Friday, July 30, 2010

Weddings Have Gotten Way Outa Control

Let's face it, the $5 million Chelsea Clinton wedding is just the latest example of something that's become all too evident: Weddings have gotten way outa control.

About two-and-a-half million weddings are held in this country every year and August, September and October have become three of the hottest months for nuptials. In fact many surveys now say that August, not June, is the biggest month for weddings. You may have noticed that weddings aren’t what they used to be. They’re bigger. They’re more elaborate. And like most movies nowadays they seem to go on and on.

With $72 billion spent annually on U. S. weddings each year the wedding industry is a big business. And more and more the wedding itself is a destination. In recent years the number of destination weddings has tripled. With more than 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce it’s seems that attending the wedding is nearly as much of a commitment as the marriage itself. This is certainly the case when it comes to celebrity weddings. The wedding of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston cost a million dollars and the marriage survived for a mere 60 months – about the length of a typical car loan. But we’ve forgotten all that. Now we’re too busy aping Chelsea's lavish wedding that features a reception for 300 on a huge, country estate with the wedding cake along costing $11,000.
Hey, I’ve got nothing against love and I think marriage is a great institution. I’m such a true believer that I’ve been married to the same woman for the better part of my life. But I think weddings have gotten out of control. They’ve turned into a long, tedious ordeal.
Once upon a time a guy simply proposed to a gal, held his breath and waiting for her to say “yes.” Now the proposal itself has become a huge event. It has to be different. It has to be dramatic. It has to be memorable. And that’s only the beginning. Typically a costly year of planning, parties and non-stop stress follows accompanied by a near-hysterical chorus of family and friends commenting on everything from the sidelines.
It’s gotten so bad that there are now thousands of sites on the Internet to help people cope with wedding stress. You can even learn self-hypnosis to deal with the anxiety of an approaching wedding.
But I have a better idea: scale down the plans; keep wedding hucksters at bay; tell the relatives to butt out; ease envious friends out of the way; get in touch with your instincts and follow your heart.
Or, as St. Augustine once said: “Love, and do as you please.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Toomey: Sestak Health Care Will Pile Up Costs

Yesterday, at a press conference with local Delaware County doctors, Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate and former small business owner Pat Toomey highlighted the major differences between his approach of more competition and less costs to Congressman Joe Sestak’s government-run health care bill.

Congressman Joe Sestak and his Democratic colleagues have a history of overpromising and under-delivering.

CLAIM #1: Sestak and his Democratic colleagues promised that health care costs would not go up.

TRUTH: According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services the health care bill will do nothing to control health care costs and will actually cause health care costs to skyrocket (CBO, 05/28/10) (CMS, 04/22/10)

CLAIM #2: Sestak and his Democratic colleagues promised that if you like your health care coverage you will get to keep it.

TRUTH: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and President Obama’s own Department of Health and Human Services, millions will lose their coverage because of the Sestak’s government-run health care bill. Former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin also said that the health care legislation will encourage employers to drop their current insurance plans for as many as 35 million Americans. (CBO, 03/18/10) (CMS, 04/22/10) (Federal Register, 06/17/10) (American Action Forum, May 2010)

CLAIM #3: Sestak and his Democrats promised that they wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class.

TRUTH: The Joint Committee on Taxation found that Sestak’s government-run health care bill will increase taxes on the middle class by $3.9 billion in 2019 alone. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also found that the medical device tax, pharmaceutical fees, and excise tax will be passed on to consumers. (CMS, 04/22/10) (The Hill, 04/12/10)

“Congressman Joe Sestak’s solution for every problem is more government, more spending, and more taxes, and the result is always to make the problem worse,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik. “Objective sources have reported that Congressman Sestak’s government-run health care bill will increase health care costs, increase taxes on the middle class, and cause millions of people to lose their current coverage. Pennsylvanian’s don’t need those kind of ‘solutions.’”

Remember Gino's Burgers? They'll Soon Return!

Do you remember Gino's Hamburgers?
Many of us do -- and we remember the chain fondly.
Gino's Hamburgers was founded in Baltimore by Baltimore Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti and running back Alan Ameche, along with their close friend Louis Fischer, in 1957.
It was an East Coast regional fast food mainstay and had 359 company-owned locations when it was acquired by Marriott Corporation in 1982. Marriott discontinued the brand and converted locations to their Roy Rogers Restaurants chain.
The last Gino's, located in Pasadena, Maryland and owned independently from Marriott, closed in 1991.
But Gino's has not been visible in the Philadelphia area market for a long time.
Gino's was known for high quality hamburgers such as the Sirloiner, which was made from sirloin steak, and the Gino Giant, which predated and later competed with the Big Mac. The company held the franchise for Kentucky Fried Chicken in the middle-Atlantic states. Their slogan was "Everybody Goes to Gino's" (or sometimes "Gino's is the Place to Go"). Gino's also pioneered indoor seating at its fast food outlets.
Well, Gino's is set to return!
Marchetti, Romano, and Fischer plan to open new Gino's restaurants in 2010, with franchise information now available.
Marchetti and Fischer will be serving as consultants.
The new restaurant plans to serve burgers, chicken sandwichs, hand-cut french fries and hand-spun milkshakes. Initially, the chain plans to open locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In charge is Tom Romano, who worked for 20 years with the company, and was C.O.O. in 1982 when the chain was sold.
"It's apparent there's a need for better burgers out there," said Romano, citing the success of such chains as Five Guys.
Gino's plans to make its burgers to order from fresh beef.
For more information on Gino's return, click here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Bloated Agency (DRPA) Robs Taxpayers

New jersey Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco, R-Gloucester and Camden, yesterday called on the Attorneys General of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to investigate the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and its practices following the admitted abuse of public funds by its public safety director and reports of alleged cronyism and pension padding.

See today's news articles below:
DRPA CEO John Matheussen, who called the matter "a judgment error," imposed a small fine on DRPA Director of Public Safety Michael Joyce for allowing his daughter to use a borrowed authority-issued transponder for 18 months to travel to Philadelphia to attend school.

In a letter requesting the federal probe, DiCicco wrote, "The public is entitled to know whether this episode warrants criminal charges and if the authority is engaged in any other practice that law enforcement should be concerned with. Separate media reports have suggested instances of cronyism and pension padding. All matters should be fully investigated."

The $300-million-a-year bi-state agency is funded by the $4 tolls of hard-working New Jersey and Pennsylvania commuters and families who cross the Delaware River for work and recreation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Toomey To Sestak: Return Rangel $$$$

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate and former small business owner Pat Toomey called on Congressman Joe Sestak to live up to his own standard of accountability and return $12,000 in contributions from the ethically-challenged Rep. Charlie Rangel.
Yesterday, the bipartisan House Ethics Committee announced that Charlie Rangel is being charged with multiple ethics violations following a two-year investigation.
Over the past week, Congressman Sestak has refused to keep his pledge and return over $100,000 in contributions from people who received earmarks through his Congressional office, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
And so far, Congressman Sestak has refused to return at least $12,000 in donations from Rep. Rangel’s campaign committee and leadership PAC.

