Friday, March 31, 2017

Young, Involved And Devoted To A Great Cause!

The Office for Life and Family of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will host its annual “High School Spring Respect Life Rally” for students in grades 9 through 12. Over 300 local Archdiocesan and Private Catholic high school students are expected to take part. The theme of this year’s spring rally will be “Leaders for Life.” 

The event is meant to build upon pro-life activities many Catholic students take part in throughout the school year including the national March for Life rally held in Washington, D.C. each January, which commemorates the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, by the Supreme Court. The day-long program will be run by Joseph Aquilante, Department Chair of the Theology Department at Bishop Shanahan High School (Chester County) and members of The Culture Project International.

Thursday, April 6, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Neumann University
The Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality, and Character Development
One Neumann Drive
Aston, PA 19014 (Delaware County)

At approximately, 10:00 a.m. the keynote will be delivered by Karen Gaffney. Ms. Gaffney is a nationally renowned presenter and is the President of a non-profit organization, The Karen Gaffney Foundation, which “is dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, communities and the workplace for people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities.” Ms. Gaffney is also a long distance open water swimmer and the first person with Down Syndrome to deliver a TED talk.

The Culture Project International is an initiative of young people who restore culture through the experience of virtue. They proclaim the dignity of the human person and the richness of living sexual integrity, inviting our culture to become fully alive. Members of its team make a commitment of at least one year of their life to enter into a program in which they themselves live and pray in community, receive formation and also are sent out on mission nationally and internationally. They give presentations to youth about the dignity of the human person and about sexual integrity.

Note: For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit www.aopcatholicschools.org.

Could This Be The Crucial Turning Point, Now?


What They’re Saying:
 ‘Governor Christie will be instrumental in researching how to best combat this serious epidemic’
 ____________________________________________________________________
  
President Donald J. Trump: “I made a promise to the American people to take action to keep drugs from pouring into our country and to help those who have been so badly affected by them. Governor Christie will be instrumental in researching how to best combat this serious epidemic and how to treat those it has affected. He will work with people on both sides of the aisle to find the best ways for the Federal Government to treat and protect the American people from this serious problem.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Senator Pat Toomey: Too many lives lost to opioid, heroin abuse. Thankful @POTUS @GovChristie making it a priority to end #OpioidCrisis (Tweet, 3/30/17)

Senator Claire McCaskill: “Drug overdose deaths, the majority of which are from heroin and prescription opioids, are a national crisis. We need all hands on deck, including administration officials, and I look forward to working with them on anything that will prevent the tragedies happening in communities across Missouri. We’ll need the help of Governor Christie, President Trump, and others at all levels of government, from any party affiliation, if we’re going to make progress and save lives.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick: “New Jersey has taken the lead in fighting addiction. Governor Christie has been a national advocate for treatment for those suffering from this disease, and is deeply committed to fighting and winning this battle. President Trump has made an outstanding choice.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Vox: “President Trump will soon sign an executive order that creates a commission to tackle the opioid epidemic and has reportedly put New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in charge of it. Christie is a strong choice, given that just this February, he signed into law one of the nation’s most comprehensive laws to combat the growing opioid and heroin crisis.” (Sarah Frostenson, Gov. Chris Christie passed one of the most aggressive laws to combat the opioid epidemic,Vox, 3/29/2017)

Drug Policy Alliance: @GovChristie supported many evidence-based solutions to opioid crisis in NJ, we hope he brings this perspective to #opioidcommission” (Tweet, 3/29/17)

Roseanne Scotti, Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey State Director“He’s done a great deal around the opioid problem here in New Jersey.” (Ian Bush, Governor Christie To Join White House Opioid Effort, CBS Philadelphia, 3/29/17)

·         “We have broad access to naloxone, or Narcan, now, which is the opioid overdose antidote. It’s available in most of our pharmacies at this point, non-profits like needle exchange programs, community groups, the state has put some money behind that. The governor was the first governor to fund needle exchange programs in New Jersey.”

·         “And I think overall encouraging a public health approach to this issue and not a criminal justice approach which is where Governor Christie has really focused his energy.”
  
