Monthly Archives: April 2009

Changeling: John Stewart comments on Arlen Specter

Here’s what John Stewart had to say about the earth shattering news of Arlen Specter switching parties and becoming a Democrat last night. 

As always, Stewart’s take on the issue was extremely humorous and right on.

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Filed under Changeling, John Stewart, Sen. Arlen Spector

With 25% Tax Increase In 4 years, Middletown GOP Needs To Be Held Accountable

It’s nice to know that the Township of Middletown pays attention to this blog.  

In response of my two earlier post of last week, Middletown GOP Push 9.2% Tax Increase Onto Residents & Thanks to GOP, Middletown Has Become Unaffordable, the mayor felt it necessary to issue a press release stating that Middletown is doing everything possible to seek further ways to reduce the 9.2% tax increase in this years proposed budget, which would be the 4th time in four years that the municipal tax rate would be increased and represent a cumulative 25% increase during this time.
Why do I assume that this press release was a direct response to my posts? Because on Thursday and Friday of last week, the days that the posts appear on MiddletownMike, the blog received several hits from township computers before the press release appeared sometime Friday afternoon. So being that this blog is so well read down at Town Hall, allow me to comment on a few of the points addressed in the press release.  
The revenue loss stems primarily from reductions in state aid, permit fees and interest earned on bank deposits.

Middletown lost $180,000 in state aid this year and yes permit fees are down due to the economy. Construction jobs are down, people are out of work, parking at the train station is off 20% or more, and people just cannot afford to spend money at this time. Surely, this can’t add up to $2.4M. Could other sources include the $980k gap created by the sale of our cell tower revenues last year? 
Now the mayor is leaving it up to the residents to figure out what services they want to do without. Is this what was meant when she campaigned in November on putting the taxpayer first? I thought that someone ran for public office to represent the people, not leave it up to the people to decide what to do. This is a prime example of a total lack of leadership. A real leader would look at the cold hard facts and decide what is best for the taxpayer, not leave it up to them to decide.

Middletown needs new way to generate revenue. The day of subsidizing programs with taxpayer dollars must end. Programs need to be self-supporting, like the Swim & Tennis Club that almost pays for itself. Or, the Arts Center that costs over $20k per month for utilities to control a moisture problem and operates at $300,000 loss per year. There are scientists that are trying to figure out what a black hole is, all they need to do is come to Middletown and look into facilities such as these and watch the money disappear before their eyes in disbelief.

50% of FY 2009’s budget has already been spent, how do the Middletown GOP plan on plugging a $2.4 million hole in the budget when half of it is already spent? This budget deficit should not have come as a suprise to anyone, this shortfall is the same amount that the township needed fill last year with one shot revenue gimmicks such as sell off the cell phone towers mentioned earlier.
Face it Middletown, the GOP refuses to make hard decisions and would rather blame others for their bad planning. We will be stuck with a 9.2% tax increase no matter what Mayor Pam or Deputy-dog Gerry says, just like last year.   
Keep in mind come November, Democrats Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes have been warning everyone that this day was coming unless prudent steps were taken early on during budget meetings. It is unfortunate that there warning have again been ignored by the majority party in town.

There is much more to comment on, but I’ll leave those comments for another post. 

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Filed under Cultural Arts Center, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown GOP, Pamela Brightbill, Patrick Short, press release, Sean F. Byrnes, tax increase

Menendez:The Democrats Welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter Into Our Party

I received the following email message from Sen Bob Menendez a short while ago welcoming Pennsylivania’s Arlen Specter into the Democratic party:

“The Democrats welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter into our party today. He gave one simple reason for switching parties:

“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

The extreme right wing lost the American people in 2006 and 2008. Now, they’ve lost their hold on another moderate voice in the United States Senate.

This one’s a game-changer. Specter’s move immediately improves the prospects of President Obama’s bold change agenda.

But make no mistake – Republicans still have the votes they need to mount a filibuster. Sen. Specter’s decision will make our opponents even more desperate.

Norm Coleman will dig in his heels and fight even harder to deny us that filibuster-proof 60th seat.

Even when Coleman finally, finally has no more appeals and is forced to concede defeat, the Republicans will be plotting day and night to defeat our candidates in 2010. They know that beating just one Democratic incumbent would let them filibuster, delay, and deny the President’s agenda.

Today is a great day for all of us who want to help bring real, lasting change to this country….”  

Note to Sen. Specter: I applauded your decision to join the Democratic Party, as the Republican party has shown there is no place in its ranks for  a “moderate” Republican.  As the nation leans more towards the left, neocon-conservative Republicans have taken control of  all that is left of  the party of Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan.

