Monthly Archives: January 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Bullwinkle Show "Mr. Know-It All"

This Saturday morning, in honor of all those who are in the middle of their Mid-Term exams, I give you “Mr. Know It All”

Get out the Cherrios and pay attention, this stuff may be on an exam someday!

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Filed under Mr. Know It All, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Saturday morning cartoons

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 1/30/10 Reining in Budget Deficits

The President pledges to rein the deficit, citing three specific steps to this end. He praises the Senate for restoring the pay-as-you-go law, discusses his proposal for a freeze in discretionary spending, and calls for a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to hammer out further concrete deficit reduction proposals.

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Filed under budget deficit, discretionary spending, pay as you go, President Obama, weekly address

Obama Takes On the GOP Retreat

He came, He spoke, He conquered…President Obama attended today’s Congressional GOP Retreat outside of Baltimore and by all accounts kicked-ass!

The entire ass-whopping was broadcast live on all of the major cable news networks and C-Span. Evidently the beating Obama was placing on the GOP was so brutal that Fox News broke away early from so that they could show a non-news interview with NY Congressman Peter King, while other networks stayed till the end of the 1.5 hour confrontation.

It will be hard for the GOP to get up off the canvass after this one, score this a big knock-out by the President.
Here’s a little bit of what Politico had to say about it:

BALTIMORE — President Barack Obama on Friday accused Republicans of portraying health care reform as a “Bolshevik plot” and telling their constituents that he’s “doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.”

Speaking to House Republicans at their annual policy retreat here, Obama said that over-the-top GOP attacks on him and his agenda have made it virtually impossible for Republicans to address the nation’s problems in a bipartisan way.

“What happens is that you guys don’t have a lot of room to negotiate with me,” Obama said. “The fact of the matter is, many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable with your own base, with your own party because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, ‘This guy’s doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.’ ”

Obama’s comments came in the midst of an extraordinary back-and-forth with Republican House members — a scene straight out of the House of Commons that played out live on cable TV.

Republicans invited Obama to appear at their annual conference; the president accepted — and then surprised them by asking that cameras and reporters be allowed into the room.
Republicans immediately agreed to the request, but they may be regretting it now.
Again and again, Obama turned the Republicans questions against them — accusing them of obstructing legislation for political purposes and offering solutions that won’t work….

You can read the rest >>>Here

You can watch the whole confrontation below from C-Span if you wish.

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Filed under Baltimore Maryland, C-Span, Fox News,, President Obama, republican retreat

Handicapped parking permits: New Brunswick picked the wrong car to tow

Bob Brown the former Old Bridge cop turned lawyer, who unsuccessfully ran for the State Assembly this past year, is a friend of mine and I like to keep tabs on him to see what he has been up to.

Earlier today I was surfing the web looking for something interesting to post on the blog when I stumble upon Paul Mulshine’s blog that just so happend to be about Bob and his daughter.

Bob’s daughter Sarah, is a student at Rutgers University and is somewhat disabled due to a back condition, she needs to use crutches to get around and therefore qualifies for a handicap placard that allows her to use handicap parking around the campus and state.

It seems as though however her handicap placard is no good in New Brunswick because last Saturday night her car was towed from a handicap parking space while visiting a friend, she happend to discovered her car missing at 2 a.m when she went to return home!

Mulshine tells the story far better than I could so below is a reprint of his blog post:

I’ve heard it said that the Tasmanian Devil is the only animal on Earth that looks forward to being cornered.

Whoever said that never met Bob Brown.

I first met him last year when he was running for a state Assembly seat, unsuccessfully, as it turned out. Though Brown is a right-wing kind of guy, he ran as a Democrat in a safe Republican district. He likes to get into a fight for the pure fun of it.

Brown was a cop in Old Bridge until he got shot in the line of duty. He ended up becoming a lawyer, but one of those bullets is still stuck inside him. The slug seems to have turned a switch. It’s not a good idea to get him started.

Last weekend, the city of New Brunswick made that mistake. Brown’s daughter, Sarah, was visiting a fellow Rutgers student a few blocks off campus. She is handicapped due to a back condition that requires her to use crutches. So when she spotted a handicapped parking spot she pulled her new Nissan into it.

When she got back to her car a little after 2 a.m., it was gone.

