"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Victim Relief

The devastation and loss of life from Hurricane Katrina is beyond comprehension. The people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in for a long tough haul and our hearts go out to all those that have had their life forever altered.

The aftermath of Katrina is not a week-long event and then back to business as usual. It will be a major, long-term rebuilding effort requiring the support of the entire country. We are confident Americans will come together to help their fellow citizens desperately in need of emotional, physical and financial support.

To do our small part we went to the American Red Cross site to give a donation. The good news, the site was experiencing heavy traffic; the bad news, we couldn’t get onto the site. No problem we thought, we’ll make our donation through Amazon .com.

We remembered Amazon collected money for the Red Cross relief effort for the tsunami victims earlier this year and so we clicked on over to Amazon. Surprisingly we couldn’t find a link or a page on the Amazon site for the Katrina hurricane victims. This struck us as rather odd, especially because the tech savvy folks at Amazon must realize the Red Cross site is being swamped and a little help in collecting donations would be important at the stage of the relief effort.

Apparently the giant online retailer can’t be bothered as Amazon has no plans to help collect donations.

An Amazon spokesperson said that the online retailer had no plans to post a donation link on its site. "Each case is different," she said. "The Red Cross has essentially given over its entire site to donations. The tsunami came out of the blue, so it was an 'all hands on deck' situation, but the Red Cross has been getting ready for this and getting its message out there for several days."
Does this explanation make sense to you? What does the Red Cross getting their message out before the hurricane have to do with helping to collect donations after the disaster, especially now that we know the scope of the devastation? From all we’ve read, Katrina is the worse disaster in the history of the country.

As far as we are concerned, Amazon has shown its true colors and they aren’t red, white and blue. If Americans in desperate need don’t rate a bit of Amazon’s tech resources, than Amazon doesn’t rate our future business. In the mean time we’ll keep trying the overloaded Red Cross site.

Update: Amazon.com has added a hurricane relief link for American Red Cross donations to their main page. We are very pleased Amazon has reversed their earlier position and has agreed to help out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Jersey SAT Scores Lower Than National Average

Highest cost per public school student in the nation, SAT scores lower than the national average.

Seniors who finished high school last spring scored 520 out of a possible 800 on the math section, 2 points higher than the class of 2004. Average scores on the verbal section were unchanged at 508, according to results released Tuesday by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT.

New Jersey's graduates followed the same trend, though their scores were a bit lower than the national average. Seniors in the Garden State scored an average of 503 on the verbal section and 517 on math — both up from last year. In New Jersey, 86 percent of students take the SAT — a rate that trails only New York.

Let the excuses begin.

An overview of the 2005 SAT results from the College Board may be read here and the organization’s detailed New Jersey State Profile Report may be read here.

The excuses for New Jersey’s slightly below national average results on the SATs are coming in and the favorites are - more NJ students take the test than in other states and only the top students take the SATs in other states. No mention that New Jersey spends 35 percent more per student than the national average.

However, we would like to point out college-bound students took the SATs in all states and not just the top college-bound students. We haven’t found any evidence to suggest that non-college-bound students in New Jersey are taking the SATs.

This past year more students across the nation took the test than in previous years and yet the national average increased slightly. Over the past decade, the number of SAT takers increased by 408,000 students, or +38 percent—more than twice the growth rate for graduating seniors in the United States. During that period math scores have increased 14 points and verbal scores have increased 4 points. Based upon the more test takers equals lower scores theory, shouldn’t the nation’s average SAT scores have declined?

No doubt New Jersey’s top students are among the best and brightest in the country and have SAT scores reflecting their academic achievement. However, if we just confine our analysis to New Jersey’s SAT takers – apples to apples – we see no increase in SAT scores, while we see New Jersey’s average cost per student has increased by 33 percent over the past ten years.

It really doesn’t matter if you compare New Jersey’s student achievement to the nation as a whole or just within New Jersey - education spending is soaring, but results in the Garden State are not.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Iraq Connection

We’ve blogged before about the Iraq - al Qaeda connection to 1993 World Trade Center, the "warm up" to 9-11 and the terrorist’s attacks of 2001. The recently aired National Geographic documentary Inside 9-11 also highlighted the connection between the two attacks and described the Iraq connection.

Now Stephen Hayes writing for the Weekly Standard asks: "And why would the 9/11 Commission fail to mention the overlap between the two successful plots to attack the World Trade Center? The answer is simple: The Iraqi link didn't fit the commission's narrative. "

AHMED HIKMAT SHAKIR IS A shadowy figure who provided logistical assistance to one, maybe two, of the 9/11 hijackers. Years before, he had received a phone call from the Jersey City, New Jersey, safehouse of the plotters who would soon, in February 1993, park a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The safehouse was the apartment of Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, who scorched his own leg while mixing the chemicals for the 1993 bomb.

When Shakir was arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks, his "pocket litter," in the parlance of the investigators, included contact information for Musab Yasin and another 1993 plotter, a Kuwaiti native named Ibrahim Suleiman.

These facts alone, linking the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, would seem to cry out for additional scrutiny, no?

The Yasin brothers and Shakir have more in common. They are all Iraqis. And two of them--Abdul Rahman Yasin and Shakir--went free, despite their participation in attacks on the World Trade Center, at least partly because of efforts made on their behalf by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Both men returned to Iraq--Yasin fled there in 1993 with the active assistance of the Iraqi government. For ten years in Iraq, Abdul Rahman Yasin was provided safe haven and financing by the regime, support that ended only with the coalition intervention in March 2003.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 15


Click the Graphic for More Information

If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower is hosting the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #15 today. Ryan identifies where each NJ blogger is "coming from" in this week's latest and greatest Carnival post.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Carnival In Paradise

If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #15 this Sunday.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Public Employees Lecture New Jersey Taxpayers

The last thing we need is to be lectured to by Carla Katz. Yes, that Carla Katz. The union leader is upset because “there has been an escalating attack on the pension and health benefits of public employees”.

Katz: “Public workers are public servants who have dedicated their lives to providing needed and critical public services to New Jersey.”

Leave it to Katz to characterize state and local government employees as people dedicating their lives to public service. The vast majority of people earning their paycheck from taxpayers are not “first responders” - police and firefighters. They are bureaucrats and other government workers who are no more special or important to society than private sector workers.

We believe police and firefighters deserve special consideration – they put their lives on the line for all of us – that is true public service. The other categories of public employees do not deserve salaries and benefits that far exceed those offered to employees in the private sector. There is no possible justification for the average government worker receiving compensation greater than the people footing the tab.

Katz: “Public workers have chosen public service — not personal gain — as their life's work”

Katz speaks of public workers as if they were Sisters of Charity. If public employees have chosen “public service” over “personal gain” why do they need unions to press for ever higher wages and benefits on their behalf? Public workers go to work for the same reason as people in the private sector - to earn a paycheck.

A recent Courier News article reported that New Jersey’s public employees not only have secure jobs, they receive salary and benefits that exceed those earned by private sector employees.

Salary: “In fact, a New Jersey government worker averaged $54,600 a year while a private sector worker averaged about $49,000 a year, according to figures compiled by the state Labor Department for the first quarter of 2004.”

Health Insurance: A recent study reported New Jersey public workers both active and retired have a health insurance plan that is among the best in the nation.

“For example, nearly half of the government workers provided with health insurance, or about 168,000, enrolled in a managed care plan known as NJ Plus in which they pay none of the premium, have no deductible and have a $5 co-payment for doctors' visits.

