Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mary Pat Christie Launches Website

WALL STREET To Blame For DRPA Tolls?

From the CCGOP Chairman's Blog:

Here we go again add Freeholder and DRPA member Jeff Nash to the list of Democrats blaming everyone but themselves for our fiscal problems.  Yes Jeff Nash is now trying to blame Wall Street for the DRPA budget mess and proposed toll increase.  Nash and the DRPA have submitted a budget which calls for toll increase to $5 as of July 1, 2011
According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer Nash said;
“If you can show to Wall Street that you can cut your operating costs and your revenues are still strong and you defer some capital costs, Wall Street, I believe, would look at a toll-increase delay more favorably,” 

In the mind of Jeff Nash Wall Street now has a big say in whether he votes for a toll increase.  This is pure posturing on the part of Nash.  He wants the public to believe that when he votes to increase tolls it was against his will and Wall Street made him do it.

I guess Wall Street made Nash vote to extend the contract of John Matheussen for three years.  Apparently Matheussen’s past mismanagement was not that bad at all and the toll payers really needed another three years of Matheussen leadership.  Wall Street must have told Nash that hundreds of millions of dollars on squandered on “Economic Development” was “necessary”.  Wall Street must have also told Nash it was “necessary” for an insurance broker who did not place the Authorities’ insurance policy to receive a phantom commission – courtesy of the toll payers.  It also must have been “necessary” for the DRPA to treat its executives to luxury hotels and extravagant “conferences” in New York.
On behalf of toll payers: It is necessary that we hold the line on the toll rate we now pay.  $4 to cross the bridge is excessive $5 is a bridge to far.

Philly Bans 'CHRISTMAS' Village Near City Hall

Here we go again . . . The name of Philadelphia's German Christmas Village adjacent to City Hall has been changed to "Holiday Village" because some people have objected to the word "Christmas."
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "the letters spelling 'Christmas' were removed yesterday afternoon from the archways on the north and west sides of the plaza, at the request of Managing Director Richard Negrin. They will be replaced with the word 'Holiday.'"
The city's spokesperson Mark McDonald says that Negrin asked for the change after the city received complaints. Again, from the Daily News: "As a city of great diversity, one shouldn't be surprised that there's a difference of views when it comes to symbols and words," McDonald said.
For the past two years this temporary European-style shopping village has been called "Christmas Village." That's the way it started. That's the way it prospered. That's the way it should stay.
It's Christians who are spending money on Christmas in the first place. Without this holiday (and this spending) the city would be dead and merchants, stores, restaurants, theaters, etc, would be out of business. 
In Europe where the tradition began these temporary markets are set up for CHRISTMAS and that's how they are named. Face it: It's about Christmas.
And be sure of this: Christians should not have to hide the name of the holiday that gave birth to Christianity.
My suggestion: Unless and until the name is changes back to "Christmas," boycott Philadelphia's bogus "Holiday Village."
Click here for more on this story from the Philadelphia Daily News.

These Garish Holiday Displays Really Gall Me

They’re big. They’re everywhere. They’re full of hot air.
And now they're back for another go round.
No, I’m not talking about all the officious liberal yappers on MSNBC.
I’m talking about those garish Christmas inflatables that have popped up everywhere you turn. These bloated intrusions on our landscape include the ubiquitous Santa, his elves, reindeer, penguins, and polar bears. 
Ranging in size from about four feet to more than 20 feet tall they also depict cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and Elmo. And now the newest inflatable rage seems to be snow globes and revolving carousels.
I hate these gassy excuses for Christmas cheer. I hate them during the day when they go flat like big ugly pancakes on lawns and porches all over the place. 
And I hate them even more at night when they blow, glow and gloat with a trashy confidence that’s positively scary.Unless they're a small part of a much larger and more elaborate display, they just don't work.
Yeah, people are making major bucks on these hideous expressions of holiday excess and capitalism is good. 
And sure, you've got a right to put pretty much anything you want on your own property.
But these ubiquitous blowups have got to go.

Bennett's 'Morning In America' - Tune In Daily!

Bill Bennett's Morning In America is one of the finest talk shows on the radio. It's lively, informative, stimulating conversation conducted in a civilized manner with interesting guests, pertinent topics, and attentive callers with opinions that give you lots to think about.
Bennett's show is heard in Philadelphia from 6 till 9 every morning on WNTP newstalk 990 on the AM dial. It is also heard throughout the United States and on Sirius satellite Channel 144.
This is not a "shout show." Bennett never raises his voice. And this is not a boast-fest or an ego celebration. Though Bennett is an extremely accomplished person, he doesn't huckster himself, his books, his ideas or the show. Rather, his listens - really listens - to callers and guests and responds with insight and clarity. All ideas are entertained and everyone is treated respectfully.
Dr. William J. Bennett is a native of Brooklyn, New York who studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. He is the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute, and a CNN Contributor.
During the 1980s, Dr. Bennett emerged as one of the nation's most prominent political figures. He served as President Reagan's chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985) and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and President Bush's "drug czar" (1989-1990).
Dr. Bennett has recently completed a two-volume history of the United States, entitled: "America: The Last Best Hope," Volumes 1 & 2--both New York Times Best-sellers.Dr. Bennett has written for America's leading newspapers and magazines and appeared on the nation's most influential television shows. He has also written and edited 16 books, two of which -- The Book of Virtues and The Children's Book of Virtues -- rank among the most successful of the past decade. The Book of Virtues has been made into an animated series that aired on PBS in the United States and Great Britain and has been seen in over 65 countries.
This man, his writings and his program are worth your attention!