“They left my daughter out in the cold on the sidewalk at 2 a.m.!” Brown said when he called me Sunday. He then unleashed a string of invectives that can’t be printed here.

For an invective-free opinion, I called Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, a Democrat from Jersey City:
“I never heard of that before,” said Quigley. “They’re never supposed to tow cars with handicapped placards unless they’re blocking a fire hydrant or creating some obstruction.”
Quigley should know. She helped write the law. Over the years, Quigley has established a reputation as the drivers’ friend in the effort to fight off public officials who ticket or tow cars for fun and profit.

But back to Brown. On Tuesday evening I visited the scene of the crime with him. Brown had spent the last three days obsessing on this outrage. He has every intention of working on it for the next 10 years, he told me. “I’m going after their federal funding, ” he told me. “I could do this til I retire.”

Brown said he will argue in court that New Brunswick violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Not only did they leave his daughter stranded on the street, they also deprived her of access to the medication she had left in the car, he said. The towing company that took the car is closed on Sunday, and she couldn’t get access to the car until Monday, he said.
As we drove, Brown handed me sheet after sheet of photocopied documents and pages from legal pads as well as a copy of his daughter’s state-issued handicapped ID, which he said was hanging from the mirror, next to a Rutgers handicapped placard when the car was towed.
We got to the spot and looked at the sign. It had the words “Reserved Parking” and the wheelchair symbol, like other such signs. It also had a small metal plate that said “Parking Permit P381367.”

“If it had said, ‘This spot is reserved for this house,’ then my daughter wouldn’t have parked there,” said Brown.

Of course, if it had said that, people might wonder why the residents of the house don’t just use the driveway. The house has a large one, as well as a garage. And Brown pointed out that the ordinance permitting the creation of these zones specifically precludes granting permits to people who have driveways and/or garages. So why did this house get to hog a precious parking space?

Lt. Antone Johnson of the parking authority told me he didn’t know. “This was done back in 1997 and I’ve only been doing this job for seven or eight years,” he said. Meanwhile, the mayor’s office questioned whether the state-issued ID was visible that night. A spokesman said in the call to police, the resident said the car only had a Rutgers handicapped placard visible. That will be sorted out in court.

Like just about every other Jersey driver, Brown wonders just how many of these permits are handed out as political favors.

Quigley told me Jersey City had to declare a moratorium on these permits.
“It became a bit of a scam,” said Quigley. “It looked like every doctor would write a letter saying this person or that person shouldn’t have to walk.”

But even in Hudson County, not exactly a font of good government, they don’t have the nerve to tow handicapped driver’s cars. Picking on handicapped people seems to be a New Brunswick innovation, one every bit as ill-advised as picking on a Tasmanian Devil.

Mulshine also posted a follow-up to his post to see who was telling the truth about whether the
Brown car had a state placard which you can read >>> Here

It seems obvious to me that New Brunswick screwed up and it just so happen that they picked the wrong car tow and screw up on.

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Filed under Bob Brown, handicap parking, New Brunswick NJ, Paul Mulshine, permits

Brown tells AP he’ll sometimes side with Democrats

Interesting article, will Scott Brown be the GOP’s 41st vote against Obama or will he side with the liberal leaning people of Massachusetts and support many of the President’s priorities ?…Time will tell.


BOSTON — Scott Brown says he has already told Senate Republican leaders they won’t always be able to count on his vote. The man who staged an upset in last week’s Massachusetts Senate special election, in part by pledging to be the 41st GOP vote against President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he staked his claim in early conversations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip Jon Kyl.

“I already told them, you know, `I got here with the help of a close group of friends and very little help from anyone down there, so there’ll be issues when I’ll be with you and there are issues when I won’t be with you,'” Brown said Thursday during the half-hour interview. “So, I just need to look at each vote and then make a proper analysis and then decide.”

Asked how McConnell and Kyl responded, Brown said, “They understood. They said, `You can probably do whatever you want, Scott. And, so, just let us know where your head’s at, and we’ll talk it through, and just keep us posted.'”

The senator-elect did not elaborate on possible breaking points, though the Washington newcomer dismissed any suggestion he will relent once he starts working in the highly partisan capital.

“That’s not pressure; pressure is what I’m going through right now,” said Brown. He cited his efforts to complete a transition in 2 1/2 weeks, compared with the normal 2 1/2 months for regularly elected senators, while preparing to surrender his responsibilities as a state senator, become a Beltway commuter and resume his triathlon training.