Time off: New Jersey public employees typically enjoy up to five weeks of vacation per year along with 13 sick days, 13 holidays and three personal days.

Pension: While the private sector has moved to 401k employee retirement plans, New Jersey’s public employees receive a “defined-benefit" paying 50% to 70% of annual salary, plus annual cost-of-living increases. As retiree benefit costs pushed the state deeper into debt, New Jersey’s lawmakers sweetened the public employee retirement plan with a 9 % boost in benefits in 2001.

Katz: “The benefits of New Jersey's public workers are hard won and hard earned.”

Public employees need to be reminded that taxpayer income is “hard earned” and that it is employees in the private sector that make public workers’ jobs and paychecks possible.

Katz: “The Whitman administration income tax cuts cost the state $1.5 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2005 alone. In total, they have cost the state more than $14 billion in lost revenue.”

The “state” didn’t lose anything. Whitman saved taxpayers $14 billion which they in turn used to purchase homes, start businesses and invest in their families’ future. That $14 billion was earned by workers and used to create wealth and taxpaying jobs.

Katz' sense of entitlement to other people’s income is emblematic of Democrats who believe “the state” has a greater claim on your income than you do. As homeowners struggle under the burden of high property taxes, the inequitable distribution of state funding to local schools (derived 100% from income taxes) and tax revenue squandered through mismanagement, a lack of fiscal discipline and corruption - Katz complains “the state” (tax receivers) have been short-changed by $14 billion.

Acting Governor Codey’s blunt assessment of New Jersey’s finances – “The good news is, we're not bankrupt. The bad news is, we're close.” – apparently has no meaning to public employees. When Codey identifies a major cause of the state’ financial crisis - public employee pensions and benefitsCarla Katz gives taxpayers a lecture and displays an utter lack of concern for taxpayers.

While we are sure there are many hard working public employees, people that serve the public with a customer service attitude, there are others that have nothing but contempt for taxpayers. Need another example? Here is one more lecture from a guy that works in a municipal office in New Jersey:
We have always debated in the office as to what would lead a person to waste time and energy to come to the tax window rather than mailing their payment in. Lack of trust in the post office comes to mind. Lack of trust in government is mentioned, too. I choose a different answer; stupidity combined with stubbornness and a need to complain.

They are non-sensical, lost, confused, silly, hostile, and abusive people. Clearly, they come to the window with one goal in mind; to being ranting and raving lunatics.

Mail in your checks, folks, and chill out. Taxes suck. However, coming to the window to whine to a grunt employee is simply foolish, worthless and mean-spirited.
The public employee who wrote the comments above is backing Jon Corzine for Governor of New Jersey and so is Carla Katz. Corzine is in the hip pocket of the public employee unions and if elected, offers no hope for controlling the ever increasing number of employees paid by taxpayers or the out of control salaries and benefits demanded by public employees.

This November, taxpayers will have a choice - Doug Forrester who will represent all citizens of New Jersey or Jon Corzine, the champion of tax receivers and Carla Katz.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What's The Matter With New Jersey II

One major reason New Jersey receives only 57 cents for every tax dollar we send to Washington - the federal income tax code. High cost-of-living/ high income states pay more in taxes because of the progressive nature of the federal income tax code, the Alternate Minimum Tax and estate tax laws. (The chart below shows New Jersey’s federal taxes paid and received in return from 1981 to 2003.)

The second reason - the majority of government programs are designed to redistribute wealth – New Jersey is "wealthy" and so the state is merely paying its "fair share" by the standards of "progressive Democrats".

High and progressive tax rates, the Alternative Minimum Tax and the federal estate tax (death tax) - all policies that thrill "progressives" when applied to individuals - are now advanced as proof of a Republican conspiracy to punish “blue states”. What a shock to discover a collection of "wealthy" people – New Jersey taxpayers – pays more taxes per capita than a collection of people in lower cost-of-living/lower income states.

New Jersey's taxpayers should take note of how well New Jersey made out during the "Bush tax cuts for the wealthy" years (lower per capita taxes-higher per capita return) as opposed to the Clinton years.

You have to scratch your head and wonder why Jon Corzine and other "progressive Democrats", supposedly representing New Jersey's taxpayers, oppose income tax cuts in general and the Bush tax cuts in particular.

Thankfully, voters in the "red states" have a better sense of fairness as it applies to the federal tax code and understand the benefits of allowing people to keep more of the money they earn – everyone in the country benefits.

New Jersey
Federal Taxes Paid vs, Federal Spending Received
1981 - 2003

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fort Monmouth Slated To Close - Jobs Will Move To Maryland

In an apparent Republican effort to penalize New Jersey, a so called “blue state”, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission has voted to close Fort Monmouth in central New Jersey. Under the guise of saving money and modernizing U.S. Armed forces, approximately 4,000 jobs will be moved from the New Jersey base to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, a so called “red state.”

Editor: Please excuse our error – Maryland is a “blue state”. Please see 2004 election results below:

Maryland: Kerry – 56%-Bush 43% New Jersey: Kerry 53%-Bush 46%

Have You Read?

Oh no, another government leak.

This guy has a very simple solution to the entire Cindy Sheehan affair.

Now who would say something like this? - “There are a few among us who have deliberately and consciously closed their eyes [to foreign threats] because they were determined to be opposed to their government, its foreign policy, and every other policy, to be partisan, and to believe that anything that the government did was wholly wrong.."

Here’s a politician that learned his pessimism at the knee of his old man.

From Powerline: "We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined -- to put the most charitable face on it -- to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war... The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq -- now, over 1,800 deaths -- is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one. I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's hometown. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern -- any concern -- about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rutgers Report: New Jersey's Economy Lags Nation

“Open the newspaper or turn on the television, and you'll see and hear the same thing: The economy is growing and jobs are becoming increasingly plentiful as the nation continues its rebound from the economic downturn of 2000-2002.”

The same is not true for New Jersey’s rate of job growth. Our state is no longer one of the leaders in employment growth; instead, it lags the nation, according to a report published by Rutgers University.

The state’s leading job growth sector in 2004 was government. Government accounted for 32.4 percent of new jobs in 2004. This compares to only 6.7 percent for the nation as a whole. In the 2002–05 period, 43 percent of the state’s total growth in employment came through an increase in government jobs.

New Jersey is ranked 31st in the nation in the rate of growth of total employment and 41st in the rate of growth of private-sector employment. New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania all outranked New Jersey in private sector employment growth.

New Jersey’s economy appears to be improving “only because of unsustainable rapid public employment expansion at a time of deep statewide fiscal crisis and deficit financing.” “It's clear that corporate America is expanding, but not in New Jersey," said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and a co-author of the report.

The Rutgers report concluded: “Certainly, the evidence strongly suggests that a renewed and innovative emphasis on state economic development strategy and polices is warranted. New Jersey’s recent intense focus on income redistribution issues and policies should be rebalanced toward policies that focus on income growth and economic expansion.”

Hughes also suggested that "property tax reform, an idea that is growing in popularity among homeowners and many in the state Legislature, could help grow the economy".

To say there has been an intense focus on income redistribution in New Jersey over the past four years is an understatement. To compound the problem, Jon Corzine is running on an agenda that lays out a blue print for economic disaster – more transferring of income from taxpayers to tax receivers, more state spending and no real property tax reform. It is not possible to tax and spend the state into prosperity.