Hardwick Mayor Jim Perry, NJ Conference of Mayors : “As a Mayor who lost my son to an Opioid addiction, I am proud of the work Gov. Christie has done to battle this deadly disease. I look forward to working with him myself in the future and believe he is the right person for the job.  I wish him all the luck in his success that I know he will have in the position.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario Kranjac: “We have now seen the devastating results of opioid addiction in New Jersey and I am very confident that Governor Christie will create and implement a framework to solve this crisis.  Clearly, new thinking and new actions need to be taken.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Andrew Kessler, Slingshot Solutions Founder And Principal: “He has been at the forefront, he has signed legislation, he has put it at the center of the agenda, he’s been one of the best.” (Dylan Scott, Chris Christie brings heartfelt approach to Trump’s opioid commission, but some controversy too, Stat News, 3/29/17)

Kevin Meara, City of Angels: “Gov. Christie is the right man at the right time and now the country will benefit from his leadership and experience gained in addressing NJ's heroin/opioid epidemic. Having traveled extensively over the past year, I can tell you that everyone from New Hampshire to West Virginia will have an advocate in our governor.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Donna DeStefano, Parents In Connection for Kids: “Seeing our Governor’s efforts to reduce opioid abuse expand to a national level by President Trump is a tribute to him, his administration and all the people of New Jersey who have stepped up to help change policies, educate, advocate, treat and fight the stigma associated with this disease. Families across America are in for the fight of their lives when dealing with a substance use disorder. Hopefully they will now get the tools and resources to not only help their loved ones, but the tools to heal their entire family once they have been affected.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

Alan Oberman, John Brooks Recovery Center: “I have always found the Governor sincere regarding his deep felt concern for the opioid addicted individual. The recent regulations regarding prescriptions are another positive step in limiting access to potentially addicting medications.” (Statement, 3/29/17)

To Know When And How To Reach Out . . .


Gov. Christie: We Need To Give People An Opportunity To Detox At Their Most Vulnerable Moment -- at the recent White House Conference with the Commission on Drug Abuse that Christie will be heading.

Ever Think Back On It THIS Way?

You REALLY Need To See This, No Matter What . . .



New undercover video shows Dr. DeShawn Taylor, previous Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and longtime abortion provider at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, graphically describing how to deliver intact fetuses in late-term abortions to harvest high-quality body parts, and indicating possible cover-up of infanticide.

The footage is never-before-released material obtained by The Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover videos recorded top-level Planned Parenthood leaders negotiating the harvesting and sale of the hearts, lungs, livers, and brains of aborted fetuses for financial benefit.

At a networking reception at a Planned Parenthood conference, CMP investigators posing as buyers from a biotech company are introduced to Dr. Taylor by Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services.

Dr. Taylor confirms she does elective abortions on healthy fetuses and pregnant women up to 24 weeks. When the investigators ask her about obtaining intact fetal organs, Dr. Taylor replies, “It’s not a matter of how I feel about it coming out intact, but I gotta worry about my staff and people’s feelings about it coming out looking like a baby.”

She continues, “We have the people who do our paperwork for the fetal death certificates, they email us calling them ‘babies’. Baby this, baby that, baby so-and-so, and I’m like, that’s creepy!”

Dr. Taylor explains to the investigators, “In Arizona, if the fetus comes out with any signs of life, we’re supposed to transport it. To the hospital.” When one investigator then asks, “Is there any standard procedure for verifying signs of of life?” Dr. Taylor replies, “Well, the thing is, I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right?”

Dr. Taylor then laughs as she repeats what the Arizona law requires, and says, “It’s a mess. It’s a mess.”

Dr. Taylor acknowledges that the feticidal chemical digoxin cannot be used in an abortion where fetal body parts will be harvested for sale, but she remarks that in a standard dismemberment dilation and evacuation abortion, “My biceps appreciate when the dig[oxin] works,” to kill the fetus before the procedure. “I remember when I was a [Family Planning] Fellow and I was training, I was like, Oh, I have to hit the gym for this,” she says, describing the force she feels in her biceps when performing a dismemberment abortion with forceps.

Dr. Taylor also mentions she was trained by Dr. Nucatola. In CMP’s first-released video in July 2015, Dr. Nucatola discussed the per-specimen pricing of fetal tissue and harvesting intact hearts, lungs, livers, and brains using partial-birth abortions.

CMP Project Lead David Daleiden notes, “This footage shows a longtime Planned Parenthood abortion doctor willing to sell baby parts for profit, use criminal abortion methods to get more intact body parts, and even cover up infanticide. This doctor was trained by Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, and encouraged by her to participate in the fetal body parts market. This footage is just a preview of the damning and incriminating admissions of Planned Parenthood leaders on our further unreleased tapes, being censored by an unconstitutional gag order from a federal judge in San Francisco.”

