"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, May 31, 2007

Federal Authorities Launch Civil and Criminal investigations Into NJ Pension Funding

Federal criminal investigators and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into New Jersey's pension system after a report found the state diverted billions of dollars from it for other purposes, such as state aid to Abbott school districts.

Abbott districts have been spending at some of the highest levels in the State, and well beyond non-Abbott districts, with no discernable correlation to improved achievement.

Of the 25 highest spending K-12 districts, 17 are Abbott districts. Moreover, the three highest spending K-12 districts in the State are Abbott districts.

The Abbott districts have not been required to exercise the fiscal discipline that the State and other school districts must undergo; instead they have been allowed to balance their budget through virtually unlimited supplemental funding requests.
The SEC, which regulates stock and bond markets, will try to determine whether state officials misrepresented the impact of pension-fund maneuvers in documents provided to investors and the U.S. Attorney's Office is looking into any criminal violations. Investigations into the state’s mismanagement of the grossly under-funded pension system could take years.

The shortfall developed since 2001, as the collapse of the stock market drained $22 billion from the funds. Lawmakers compounded the problem by using accounting gimmicks to skip required annual payments into the funds and to cover billions of dollars in additional costs from increased retirement benefits they granted to public employees.
The state of New Jersey’s Division of Law employs 530 attorneys, but apparently none with the expertise to represent the state in these federal civil and criminal investigations. The New Jersey Treasury Department has hired a law firm, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson, to defend the state.

David Wald, spokesman for state Attorney General Stuart Rabner, said he didn't know immediately how much money has been spent on the outside law firm, but said its lawyers will get $495 per hour, with associates paid $180 per hour.
So, let’s review how New Jersey taxpayers got into this mess.

  • As the state admitted to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Abbott school districts have spent billions upon billions of taxpayer money without the slightest bit of fiscal discipline and with no discernable improvement in student achievement.

    To help fund the Abbot districts’ virtually unlimited funding requests, the state diverted billions from state pension contributions to satisfy these insatiable demands.

    The additional Abbott funding was used to increase pay, benefits and the number of jobs in these school districts, which further exacerbated the state’s pension funding liability.

    To curry favor with the state’s public employees, pension benefits were increased in 2001 and were “paid” for with accounting gimmicks, further compounding the state’s pension funding crisis.

    Facing federal investigations into the state’s pension funding debacle, taxpayers will foot the tab for outside council to defend the politicians and state employees who got us into this mess. The 530 lawyers on the state’s payroll and in the pension system aren’t up to the job.
Is it any wonder why New Jersey’s broke?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Senate Immigration Reform Bill Gets a Thumbs Down From Voters

According to the latest Rasmussen poll (conducted May 29), only 26% of American voters favor passage of the Senate immigration reform bill. Unaffiliated voters are now more opposed to the bill than either Republicans or Democrats.

  • 81% of American voters are closely following news stories about the issue.

    75% want the Senate immigration reform bill to increase border security measures and reduce illegal immigration.

    74% do not believe illegal immigration will decline if the Senate bill is passed.

    68% believe it is possible to reduce illegal immigration

    66% believe it doesn't make sense to debate new immigration laws until we can first control our borders and enforce existing laws.

    57% of unaffiliated voters oppose the Senate immigration bill

    41% believe the Senate bill will actually lead to an increase in illegal immigration.

    29% would “make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the country and eventually become citizens.”

    16% believe illegal immigration will decline if the Senate bill is passed

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Are You Aware Hillary Clinton Failed the Bar Exam?

The former Justice Department liaison to the White House Monica Goodling was questioned before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Much of Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN) questioning dealt with Goodling’s education:

Rep. Steve Cohen: Miss Goodling, I've read your vitae, and it says that you grew up and you mostly went -- you went to public schools. Was that K through 12?

Goodling: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Cohen: And it says you went -- chose Christian universities in part because they -- value they placed on service.

Are there a lot -- an inordinate number -- of people from Regent University Law School that were hired by the Department of Justice while you were there?

Goodling: I think we have a lot more people from Harvard and Yale.

Rep. Cohen: Well, that's refreshing. Is it a fact -- are you aware of the fact that in your graduating class 50 to 60 percent of the students failed the bar (exam) the first time?

