Friday, September 30, 2011

Romney: College Discounts For Illegals? No Way!

President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid support Governor Perry's position to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
Mitt Romney has a different view: "Four years of college, you're almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien to go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me."

Christie Announces Settlement Of Tunnel Dispute

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released the following statement regarding the settlement between the State of New Jersey and the Federal Transportation Administration:

“I am pleased to announce that we have negotiated a good-faith settlement with the Federal Transportation Administration that puts the interests of New Jersey taxpayers first by substantially reducing the federal government’s original demand. The 5-year payment schedule on a $95 million settlement – which contains not one additional dollar of New Jersey taxpayer money – would be offset by more than $100 million in insurance premium refunds. This represents a fraction of the federal government’s initial claim and won’t cost New Jerseyans any additional money, which would otherwise go to infrastructure improvements. I want to thank U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his staff for their good-faith efforts in working with us and putting the interest of New Jersey taxpayers ahead of politics. I also want to thank New Jersey Transit and Executive Director Jim Weinstein for their commitment to working toward this settlement.”

Christie Backs Consolidation Of Princetons

Acting on a commitment to drive down the cost of government and enact real, long-term solutions to New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today backed an effort to consolidate Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, while also taking steps to further promote sensible, locally-driven municipal consolidation efforts.

Together with Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner and Princeton Borough Mayor Mildred T. Trotman, Governor Christie expressed his support for a ballot question going before the voters of each municipality to move forward with a consolidation of the two municipalities and announced new initiatives to support local consolidation efforts.

“The residents of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough have an opportunity to streamline their local governments and achieve significant savings now and into the future,” said Governor Christie. “My view has always been that sensible, locally-driven consolidation must be supported by state government, and that is exactly what we are doing by proposing common sense changes to how municipalities absorb the one-time costs of mergers and incentivizing voter-approved consolidations with grants to assist with those expenses. I believe these efforts to consolidate in Princeton can be an example for other municipalities seeking savings and efficiencies under the 2 percent property tax cap.”

To facilitate the merger in Princeton and municipal consolidation efforts in the future, Governor Christie is proposing legislation to allow municipalities engaging in complete consolidation to spread one-time costs associated with consolidation over a five year period. Spreading these costs over a five year period will allow consolidating municipalities to rapidly begin experiencing the financial savings of those mergers by mitigating the one-time, upfront costs associated with consolidation. Current law provides for a category of certain municipal costs to be spread over a five year period. The proposed legislation would include one-time costs of municipal consolidation among those qualified expenses.

In addition, Governor Christie announced that the Division of Local Government Services, within the Department of Community Affairs, will provide consolidating municipalities a grant to cover 20 percent of the cost of implementation, representing the entire first year expense of the five year period proposed under the legislation. By the second year, following voter approval of consolidation, savings from a merger would far exceed the remaining spread out nonrecurring integration costs.

The one time estimated cost of consolidation for Princeton Township and Princeton Borough as estimated by the joint municipal commission was $1.7 million, with the merger anticipated to yield at least $3.16 million in annual savings upon full implementation. The Division of Local Government Services will review proposed transition expenses and provide a grant to cover 20 percent of approved transition costs, representing the first-year amount under the new legislation, allowing residents in both municipalities to share in the identified savings as soon as possible and without any impact on property taxes in the interim period while those savings are being achieved.

Chad Goerner, Mayor of Princeton Township said, "I welcome the Governor's support on what should be a common, bipartisan goal for our state. Consolidation offers an opportunity for our collective communities to streamline governance, improve accountability, generate tax savings, unify our resources and improve budget flexibility. While the transition costs are a one-time expense and we have identified significant savings from consolidation, the grant will help us achieve these savings faster to benefit all residents of our community. Princeton has an opportunity to become a model for the state on locally-driven municipal consolidation."

Midred T. Trotman, Mayor of Princeton Borough said, “While I have never before supported consolidation in the 49 years I have lived in Princeton, but believing as strongly as I do now that full consolidation is in the best interest of Princeton Borough residents, I am pleased that some financial relief to help offset the cost of transition is being made available to our taxpayers.”

Governor Christie has been aggressive in tackling the foundation of New Jersey’s property tax crisis – the skyrocketing cost of government. In addition to placing a 2 percent, hard cap on property tax growth, Governor Christie also secured passage of critical reforms to drive down the cost of government, including historic, bipartisan pension and health benefits reforms and a 2 percent cap on interest arbitration awards.

Chickie's & Pete's Headed To Cherry Hill?

Play2 Interactive Sports Bar

Chickie's & Pete's Crabhouse and Sports Bar is a legendary success story and a Philly institution.

With more than a dozen locations in the region (including the stadiums and the airport) Chickie's & Pete's is known for its crabs, wings, seafood, Crabfries®, cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches.

Now the rumor mill tells us that Chickie's & Pete's (C & P) is headed to Cherry Hill.

In fact, we hear that C & P may be eyeing the huge space now occupied by a well-known eatery on Brace Road between Route 70 and Haddonfield-Berlin Road (Route 561). This is a prime location that would seem to perfect fit C & P's needs. The place is ideally situated near major highways such as Route 295 and the turnpike and it's also smack in the middle of South Jersey's hottest dining destination. There is also plenty of parking and space to accommodate the large crowds that C & P attracts.

Of course, we can't confirm any of this just yet and all pending business deals (if there even are any in the works) are subject to change.

But the existing eatery in question has had a good, long run and the operation may well be ready to bring down the curtain. It's an extraordinary opportunity for C & P and one that South Jersey residents would heartily welcome.

Chickie's & Pete's story is compelling.

The way it's told, he taste of Philadelphia sports came alive late one night in 1987. An argument and a brotherly brawl over mom’s unique gravy at 4 am in the Ciarrocchi household, led to what is now the unique Chickie’s & Pete’s zesty cuisine. With a mother’s ingredients, a respected family business, and Pete’s own tried, tested, and perfected French fry reinvention, Crabfries®, Pete Ciarrocchi was destined for success.

But the story really began a decade earlier when, in 1977, Peter and Henrietta Ciarrocchi bought the Robbins Avenue taproom in the Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia. Young Pete followed his parents’ example and served the regulars with a smile. He was and still is a friend to all.
Growing up, Pete ran with both jocks and rockers. He could change minds, influence peers, and even reinvent taste. In 1987 Pete made sure his parents’ legacy lived on. Pete became the face of Chickie’s & Pete’s with the help of his brother, Tom. His charisma, dynamic personality, and great food were enough to bring in the crowds on Sunday to celebrate, jeer, and be Philadelphia. Pete understood the pulse of the city: food, sports, and people.

As Pete reinvented the sports bar, Chickie's and Pete's became part of the fabric of the city.

Shane Victorino - A Real Philadelphia Hero!

Remember: It's about more than just baseball, folks. Or at least it should be.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Welcome The Whole Wide World

Just within the past few days this blog has welcomed visitors from Latvia, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and England.
And we've haven't even begun to catalogue the many different states of the US that are represented among recent visitors.
We welcome the world!

Commentator Makes Compelling Case For Romney

I don't always agree with David Frum.
And I don't always find him to be as loyal to the conservative cause as I'd like.
But in a new column, Frum makes a very compelling case for the candidacy of Mitt Romney.
Here's an excerpt:
For three years, Republican activists, strategists, and donors have tried to find a plausible alternative to Romney, and again and again they have failed. For about 15 minutes, that alternative seemed at last to have materialized in the form of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Perry still leads the national polls and is still raising money. Yet it's hard to miss the loud hiss of air escaping this particular balloon.
Attention, Chris Christie fans. If you are looking for a Republican nominee who could actually do the job of president, who does not repel independent voters, who can survive a 90-minute debate without saying anything foolish, why the hell not Mitt Romney?
So maybe it's time to reconsider the long-standing frontrunner — the candidate who was more than conservative enough for party conservatives back in 2008 — and to rediscover his good points.
Click here to read the entire column.

