Monday, October 31, 2011

Special Veterans Day Event - Reagan Library

Christie On EPA Approval: Major Step Forward

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of New Jersey’s Clean Air Act petition a major step towards significantly reducing huge volumes of harmful air pollutants from a coal-fired Pennsylvania power plant. The Christie Administration’s Section 126 Petition, filed in March 2010, will reduce air emissions from the GenOn Energy power plant in Portland, Pennsylvania, which currently spews more than 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), plus mercury and many other contaminants into the air across the Delaware River and directly onto residents living in communities in Warren County, and negatively impacting air quality in Morris, Sussex and Hunterdon counties.

This is the first single-source 126 Petition the federal agency has granted -- the first time it has granted a petition for a power plant bordering another state. It will require the Portland Generating Station to significantly cut its SO2 emissions within three years, with a portion of those cuts happening by the end of the first year. In accepting the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) petition, the EPA will require the power plant to reduce emissions by 60 percent within one year, and to seek an 81 percent reduction within three years. It has provided the power plant with flexibility to choose the most cost-effective strategy for meeting these limits, including installing proven and widely available pollution control technologies.

“This is a major step towards our continuing commitment to improving air quality for all residents of New Jersey,” said Governor Christie. “The EPA made clear that harmful emissions from a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plant will not be tolerated. By giving our request serious consideration and partnering with us to act, we are providing real solutions to a matter that has long been a public health concern for so many of our residents. Now that the decision has been made, it is imperative that we deal promptly with the public health and environmental problems caused by this Pennsylvania facility, which is one of the top five generators of sulfur dioxide among power plants in the nation and which emits more mercury than all of New Jersey‘s coal fired power plants combined.”

The DEP’s air monitoring station in Knowlton Township, which is 1 mile from the Portland power plant, has measured the highest short-term sulfur dioxide levels in New Jersey, due to pollution emanating from the Portland generating station. The sulfur dioxide coming from the plant is known to cause a variety of adverse health effects, including asthma and respiratory failure, and environmental impacts such as acid rain. The air pollution from this plant, however, is not limited to sulfur dioxide. The plant also emits a high levels of nitrogen oxides, mercury, hydrochloric acid, lead and other air pollutants, including fine sulfate particles that travel on the wind throughout northern New Jersey, and to New York, Connecticut and beyond.

“This has had a major negative impact on air quality and public health for so many of our residents for too many years,’’ said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Strong action by the EPA will help greatly to reduce these harmful emissions, and the DEP will closely monitor this effort to ensure this process moves along as swiftly as possible. Now we are glad to have EPA’s commitment to follow up on its promise to compel GenOn to reduce these harmful emissions. We thank the EPA for this precedent setting decision.”

Testifying at an EPA hearing in Oxford, earlier this year, Commissioner Martin offered the Christie Administration’s support for the EPA’s proposal, calling it unacceptable to have a single power plant on New Jersey’s border emitting more sulfur dioxide and mercury than all of New Jersey’s coal-, oil- and gas-fired power plants combined. It is a priority of the Administration to achieve improved air quality for all residents of New Jersey. In addition to the Portland petition, the State is battling out-of-state air pollution in two ongoing federal court cases dealing with power plants in western Pennsylvania that pour out huge volumes of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The Christie Administration strongly believes modern air pollution controls, including a scrubber, should be installed to substantially reduce the Portland plant’s emissions. Commissioner Martin stressed that emissions reductions can be met with existing technology, as is required for New Jersey coal-fired power plants.

For the full text of Commissioner Martin’s testimony at the EPA hearing, as well as supporting documents on the 126 Petition, including a fact sheet, map, charts, and a photo of the Portland plant, visit:

More information on New Jersey’s petition can be found at

Video: Cain Answers Salacious Allegations

Improv Everywhere Creator In Philly Nov. 9

Charlie Todd, the creator of the infamous prank group Improv Everywhere and well known Youtube Prankster, will be coming to Drexel University on Nov. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. to run an MP3 experiment followed by a presentation of behind the scenes stories and a question and answer session. Todd’s visit and experiment mark Improv Everywhere’s first ever visit to Philadelphia.
The MP3 Experiment is a mass social game in which participants download a 45-minute MP3 file to their mobile devices, head out to the same public location, and blend in with the crowd. At a specific, predetermined time, participants press play and begin to carry out coordinated instructions delivered to their headphones via a narrator, “Steve.” Those uninvolved will surely watch in wonder of the spontaneous coordination of such a large group.

Following the MP3 Experiment, Todd will be giving a hour long presentation where he will highlight how he pulls off his most successful stunts. Some of Todd’s most successful stunts include no pants subway rides and spontaneous musicals. The show also features clips of Improv Everywhere’s best videos with Charlie’s live commentary and an interactive question and answer session.
The MP3 Experiment will take place on Race Street Lawn at 5PM. Charlie Todd will be speaking in Main Auditorium at 7PM.

