Loving It” to “Article. II. Section. 4” Author Frogsdong writes: “Some very smart people have had some very interesting things to say about impeachment and public misconduct, including lying.”

New Jersey USMC Vet, blogging on Blue State Conservatives believes there can be only one comment to come from Senator Corzine and Representatives Holt and Menendez about the remarks Senator Durbin made on the Senate floor during a debate on the Energy Bill.

Please let us know your thoughts on a traveling Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers. Sluggo and Ken Adams have already given their thumbs up on the idea.

Last, but certainly not least, Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Traveling Carnival Of New Jersey Bloggers?

tillieFive weeks ago we began the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers with a few basic goals. We wanted to generate additional interest in New Jersey blogs, bring attention to Jersey blogs that others might not have discovered and offer a sampling of topics about which Garden Staters had written over the past week. Our hope was to peak reader curiosity in the posts submitted or selected in a manner that encouraged people to click on over to read more and explore each blogger’s site.

The first suggestion we received about the Carnival came from the author of Cripes, Suzette. She suggested the use of an identifying graphic in keeping with the carnival theme and unique to New Jersey – specifically the Food Circus Clown of Middletown and Tillie from Palace Amusements in Asbury Park.

We decided Tillie fit the bill and reader consensus formed around the “weathered Tillie” over the “refurbished Tillie” icon. Mr. Snitch has created two Tillie graphics, shown below and suggests New Jersey bloggers participating in the Carnival place one of the two on their site to support the project.

This leads to our suggestion. A real carnival is nomadic and applying this concept to the blogosphere, this Carnival ought to travel from blog to blog. We believe the Carnival should reflect a variety of editorial points of view, expand the number of New Jersey blogs included and allow the unique creativity of each Carnival host to shine.

Please let us know your thoughts on a traveling Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers. We are willing to keep track of the hosting schedule and other administrative matters, if others are willing to act as hosts.

Just a reminder for this week. All Garden State bloggers and blog readers are welcome to submit links for this Sunday’s Carnival . Just send us an email with a link to the post you’d like us to include.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Corzine, N.J. Congressmen Found No Abuse at Gitmo

Tuesday on the Senate floor during a debate on the Energy Bill, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said:

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
As we posted back on December 23 and 26, Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine and Reps. Robert Menendez and Rush Holt went to Guantanamo Bay to ask detainees directly about accusations of mistreatment by U.S. interrogators.

After returning home from the trip, the congressmen stated that they found the detainees to be treated in a humane fashion and the interrogation process to be absolutely professional.

The men called the trip "a very positive experience" and said they were thankful for the opportunity to meet with the guard members and express the state's appreciation for their efforts.

More than 600 New Jersey National Guard members are stationed at the base."They are in rather good morale, even though they obviously want to be home for Christmas. They are making serious sacrifices for all of us, and I let them know how much the people of New Jersey appreciate their efforts," Corzine said. More here.
Will Senator Corzine, Reps. Robert Menendez and Rush Holt demand an apology from Senator Durbin for besmirching the reputation of the United States, the American Armed Forces and the service men and women from New Jersey who have served at Guantanamo Bay?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Corzine – Kushner Partnership

The Jon Corzine and Charles Kushner partnership is in the news again, so we thought we’d provide a summary of our post from April 19 on the subject.

Corzine expressed interest in buying the New Jersey Nets basketball team and explained why he believed he was qualified for the job:
Millionaire Senator Jon Corzine says that he might be interested in buying the New Jersey Nets. When asked why, Corzine explained that after several years in the Senate, he feels qualified to manage a bunch of spoiled, overpaid prima donnas.
Jon Corzine hooks up with wealthy New Jersey businessman and major contributor to the Democrat Party, Charles Kushner to buy the Nets. The duo looked to the State of New Jersey for a bit of help with financing:

We start with last week's news that U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., and real estate developer Charles Kushner were considering making a bid to buy the New Jersey Nets. That sounded pretty good. The men, it seems, have the money to buy the Nets and keep the team in New Jersey. But now it surfaces that the senator and developer want the state to contribute $125 million to help them purchase the team.
The Corzine-Kushner partnership wanted New Jersey's taxpayers to kick in because investment in the Nets basketball team was risky and a potential money loser.