  • Sestak accepted $2,000 from Rangel for Congress on September 18, 2006 (CQMoneyLine).
  • Sestak accepted $5,000 from Charlie Rangel’s National Leadership PAC in 2008 (Open Secrets).
  • Sestak accepted $5,000 from Charlie Rangel’s National Leadership PAC in 2006 (Open Secrets).

To make matters worse, Congressman Sestak has voted to back up the ethically challenged Rangel multiple times. When Sestak had the chance to save taxpayers $2 million and eliminate an earmark for the “Charlie Rangel Center for Public Service” in New York City, requested by Rep. Charlie Rangel, Congressman Sestak voted to keep the earmark (RC #678, 07/19/07). Now this “Charlie Rangel Center” is a subject of Rep. Rangel’s many ethics violations.
In addition, in October of 2009, Sestak voted against a measure to remove Rep. Rangel as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee for the duration of the ethics investigation (RC #759, 10/07/09).
“Throughout the campaign, Congressman Sestak has spoken about accountability and putting principle over politics, but it is now becoming clear that his pledges and lofty promises are just hollow words from another Washington insider,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik. “If Congressman Sestak is serious about holding himself accountable and putting principle over politics, he would return the $119, 650 he took in violation of his own pledge and he would return the $12,000 he took from Rep. Charlie Rangel.”

Christie Vetoes Spending Bills

Citing the unprecedented economic and fiscal difficulties faced by New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie yesterday vetoed Senate Bills 2134 and 2139 and Assembly Bill 1678. These bills ignore current economic realities, as evidenced by the $11 billion shortfall in the FY 2011 budget, and would add millions of dollars in unbudgeted additional state spending.
In vetoing the bills, Governor Christie noted that the State of New Jersey continues to confront historic economic and fiscal crises and that these bills add $132 million in State spending that was not accounted for in the Budget nor envisioned as part of the bipartisan agreement on a spending plan. Governor Christie wrote in the veto message to the Legislature, "state spending has been reset to levels the taxpayers can afford and supplemental spending that would return to the unchecked spending and out of control budget shortfalls of the past will not make it past the Governor's desk."
Even after closing a $2.2 billion shortfall in the FY 2010 budget and an $11 billion budget deficit in the FY 2011 budget, New Jersey continues to face long-standing, structural difficulties in its finances that require continued fiscal restraint and additional reforms. Governor Christie will continue to demand fiscal responsibility and accountability in government and advocate for the necessary reforms to put New Jersey on a stable financial foundation in the long run. Continuing to make unsupportable expenditures will only take New Jersey backwards and follow the same, irresponsible path of the past that led the State to the fiscal crisis we have only recently begun to overcome.

Christie On ABC's This Week, Sunday

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the guest on ABC's This Week with host Jake Tapper on Sunday, July 25.
The show will air at 10 AM on Channel 7 in New York and at 10:30 AM on Channel 6 in Philadelphia. Check your local listings for times throughout the rest of the nation.
Don't miss this interview with America's most exciting new political personality.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bold Plan: Christie Sees 'New' Atlantic City

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants a new Atlantic City -- a leisure and vacation destination that's cleaner, safer, brighter, more appealing and with more attractions and newer attractions.
Christie came to the center of the city's world famous boardwalk to announce a sweeping plan to modernize the queen of American resorts as a family-friendly attraction that will draw visitors from all over the world.
We've already reported on some of the details of the Christie task force plan (which also covers the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, professional sports venues and the PNC Arts Center) but yesterday's visit by the Governor to South Jersey focused almost exclusively on Atlantic City.
The Governor feels that Atlantic City has grown stale and complacent. He's factoring in gaming competition not just from Las Vegas but from an increasing number of nearby venues (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, etc.) and he knows that Atlantic City must hustle if it is to survive in this new climate.
The Governor made it clear that what's at stake for Atlantic City is "not just its demise" but its possible death as a tourist destination.
Here are some of the points that Christie made with an opening statement and a lively news conference that followed:
--Atlantic City has natural assets that make it a prime (and highly desirable) vacation destination. "No one wants to go to Las Vegas in July," Christie said. "No one." But the Governor noted that the cooler shore temperatures and the ocean mean Atlantic City must capitalize on its assets.
--Atlantic City must to more to market itself. "Right now," Christie pointed out, "The Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Bureau spends more on salaries and benefits than it spends on marketing. That's not right." Christie wants to channel significant amounts of funds directly into promotion so that Atlantic City can compete on the marketing front.
--Casino reinvestment and development funds should be centered in Atlantic City and remain in South Jersey rather than being distributed to other parts of the state. "This is where the money should stay," Christie said. "We've got to put aside parochial considerations. If Atlantic City succeeds, we all succeed."
--The plan to revitalize Atlantic City is a public-private partnership that depends on private investment. The Governor stressed that the state is trying to cut expenses and divest itself of burdensome and unnecessary activities and properties. "We want to unleash the power of the private sector because it's private investment that will allow us to turn the corner here," Christie said. To this end, the Governor wants to scale down and streamline government regulation wherever possible.
--The Governor is willing to listen to all ideas from all comers but he wants to see progress on a new Atlantic City "by this time next year." Christie stressed that the revitalization of Atlantic City can and will be accomplished "if we stop worrying about who gets the credit and start focusing on getting the job done." Christie added: "I think I've shown that I'm willing to work across the aisle to accomplish goals and do what's right for the state. So, let's get to work on it."
Photo copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

The Many Infidelities Of Democrat Presidents

Consider the following: Since FDR, nearly every Democrat president and at least two Democrat vice-presidents have been implicated in sexual misadventures and/or been identified as philanderers.
We are reminded of this as new allegations are lodged against former Vice President (and almost-president) Al Gore.
Of course, Franklin D. Roosevelt carried on a longtime affair with his secret lover, Lucy Mercer who was with him when he died in Warm Springs, Georgia in 1945. Also, Roosevelt's son Elliott claimed that FDR had a 20-year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand.
John F. Kennedy's sexual dalliances were said to be so numerous and so frequent as to be almost incalculable. Among his many presumed paramours were Angie Dickinson, Marilyn Monroe, two White House secretaries known as "Fiddle" and "Faddle," and Judith Campbell Exner who was also involved with mob boss Sam Giancana.
Kennedy's vice president and successor as president, Lyndon B. Johnson was also said to have a voracious sexual appetite. His affairs are well documented in the book, In The President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler. At one point, Lady Bird Johnson was reported to have walked in on her husband in flagrante delicto with another woman in the White House. Years later, Lady Bird as much as acknowledged her husband's affairs during a Barbara Walters interview when she said that "Lyndon was a lover of people and half of all the people in the world are women."
Of course, we needn't chronicle the sexual adventures of Bill Clinton before, during and after his White House years. From Gennifer Flowers to Monica Lewinsky to Julie Tauber McMahon, the list of President Clinton's reported sexual partners just seems to go on and on. One woman, Juanita Broaddrick even claimed to be raped by Clinton.
And now we discover that Clinton's Vice President, Al Gore is facing several sexual assault allegations of his own.
And then there's former Democrat Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards who fathered a child out of wedlock with Rielle Hunter.
As for Democrat presidential aspirants, we would merely note that Jesse Jackson also fathered a child out of wedlock and that Gary Hart was caught having an affair with Donna Rice.
Incredibly, every one of these philanderers presented an image of marital fidelity to the public. So, you can add hypocrisy to their infidelity.
But even with all that, the Democrats still have Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter as models of marital virtue. There is absolutely no evidence pointing to sexual misadventures by either of these presidents. Truman (one of our greatest presidents) was forever loyal to Bess. And Carter (one of our worst) has apparently been ever-faithful to Rosalynn, even though he once confessed to Playboy magazine that he "lusted in his heart."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Christie Hails Plan For Atlantic City, More