About Improv Everywhere
Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 100 missions involving tens of thousands of undercover agents.

About Urban Playground
Urban Playground is a student organization at Drexel University that exists to make social ideas a reality. The group provides experience, tools, marketing, and a community centered approach to spread fun in public spaces. The group is composed of “Youtubers” who have a history of organized fun flash mobs, social experiments, and playground restoration.

Christie Video: NJ 'After 3' Will Continue

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Video: Romney Wins Solid New Hampshire Support

Happy Haloweeeeen & Jolly Trick Or Treating!

Happy Tricking
and Treating
from our two most
favorite Halloweeners in
the whole wide world!
Photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.

Are US Chinese Relations At Critical Phase?

When it comes to the US and China few people are more cross-cultural than playwright David Henry Hwang, whose new play Chinglish just opened on Broadway.
When I asked Hwang whether he was hopeful about the future of US China relations he hesitated for a moment.
Hwang says the two countries are at a critical moment in their relationship because both nations will soon be choosing new leaders. He says the future very much depends on the leaders that we choose. He says that conflict between the two countries can only result in mutually assured destruction. He seems very much interested in continued cooperation and greater understanding.

Chinglish Let's You In On "Secret"

Director Leigh Silverman says that before every performance of David Henry Hwang's new Broadway play Chinglish she feels like the audience is about to be let in on a great secret.
She says the play is very current and very exciting.
Hwang says this is an international cast and that it is a great ensemble.
He also says that the relationship between China and America will be a huge topic of discussion for the rest of his life and beyond.

More Live Blogging From Chinglish

Silverman says part of the excitement of the show and part of the gamble is contained in the translation component of the show, Chinglish now on Broadway at the Longacre Theater. The show has subtitles and Silverman says many people leave the show actually feeling they can speak Chinese.
She says this is is unlike anything that's ever been done on Broadway.
What with all the interest in China as a world power Hwang says he thinks the timing for the play may be good but he says he writes the play that he likes to write and he doesn't worry too much about timing or similar factors.
Hwang also says he hopes that the play will contribute to greater cultural understanding and this has been an interest of his for a great time. He's delighted that a Asians and non-Asians are enjoying the play together and laughing together.

Live Blogging From Broadway - Chinglish

Once again we are live blogging.
And right now we're at Hurley's Bar just off Times Square. We're here with playwright David Henry Hwang and director Leigh Silverman because we are about to see their new play Chinglish which is right next door at the Longacre Theater.
Hwang says that Chinglish is a term that has been used for awhile now to describe the combination of Chinese and English that has often become necessary for Chinese and Americans to communicate. The problem is that words don't translate very well between the two languages.
He says the play is about how language misunderstandings can manifest themselves and that he didn't realize until after he wrote the play that it was a comedy .
Silverman describes the play as an outrageous comedy but she says it's also sexy and she feels like language and communication are actually characters in the play.
Silverman says the translation portions of the play engage the audience in a very special way but that the play also retains its comedy and fun even though it makes you think.
BTW: The subtitles are incorporated in a very ingenious manner.

We'll Be Live Blogging From CHINGLISH On Broadway!

Join me at right here beginning at 1:30 this afternoon (Sunday) as I live blog from Broadway with playwright David Henry Hwang, director Leigh Silverman and the cast of the new Broadway hit Chinglish.
You won't want to miss this!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Video: NJ Snow Emergency: "Stay Home!"

Video: Christie On NJ Snow Emergency

Christie Declares State Of Emergency In NJ

Governor Chris Christie today declared a state of emergency throughout the state as a result of severe weather conditions across the state including high winds, rain, snow, and mixed freezing precipitation, coastal, stream and river flooding, downed trees and power lines, that threaten the public’s health and safety.

Governor Christie urged New Jerseyans to stay off of the roadways until conditions improve. The adverse conditions caused by the storm have resulted in over 60 incidents on roadways and 20 full road closures so far.

"As we move through the worst part of this storm, I am urging all New Jerseyans to avoid unnecessary risks in severe weather like this and stay off the roadways tonight, while also issuing a state of emergency to marshal all resources of government to effectively respond," Governor Christie said. "With this declaration, we are taking immediate steps to ensure that state, local and county governments have every tool at their disposal to manage and respond to conditions on the ground, emergency operations plans are activated, and that every part of government is positioned to assist and protect the public through this storm."

The declaration activates elements of the State Emergency Operations Plan, broadening powers of the New Jersey State Police including traffic control, limiting access and egress from impacted areas and issuing evacuation orders if needed.

As provided by the declaration, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will be authorized to mobilize and deploy resources beginning immediately to respond to the storm conditions, including resources of the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey Department of Transportation, in coordination with county and municipal emergency management officials in impacted areas throughout the state.