Goodling: I'm not -- I don't remember the statistics, but I know it wasn't good. I was happy I passed the first time.
The sole purpose of Cohen’s line of questioning was to potentially embarrass Goodling and denigrate the Christen law school she attended. It was nothing more than the 'politics of personal destruction' in action. And if passing the bar on the first try, as Goodling did, is the Democrat’s litmus test for public service, then Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Yale Law School graduate, is in trouble.

Hillary Clinton failed the D.C. bar exam after law school, something she hid from her best friends for 30 years until disclosing it in passing in her autobiography, "Living History." Bernstein suggests that blow to her ego may have played a role in her decision to move to Arkansas, where she had passed the bar.
The publicity hound, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, also questioned Goodling:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: But allow me just to simply begin a series of questions, Ms. Goodling. And I would ask that they, your answers be as cryptic and as brief as possible, however truthful, because we do have a shortened period of time.
“Cryptic”? There’s nothing quite like being grilled by a bunch of condescending, sanctimonious politicians on a witch hunt.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decline, Economy Grows, Environmentalists Complain

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped 1.3 percent last year even as the economy grew by 3.3 percent.

The 1.3 percent drop in CO{-2} emissions marks the first time that U.S. pollution linked to global warming has declined in absolute terms since 2001 and the first time it has gone down since 1990 while the economy was thriving. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in both 2001 and 1991, in large part because of economic slowdowns during those years.
That’s good news, right? No, not in some circles.

"This is more proof that this President just doesn't get it when it comes to combating climate change," Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement yesterday.
Let’s see, if U.S. greenhouse gas emissions continue to drop by 1.3 percent per year, by 2050 they’ll have been cut by 60% without destroying the economy. What’s Kerry got in mind?

Jeremy Symons, who directs the National Wildlife Federation's global warming program, wasn’t happy with the news either:

"Unfortunately, until we have government mandates to cut global warming pollution from big polluters, this year's good news will be swallowed by the trend of rising pollution levels."
In fact, since 1990 green house gas emissions from U.S. industry (“big polluters”) have been flat and U.S. methane emissions are slightly down in absolute terms.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why Did Corzine Give Katz More Than $6 million?

According to a report in the New York Times, Jon Corzine gave Carla Katz a financial settlement that exceeded $6 million.

They have repeatedly declined to disclose the total amount or specific contours of the financial agreement their lawyers negotiated upon their breakup in 2004, but lawyers familiar with the settlement and union officials who conferred with Ms. Katz during the negotiations — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of political retribution — disclosed for the first time that it exceeded $6 million.

That August, when Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation, Mr. Corzine instantly became the favorite to succeed him. The couple was in the midst of breaking up, one former confidante and colleague said, and Ms. Katz threatened to stage a news conference designed to embarrass Mr. Corzine, but soon calmed down.

After several months of detailed discussion by their lawyers, the parties agreed on the financial package in November 2004. It remains unclear what, if anything, Ms. Katz provided in exchange.

He is alternately viewed as afraid of what she might say about him, or simply as a rich and generous man who considered the relationship significant enough to warrant helping her maintain the lifestyle they had shared.
Rich and generous does not require negotiations though lawyers. Afraid of what Katz has on Corzine and buying her silence does. And ask yourself, why is this information coming out now and whose camp is the most likely source of these new revelations? Clearly, there’s no advantage for Corzine’s camp to divulge this information.

Update: Red Generation has more here

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Congress Takes Taxpayers for A Ride


Monday, May 21, 2007

New Jersey’s Top High Schools

New Jersey has 43 schools on Newsweek’s list of the top five percent of U.S. public high schools. Billed as The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools, there are actually 1,253 schools included.

Public schools were ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2006 divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Here’s the list

Newsweek's Top New Jersey High Schools

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Making Matters Worse: The Immigration Reform Act of 2007

It should have been obvious that Congress had little interest in actually preventing future illegal immigration or solving, to the benefit of Americans, the problems associated with 12 to 20 million currently “living in the shadows”. After reading the Immigration Reform Act of 2007 all doubt should be removed.