Daleiden continues, “The only difference between Planned Parenthood’s barbaric abortion business, and that of the notorious Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is that Gosnell was not so careful as to ‘pay attention to who’s in the room.’ Elected officials must stop forcing taxpayers to subsidize Planned Parenthood’s criminal abortion business, and the Department of Justice must immediately open a full investigation and prosecute Planned Parenthood to the fullest extent of the law.”

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). In December, after over a year of comprehensive, nationwide investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel referred Planned Parenthood Federation of America, several of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country, and three of their fetal parts business associates to the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

A Familiar Face, Welcomed Back With Love!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

There's No Better Time To Do This Than NOW!

Oh, Yes -- Really! There Was Once A Time . . .



The 25th Annual Academy Awards (March 19th, 1953).
There was a time when there were real movie stars -- stars who walked out of their cars right onto the street, up close and personal -- even for Big Events. These stars weren't surrounded by dozens of handlers and wannabes. They didn't come with a retinue of security guards and thuggish hangers-on. Streets were not shut down to accommodate them and their fans were not cordoned off in elevated pens, so far away they could barely see them. 
This was Hollywood. They were its inhabitants. They were handsome and beautiful and glamorous and they were right there to see and be seen. 
This was how Tinseltown was born!

Good News! -- Inspiring, And With A Happy Ending!

Today, Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School (OLPR), in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, honored eight of the highest performing students from its Class of 2017 with a $2,000.00 scholarship to further their education at an Archdiocesan high school. These students also received an individual matching scholarship from Father Judge High School, Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls, or Roman Catholic High School, the Archdiocesan high schools they will attend in September.

OLPR unveiled the Matching Starter Scholarship Program in October 2016. The intention is to Pay It Forward to the families of high performing eighth grade students starting with the Class of 2017. Students had to meet the following criteria: commitment to academic excellence in addition to demonstrating qualities of exemplary Catholic identity, leadership, courtesy, cooperation, effort, and service.

“We are truly blessed to be able to offer this one-of-a-kind scholarship program here at Our Lady of Port Richmond,” said Sister Mary Ripp, SCC, Principal. “Our ability to do this is made possible by the tireless work of our Home and School Association, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as the sacrifices of our families and the dedication of our students. For us to give something back - "Pay It Forward" - to those with a firm belief in the value of Catholic education and assist them in continuing their journeys in Catholic high school is our way of saying ‘Thank you,’ and helping our students reach the limits of their God-given potential by continuing our mission beyond their time at OLPR.”

The majority of the funds raised to support this program come from the OLPR Home and School Association. OLPR has budgeted $80,000.00 for the program through 2020.

Mr. Christopher Mominey, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary for Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who assisted in presenting each student with a certificate of recognition, said, “OLPR is a shining example of the mission of Catholic education.” Mominey went on to say, “As Secretary for Catholic Education, I consider myself truly blessed. Every day, I wake up with one mission in mind—to equip saints for this life and the next. Today is a testament to that mission and to OLPR’s commitment to its students.”

Father Dennis Fedak, Pastor, Nativity BVM, and Pastoral Administrator, Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School; Ms. Judy Sweeney, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools and Director of Government Programs, Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Mr. Brian Patrick King, President, Father Judge High School; Mr. Mark Gudas, Director of Admissions, Father Judge High School; Mr. Larry Rosbach, Assistance Principal for Academic Affairs, Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls; and Mr. Adam Gault, Director of Admissions and Communications, Roman Catholic High School were present for the announcement.

Note: For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit http://www.aopcatholicschools.org/. For information about Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School, please visit www.ourladyofportrichmond.com.

What They Won't Show You On The TV News . . .



President Trump kicks off a women's empowerment conference at the White House.

So Now, Here's A Simple One-Line Solution . . .



On the same day that the House of Representatives canceled its vote on Ryancare, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks filed a simple one-line bill to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.

Hey, You'd Better Get In On The Ground Floor . . . .

A Great Opportunity Awaits: Go Ahead, Apply Now!

The National Italian American Foundation is excited to run the NIAF Congressional Fellowship Program for the second year. During the fall 2017, the Foundation will place outstanding Italian American college students, graduate students and recent graduates in offices of members of the Italian American Congressional Delegation (IACD) to encourage and support the next generation of Italian American leadership. 

Five students and/or recent graduates will be selected as NIAF Congressional Fellows and will travel to Washington D.C. to work in a Congressional office during the fall of 2017. NIAF will award fellows with astipend of $1000 to aid with travel and living expenses while in Washington. 
Fellows will also receive training at NIAF headquarters and will be invited to participate in NIAF events throughout the fall, including NIAF Public Policy Forums and our 42nd Annual Gala Weekend from November 3-5.