While the Republican party has dwindled and became known as the “Party Of No”, the Democratic ranks have swelled. Democats are the leaders of change that have and will, see this country through the current economic crisis and lead the way in the fight for healthcare, social security and tax reform.


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Filed under Democratic Party, healthcare reform, Party of No, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Breaking: Specter Will Run as a Democrat in 2010

By Carl Hulse

New York Times
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.

In a statement issued about noon as the Capitol was digesting the stunning turn of events, Mr. Specter said he had concluded that his party had moved too far to the right, a fact demonstrated by the migration of 200,000 Pennsylvania Republicans to the Democratic Party.

Read More >>>Here

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama Administration, Pennsylania, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, The New York Times

New Jersey’s GOP Primary: Lonegan Isn’t Christie’s Biggest Problem

By Bill Pascoe , CQ politics

With five weeks left until Primary Election Day, the Republican gubernatorial primary in New Jersey just kicked into high gear.

But are the rival campaigns — and GOP primary voters — overlooking the most salient data?

Is Jon Corzine — who just registered the highest-ever job disapproval ratings on record for a New Jersey Governor — nevertheless on a glide path to reelection?

Political New Jersey has been aflutter since last Wednesday, when the release of two new surveys — one by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, and one by Strategic Vision — focused attention on the threat posed to establishment Republican frontrunner Chris Christie by conservative challenger Steve Lonegan.

Quinnipiac has a long history of polling in New Jersey.

Quinnipiac, as it always has, told us how the poll was conducted, including telling us the size of the subsample of likely GOP voters.

Strategic Vision, by contrast, didn’t tell us what was the size of the subsample of GOP voters, or tell us whether the survey respondents were screened for a likelihood to vote.

Consequently, most campaign veterans — at least those who aren’t already on the Christie campaign payroll — focused on the Quinnipiac numbers.

That Quinnipiac survey indicated that the GOP gubernatorial primary was a lot tighter than most people had believed it to be.

According to that survey, Christie’s lead over Lonegan was a mere 9 points, at 46-37 percent, among the subsample of 486 likely GOP primary voters.

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under Chris Christie, CQ politics, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey, primary election, Quinipiac Poll, Republican Candidate, Steve Lonegan

Pres. Obama Congratulates C-SPAN StudentCam Contest Winner

President Obama recorded a video message congratulating C-SPAN StudentCam contest winner Sawyer Bowman on his video “Cancer, It’s Personal.” The President was moved deeply by Sawyer’s message.

The President mentioned how he was personal touched by cancer, when his mother was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 53. The president said that the fight against cancer is one of the top priorities of his administration, as part of this years budget, $6 billion dollars has been allocated toward cancer research.

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Filed under C-Span, cancer research, Cancer:it's Personal, Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, National Cancer Institute, President Obama, Sawyer Bowmen, StudentCam 2009 Grand Prize

"Cancer: Its Personal" – C-SPAN StudentCam 2009 Grand Prize Winner

The following video was created by Woodland School sophomore Sawyer Bowman, Davidson NC. – Grand Prize winner in the 2009 C-SPAN StudentCam documentary contest. The video explores the issue of cancer research and issues a message to newly elected President Obama.

As the Grand Prize winner, Sawyer received $5,000 and his school was given $1,000 to spend on digital video equipment for his school.

After watching this powerful and moving video it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the winner. The video is a heartfelt tribute to his grandparents, who each died of cancer.

To view the entire list of winners and learn more about the competition, visit:

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Filed under C-Span, Cancer, Cancer:it's Personal, contest, healthcare costs, National Cancer Institute, President Obama, Sawyer Bowmen, StudentCam 2009 Grand Prize, Woodland School

Middletown Republicans Put Politics Front and Center, Adopt NJ State Republican Party Resolution Condemning Corzine Budget

Contact: Joe Caliendo, Chairman, Middletown Democrats

8 Daniel Drive, Middletown, NJ 07748
Tel: 732-299-6470

Press Release

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: Middletown committeemen Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short decided not to cooperate with the politics of parties over people at the April 20th session of that governing body.

The Middletown Committee’s Republican Majority adopted, by a vote of 3 to 2, a resolution they received from the New Jersey Assembly’s Republican Office that did not constructively criticize the governor’s spending plan – the resolution was just politics as usual.

“I’m not a fan of the governor’s budget, but this resolution was created for clearly political reasons,” said Byrnes, who is also running for a 3-year seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders this year.