He started Thursday with a one-hour bike ride and 1,500-meter swim.

“I’m trying to do it very well and be balanced and still get my workouts in,” said Brown. “There’s nothing wrong with having good conversation and debating. We do it here in our own caucus, at a smaller level. … It’s just a different building, really.”

Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley to win the seat held for nearly a half-century by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The result rocked both the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, who viewed the seat as safe and Coakley as the pivotal 60th vote to preserve a Democratic supermajority in the Senate.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under GOP Leaders, Massachusetts, President Obama, Scott Brown, the GOP

Middletown: It’s Your Town Hall Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 2 – Now Availible

I am hearing some very positive feedback from the publishers of the “It’s Your Town Hall” newsletter, residents seem to be very interested in what’s going on down at Middletown’s Town Hall but for reasons such as work and family, they have not been able to pay as close attention as they would like to how their local government is run.
Many who have subscribed to the newsletter (over 100 so far) have stated that the information contained inside of it is both helpful and useful, it gives them a good idea of what is happing at township committee meeting each month. They also have stated that the non-partisanness of the newsletter is refreshing.

This issue of the “It’s Your Town Hall” Newsletter addresses the happenings at the January 21, 2010 Township of Middletown’s monthly committee meeting.

It contains comments made by the members of the township committee as well as public comments by residents in attendance.

Points of interest include:

Why did the police department spend $2468 on 1 office chair?
Rent increases for residents at Conifer Village.
Upcoming budget.

Find your copy of “It’s Your Town Hall” newsletter >>> Here

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown, Newsletter

NJPP Monday Minute: 1/25/10 Health reform at the crossroads

The stunning upset pulled off by Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts US Senate special election last Tuesday has sent shock waves through Washington. Suddenly, every statement Brown made in the campaign is being viewed by some as the final word on national issues ranging from climate control to foreign policy. But before we decide to let one man’s views determine the fate of some of the most important polices in our nation’s history, we need to examine each issue and the context in which it was raised. Take national health care reform for example.

Brown campaigned against the pending national health reform bills, but isn’t against health reform altogether. In fact, he voted for Massachusetts’s own health care reform as a state legislator-a remarkably successful program that has reduced the rate of people without insurance in Massachusetts to five percent, by far the lowest in the nation (New Jersey’s rate is about 15 percent, close to the national average). Ironically, the national health reform bills were largely based on the Massachusetts model.

The great danger now is that in response to this election, health reform will be scaled back or abandoned altogether. Since it has been decided that health reform will not proceed until Brown is seated in the Senate, the Democrats no longer have the votes to pass a final compromise bill with the House. Procedurally the easiest way to avoid that impasse is for the House to pass the Senate bill with no changes then send it to the President for signature-by-passing the Senate altogether. But there appears to be no support in the House to do this.

Brown believes that everyone should have insurance; but that states should achieve that goal on their own. That’s easy enough for Massachusetts to say. The rate of uninsured people in that state was already one of the lowest in the nation even before the reforms. It has never had the same challenges in this respect that New Jersey and other states currently have.

Recently, the President has indicated that he might support a new bill if it has bipartisan support. But the Democrats and Republicans do not agree on much. At this point the only major consensus is on market reforms that have no federal cost, like prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The nation’s heath care system can only be improved in a comprehensive, systematic way-piecemeal solutions won’t work. If market reforms are enacted, individuals must be required to buy health insurance in order to spread the risk between sick and healthy, young and old-much like any other insurance. But if individuals are required to have insurance, we must also provide subsidies for those people who cannot afford the premiums. This, of course, should be funded at the federal level because the states do not have the necessary resources.

The point of reform is to address all of these interrelated issues-to get at the root causes of our broken health care system that threaten our nation’s health and economy. The election in Massachusetts shouldn’t change this.

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Filed under health care reform, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective

N.J. Supreme Court sides with Asbury Park Press in disclosure case: Time to find out how much Middletown paid in Garcia Vs. Parkinson

Note: This ruling today is a big win for advocates of open government, transparency and taxpayers. We all have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent and if those dollars are being wasted by corrupt officials.

For the past few years residents in Middletown have been questioning how much the Township paid to settle a sexual harrasment charge against former Mayor Patrick Parkinson that was brought by the former Township Clerk, Rosa Garcia. They had been told only that legal fees and a settlement had been paid to Ms. Garcia.