NJ Turns State-Owned Landfill Into Solar Farm

Furthering the Christie Administration’s commitment to ensure a sound and responsible energy future for New Jersey that stimulates the economy and protects the environment, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today toured the Hudson County worksite of the first solar farm constructed on a State-owned landfill. The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s (NJMC) 1A Landfill Solar Project in Kearny will provide up to 3 MW of clean power and enhances New Jersey’s stature as a national leader in solar energy production.

“Tapping underused resources such as closed landfills to produce renewable solar energy and related employment is a key component of this Administration’s forward-thinking agenda to secure New Jersey's energy and economic future. Projects such as this represent a fulfillment of Governor Christie’s campaign promise to increase the use of landfills and brownfields for solar projects that also foster job creation," said Acting Governor Guadagno. "Further, the Christie Administration's draft Energy Master Plan lays out a clear and realistic path to a sustainable energy future that promotes economic growth and job creation, protects our environment, and maintains the 7th most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the nation at 22.5 percent.”

The $18 million solar project, which is clearly visible from the nearby New Jersey Turnpike, is a tangible example of the state’s growing status as a national leader in solar energy production. This month, New Jersey surpassed California as the country’s largest commercial solar market. In fact, New Jersey’s commercial solar market jumped 170 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. New Jersey’s solar installations now account for 24 percent of all such arrays in the U.S. – up from 15 percent at the end of March, the association reported.

In addition, New Jersey installed 42 MW of solar in the first quarter of 2011, representing 49 percent growth over first quarter 2010. From June through August, more than 70 MW of additional capacity were installed. As of August 31, New Jersey has 11,245 solar energy array projects installed across the state providing over 430 MW of installed capacity.

The NJMC’s grid-connected solar installation will include 12,506 solar panels mounted on 13 acres atop the 1A landfill and will go online by December 31. The NJMC in June leased the 13 acres to SunDurance Energy, which is constructing the solar array. PSE&G is expected to purchase the solar farm just prior to its completion and take over the lease from SunDurance. The utility will then own, operate and maintain the facility as part of its Solar 4 All™ program.

Edison-based SunDurance develops designs, builds and operates megawatt-scale solar power solutions for commercial, industrial, government and utility-scale markets. SunDurance is part of the Conti Group, a nationwide leader in renewable energy projects.

The Meadowlands Commission is a regional leader in the production and promotion of renewable energy. Through its Municipal Solar Assistance Program the NJMC coordinated the formation of a solar power purchasing cooperative between the Borough of Little Ferry and the Town of Secaucus that aims to save the towns hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. In October the NJMC will commence construction on a solar canopy over its administration building parking lot that will generate approximately 20 percent of the electricity needs of the Commission’s headquarters.

“The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission 1A Solar Landfill Project demonstrates the Christie Administration’s steadfast commitment to protecting the environment, promoting economic development and making New Jersey more affordable for taxpayers and businesses,” said Lori Grifa, who is Chairman of the NJMC and Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The Commission is proud to contribute to the Administration’s efforts to increase renewable energy production and make New Jersey an even more economically and environmentally inviting place to live.”

The Christie Administration has a proven record of commitment to securing the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy in New Jersey. In addition to solar, the wind power movement is providing New Jersey with a unique opportunity to advance green energy as industry. New Jersey also is leveraging the state's tremendous resources with innovative technologies, enabling the state to increase its use of renewable energy sources while successfully attracting a range of companies here to advance an industry cluster that will create new jobs.

“This Administration is leading by example for the entire country when it comes to pursuing smart, effective and realistic renewable energy policies,” said Marcia Karrow, Executive Director of the NJMC. “The NJMC’s solar initiatives play an important part in boosting the economy by providing jobs for renewable energy companies while protecting and enhancing the region’s unique urban ecosystem.”

Sen. Allen Elected To Board Of N'tl. Group

New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden) has been elected by her peers in the National Order of Women Legislators (NOWL) to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL). The Order, a sister organization to NFWL, is made up of a membership of all current female state legislators.
“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 serve on the Board of the National Foundation for Women Legislators. By electing more women to government at all levels, we can better ensure that the unique needs of 51% of the population are served by the lawmaking bodies of all fifty states and the U.S. Congress.”
NOWL elects and appoints one representative each to the Board of Directors of NFWL to serve as a liaison between the organizations. The Foundation’s mission is to provide strategic resources, leadership and educational development, and networking opportunities for women elected to the state legislatures and Congress.
Allen previously served as Regional Director of NOWL, representing the states of New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia. 

Obama Tanks In Blue, Blue New Jersey

Obama tanks in Joizee!
New Jersey voters have soured on President Barack Obama, with 44% approving and 47% disapproving according to the latest Farleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll.
Obama's figures are down dramatically from 55%-36% approvals in May. This also marks the first time since Obama took office (through 18 PublicMind polls) that his disapprovals have exceeded his approvals in this state which is heavily Democratic.
The poll also shows that 71% of New Jerseyans feel the country is headed in the WRONG direction while only 18% feel it is headed in the right direction. New Jersey hasn't showed that type of sentiment since the late days of the George W. Bush administration.
BTW: Chris Christie continues to score significantly higher than Obama among New Jerseyans in recent polls.

Where's Chris Christie? Well, He's EVERYWHERE!

Where's Chris Christie? These days, just about everywhere. (And everywhere in the news - is he running, or isn't he? And forget those tax breaks for Snooki and "Jersey Shore.")

If you're in New Jersey, it's a safe bet he's been in or near your hometown at some point. Since he took office in January 2010, the governor has held 56 town-hall meetings all over the state. These are the sessions at which Christie engages with New Jersey residents in frank and lively exchanges that often make national news.

Christie also appears on a regular radio program called

Click here to read the rest of my column from today's Philadelphia Daily News.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More For 'Stimulus'? But Where Are The Jobs?

In 2009, President Obama’s $787 billion dollar stimulus passed promising jobs and relief to small businesses.
Since then, 1.7 million additional jobs were lost and more than 25 million Americans are out of work, underemployed, or have just stopped looking for work.

Iowa ARG Poll: Likely Caucus Goers Want Romney

Likely Republican
Caucus Goers
Sep 2011

Bachmann 15%
Cain 6%
Gingrich 8%
Huntsman 1%
Johnson -
Palin 4%
Paul 12%
Perry 14%
Roemer 1%
Santorum 2%
Other 1%
Undecided 15%

Christie, Kean, DeCroce Rule Out Salary Hikes

Citing the continued economic difficulties faced by many New Jerseyans and the need to constrain the cost of government at all levels, Governor Chris Christie, joined by both Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. and Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, today announced that gubernatorial and Republican leader appointments from each house of the Legislature to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission will remain unfilled. The seven-member Commission convenes every four years to review the salaries of various public officials within the three branches of government and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on potential increases.

Absent gubernatorial and Republican leader appointments, the panel will be prevented from convening or considering any potential salary increases. The Governor is authorized to make two appointments and the four leaders of the Legislature and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are each authorized to make one appointment to the panel.