Apply Online Today!

CLICK HERE

Hey, Whatever Happened To? . . . Here He Is!



David Hasselhoff – The Official World-Fan-Cruise
Fans from all over the world will meet on 4th of November 2017 on board of the cruise ship Costa Favolosa

In about half a year the Costa Favolosa will prepare for David Hasselhoff´s appearance. You will have to decide quickly if you want to join THE HOFF on this once-in-a-lifetime cruise.
A selection of cabins is still available, but going fast. So sign up quickly. In the video below, David Hasselhoff talks about all the planned activities on board.
His great star power and his talent as an entertainer will make the cruise unforgettable. Join him and Team Hoff on board.

Quotes from David Hasselhoff:

"Come party Hoff style! Rock and Roll on the sea with me and my team! 

"Movie night, 'Meet and Greet', I'll be singing all my hits and perform an intimate evening of songs from Broadway to the West End...

"Don't miss your chance to really get to know one another!!" 

Love, David

4th to 9th November 2017
Costa Favolosa
Savona (Italy) – Rome (Italy) – Barcelona (Spain) – Marseille (France) – Savona (Italy)

Starting at 799 EUR per person (based on inside cabin double occupancy)
Detailed programme


Booking and information: www.georeisen.com/hasselhoff (available also in English).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Does This Go TOO Far? We'll Let YOU Decide . . .



Now showing on TV.

Put This Fun Outing On Your Calendar NOW!

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Charities Appeal (CCA) has partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies for the fifth consecutive year to host a night of family fun at Citizens Bank Park. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket purchased through a dedicated link will go directly to CCA.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
7:05 p.m.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox
Citizens Bank Park
1 Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148

CCA is the single largest fundraising initiative of the Archdiocese. This year’s Appeal focuses on “Giving Hope to All” and ensures the vitality of countless organizations and ministries throughout the five-county Archdiocese. Programs receiving funding from CCA include housing for the homeless, community food cupboards, afterschool academic enrichment and recreational opportunities for youth, and family support services.

To purchase tickets for the game and to support the Catholic Charities Appeal, please visit www.phillies.com/catholiccharitiesnight.

If 500 tickets are sold, a CCA beneficiary will sing the National Anthem and throw out the first pitch of the game. Seating will be located in the Outfield (101-107) at $38 per ticket, Pavilion (201-205) at $30 per ticket and Pavilion Deck (301-305) at $20 per ticket.

Note: To learn more about the Catholic Charities Appeal, please visit http://catholiccharitiesappeal.org/.

Still NOTORIOUS After All These Years!



Notorious Work of Modern Art
Marcel Duchamp and the Fountain ScandalOpens April 1 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
One hundred years ago, Duchamp’s Fountain turned the art world upside down. Was it art? A hoax? Join us as we celebrate the centennial of the provocative and influential work that changed the course of modern art. Learn the story of Fountain, with period photographs, publications, and more of the artist’s readymades from our unrivaled Duchamp collection.

Psst! Duchamp loved a good hoax, secret, riddle, and prank. Visit on April 9 and whisper “Richard Mutt” at the Admission desk for free entry and access to secret performances that will leave you with a story to tell.

P.S. Check out #DuchampScandal on April Fool’s Day. You’re welcome.

What A Great Lineup! Don't Miss These . . .

Free Library Author Events

Colum McCann | Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice  
Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM 

buy tickets online>>
The National Book Award winning author of Let the Great World Spin offers a pragmatic guide for aspiring writers. In conversation with Jason Freeman

Lauren Grodstein | Our Short History with Tom McAllister | The Young Widowers Handbook   
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 7:30 PM  

FREE | No tickets or reservations required
A poignant story of parenthood and sacrifice from the Rutgers-Camden professor and New York Times bestselling author of A Friend of the Family.

A bereaved husband carries his late wife's ashes on a cross-country road trip in the latest work from the Temple professor and Bury Me in My Jerseymemoirist

Wendy Lesser | You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn 
Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 7:30 PM  

buy tickets online>>
The prolific author and founder of Three Penny Review presents a biography of one of the 20th century's most revered architects.  