Under the Senate’s proposed reform bill, the fine for entering or attempting to enter the U.S. illegally will be “not less than $50 or more than $250 for each such entry”. There are greater penalties for illegal parking and jaywalking.

New Jersey mandates a $250 fine for the first offense for parking in handicapped space without a special vehicle identification card. Subsequent offenses require a fine of at least $250 and up to 90 days of community service. (See N.J.S.A. 39:4-197(3)(c)). Jaywalking will get you a $100 fine in New York and one for $114 in California.

The Senate plan for the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. is also extremely favorable to the pro-illegal immigrant camp. Of course you wouldn’t know it listening to those complaining about the bill’s “impossibly tough standards” and the hardship it would bring “to an already overburdened and underappreciated community”. It’s doubtful these folks have read the actual bill.

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez was a lead negotiator of the Immigration Reform Act of 2007. He now he says opposes it.

Menendez, of Hudson County, said he and most members of Congress "all support fines for those who broke the law," but called the amount of the fines "prohibitive."
Menendez is referring to the $1,000 charge illegal aliens will pay to obtain a Z card and the $4,000 fee for a green card. What the Senator doesn’t mention is that under the proposed legislation, fines and penalties for entering the country illegally and any liability for back income and payroll taxes are wiped away with the payment of a $1,000 fee for a four-year, renewable “Z” visa. The fee for a second four-year Z card is $500 and can be renewed indefinitely. A green card is strictly optional and won’t be available for eight years.

Call this process what you will, but the past is forgiven. The price for legal status going forward is $250 per year for the first four years and then $125 per year thereafter. Flexible payment terms are even available.

The bill requires the government to establish procedures allowing for the payment of 80 percent of “z” and green card “penalties” through an installment payment plan. That’s $200 down, the balance in low, low monthly payments. Just imagine the mandatory ads in the five required languages - Crazy Uncle Sam: His prices are insaaane!"

So are his standards. To qualify for a Z card, all an alien need do is fill out an application; claim to have lived in the U.S. illegally before Jan. 1, 2007, plunk down $200 and get on the filing fee payment plan. A probationary Z card, with all benefits, is then issued until such time the government gets around to completing a background check. Unlike immigration visa’s, a medical exam will not be required for a “Z” or green card for the illegal alien population.

Renewals for a second four-year period will require an applicant, 18 years of age or older, “to demonstrate an attempt to gain an understanding of the English language” and “knowledge of United States civics”. The language requirement is satisfied by “enrollment in or placement on a waiting list for English classes”. The civics prerequisite is satisfied by taking the naturalization test. Passing the test is not necessary to qualify for renewal.

Z card holders can ultimately apply for a green card -- but not until the government clears a backlog of more than 5 million current green card applicants, which will take eight years. Processing 10 to 20 million Z Card applications, on top of 400 to 600 thousand new merit based Y visas, will undoubtedly overwhelm the system.

We could go on with a laundry list of problems with this bill, but the real point is no bill is better than this “comprehensive” mess. The immigration issue is too important to be rammed down the throats of Americans without an open and honest debate.

The other day Fred Thompson said: “there’s an old saying in Washington that, in dealing with any tough issue, half the politicians hope that citizens don’t understand it while the other half fear that people actually do. This kind of thinking was apparent with the “comprehensive” immigration reform bill that the U.S. Senate and the White House negotiated yesterday.” Man, was he right!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

Here’s a link to the controversial Senate immigration bill - Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Whole Thing Is Crazy

The immigration “plan hatched by a bipartisan group of senators yesterday”, according to the Star-Ledger, “inspires confusion, criticism from both sides”.

Here’s the first bit of confusion the plan inspires in us - Does congress represent American citizens or illegal aliens? Based on press reports, the plan offers a menu of benefits for 12 to 20 million people living in the U.S. illegally, beginning with ability, upon demand, to have their illegal status wiped away with a temporary-residency permit.

What’s in this plan for Americans? What’s it going to cost American taxpayers and how does the bill address the needs of Americans?

The Star-Ledger report was light on criticism from American rights advocates and loaded with complaints from illegal aliens and their advocates.