It's called a Christmas tree.
Please don't call it a holiday tree or a seasonal tree or a family tree or whatever.
And remember that the best Christmas trees reflect the caring attention of those who lovingly decorated them. So, every Christmas tree should be unique and should express something about its owner or owners -- their lives, experiences, hopes and dreams. Since none of us are perfect our tress needn't be perfect either.
In fact, a tree that is too perfect - too symmetrical, too new, too staged - somehow doesn't look quite right.
A Christmas tree needs to exhibit some character; something that gives it its own special identity.
So, do take some time decorating it -- even if it takes several days to finish the job.
But don't worry if the garland doesn't loop quite right or if a few of the ornaments seem scruffy or if the lights don't seem perfectly even.
It's OK. It's Christmas. Let it be.

South Jersey Christmas Houses - Great Lights!

 There are always houses that Go All Out for Christmas.
Two of these homes are actually in South Jersey, on Mercer Street across from Town Hall in Cherry Hill.
Lights cover every available inch on these neighboring homes. The overall effect is nothing short of spectacular. You can find the homes on Mercer Street just off of Haddonfield Road between Chapel Avenue and Route 38. Don't worry: You'll see the lights (and the traffic) before you reach the homes.
Not far from Mercer Street, more spectacularly decorated homes are found on Deer Road in Cherry Hill just off of Chapel Avenue east of Kings Highway. Proceed almost to the end of Chapel Avenue until you see the lights. Then, make a right and a quick left onto Deer Road. An entire block is flooded with Christmas lights. Again, you will see the lights before you get there.
The owners of these homes have given us a wonderful Christmas gift. They are blessed with the Christmas spirit and we thank them and share in their joy.
Don't miss these inspiring displays!
Photo copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cherry Hill Mall Free Gift, This Week Only!

This week only: Get a free Yankee Candle Jar when you spend $100 or more (total) at any Cherry Hill Mall stores starting November 29. Selected, festive scented varieties, 3.7 oz.
Simply redeem your same-day store receipts at Guest Services while supplies last. It's the Mall's way of saying thank you for shopping at Cherry Hill Mall!
Limit one gift per customer per day.
Click here for more information about Holiday programs at Cherry Hill Mall!

Is San Francisco 'Cruel And Heartless'?

Click here for more on this story from Fox News.

Has Obama's 2008 Coalition Fallen Apart?

Heading toward 2012, the numbers do not look good for President Obama.
Unless he can turn them around, the prospects for his re-election are not bright.
Look at some of the changes among key groups between 2008 and 2010. Support for Obama among key independent voters has dropped from about 52 percent to 42 percent. In fact, Democrats lost independents in the recent midterm election by about 20 points.
Obama's support among women has dropped from an impressive 56 percent in 2008 to 49 percent now. Among younger voters (18 to 29 year-olds) he's down from a resounding 66 percent to 58 percent now. In fact, in nearly every category, Obama is down. He never had a very high popularity among senior citizens and now he's lost another eight percentage points among that group. Among middle-agers he's lost five points. Among men, Obama is down from a not-so-respectable 49 percent to 44 percent. Among white voters he's slipped from 43 percent to 37 percent. And even among Hispanic voters, Obama has dropped from 67 percent in 2008 to 58 percent now. Of course, among African-American voters Obama's support remains disproportionately high, to say the least.
But the figures among the other diverse groups are the reasons why Obama's overall popularity has been effectively halved, from the mid 70s to the high 30s.
These numbers and much more are detailed in an excellent column by Byron York in the Washington Examiner. And  while York notes that Obama will probably see some upticks among some of these groups, he's still got a steep hill to climb. Right now things don't look very rosy.
Click here to read more.

TSA Forces Boy To Remove Leg Braces

Democrat Party Dead In The South

Democrats lost all over the country this year.
But in the South, the losses have been staggering.
What little was left of the Democrat Party in Dixie has all but withered away. Today, the South is solid red.
Of course the South has been trending red for years. But after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Democrats had renewed hope of breaking the solid GOP South and making inroads. The Dems ran more moderate candidates south of the border and actually seemed to be doing better.
But now nearly all of those moderates have been swept away in the great Republican stampede of 2010.
Many southern moderates and would-be (or former) Democrats are blaming Pelosi, Reid and Obama. They feel betrayed by Democrat party leaders. Pelosi, Reid and Obama used these so-called moderate Democrats to get votes for Obamacare and other initiatives and then threw them under the bus.
The liberals got just enough votes and then walked away from the ones who gave them the margin to prevail.
Now, what few Democrat officeholders are left in the South are quickly switching over to the GOP. Ten more across three states have changed parties since the elections. And there are reports of more switches to come.
The radical policies of Obami, Pelosi and Reid do not play well amidst the common-sense conservatism that characterizes today's Dixie.
In my lifetime, the Democrat Party has never been more liberal nor more disconnected from vast expanses of the nation. It's not just the South that the party has forgotten. And it's not just rural America that's been discarded. No, we're talking about thriving areas of the nation with major cities and sprawling suburbs and exurbs. We're talking about America's heartland.
And the people who live there know it. 
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are deaf to the concerns of of mid-America. And Obama is their enabler.

Obama/Walters Falter In TV Ratings

Barack Obama is no longer a big TV draw.
And Barbara Walters is a TV has-been.
Those are the results of  the ABC broadcast last Friday that featured a Walters interview with the President and First Lady.
There was a time when an "exclusive" interview with the President -- any President -- was a Big Deal. Not any more.
In ratings, the Obamas actually came in behind a rerun of Tom Selleck's cop series, Blue Bloods. The Walters interview was third during the 10 PM time slot among the critical 18 to 49 age group.
The Blue Bloods rerun pulled in two million more viewers than the Obamas.
In the voting booth and on TV, Obama & Co. are taking a shellacking.
Chalk it up to overexposure. As I've said before, the American people are feeling Obama fatigue.
As for Walters, she should pack it in already.