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today hailed the recommendations of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission as a guide for creating and sustaining a healthy economic environment to support the long term viability of the State’s gaming, professional sports, and entertainment infrastructure.
“This report is a blueprint that will guide our efforts in managing and protecting our gaming, sports and entertainment resources more responsibly and reforming issues critical to New Jersey’s economic future,” said Governor Christie. “I look forward to reviewing all of the Commission’s recommendations so that we can put these industries on a solid foundation and path to long-term economic growth and prosperity.”
In examining the issues confronting New Jersey’s gaming, professional sports, and entertainment industries, the Advisory Commission placed considerable emphasis on the economic conditions facing the State, including high unemployment, the fiscal crisis and realities confronted in the FY 11 State budget, as well as privatized stadium ownership, reduced racing revenues and support of horseracing through purse supplements. The recommendations focus on six key areas beginning with:

Improving the Competitiveness of the Gaming Industry
As one of New Jersey’s largest industries, casino gaming in New Jersey is currently at a critical crossroads. The industry accounts for nearly $1 billion in state and local taxes and more than $2 billion in revenues spread across more than 2,000 businesses. Since 2007, the industry has lost more than 25% of its gross revenue base with employment dipping below 40,000. The Commission recommends an economic framework that focuses on job creation, capital investment, regulatory reform and increased tax revenues. These goals include:

Creating a “Clean and Safe” Tourism District with State oversight, with the goal of making Atlantic City clean and safe by July 1, 2011.

Creating a Master Plan for the new Tourism District, focused on enticing new entrants to build both gaming and non-gaming attractions that will increase demand in the City. The Plan should be delivered to the Governor no later than July 1, 2011.

Improving the financial stability of Atlantic City by attracting other world class operators to ownership of the eleven existing facilities as well as any new ones.

Increasing the meeting and convention business in the Atlantic City market by at least 30% per year for the next five years.

Bringing the New Jersey regulatory structure into the 21st century by reducing costs and redundancies and by supporting the attraction of operators while maintaining strict integrity.

Increasing visitation and spending through joint marketing efforts on par with other national destination resorts.

Improving intermodal transport to Atlantic City, including increasing air, rail and ferry options.

Other parts of the plan include resolving the status of the New Jersey Nets lease of the IZOD center. Under the proposal the Nets may opt out of the lease for a fee and play home games for two seasons at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Nets will share the Prudential Center with the Jersey devils hockey team.
Also, the Report examines the viability of the state Sports and Exposition Authority including divesting the NJSEA of all responsibilities related to venue operations, including, in particular, the Meadowlands Racetrack, the IZOD Arena and Monmouth Park Racetrack and ceasing operations of the Meadowlands Racetrack and offering standard bred owners the opportunity to lease the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Also envisioned is the completion of the huge Xanadu entertainment complex at the Meadowlands. The Commission found potential benefits of the project and recommends the State cooperate and, if needed, provide targeted assistance to bring the project to completion in accordance with certain basic principles.
The Commission also envisions creation os a sustainable industry structure to preserve live horseracing in New Jersey and improving cooperation and coordination among New Jersey’s major entertainment venues.
Created by Executive Order #11, the Commission was charged with developing a comprehensive policy to repair the unprecedented financial and structural challenges confronting New Jersey’s gaming, professional sports and entertainment industries
In addition to its chairman Jon Hanson, other members of the Advisory Commission included Robert E. Mulcahy III, a former president of the NJSEA and Athletic Director at Rutgers University; Finn Wentworth, principal of Normandy Partners and Founder of the YES Network; Al Leiter, the former Major League Baseball pitcher and YES Network commentator; Wes Lang, managing director of WML Partners, LLC, a New Jersey private equity investment and development company; Debra P. DiLorenzo, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey; and Robert Holmes, a law professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, where he serves as Deputy Director of Clinical Programs and Director of the Community Law Clinic.
To view the report, go to

Toomey Challenges Sestak: Cut Waste, Earmarks

Earlier this week, we joined Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate and former small business owner Pat Toomey at a press conference in front of Independence Hall where Toomey called on his opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak, to return campaign contributions he took in violation of his own earmark pledge and to sign Citizens Against Government Waste’s “No Pork” pledge.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, Joe Sestak made a pledge on his campaign website to return any contributions made to his campaign by people who requested and received earmarks through his congressional office.

His website reads: “If an organization or individual has made a request for an appropriations project, and has made a contribution to his campaign, he returns that contribution.”

But according to the same Inquirer article, Congressman Sestak violated his own pledge, taking $119,650 in contributions from people who received earmarks from him. Today, Pat Toomey called on Congressman Sestak to live up to his pledge and return the $119,650.

Pat also called on Congressman Sestak to sign Citizens Against Government Waste’s No Pork pledge, which Pat has already signed.

Congressman Sestak has said multiple times that he supports earmark reform, but he has taken no demonstrable steps to put his words into action. In fact, he continues to violate his own pledge to Pennsylvania taxpayers and has refused to get rid some of the most outrageous and wasteful earmarks in Congress, including:

$325,000 for the Institute for Seafood Studies in Thibodaux, Louisiana. (RC #382, 06/18/09)$250,000 for the Monroe County Farmer's Market in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. (RC #631, 07/23/09)$150,000 for the restoration of Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York. (RC #472, 06/26/09)$100,000 for the Myrtle Beach Conference Center in South Carolina. (RC #567, 07/16/09)$1 million for potato research in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. (RC # 507, 07/09/09)$50,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California. (RC #700, 06/24/07)$2 million to establish the "Rangel Center for Public Service" at City College of New York, requested by none other than Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). (RC #678, 07/19/07)

“How can Pennsylvanians trust Congressman Sestak when he says one thing and does another?” Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik asked. “He promised to return earmark-related contributions, but he has yet to return $119,000 uncovered by the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also promised to support earmark reform, but he has refused to sign a No Pork pledge and has voted to spend taxpayer dollars on wasteful projects like concert halls and the Mule and Packers Museum in California. Now is the time for Congress Sestak to put his money where his mouth is.” Photo copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Desperate Dems Eye Trojan Horse To Trip GOP

Following an investigative report in yesterday's and today’s Courier-Post that raise serious questions about the candidacy of mystery third-party candidate Peter DeStefano, the campaign of Republican congressional challenger Jon Runyan (NJ-3) charged that DeStefano is a fraudulent, Trojan Horse candidate who ended up on the ballot with significant help from Democrat operatives close to Congressman John Adler and politically active Democrat lawyers in Burlington and Ocean counties in a cynical, underhanded attempt to hijack the tea party movement and split the conservative vote in November.
“We always knew that career politician John Adler would literally say or do anything to salvage his career in Congress and keep feeding at the trough,” said Runyan General Consultant Chris Russell. “But for Adler associates to get caught propping up a fraudulent third-party candidate in an underhanded attempt to hijack the tea party movement and split the Republican vote takes the cake. The fact that the Adler campaign and leading Democrats refused to talk to the Courier Post about the evidence linking them to Peter DeStefano, and DeStefano himself cancelled all interviews, tells you all you need to know. This is nothing more than political dirty tricks, and it’s going to backfire on them in a big way.”