“As job creation and economic growth begin to take hold, too many New Jerseyans are still struggling. At a time where we are asking everyone to do more with less, it would be inappropriate and send the absolute wrong message to the people of our state for Trenton politicians to consider giving themselves pay raises, given the current economic realities,” said Governor Christie. “As such, I will not appoint any individuals to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission. I am pleased that both Senator Kean and Assemblyman DeCroce will join me in this effort and remove entirely the possibility of commission-recommended pay increases to move forward for those serving in public office.”

“I believe it would be inappropriate to appoint anyone to the Public Officers Salary Review Commission, at this time,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean. “This commission was established to determine what raises, if any, should be given to high-level state employees, like cabinet members and judges. The State should not consider giving raises to high-level appointees during these difficult economic times.”

In joining the Governor, Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce said, “With a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in New Jersey, it would be highly inappropriate and insensitive to convene a commission charged with recommending whether a group of public employees deserves increased compensation. We must focus on the challenge of creating good-paying jobs for people who are out of work, struggling to make ends meet, and just want an opportunity to feed their families. Our priority must be finding a job for those who need it, not giving a raise to public workers who already have one.”

Public officials salaries reviewed by the Commission include the Governor, cabinet officers, members of the Board of Public Utilities, members of the Casino Control Commission, Workers' Compensation judges, members of the Legislature, members of the State Commission of Investigation, Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Superior Court, judges of the Tax Court, administrative law judges and county prosecutors.

NJ: Gudagno Announces Direct Disaster Assistance

Acting New Jersey Governor Kim Guadagno today announced that due to the hard work and dedication of state and federal emergency management officials, direct federal disaster assistance to individual New Jerseyans has now surpassed the $100 million milestone, with more than $116 million in aid going to more than 54,000 residents to date. In fewer than 30 days since federal disaster declarations were secured for all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, relief efforts have moved quickly to deliver aid to New Jerseyans impacted by Hurricane Irene and storm-related flooding. Of the $116 million in assistance that has been supplied, nearly $104 million has been provided in housing and other needs assistance, while the Small Business Administration has approved nearly $12 million in low-interest disaster loans primarily to homeowners and renters, as well as businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations throughout the state.

“State and federal emergency management officials have been working tirelessly to deliver aid to the families of our state who have been impacted by Hurricane Irene,” said Acting Governor Kim Guadagno. “Through quick work to meet with residents, inspect damage and determine eligibility, relief efforts have now resulted in over $100 million in aid going directly to hard-hit New Jerseyans as they rebuild and recover from these disasters. It is critical that New Jerseyans register for relief before the deadline of October 31. Even if New Jerseyans already have flood insurance or aren’t sure of their eligibility for aid, registering through FEMA is necessary to determine what relief is available to them.”

Acting Governor Guadagno was joined by William Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Lt. Paul Miller, State Coordinating Officer for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, in Howell to tour the homes of Madelyn Novello and Marcio and Teresa Mescia, recipients of federal Individual Assistance resulting from flooding associated with Hurricane Irene. More than 3,800 residents in Monmouth County have registered with FEMA for relief.

“Assisting the recovery from a disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Irene takes teamwork and dedication,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer William L. Vogel. “The amount of assistance that’s been provided to date reflects those commitments among our state and local partners.”

Noting that today marks 34 days until the October 31 deadline for New Jerseyans to register for relief with FEMA, Lt. Paul Miller, New Jersey OEM State Coordinating Officer, urged New Jerseyans who have yet to apply to do so immediately – even if they have flood insurance or aren’t certain of their eligibility.

"This milestone demonstrates how severely New Jersey was impacted and how strong our recovery efforts have been," said Lt. Miller. "If you have been impacted by Hurricane Irene in any way, we encourage you to teleregister with FEMA - by phone at 1800-621-FEMA (3362) or online at You must register with FEMA by October 31st, so don't delay."

There are three ways to register – log on to or or call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-3261 (FEMA), or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY, call 800-462-7585; or, use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Both numbers are available from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sen. Allen Measure Updates School Bus Use Law

Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington/Camden) that extends the service life of certain school buses from 12 to 15 years was recently signed into law. "The 12-year use limit on most school buses is outdated, as advances in the design and construction of school buses now allow for their safe and effective use over a longer period of time," Allen stated. "School districts can still update their buses sooner, if need be, but this law gives them the option to continue using a bus for three additional years if it is safe and meets all of the rigorous safety inspections."

The establishment of a uniform school bus life of 15 years for all new school buses was a recommendation of the Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public Schools, as noted in its February 11, 2006 report, “Finding the Road: Selected Issues in New Jersey Pupil Transportation.” The report states that there is no need to have different service lives for school buses of different gross vehicle weights and that there is a national consensus for a uniform 15-year school bus service life.

"Extending the life of a school bus is a safe, cost-effective way to save taxpayer money given today's difficult economy." Allen concluded. "Resources can now be spent in the classroom, where they belong.”

The law was passed overwhelmingly in the Legislature and received the support of the Department of Education, Motor Vehicle Commission and various Local Boards of Education.

Heartfelt Plea To Christie: 'Don't Inhale, Gov!'

Ya just gotta believe Chris Christie is enjoying this.
He's enjoying the traveling, the attention, the spotlight wherever he goes and all the people literally begging him to run for president.
He remains quick on the uptake, funny, spirited and nonetheless pugnacious.
This is a man who doesn't shy away from the national stage. Indeed, he embraces it.
I watched the way he departed from his prepared speech at various points last night at the Reagan Library (clever asides, anecdotes, personal references, etc.) and I could tell that he feels comfortable in this setting. He regales in it.
And it's also clear that Christie does not seem to want the presidential speculation (and the pleadings) to die down. He says "no" but his travels and his actions and his speeches all say "yes" -- or at least "Hmmm . . . that's nice. I'm flattered. Beg me a little more."
OK, so maybe Christie is doing this to raise New Jersey's profile and raise money for the upcoming New Jersey legislative races. That's all good. He should take advantage of the situation to help hits party and his state. He should advance the cause. After all, he does have a great story to tell and goodness knows, New Jersey could use some positive PR.
And yes, maybe Christie's doing this to raise his own profile a bit, too. That's fine as well.
But this is very heady stuff. And Christie's been in office less than two years.
What I'm saying is that (no matter what he decides to do in the end) I don't want him to inhale all of this too deeply. As a seasoned PR pro I know how dangerous it can get to be when leaders start to believe their own news releases. It's sorta like actors and actresses believing their own rave reviews.
When you've won a big victory or starred in a big movie or headlined in the biggest show on Broadway and you're doing and saying all the right things The Whole World Is At Your Feet.
Yeah -- ya see? That's how divas are born.
But Chris Christie wouldn't look good as a diva. He ain't cut out for that role.
So I hope -- and trust -- he'll stay real: Genuine, self-effacing, down-to-earth.
That's New Jersey. That's Chris Christie.

L'Shanah Tova! May You Have A Sweet New Year!

Our happiest holiday wishes for a sweet year to all.
L'shana tova, tikatevu!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Romney VS Perry On Illegal Immigration

Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, President Obama, and Rick Perry all share the same position that illegal immigrants should get tuition discounts at taxpayers' expense. Mitt Romney believes that illegal immigrants should not get in-state tuition and vetoed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as Governor of Massachusetts.

Christie: Let's Chuck Obama Punchlines For Vision

Christie didn't hold back tonight. And he saved some of his best (and decidedly barbed) lines for the end of the speech. Here are some more very cogent excerpts from the speech tonight at the Reagan Library:

In 2004, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama gave us a window into his vision for American leadership. He said, “Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of ‘anything goes.’ Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.”