Why Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

Dogs are smarter than cats for a reason.
Dogs are more sociable animals and sociability requires more brain power.
So, over millions of years, dogs have had to develop bigger brains than cats. Dogs need more brain capacity because they are not solitary.
That's the result of an exhaustive study by researchers at Oxford University. The researchers attempted to study the development of different groups of mammals over millions of years.
The more sociable the mammal group is, the smarter it tends to be. 
Click here for more on this fascinating story from Science Daily.
BTW: Elephants (also mammals) are incredibly smart. Elephant brains — weighing more than 10 pounds — are so advanced that zoologists have measured behavior that reflects compassion, sympathy, and grief. And of course elephants are remarkably social.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nielsen Video Clip: 'Don't Call Me Shirley'

Leslie Nielsen, Comedian/Actor Dead At 84

Leslie Nielsen, the actor whose longtime career took a sudden turn from drama into comedy with spoofs like "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun," has died at age 84, his family said Sunday.
Nielsen was born in Canada and his career extended for decades, back to the early days of television.
Nielsen's really big break came in 1980 when he was cast as the doctor on a plane in the hit comedy "Airplane." Though he had played roles in TV dramas and other parts, Airplane launched a huge second career for Nielsen who became a kind of comic icon.
Nielsen died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,

40 Celebrities Who Are Republican

All of the following celebrities are registered Republicans:
Drew Carey
Don King
Adam Sandler
Ben Stein
Mel Gibson
Clint Eastwood
Kelsey Grammer
Chuck Norris
Johnny Ramone
Bruce Willis
Wayne Newton
Tony Danza
Ton Selleck
Meat Loaf (or Meatloaf)
Sylvestor Stallone
Susan Lucci
Stephen Baldwin
Shannen Doherty
Jessica Simpson
Jon Voight
Mary Lou Retton
Alice Cooper
Fifty Cent
Scott Baio
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sammy Hagar
The Rock
Robert Duvall
Rachel Hunter
Pat Sajak
Patricia Heaton
Nick Lachey (pictured)
LL Cool J
Karl Malone
James Earl Jones
Rick Schroeder
Heather Locklear
Gloria Estefan (pictured)
Dean Cane
Bo Derek

Kerry To Party With Elites For Big Buck$!

Snobby Senator John Kerry is going to take over Symphony Hall in Boston to pad his campaign coffers and get ready for a re-election bid.
Kerry wants well-heeled liberal friends to join him amidst the splendor of one of the most treasured stomping grounds of certified Boston Brahmins.
And celebrities such as self-impressed liberal actor/pretty-boy Ben Affleck and beat up old rocker/folker James Taylor will be part of the draw, along with the Boston Pops, of course.Nothin like a bit 'o dust 'n mildew with your tres chic.
Here's part of the scoop on the whole affair from the Boston Herald:
His [Kerry's] extravaganza at the Boston Symphony — where tickets range from $75 to $4,800 — could be a tough sell as the [Democrat] party’s rank-and-file struggles through another Christmas in a tough economy.
“For Democrats, there’s a bit of fatigue — people have been giving aggressively,” said Democratic consultant Scott M. Ferson, president of the Liberty Square Group. “But we need John Kerry now more than ever. He’s one of the few (Massachusetts) Democrats left in a leadership position.”
Kerry put up $85,000 in campaign cash to rent the 2,000-seat Boston Symphony, where Boston Pops maestro Keith Lockhart singer James Taylor and actor-director Ben Affleck are expected to appear.
Boston University pol-itical professor Thomas Whalen said the extravagant blowout — meant to celebrate Kerry’s 25 years in the Senate and 45 years of public service — could be a turnoff to struggling Bay Staters.
Click here to read the full story at The Herald.

Runyan In Washington: 'Ready For A Fight'

The Press of Atlantic City has a great story about New Jersey Congressman-elect Jon Runyan and his orientation in Washington as he prepares to take office. Runyan is absorbing lots of new information but he's hardly overwhelmed. This former Philadelphia Eagles player takes it all in stride and he's proved to be a remarkably quick learner.
Here's part of the story:
Even though Runyan admitted he is being bombarded with new information, rules and demands, he insisted he is not intimidated as he prepares to take elected office for the first time.
If anything, the 6-foot-7, 330-pound former professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles has his game face on.
“I’m always ready for a fight, and that’s what the people of the 3rd District need right now,” said Runyan, adding New Jersey taxpayers currently get only about 60 cents on the tax dollar compared to the federal funding other states gets. “If someone isn’t fighting for you, they shouldn’t be in this job.”
Click here to read the full story.

Willie Nelson: 77-Year-Old Pothead

Wllie Nelson's album of vintage music, simply entitled Country Music, is one of the most beautiful, evocative, faithful renderings of pure country music you will ever hear.
Willie Nelson is an American icon, a proud Texan and a national treasure.
But Willie Nelson is also a pothead, and has been for a long time. And, he's never been particularly shy about it. In fact, he's all but flaunted it.
Well, so long as pot is illegal (medically or otherwise) in certain states, Willie Nelson should be treated the same as anyone else. Which means that if he's caught smoking pot he ought to be arrested just like any average citizen. And that's exactly what happened in Sierra Blanca, Texas on Friday morning.
Nelson was charged with procession of six ounces of marijuana that was found on his tour bus.Nelson claimed the marijuana was his and he was held briefly and posted a $2,500 bond prior to release.
Fame has it percs and advantages -- but it also has its consequences. You've got to take the sour with the sweet. And though Willie Nelson may be a beloved musical pioneer, he's also a 77-year-old pothead.
Unless there is a clear medical reason why Willie needs to do pot, he ought to give it up.
Smoking pot (or even smoking cigarettes or drinking to excess, or engaging in illegal activity) is not very becoming at any age. But it's particularly unbecoming when you're 77 years old.
Give it up, Willie.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Joys Of A Small Town Christmas