At Philly's Bistro 7, The Food Comes First

You might walk right by Bistro 7 in Philadelphia's Old City and never realize it.
In fact, even though we had been to this cozy storefront restaurant before we did almost exactly that last night. But we quickly checked ourselves and soon were in the intimate confines of this popular neighborhood eatery.
Chef/Owner Michael O'Haloran (formerly of Fork) relies on a network of local, organic farmers for the fresh ingredients that form the basis for an eclectic American menu, and the ever-changing choices frequently reflect the best that the season has to offer.
The place seats little more than about 50 to 70 people and the the understated minimalist decor in shades of green nonetheless boasts white linen tablecloths, filigreed heirloom flatware and graceful stoneware. The open kitchen is right there for everyone to see providing an ample view of the chefs at work. And the fragrant aromas of the kitchen waft through the room.
We began our meal with a salad of romaine, radicchio, green apples, walnuts and blue cheese with roasted garlic-honey dressing and the delicate gnocchi with cider-roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts, sage brown sugar and pecorino romano. All wonderfully tempting.
Then it was on to our main courses of herb roasted tilefish over creamy hazelnut and chanterelle risotto with charred asparagus spears, crispy elephant garlic chips and sherry-brown butter buerre plus the natural beef short ribs braised with burgundy, garlic and rosemary potato-califlower lasagna, buttered braised celery, roasted marrow and pan jus reduction. Beautifully presented, fresh and delicious.
And the dessert? Coconut rice pudding with toasted coconut, coconut macaroon and coconut caramel as well as chocolate malted pot de creme with vanilla whipped dream. Surprisingly light. Divine!
Appetizers: $12 to $14. Entrees: $24 to $31. Dessert: $7 to $14
Trust us: This is a cut above any BYO you'll encounter. The service was seamless. The ambience was convivial. And the food really is the star. We enjoyed ever succulently satisfying moment of this meal. 
One drawback: The room became unforgivably noisy as a large party encamped next to us. Often when groups of six or more arrive and they start imbibing, they became unnecessarily loud and oafish, almost as if they're trying to outdo one another. With no little floor, wall or ceiling cushioning, this can be dreadful. But fortunately we arrived early enough to miss much of the unnecessary clamor.
Our verdict: Don't walk past this warm, enveloping gem at 7 North 3rd St. Hurry on in!
And be sure to try the Chef's tasting menu every Tuesday through Thursday -- five courses for $35!

PA Judicial Elections Among Most Costly In USA

Pennsylvania had the nation’s second costliest judicial elections in 2009-2010, an election cycle that posed some of the gravest threats yet to fair and impartial justice in America, a new report by three nonpartisan legal reform groups discloses.

Campaign spending exceeded $5.4 million for one open seat on the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. That trailed only Michigan in the 2009-10 election cycle. Pennsylvania retained its designation as the nation’s costliest state for high court races since 2007, with candidates and interest groups spending a total of  $15.5 million for the 2007-10 period.

Examining all state high-court elections, candidates and special-interest groups spent a total of $38.4 million in 2009-10, and a growing portion of that money was spent by a small number of secretive interest groups.

Pennsylvania has become a national symbol of special-interest pressure on our courts of law,” said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign, a nonpartisan legal reform group.

“Pennsylvanians are concerned that campaign contributions affect what happens later in the courtroom,” said Lynn A. Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a partner of the Justice at Stake Campaign. “As elections become more expensive and as it becomes easier for corporations, unions and special interests to pour money into judicial campaigns, Pennsylvanians will continue to worry that justice is for sale.”

The report, entitled “The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2009-10,” was released today by the Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money and State Politics. It is available at

According to the report, just two groups accounted for more than half of all candidate fundraising in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court election of 2009. The state GOP poured $1.4 million into Republican Joan Orie Melvin’s ultimately successful campaign, while the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association donated $1.37 million to Democrat Jack Panella.

Super spender groups drove the 2009 Pennsylvania election, and for a time, the role of one of them was murky. The Pennsylvania GOP claimed during the campaign that its TV ads were being aired independently of Justice Orie Melvin’s election bid.  After the election, however, the party updated its campaign finance reports and treated more than a million dollars in TV ads as an in-kind contribution to the Orie Melvin campaign.

A series of “New Politics” reports since 2000 has highlighted skyrocketing special-interest spending that has altered the face of state Supreme court contests and eroded public confidence in fair and impartial courts.

According to a national poll released today, 83 percent of voters believe that campaign contributions have a “great deal” or “some” influence on a judge’s decisions.
The poll also showed that 63 percent support the core ideas of a merit selection system, in which the governor appoints judges from a list vetted by a panel of civic and legal leaders, and that once on the bench, these judges face the voters in periodic retention elections.

That mirrors a 2010 poll showing that three out of four Pennsylvanians believe campaign contributions influence judges’ decisions, and that 62 percent favor merit selection of judges.