The Courier Post story can be found here:

The Runyan campaign disclosed the following links between Congressman Adler, South Jersey Democrats and fraudulent, so-called “NJ Tea Party” candidate DeStefano:

  • According to the Courier Post story, not a single Tea Party group in the district – or in New Jersey – had ever heard of DeStefano prior to his inclusion on an internal poll released by the Adler campaign last week showing him at 12% – a poll that numerous experts in the Courier Post story called completely unreliable.

“We said from Day 1 that the poll was bogus and not worth the paper it was printed on – and now independent experts have confirmed that,” said Russell. “It appears that this bogus poll was nothing more than a vehicle created by the Adler campaign to promote the candidacy of Peter DeStefano and give him a talking point for the press. Based on the initial feedback in the Courier Post article, it looks like the Adler campaign seriously underestimated the intelligence of local tea party activists, who aren’t fooled one bit by this charade.”

  • Marshall Spevak, a paid professional political operative, with close ties to Congressman Adler, the Camden County Democratic Organization and Adler’s pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, signed DeStefano’s nominating petition, as did other members of his family. The Spevak’s have contributed thousands to Adler’s campaigns for Congress.

“Marshall Spevak’s claim in the Courier Post, that he signed DeStefano’s petition because he was mad at Congressman Adler is preposterous,” said Russell, who pointed out that Spevak only recently deleted his facebook links to Adler and his LinkedIn profile detailing his many connections to Adler and South Jersey Dems, and that his family has close ties to Adler personally.

  • The Notaries who signed off on Mr. DeStefano’s petitions both appear to be politically active Democrats in Burlington and Ocean counties, respectively. Leonard Niedermayer contributed to Jon Corzine’s re-election campaign and is a perfect Democrat voter, while his facebook page contains numerous references bashing House Republicans. He certainly doesn’t sound much like someone with an active interest in or affinity for Tea Party candidates for Congress. The other lawyer was Harold Hensel of Toms River. Also a Democrat, he has contributed campaign funds locally to Democrats in Lakewood.

“Based on their backgrounds, I don’t see any other logical reason for two politically active Democrat lawyers from opposite ends of the district to help an unknown, self-proclaimed tea party candidate secure a position on the November ballot unless they were intentionally trying to aid Congressman Adler’s campaign,” said Russell, pointing out that notarizing a few petitions isn’t profitable legal work and is largely done by attorneys with a personal and political connection to the candidate.

  • DeStefano’s own credibility also must be questioned based on the multitude of false information he gave to during an interview last week – at the same time he was cancelling interviews with the Courier Post. First, DeStefano’s claim that he tried to gain entry into the debate between Runyan and Adler was flatly refuted in the Courier Post story. Debate producers claim never to have heard of him.

Second, DeStefano also described himself as a lifelong Republican who then switched to Unaffiliated out of frustration with both parties. That claim is also false, and leaves out a very curious fact that raises even more questions about Mr. DeStefano’s political leanings and motivations for running. According to official records from the Burlington County Superintendent of Elections, DeStefano registered as a Republican in Burlington County on September 28, 2000. Then, on April 6, 2010, he officially switched his registration to Democrat.
A Democrat for less than two months, he then switched his registration to Unaffiliated on June 3, 2010. Shortly thereafter, on June 8, 2010, he filed as a candidate for Congress under the “NJ Tea Party” banner. Meaning, it was likely that DeStefano was gathering petition signatures to run as a tea party candidate while registered as a Democrat.
“If Mr. DeStefano hated Nancy Pelosi and John Adler so much, then why did he change his registration from Republican to Democrat earlier this year? That makes absolutely no sense at all,” said Russell. “No wonder Mr. DeStefano cancelled his interview with the Courier Post at the last possible moment – he didn’t have enough prep time with Team Adler to keep all his ridiculous stories straight!”

Click on these links to see documents supporting the above charges:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adler Town Hall Robocalls Often Way Too Late

At 9:59 AM this morning I received a robocall from Democrat Congressman John Adler inviting me to attend his Town Hall Meeting at 10 AM this morning at the Burlington County Institute of Technology in Mt. Holly.
Of course, it's impossible to attend a 10 AM meeting when you've first been notified of the meeting at 9:59 AM. And this was my first and only notification.
Even if I left the house immediately upon receiving the call, it's unlikely I would have been able to make the meeting.
And this is not the first time this has happened.
During the health care imbroglio I also received a late notification to attend a John Adler Town Hall. And the same sort of thing happened when I was on vacation.
The recorded messages always begin the same way. Adler, speaking slowly and deliberately, says "This is your Congressman, John Adler." He enunciates his name as if he is talking to a little child.
And then he tells you about a Town Hall meeting that you've essentially missed.
I don't know who's setting this system up for Adler but whoever is behind it is doing a lousy job.
Of course, there's always the possibility that these late notification calls only go out to those who Adler doesn't want to attend.
But my goodness, John Adler would never do anything like that.
Would he?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Proof: Dog Really IS Man's Best Friend!

By popular demand: Another photo of the world's cutest dog (Moose, a Lancashire Heeler) and his master. One look at this photo will tell you that dogs really DO provide unconditional love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ten Reasons To Love Hilton Head

1) The island's lush vegetation, creating a tropical allure.
2) Wide beaches with calm, warm seas. (pictured above)
3) Dreamy blue skies.
4) Endless trails for walking, cycling, rollerblading, etc.
5) The island's natural wildlife (including the gators) and its respect for nature.
6) Southern hospitality and low country living.
7) The island's all-American spirit.
8) Every imaginable convenience without compromising open space and privacy.
9) Sunrise over the ocean and sunset over the marshlands.
10) And did we mention dining, golf and tennis?
Photo copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cheistie: Let's Cap School Administrators' Pay

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today announced a new initiative in he Christie Reform Agenda -- Cutting Costs and Directing Dollars to the Classroom
The overall Christie reform agenda includes a comprehensive tool kit to provide municipalities and school districts the necessary reform measures that will allow them to keep costs low and fund priority services. The Governor's latest reform proposal caps education administrator pay and puts an end to abuses in the system.
This action has the potential to save almost $9.8 million and help ensure that the maximum amount of education funding stays in the classroom. On average, superintendents' salaries have risen over twice the rate of inflation - a nearly 46 percent increase since 2001. This is a higher increase than teacher compensation or overall education spending. The ultimate cost to New Jersey taxpayers is over $100 million.
The Christie proposal will cut out-of-classroom costs by capping school administrators' salaries and reforming how they are paid.
Bringing Salaries In-Line with District Demands
The Christie proposal brings superintendent salaries in line with district needs. Right now, superintendents in districts with over 1,000 students earn an average of $192,764, while superintendents in districts with fewer than 1,000 students earn an average of $152,764.
These salaries are out of proportion with the private sector, current economic realities and district demands. Under the current proposal, the base pay of superintendents would be capped according to a sliding scale that takes into account the student enrollment of the district(s) overseen, with an increment of $5,000 for each additional district served by a single superintendent, and an increment of $2,500 if the district(s) include(s) at least one high school.