 The old toys (above and below) in the Christmas window display at The Owl's Tale in historic Haddonfield.
There's no Christmas like a small town Christmas.
And in the shadow of Philadelphia, you'll find a small town rich in history with an old-fashioned main street, delightful shops, friendly merchants and neighbors with no small amount of genuine civic-pride.
On October 23, 1682, when he took up a tract of 400 acres, Francis Collins became the first settler within the boundaries of what is today Haddonfield, New Jersey. An English Quaker and a bricklayer by trade, Collins built his house, "Mountwell". Other settlers would soon follow.
Haddonfield flourished throughout the 18th century; by the Revolution it was the largest village in the area. One reason for its growth was water transportation via the Cooper's Creek; Haddonfield was at the terminus point where boats could be flatted. From this strategic point goods would have to be brought for shipment or incoming goods must be unloaded. Haddonfield also had an advanced road system, leading to what is now Camden and Gloucester City and to Salem and Burlington.
Both the Council of Safety and the New Jersey legislature, on the run from the British, met on a number of occasions in Haddonfield throughout 1777. Many of the famous names of the Revolution passed through Haddonfield, including Lafayette, Generals Morgan, Greene, Wayne and Pulaski, the Polish Count; British leaders included Sir Henry Clinton, Lord Cornwallis and a Hessian Commander, Colonel Donop.
Today, Haddonfield is a thriving, leafy community and one of the most desirable places to live in the Philadelphia region. Last night we visited Haddonfield for the town's tree lighting ceremony and the first in a series of Friday night "candellight shopping" nights. Every Friday between now and Christmas there will be luminary lights, carriage rides, music and other attractions in Haddonfield.
Last night, there was just enough of a nip in the air to remind us that Christmas is near.
Hundreds of people turned out for the tree lighting and the main street (Kings Highway) was festooned with lights, wreaths and decorated trees and busy shoppers. Bands played, carolers sung and shopkeepers provided a warm welcome to all.
The streetscape and scale of this wonderful town are as close to perfect as you will find anywhere.
Today is Shop Small Saturday -- meaning that you should support small businesses and local communities.
What better place to start than in Haddonfield or some similar town wherever it is that you live.
Check out some of the beautifully decorated windows in small town shopping districts, chat with the merchants, meet friends and neighbors and above all, BUY!
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and small towns help to make America great.

Christine Flowers On Tumult In Catholic Church

There are tea parties, and then there are what you might call "Holy Trini-tea" parties. One of the latter recently took place in Baltimore, doing to my more liberal Catholic brethren what the tea- party movement did to secular progressives on Nov. 2. According to an Associated Press report, written in the breathless language of a political dispatch, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was elected president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops this week in what was described as a historic "upset."
The significance? Well, for starters, it's the first time in almost 50 years that a sitting vice president of the conference has been defeated for the top spot.
More important, it's a clear shot across the bow to the wing of the church that believes Vatican II didn't go far enough. Tucson, Ariz., Bishop Gerald Kicanas, a favorite of liberal Catholics, was considered a shoo-in, and his defeat was a stunning rejection of the leftward tilt some church leaders (and many in the laity) have embraced in recent years.
Click here to read the rest of Christine Flowers' column from the Philadelphia Daily News.

Check Out Our Most Popular Postings

Here's a tally of our five most popular page views in recent days. If you haven't already done so, you may want to check these out:

237 Pageviews

133 Pageviews

94 Pageviews

93 Pageviews

83 Pageviews

Friday, November 26, 2010

Obama Gets 12 Stitches In His Lip

President Obama went to Ft. McNair today to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes: a pickup basketball game.
But things didn't turn out as he expected.
Someone's elbow banged into Obama's lip.
And that resulted in a nasty cut.
And that meant 12 stitches to Obama's lip.
The Associated Press reports that the president was treated under local anesthesia in the doctor's office on the ground floor of the White House after he returned home. The doctors used more stitches than would ordinarily be necessary to make a tighter stitch and thus ensure a scar that would be less visible.
We don't know who's elbow it was that banged into Obama's lip.We haven't been told. In fact, the White House waited three hours to report any of this.
Back in the White House Obama watched the Christmas tree arrive through an upstairs window while he held what appeared to be an ice pack against his mouth. When reporters were able to spot the President in the window, the President quickly disappeared.
Fortunately for Obama, immediate medical help is always available. A doctor or nurse is stationed at the White House 24 hours a day, every day.
He didn't have to go to the emergency ward or anything like that.
But let's face it: Obama's is 49 years old. He's a bit beyond the age for pickup basketball games. It's enough already.
Earlier this month I told Obama to return to his office and get to work. The fun and games time is over.
If only he had followed my advice.

'Those Voices Don't Speak For Us'

Insightful. Prophetic. Thought-provoking. 

Christie: Shop 'Small Business Saturday'

New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie has joined with American Express Chairman Kenneth I. Chenault and other elected officials throughout the country in supporting “Small Business Saturday,” a campaign designed to highlight the economic importance of small business and to encourage residents to shop locally the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season,” said Governor Christie. “Our small businesses are critical to our economy and to our livelihood. I have a number of things on my shopping list for this season and I hope New Jersey residents will join Mary Pat and me as we spend time shopping locally this Saturday.”
Small business is key to the future of our nation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year. Over the past two decades, they’ve created 65 percent of net new jobs. Their importance to local communities extends even further. For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the small business advocacy group The 350 Project.
Experts estimate that 138 million people will shop this weekend, generating economic benefits for both employers and employees alike. The holiday shopping season is traditionally the time when retailers are the busiest. New Jersey has over 28,000 retail establishments with 20 employees or less giving residents of the Garden State a whole host of options for shopping on Saturday.
“New Jersey has some of the most unique and exciting retail shops in the nation,” added Governor Christie. “Boutiques and shops from Cape May to Newton will be welcoming shoppers with specials and savings. Saturday is the perfect time to explore the unique offerings and experiences offered only by New Jersey small businesses.”
Small Business Saturday is being advertised through a number of avenues including such social media as Twitter and Facebook. Consumers are encouraged to visit facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where they can participate in a number of ways.