All OPRA requests had been denied based on privacy concerns. With the ruling today however that all changes and I can’t wait to find out how much it cost taxpayers of Middletown to settle the sexual harrasment suit against Parkinson and others.

Asbury Park Press – Monmouth County must make public the terms of a sexual harassment lawsuit it settled with an employee, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today.

The court’s decision upheld last year’s appellate court ruling in the case, which also said the terms of the out-of-court settlement must be released to the Asbury Park Press and open government advocate John Paff.

The county’s attorney had argued the terms of that 2007 agreement between the county and one of its engineers, Carol Melnick, should remain private.

Among the county’s arguments was that a clause in the state’s Open Public Records Act allows information about sexual harassment complaints to be closed from the public.

But today, the court said disclosure of the terms of the settlement in this case would not violate any reasonable expectation of privacy….

Read more >>> Here
To read the opinion of the NJ Supreme Court click >>> Here


Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown, Monmouth County, OPRA requests, sexual harassment

Hundreds in New Brunswick sign petition to change local marijuana law

Press Release
January 23, 2010

Evan Nison

(New Brunswick, NJ, January 23, 2010) — Volunteers from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, New Jersey State Chapter (NORML-NJ) have begun gathering signatures from New Brunswick voters for a ballot initiative that would make marijuana arrests for personal use by adults the lowest law enforcement priority in the city.

“Passage of this initiative would increase public safety by freeing up local police resources to focus on serious issues and at the same time save taxpayer money by reducing arrests for a law that frankly, most Americans feel is unjust and more harmful to people than the drug itself.” said Evan Nison, Ballot Initiatives Coordinator for NORML-NJ.

While marijuana possession and use would remain illegal, it is hoped that a successful ballot initiative will result in a significantly reduced number of arrests for simple marijuana possession within the City of New Brunswick. Aggressively arresting and prosecuting citizens in New Brunswick for simple marijuana possession offenses costs taxpayers dearly and squanders precious New Brunswick police resources, which many feel would be much better spent on preventing and prosecuting serious and violent crime.

Almost half of the US population admits to having tried marijuana and decades of aggressive arresting and expensive prosecution for personal marijuana possession by adults has utterly failed to lower or even affect the prevalence of marijuana use in any way. Subsequently, there is growing discontent by taxpayers regarding the continued irresponsible use of tax revenue on ineffectual marijuana policies.

“As a society facing one of the harshest recessions in almost a century we can no longer afford to indiscriminately waste tremendous amounts of tax dollars and police resources on outdated, misguided and irrational marijuana policies which clearly do not work,” says Frederic DiMaria, Jr., Esq., a practicing criminal attorney and Chairman of NORML-NJ.

Last year nearly 30,000 people in New Jersey were arrested for marijuana possession, costing taxpayers an estimated $3,000 to $10,000 per case. The criminal penalties in New Jersey, widely regarded as some of the nation’s harshest, can include up to six months in jail, severe fines and lengthy suspension of driving privileges even if no motor vehicle was involved in the crime. Conviction on a marijuana offense will also result in a criminal record reflecting a drug crime and can pose great difficulties in finding a job and accessing student financial aid. The latter is of obvious concern to college students, a substantial segment of the population of New Brunswick.

Matt Brockbank, a Rutgers student in New Brunswick helping to coordinate the local effort, said, “People need to look at the fact that alcohol causes significantly more harm on both the user and society than marijuana ever has. It’s time we rethink marijuana prohibition.”

Seattle, Washington, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Santa Cruz, California are among over 30 cities nationwide that have successfully adopted similar “Low-Priority” ordinances. Seattle’s policy resulted in a 75% reduction in simple marijuana possession arrests after just 2 years and has been hailed as a huge success. The New Brunswick initiative would be the first of its kind in New Jersey.

NORML-NJ is a statewide organization working to end marijuana prohibition, stop arrests of consumers and provide educational research and legal information on alternatives to marijuana prohibition.

To schedule an interview contact Evan Nison via email at

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Filed under Marijuana laws, New Brunswick NJ, Norml-NJ, press release

NFL – NFC Championship Saints Vs. Vikings Preview

CBS Sports- Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. analyst Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview the NFC title game.

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Filed under CBS Sports, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, NFC Championship game, NFL, Preview