The state can not afford Jon Corzine as Governor of New Jersey. Doug Forrester has proposed plans to control state spending and for meaningful property tax reform - a constitutionally guaranteed 30 % reduction in property taxes. Forrester has taken a new-new-taxes pledge, a pledge Jon Corzine refuses make.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The New Jersey Election Map

Patrick Ruffini offers a unique analysis of New Jersey’s 2004 election results and invites readers to correct his analysis or add anything he may have missed. He’s eager to make his thread “sort of the official Wiki on this subject.”

To the right is a map Ruffin produced showing Bush vote gain in New Jersey by municipality.

"What does it mean for the Governor's race? That's an open question, but if Forrester can win by simply turning out the people who voted for Bush (47 percent of a presidential vote is well over 50 percent of a gubernatorial vote). His best targets in terms of holding newer members of the Republican coalition should be the blue-collar communities in Monmouth County and seniors in South Jersey who don't feel any particular attachment their jet-setting U.S. Senator. "

Changing Minds

Michael Barone writes on the progress of the Global War on Terrorism:
George W. Bush has proclaimed that we are working to build democracy in Iraq not just for Iraqis but in order to advance freedom and defeat fanatical Islamist terrorism around the world.

We are not engaged in a popularity contest. We're trying to construct a safer world. We are in the long run better off if Muslims around the world turn away from terrorism and move toward democracy, even if we don't like some of the internal policies they choose and even if they don't have much affection for the United States. Two generations ago Americans, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of deaths, changed minds in Germany and Japan.
So how is the Bush strategy working so far:

The Pew Global Project Attitude's metrics give us reason to believe that today's Americans, at far lower cost, are once again changing minds in the Muslim world.
The Pew Global Attitudes Project's recent survey of opinion in six Muslim countries to tell us that progress is being made in achieving that goal. Minds are being changed and in the right direction.

Most important, support for terrorism in defense of Islam has "declined dramatically," in the Pew report's words, in Muslim countries, except in Jordan (which has a Palestinian majority) and Turkey, where support has remained a low 14 percent. It has fallen in Indonesia (from 27 to 15 percent since 2002), Pakistan (from 41 to 25 percent since 2004), Morocco (from 40 to 13 percent since 2004), and among Muslims in Lebanon (from 73 to 26 percent since 2002). Support for suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq has also declined. The percentage reporting some confidence in Osama bin Laden is now under 10 percent in Lebanon and Turkey and has fallen sharply in Indonesia.

Similarly, when asked whether democracy was a western way of doing things or could work well in their own country, between 77 and 83 percent in Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, and Indonesia say it could work in their country--in each case a significant increase from earlier surveys. In Turkey, with its sharp political divisions, and Pakistan, with its checkered history, the percentages hover around 50 percent.

"Progressive" New Jersey

The AP reports the “progressive” state of New Jersey remains disproportionately underrepresented by women in politics. Some statistics to illustrate the gender gap:

There are no women in New Jersey's 15-member Congressional delegation.

New Jersey ranks 41st of the 50 states in the number of women in the state Legislature.

Just 15.8 percent of New Jersey's state lawmakers are women: 19 women out of 120 Legislators. That's about the same percentage as in 1927.

New Jersey has had only one female governor - Christine Todd Whitman - in its 218-year history.

Fifty-seven percent of the people who vote are women.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 14


Click the Graphic for More Information

Sloppydawg is hosting the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #14 today. Danny will take you on an aerial tour of the Garden State and then bring you back to terra firma with the latest and greatest from NJ bloggers.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Bush Strategy for the GWOT

President Bush has been criticized for his strategy on the Global War on Terrorism from the beginning. The same people that opposed the President’s strategy for the GWOT in October 2001 oppose it now. The majority of the media have been negative from day one and now there is a growing chorus from Democrats to abandon military operations in Iraq.

Four days into Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the President was being asked if he had led the U.S. into a quagmire. Eight days into Operation Iraqi Freedom, the usual suspects said the military was bogged down and the Vietnam analogies began. Eighteen days later, the U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein.

The media and the President’s political opponents have treated us to all the reasons the United States should not have taken the fight to Iraq – Saddam Hussein didn’t attack us on 9-11, Iraq posed no threat, Iraq is a diversion from the main task of defeating al-Qaeda, it’s blood for oil, no WMD, the war is going poorly, the war is unjust, more lives are being lost than saved and on and on.

It has been non-stop criticism of the President and of our military since October 2001. Every obstacle or set-back is treated as proof the President’s strategy for the GWOT is flawed and should be scrapped. These critics demand perfection and immediate gratification, something that rarely occurs in war.

To listen to the left-wing noise machine, you’d almost think the President woke up one day and without provocation, without a strategy and without the backing of the U.S. Congress decided to invade a peace loving country for partisan political advantage or financial gain.

President Bush has developed and implemented a global and long range strategy to defeat an enemy that declared war on the United States in 1998. We believe the islamofacists are the ones waging an unjust war and they are the ones killing people for no good reason. We also believe the actions by the United States and other countries to oppose the terrorist movement are logical and in the best interests of this country, as well as, the rest of the freedom loving countries around the world.

An article by Peter Schweizer, Strategies or diversions?, explains the parallels between the strategy President Bush has adopted to win the GWOT and the one pursued by FDR in World War II. Perhaps the President’s critics should look back at history and learn to grasp the big picture.

Excepts from the Schweizer article below. As they say, read the whole piece.

It is striking to note how Franklin D. Roosevelt faced very similar critics and how President Bush has adopted a grand strategy very much in the Roosevelt tradition.

With a logic that Bush would find familiar, FDR was lambasted by his critics for his WWII military strategy of defeating Germany first before focusing on Japan. They considered Germany a diversion. Wasn't it Japan and not Germany that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

Conspiracy theories abounded then as they do today. Jon Meacham, in his book Franklin and Winston, writes about how FDR's critics believed that his Germany-first strategy was a result of excessive British influence. It wasn't a conspiracy involving Israel-loving neocons back then, but Anglophiles, who were manipulating the White House to serve British ends.

In a fascinating parallel to Bush and Iraq, part of FDR's motivation for defeating Germany first was fear that the Nazis were working on atomic weapons. Alas, postwar intelligence revealed that Germany (like Saddam Hussein's Iraq) did not have much of a program. But military victory led most to ignore this massive intelligence failure.

FDR was not concerned with just the narrow military question of threats. Like Islamist extremists and secular Saddam, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were opportunistic allies. Though the Nazis considered the Japanese racially inferior, no better than mongrels, they were part of a worldwide movement. Using the same logic that Bush does today, FDR understood the need for a grand strategy that destroyed the movement, not just certain military aggressors that were part of it.

Grand strategy is not only about defeating enemies, but also defeating them in a sequence and a manner that leads to a favorable postwar situation. Can anyone seriously doubt that defeating al-Qaeda but leaving the political situation in the Middle East the same is at best a temporary victory? Bush, as FDR did, understands that only with political transformation will the postwar prospects for peace improve.

The threat we face today is more amorphous and less easy to define than it was during World War II. But the strategic principles remain the same. Bush's critics, like Roosevelt's, are flawed in their thinking because they lack a grand strategy. Concerned only (or so they say) with the military defeat of al-Qaeda, they have nothing to say about defeating a worldwide movement or how to build a foundation for a successful postwar world.