Byrnes noted that the proclamation adopted by the Middletown Committee did not offer any actual recommendations. Instead, it sought no tax increases, program cuts, personnel cuts or any other belt-tightening measures. In addition, the document was filled with partisan references geared to an election season instead of the kind of work government should be accomplishing when convened. “I expected a comment about a magic wand somewhere,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes faulted Gov. Corzine for not making the tough choices that should have been made in the spending plan this year, especially in the current economic environment. Some of the ways that Byrnes recommended should have been explored on the state level included: reigning in high-paying salaries for top state officials, examining ways to fundamentally revisit the organization of state government and the way it offers services, and exploring consolidation of services.

Otherwise, without this kind of thoughtful approach to critiquing the state budget, complaints about the spending plan lack real seriousness where it involves a subject that warrants it.

Short similarly criticized the language of the resolution, noting that state spending has to be examined in the context of the plan and government spending has to be reined in realistically. He stressed that much more work could be to improve the lot of state taxpayers, but noted that political posturing isn’t the way to achieve it.

Rather than engage this line of discussion, committee Republicans offered criticism without anything constructive in their arguments. Republican Committeeman Anthony Fiore criticized the financial subsidies that cities like Camden, Newark and Jersey City receive. He offered that more of an emphasis should be placed on suburban towns by the state.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended adopting the Assembly GOP resolution through his criticism of universal preschool in New Jersey.

Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo noted, “If Republicans either in Trenton or Middletown want to make a change to give taxpayers a better break, they are going to need to have actual ideas of their own – not just criticisms. Democrats do not need to change parties to say what they think – because party lines aren’t what is going to change things for the better.”

Caliendo explained that it is not enough for Scharfenberger or anyone else to point to Trenton and say that the state government is the sole problem with what is wrong in Middletown. “When someone is usually wrong they look to shift blame from themselves. The Middletown Committee has been Republican controlled for 28 years and if there is a problem in this town with the budget and its oversight it isn’t Trenton’s fault. It is the fault of the people in charge of the town, and they happen to be Republicans,” Caliendo said.

He added that, where it involves Trenton, it was not Jon Corzine that created the state’s fiscal crisis. Rather, Caliendo noted that it was former Gov. Christine Todd-Whitman who did more to place the Garden State into the red than all of New Jersey’s governor’s combined, and she happened to be Republican. “If the Republican Party could stop lying, then Democrats wouldn’t have to keep telling the truth about them. There are things that could have been done better in this year’s state budget but it takes real recommendations to make changes and not just posturing by the GOP,” Caliendo concluded.

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Filed under budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Jon Corzine, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown GOP, Middletown Township Committee, Monmouth County, Patrick Short, Republican Majority, Sean F. Byrnes

Two Shore Boys Taken During 1st Round Of NFL Draft

It was a big day for two Monmouth County shore boys, Knowshon Moreno and Donald Brown, both were drafted earlier today during the 1st round of the NFL’s annual players draft.

Local Middletown legend Knowshon Moreno, who played football for Middletown High School South before moving onto the University of Georgia was the 12th selection in the draft, being taken by the Denver Broncos.

Here is what the scouting report had to say about Moreno:

Knowshon Moreno has the speed, strength, and ability to finish a run through, and gets up right away to get to his next touch. He is the top RB prospect this year and will make an immediate impact on the league next year. Projected to be taken some where in the teens but will instantly have a positive effect on whatever team takes him.

Atlantic Highlands native Donald Brown, played his high school ball for Red Bank Catholic before going on to star for the University of Connecticut. Brown was selected #27 by the Indianapolis Colts.

Here is what the scouting report had to say about Brown:

A solid all-around back who has shown he can be effective running inside or outside, Brown is more quick than he is strong and would be best used on counters, misdirections and in space. However, he has shown he can do everything well and has clear starter potential. Could really excel in a zone-blocking scheme.
Borderline first-round talent

Congratulations to both Moreno and Brown, from what I have heard about both of them they are each upstanding and level headed kids who are great citizens and individuals. Both should excel in the NFL for their new teams. 

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Filed under 1st round selection, Denver Broncos, Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts, Knowshon Moreno, NFL Draft

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 4/25/09

This week the President reiterates a theme that has been a hallmark of his career, namely that “old habits and stale thinking” will simply not help us solve the new and immense problems our country faces. Listing off several specific changes he intends to bring, he describes his guiding principle: “To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative.”

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Filed under Budget, effective government, government reform, President Obama, weekly address