  Pennsylvania ranks in the forefront of states where legislators are seeking a switch from partisan election to a merit selection system; five current and former governors have endorsed this plan.

The total of $38.4 million spent across the nation in 2009-10 was somewhat less than the amount spent in the last non-presidential election cycle, in 2005-06. However, $16.8 million was spent on TV advertising, making 2009-10 the costliest non-presidential cycle for TV spending in judicial elections. Of that total, $3.35 million was spent on TV advertising in Pennsylvania.

Across the country, outside groups continued their hostile attempts to take over state high court elections, pumping in nearly 30 percent of all money spent – far higher than four years earlier.

About the Organizations

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a nonpartisan statewide court reform organization working for fair and impartial courts that serve all Pennsylvanians.  We are a partner of the Justice at Stake campaign.

Justice at Stake Campaign

The Justice at Stake Campaign is a nonpartisan national partnership working to keep our courts fair, impartial and free from special-interest and partisan agendas. In states across America, Campaign partners work to protect our courts through public education, grass-roots organizing and reform. The Campaign provides strategic coordination and brings organizational, communications and research resources to the work of its partners and allies at the national, state and local levels.

The Brennan Center for Justice

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to presidential power in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution – part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics 

The National Institute on Money in State Politics collects, publishes, and analyzes data on campaign money in state elections. The database dates back to the 1990 election cycle for some states and is comprehensive for all 50 states since the 1999–2000 election cycle. The Institute has compiled a 50-state summary of state supreme court contribution data from 1989 through the present, as well as complete, detailed databases of campaign contributions for all state high-court judicial races beginning with the 2000 elections.
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a nonpartisan statewide court reform organization working for fair and impartial courts that serve all Pennsylvanians.  We are a partner of the Justice at Stake campaign.

Actor: Social Networking Butchering Our Language

The actor Ralph Fiennes feels that the English language is effectively being destroyed by social networking sites such as Twitter.

Here's what he recently said:
"Our expressiveness and our ease with some words is being diluted so that the sentence with more than one clause is a problem for us, and the word of more than two syllables is a problem for us.
"I hear it, too, from people at drama schools, who say the younger intake find the density of a Shakespeare text a challenge in a way that, perhaps, (students) a few generations ago maybe wouldn't have.

"I think we're living in a time when our ears are attuned to a flattened and truncated sense of our English language, so this always begs the question, is Shakespeare relevant? But I love this language we have and what it can do, and aside from that I think the themes in his plays are always relevant.

NJ First Lady Honors 'Breast Friends Forever'

As 15 year-old high-school students, Erika Rech and Mike Ruane of Hazlet, NJ watched the devastating impact breast cancer had on their family. The two cousins, now 19, were so motivated by their personal experiences that they formed Breast Friends Forever to help other families cope with the burdens of the disease. 

First Lady Mary Pat Christie and Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd congratulate Mike Ruane and Erika Rech, cousins and founders of Breast Friends Forever, on being named New Jersey Heroes in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Yesterday, New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie named Erika and Mike New Jersey Heroes for their efforts to make a difference in the lives of patients and families struggling with the effects of breast cancer.“I am so inspired by Erika and Mike’s compassion and commitment to improve the lives of others in their community,” said Mrs. Christie. “Their work is giving hope, courage and peace of mind to women and their families who are facing a multitude of hardships in their battle with breast cancer. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am proud to name Erika Rech and Mike Ruane New Jersey Heroes.”

The two teens first began their fundraising efforts by selling candy bars and t-shirts in church. Today, Breast Friends Forever has raised approximately $250,000 to support breast cancer patients and families in need. The organization provides financial support for items ranging from wigs and prosthetics to medications and transportation. This year, the pair plans to open five chapters of the charity in other states.

“The more we learned about breast cancer, and the treatment, costs and pain it causes, the more compelled we felt to help out families struggling with this disease,” said Erika Rech, a sophomore at Villanova University.

“Erika and I vowed to form an organization to help families navigate through a cancer diagnosis by providing resources and emotional and financial support,” added Mike Ruane, a Rutgers sophomore.

Through donations and fundraisers, Breast Friends Forever has furnished wide ranging assistance to breast cancer victims in the community, including:
  • making gas, electric and car payments for a young woman with two daughters who could not meet expenses because she had to stop working while going through chemotherapy and a double mastectomy; 
  • purchasing enough train tickets so that a woman who had breast surgery could get to her full course of radiation treatments because she could not get there on her own;
  • buying a wig for a 28 year old woman because her insurance would not cover it and she could not pay for it on her own;
  • helping to pay the rent, phone and electric bills for a woman whose breast cancer recurred and metastasized to her bones. The woman’s husband is on permanent disability with a heart condition and with her chemotherapy treatment and medication costs, the couple were falling behind on bills. 
In addition, Breast Friends Forever has introduced Check Yourself Out, a campaign aimed at educating young women about the importance of breast self examination.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, about 7,360 women in New Jersey will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Nationally, about 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2011.