Now, seven years later, President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election. This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy. Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others. Trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard. Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream. That may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America. What happened to State Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the “dividers” he spoke of so eloquently in 2004? There is, of course, a different choice.

That choice is the way Ronald Reagan led America in the 1980’s. That approach to leadership is best embodied in the words he spoke to the nation during his farewell address in 1989. He made clear he was not there just marking time. That he was there to make a difference. Then he spoke of the city on the hill and how he had made it stronger. He said, “I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.”

That is American exceptionalism. Not a punch line in a political speech, but a vision followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world. Not a re-election strategy, but an American revitalization strategy.

Christie At Reagan Library: Demand Better For Nation

Excerpted Remarks from Governor Chris Christie's Speech at the Ronald Reagan Library:

"Real American Exceptionalism"

Simi Valley, CA

September 27, 2011

“A lot is being said in this election season about American exceptionalism. Implicit in such statements is that we are different and, yes, better, in the sense that our democracy, our economy and our people have delivered. But for American exceptionalism to truly deliver hope and a sterling example to the rest of the world, it must be demonstrated, not just asserted. If it is demonstrated, it will be seen and appreciated and ultimately emulated by others. They will then be more likely to follow our example and our lead.

At one time in our history, our greatness was a reflection of our country’s innovation, our determination, our ingenuity and the strength of our democratic institutions. When there was a crisis in the world, America found a way to come together to help our allies and fight our enemies. When there was a crisis at home, we put aside parochialism and put the greater public interest first. And in our system, we did it through strong presidential leadership. We did it through Reagan-like leadership.

Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism. Today, our role and ability to affect change has been diminished because of our own problems and our inability to effectively deal with them.  . . . .

I understand full well that succeeding at home, setting an example, is not enough. The United States must be prepared to act. We must be prepared to lead. This takes resources—resources for defense, for intelligence, for homeland security, for diplomacy. The United States will only be able to sustain a leadership position around the world if the resources are there—but the necessary resources will only be there if the foundations of the American economy are healthy. So our economic health is a national security issue as well. . . .

There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a country and as a people, are up for the challenge. Our democracy is strong; our economy is the world’s largest. Innovation and risk-taking is in our collective DNA. There is no better place for investment. Above all, we have a demonstrated record as a people and a nation of rising up to meet challenges.

Today, the biggest challenge we must meet is the one we present to ourselves. To not become a nation that places entitlement ahead of accomplishment. To not become a country that places comfortable lies ahead of difficult truths. To not become a people that thinks so little of ourselves that we demand no sacrifice from each other. We are a better people than that; and we must demand a better nation than that.”

Two New Polls Have Ominous News For Obama

Two new polls are out and they both have ominous news for President Obama.
Botton Line: The President is losing his base -- his bedrock constituency.
First, a poll by the American Jewish Committee shows support for President Obama among Jews has actually dipped below 50%. That's startling when you consider that a huge majority of Jews identify themselves as liberal Democrats. Obama's support in the Jewish community is now 45%. Ominous.
Second, Obama has slipped below 50% in NEW YORK STATE -- one of the bluest, most liberal states in the nation. In New York Obama poll 47%. Ominous.
There's still a  l-o-n-g way to go but right now the signs do not look good for the president.

Why Chris Christie Won't Seek Presidency

OK -- before this goes any further, let me tell you what I think's gonna happen.
I think people will continue carping about the current GOP candidates.
I think Rick Perry will have a hard time holding onto his "frontrunner" status -- IF he still even enjoys that status. Also, others (beyond Romney and maybe Cain) will find it hard to break out of the pack.
And I think Chris Christie will not run. Here's why:
1) Family. Chris Christie is a passionate guy. And he's particularly passionate about his family. He has already said that his children are at an age that would make a presidential run difficult, at best. He must consider his obligations to his wife (who may not be thrilled at the prospect of a presidential bid) and his children. His family needs him, and he knows it.
2) Finishing the job. There's a lot more work to be done right here in New Jersey. Christie has a full agenda and more than enough challenges to face in the Garden State where he reigns as the most powerful governor in America. Tackling the state's fiscal mess, improving education, eliminating waste and corruption, creating jobs and (let's not forget this one) actually lowering property taxes: Yeah, there's work to be done!
3) Funding. Barack Obama is expected to raise one billion dollars for his campaign. And Obama's organization is already in place. Romney has already tapped many big donors and is far ahead of his GOP rivals in raising dough. Romney's organization is also in place. Raising money and setting up an organization are big, big tasks that are not undertaken without lots of planning and lots of people on board. It's getting late in the game.
4) Findng time.  Running New Jersey (especially according to the Chris Christie template) is more than a full time job. Christie is a whirlwind. He has a great staff and a sharp mind and enormous energy and he go do lots of things at once. But it's hard to imagine how he can run New Jersey and run for president. That's daunting!
5) Following his own rules and statements. Christie does not like to revisit decisions. If he is rethinking a run, he's doing it because very powerful, serious people are urging him to do so and he feels he owes them that. But this is a man who does not like to change his mind or go back on his word. He says he's not running -- and I think he means it.
Christie will comment on all this soon. He won't be evasive. He won't tease. And right now every indication is that he will say "No."

Christie Popularity Soars In Latest NJ Poll

According to the most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval numbers have soared to a robust margin among New Jersey’s registered voters. Right now, 54% approve of Christie's performance while only 36% disapprove.

And 46% say the governor is doing a “good” or “excellent” job, up 10 points from May.

The poll notes that Christie’s favorable ratings are better than those of the NJEA, an organization which he roundly criticizes and which has bought a great deal of advertising to criticize Christie. Only 39% say they have a favorable view of the teachers’ union

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kean Confirms That Christie Is Reconsidering

Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean has known Governor Chris Christie since Christie was a teenager.
Kean has mentored Christie and is an unofficial Christie adviser.
Governor Kean is highly influential within top-level GOP circles -- particularly among the elite of the Republican Party. He's seen as a vital connection to what some people call "country club" or  "cuff link" Republicans.
Governor Kean is well regarded in New Jersey where he served two terms and proved to be extremely popular. He's also well-regarded nationally and respected by the dominant media.
Now Kean is saying that Chris Christie is indeed considering a presidential run -- he's taking another look at it. Kean also confirms that Christie's reconsideration has been prompted by GOP leaders and monied sources who are unhappy with the current crop of candidates.
This is significant because Kean is very smooth, circumspect and discreet. He's disciplined. He does not speak out of turn. When Tom Kean speaks, people listen.
And one must assume that Kean would never drop these hints about a Christie presidential run without Chris Christie's knowledge and consent.
So this is more than a trial balloon, for sure. But it doesn't necessarily mean that Christie's ready to get into the race. Still, it's a step closer.
Kean says that Christie will not "tease" people (a subtle knock at Palin, there?) and that Christie will speak frankly and candidly -- soon -- about his intentions.
Christie's style is not Kean's style, to be sure. Christie is much more blunt and often more confrontational. But Kean has a high regard for Christie and understands why people are responding so favorably toward him in the current climate.
One other thing: The timing of Christie's speech tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Library in California could be propitious. We could get a better indication of Christie's intentions depending on what he says tomorrow.
Hold on tight -- it may be about to get very interesting, folks.

Bombshell: Christie Vetoes 'Jersey Shore' Tax Credits

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today vetoed the Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) award of $420,000 in film tax credits to the Jersey Shore television program, citing New Jersey’s difficult fiscal climate and the need to direct limited state resources to programs and projects that actually benefit the state.