Student Enrollment of District(s) Maximum
0 - 250 $120,000
251 - 750 $135,000
751 - 1,500 $150,000
1,501 - 3,000 $165,000
3,001 - 10,000 $175,000
Over 10,000 *

* Superintendent compensation in the sixteen districts with student enrollment over 10,000 would be subject to separate rules developed by the Department of Education.

School boards would not be permitted to increase a superintendent's base pay (for example, with longevity increases) beyond these salary caps. Additionally, no superintendent contract that includes a compensation package above these salary caps could be extended; at its expiration, the new compensation package of the superintendent would need to conform to this new policy.
According to New Jersey Department of Education data, 366 school superintendents currently earn more than the new salary cap would permit.
As with all elements of superintendent contracts, the Executive County Superintendents would review and approve superintendent salaries to ensure that they adhere to this policy.

Kathy Griffin Is An Obnoxious Jerk

Kathy Griffin is a loud, disgusting, foul-mouthed jerk.
In a world where almost nothing is shocking, this vulgar, in-your-face "comedienne" keeps trying to top herself with outrageous comments and offensive behavior.
Kathy Grifin isn't attractive.
Kathy Griffin isn't clever.
Kathy Griffin isn't entertaining.
And Kathy Griffin isn't funny.
If fact, she's obnoxious.
But Big Media routinely give Kathy Griffin a pass.
Why? You know the answer. Because Kathy Griffin is a shrill, full-out liberal.
So, while Dennis Miller rarely gets a pass from critics and the enforcers of all that is deemed politically-correct. Kathy Griffin is allowed to verbally vomit on just about Republican, conservative or tea-partier she can finds.
So now Griffin has declared Senator Scott Brown's daughter's "prostitutes" and the journalists and commentators at CNN and Bravo are laughing about it. Ain't it funny? NOT!
Here's more on this story from Matt Hadro at NewsBusters:
On her Bravo TV show Tuesday night, left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin referred to Sen. Scott Brown's two daughters as "prostitutes," and a CNN reporter apparently thought it hysterical. [Audio available here.]
The incident is also ironic because Griffin was dropped from this year's CNN New Year's Eve program, due to her profanity-laced banter with Anderson Cooper last New Year's Eve.
Griffin's words were immediately followed by predictable on-screen text that read "Scott Brown's daughters ARE NOT prostitutes." So, why did the network run her statement at all?
The foul-mouthed comedian had plenty of gems within the hour-long expose of her efforts in D.C., which included a gaffe that Roll Call picked up where she jokingly called Rep. James Clyburn a "queen."
While she was being "coached" by King and Bash, Griffin reminisced, "Remember when the Republicans tried to get that nutbag Sarah Palin to sound credible before the Vice Presidential debate?.... Well, that's sort of like what John and Dana did for me."
When Griffin was "coached" by the PR experts at the Human Rights Campaign, before she ventured up to Capitol Hill to campaign for a repeal of DADT, she was shown videos of Sens. McCain and Chambliss arguing against the repeal.
"You f****** d***bags can suck it," Griffin spat about the senators. "F****** losers, old fartbags. You don't know what the f*** you're talking about."
Griffin, who was readying herself for a trip to Washington, DC to rally and drum up support for a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," brought CNN reporters (husband and wife) Dana Bash and John King onto the show to "coach" her for handling Washington. Bash is a congressional correspondent for CNN, while King anchors the news hour "John King, USA."
When the couple showed Griffin a picture of Sen. Scott Brown and asked her to identify the figure, she responded "Scott Brown – who is a senator from Massachusetts, and has two daughters that are prostitutes."
Bash erupted with laughter, while King grimaced.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Christie Signs Historic NJ Property Tax Cap

Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the historic property tax cap into law. This "hard cap" limits local property tax increases to two percent per year unless voters approve otherwise.
Here, in the Governor's own words is what the new law means:
Let me make you all understand what this is all about, and there are plenty of naysayers about every idea that you're ever going to come up with but this is the beginning of real property tax relief for New Jerseyans.
We had a 4% cap with 14 different exceptions and with a local finance board filled with bureaucrats down in Trenton who decided they can give a waiver for any reason or no reason at all to increase property taxes. That was a system that could not give us the real relief that we needed.
They all know and I saw some signs here today that I was in favor of a 2.5% constitutional cap and I still am in favor of a constitutional cap, but governing is about leading and it's about compromising as long as you don't compromise the core principles that underlie your proposals.
And this 2.0% cap represents compromise between myself and Senator Sweeney and members of the State Assembly for achieving something that a lot of people didn't think we could. Going from 14 exceptions to just 4 exceptions to that cap, and taking the local finance board and the Trenton bureaucrats out of deciding the level of your property taxes and putting it in your hands.
And so now if you're property taxes, your local governing body wants to raise them above 2%, they've got to come and get permission from the people who pay the bills. Put it on the ballot and get a majority vote from your citizens - if you get that vote, then they get the additional property tax revenue. If they don't, they don't.
And there's not going to be anybody in Trenton that can override that.
We have waited for 30 years for a solution to the property tax problem in New Jersey and we've waited for the politicians in this state to fix it for 30 years and they haven't.
My view is that it's time to put it in the hands of the people of this State, and that's what this piece of legislation does.
And so you now, all of you who pay the bills have become partners with us in trying to make sure that we enforce what needs to be enforced in this cap which is to make smart decisions with your own money.

Monday, July 12, 2010

NJ 2% Property Tax Cap Gets Legislative OK

Both the State Senate and the Assembly of the State of New Jersey have now approved a law capping property tax increases in the Garden State at 2 percent.
This fulfills an important campaign pledge of Governor Chris Christie.
Today, Governor Christie issued the following statement:
"Thanks to the quick action taken last week by the Senate and today by the Assembly, New Jersey families can finally look forward to the kind of real, long-term property tax relief that Trenton has failed to deliver for decades.
"A hard cap of 2 percent with limited exceptions that puts final authority to exceed the cap in the hands of the people is the substantial and sustainable reform New Jersey needs. I thank Senate President Steve Sweeney, Minority Leader Tom Kean, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Minority Leader Alex DeCroce for taking action and passing this bill; and I look forward to continuing to work with each of them and members of both parties in the legislature to enact the necessary tool kit reforms to control costs and empower local governments to effectively manage under this new cap."