To learn more about Breast Friends Forever, visit

For more information on breast cancer, 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 and follow the application instructions and submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Report: Luke Perry Dead In Snowboarding Accident?

An apparently fallacious report is circulating that actor and TV and film star Luke Perry - the heartthrob behind the legendary Beverly Hills 90210 character Dylan Walsh - died.

But Perry's spokesperson reportedly says the report is a complete hoax.

The story goes that Perry lost control of his snowboard and crashed into a tree.

He was said to have been air lifted to a local hospital but died upon impact.

A rep for Perry laughed off the rumor. “He’s very much alive,” the rep said. “The last thing he’d be doing is snowboarding in Zermatt.”

Anderson Cooper In Philly Discusses New Talk Show

We thought we'd show you some photos from our session in Philadelphia earlier today with Anderson Cooper. 

Anderson Cooper brings his experience as an award-winning journalist and storyteller, his passionate voice and personal perspective to "Anderson," the nationally syndicated, daily one-hour daytime talk show that premiered September 12, 2011. In the Philadelphia area it can be seen at 9 AM weekdays on CBS 3.

"Anderson" covers a wide range of topics with provocative personal stories. Whether discussing social issues, trends and events, pop culture, or human interest stories, Anderson involves viewers in the studio audience and at home in a daily discussion designed to be both informative and entertaining. Anderson also interviews celebrity guests, as well as experts to bring daytime viewers real information they can use in their own lives and to help real people overcome real life challenges.

With undercover investigations and hidden camera experiments, Anderson offers a fresh perspective on issues and social trends affecting women's lives. "Anderson" is designed as a daily destination for multiple generations of women, a place where viewers can gain insight, and connect with each other and the world around them.

"Anderson" is taped in front of a live studio audience at Jazz at Lincoln Center's The Allen Room, a truly unique setting with views through a 50-by-90-foot floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking New York's Central Park and Columbus Circle. This open, fresh view brings the energy of the city into the studio and into viewers' homes.

"Anderson" is a true cross-platform experience. Here, at the show's website, (, viewers and fans can go deeper into each day's show with exclusive content, additional interviews, as well as behind-the-scenes footage with Anderson. The website also provides viewers with an interactive community and platform to discuss what's on their minds and to connect with Anderson, and with each other.

Find out when "Anderson" is on in your city.

See Anderson Live!

Frequently Asked Questions

"Anderson" is produced by StrongChild Productions in association with Telepictures Productions, an industry-leading and Emmy-winning producer of syndicated programming. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network. Cooper, Jim Murphy and Lisa Morin serve as executive producers.Read more:

Photos of Anderson Copper copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.

Anderson Cooper: Don't Seek Celebrity

During my chat with Anderson Cooper this morning Anderson told me that he's largely unfazed by celebrities and that he does not consciously seek fame.
Part of it is the fact that he was exposed to celebrities from a very early age and he realized that they have the same fears and anxieties and problems as everyone else.
He recalled that his parents (Gloria Vanderbilt and Wyatt Cooper) regularly entertained famous people He told me the story of when they welcomed Charlie Chaplin into their home. "I was just a kid and when I heard Chaplin was coming I expected a funny little guy with a bowler hat and a cane. But he was older then and looked just like everybody else. So I guess I sort of learned from experiences like that."
I asked him how he feels about his own celebrity and he was benign about it. He told me that fame is not the goal and that he doesn't go looking for billboards of himself or photos of himself on magazine covers, nor does he usually take note of what's written about him. He very much sees himself as a journalist and he does not believe that a journalist should be part of the story.
He says an idol of his was the photographer Gordon Parks -- a man who felt deeply and cared passionately but who saw the world through his camera, very much as a spectator. One suspects that this remains Anderson's model.
"The important thing," Anderson says is to do your job; to work hard, do your best, care about what you do."
And Anderson noted that some famous and presumably successful people are actually very unhappy. For his part he appears to be determined to keep his life in balance.

Seek Out Those Who Overcome Obstacles

Anderson Cooper says he seeks out those who have overcome obstacles.
He says that as a reporter he has interacted with lots of people who have overcome life's hardships.
He says reporting is an intense experience. "You interact with people' you tell their stories and then they're gone. You move on to tell other stories." He notes that at times this can be difficult but it's part of the job.
He says he thinks the rise of bloggers is great because it represents the "democratization of news and information."
His advice to young people starting out is "get in earlier, stay later and work very hard." Anderson says that when he was starting out he tried to work harder than everybody else. And he says he still works very hard because "I know that there are people who are working very hard right now to get to the top."