In his veto letter to the EDA, which he signed today, Governor Christie noted his long held, serious concerns about the limited value and return on the cost of the New Jersey Film Tax Credit Transfer Program, which was the basis for his veto of legislation earlier this year to “grossly expand” the program.

“We must ensure that our limited taxpayer dollars are spent on programs and projects that best benefit the State of New Jersey,” Governor Christie said. “I have no interest in policing the content of such projects; however, as Chief Executive I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the State and its citizens.”

The Governor also noted the contradictions coming from legislative supporters of the program who complained about EDA’s award of the tax credit to Jersey Shore just days before their most recent legislative action to expand funding.

“Legislators who championed the Program’s original legislation, and who later sponsored legislation to expand it, must surely have appreciated the consequences of their actions. The tax credit to Jersey Shore illustrates the potential for wasteful spending inherent in the implementation of the Program,” the Governor wrote in the veto letter.

“For such legislators to now complain of its implementation with respect to Jersey Shore is, at best, mystifying.”

Governor Christie concluded by noting that while it appeared “that the EDA felt compelled” to include Jersey Shore in the Program, “I am not so constrained” and vetoed the $420,000 tax credit award.

Seeger, Silver Bullets Headed To Philly

Music legend Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band bring their 2011 North American tour to Wells Fargo Center for a live performance on Saturday, December 3. Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, October 1 at 10 a.m. exclusively through ComcastTIX online at, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center box office.
Fans can expect Seger and his Silver Bullet Band to perform timeless classics like “Night Moves” and “Old Time Rock & Roll” when they play the Wells Fargo Center. Seger and his band’s live performances led to record sales in excess of 51 million including 11 platinum and seven multi-platinum RIAA-certified album awards. Seger holds the distinction in 2010 for the #1 Catalog Album of the Decade for his Greatest Hits, which has sold over nine million copies (U.S.A.) to date, posting an unbroken 16-year streak on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums and Catalog Albums charts.
On Tuesday, September 13, Seger’s multi-platinum Live Bullet and Nine Tonight digitally remastered concert albums was reissued with exclusive bonus tracks. Both titles were released with restored original artwork and offered in a special CD/T-Shirt Box combination at select retailers.
Comcast-Spectacor ( is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the home for both teams, the Wells Fargo Center, and four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 100 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; and Paciolan, the leading provider of venue enablement, ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions. In a partnership with Disson Skating, Comcast-Spectacor annually produces 10 nationally televised figure skating spectaculars on NBC.

All Across The Country, Obama Isn't Working!

President Obama says America is "moving in the right direction," but Florida unemployment is at 10.7%. The number of Floridians unemployed in January 2009 was 785,152; in August 2011, it was 987,012. The national unemployment rate for minorities is over 13%. Obama Isn't Working.

Waters To Obama: Are You Talkin To ME?

Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters doesn't appear to be particularly happy about President Obama's admonitions to African-Americans these days.
The President told attendees at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner that they need need to stop carping and complaining, put on their marching boots and get behind him for the campaign ahead.
But Waters seems to be wondering why blacks have been singled out for such stern language.
Here's an excerpt:
Rep. Maxine Waters says she's not sure who President Barack Obama was talking to when he told black Americans to quit complaining and follow him into the battle for jobs and opportunity.
The California Democrat, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, says she found the president's language "a bit curious." She says Obama didn't address Hispanics in such a blunt manner and would never use that language in a speech to a gathering of gays or Jews.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Noonan: Obama Can't Win In '12, But GOP Can Lose

Peggy Noonan thinks that the Republican Party is facing a very promising election year in 2012 -- a year in which Obama looks extremely vulnerable; so vulnerable that she believes he really cannot win.
But there's a catch. And it's a big one.
Peggy is aware of something I've long known and have regularly warned of: The incredible capacity of the Grand Old Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Here's how she puts it:
Let me say here clearly what I've been more or less saying in this column for a while. It is that Mr. Obama cannot win in 2012, but the Republicans can lose. They can hand the incumbent a victory the majority of American voters show themselves not at all disposed to give him. (No column is complete without his latest polling disasters. A Quinnipiac poll this week shows Florida voters disapprove of the job the president is doing by 57% to 39%.)
Republicans only six months ago thought the president was unbeatable. Now they see the election as a bright red apple waiting to fall into their hands. It's not. They'll have to earn it.
Mr. Obama isn't as resilient as a Bill Clinton, with his broad spectrum of political gifts and a Rasputin-like ability to emerge undead in spite of the best efforts of his foes. His spectrum of political gifts is more limited. That's a nice way to put it, isn't it?
Click here to read Peggy Noonan's entire column.

Obama Tells Allies: 'Stop Complaining!'

With black unemployment at a record high of nearly 17 percent (and joblessness among young black men much higher)President Obama is offering little solace to African-Americans.
In Washington lest night at a Black Congressional Caucus awards dinner, Obama told the crowd to stop complaining, stop bellyaching, stop carping.
Basically, Obama expects his fellow black Americans to just buckle up and get over it.
In fact he told them to take off their bedroom slippers and puts on their marching boots because "we've got work to do."
It's a sad -- indeed, grim -- statement when you consider that in far, far too many cases there is NO work for African-Americans to do. In fact there are simply no jobs, not just for blacks but for everybody in the country.
One wonders if Obama's living in the same world as anyone else. And of course the answer is all too obvious. Obama doesn't live in the world of ordinary Americans (no matter their color) and hasn't for a long, long time. The Obama's live in a world of elite intellectuals, designer duds, influential friends, bundled campaign donors and chic locales. But it's even worse then that. To an all-too-large extent Obama lives in a world of theories and ideas.
And the ideas are wrong and the theories haven't worked.
and all that Obama is promising now is just more of the same.
If you like the way things have been going so far, he's your man. And don't worry -- you can join his "army whether you're wearing boots, bedroom slippers or no shoes at all. Just be prepared to follow orders.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is Christie About To 'Follow The Money?'

Now Politico is out with a report that a group of Big Time GOP Donors have pretty much convinced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to reconsider his pledge not to enter the GOP presidential race.
These people include what the report terms "media and business elites" and they are mostly centered in New York.
They have reportedly assured Christie that all of the major bucks -- all the money he needs - will be available should he decide to jump in.
Here's an excerpt from the Politico report:
“'There’s a group of donors, particularly New York guys, pushing Christie really hard,' said the former [RNC] chair. “Singer [Paul Singer] won’t give up. They’re even talking to operatives.”
The reason: a certain class of Republican money types have never warmed to Romney and have been disappointed in Perry.
'They’re hesitant about Romney and Perry has not lived up to their expectations — he’s too cowboy,' said the former chair. 'So they’re looking for a different feel.'"
I have a funny feeling that the former RNC Chair mentioned here may in fact be Michael Steele.
Anyway, Christie does have strong ties to New Yorkers -- and not just geographically. He's closely linked to the Rudy Giuliani crowd.
Christie has reportedly told those pushing him that he will make a decision within a week of so.

Will Pay Long-Distance Respects To Loved Ones

Here's a classified ad that appeared in a Florida newspaper under the heading "senior services" (though I expect it would not apply exclusively to seniors, nor exclusively to Floridians):
Professional Grave Visitor - Can't get back to New York City/Long Island to pay respects, place flowers, say prayers or other sentiments for deceased loved ones? I can do it for you. Call . . . .
I suppose this may actually be a valuable service for some people.
One wonders what the service-provider charges and how he/she verifies that such service were indeed provided.