Whoa! New York Times Discovers Chris Christie

There's a major (mostly positive) piece out about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the New York Times.
It seems that the Times has finally discovered that Christie is connecting with voters not just in New Jersey but maybe even across the country. In the piece Christie is described as "blunt, energetic, enjoying himself and having his way."
The Times says that Christie "defies expectations."
Whose "expectations" are they talking about?
Certainly not mine. And certainly not a lot of very happy people who voted for Christie. We always expected Chris Christie to succeed.
In the piece Patrick Murphy, the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Center says this about the Governor: “He’s a much better communicator than we realized, and people seem to be willing to go along with him for now.”
I had to laugh when I read "than we realized."
There it is again. Who exactly is "we"?
And I wondered: Where the hell have you been, Murphy? Didn't you watch Chris Christie during the campaign? Didn't you pay attention? Didn't you seem him connecting with people. Haven't you watched and listened during these first six months of the Governor's term? Has it not dawned on you yet that Chris Christie is a superb communicator; that he knows how to talk to the people of New Jersey; that he has a mastery of the state's problems and issues; that he says what he means and means what he says? Huh?
Now, I suppose we have to expect that a pollster will be a bit reticent and that he will be careful not to enthuse. So Murphy says that people "seem to be willing to go along with him [Christie] for now.
But it's almost like Murphy's waiting for the dam to burst -- for Christie's numbers to tank; or for the NJEA and other unions to re-emerge triumphantly. C'mon!
Another funny part of the piece in the Times is this comment by Camden County Democrat Boss and union chief George Norcross III: “I think the tough times have dictated straight talk and forceful moves, and that fits him [Christie] quite well."
Interesting. One has to wonder: Are there times that don't dictate straight talk? Should a leader not act forcefully and with conviction?
As far as I can tell people (especially people in New Jersey) have been thirsting for straight talk and forceful leadership for a long, long time. And they didn't get that kind of talk or that kind of leadership from the Democrats.
And then the Times story (near the end) sort of tips its hand with this revealing paragraph:
"It remains to be seen how well Mr. Christie will wear on New Jersey voters. Over the next year, people will begin to see the effects of his policies in their schools and towns, in his cut in funds for family planning or, for government workers, in their paychecks. The need to focus on fiscal issues has obscured some other areas where his positions are less popular, like his opposition to abortion."
Yes, the liberals are just waiting, waiting, waiting for Christie to fail.
And you've got to figure that Christie knows this; that he understands all this.
He's aware of it. But it ain't gonna change him one bit.
Pay attention, America. Watch. Listen.
Chris Christie is defining a whole new brand of vigorous leadership. This is the Real Deal.

The Funniest Sounding Words Ever

I always knew what the word cacaphony meant but I was never quite sure how to pronounce it. It refers to a harsh discordance of sounds and it's pronounced kah KA fO nee.
It's a funny soundig word.
Here are some more funny sounding words that you may know.
Now, maybe you can come up with some words of your own.

Christie Appointed To Prestigious N'tl. Post

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday was appointed to the Executive Committee of the National Governor’s Association (NGA) during the closing forum of the group’s 102nd annual meeting in Boston.
“We’ve demonstrated in New Jersey that working together we can achieve realistic and sustainable solutions to our biggest problems,” said Governor Christie. “As a member of the Executive Committee, I look forward to sharing a very distinct New Jersey perspective on some of the most serious fiscal and economic issues facing governors all across the country.”
The nine-person Executive Committee, comprised of four members of the chair’s party and
five members of the opposite party, is responsible for overseeing operations and establishing the policy issue priorities of the organization.
Governor Christie has served on the NGA Economic Development and Commerce Committee since he took office in January 2010.
Founded in 1908, the National Governor’s Association is a bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors who come together to promote leadership, best practices and a unified voice on national policy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Three Great Hollywood Nudes

Modern Hollywood starlets have a reputation for letting it all hang out.
But movie stars have always flaunted it.
And three of the greatest Hollywood nudes of all time were also statuesque beauties.
Which is just another way of saying they had plenty to show and they weren't shy about showing it.
Marlena Dietrich (shown above) exuded glamour and sensuality. She was an international star who donned skin tight outfits one minute and men's garb the next. Her androgynous beauty crossed all boundary lines. And it is well-documented that Marlena was extremely comfortable in her own skin.
On the MGM lot in Hollywood she was known as one of those stars who preferred to have her hair and makeup completed while she sat in the nude. And it didn't matter to her whether there were men or women around to watch. Her dressing room door was seldom closed and she was said to have an easy way about her on movie sets as well. To Marlena, showing off your assets was part of being a star.
Tallulah Bankhead was known for her salty mouth, her drinking and her unwillingness to wear undergarments or to keep her clothes on for a very long time. For Tallulah much of it was part of her desire to shock and be outrageous. But she also got a kick out of it as well. She titillated director Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Lifeboat by climbing in and out of the boat in question while not wearing anything under her skirt. She made sure that the esteemed director and everyone else on the set got a good view. Tallulah was known as one of Hollywood's most unabashed exhibitionists.
Finally, Joan Crawford (aka "Mommie Dearest") was like no mom you've ever known. Joan's way of telling a man that she wanted him (and she wanted and had many men) was to simply take her clothes off. Sometimes, she would tell the guy: "Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable." After a few moments, she would reappear stark naked. If you hadn't noticed that Crawford had a great body, she wouldn't hesitate to remind you of it.
Dietrich, Bankhead and Crawford were all strong, powerful women. They did not suffer fools gladly. And they didn't hesitate to get right to the point.
Though they were liberated long before the modern women's movement, they had no intention of relinquishing their sensuality or their strong and obvious sexual appetites.
They were unconventional, to say the least. And each was a remarkable talent.
All of these stories (and more) are well documented in any one of a number of excellent Hollywood memoirs of the period.
So, lest you think we live in outrageous times -- think again.
The only difference now is that much of the misbehavior of and by stars is reported as it happens. In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, we had to wait till after our idols passed on to get the real dirt on how they actually behaved.
Stars images were more carefully crafted and largely preserved. Yes, the era before cell phone cameras and You Tube did have a certain appeal.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Christie Welcome Privatization Initiative

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has welcomed the report of the New Jersey Privatization Task Force calling it a path to a more efficient, cost-effective government. The report identifies more than $200 million in potential cost savings from across state agencies.
“In March, I asked the Privatization Task Force to develop a strategy that would reduce the size, scope and cost of state government,” said Governor Christie. “What they have provided is a path for change that will benefit New Jersey’s taxpayers through improvements in the quality of public service programs and services delivered to our citizens without placing further burdens upon the State budget. I look forward to further reviewing these recommendations.”
Overall, privatization has been used effectively by the federal government, other states and by some New Jersey State departments and municipalities, resulting in efficiencies and cost savings for labor and technology, competitive procurement improvements, enhanced timeliness and increased access to outside expertise and innovation for these organizations.
Gathering input from an array of privatization experts, stakeholders and the general public, the five-member Task Force held public hearings in Trenton, Summit and Voorhees to help formulate their recommendations for a comprehensive approach to streamlining certain areas of government operations.
According to the Task Force report, to establish privatization as an effective policy, an appropriate management structure should be in place, suitable policies should be adopted and best practices should be followed.
Among the Department-specific recommendations made by the Task Force:

· Within the Dept. of Community Affairs, the privatization of Housing & Uniform Construction Code enforcement

· Within the Dept. of Corrections, exploring opportunities to privatize inmate medical health services and correctional facilities’ food services

· Within the Dept. of Environmental Protection, entering into long-term concession agreements for the operation and management of all state parks

· Within the Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development, the outsourcing of boiler and pressure vessel inspections

· Within the Motor Vehicle Commission, the full decentralization of passenger vehicle inspections

· At the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the outsourcing of manual toll collection

· Within the Dept. of Transportation, the use of long-term, performance-based highway maintenance contracts·

· Within the Dept. of the Treasury, the outsourcing of worker’s compensation claims processing and all pension, payroll and benefit payment systems

“Our Task Force learned that major privatization initiatives succeed only when they are undertaken by a leader with the political will to overcome bureaucratic inertia and confront entrenched interests,” said Congressman Dick Zimmer, who chaired the Task Force. “We are confident that Governor Christie has the requisite political will to deliver the benefits of privatization to the taxpayers of New Jersey.”
Governor Christie signed Executive Order 17 creating the New Jersey Privatization Task Force on March 11 to examine areas where government services and functions could be provided by the private sector. Task Force members included former Congressman Dick Zimmer, Chair, as well as Todd Caliguire, President, ANW/Crestwood, Inc.; Kathleen Davis, Executive VP & COO, Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey; John Galandak, President, Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey and Dr. P. Kelly Hatfield.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A 'Centrist' Who Does Pelosi's Bidding? No Way!