Preview: Dancing With The Stars, Next Season

Hat Tip: Lucianne.com

Is Thanksgiving A Religious Holiday?

In recent years, people have pointed to Thanksgiving as a joyous holiday that all Americans can celebrate together, as one regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. And this is true. It is a holiday for all Americans.
But this fact does not necessarily make Thanksgiving a secular holiday -- far from it.
Indeed, Brian Burch of Catholic Vote has pointed out to us that Thanksgiving was explicitly created as religious in nature. Here's how he puts it:
Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and football (as good as those things are!).
Unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is explicitly religious in nature. As a nation of faith, we have set aside this day to thank our Lord for the many blessings He has bestowed.
In 1789, in his first year in office, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because “it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”
In 1815, President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness.” 
After Madison, however, Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in New England for 48 years. 
So in 1863, magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned the Lincoln administration that a day of Thanksgiving "now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."  
Lincoln called on Americans that year to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
This is something that's worth remembering this Thanksgiving weekend.

Repeat After Me: 'Bruce Springsteen Is A Jerk'

That self-described "attention whore" known as Bruce Springsteen has done it again.
Speaking of the situation in America, the self-proclaimed "Boss" says the political climate in our country right now is "very, very ugly" and he attacked President Obama's critics for the "most extreme language" that they use to criticize the changes that the President is trying to bring about.
And wouldn't you know that the self-educated, traveling Springsteen finds the climate much more favorable in Europe. He says that political consciousness is "deeper" in Europe -- whatever that means. 
By comparison, according to Springsteen, Obama's agenda encompasses "the most modest reforms."
The self-absorbed Springsteen believes that Obama's tax and spend policies would "move the economy back toward serving a majority of its citizens.”
But Springsteen says Obama is constantly thwarted by powerful forces. "You have the financial institutions, you have the military, the corporations. They're in play constantly and, in truth, they're shaping the economy and shaping the direction the US is moving in. Those forces are huge. The money and lobbyists are pouring in to do everything they can [to preserve the status quo]. It's a very tough time, a very hard time," he explains.
Yet, as ever, the self-promoting Springsteen remains modest. "A moment comes when you cash in whatever credibility a guy can have who plays and sings rock songs for a living and you put your chips where you think they might do some good,” he said.
But here's the truest thing that the self-correcting Springsteen says: "Most people don't want to be taking their political direction from guys that are shaking their a– in front of 60,000 people."
Click here to read more.

Joey Vento Healthy & Other Reasons For Thanks

A special message from the Independence Hall Tea Partty Association of Philadelphia:

A healthy Joey Vento, a new Congress--these are just a few good reasons to be thankful this holiday weekend. 
In an answer to our prayers, Joey is home this Thanksgiving, celebrating his successful surgery. It appears he is cancer free and will not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments!
As Joey has been given a new lease on life after a terrible scare, so has our nation. 
In January, 2011, the 112th Congress will convene. Many of our endorsed candidates will be among those taking office. Their task, to begin unraveling the Obama fiasco, will be daunting. 
Until then, we will have to contend with the lame duck session of Congress which reconvenes on Monday, November 29.
The Dream Act and other outrageous bills, such as labor bill S. 3194, (which would force all police and firefighters in the country to submit to union boss control) have not yet been scheduled for a vote.
Fortunately, Senator-elect Mark Kirk will be sworn in Monday, just in time to serve as a critical (42nd) vote to sustain fillibusters--if necessary--and they will be necessary.
On the other hand, Congress has yet to vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010. Without passage, we will all be subject to an immediate tax increase.

Please be prepared to lobby your Senators and Representatives. You can easily do so by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 or 202.225.3121.
The operators will connect you to the appropriate office.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving To All

To me, this painting by Normal Rockwell perfectly expresses the spirit of Thanksgiving and it also perpetuates a sense of simple goodness and decency. This painting was created in 1951 for the Saturday Evening Post.

A Message From President Reagan, 1985

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

President George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the single and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, of the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have to acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humble offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all people, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone know to be best.

Thanksgiving, 2010

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
he chastens and hastens his will to make known;
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
sing praise to his Name, he forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning:
thou, Lord, wast at our side: all glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation:
thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Corzine Marries Sweetheart, Christie Offers Best Wishes

New Jersey Newsroom is reporting on the marriage of former Governor Jon Corzine in Hoboken:

It will be an extra happy Thanksgiving for Jon Corzine this year, as the former New Jersey Governor married his girlfriend Sharon Elghanayan at his penthouse in Hoboken Tuesday night.
"This is an unbelievably happy day for me, Sharon, and our family," Corzine told the Newark Star-Ledger in a prepared statement.
"When you get to share this kind of joy with your kids and grandkids, you know that you've been truly blessed. We are grateful for the many well-wishes we've received, and we wish everyone a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday."
When informed of the news, Governor Chris Christie said: "I certainly wish them every happiness.
The couple has headed for a honeymoon at an undisclosed location.
This is the second marriage for the divorced Corzine who has three grown children. Elghanayan has been married twice before and has two grown children.
Click here to read more.

Christie: Why Would I Want A LESS Powerful Job?

Governor Chris Christie had a long day yesterday. It began with breakfast in Philly and ended after midnight in New York with Jimmy Fallon. But he was still quick and witty (and wearing the same tie) when Fallon took him on. 

Sen. Diane Allen Appointed To National Post

New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) has been appointed a Regional Director of the National Order of Women Legislators for 2011. The Order is a non-partisan organization for current and former female legislators that encourage women to participate in public policymaking and to seek elective office.
"Throughout my fifteen years of public service I have worked to encourage women to participate in the political process and seek elective office at all levels of government in New Jersey," said Senator Allen. "I am honored to have been chosen by my peers to be a regional director for the National Order of Women Legislators, and look forward to working in the states for which I will be responsible to encourage more women to get involved in government. Women represent 51% of the population in America, yet fall far short of that kind of representation at all levels of government. I'm hopeful that I can play some role in closing this gender gap."
Senator Allen will represent the states of New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia as a Regional Director. Regional Directors of the Order sit on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Women Legislators, the Order's parent organization.