Bush is in many ways FDR's strategic soul mate. His war on terror is a total global war against a movement comprised of terrorist groups and their state sponsors. By ousting both Saddam and the Taliban, he has removed two important components of the worldwide terrorist movement. And his grand strategy is slowly achieving results.

The forces of reform in the Middle East have been strengthened; the terrorist movement has been psychologically shaken. By destroying Saddam's military machine overnight, he has completely changed the psychology of the war on terrorism. Bush's strategy is one that FDR would understand well.

The Dawg Wants Your Links

Tillie is teaming up with Danny Klein over at SloppyDawg this Sunday to bring you this week's Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

Who Would Want To Steal UMDNJ Files?

Files that were to be surrendered to federal investigators examining the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's political contributions were stolen during a break-in at the school, July 30 or 31.

"It looks like it may very well have been an inside job," Petillo told the newspaper, noting that it appears the thief used a university swipe card to enter the Newark building housing the university affairs and government affairs departments. Some locked doors were pried open, he said.

File cabinets were opened with a key or forced open, and records on political contributions were also taken from an employee's briefcase, school officials said. Afterward, FBI agents made pre-dawn visits to the homes of UMDNJ officials to ask about the break-in, school officials told the newspaper.

Investigators also are interested in millions of dollars in no-bid contracts the school awarded to politically connected firms. A similar probe has been started by the State Commission of Investigation, which is a bipartisan arm of the state Legislature.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sloppy Dawg To Host Carnival #14

SloppyDawg will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #14 this Sunday.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

The American People Have Spoken

Well, poll watchers, it’s offical. The American people have spoken - Cindy Sheehan: 35% Favorable - 38% Unfavorable.

Just what we needed, a Rasmussen poll on Cindy Sheehan. Doesn’t it make you wonder who paid for such a thing?

No, wait - we know. It must have been Karl Rove. How else was President Bush to decide if he should meet with Sheehan again?

Rove and Bush are now off to study the polls conducted on the GWOT to decide what to do next. Oh wait, wrong President.

So, who did pay for the Sheehan poll?

Ethics Complaint To Be Filed Against Corzine

Two public interest lawyers are preparing to file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee accusing Senator Jon Corzine with falsifying a federal disclosure document. Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer believe Corzine committed a federal felony by failing to disclose a $470,000 loan he made to a state employee union boss, Carla Katz.

Afran and Mayer, frequent thorns in the sides of candidates from both parties, maintain that Corzine was obligated under Senate ethics rules to disclose the loan and subsequent gift and that his intentional omission constitutes a federal crime.

"There is no girlfriend loophole," Afran said. "One of the highest-ranking union officers in the state is given a half-million-dollar gift by a sitting U.S. Sen... That is precisely the type of transaction the Senate wants to know about."

Both Afran and Mayer ran unsuccessfully for statewide office under the Green Party banner in 2000; Afran sought a U.S. Senate seat and Mayer ran for Congress.

For The Children

John Spencer, the head of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation, who watched $8.6 billion waste away during his tenure, has resigned. Unfortunately for our neighbors, he is taking a job in New York City.

He wrote, "I will leave the S.C.C. proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure," adding, "There is no doubt that the job has had its challenges, but the rewards of building state-of-the-art schools for the children of New Jersey have far outweighed them."
Yep, it was for the children.

Bob over at eCache has more

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sheehan Has Had Her Say

"You get that evil maniac out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

Cindy’s Sheehan’s questions: "I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son?" Sheehan told reporters. "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."

Cindy Sheehan knows the answers to her questions as she wrote: All of Casey’s commendations say that he was killed in the “GWOT” the Global War on Terrorism.

In our post, Not In My Name, we answered a reader's comment with this:

It's been nonstop Cindy Sheehan in the media. Name one person that represents the opposite point of view? You can’t and that’s our point. Cindy Sheehan speaks for disaffected, far left groups in the United States and not for the vast majority of Americans or military families. We are not listening to “all” the voices, we are being forced to listen to one kook as if she had some sort of special right to be heard.
A reader responded:

Kook? That's just disrespectful. You can disagree with her without resorting to name-calling.
Cindy Sheehan seems completely incapable of disagreeing without name-calling or being respectful of anyone that doesn’t agree with her. However, our referring to Sheehan as a kook was not name-calling; it was descriptive of her rhetoric and behavior. The word kook is defined as someone regarded as eccentric or crazy and standing out from a group. Sheehan fits that definition to a “T”.

Just a sampling of what we are referring to below, starting with a quote from Common Dreams, Breaking News and Views for the Progressive Community.

Cindy Sheehan on the Clinton Administration:

During the Clinton regime the US-UN led sanctions against Iraq and the weekly bombing raids killed tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq. Many of them were children, but since one of her children didn’t have to be sacrificed to the homicidal war machine, Madeline Albright, thinks the slaughter during the “halcyon” Clinton years was “worth it.” More lies.
We could stop with that outrageous statement, but some may need additional examples, so here you go:

Cindy Sheehan on President Bush:

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

Sheehan has called President Bush "that filth-spewer and warmonger."

Cindy Sheehan on the United States:

Veterans for Peace Convention: When I was growing up, it was Communists'. Now it's Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.

Sheehan said at a peace rally in April: "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started" and "the killing has gone on unabated for over 200 years".

Sheehan said “this country is not worth dying for “and called the U.S. government a "morally repugnant system."

"Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, and we would already be a fascist state," Sheehan said. "Our government is run by one party, every level, and the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government."

Cindy Sheehan on Afghanistan:

MATTHEWS: But Afghanistan was harboring, the Taliban was harboring al-Qaida which is the group that attacked us on 9/11.

SHEEHAN: Well then we should have gone after al-Qaida and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan.

MATTHEWS: But that's where they were being harbored. That's where they were headquartered. Shouldn't we go after their headquarters? Doesn't that make sense?

SHEEHAN: Well, but there were a lot of innocent people killed in that invasion, too. ... But I'm seeing that we're sending our ground troops in to invade countries where the entire country wasn't the problem. Especially Iraq. Iraq was no problem. And why do we send in invading armies to march into Afghanistan when we're looking for a select group of people in that country?

So I believe that our troops should be brought home out of both places where we're obviously not having any success in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and that's who they told us was responsible for 9/11.
Cindy Sheehan on Iraq:

And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for. And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bullshit.

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East..

You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine.
Cindy Sheehan on Weapons of Mass Destruction:
Cindy Sheehan speaking at a Francisco State University rally in April for a lawyer convicted of aiding Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the terrorist connected with the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.:

What they’re saying, too, is like, it’s okay for Israel to have nuclear weapons. But Iran or Syria better not get nuclear weapons. It’s okay for the United States to have nuclear weapons. It’s okay for the countries that we say it’s okay for. We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now. It’s okay for them to have them, but Iran or Syria can’t have them. It’s okay for Israel to occupy Palestine, but it’s – yeah – and it’s okay for Iraq to occupy – I mean, for the United States to occupy Iraq, but it’s not okay for Syria to be in Lebanon. They’re a bunch of fucking hypocrites!
Cindy Sheehan also said:

I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy, if you didn't use so much profanity there's people on the fence' that get offended"

And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god-damn-it? How, in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence'?"

"If you fall on the side that is pro-George, and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out."

But whatever side you fall on, quit being on the fence. The opposite of good is not evil, it's apathy. And we have to get this country off their butts, and we have to get the choir singing.
On that we can agree. We’re off the fence and singing – you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about Cindy Sheehan. To quote Howard Dean: "You sit down! You had your say, and now I'm going to have my say."