After all, it's not like the dead can report back that they've been properly respected and/or served -- that their graves/crypts have been tended to, etc.
But free enterprise certainly does provide whatever need the market may demand. Yet, if the service is successful one can imagine taxes and government regulations entering the picture. For example, does the service provider have to pay New York sales tax?

Yo, Governor Christie: Whazzzup?!?

So now Drudge is leading with a Newsmax report that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is again reconsidering a presidential run.
Remember: Christie has repeatedly said "No, no, no . . . not this time around; not now." I'm paraphrasing of course, but Christie has said NO many different ways at many different times during many different interviews.
But now Newsmax (via unamed sources) is reporting that Christie is taking another look at a possible run because he's been approached by big-money Republicans who have thus far been sitting on the sidelines. These "billionaires" and money "bundlers" (Newsmax's term, not mine) are disenchanted with the current crop of GOP candidates and they want some more options. And the ONE option that they're really eyeing is the Big Guy himself, Chris Christie.
Hey, around this time in every presidential election cycle there's usually a great hue and cry of disenchantment with all of the aspirants. The problem is simple: Too many candidates and the public and contributors and influencials find it hard to focus. They're a bit flummoxed. They're not quite sure where to turn or who to follow. When so many are running it blurs the field and (to some people, anyway)everyone winds up looking somewhat mediocre.
Part of the problem is that the party faithful and the donors want a sure bet. They're looking for that magic bullet. Hey, if you were putting up Big Money (or any money at all, for that matter) wouldn't you prefer to place it on someone who you felt had all that it takes to WIN?
But once candidates get into the race they start to get sullied.
Look at what happened to Rick Perry. To some, he seemed like the Dream Candidate -- until he actually entered the race and started participating in the debates. Now his numbers are dropping and I've gotta believe that the initial rush of contributions has tapered off.
Look, I like Governor Christie.
That's no secret here.
And, assuming he continues to make the right moves and stand for the right things I'd love to see him become president someday. And I can understand that Christie supporters and other Republicans may be a bit anxious. They're probably thinking along these lines: This is the year the GOP has a real shot. We might just have ourselves a Republican president. In fact, things are looking better for the GOP every day. So, why shouldn't it be Christie?
But, with less than two years as Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie to his credit, the Governor has a lot on his plate already and he has many factors to consider -- not the least of which is his wonderful family.
I'm certainly not going to offer the Governor any advice on this one.
He's quite capable of taking a cold, hard look at it all.
And he trusts his own solid instincts as well.
Plus, he's got lots of good people around him.
If (and that's a big IF) he's changes his mind, you'll know about right here.
Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

O'Toole: Adopt All 9/11 Recommendations Now!

New Jersey State Senator Kevin O’Toole, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, will introduce a resolution urging the United States Congress to adopt all of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. Senator O’Toole represents portions of Essex, Bergen and Passaic Counties in Northeastern New Jersey.

“I am disturbed by published reports in the Star Ledger that former Governor Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, is calling attention to the failure of the Federal Government to reform our intelligence agencies and to adopt all of the recommendations of the 9/11 report. In particular, the Star Ledger reports that legislation that would require first responder radio frequencies to be cleared during a crisis is stalled. Governor Kean characterizes this legislation as a ‘no brainer.’

According to the National Security Preparedness Group there are nine 9/11 Commission Recommendations that remain unfulfilled, including radio spectrum interoperability and universal standards for secure identifications. The National Security Preparedness Group was set up to re-assess progress on the initial 9/11 Commission recommendations to develop an updated baseline and then analyze the new or continuing challenges in today’s environment. The NSPG intends to follow a process that mirrors the original commission approach to provide useful public discourse on the issues as well as suggest policy options as solutions.

“I believe that 10 years after the attacks of September 11th the Federal Government would have made implementing the bipartisan, unanimous recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. In order to express to federal lawmakers the desire of the residents of New Jersey to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission I have asked the non partisan Office of Legislative Services to draft a Senate Resolution urging that all of the recommendations be adopted as soon as possible. I fully expect New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation to act to adopt the remainder of these recommendations as soon as possible.”

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States proposed 41 recommendations.

Two Bucco Jobs Growth Bills Advance

Two pieces of legislation sponsored by New Jersey Senate Republican Budget Officer Tony Bucco, that would help spur job creation and economic growth, cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee yesterday.
“These bills will provide immediate relief to businesses spurring the creation of permanent private sector jobs that are so desperately needed in New Jersey,” Bucco began. “These measures will also provide an incentive to hire those servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and help businesses invest in updated, more efficient equipment.”
S-1015 would allow a corporation business tax and gross income tax credits to businesses providing employment to certain National Guard or reservists while S-1865 would provide a corporation business tax credit for certain investment in manufacturing equipment and manufacturing facility renovation, modernization and expansion.
“This is a good step in a positive direction towards moving New Jersey's economy forward. I will continue working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, towards implementing Governor Christie’s job creation policies that will return New Jersey to prosperity,” Bucco concluded.

NJ First Lady Salutes Those Battling Paralysis

New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie, David McCauley and board members of Rise Up to Cure Paralysis
After a devastating injury that paralyzed him from the chest down, David McCauley could have just given up. Instead, grateful for his personal support network, he launched the Rise Up to Cure Paralysis Foundation (RUTCP). The non-profit organization raises money to help others fighting paralysis and provides funding for medical research to find its cure. Yesterday, New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie named David McCauley as her sixth New Jersey Hero for his work to improve the lives of those facing the challenges of paralysis.

In 2008, a diving accident shattered McCauley’s C6 vertebrae and splintered his spinal cord. Currently, he is participating in clinical trials at the Kessler Foundation involving locomotor training and functional electronic stimulation and has recovered sensation and motor function to areas 2 feet below his level of injury.

“I’m deeply inspired by David’s commitment and motivation,” said Mrs. Christie. “He has overcome his own personal hurdles to make medical progress, and in the process, has dedicated himself to work at enhancing the quality of life for so many other people and families who are impacted by paralysis and its complications. I am proud to name David McCauley a New Jersey Hero.”

Run from McCauley’s Jersey City apartment, Rise Up to Cure Paralysis accomplishes its mission through its fundraising efforts that provide Research Grants for medical research as well as Quality of Life Grants for individuals in need of adaptive equipment or alternative therapies. Awarded on a quarterly basis, Quality of Life grants help defray the costs of wheelchairs and other daily living aids including rehab equipment, ramps and even eating utensils. The Foundation recently awarded a Quality of Life grant to a disabled skier to assist with the purchase of a Mono Snow Ski. Research Grants will be awarded annually to the best and brightest research facilities in the nation.

One of the Foundation’s innovative fundraising efforts is the Rise Up Art Gallery, a collection of artwork and photographs created by artists with disabilities. Proceeds raised from the sale of gallery artwork go directly to fund Quality of Life and Research grants. McCauley’s own photographs are in the collection as are some of the mosaic skateboards he designs. The next Rise Up Art Gallery Exhibition will be held in Jersey City this December.

“While I was in the hospital undergoing rehabilitation, I realized that many of my fellow patients didn’t have the extensive support system that I was so lucky to have behind me,” said David McCauley. “The injury does not discriminate -- teenagers, the elderly, people of all races and gender all faced the same challenges as me. Some may just need a wheelchair to move on with life, others may require a team of nurses 24 hours a day. This has been my motivation for Rise Up to Cure Paralysis.”

Approximately 6,000 New Jersey residents suffer from traumatic injuries or diseases that damage the spinal cord according to a 2009 report from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Nationally, the number of people living with a spinal cord injury totals 1,275,000.