Of Interest

Author Talk: Francis Hoeber    
Wednesday April 5, 6:00 PM

Philadelphia City Institute Library | 1905 Locust Street
Author Francis Hoeber will discuss and autograph his book Against Time: Letters from Nazi Germany, 1938-1939.
Free Library Author Events
Andy Kahan, Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Director, Author Events
Laura Kovacs, Associate Producer & Director
Jason Freeman, Production Associate

phone: 215-567-4341
email: authorevents@freelibrary.org 
Join us online for event news, updates, and more!


Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
General Information
Author Events are held in the Montgomery Auditorium at the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, unless noted. Events generally consist of a talk by the author and a Q & A period with the audience followed by a book signing. Books are sold on-site. Seating begins 45 minutes prior to event start times. No tickets or reservations are required for Free Author Events.

Live American Sign Language translation of Author Events is provided upon request. Please call the Author Events Office at least two weeks in advance to request this service.

Back In the Spotlight; And For The Right Reasons!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A HUGE Win For Jobs, The Economy And Energy!

Today, Chairman Pennsylvania Republican Chairman Val DiGiorgio released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order that directs the EPA to suspend, revise, or rescind four actions related to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan:

“President Trump’s executive order is a huge win for Pennsylvania’s energy industry — especially for our coal miners. His rollback of the Obama Administration’s job-killing regulations will save 18,000 Pennsylvania jobs and keep energy prices from rising 25%.

“Despite these disastrous consequences Senator Casey supported this Obama Administration plan — another example of his hard turn to the left at the expense of Pennsylvania families.”

Well, It Makes Sense To Us - What About You?

A Sexual Appetite That Could Not Be Satisfied!




Does This Seem LikeOverkill To You?



The TSA is under fire after a video of a teenage boy getting patted down at a Dallas airport went viral after being posted by the boy’s mother. The mother says she requested an alternative screening for her son, who has special needs, but says they were “treated like dogs” instead. The teenage boy, according to the mother has brain disorder that can make him extremely sensitive to touch.

Anybody Paying Attention To THIS Anniversary?

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Catechetical Formation will sponsor a conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the catechism of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. will lead off the day with an opening prayer.

Monday, June 19, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The keynote presentations focus on the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and will be given by the following national recognized speakers: Jeff Cavins, author and founding host of EWTN’s “Life on the Rock,”; Dr. Scott Hahn, author of Rome Sweet Home and professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville; Mother Assumpta Long, O.P., Prioress General and one of four founding members of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; Matthew Bunson, author and Senior Contributer for EWTN News; Dr. Deborah Savage, Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Saint Paul's Seminary School of Divinity; and Jonathan Reyes, Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

To register, please visit http://phillyocf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/tradition.pdf

Note: Two core credits will be offered towards catechetical certification for elementary teachers, administrators, catechists and directors of religious education of the Archdiocese who attend.

Truly, The Place Is A Veritable Shrine . . .

Monday, March 27, 2017

Extending Care And Support To Everyone!

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. will be the principal celebrant at the annual Archdiocesan Mass for Persons with Disabilities. This Mass is sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate (OPDDA).
It is offered for the intention of persons with disabilities, the deaf community, their family, friends, and caregivers.

Saturday, April 1, 2017
10:30 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Archdiocesan Boys and Girls choir will cantor the Mass, and there will be light refreshments available afterwards in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center auditorium. All are welcome to attend. To RSVP, please visit www.opdarchphilly.org.

In an effort to augment services to the community, an Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Helpline was recently launched for those seeking information about services and support within the five-counties of the Archdiocese. The helpline is a result of a new collaboration between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate, Catholic Social Services’ Developmental Programs Division, and the Archdiocesan Schools of Special Education of the Archdiocese to ensure those individuals with disabilities and their caregivers have access to the greatest number of resources available.

The helpline offers referrals to the range of services available through Archdiocesan programs as well as partner providers. This free helpline is accessible to the public at 484-472-5041.

Who Knows? Maybe You'd Really Rather Stay Home

Here It Is, In Case You Missed It . . .



The end of yesterday's Kentucky, North Carolina game was a cliff-hanger and a heartbreaker. And, no -- we're not North Carolina fans.

Hey, It's Long Since Past Time For This . . .

Following an Asbury Park Press report highlighting the severe difficulties some victims of Superstorm Sandy have faced when dealing with home contractors, New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) renewed her call for the New Jersey Senate to pass S-532, the “Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act.” Since the bill was introduced, Beck has made five written requests to legislative leaders, and more by email and in person, for the bill to advance.