Anderson: Overcoming Fears

Anderson Cooper says he's a great believer in overcoming his fears by doing things he never did before.
He says he greatly feared public speaking but overcame that by forcing himself to speak in front of groups. And one of the most recent episodes of his talk program dealt with overcoming fears.
His new show "Anderson" can be seen on CBS 3 in Philly each weekday at 9 AM.
He also says he's not very good in a large bureaucracy and he does not like to be stuck behind a desk. He likes to travel. He likes to get out and about.

Live Blogging Anderson Cooper In Philly

I'm here in Philly this morning at CBS
3 with Anderson Cooper who's in town to talk about his new one-hour daily talk show simply titled Anderson. Cooper is also co-executive producer of the show which is currently seen here in the Philadelphia market.
I've long admired Anderson Cooper and and happy to be with him today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video: Actor Snaps, Slaps Woman Fan At Festival

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
Aging Actor Omar Sharif totally lost it at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Quatar where he slapped a fan who wanted to have her picture taken with him.
In Arabic, Sharif tell the woman: "My dear! I told you."
Click here for more.

Finally, Autumn Begins To Show Its Vibrant Colors!

Photos copyright 2012 by Dan Cirucci.
The colors of autumn have begun to arrive in the Philadelphia region.
The dazzling yellows and reds and oranges (mixed with some deep, lingering greens) are upon us.
Cooler nights have finally triggered the arrival of this annual show.
Though you might think that the colors are late this year, the truth is that they are right about on time. Check out this post on this blog from last year and you will see that it's the same date as today. Nature can keep a more accurate calendar than we can. The trees know when to begin their annual show.
Still, the show has not reached its peak yet. This seems to just be the beginning.
Let's hope we have some fine, sunny days ahead which will make these colors gloriously vivid and give us all a chance to get out and enjoy them!

Photos/Video: Steven Tyler's Face Mangled!

Video: Naked Woman On Wild Police Chase Flips Out

Click here for more.

Weather Alert: October SNOW On The Way!

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for possibly 4-6 inches of snow for parts of the Lehigh Valley and Berks County on Saturday.
Believe it or not, here is the actual alert. Take heed:

Christie Conditionally Vetoes Foreclosure Bill

In an effort to avoid unintended consequences of provisions contained in an otherwise well-intentioned piece of legislation, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today conditionally vetoed A-359, which appropriately targets unregulated consultants engaged in foreclosure “rescue” scams against distressed homeowners. The Governor’s changes to the bill further aid and protect distressed property owners by maintaining their ability to avoid foreclosure by entering into legitimate pre-foreclosure options, stemming further real estate losses and unnecessary bankruptcies.

As originally written by its sponsors, A-359 included a provision mandating that, in all instances, a distressed homeowner be paid at least 82 percent of the property’s fair market value in consideration of the homeowner’s transfer of title. While a laudable protection on its face, that part of the bill would have the consequence of freezing the marketplace for legitimate distressed residential properties– limiting options and actually hurting the very people the bill purported to help.

“Wisely, the original intent of the bill was to specifically target the unregulated foreclosure consultants who at times employ fraudulent methods to obtain distressed properties at reduced costs,” Governor Christie said in his veto message. “Attempting to regulate nearly all distressed properties could have the dire effect of curtailing legitimate transactions across the State, preventing homeowners from engaging in pre-foreclosure transactions to stem further losses, and forcing banks to foreclose on many of the thousands of financially distressed homes in New Jersey that are already ‘under water.’”

“Simply stated, without the option of legitimate, pre-foreclosure sales, many homeowners will end up in bankruptcy, while banks will end up with more foreclosed-upon property, more debt, and new requests for taxpayer-funded support.”

As modified by Governor Christie and returned for consideration by the Legislature, the bill clarifies that only distressed property conveyances and “conditional conveyances” involving participation by a foreclosure consultant be subject to the “82 percent of fair market value” requirement. In this way, A-359 with the Governor’s changes is comparable to legislation in other states, such as Illinois, that is more narrowly crafted to curb foreclosure rescue scams without adversely impacting the residential real estate market.

With the improvements he recommends, Governor Christie said he looks forward to signing the bill to protect distressed property owners from the unlicensed and unsupervised individuals who might prey on the vulnerable.

Assembly sponsors of A-359 were Assemblymembers Gary S. Schaer (D-Bergen, Essex, Passaic), John J. Burzichelli (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer), and Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex), and Senate sponsors of the companion bill included Senators Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer) and Brian P. Stack (D-Hudson).

Video: Frankly Christie And 'Thank You' To Volunteers

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at his very best!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christie On Why He Said 'Get The Hell Off Beach'

At an event for first responders, volunteers and other who helped out during hurricane Irene, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today explained his famous "Get the hell off the beach," comment.
Here's how he tells it:
I was upstairs for those fourteen hour days at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), and I’m watching TV and there’s a guy from CNN standing on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park and ten hours earlier I told everybody to get off the islands, get back to safer ground.
I said it really nicely---- it is in your best interest to move to a safer place during this very dangerous time. And then I watched this guy from CNN standing on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park. He didn’t bother me too much but behind him there were people building sand castles.
There was a guy putting sunscreen on his wife or girlfriend, and there was another guy that grabbed his surfboard and running out to the water. I said, who are these idiots, and I said OK, time for a press conference, and I went down there and I just figured I had to take a much more Jersey approach to the problem.
As always, Christie tells it like it is (even in the retelling) and gives it to you straight.