Corzine: Everywhere But New Jersey

Why is Jon Corzine running for Governor of New Jersey?

Corzine has never held a job in New Jersey.

Corzine does not own a home or any other real estate in New Jersey.

Corzine does not own a business in New Jersey, with all three Corzine firms located outside the Garden State.

Jon Corzine has shown little interest in working, creating jobs or investing in New Jersey, the state he “represents” in the U.S. Senate and now seeks to lead as Governor.

Jon Corzine has chosen to invest, prosper and grow everywhere but New Jersey. Corzine’s only investments in our state have been in political campaigns to further his personal agenda.

Not In My Name

Ronald R. Griffin from his opinion Journal article She Does Not Speak for Me - My son died in Iraq--and it was not in vain:

I lost a son in Iraq and Cindy Sheehan does not speak for me.

The fallen heroes, until now, have enjoyed virtually no individuality. They have been treated as a monolith, a mere number. Now Mrs. Sheehan, with adept public relations tactics, has succeeded in elevating herself above the rest of us. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida declared that Mrs. Sheehan is now the symbol for all parents who have lost children in Iraq. Sorry, senator. Not for me.
Mary from No Exit wants to make it quite clear:

Other than that, all I can say is that I've always been repulsed by those who presume to speak for the dead.

If I ever happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can protest for peace with fascists and appeasement and hearts and flowers, but DO NOT DO IT IN MY NAME!
The Lawhawk points us to another case of “not in my name

The Uniformed Firefighters has decided to withdraw support for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, citing two controversial museums proposed there.

Who Knew?

Ever notice the similarity? To get the full story click on over to this intern’s blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Not That I Think You’re A Liar, But...

Today Show’s Matt Lauer surpised his audience this morning by conducting a live, in person interview with a group of soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad.

At one point in the interview Laurer asked about the state of morale of the troops. After two responses to the effect that morale was good, Laurer decided to demonstate the media’s unbiased reporting style: (emphasis ours)

LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.

Powell went on to add that, while acknowledging the difficulties the media face in getting out into the field in Iraq,

"For those of us who have actually had a chance to get out and meet the Iraqi Army and Iraqi police and go on patrols with them, we are very satisfied with the way things are going here and we are confident that if we are allowed to finish the job we started we'll be very proud of it and our country will be proud of us for doing it!"

(Video available: Windows Media and Real Media) Via: News Busters

Oh yea, That Was Then, This Is Now.

More Overload

Lawhawk, author of a blog for all, reminds us of another McGreevey administration colossal waste.

…the boondoggle known as the Secaucus Junction, or Secaucus Transfer, a $450 million project that went over its budget by 100%. Well, alongside that project is a New Jersey Turnpike interchange project that weaves around the Transfer to create a new interchange - Exit 15X, [an exit to nowhere].
Bob over at eCache provides another example of taxpayer money being wasted by the Democrats in Trenton, this time by the New Jersey’s Schools Construction Corporation:

SCC was entrusted with $ 8.6 billion of the taxpayers' money and it did not have a CFO to oversee it. This is exactly the kind of inefficiency which cannot be tolerated any longer. SCC squandered that money with mismanagement and some are going to want to dip into your pocket again and grant SCC oversight of that money. Enough is enough. The SCC model is obviously not built for efficiency.

Outrage Overload

We are currently suffering from outrage overload and words fail us. Maybe we could sue all those responsible for our mental anguish. Perhaps we should all join together in a class action suit and stop the insanity.

Crime Pays

That Didn't Take Long

Funding New Jersey Education

I'm From the Government. I'm Here To Give You The Mother of All Hosings

Note to NJ Dems: Taxes are the Issue

"What would Clinton do?”

Oil-For-Food, the human comedy

The verboten subject

Cindy Sheehan

E Pluribus Unum?

oh well uh you might think I'm crazy to hang around with you or maybe you think I'm lucky to have somethin' to do

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

That Was Then, This Is Now

Question: How much coverage would the press have given a World War II-era Cindy Sheehan who camped outside Hyde Park or Warm Springs demanding to meet with President Roosevelt?

Answer: None

Question: Why is the Washington Post withdrawing its offer of free advertising for an organized event by the Defense Department to memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks?

Answer: The Post backed out of the agreement after critics said the event, scheduled to take place four years after the attacks that hit New York and Washington and resulted in the crash of a commercial airliner over western Pennsylvania, would have a pro-war slant and that support of the event by the newspaper would compromise the Post's journalistic integrity.

Question: What is the difference between then and now?


A Right Thinking Girl

Some think we’re tough on liberals, here’s a Right Thinking Girl that doesn’t mince words:

The Greater Good

The phrase 'the greater good' has been popping up more frequently than in my recent memory, punctuated by Hillary Clinton's announcement in San Francisco last year that she was going to "take away from you for the greater good". Every time I hear it, first I cringe and then I ask: Who or what exactly is the greater good? It seems to me that when Socialists start discussing the "greater good", they are inevitably talking about a minority of people who expect special attention at the cost of the majority.

Anytime we start discussing sharing, which is required should the 'greater good' be serviced, wise conservatives should immediately ask: cui bono? Who benefits? Inevitably the answer is the person (or country or organization) with the most to lose is the one expected to share for the unearned benefit of the other.
Wrong On The Issues
Merely saying that you have "moral values" does not give you moral values and the Left's transparent attempt to seize on that term is just the latest in the trend to attempt to fool Americans into buying what they're selling using the rhetoric of the Right. This tactic is not new. The Left is afraid of their own agenda. Even the word "liberal" has become anathema to everything most Americans hold dear. A politician calling another politician "liberal" is considered an attack. Liberals themselves like to call themselves "moderates", "independents", "progressives" to create a little distance from the reality of the label. They believe calling something a new name changes it's fundamental properties, much like calling a prostitute a "sex worker" is supposed to imbue the term with some respectability. But that's not the worst of it.

The Left has been wrong on every single modern issue up for debate today. Their use of a cat and mouse vocabulary cannot hide the facts of their wrongness. Since they can not show us who they really are because we continue to reject them at the polls, they are forced to lie to us, then we dislike them because they're liars. They seem to think the problem is that they aren't lying to us effectively enough.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Educated At Yale and Harvard

Want a good laugh? Read this over at the Huffington Post and be sure to read the comments, they are priceless.

Jon Corzine’s Campaign Against Working Families

From today’s Political Diary, (subscription required) as a follow-up on our post from last week, Corzine Joins Union Stunt Staged At New Jersey School:

Last week Sen. Jon Corzine joined with officials from the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association to blast the nation's largest retailer. The political attack on Wal-Mart came at the Samuel M. Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, N.J., and put Mr. Corzine, the state's Democratic candidate for governor, front and center of a national effort to paint the retail giant as an exploiter of children and the enemy of all things Democrats generally favor.

What's so bad about Wal-Mart? A press release issued for the Corzine event claimed that Wal-Mart breaks child-labor laws inside the U.S. and benefits from sweatshop labor overseas -- though no details were offered. Also tabbed was a partisan Democratic report claiming that Wal-Mart costs taxpayers $2.7 billion a year by not providing better health benefits for all of its employees -- the point being, we guess, that jobseekers are turning down jobs with richer benefits because they are somehow mysteriously forced to work at the big chain.