Hilario Castro, an illegal alien from Mexico, says "Oh, Dios mío," - "They're going to take $5,000 from us. It will be easier to go and come back than it will be to pay that." Other “illegal immigrants gathered at the Red Bank train station last night summed up the plan” as “painful, but somehow doable”

Sen. Robert Menendez, “who took part in the negotiations, quickly denounced it.”

The bill would enable illegal immigrants to immediately receive permits to work legally and then apply for renewable one-year visas after paying a $1,000 fine. But it would require them to return to their home countries within eight years to apply for permanent residency, with another $4,000 fee for that stage of the process.
Amy Gottlieb, attorney with the Newark chapter of the American Friends Service Committee, an organization that advocates for immigrants, said "They can't administer what they have right now. They'd have to double the size of the budget to have enough staff to process applications."

“Echoing the concerns voiced yesterday by many pro-immigrant and religious groups”, Gottlieb said “the measure was too punitive. Forcing poor illegal immigrants to pay thousands in fines and return to their home countries, she said, would only increase hardship and separate families. We are deeply concerned. The debate has gotten so polarized, so far apart. And cutting these deals that really disregard the humanity behind immigration is not a way to address the polarization."

The article did include the views of one advocate for Americans, Gayle Kesselman, co-chairwoman of New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control. "Crazy," said Kesselman, "The whole thing is crazy."

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Federal Government Knew For 16 Years

The U.S. government has known for 16 years the Duka family, including Fort Dix Six brothers —Dritan, Eljvir and Shain—were in the country illegally. It’s believed the family unlawfully slipped into the U.S. in 1984 by crossing from Mexico at Brownsville, Texas.

In 1989, Ferik Duka filed a claim for asylum with U.S. immigration authorities, but the application for the family languished inside the federal bureaucracy due to a paperwork “backlog”.

While the asylum application was under consideration, the government effectively suspended any effort to deport family members as illegal aliens, the source familiar with their immigration history said.
Then two years ago, federal immigration officials recommended an investigation by the FBI and Homeland Security agents into possible immigration fraud by the Dukas.

The former INS bureaucracy had been transferred from the Justice Department to the new Department of Homeland Security, where officials were under pressure from Congress and the public to eliminate immigration backlogs and crack down on aliens who had entered the United States illegally.
By late 2005, Homeland Security looked “at the Dukas’s suspicious file and notified both the new Homeland investigations bureau, known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and the FBI.”.

Before a thorough immigration fraud investigation could be conducted, however, the Philadelphia-area Joint Terrorism Task Force, responding to a tip-off from a Circuit City clerk who was disturbed at the contents of a video a customer wanted to have copied, launched the undercover terrorism investigation which last week resulted in the arrests of three Duka brothers and three other men on charges of plotting to attack Fort Dix and other targets in the New Jersey area.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said that government oversights like the ones that evidently plagued the Duka case are “par for the course” in what he called “our don’t ask, don’t tell immigration system. We make it as easy as possible for illegal aliens to live here. 'No' never means 'no'.”

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Obama on Health Care Insurance

Barack Obama was in New Jersey yesterday pledging to deliver universal health insurance coverage during his first term as president, if elected.

The Democratic hopeful from Illinois said he would pay for his plan by saving $75 billion through emphasizing preventative health care, providing better care for the chronically ill and using new technology to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy. If needed, Obama said he would roll back tax cuts that he said benefited the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.
So what would universal health insurance cost? Assuming Obama is only looking to cover those currently uninsured; we’re looking at a tab far greater than the $75 billion he claims can be saved though various measures.

It’s estimated that 46 million people lack heath insurance in the United States. New Jersey spends $9 billion per year to cover about 900,000 people through Medicaid, an average cost of $10,000 per person. At that rate it would cost about $460 billion to cover the uninsured. Minus the $75 billion in savings, that leaves a beginning cost of about $395 billion for the new program.

If Obama’s talking about a truly universal program – a total government takeover of health insurance – we’re talking about a cost in excess of $2 trillion.

So who’s going to be hit with the huge tax increase to pay for a universal health insurance program? Putting aside the fact wealth is not taxed, but rather income earned in a specific year, there are only about 1.3 million tax filers in the top 1 percent. It’s unlikely a $395+ billion income tax increase could be confined to this ever changing top 1 percent. What Obama’s really talking about is a tax increase on everyone who pays federal income taxes.