Cain Explains The Story Behind 'Smoker' Ad

Herman Cain just announced that there is no special significance to that Cain TV ad that features his chief of staff lighting up a cigarette and smoking.
Cain says :"We have a slogan and it's 'Let Herman be Herman.' And we also say 'Let Mark be Mark.'" Cain's chief of staff is Mark Block and he's the guy who's featured in the ad.
"Mark is a smoker," Cain explains. "He knows it's a bad habit and he knows he should stop," he adds. But Cain says that his chief of staff simply is who he is.
Cain suggests the ad was none other than an attempt to be real and to show his chief of staff as he is.

Christie Orders All Flags Lowered

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the following Executive Order:
Executive Order No. 79 - Ordering all State buildings to fly flags at half-staff on Friday, October 28, 2011 to honor the service and sacrifice of United States Army Staff Sergeant Jorge M. Oliveira, a Newark resident and Essex County Sheriff’s officer, who lost his life serving on active duty in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Video: Poignant 'Thank You' To NJ Storm Voulnteers

During Hurricane Irene, we saw communities come together to help those in need.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped out. Because of you, New Jersey will come back stronger than ever.

Christie Welcomes Israeli Ambassador To NJ

Governor Christie met with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States to talk about strengthening the long-term connection between New Jersey and Israel.

Kyrillos: NO Special Treatment For Judges!

New Jersey State Senator Joe Kyrillos, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Superior Court which states judges are exempt from the recently enacted pension and health benefits reforms, echoing the Governor's call for a Constitutional Amendment:

“It is preposterous that the Judiciary would be exempt from higher contribution requirements set in the recently passed pension and health benefits reforms. An amendment to the New Jersey Constitution which currently prevents judges from paying higher contribution rates for their pension and health benefits is obviously necessary given Judge Feinberg’s decision. This issue is fundamentally about fairness; all public employees are making sacrifices and judges should not be set apart as a privileged class of employees.

“The Judiciary collects more generous, tax-payer funded benefits than any other group of state employees. Judges now pay only a maximum of 3 % of their salary into the pension system, the lowest contribution rate of all the pension systems. In fact, the average judge makes back their contributions in just seven months of retirement. This is why the Judicial Retirement System is more at risk than any other pension system and why it is appropriate to ask the judges to contribute more for their own benefits.”

FREE Car Wash Till 11/30 - No Gimmicks!

Would you like a FREE hand carwash?
Then head on over to Pristine Carwash Lube & Detail Center on Haddonfield Road near Route 70 across from the Garden State Park shopping area and get a complete exterior car wash for free.
There's nothing to buy, no coupons to turn in, no fine print and no gimmicks.
And this offer is available through the end of November.
Just pull into the new Pristine Center at 1000 Haddonfield Rd. and get your free exterior car wash.
The folks at Pristine do a wonderful job -- they even clean the car door jams and the undercarriage with the same thoroughness and attentiveness that they give to the rest of the car.
The place is all new and it really is pristine. It literally sparkles.
And one other thing -- you'll even get a free cup of coffee.
So, between the hand car wash and the coffee you're saving at least ten bucks.
Of course, we do recommend that you tip generously.
Don't miss this deal!

AFP NJ Launches Election Media Blitz

Americans for Prosperity, New Jersey's grassroots, free-market organization, is launching a media blitz today as part of a project to educate citizens on the big government, anti-tax voting records of several Trenton lawmakers.

The two week effort will focus on the following five legislative districts, all of which include state senators who have earned and “F” rating for their votes on key fiscal legislation as documented by Americans for Prosperity’s Taxpayer Scorecards (See here and here).

  • District 2 – Sen. Jim Whelan (Atlantic)
  • District 3 – Sen. Steve Sweeney (SalemCumberlandGloucester)
  • District 14 – Linda Greenstein (Mercer, Middlesex)
  • District 27 - Sen. Dick Codey (Essex)
  • District 38 - Sen. Bob Gordon (Bergen)

Americans for Prosperity state director Steve Lonegan issued the following statement:

“Today, New Jersey taxpayers are saddled with the nation’s worst tax climate. The state is one of the worst in the nation to do business in. Unemployment is the highest in the region. And our state debt over the past decade and half has skyrocketed to almost $50 billion.

“This economic devastation is the direct result of the high tax, high spending agenda spearheaded by legislators in Trenton, including Senators Whelan, Sweeney, Greenstein, Codey and Gordon.