To learn more about Rise Up to Cure Paralysis, visit

New Jersey Heroes is an initiative of First Lady Mary Pat Christie that showcases the positive ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey in their own unique ways. To nominate a hero, go to the bottom of the page at and click the NJ Heroes tab. Follow the application instructions and submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.

For Rick Perry, The Beginning Of The End?

Politico is out with an excellent analysis of last night's GOP presidential debate and it faults Rick Perry for not being on his toes. It seems that Perry simply entered the campaign too late, and he's never really caught up. This is the Big Time and there's little or no margin for error.
Here's an excerpt from the column by Jonathan Martin and James Hohman:

Perry gave a foreign policy answer that offered no indication he’s thought about how to respond to threats against America, twice bobbled attacks on Mitt Romney'ss well-documented departures from conservative orthodoxy, called immigration hard-liners heartless and, in what was otherwise his best answer of the evening, stretched the truth in the course of delivering a well-rehearsed line about why he mandated pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against HPV.
A more seasoned candidate would be better informed on national security policy, fluent to the point of knowing by heart his chief opponent’s core vulnerabilities, and would never offend his party’s base with such a pointed attack. And a more sure-footed one would have recognized that he couldn’t get away with the claim that he issued an executive order on HPV after being “lobbied” by a cancer victim—because it has been publicly established that he met the victim only after he made the decision.
Click here to read the entire column.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Official, NJ: Carl Lewis Is OFF The Ballot!

IT'S OVER: A federal appeals court today removed former Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis' name from the Nov. 8 ballot. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously in an opinion issued Thursday that the four-year residency requirement to run for New Jersey Senate does not infringe on Lewis' constitutional rights. The appeals remaining to Lewis, a Medford Democrat, are few, and election law experts say it's unlikely his case will move any further.
Congratulations to the Burlington County Republicans who continued to persevere  in this case, to New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Gudagno who first ruled so wisely that Lewis was ineligible and to all who were involved in attempting to uphold the law and protect New Jersey's constitution.
Finally, hugs and kisses to our dear friend -- New Jersey State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego!

Fall For Fun With Museum's 'Art After 5'

Autumn is a perfect time to spend Friday nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5. With award-winning performers and engaging events each week in the Great Stair Hall, visitors experience live performance and enjoy the galleries. Every Friday, the Museum’s culinary team of STARR Events also prepares specialty cocktails, appetizers, and small plates that complement the flavor of each performance.
Jimmy Amadie, Sonny Fortune, and Gretchen Parlato suggest the vast range of jazz greats who perform on the Art After 5 stage.
On October 14, pianist Amadie, who began his career in the 1950s and has played with Mel Tormé, Woody Herman, and Red Rodney, will be making his first public appearance in nearly 45 years. On November 25, saxophonist/flutist Sonny Fortune returns to his native Philadelphia with his New York quartet, having played with Miles Davis and Elvin Jones. Discovered by Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter and trained at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, vocalist Gretchen Parlato will make her Art After 5 debut on November 11.  The Village Voice named Parlato's In a Dream the best jazz vocal album of 2009.
New to Art After 5 this season are two specially themed programs. Co-sponsored by the Turkish American Friendship Society of US and the Alliance Française de Philadelphie, Art After 5 hosts an Orient Express Party on November 4, complete with Turkish music, belly dancing, French gypsy jazz and a round of can-can! December 2’s Yoga Night offers a unique opportunity to get centered before the holidays begin, surrounded by the beauty of the museum’s collections. It will be an evening of meditative exercises, yoga postures, and breathing techniques followed by the chance to dance the night away to DJ-spun Indian bhangra music.
Art After 5 celebrates Halloween and the winter holidays beginning with the popular Halloween Dance Party. On October 28, Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra performs a special set of ghostly music while visitors have tarot cards read and take a spooky art tour. Costumes optional! The rest of the Holiday season falls in line with Holiday Klezmer on December 9, Mistletoe Hop on December 16, Holiday Jazz with Nutcracker Vignettes on December 23, and Art After 5’s New Year’s Eve Pre Party on December 30.

Video: Samsung Notebooks Come To Life!

Trenton Twist: Christie Takes Aim At Sen. Sarlo

Just One Week After Calling ‘Jersey Shore’ Tax Credit A “Terrible, Terrible And Misguided Waste,”
Senator Paul Sarlo Fights To Expand The Program

Thursday, September 15:

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36): "Let us just hope against hope that New Jersey taxpayers don’t end up paying for Snooki's bail the next time she is arrested. What a terrible, terrible and misguided waste." (Jarrett Renshaw, “N.J. Sen. Sarlo Says Gov. Christie's Veto Of Film Tax Credit Program Drove Quality TV Out Of State,” Star-Ledger, 9/15/11)

Thursday, September 22:

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) will chair a meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee. The committee will discuss Sen. Sarlo’s “Garden State Film & Digital Media Jobs Act” (S 3056) which “expands existing film and digital media production tax credit programs.”

More Voters Eye Romney Than Obama Or Perry

The Gallup poll is out with a new batch of info that must be good news for the Mitt Romney camp.
Gallup reports that right now more registered voters say they would definitely vote for Mitt Romney or might consider doing so (62%) than say the same about his two main rivals in the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama (54%) and Republican Rick Perry (53%).
Romney's margin is no insignificant.
And this seems to indicate that Mitt Romney is increasingly emerging as the adult in the room: The sensible, seasoned, can-do candidate who's ready to provide the leadership America needs now.
My tip: Watch Romney. Pay attention to him. Watch where he goes and what he does. Listen to what he says. The next several months will be critical and Romney appears to be ready.

Kean: Are Democrats On Board For Job Creation?

New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement on today’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting which will focus on job creation and economic growth:

“For the past decade, Republicans across the state have been calling for, and proposing, policies that would create jobs and opportunities for middle-class New Jerseyans. For years, Republicans have been asking for tax incentives for small business and other business friendly policies like the single sales factor that were just recently signed into law by Governor Christie.

“Instead, Trenton politicians have pursued policies that discourage job growth and have driven small businesses out of state by raising taxes over 115 times. Until Governor Christie was elected, New Jersey was consistently ranked as the state ‘most unfriendly’ to business.“From the moment Governor Christie took office he has been advocating for economic development, by proposing initiatives that would attract and retain jobs in New Jersey. For the past twenty months the Governor’s plan has created jobs and new opportunities for thousands of middle-class families. In fact, New Jersey has finally moved out of the cellar in the most recent rankings of business-friendly states.

“Of course, much more needs to be done to create jobs and opportunities to return New Jersey to its former prosperity. I congratulate the Trenton Democrats for recognizing that their past policies have damaged the state’s economy and made the state uncompetitive in the region. I look forward to working with them to adopt the Governor’s plan and to create permanent, private sector jobs so that everyone in New Jersey can enjoy the American dream.”

Weather Alert: 'Popped' Musical Festival Moved

Due to the heavy rainfall and thunderstorms forecast by the National Weather Service over the next several days for the Philadelphia area, the POPPED! Music Festival, scheduled for Sept 23 & 24 at FDR Park, has been moved to the Liacouras Center at 1776 N. Broad Street on Temple’s campus, in Philadelphia.