Campaigning against America's favorite retailer has become a well-funded sideline for Democratic political operatives who hope an anti-Wal-Mart groundswell can be merged into a grassroots effort to elect Democrats.
How Jon Corzine can pretend to represent the “little guy” and at the same time work to price entry level and low-skilled workers out of jobs, remains a mystery to us. Higher prices on goods for “working families, that’s sure to make New Jersey “more affordable.”

When the teacher’s unions gang up with Democrat politicians, the little guy is the last thing on their mind. It’s all about power and money – power for the politicians and money for the unions. Wal Mart shoppers and workers – merely a means to an end.

To borrow advice recently provided from the Orlando Sentinel's Peter Brown to Democrat Howard Dean: While on his “working families” tour Jon Corzine might want to visit a Wal-Mart... Here's a hint, Jon, people in working families believe that Wal-Mart is good for them. Otherwise, they'd work and shop elsewhere.

Newark - New Jersey’s Baghdad

From today’s Newsday on Newark, the seventh most liberal city in the United States:

Hoping to reduce violence and replicate the success of earlier gun buyback programs, the state's largest city on Monday embarked on two months of purchasing weapons from residents.

"This is an opportunity for Newark residents to turn in their guns and receive cash, no questions asked," Mayor Sharpe James said.

The city will pay $50 for rifles and shotguns, $75 for semiautomatic pistols and revolvers, and $150 for automatic handguns and assault rifles. People may turn in up to three weapons at a time.

The program is aimed at reducing accidental injury, suicide, domestic violence and celebratory gunfire, police said.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Where Have All The Heroes Gone

Why Casey Sheehan Died. Like many, we have been reluctant to write a post on the Sheehan story. Mike Hill refers to it as the Cindy Sheehan Problem. The fact that it has become the Cindy Sheehan story is instructive. The Sheehan news, as portrayed in the media, isn’t about an American soldier giving his life for his country, a bronze star winner and a hero, it’s about politics.

Don Surber wrote a post entitled Zero Heroes in response to the New York Times' piece Where Are The War Heroes?. The Times attributes the lack of well known military heroes from the war on terror to a complex set of reasons; but in the end blames President Bush and the Pentagon for the media’s “zero heroes” reporting.

The Times article, published on August 7, has a similar theme as our two postings on May 28; however, we reached a different conclusion as to why there are “zero heroes”. In our post, The Heroes of the War on Terrorism, we wrote:

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 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.
Of course the Times article makes sure the names of Lynch and Tillman are tarnished as well:

After the heroic tales of Pfc. Jessica Lynch and Sgt. Pat Tillman were largely debunked - with Private Lynch shown to have never fired a shot during her capture and rescue in Iraq, and Sergeant Tillman killed accidentally by fellow Americans, not the enemy, in Afghanistan - the Pentagon may have grown cautious.
Early reports indicated Sgt. Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but has his sacrifice for his country been debunked? This is how we remember Tillman’s death initially being reported in the media – from MSNBC:

Pat Tillman, who gave up the glamorous life of a professional football star to join the Army Rangers, was remembered as a role model of courage and patriotism Friday after military officials said he had been killed in action in Afghanistan.

“Pat Tillman was an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. His family is in the thoughts and prayers of President and Mrs. Bush,” Taylor Gross, a spokesman for the White House, said in a statement.
The Times mentions the Medal of Honor was awarded in a White House ceremony in April and the President’s praising of a Mexican immigrant soldier in a radio address and at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in June. Then adds, “but these citations did not occur in prime time, nor have they been repeated.”

Curiously, the media didn’t require a prime time presentation by the President or the Pentagon to tell negative military personnel stories. Again, from our May 28 post:

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 … and 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…
Plenty of ink and air time for negative stories, but what about the story of the soldier awarded the Medal of Honor? We wrote:

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 [Magazine] 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 the 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.
The New York Times article mentions Sgt Paul R. Smith received the Medial of Honor and even publishes one of the same photos we used in our post - Paul R. Smith – Medal Of Honor Recipient, but doesn’t bother to relate, as the Times would call it, his “heroic tale” or link to the U.S. Army's website devoted to the hero.

No, the media have settled on their hero for the war on terrorism – it’s Cindy Sheehan, a grieving mother who received The Call, not Casey Sheehan, the man that gave his life for his country.

(We highly recommend you read “The Call” on Verifrank, it puts the Cindy Sheehan story into perspective.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tillie Unaffected By Triskaidekaphobia

Tillie appears at Riehl World View for this Sunday's Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #13. Mr. Snitch! is working behind the scenes to pull off this week's carnie. so put your triskaidekaphobia aside and prepare yourself for a unique New Jersey blogger episode.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

Teach Your Children Well

We weren’t the only ones to notice this bit of news from Tuesday and to find it the most troubling. It all depends what you mean by making New Jersey more affordable.

Generation Why? points out the left has been taking Howard Dean's advice on pushing the Democrat's version of facts and notes the strategy may need some work. As we highlighted in an earlier post Dean said:
"What the propagandists on the right have done is make people afraid to say they are Democrats. We have to be out there. We have to be vocal. We have to be pushing our version of the facts because their version of the facts is very unfactual."
Sloppy Dawg picks up on Dean’s grammar and use of the “word” unfactual and counters with examples of President Bush being less than articulate and asks - Who's more unsmart?

Do we answer with Dean’s version of the facts or actual results? Bush is in his second term as President of the United States and Dean continues raising the level of political discourse as he tours the country. From a Dean speech yesterday in New Hampshire:
"New England Republicans are different than most. They are more reasonable and thoughtful," Dean said. "You don't get as many right-wing wackos."
We also notice a certain intern in the office of a New Jersey senator doesn’t understand why anyone would be ashamed of writing vulgar, racist and sexist emails to the favorite person of right-of-center bloggers. We wonder where our favorite intern got the idea it was okay?

The Star-Ledger Follows The Money

More on the Corzine loan, the Katz Alexandria Township home and DEP exemption from today's Star-Ledger article - Corzine's ex-girlfriend to fix up farmhouse he helped her buy (emphasis ours):

Sen. Jon Corzine said last week he converted a $470,000 mortgage loan into a gift for a prominent union leader he dated because he didn't think she had the means to repay the debt.

Now Corzine's gift stands to yield big dividends for his former girlfriend, Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034.

The house on 10 acres in Hunterdon County that Katz purchased with Corzine's help won a state exemption in April from building restrictions in the Highlands preservation zone. That cleared the way for a major renovation of the 19th-century farmhouse, including an addition, pool and deck, which could triple the property's value.

Corzine said this week he knew about the renovation plans, but said he knew nothing about the Highlands exemption, one of about 150 that the state Department of Environmental Protection has granted in the year since the controversial zone was created by the Legislature.

"I know she was talking about serious renovations. I don't know the details. Haven't looked at plans," Corzine said. "I never looked at the economics of the underlying property. No idea other than there were permitting issues that she mentioned in conversation. I never involved myself. I don't know anything about Highlands elements."

The DEP has received some 300 applications for Highlands exemptions, according to records available at the department's Web site. About half have been approved, 20 percent were rejected and 30 percent are pending. In Alexandria and neighboring townships, five exemptions were approved in the past year, four were not and two are pending.

In February, Katz applied for the Highlands exemption, listing plans for an addition to increase the size of the house from three bedrooms to five; a pool; a deck; a driveway and a new septic system.

Similar properties in Alexandria Township are selling for $1 million or more, according to a real estate agent in the area.