Can a congressman who votes with uber-liberal San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi more than 90 percent of the time be considered an "independent-minded centrist?"
Seem implausible to you?
Nonetheless, this is what John Adler would have you believe.
Because this is how Congressman Adler tried to characterize himself during a recent joint appearance with his GOP opponent, Jon Runyan.
Not once but twice, Adler called himself an "independent-minded centrist."
Obviously Adler wants that catch phrase to stick.
He knows this is no year (and South Jersey is no place) to be tagged a liberal.
But Adler's convenient self-portrait doesn't jive with the facts.
You can't be a centrist and vote with Nancy Pelosi more than nine out of 10 times. It just doesn't work that way.
And, you can't be a "centrist" in South Jersey and a San Francisco liberal in Washington. Still, that's what Adler seems to want. His record goes left while he tries to move his rhetoric to the right.
But voters are paying keen attention this year and they're very suspicious of career politicians like Adler.
Arlen Specter tried to play this game as well. But at least Specter's voting record was more centrist-focused that Adler's. Still, the hypocrisy caught up with Specter.
Here's what Jon Runyan has to say about all this:
“As a long-time State Senator in Trenton, John Adler voted with Jon Corzine and Jim McGreevey 99% of the time, rubber-stamping fiscally irresponsible state budgets that saddled New Jersey residents with the highest taxes in the country and pushed state government to the brink of bankruptcy,” said Runyan.
“As a Congressman in Washington, John Adler has voted with Nancy Pelosi more than 90% of the time and led our country down a dangerous path of runaway spending and unsustainable debt. His well-documented record in Trenton and Washington tells you a lot about the real John Adler – and none of it backs up his election-year claim of being an independent-minded centrist.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Democrat Disenchantment Emerges

And so it has begun.
The dreaded buyers' remorse has arrived.
It actually started, very quietly, a few months ago.
I began to notice that Democrats were not quite as quick to defend President Obama when his name came up in conversation. When Obama was criticized at lunches, cocktail parties and other social events, no quick defense was heard from the liberals in the group.
For a long time it was impossible to say anything derogatory about Obama or his policies without being roundly and loudly rebutted, at the very least. Often, critics were publicly ridiculed, defamed and promptly silenced. So, the critics were quiet and cautious while the Obama supporters were loud.
But slowly, this pattern began to reverse itself.
And silence emerged from the left. Critics were finally free to note the President's shortcomings; his biases, his blunders, his oversights, even his arrogance and, eventually his failures. The once strident Obamaniacs said little or nothing.
In many cases they simply changed the conversation.
Now, even some of the President's once ardent admirers are openly expressing their regrets.
One perceptive Democrat quietly confessed to me that she had slight misgivings all along and then added: "I feel badly. But my suspicions are being confirmed."
Another liberal friend said "I'm disappointed." He told me that he felt the same way that he did during the Carter years. "There's a sense of disenchantment," he explained.
Even some very fervent liberals have told me that they feel betrayed and ignored. And they admitted that Obama is not only failing to make a vital link with his base but that he's also seems out of touch with large segments of the population.
Obviously, independents are deeply disappointed. In a recent poll Obama's support among this group has dropped to 38%.
From Washington I hear that there's a sense of retreat if not panic among staffers for Democrat members of Congress. Many are already circulating their resumes in anticipation of defeat come November. "Some people are already jumping ship," is the way it was put to me.
Even in New Jersey (about as blue a state as you can imagine) Democrats seem down in the dumps. The incredible, rapid success of Governor Chris Christie has stopped Jersey liberals dead in their tracks, Suddenly, the ground has shifted and they're not sure how to react or what to do next. "We don't know what hit us," one confided.
Many blame the President.
"He's really the one who sets the tone," one Democrat said. "And there's an increasing sense of failure. Now, people are starting to question whether Obama and his staff are even up to the job. It's becoming a question of competence and that's not good."
Some of my Democrat friends speculate what might have been if Hillary Clinton had been nominated. "With the state that the economy was in at the end of 2008 she probably would have won," a longtime Democrat said. "And there never seemed to be any question about her qualifications -- her ability to do the job. It makes you wonder."
Other Democrats note that Bill Clinton seems to be saying all the right things these days and that Hillary looks more and more presidential. "We had a winning pair," one told me "and we turned them away."
Yes, if the President's popularity takes a turn upward again these Democrats will quickly rejoin the fold.
But for now they are deeply disappointed.
And very UN enthusiastic about November.

LMAO: It's COOLER In SC Than It Is In NYC, Philly!

So, I'm sitting here having my breakfast under a mammoth Live Oak in dreamy, semi-tropical Hilton Head thinking: "Wow, am I lucky I got outa the Northeast and headed south."
Turns out I escaped a heat wave.
The truth is that right now it's actually six to ten degrees cooler down here than it is up there.
For years I've been spending part of the summer in the South and marvelling at the fact that summer here (especially on a barrier island by the sea) just ain't as hot as people say it is.
I tried to spread the word. I really tried.
But no one would buy it. When I tried to explain this, no one would listen to me.
Now, they're starting to listen.
Just pick up your national weather map and look at the temps.
It's cooler here in the South.
I was right all along.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Crepe Myrtle: A Glorious Southern Blossom

Yes, we are blissfully ensconced at our enchanting Southern Command Post on beguiling Hilton Head Island.
What a joy it is to be here once again in South Carolina's dreamy, seductive Low Country -- here amidst the live oaks, the magnolias, the Spanish moss and the welcoming palmetto trees.
And let's not forget the vivid crepe myrtle.
Crape myrtle is a flowering tree with multiple large, showy flower particles in electric colors that sizzle across the branches-pink, purple, red-violet, and white. Crape myrtle is a broad-crowned deciduous tree that is variable in size, averaging about 20 to 25 feet, but potentially taller. Dwarf forms are also available.
In these parts, crepe myrtle is almost as abundant as kudzu -- and it's a lot prettier.
Often multistemmed, crepe myrtle has smooth, sculptured gray bark that gently exfoliates, showing multishaded underbark. The bark looks almost petrified. But the tree is very much alive, especially this time of the year.
Dappled shade allows for the growth of complementary ground covers beneath its leaf canopy. The petals are crinkled, like crepe paper, and appear recurrently through the warm-weather months.
The Common Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) from China and Korea, was introduced circa 1790 to Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States by the French botanist Andre Michaux. In the wild the species is most often found as a multi-stemmed large shrub, but two hundred years of cultivation has resulted in a huge number of cultivars of widely varying characteristics. Today it is possible to find crape myrtles to fill every landscape need, from tidy street trees to dense barrier hedges all the way down to the ast-growing dwarf types.
Crepe myrtle is just one of the reasons to visit beautiful Hilton Head and environs.
The others?
Well, stay tuned . . .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Christie Wins 2% Hard Cap Agreement