The Star-Ledger, the Asbury Park Press of Neptune and The Record of Bergen County all reported Monday that the partners sought the help because they are wary of the financial problems facing the team. The Nets, who played in the NBA finals the past two seasons, have not made money and are expected to operate at a loss this year because of a rising payroll.
The Corzine-Kushner partnership ultimately would have to go without help from the state and their final bid for the Nets was placed in January of 2004. Corzine’s former employer, Goldman Sachs was handling the sale.

In a dramatic attempt to keep the team in New Jersey, Kushner, the well-connected developer, and his partner, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, submitted an all-cash offer of $300 million just before 3 p.m. yesterday. It was spelled out in a one-paragraph fax sent to Stier and one of the bankers handling the sale, Joe Ravitch of Goldman Sachs.
The Corzine-Kushner bid came too late to be taken seriously and a Brooklyn investor won the right to buy the Nets:

Bruce C. Ratner, the New York real estate developer who wants to move the New Jersey Nets to an arena in downtown Brooklyn, reached a tentative agreement to acquire the team for $300 million, defeating a similar offer by Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey, the Nets' ownership group confirmed tonight.
The next thing you know one half of the Corzine-Kushner partnership is pleading guilty to a slew of federal charges:

Real estate mogul Charles Kushner pleaded guilty in federal court to 18 charges, including retaliating against a federal witness and violating campaign finance laws. He also pleaded guilty to 16 counts of filing false tax returns through various real estate partnerships.
Charles Kushner is now serving a two-year prison sentence in Alabama and has paid some pretty stiff fines for his various criminal acts:

A federal judge sentenced multimillionaire developer and Democratic Party political donor Charles B. Kushner to two years in prison Friday, declaring Kushner's wealth, power and widespread charity don't trump criminal acts that included tax fraud, campaign-finance violations and witness retaliation.
Kushner was charged with hiring a hooker to have videotaped sex in a scheme to silence potential witnesses. The guy caught on tape was Kushner's brother-in-law and the tape was sent to Kushner's sister.

Kushner, who has given more than $5 million to Democratic campaign committees in New Jersey during the past decade, was ordered this month to pay at least $12.5 million in fines for violating federal banking laws. He also paid $508,900 in 2004 — the fourth largest fine of its kind — to federal regulators for campaign-finance violations.
Is Jon Corzine the man to clean up political corruption in New Jersey? If not the instigators of corruption, New Jersey Democrats have certainly managed to attract the worst elements in the state and Corzine seems to be the lodestone. Is there any reason for us to assume a Governor Corzine would lose his unrivaled attraction?

When It Comes To Blogs, The GOP Is AWOL

Day in, day out the right-leaning New Jersey blogs provide an aggregation of news, analysis and opinion sorely lacking in the major media that serves New Jersey. The Republican Party, a natural ally of our point of view, one would assume, ignores us. No links on the NJ GOP website to right-leaning New Jersey blogs - so content rich is the New Jersey Republican site, the party apparently is in no need of grass roots support.

The New Jersey Republican Party might be surprised to learn that the majority of this blog’s readers find us searching for information about the issues that matter to the people of the state. While we haven’t asked our fellow bloggers, we’ll bet their blogs are a helpful resource for voters starved for information too. Imagine the impact if more people in New Jersey were aware of our existence.

Joe Katzman comments on Patrick Ruffini's blog about the difference between the left- and right-blogosphere and notes the GOP is tone-deaf in its relationship with bloggers.
Meanwhile, connections of any sort among right-leaning blogs to the GOP or to conservative alternative media and think-tanks are still iffy at best.

Heritage made some half-hearted efforts, but they came to nothing near as I can tell. Townhall.com has never made their blog work or integrated it with the larger community. Think tanks are largely AWOL. And don't even get me started re the tone-deaf way the GOP is trying to handle blogs right now.

Meanwhile, there's no Media Matters or (a far better idea) campaign-enabling infrastructure to give the righty blogosphere the kind of organizing/outreach power that would make a difference.