Parc On Rittenhouse Square: Joie de Vivre!

Have we told you lately how much we love Parc Restaurant, Bistro & Cafe on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia?
We were there again this weekend and, once again we had a wonderful time.
In fact, we've never had a bad experience -- or a bad meal -- at Parc. Never.
Parc has everything going for it: An authentic, casual French ambiance that envelops you and puts you in the mood to enjoy your surroundings; a superb location at Philadelphia's choicest address; a mercifully small (though nonetheless inventive) menu that reminds you that every dish is special; a tariff that doesn't drain your wallet and, last but not least, the very best restaurant staff in the city.
Some of our lunch favorites: warm shrimp salad, croque madame, omelette, steak frites.
Some of our dinner favorites: New York strip, roasted cod, beef bourguignon, half roast chicken.
Parc is big and boisterous. But it's also intimate and seductive. In other words, it's full of life. So, you can be part of a big group or dine with a few friends or have a cozy table for two or take a single seat at the bar or sit alone by a window and you'll have a great time anytime, anyway, anyhow.
The food is plentiful, tasty and served lovingly.
The bread is -- well, it's what you would expect at a real French cafe. The French fries are fresh, hand cut and so fragrant that you feel like you're in potato heaven.
And the staff is friendly, helpful, efficient, grateful and always accommodating. You'll find an open, welcoming attitude characterizes this fine, professionally trained staff. You'll always be treated warmly.
Great food. A distinctive, warm, inviting environment. Superb service.
Can you ask for anything more?

Guadagno Sets Bright Example For New Jerseyans

New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno visited Paterson yesterday to tour Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting women and children in obtaining self-sufficiency through educational programs and direct service. As part of her visit, Lt. Governor Guadagno served meals to women and children as part of the organization’s Thanksgiving Celebration.
In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, Oasis plans to serve nearly 1,200 Thanksgiving meals and distribute over 1,000 turkeys to families living in the Paterson area. Founded in 1997, Oasis grew from a soup kitchen serving meals to women and children to a “safe haven” where women living in extreme poverty have access to food, clothing, education and childcare, free of charge.
“Oasis is a great organization that is filling a tremendous need in our communities today through their programming and services for women and children. Today’s Thanksgiving Celebration gave us the opportunity to meet and serve the people who are directly impacted by the work being done here this holiday season,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “Oasis, and community organizations like it, provide hope and support to women and children at a time when they need it the most. Since their inception in 1997, Oasis has been a partner with the people of Paterson and served as a true illustration of the compassion and spirit of community that New Jerseyans pride themselves on.”
Caroline Waterman, Executive Director of Oasis, noted, "I am honored at the opportunity to stand next to New Jersey's Lt. Governor Guadagno serving Thanksgiving Lunch to the women and children of the greater Paterson community. I commend the Lt. Governor for her outreach and commitment to our communities."
Last year, Oasis served over 63,000-plus meals to women and children, a significant growth from the prior year’s 35,000 meals served.

Co-Ed Dorms? At A CATHOLIC University?!?

The Cardinal Newman Society has noted that Jesuit/Catholic Georgetown University is now considering "gender-blind housing" for students. This means co-educational rooming. Currently, Georgetown has same-sex dorms.
Here's the Cardinal Newman Society's take on this development:
Georgetown has a responsibility to promote the virtue of chastity on campus.  Placing men and women together as roommates completely undermines this.  It is disturbing that “officials” at the institution are even willing to broach this topic with students.  The answer should be quite simple: No.
Unfortunately, many Catholic universities already have very lax, if not non-existent, male/female intervisitaion policies for dorm life.  Allowing “gender-blind” housing would only serve to institutionalize the hook-up culture which sadly pervades much of Catholic higher education.
Fortunately for Catholic parents and students serious about living the Catholic faith and the virtues during the college years, there are institutions that make chastity a corner-stone of campus life.  The Catholic colleges and universities profiled in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College have student life policies in effect that severely curb and in most cases eliminate the hook-up culture from campus.
Georgetown and many other “prestigious” Catholic colleges would do well to study the policies of Newman Guide colleges in order to turn the tide of Catholic campus culture back to a practice of the virtues.  Read The Newman Guide for free online here: http://www.TheNewmanGuide.com

NJ State Senator Takes On TSA

New Jersey State Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation he is drafting to curb the abuses of civil liberties by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
“I am of the belief that our society is founded upon our ability to exercise our individual civil liberties freely, and I stand ready and willing to defend those liberties when they are threatened. It is with great sadness that I have come to recognize that one of our greatest threats have been presented by officials of the TSA that have begun to implement intrusive searches of law abiding Americans who are traveling within our borders,” Doherty stated.
“In response to the attitudes and actions of the TSA and top Obama Administration officials, I am drafting new legislation that will make it perfectly clear that in New Jersey, our constitutionally granted civil liberties are treasured and will be protected. I am calling upon my colleagues in the legislature to step up and co-sponsor legislation that will protect the rights of citizens in New Jersey,” Doherty continued.
“If an individual is touched in a private area during a search, when there is no arrest or probable cause that is affirmed by oath or affirmation, the person who violated that individual’s privacy will be guilty of the crime of “sexual assault”, and will not be immune from prosecution in the state of New Jersey.”
“If an image is generated that provides detail of an individual’s private parts that violates New Jersey’s privacy or child pornography statutes, the person who generated that image will not be immune from prosecution in the state of New Jersey.”
Finally, if imaging technology that uses technologies that are believed by the legislature to be dangerous to individuals due to their broad or random use in security applications such as airports, the state of New Jersey will prohibit such use and will provide no immunity to individuals who violate any New Jersey state law in New Jersey.
“When the federal government is actively limiting the liberties and rights of law-abiding American citizens, the Several States have both a right and obligation to respond to misguided leadership at the federal level,” Doherty concluded. “I believe that one of the founders of the nation addressed this issue most eloquently: ‘They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” Ben Franklin.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christie Announces Judicial, Other Appointments

Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie submitted the following nominations to the State Senate. The nominations, except those filed as direct appointments, are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Nominate for appointment Angela Borkowski (Annandale, Hunterdon)
Nominate for appointment Robert Taylor (Stone Harbor, Cape May)

Nominate for appointment Peter Warshaw, Jr. (Middletown, Monmouth)

Municipal Officials
Nominate for appointment Honorable James Rilee (Succasunna, Morris)
Nominate for appointment Honorable Timothy P. Dougherty (Morristown, Morris)

County Official
Nominate for appointment Honorable Robert G. Walton (Hampton, Hunterdon)

Public Members
Nominate for appointment Samuel R.  Race (Belvidere, Warren)
Nominate for appointment Richard Vohden (Andover, Sussex)
Nominate for appointment Michael J. Sebetich, Ph.D. (Hawthorne, Passaic)
Nominate for appointment Michael Tfank (West Milford, Passaic)

Essex County Board of Taxation
Nominate for appointment Joseph DeFuria (Caldwell, Essex)

sussex County Board of Taxation
Nominate for appointment George Conway (Highland Lakes, Sussex)

Warren County Board of Taxation
Nominate for appointment Darryl Malcolm (Blairstown, Warren)

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Board of Trustees
Nominate for appointment Dr. James Orsini (Montclair, Essex)

Monmouth County Board of Taxation
Nominate for appointment Kathleen Cody Bjelka (Lincroft, Monmouth)
Essex County Superintendent of Elections
Nominate for appointment Peter G. Stewart (Caldwell, Essex)

Victims of Crime Compensation Review Board
Nominate for appointment Edward Beck (South Dennis, Cape May)


new jersey health information technology commission
Acute Care Non-Teaching Hospital Rep.
Appoint Joseph A. Carr, CPHIMS (Manasquan, Monmouth)
Attorney with Expertise in Health Privacy Issues
Reappoint Helen Oscislawski, Esq. (Princeton, Mercer)

Health Insurance Carrier Rep.
Reappoint Mark Barnard (Chester, Morris)

Registered Professional Nurse
Reappoint Maryann D. Prudhomme, RN, BSHCA (Ocean City, Cape May)

Public Member
Appoint Alfred Campanella (Cherry Hill, Camden)

Public Member
Reappoint Stephanie Davidson (Belle Mead, Somerset)

Appoint Theresa M. Miskimen, M.D. (Millstone Township, Monmouth)

Quality Improvement Organization Rep.
Reappoint Mary Jane Brubaker, MCIS (Sea Girt, Monmouth)

School ethics commission
School Board Rep
Appoint Dennis M. Roberts (Cape May Court House, Cape May)

New Jersey State Historical Records Advisory Board
Public Member
Appoint Rita Marie Fulginiti (Ocean City, Cape May)

Governor’s advisory council on volunteerism and Community service
Public Member
Appoint Michael J. Donohue, Esq. (Cape May Court House, Cape May)

Christie: Jersey's Fight Is America's Fight

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wowed a huge, overflow crowd at the annual breakfast of the reform-minded Committee of Seventy in Philadelphia today.
In front of more than 600 of Philadelphia business, civic and community leaders in the Grand Ballroom of a downtown hotel. Christie said the current crop of  political leaders must give voters the three things that they want now:
1) They want to be treated as adults; 2) They want you to tell them the truth and 3) They want a leader who actually leads.
The Governor said this is what he's tried to do in New Jersey because "leadership matters and if we want to be leaders our most solemn obligation is that we leave things better for our children and grandchildren -- that we leave things better than we found them."
Christie told the assembled guests that "leadership matters; who you vote for matters and how they lead matters. so you need to get involved." The Governor warned that "we're running out of time and we're running our of chances" and he characterized the battled that he's fighting in New Jersey for reform; smaller, more economical government and responsive leadership as a fight "not just for New Jersey's future but for the region's future and for America's future."
"In New Jersey," Christie added, "I'm fighting for a state that you want to live in and you can afford to live in. That's what this battle is about."
The man who some people have called "Governor Wrecking-Ball" says he does not seek confrontation but he's nonetheless "willing to take risks, not just seek rewards."
"I'm a Republican Governor in a state that's overwhelmingly Democrat," Christie explained. "So, I recognize what the odds are. I could have lots of successes and still not be re-elected. I understand that" He explained that there are people who aren't going to be kindly disposed toward him, no matter what he does. "They've compared me to Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, all those great leaders of the past that I love," Christie joked.
The Governor said he doesn't mind his critics but he looks for continued encouragement from those who support his initiatives. "It means a lot," Christie said of such support.
Turning to the subject of education, the Governor once again criticized the tenure system that protects all teachers after three years on the job. "We know that firing bad teachers is something that we ought to do," he said. "I want to help the good teachers. The good teachers are the ones we should carry to work every day on our shoulders. We have to reward great teachers, get rid of bad ones and the ones in the middle we should help make better."
But the Governor said the teacher's union and practices such as tenure prevent this from happening.
"We're letting our kids down and our kids know it," he maintained. "Kids know. They understand. And when we do this, we are stealing from children their hopes, their dreams and their future."
Christie says he's committed to pushing his reform agenda regardless of the outcome.
"I'm the Governor so I know that I'll get an oil portrait of myself on the statehouse wall someday. And the brass plaque under it will show that I served for either four years or eight years. That's a given," he said. "But that's not important. What's important is what I'll be able to tell my grandchildren. I want to be able to tell them that I stood for something, that I didn't compromise my principles, that I accomplished something and that I left things better for them. That's what's important.That's what I'm fighting for," he concluded.
Photos copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

What's a McRib Sandwich Made Of, Anyway?