The producers of the event along with the Friends of FDR Park are taking the necessary precautions to insure a quality event and everyone’s safety. With the record rainfall the city has seen over the last month and the expected rain scheduled for the rest of the week, the ground will simply be oversaturated with water.  In an effort to save the park from thousands of people congregating over 2 days in the excessively wet area and still be able to bring a safe, exciting event to Philadelphia, the decision was made to move the POPPED! Music Festival to the Liacouras Center.
All previously purchased tickets will be honored and tickets are on sale now for the Liacouras shows through TicketmasterSingle Day Tickets and Two Day Passes for the POPPED! Music Festival are on sale now.  Advanced price tickets ($59.50 each day for single day tix & $110 for 2 day passes) are available through,,, The Liacouras Center Box Office and the Electric Factory Box Office located at 421 N. 7th Street (no service fees for cash purchases!). Day-of-event tickets will be $65 each and available at the Liacouras Center box office.

The Liacouras Center is easily accessible with area parking lots, on-street parking and numerous public transportation options.


Broad Street Subway: All local Broad Street subway trains stop at Cecil B. Moore Station (Broad and Cecil B. Moore Avenue).

By Septa Bus: The "C" bus stops on Broad Street at Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Montgomery Avenue, Berks Mall and Norris Street. The "3" bus stops on Cecil B. Moore Avenue from 11th Street to Broad Street.
Trolley: The "23" trolley stops on 12th Street (southbound) and 11th Street (northbound) at Berks Mall, Montgomery Avenue and Cecil B. Moore Avenue

SEPTA Regional High Speed Lines: All lines stop at Temple University Station, 10th and Berks Streets.

FRIDAY – Doors 2:30


SATURDAY – Doors 10:30

Tea Party Observes 9/11, Celebrates Constitution

A special message from Teri Adams, President of Philadelphia's Independence Hall Tea Party Association:

On September 10, I, along with Board Members Carol Klein, Jerry Klein, and Don Adams had the privilege of celebrating the 4th year anniversary of the American Sheepdogs Pro-Troop Counter Rally held every Saturday at the West Chester County Courthouse.

For 208 consecutive Saturdays, no matter how dire the weather, there has been a pro-troop demonstration.

We salute Sheepdog founder Rich Davis; blogger Tanya Gail; Carol and Jerry Klein and all the Sheepdogs for their dedication, devotion, and perseverance!

As far as 911 commemorations in the Delaware Valley, the Travis Manion Foundation events were a big success. We congratulate Dom Giordano (WPHT 1210) and Marshall Perlman (Claimstar Inc.) for their participation in the Collingswood, New Jersey 5 K Run.

Last, but not least, on Constitution Day (Saturday, September 17) Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award Nominee, Janine Turner, Co-Founder of Constituting America, headlined our We the People 2011 event on Independence Mall commemorating the 224th Anniversary of the Signing of the United States Constitution. It was our 2nd annual celebration.

  Constituting America's Janine Turner             Wynnewood Institute Founder, Professor Patrick Burke

                 Quentin Cody, Rochelle Porta, Chris Stigall, and Don Adams                              Anna Little
(photos courtesy of Bill Green)
Ms. Turner was joined at the podium by several winners of Constituting America's student contests. Well over 125 people attended the outdoor event despite the threatening skies and chilly temperatures.

Professor Patrick Burke, the Honorable Anna Little, Quentin Cody, Board Members Rochelle Porta, and Don Adams also took to the microphones.

Dom Giordano paid tribute to the recently deceased Joey Vento and Joey's staunch Defense of the First Amendment.

Larry Cirignano, a Reagan Administration Alum, read passages from President Ronald Reagan's speech delivered at Independence Hall during the Bicentennial Celebration of the US Constitution (1987). This year marks the 100th anniversary of President Reagan's birth.

Chris Stigall recited the Bill of Rights and played the role of Ben Franklin in a first ever reading of an original screenplay by Don Adams entitled Kingbird and Franklin.

We thank our sponsor, ClaimStar Inc.; co-sponsors, ECBM and TNT Rental; WPHT, Gary R'nel, and Ed Palladino; WDEL and Rick Jensen; WOR and Rita Cosby; our Board of Directors; our Volunteers (especially Tory McClintock); and you!

Also, best wishes to Association friends Jack Posobiec and Brittany on their recent engagement! Jack popped the question in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Understand This Man's Reasoning?

Why Cancer Makes Me Angry

Inasmuch as I have recently lost two friends to cancer, I thought I'd share some sentiments on the disease and why it makes me so angry.
The following is adapted from something that I wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News some time ago.
I was angry then. And I remain angry now:

Cancer makes me angry. Very angry.

It made me angry nearly 50 years ago when my godfather was diagnosed with lung cancer and died. They told me then that I wouldn’t have to worry about cancer when I grew up. “It’s okay,” they said. “It will be cured by then.” They lied.
They always say they are close to a cure for cancer. But everyday we hear of more people being diagnosed with cancer. And everyday we seem to hear about more types of cancer then we ever heard of before.
Recently my 28-year-old daughter called me to tell me about a contemporary of hers who has been diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Now they’re looking for bone marrow donors.
Cancer makes me angry.
It made me angry when my father was diagnosed with cancer; and later, my mother as well.
My father looked me in the eye and told me he would beat it in the end. And he did. Luckily, he didn’t die of cancer. But the removal of most of one lung seemed to leave his breathing capacity so diminished that I’m sure the cancer chopped extra years off his life.
My mother was not so lucky. The cancer had already metastasized by the time they discovered it. The doctor gave us the bad news as we stood in a hospital hallway. “It has already spread,” he said. He talked about my mother as if she wasn’t even there. He mentioned the word “palliative.” Then, he was on his way. But my mother was there and she heard what she said. She simply chose not to dwell on it and lived her remaining time best as she could.
Cancer makes me angry. Maybe it’s a guy thing. But the injustice of cancer makes me want to beat the guts out of somebody.
I was angry when I heard that Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returned and then she later died of the disease.. Hadn’t she suffered enough? 
And I was just as angry when the same thing happened to former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. What did either one of them do to deserve such a fate?

I hate it when people say of someone: “He lost his battle with cancer.” None of us gets out of here alive. So, no one loses a battle with cancer. No one. Instead, the rest of us lose. We lose that person’s special talent; their unique contribution; their smile, their friendship, their love. And with each recurrence, with each new bad news bulletin, with each additional death we lose hope as well.
We don’t want to admit it. We fight bravely on. But fear stalks us and hope continues to die.
If you Google the word “cancer” you will come up with more than a quarter of a billion hits. There are so many cancer theories, cancer funds, cancer marches, cancer hospitals, cancer centers and cancer studies that the enormity of the army amassed to fight cancer gives one pause. Still, there is no cancer cure.
Cancer makes me angry. And I have no intention of letting go of my anger. Because cancer is too persistent, too insidious, too pervasive. Which makes me suspicious as well. Sometimes I even allow myself to believe that there is some sort of vested interest in not curing cancer if only because cancer treatment has become a lucrative, worldwide industry.
So count me as one of the angry ones – and throw in a dose of hard-learned skepticism as well.

Video: Christie Gives Political Advice To 6th Grader

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be the single most effective communicator in American today.
He's natural. He's engaging. And he just seems to instinctively know how to relate not only to an entire audience but to each and every individual in the audience.
The Governor truly excels at his town hall meetings held throughout New Jersey. He's held 56 of them so far in every part of the state. At these sessions, Chris Christie is in his element. Without a script or a teleprompter, Christie takes on all comers. And here's the thing: He really listens to people and makes the sessions informative, meaningful and refreshingly human.
You only need to watch Christie to know that he's enjoying himself. He's a people person.
Look at this clip of Christie giving political advice yesterday to a 6th grade student who's running for class office.
It's a keeper -- a classic Christie gem.