Here’s a more basic question. - is a new or expanded government program really the best solution to the health insurance problem or the escalating costs for health care?

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Heretics On The Left

The Nation magazine’s Alexander Cockburn has joined the ranks of heretics. He doesn’t believe anthropogenic CO2 is primarily responsible for global warming. That’s an amazing admission from one manning “the flagship of the left’.
No response is more predictable than the reflexive squawk of the greenhouse fearmongers that anyone questioning their claims is in the pay of the energy companies
He calls Al Gore “the world's best-known hysteric and self-promoter on the topic of man's physical and moral responsibility for global warming”.
As a denizen of Washington since his diaper years, Gore has always understood that threat inflation is the surest tool to plump budgets and rouse voters. By the mid-'90s he'd positioned himself at the head of a strategic alliance formed around "the challenge of climate change," which stepped forward to take Communism's place in the threatosphere essential to political life.
Cockburn notes the well established cycle of alarmist predictions. It begins with doomsday scenarios from “multibillion-dollar computer modeling bureaucracies … intent on self-preservation”. Next, we get a “tremulous statement about the accelerating tempo of the warming crisis” from a “prominent fearmonger” with a UN imprimatur. Finally, “the cry is taken up by the IPCC and headlined by the New York Times”.
The foot soldiers in this alliance have been the grant-guzzling climate modelers and their Internationale, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose collective scientific expertise is reverently invoked by devotees of the fearmongers' catechism. The IPCC has the usual army of functionaries and grant farmers and the merest sprinkling of actual scientists with the prime qualification of being climatologists or atmospheric physicists.
As Richard Kerr, Science's man on global warming, remarked, "Climate modelers have been 'cheating' for so long it's almost become respectable."
When measured reality doesn't cooperate with the lurid model predictions, new compensating factors are "discovered," such as the sulfate aerosols popular in the 1990s, recruited to cool off the obviously excessive heat predicted by the models. Or inconvenient data are waterboarded into submission, as happened with ice-core samples that failed to confirm the modelers' need for record temperatures today.
The consequence he says is that “hysteria rules the day” and “vast sums of money will be uselessly spent on programs that won't work against an enemy that doesn't exist. … Meanwhile, real and curbable environmental perils are scanted.”


Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Jersey on ICE

Father of Fort Dix Six Arrested on Immigration Charges

Ferik Duka, the father of three men charged in the Fort Dix terror plot was arrested this week on immigration violations and is in federal custody. “It was unclear why the Duka's had not been charged with immigration violations earlier.”

N.J. Terror Suspects Had Past Run-Ins With The Law

Dritan Duka has past arrests on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. He also received six separate speeding tickets and was stopped by police 11 times between 1997 and 2006.

Shain Duka has past arrests on charges of obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension and making physical threats. Shain was repeatedly stopped by police and had 19 suspensions of his license.

Eljvir Duka has past drug counts and had 24 suspensions of his driving permit. He was tagged by the state as a persistent violator.

Corzine Opposes Partnership With Federal Government To Enforce Immigration Laws

According to a report in last Friday’s Star-Ledger, Governor Jon Corzine is a prominent opponent of the 287G program from the Department of Homeland Security, which enables state and local law-enforcement agencies to work with ICE to identify and detain immigration offenders.

It’s clear to us why the Duka's had not been charged with immigration violations earlier - New Jersey is a sanctuary state.

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Only In New Jersey

Maggie Gallagher - Only In New Jersey, snips below:

I'd say "only in America," but I suspect this is a story that could happen only in New Jersey.

The feds are closing in on indicting your fundraising pals, one of whom even claims you arranged a special code word, "Machiavelli," signaling that they had a deal, the deal being: You pad their pockets with public funds in exchange for their donating campaign cash.

Jihadists have just recently blown up the Twin Towers, orphaning thousands of New Jersey children. The country's at war.

Suddenly it all blows up in big type. The one indisputable fact -- you are the man who let your lust decide who should head up homeland security in New Jersey -- is suddenly on the front page of every newspaper.