Now, our human infrastructure of blogs is more robust. I'd say we're more prepared to receive attention, success, et. al.

Having said that, it's also clear to me that the right and centrist blogosphere is not being "all that we can be," and isn't being integrated very well with existing institutions, even in informal ways.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Democrats No Longer The Party Of The Middle Class

The Opinion Journal writes today that a centrist group of Democrats called Third Way recently issued a report explaining the Democrats' 2004 election debacle. It concluded that voters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, or almost half the electorate, delivered "healthy victories" for President Bush and Republicans in Congress. The report concludes the Democrat Party is no longer the party of the middle class.

Why is that? One reason is that the party of FDR and JFK no longer seems to have a moderate wing; they have become doughnut Democrats with no middle. This point is best exemplified by the utter collapse of Democrats in the South. In 1980 there were 20 mostly conservative Democrats in the Senate; now there are four, and even they are endangered.

• With the notable exception of Joe Lieberman, there are virtually no Scoop Jackson defense hawks remaining in a party that has made Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo its main policy touchstones for the war on terror.

• The party that voted en masse for income and capital gains tax cuts under JFK now has but one message on taxes: Raise them.

• On trade, the Democrats who delivered 102 House votes for Nafta and Bill Clinton in 1994 will, at last count, provide all of five House votes for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

• The Clinton Democrats helped enact the most momentous social policy legislation of the past generation: welfare reform. Now Democrats conspire every day to gut work-for-welfare requirements and prevent the renewal of welfare reform by Congress.

• Above all, there's the know-nothing-ism on Social Security. The Democrats in unison proclaim that Mr. Bush is advancing a risky right-wing scheme to destroy Social Security by creating private investment accounts for workers.

But wait. How dangerous can this idea really be? After all, only a few years ago there was a long and esteemed list of elected Democratic leaders who endorsed personal accounts. John Breaux. Chuck Robb. Bob Kerrey. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Charles Stenholm. Tim Penny. Today in the entire United States Congress there is exactly one Democrat, Allen Boyd of Florida, who has endorsed personal accounts, and he has been shunned for his apostasy.

New Jersey School Funding Compared To Student Performance

Yesterday we looked at the inequitable state funding for New Jersey’s public schools, comparing Newark, Camden, Millburn and Cherry Hill in terms of cost per student and funding sources.

Today we will take a look at the high school/student performance for the same four school districts – Newark (poor school district) and Millburn (rich school district) both located in Essex Country; and Camden (poor school district) and Cherry Hill (middle class school district) both located in Camden County.

After 30 years of ever increasing state funding and spending per student in the “poor” school districts, here are the results:

Abbott LA

Abbott Math

New Jersey’s Brand Of Public Service

Voters in North Brunswick's 12th district ousted a Democrat committeeman Ralph Andrews in last Tuesday election. Andrews had been found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident last year after he smashed into a neighbor's car.

The Democrats replaced him with Yomare Polanco who has been banned from teaching after he was found in a motel room with a 15-year-old girl, a former student at the school where he taught.

Polanco was a rising star in the New Brunswick school district -- having just been promoted to vice principal at New Brunswick High School -- in August 2001 when an anonymous tip led police to an Edison motel where Polanco was found with a 15-year-old girl.

The girl had been a student at the Roosevelt Elementary School, where Polanco taught science, but was transferred to the Woodrow Wilson School earlier in the school year.

Police said at the time of Polanco's arrest on child endangerment charges that his relationship with the girl was ongoing, not a one-time event.

In February 2002, Polanco entered into a plea bargain with the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office in which he agreed to surrender his teaching certificate in return for the prosecutor's office supporting his entry into a pretrial probation program that, if completed successfully, would lead to dismissal of the charges against him. His two-year period of probation in the program ended early last year.

Polanco said he decided to enter the pre-trial intervention program to save himself thousands of dollars in legal fees, but he was adamant that his relationship with the girl was purely professional, not sexual.

"We should be looking at how to straighten out North Brunswick's political situation, not gossip like this," he said. "The councilmen and political situation in North Brunswick have to be changed. That's why I decided to run (for committee)."

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