The issue we continue to raise is why Jon Corzine failed to report the loan to Carla Katz on senate financial disclosure forms as he had with two other personal loans during the same time period? Why did Corzine treat his loan to Katz differently?

Now maybe some are satisfied with Corzine’s explanation: "I knew them as human beings, not as romantic, serious relationships." That excuse does not wash with us. We will continue to point out senate ethics rules require the reporting of all transactions, except in cases where property is used solely as the senator’s personal residence, or the transaction is between the senator and spouse or dependent child.

Corzine has refused to answer whether he has other financial arrangements with Katz. Why? The Senator’s refusal to answer this simple question, should logically raise a red flag.

Revelations of Corzine’s questionable financial dealings, in just the past week, go beyond the Katz loan and have detailed in numerous news reports, including this article today from National Review.

We suggest people follow the money.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Riehl World View Hosts Carnival This Sunday

Riehl World View will host the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers #13 this Sunday.

All New Jersey bloggers and blog readers are invited to participate. Please send links to njcarnival@gmail.com for posts you would like featured in this week's Carnival.

Carla Katz Has Big Plans

Carla Katz, president of the largest state employee’s union, won a construction exemption from the Department of Environmental Protection, where the union she leads has a strong presence.

The Katz exemption allows the union president to build an addition and make other improvements in a region of Hunterdon County where the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act severely limits development.

Katz is president of Local 1034 of the Communications Workers of America, which represents 9,000 state workers — including 2,379 in the DEP's 3,450-member work force.
The cash strapped Carla Katz has some big plans for the house:

Alexandria Township Building Department records show Katz wants to add a three-to-five-room addition, lay a new driveway, build a deck, dig a swimming pool and install a new septic system.
Is Carla Katz still receiving support from Senator Corzine? Corzine campaign spokesman Tom Shea refused to answer that question, saying: "He's just chosen not to discuss a private relationship."

More on the Corzine-Katz Financial Deals:
The Corzine - Katz Deal: The Best Of Both Worlds
Why Did Corzine Forgive The Loan To Carla Katz?
Corzine, Carla Katz And An Odd House Transaction Near D.C.

Corzine: I Will Not Make A No-New-Taxes Pledge

Jon Corzine, the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey, told the Asbury Park Press editorial board on Tuesday, he would not make a pledge to refrain from raising state taxes if he were elected governor.

"I will not make a no-new-taxes pledge," Corzine said.
The Asbury Park Press has presented New Jersey voters with the defining issue of this year’s Governor’s race:

The next governor of New Jersey must lead the way when it comes to addressing the high cost of living — which starts with the high cost of government.

In the case of government, the price consumers pay comes in the form of taxes. Those taxes continue to rise, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford living in New Jersey. Tax relief must be at the top of a new governor's agenda. And it won't come without a clear resolve to reduce taxes and spending.

Corzine's Republican opponent, Doug Forrester, pledged early in his primary campaign that he would "oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes." Given the well-documented manner in which tax dollars have been squandered by state, county and local government, and by school districts, voters should make their support for any gubernatorial candidate contingent on an ironclad pledge to oppose any tax increases, or new taxes, fees and surcharges.
New Jersey’s race for Governor of New Jersey offers voters a clear choice. Forrester has pledged to reduce taxes. Corzine, with his long list of new state spending programs, refuses to take a no-new-taxes pledge. Is their any doubt which candidate is more likely to reduce taxes and control government spending?

Examples of Corzine’s New State Spending Programs:

Corzine's Affordable Opportunities Initiative
Corzine’s Edison Innovation Fund
Corzine Care Vs. Reality
New Jersey’s Schools Construction Corp – Invest, Grow, Prosper
Corzine’s Agenda A Prescription For Disaster
Corzine Care: The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Corzine Joins Union Stunt Staged At New Jersey School

Senator Jon Corzine was joined yesterday by New Jersey Assemblymen Jack Conners and Herb Conaway in a political stunt out side a middle school in Edgewater Park. In a union organizing effort, the three Democrats helped launch the "Send Wal-Mart Back to School" campaign.

Send Wal-Mart Back to School is being staged across the country by an organization called Wake Up Wal-Mart and two teachers groups — the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Wake Up Wal-Mart is backed by the UFCW and is the brainchild of Paul Blank, “a refugee from Howard Dean's political campaign.”

As teachers enter their second month of vacation, they have plenty of time and money to give to the political campaigns of their Democrat backers and organizing other workers to add to the coffers of their causes.

In an effort to raise prices and cut jobs at Wal Mart, the campaign hopes to convince people to boycott the largest private employer in the United States. Assemblyman Conaway urged parents to boycott Wal-Mart when purchasing back-to-school supplies.

The Associated Press account did not offer an explanation for the teachers’ unions’ participation in the anit-Wal Mart campaign. However, Paul Blank said the Wake Up Wal-Mart coordinated events were meant to highlight Wal-Mart's "relentless pursuit of profit and total abandonment of moral values." This is in contrast to politicians, union bosses and teachers unions that do everything for “the children”.

See Ken Adams’ post for additional information

The Corzine - Katz Deal: The Best Of Both Worlds

Last week The New York Times uncovered an unusual financial transaction between New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine and Carla Katz, a New Jersey state employee union president.

On December 18, 2002, Corzine provided a $470,000 loan to Katz through JSC Investments, a company owned solely by the Senator. In December 2004, one week before Corzine formally announced his run for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, he forgave the loan and paid gift taxes for a total of $615,600.

So what’s the big deal? Corzine is a rich and generous man who wanted to help a friend in financial trouble. When originally confronted, Corzine said the transaction was completely above board and disclosed as required by senate ethics rules. It was later reported Corzine had failed to report the transaction with Katz on his federal financial disclosures.

Corzine’s story then changed. He now claims, on the advice of legal counsel, he did not believe he was obligated to report the loan because his relationship and loan to Carla Katz was personal. However, it was reported later, Corzine had properly disclosed at least two other personal loans made to acquaintances during the same time period as the loan made to Katz.

When asked to explain the difference in the two loans he reported on his Senate disclosures and the loan to Katz that he didn’t, Corzine said: “"I knew them as human beings, not as romantic, serious relationships." Senate ethics rules and federal disclosure forms instruct senators to "not report a transaction involving property used solely as your personal residence, or a transaction between you, your spouse, or dependent child." Federal disclosure laws and Senate ethics rules do not provide an exclusion for transactions involving non-relatives or other “human beings” a senator may be involved with romantically or otherwise.

Clearly, Corzine understood federal disclosure requirements and senate ethics rules, choosing instead to ignore them when it came to the Katz transaction. Why would Corzine want to hide the transaction with Carla Katz and why did she need the money?

According to reports, Katz used the money from Corzine to buy out her ex-husband’s, share of their Alexandria Twp home, situated on 10-acres in Hunterdon County. Katz’s ex-husband, Lawrence McKim, is a high school art teacher and shares custody of the couple’s two children. Who knew that a union leader and a high school teacher with two school aged children could afford such expensive real estate? “Working families” in New Jersey must be better off than we’ve been led to believe, but that a subject for a future post.

It was further revealed Katz does not live in the house located in Alexandria, but in the luxury apartment building known as the Hudson Tea - the same building as Jon Corzine. Corzine said he gave Katz the $615,000 gift after two “broke-up” because: "I didn't want to leave her with a difficult financial burden." Very generous, but does it make sense for Corzine to loan Katz the money when the two were dating, but give her the money when the relationship ended?