Description: http://www.senatenj.com/uploads/sandy-damage-520.jpg
Sen. Jennifer Beck’s “Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act” has awaited action by the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee since June 16, 2016. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)
Beck, the sponsor of the legislation, has prepared new letters to Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo requesting that a hearing be scheduled for S-532.

The “Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act” would allow the Department of Community Affairs to bar contractors who commit fraud from working in New Jersey and strip them of their licenses. It also would allow the Attorney General to sue on behalf of homeowners for negligence, when they currently can only act in criminal cases. Additionally, in instances where a homeowner was approved for a grant by the State and has made commitments based on that approval, S-532 requires the State to fund the grant even if they later realize the approval was issued in error.

“We’ve heard too many stories of predatory contractors walking away from unfinished Sandy recovery projects after getting paid, and of the State doing little to address complaints or prevent others from becoming new victims,” said Beck. “Sadly, the stories detailed by the Asbury Park Press mirror dozens of others that I’ve heard at the many public and private meetings I’ve held to provide assistance to Sandy victims. The ‘Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act’ was written based on my work with Sandy victims to prevent further harm, and to hold recovery contractors accountable for their work. I’m hopeful that we can continue working on a bipartisan basis in the New Jersey Senate to move these important protections forward.”

The legislation was first introduced in 2015 in response to growing complaints that contractors and home lifters were leaving jobs unfinished and walking away with tens of thousands of dollars of Sandy recovery grants and often more from homeowners’ own pockets.

Although the bill was advanced from the Senate Community Urban Affairs Committee on June 16, 2016 with unanimous bipartisan support, it has not advanced from the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee where it is currently awaiting a hearing. Beck’s letter urges Budget Committee Chairman Sarlo to schedule that hearing, which is necessary for the bill to advance.

“For many families, the devastation caused by Sandy has become secondary to the extreme hardships caused by the contractors who were trusted with victims’ homes,” said Beck. “Those families need a process that allows them to recover both grant funds and their own personal money from contractors who were paid, but never did the work. That shortcoming in state law is what the ‘Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act’ would fix. It’s time to get the bill moving again.”

The “Superstorm Sandy Homeowners Protection Act” narrowly extends the protections of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to homeowners who have received a RREM or LMI grant. More specifically, the act allows the state to take action against contractors who violate the State Uniform Construction Code Act.

Due to a confidential reporting process established under the act, homeowners would no longer have to fear retribution from a builder. The DCA would establish a confidential method for reporting complaints, and the DCA and Project Managers would be required to forward these complaints to the proper authorities.

Other potential customers would then be able to view anonymized complaints against contractors online when deciding who to hire to work on their own homes.

Further, the legislation provides the DCA Commissioner with the authority to permanently debar a builder from construction work in New Jersey if the builder willfully commits fraud, completes work in a grossly negligent manner, or willfully violates the State Uniform Construction Code Act, despite a reasonable opportunity to correct.

“These are aggressive steps that I’ve proposed, but they’re warranted because contractors continue to prey on victims of the worst natural disaster in New Jersey history,” added Beck. “With a recovery process that has been so long and difficult, we should make every effort to prevent politics from getting in the way of helping families return to their homes. I’m more than willing to work with any legislator who wants to help victims of Sandy contractor fraud get the justice they deserve. I urge all of my colleagues in the Legislature to support and join in this important effort.”

You Might Be Surprised By The Evidence . . .

The School of Theological Studies at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary previously announced the 2016-2017 Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Lecture Series.

This series encompasses the Archbishop’s Lecture Series, the Theology Lecture Series, the Philosophy Lecture Series, and the Cardinal Foley Lecture Series. It is an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, its authentic content, and its orientation toward the transformation of the world around us.

All lectures are free, open to the public, and take place at

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
Vianney Hall Auditorium
100 East Wynnewood Road
Wynnewood, PA 19096 (Montgomery County)

Monday, March 27, 2017
Presenter: Father Robert Spitzer
Topic: The Evidence for God from Contemporary Science –
Extending the Legacy of Monsignor George LemaƮtre
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

About the Lecture
Popular media suggests that science and philosophy have difficulty providing evidence from creation for the existence of a creator God. However, developments in physical cosmology indicate the existence of a transcendent cause of creation. These advances even offer a glimpse into the nature of that cause. Father Robert Spitzer will discuss evidence for the existence of a transcendent creator and the implications for humanity and our universe.