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today announced a bipartisan consensus with Legislative leaders to provide long-awaited property tax relief for beleaguered New Jerseyans through an even stronger cap of 2 percent. This agreement stays true to the Governor’s commitment to a hard cap with limited exceptions while giving voters the ultimate decision making authority in whether or not the cap should be exceeded.
There is no doubt New Jersey is facing a property tax crisis with local government spending having grown by 69% and property taxes having grown by 70% in the last decade. This hard 2 percent cap delivers long overdue relief that cannot be rendered meaningless by politicians. By putting the people first and giving them the ultimate say, New Jersey is finally taming the property tax beast. No longer will Trenton bureaucrats decide property taxes. Any waivers of the 2.0 hard cap will be granted by a vote of the people, not the bureaucrats of the Local Finance Board.
A local cap override referendum would be approved by a simple majority vote.
Furthermore, critically important to the Christie Reform Agenda, the agreement also includes commitments from the Legislature to swiftly and diligently enact the Governor’s accompanying “tool kit” reform components by early Fall.
As Governor Christie has continually stated, providing municipalities the necessary tools to combat rising local costs is the foundation for fundamentally reforming government and ensuring tax relief is made permanent.
“It’s been an unprecedented week of bipartisan negotiation and, finally, consensus to work together to end the property tax nightmare for New Jerseyans,” Governor Christie said. “This formula finally has as its centerpiece a hard cap that will bring discipline and careful planning to local spending – the heart of the problem with property taxes – while providing just enough flexibility to deal with certain unpredictable costs.”

Today’s Consensus Agreement Holds Firm Governor Christie’s Principles:

o A Hard Cap. Cap 2.0 is a hard cap that allows for continued, aggressive reform. With this hard cap, in any year, the property tax levy cannot increase more than 2 percent, with very limited exceptions.

o Letting the People Vote. Allowing for the people to decide their own fate and determine when increases in property taxes should exceed the cap is central to achieving meaningful reform. As such, the agreement gives citizens the ability to take back their state and have a much needed voice in their local communities.

o Limited Exceptions Ends “Swiss Cheese” Cap Currently In Place. Currently there are 14 exceptions or waivers, including a catch all that allows for exceptions not covered in the first 13, which has made the current 4 percent cap almost irrelevant. Today’s agreement allows for few exceptions, including one initially proposed by the Governor.

§ Capital expenditures and pay required debt service

§ Pension benefits

§ Health benefits

§ Expenses incurred in connection with a state of emergency as determined by regulations to be defined.

“Over the years as property taxes have continued to go up, it has become apparent that Trenton politicians of both political parties have repeatedly failed to fix the system,” the Governor said.
“Today, we are acting together to ensure that in the years ahead young families won’t be struggling to own a home because they can’t afford the property taxes and that our seniors aren’t forced to move out of state by wild tax increases year after year.“
The Governor’s reform agenda is driven by the fact that since 2001, spending at the local level has spiked 69 percent – from $26.5 billion to approximately $44.7 billion this year.
Had a hard cap been in place for the last decade, the average family’s property tax bill today would be $5,167, rather than the current $7,281.

America's Namesake: An Italian Explorer

Raised and educated in Florence, Amerigo (also Americus) Vespucci was a merchant and navigator who sailed to the new world on two (perhaps even three) occasions, sailing for Spain and for Portugal.
He made his most significant scientific contribution to the Age of Discovery when, through astronomical observations off the coast of South America, he confirmed that the lands Columbus had encountered were not Asia but were in fact an entirely separate continent. The letters Vespucci wrote describing his travels were published and widely distributed in Europe.
Vespucci owes the use of his name for two continents to the German clergyman and scholar Martin Waldseemüller, who had read of Amerigo's travels and chose to call the new lands "America" in his honor when printing a wood-block map.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Christie Gets Massive Support For Cap 2.5

Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Office announced the support of 22 business groups that have endorsed Cap 2.5 and the Governor’s Reform Agenda. The endorsing groups represent more than 52,000 businesses and 2.6 million employees from a cross-section of industries and every corner of the state.
“Business leaders understand that real, sustainable property tax relief through a hard 2.5 percent cap is critical to getting our economy back on track, improving our business climate and getting New Jersey back to work,” said Governor Christie. “These groups represent a diverse cross-section of business types, size, and geography and I’d like to thank them for their support as we work to deliver needed relief to New Jersey families make our state a home for growth.”
“For decades the burden of property taxes have steadily contributed to the decline in our state’s competiveness and caused both business and families to leave the state. The Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that capping property tax increases will be critical to keeping businesses and the high paying jobs they provide in New Jersey,” said James Coyle, President of the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Since announcing the sweeping 33-bill reform package to solve New Jersey's property tax crisis and control spending at every level of government, a group of 225 bipartisan mayors have endorsed the 2.5 Cap.

Property taxes have grown an astonishing 70% over the last ten years, resulting in an average annual property tax bill of $7,281 on New Jersey families - the highest rate in the nation. Cap 2.5 will halt the astonishing growth in property taxes while the Christie Reform Agenda will give towns and school boards the tools needed to control spending to make Cap 2.5 both realistic and achievable.

This Is NOT A Recovery

Another 125,000 jobs lost. Unemployment still at record levels.
Payroll numbers down once again.
Work week hours down again.
Factory orders down again.
Foreclosures at a new high.
A continuously sluggish housing market.
Consumer confidence taking a nosedive.
The nation mired in massive, unprecedented debt -- the highest since World War II.
Stocks closing the day at a 2010 low.
This is NOT a recovery. This isn't anything even close to a recovery.
And the President and the Vice President want us to believe that this is "recovery summer"?
And the Speaker of the House wants us to believe that high unemployment is stimulus plan?
They oughta be ashamed of themselves.
Shame on 'em! Shame on all of 'em!

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July NOT Really America's Birthday

The 4th of July isn't really America's birthday.
Instead, today is.
That's right: The 2nd of July is America's actual birthday.
So, America is really two days older than she says she is.
How could this be?
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.
That's when America actually declared itself separate and apart from Great Britain.
The day was thought to be very momentous. Thus, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
Of course, two days later the formal Declaration of Independence was finalized and promulgated and it contained the date, "July 4, 1776" and so that's the date that came to be celebrated.
But today is, technically, America's birthday.
And it all happened in Philadelphia -- the city that came to be known as the Cradle of Liberty.
And that reminds me that this also happens to be a very special birthday for Philadelphia Bar Association executive director Ken Shear. Happy Birthday, Ken!
May all Philadelphia -- and all of America -- celebrate!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

YOU Made It Our Biggest Month Ever!

Thank you
for making June
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