Daily Archives: April 8, 2009

Kumar Goes To The White House

Freehold native and actor turned political activist Kal Penn, famous for his starring role as stoner Kumar Patel in the movie Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and as Doctor Lawrence Kutner on Fox’s “House”, is joining the Obama administration as a liasion to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. 

Read the release from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has hired actor Kal Penn as a liaison between President Barack Obama’s administration and Asian constituents. White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Tuesday that the actor who had a recurring role on Fox’s TV show “House” and has starred in several movies would join the staff as an associate director in the Office of Public Liaison.

His role will be to connect Obama with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as arts groups. Penn starred as Kumar in the movie, “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.” His “House” character committed suicide in Monday’s episode.

Penn backed Obama during the campaign. The White House says a start date for Penn hasn’t been set.

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Filed under "House" actor, Freehold native, Harold and Kumar, Kal Penn, liasion, Obama Administration

Turning Back The Clock: Christie Opens Questionable Investigation Of Menendez And Ethics Are First Challanged

Lets turn back the clock to the summer of 2006, Democratic Candidate for U.S Senate, Congressman Bob Menendez, is the front runner over Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr.

61 days before an election U.S Attorney, Chris Christie, appointed by President George Bush after his family makes  large contributions to the President and to the New Jersey’s Republican Party, decides to take an interest.

Christie files subpoenas  seeking documents related to a rental deal Menendez had with a nonprofit agency in Hudson County from 1994 to 2003, and not coincidentally, leaks to the press followed immediately. 

“There are serious questions about the timing of this inquiry and I will not allow an orchestrated concerted effort to smear and personally destroy those who oppose this administration.” Menedez said at the time.

Democrats from all over the state rallied behind Congressman Menendez in a show of support. Middletown’s Democratic leader, Joe Caliendo, went as far as issuing a press release, which questioned the timing and motivations behind the Christie subpoenas.

At the time, Caliendo was one of the few people willing to address the questionable political donations made by the Christie family to various GOP organizations, which lead to Chris Christie’s appointment as  U.S Attorney.  

In his press release dated September 18, 2006, Caliendo also questions why Christie wouldn’t investigate his old college buddy Joe Kyrillos and his shady dealings with John Lynch and Jack Morris over the Matawan-Aberdeen Train Station restoration:


Middletown Democrat Chairman Joe Caliendo has called the investigation into Sen. Bob Menendez highly suspect.

“We have a U.S. Attorney who is playing politics for a party he owes deeply,” Caliendo said. “At the end of the day, Christie is a political appointee.”

Caliendo noted that it is difficult for the U.S. Attorney to claim objectivity in investigating a Democrat candidate in an important national race, especially when the money trail between Christie and the state Republican Party are seen in the broad light of day.

“Look, the timing of the contributions by Chris Christie and his family are pretty suspect, if you ask me,” Caliendo said. “First, you’ve got the fact that Todd Christie, the U.S. Attorney’s brother, has helped raise over $200,000 for the Bush White House. But you’ve also got to look at what’s been paid to the state Republicans.”

Caliendo said election reports show that before 2001 Christopher J. Christie and his family members donated a total of $800 to the New Jersey Republican Committee.

But in the months before September 2001, when Christie learned of his appointment, Christie donated $10,000 to the party and his brother Todd’s household contributed $64,000 to the party. Todd Christie went on to contribute $70,000 to the party in three lump sums from 2002 to 2004.

“Look, you don’t just jump from giving $800 in a lifetime to giving $74,000 in less than a month without strings being attached to both sides,” Caliendo noted. “That’s just not how politics works and certainly not how politics works in New Jersey.”

Caliendo noted that while the U.S. Attorney launched a curiously timed investigation into Menendez’s finances, Christie has ignored potential wrongdoing by the state’s GOP brass.

“Christopher J. Christie will not investigate the dealings of the Matawan-Aberdeen Train Station, in which over $50,000 passed between John Lynch business partner Jack Morris and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ campaign accounts,” Caliendo said. “Christie will not investigate the fact that Sen. Kyrillos may have used some strangely times campaign contributions to influence the Keyport Republican Party (including two councilmen arrested for corruption) to help his employer Woodmont Properties develop condos on waterfront property in the town, which he’s supposed to represent.”

Caliendo said Christie would not investigate these dealings by Kyrillos because of his very relationship to Kyrillos and the Middletown Republicans.

“Look, Kyrillos is this same man who swore Chris Christie in as a Morris County Freeholder, the same man who Todd Christie called a ‘family friend’ and the same man who was taking the helm of the state GOP just as the Christies dropped $74,000 a couple months before the U.S. Attorney learned of his appointment.”

Caliendo concluded by saying, “Of course Christie is going to investigate Menendez. Menendez isn’t George W. Bush’s candidate, and Menendez wasn’t taking the helm of the state GOP when the Christies were paying tribute to that organization’s coffers.”

Caliendo characterized the State Republican Party as being both “corrupt and vindictive” and may come after him in some political way because of this. “But the truth is just that and I do have proof about every assertion that I am making,” he said.

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Filed under Chris Christie, investigation, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown Republicans, US Attorney, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

NJ Assembly Dems Weekly Budget Message

In this video press release, Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chairman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic) discusses the priorities preserved in the proposed fiscal year 2010 (FY2010) budget in the first of a series of weekly addresses on the budget.

Schaer’s comments came as the Assembly Budget Committee received budget overviews from the state Department of Treasury and the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.

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Filed under Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, Gov. Jon Corzine, Weekly budget message