Does anyone else find it strange that a woman suffering financially can afford property taxes, outstanding mortgage payments and all the other expenses that go along with owning a home, plus rent and expenses for a luxury apartment? Rent for an apartment at the Hudson Tea ranges from $1,780 to $4,950 per month. Property taxes for a home on 10 acres in Hunterdon County, has to be a minimum of $8,000 per year. That’s at least $30,000 out of pocket just on those two bills.

If you were hurting financially, would you add to your financial woes by renting a luxury apartment in Hoboken, especially if your office was located in West Trenton? Wouldn’t you either give up the apartment or sell the house? Heck, even if your finances were in good shape, would you need or keep both places? Why would someone place themselves in a financial bind and burden themselves with a 121 mile round trip commute? Something is wrong with this picture.

Is Carla Katz still receiving support from Senator Corzine? Corzine campaign spokesman Tom Shea refused to answer that question, saying: "He's just chosen not to discuss a private relationship." A simple, truthful, no would have been the expected answer if there were no additional financial ties between the union president and the Senator. Refusing to answer the question speaks volumes.

Previous Posts:
Carla Katz Has Big Plans
Why Did Corzine Forgive The Loan To Carla Katz?
Corzine, Carla Katz And An Odd House Transaction Near D.C.

Blog Buzz:
DynamoBuzz: The Bergen Record Names Corzine "Senator Bling"
eCache - NY Times Takes On Corzine
Michelle Malkin – N.J. & Sleaze: Perfect Together
Mister Snitch! - This Senator blings in the headlines
NJ Conservative - Corzine-Katz and Taxes
Powerline - A Special Relationship, Take 2
TigerHawk - CorzineGate

 Contact Us

  • Email Us
  • Blog Roll Us!



  • Atom Feed
  • Bloglines
  • Feedburner
  • Feedster
  • Add to Google
  • Add to My MSN
  • Add to My Yahoo
  • News Is Free

    Recent Posts

  • The Forgotten Man
  • ObamaCare
  • Jon Corzine's Buddy
  • Thank You President Bush
  • What a Drag!
  • McCain - Palin 2008
  • New Jersey Health-care Choice Act
  • “Progressive” Democrats Target Small-Town America
  • Proposed State Aid To Municipalities
  • New Jersey State Budget Comparison 2008 vs 2009


  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • April 2008
  • November 2008
  • January 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • February 2012
  • Current Posts

  • Online Journals

  • National Review

  • Opinion Journal

  • Real Clear Politics

  • Weekly Standard

  • Blog Roll

  • A Blog For All
  • Althouse
  • Ankle Biting Pundits
  • Barista of Bloomfield Avenue
  • Betsy's Page
  • Blue Crab Boulevard
  • Blogs For Condi
  • Bob the Corgi
  • Brainster's Blog
  • BuzzMachine
  • Captain's Quarter's
  • Cinnaman
  • Coalition of the Swilling
  • CWA-NJ
  • Dino's Forum
  • Daily Mail
  • Don Surber
  • DynamoBuzz
  • eCache
  • Exit 4
  • Fausta's Blog
  • GOP Bloggers
  • Instapundit
  • Joe's Journal
  • Kate Spot
  • Kausfiles.com
  • Little Green Footballs
  • Michelle Malkin
  • More Mnmouth Musings
  • Parkway Rest Stop
  • Patrick Ruffini
  • Polipundit
  • Power Line
  • Right Wing News
  • Roger L. Simon
  • The Blue State Conservatives
  • Riehl World View
  • Red Jersey
  • Right, Wing-Nut!
  • Sid in the City
  • Tiger Hawk
  • The Truth Laid Bear
  • Tim Blair
  • Wizbang

  • Sid in the City

    Majority Accountability Project


    New Jersey Blogs


  • 11th and Washington

  • A Blog For All
  • A Planet Where Apes Evolved From Man?!?
  • Armies of Liberation
  • Atlantic Highland Muse
  • Attack of the 15.24 Mete

  • Barista of Bloomfield Avenue
  • BeLow Me
  • Big Windbag
  • Blanton's and Ashton's
  • Blue State Conservatives
  • Burning Feathers
  • BuzzMachine

  • Clifton Blogs
  • Coalition of the Swilling
  • Cobweb Studios
  • CoffeeGrounds
  • Constitutional Conservative
  • Confessions of a Jersey Goddess
  • Corzine Watch
  • Crazy Jackie
  • Cresting Acrocorinthus
  • Cripes, Suzette!

  • Daniella's Misadventures
  • Did I Say That Out Loud
  • Dojo Mojo
  • Dossy's Blog
  • Down the Shore
  • DynamoBuzz

  • eCache
  • Enlighten-NewJersey
  • Eye On Hoboken
  • Exit 4
  • Exit Zero
  • Extreme-Psychosis

  • Fausta's Blog
  • Fausti's Book Quest
  • Fractals of Change
  • Frenchtown NJ Blog

  • GiggleChick
  • Gregg Gethard's Amazing Personal Journey
  • goethe re scape

  • Hoboken Rock City

  • IamBillPower
  • If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawn-mower
  • Imaginary Therapy
  • Inadmissible Evidence

  • Jersey Beat
  • Jersey Perspective
  • Jersey Side
  • Jersey Style
  • Jersey Writers
  • Joe's Journal

  • Karl's Corner
  • Kate Spot

  • Laughing At The Pieces
  • Likelihood of Confusion
  • Liss Is More

  • Mamacita
  • Mary's Lame Attempt at Fame
  • Media in Trouble
  • Michael Carroll
  • Mister Snitch!
  • MucknMire
  • My Life as a Rabid Blog
  • My New Jersey

  • New Jersey Eminent Domain Law
  • NJ Conservative
  • NJ Fiscal Folly
  • New Jersey For Change
  • New Jersey Weblogs
  • NJ Spoken Word
  • Northeast Corridor

  • Parkway Rest Stop
  • Philly2Hoboken.com
  • Poetic Leanings
  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Professor Kim's News Notes
  • Property Tax NJ

  • Rain Angel
  • Riehl World View

  • Shamrocketship
  • Shipwrecks
  • SloppyDawg
  • Sluggo Needs a Nap
  • SmadaNeK
  • Static Silence

  • Tami,The One True
  • Tammany on the Hudson
  • Tequila Shots For The Soul
  • The Art of Getting By
  • The Center of New Jersey Life
  • The Daily Fry
  • The Duc Pond
  • The Jersey Shore Real Estate Bubble
  • The Joy of Soup
  • The Mark(ings) of Zorro
  • The New Wisdom
  • The Nightfly
  • The Opinion Mill
  • The Pink Panther
  • The Political Dogs
  • The Rix Mix
  • This Full House
  • Tiger Hawk
  • Tomato Nation
  • Toxiclabrat
  • Twisty

  • Unbillable Hours
  • Usdin.Net

  • Where Is The Remote
  • Wine Goddess

  • Xpatriated Texan

  • Links

  • NJ Governor
  • NJ Legislature
  • Bob Menendez Information

  • Blog Rings

  • Blog Explosion
  • Blog Directory
  • Blogsnow
  • Blogwise
  • Blogstreet
  • Blogshares
  • Blogarama
  • Blog Digger
  • Daypop
  • Globe of Blogs
  • Blog Search Engine

  • Ecosystem Status

  • Who Links Here