Background on Presenter
Father Spitzer, a Jesuit priest, is President of the Magis and Spitzer Centers. The Magis Center produces materials showing the relationship of faith and reason, and provides rational responses to false, secular myths. The Spitzer Center produces facilitated curricula to strengthen culture, faith, and spirit in Catholic organizations as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Father Spitzer was President of Gonzaga University (1998-2009). He hosts “Father Spitzer’s Universe" on EWTN and has been a guest on numerous television and radio programs.

Additional upcoming programs include:
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
John Cardinal Foley Symposium

Note: For additional information on this lecture series or to RSVP, please contact Father John Ames, Dean of the School of Theology Studies at sts@scs.edu or visit http://www.scs.edu/lectures.

Oh, What A Colorful Panoply We've Got For You!

From Matt Rooney at Save Jersey:
We’ve had a few more counties fall into place since our first primary maps a week ago, Save Jerseyans, so in order to keep you informed of all these developments (and out of mutual love for these brightly colored maps), here’s the latest Save Jersey NJGOP gubernatorial primary battle map:
The Map Key:
Pink – Kim Guadagno already has the party “line”
Light Pink – Guadagno has the party slogan/county party support/something less than a proper “line”
Orange – Jack Ciattarelli has the line
Light Orange – Ciattarell is strongly favored to win the Hunterdon line (he represents part of the county)
There’s different layers of chess going on this cycle, Game of Thrones-style; Christie World vs. Guadagno, Gilmore vs. Layton, etc and so on. We’ve discussed these angles in different other posts and we’ll continue to do so.
The numbers?
Let’s start by looking at registered Republicans (by region) to understand how the “line” battle may’ve helped set the chess board for the final 2+ months:
The Jersey Shore: Guadagno locked down the line in all four Jersey Shore counties – Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean – which cumulatively account for 314,141 registered Republicans (1,213,662), or better than 1/4 of all registered Republicans state-wide. It’s a great base to build upon.
South Jersey: Except for Burlington County? Where Ciattarelli grabbed a line where there are 74,722 GOP voters? A clean sweep. We already addressed Cape May and Atlantic; we’ll deal with Salem later. For now, know that Camden + Gloucester + Cumberland = 110,489.
Northeast Jersey (NYC Suburbs): Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson are in the Guadagno column, a bloc worth another 211,206 votes; Essex is Ciattarelli’s, and there are 50,317 registered Essex Republicans.
Ciattarelli’s Trenton Inner-Ring: Ciattarelli tended to do better in counties near the capital. We already addressed Burlington County; Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and probably Hunterdon (this week) = 251,456
Kim’s Quasi-Lines/Slogans: Salem, Morris, Warren and Sussex counties’ Republican leaders are with her, but each of the aforementioned counties have traditionally awarded something less than a line. A slogan, for example. Their total worth is 201,826.
So Guadagno boasts the “line” in counties where a grand total of 635,836 registered Republicans live, a little more than 52% of New Jersey registered Republicans. Not too shabby.
Ciattarelli? Better than half of that number, representing 376,495 Republicans, or 31% of the NJGOP’s registered voter base.
Of course lines don’t tell the WHOLE story. There’s plenty of debate as to the extent lines still matter at all. Let’s examine a few of the other variables to figure out how/if they apply in 2017:
(1) Name Recognition: The #1 factor in determining whether someone can run, and win, off the line with ease? Name recognition. The most recent public poll found Guadagno at 28% and Ciattarelli at 2%; the latter’s name recognition clearly remains his biggest hurdle and, in my humble opinion, the reason why the lines we’ve discussed above do have significant value. Ciattarelli will need to out-work Guadagno, in both the counties he won (more on this below) and in other counties, too, particularly ones like Morris where there isn’t a proper line, to pump up his name ID over the next two months. The good or at least potentially positive news for Ciattarelli? This isn’t the electoral college. A vote in Cape May or Salem counts just as much as a vote in Bergen.
(2) Money: Guadagno is in the lead and likely to remain so but Ciattarelli is expected to qualify for matching funds this week. I think this variable will ultimately end up being a wash for all intents and purposes. There’s a point of diminishing return when you’re running the type of hyper-targeted race these campaigns will need to run to win on June 6th. Neither camp needs gazillions of dollars to reach the relatively small primary electorate, but at the risk of going overboard, it needs to be said that you also can’t do it on a shoe-string WHEN you’re running against candidates with cash and at least one who’s got some party ID (this is a contrast from the surprise 2014 Jeff Bell win, when all four GOP candidates had less than $65k combined as of April 1st). That’s the bad news for Rogers, Singh and Rullo.