What do you do? First, you ask your wife to smile and look supportive at the press conference in which you will announce that (A) you are resigning, and (B) you are a gay American. Then you write a book, naturally, explaining how sorry you are for your mistakes, but homophobia made you do it. Leaders of groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Garden State Equality enthusiastically endorse your narrative.

But what do you do next? If you're Jim McGreevey you do this: You try to stiff your wife out of as much money as you can, naturally. You can live in luxury with a very rich boyfriend, postponing the job of earning the big bucks you might have to give your wife a piece of. You've got to keep the net worth down until the divorce is over, see? So you work a little on the side, teaching "ethics and leadership" (I kid you not) to future MBAs at a public university in New Jersey. This nominal income (about $17,000 a year) will allow you to pad your pension for years at taxpayer expense without driving up the old alimony, see?

What to do with the rest of your time? Above all, do not get a real job to support your child or the wife you used and abandoned. Instead, enter the seminary. The Episcopalians are glad to oblige. Studying four days a week, with $12,000 tuition for the next three years should do it. Bonus points: You call your wife a homophobe because she doesn't want you bringing a 5-year-old girl into bed with you and your new partner or displaying giant photos of naked men in the little girl's presence either.

Like I said: Only in New Jersey. I hope.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Three of “Fort Dix Six” Jihadis Were Illegal Aliens

Six Islamic radicals planning a heavily armed attack against soldiers at Fort Dix as part of a jihad against the United States were arrested last night in New Jersey. Officials identified the men as Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka, Serdar Tatar, Mohamad Shnewer and Agron Abdullahu.

Five have been charged with conspiring to kill officers of the United States Government, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. The sixth, Abdullahu, is charged with aiding and abetting the others.

“The Duka brothers had been popular in school. Shain drove a Cadillac Escalade SUV. Their family owned a pizzeria.” According to the federal affidavit, Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka and Shain Duka were also illegal aliens.

"This is a case of thorough and aggressive law enforcement by U.S. Attorney Chris Christie and his team. Through a 16-month surveillance effort, they dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't' to ensure that this terror plot did not come to fruition and lead to a loss of lives."

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Global Warming Debate

Click to enlarge

Global Warming Facts from the Heartland.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Ethics Complaints

Back in March, Bob Ingle discovered Democrats had a state-paid intern going through years of financial-disclosure forms from state legislators. Republicans suspected the effort was an election-year opposition research project being conducted at taxpayer expense. Back then, Democrats claimed the intern was looking for ways to strengthen disclosure.

Yesterday, Democrats exposed the real purpose of the project. Two County Democratic Party Chairmen have filed ethics complaints against seven Republican legislators “as current events on Legislative conflicts gave me cause to review the relevant files and the information contained herein only recently came to light”. In other words, taxpayers paid the research tab for a partisan stunt. Is that ethical or even legal?

Clearly, the Democrats are out for revenge to counter the growing list of Democrats who have been investigated, indicted and convicted for public corruption by the U.S. Attorney’s office, led by Chris Christie. If that was the goal, their little project was a bust.

The complaints, which may be read here, allege the lawmakers “may have advocated for” a number of state grants from 2000 through 2002. “Based on financial disclosure forms” the complaints identify employers and charity affiliations for the legislators and in some instances for their family members. Missing from the complaints are specific conflicts of interest or cases of personal financial gain tied to the state grants.

Not surpassingly, the ethics complaints were filed by two attorneys, Richard J. Perr and Elia A. Pelios, both with their own pipelines into state and local coffers.

Perr is a partner at the law firm Fineman Krekstein & Harris and an adjunct professor Rutgers School of Law - Camden. In his spare time, Perr is also the Burlington County Democratic Party Chairman.

The second complaining attorney, Elia A. Pelios, works for the law firm Ventantonio & Wildenhain, is Commissioner/President of the Somerset County Board of Taxation and President of the New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards. In his spare time, Pelios is also the Somerset County Democratic Party Chairman.

New Jersey’s Attorney General, Stuart Rabner should investigate these two with their tangled financial, political and government connections - that’s if he can spare a few minutes away from his all important Corzine seatbelt case.

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