LA Weekly went to McDonald's to find out the exact ingredients of s McRib sandwich.They asked MdD's employees: "What's a McRib made of?"
Here's part of their report:
Answers varied from "Frozen pork patty," to "Deep fried pork," to "Pressed pork." Perhaps the most comprehensive answer was, "A boneless pork patty that's deep-fried and then slathered with tangy barbecue sauce, topped with pickles and onions and served on a warm roll." While (part of) that sounds delicious, not one employee was able to explain how the McRib gets its signature "rib" shape. At store after store they each shrugged their shoulders and said, "I have no idea." One did speculate, however, that "it must be magic."
Click here to read the full story.

Senate Dems Already Worried Sick Over 2012

The 2010 election is barely over and Senate Democrats facing re-election in 2012 are already worried sick over their prospects. They not only fear the Dems will lose control of the Senate, they fear they're seats will be the ones costing the party control of the upper house. 
In 2012, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats in the Senate while the GOP need only defend 10. That's a tall order for the Dems.
And selected pundits are already dismissing the Dem's chances. Here's how Fox News reports it:
Some analysts, who have already begun digging in to the 2012 races, give Republicans the advantage. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics says, "There are 13 Democrats who are vulnerable to very vulnerable, while there are just six Republicans who are vulnerable to very vulnerable."
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) admits she's feeling the heat. When asked about her 2012 re-election bid she replied, "I'd be less than honest if I didn't say that I was worried."
McCaskill is likely to be among the GOP's top targets, which will probably also include: Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).
And McCaskill acknowledges that Democrats have an uphill battle, "The voters obviously spoke very loudly a few weeks ago, and I heard them." Other Democrats facing re-election, like Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) are publicly floating the idea of retiring altogether.
Click here to read the full story from Fox.

Frank: Americans 'Least Useful' To Intervene

The world according to Barney Frank.
Click here for more from CNS News.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jobs Bill Passes NJ State Senate

Legislation that would help businesses preserve jobs and expand operations in New Jersey was unanimously passed by the New Jersey State Senate today.
The bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) broadens the availability and revises the terms of financial assistance under New Jersey’s Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (“BRRAG”) Program, which awards tax credits against the corporation business tax and various taxes on insurers.
"Jobs are highly mobile in today’s economy and can move anywhere with little notice," stated Kyrillos. "New Jersey faces a choice: either we incentivize businesses to relocate to New Jersey and expand operations here, or we watch as those employers choose to go elsewhere. By expanding the BRRAG program we will be better able to compete as a destination for business and send a message to unemployed New Jersey residents that state government will fight for every opportunity to put them back to work.”
The current credit of $1,500 per employee would be increased to a maximum of $9,000, with the final amount being based on the total number of retained jobs. If a business failed to meet its job retention commitment, its credit award would be reduced proportionately and it would forfeit the unused credits.
The impetus of the legislation came after Morris Township-based Honeywell International was considering moving its 1200-employee headquarters from Morris Township to Pennsylvania. Honeywell executives decided to stay only after learning about possible tax reforms that would make operating a business in New Jersey more affordable.
"Honeywell was following the lead of so many other companies, who could no longer afford to operate in New Jersey," concluded Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) who represents the township where Honeywell is located an is a co-sponsor of the bill. "In order to keep New Jersey working we need to address the problem

National Dog Show Sneak Peek With Dan Gross

Our friend Dan Gross of the Philadelphia Daily News (and the world's best gossip columnist) chats up the National Dog Show (from Philly on TV, Thanksgiving Day) with Dog Show host John O'Hurley.

LEAP, Rutgers, Knight Launch ELRA In Camden

 Dr. Richard L. McCormick, President of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey speaks as Rutgers Camden Chancellor Dr. Wendell Pritchett and LEAP Founder Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago listen.

 The site of the new Early Learning Research Academy.

 LEAP Founder Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago

 Dr. Wendell Pritchett, Chancellor of Rutgers Camden speaks at the event.

It was a glorious morning in our hometown of Camden, NJ this morning and we were happy to be on hand for the groundbreaking of the new John S. and James L. Knight Early Learning Research Academy on the campus of Rutgers University.
We attended this gala event at the invitation of Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, the Rutgers Board of Governors Distingtuished Service Professor and the driving force behind the LEAP Academy University Charter School. The school was created in 1997 as one of 13 inaugural public charter schools in the state of New Jersey.  Originally a K–5 charter school serving 324 students, LEAP has since expanded to serve 780 students grades K–12 and also houses a 90-student preschool program. 
LEAP’s story actually began in 1993, when Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago and the Rutgers Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership developed the concept of an independently governed, public charter school that could improve education and opportunities for the children and families of Camden City. 
In its time LEAP Academy has graduated four senior classes and every year since the first in 2005, LEAP graduates have achieved 100% college acceptance.  The school has earned praise from the state, receiving both the New Jersey Public Charter School ExemplarySchool Award and the 2002-2003 Pioneer Award from NJ Dept. of Education.  
This new facility will mark a move by LEAP, Rutgers and the Knight Foundation into the realm of preschool and early learning. It's a very exciting development and it bodes well for Camden and the entire region.
BTW: We understand that $30 million in state funds are available to eligible charter schools and LEAP would certainly seem to be a worthwhile beneficiary of such funding. New Jersey's Acting Education Commissioner, Rochelle Hendricks was at today's groundbreaking and she spoke highly of LEAP. We also know that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a major booster of charter schools.
We direct the Governor and the Commissioner's attention to LEAP. Here's one program that certainly seems worthy of additional funding.