(3) Campaign Organization: Advantage TBD. The LG’s operation is formidable and she’s got some talented, experienced GOTV operatives in her employ. She’s going to get her requisite ‘touches’ without question. On the flip side of the coin, Chris Russell (Ciattarelli’s general consultant) knows how to run a targeted mail program. Russell’s challenge is that he’s got to reach a large number of Republicans in counties where Guadagno holds the line and, unlike when Lonegan came somewhat numerically close to Chris Christie, Russell has two months to brand Ciattarelli in those targeted primary voters’ minds. Ciattarelli partisans are confident that their candidate can win, or at least succeed expectations, when he actually gets to connect with the voters (see the Mercer convention).
(4) Are All Lines Made Equal? Not necessarily, and this is where Guadagno is probably rescued IF things somehow end up being close. Don’t take these numbers to the bank (simply trying to make a point about turnout), but if you look at Ocean County (a deep red Guadagno county) versus Camden (one of Guadagno’s blue counties) in 2009, the last year we saw a truly competitive Republican state-wide primary, and you compare current registration numbers to turnout percentages?
Ocean actual raw turnout, Christie + Lonegan (37,618) vs. 127,089 registered (2017) = 29% primary turnout
Camden actual raw turnout, Christie + Lonegan (10,601) vs. 49,754 registered (2009) = 21%
Again, since we’re meshing data sets that are 8 years apart? We’re not aiming for a precise stat here.
My only point: most of Ciattarelli’s counties are “blue” like Kim’s Camden (Mercer, Union, Middlesex) and therefore don’t have strong GOP organizations like Camden. On the other hand, Guadagno strongholds like Ocean and Monmouth have very strong Republican organizations.
Mercer, for example? 23.5% GOP turnout using our comparison.
It’s therefore arguably easier for Guadagno to get out her vote because some of her larger, redder counties are going to do it independent of her campaign GOTV program’s influence. Ciattarelli needs to work harder/fight smarter to win, a common theme you’ve hopefully picked up on by now.
(5) The Legislative Primary Factor. We’ve already said that turnout is low in primaries (and New Jersey elections in general), particularly off-year contests. 2016 broke records thanks to the Sanders vs. Clinton fight and GOP base enthusiasm for Trump. A miserably-low 21-22% cast ballots in June 2015.
Something that can boost numbers? Besides a hot race at the top of the ballot? Hotly-contested local and legislative contests a little further down the column. For example, since she’s got the line in Bergen AND Passaic Counties (90% of LD40), Kim Guadagno could benefit from the tough Republican legislative primary pitting Kristin Corrado and Paul DiGaetano against one another for the right to succeed Kevin O’Toole. In a strange twist, Guadagno is running with Corrado in Passaic (where the Passaic clerk has the line) and DiGaetano in Bergen (where he’s the candidate the choice). Another example? LD12 where Burlington’s Bill Layton is backing Jack Ciattarelli and Art Haney, the latter whom is challenging Guadagno backer Sam Thompson for State Senate. What if Layton dumps a ton of money in the Monmouth and Ocean parts of the district? Does this pull potential voters off of Guadagno’s line?
There’s more to analyze (and we will, I promise you), Save Jerseyans.
For now, here’s the bottom line:
Kim Guadagno is (still) the front runner for this June’s nomination, but she’s in the odd position of being the “establishment” figure without anything close to full establishment backing. All of the grief, none of the benefit. What do I mean? Well, she’s a much weaker front runner than Chris Christie back in 2009 for a host of reasons, notably because the Christie World types have rejected her and thrown their collective support behind Ciattarelli (see the Union convention) and, at the rank and file level, some Republicans still question whether she’s too “guilty by association” for having worked with a Governor whose approval rating is below 20%. I heard this line A LOT in my private conversations at Saturday’s Middlesex convention from both sides.
Christie had all 21 lines when he ran against Steve Lonegan and walked away with 18 counties on Primary Day; Guadagno heads to June with 10 + party backing in 4 more.
Would I rather have the real estate she owns at this stage of the game vs. Ciattarelli? You bet!
This race nevertheless retains the potential to become competitive. Think of if kind of like a fantasy football match-up. To win, Ciattarelli’s players need to out-score their projections across the board, and Guadagno’s squad likely needs to under-perform (so Kim’s QB scores 5pts but Ciattarelli’s kicker gets 20 points), making a Ciattarelli victory unlikely but not exactly impossible either. “Any given Sunday?” Any given primary, too.
We’ll keep you in the loop….