“The time has come for the hard-working taxpayers of New Jersey to know the facts about how these legislators have voted time and time again to raise their taxes in order to pander to liberal special interests and feed their insatiable appetite for bigger and bigger government and an unending Trenton bureaucracy.

“That’s exactly what this educational effort aims to do.”

The free-market group’s effort will include a salvo of targeted radio and TV ads, as well as a direct mail campaign, all of which will detail the anti-taxpayer records of each legislator with regards to taxes, corporate welfare bailouts, support for the government takeover of health care, and other critical issues affecting the state’s economy. Citizens will be urged to contact each legislator and urge them to stop voting against taxpayer interests.

To learn more about Americans for Prosperity’s educational effort, please visit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herman Cain TV Ad Everyone's Talking About

Here's that new Herman Cain TV ad that everyone's talking about.
I leave it to you to decide how you feel about it.

NJ Judges & Pension Reform: The Facts!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants Judges to pay their FAIR SHARE toward pension as part of his comprehensive plan for pension reform!

But Judges Want To Be Exempted From Paying Their Fair Share:

·         The Average Public Employee’s Salary Is $56,700 While The Average Judge’s Salary Is Over $166,000.

o    There Are 500,000 Public Employees Paying Their Fair Share Thanks To Bi-Partisan Pension Reform, While Judge Feinberg’s Ruling Will Exempt A Privileged 432 Judges.

·         Judges Want To Continue To Contribute 3% Towards Their Pensions While All Other Public Employees Now Contribute Between 6.5% - 10%.

·         Judges Qualify For A Lifetime Pension At 75% Of Their Annual Salary After As Little As 10 Years On The Bench.

o    The Average Annual Benefit For A New Retiree Is $107,540.

·         Over The Entire Course Of Their Time On The Bench, A Judge Will Contribute Less Than $60,000 Toward Their Pension, And Once Retired Collect Over $2,300,000 In Benefits.

o    That Means In Less Than One Year Into Retirement, A Judge Will Collect The Entire Amount They Personally Contributed Toward Their Pension Fund. The Rest Of Their Lives Will Be On The Taxpayers.

Which Side are Assembly Speaker Oliver And Senate President Sweeney On, The Side of Taxpayers or the Privileged Judiciary?

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver: "I am not inclined to support pursuing a constitutional amendment… It sets a very unhealthy precedent." (Megan DeMarco, “Christie's Constitutional Amendment On Judges' Pay Gets No Support From Senate And Assembly Leaders,” Star-Ledger, 10/20/11)

·         "To circumvent a judge's ruling and put a public question on the ballot is not an appropriate thing to do at that time." (Angela Delli Santi, “NJ Legislature Won't Interfere In Suit Over Judges' Pension Payments,” The Associated Press, 10/19/11)

Senate President Stephen Sweeney: "Whether I agree or disagree with the decision, the judicial process must be respected… After the appeals process has been completed, the Legislature will then determine the appropriate reaction — if any." (Angela Delli Santi, “NJ Legislature Won't Interfere In Suit Over Judges' Pension Payments,” The Associated Press, 10/19/11)

Calls For The Legislature To “Get To Work” On A Constitutional Amendment Are Growing:

Asbury Park Press: “While waiting for the court to rule, the Legislature should get to work crafting a state constitutional amendment, as suggested by Christie Tuesday, stating explicitly that health insurance and pension contributions for the judiciary may indeed be increased.” (Editorial, “Poor Judgment In Pension Ruling,” Asbury Park Press, 10/19/11)

·         “Christie and the state Attorney General’s Office must continue to argue what should be obvious to everyone, even judges: The state constitution protects judges’ salaries, not their pension and health benefits. A constitutional amendment could make that so apparent that even Judge Feinberg gets it.” (Editorial, “Poor Judgment In Pension Ruling,” Asbury Park Press, 10/19/11)

·         “The state constitution does say that judges’ salaries cannot be diminished during their terms. But it requires a leap of legal logic to interpret that to mean increased contributions to benefits represent a lowering of one’s salary. They don’t: The salary remains the same, even if one’s take-home pay is less. That is a reality that those who toil in the private sector grapple with all the time.” (Editorial, “Poor Judgment In Pension Ruling,” Asbury Park Press, 10/19/11)

Courier Post: “Tuesday, Christie began a push to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would spell out clearly that salary is salary and pension and health benefits are not salary. The process for getting an amendment passed is long and slow. Nonetheless, the governor should pursue it.” (Editorial, “Judges Aren't A Special Class,” Courier Post, 10/19/11)

·         “Where We Stand: It would be absurd to exempt judges statewide from needed benefit reforms.” (Editorial, “Judges Aren't A Special Class,” Courier Post, 10/19/11)

·         “[I]t is preposterous that all public employees in the state, tens of thousands of them across the different levels of government, should be subject to greater paycheck contributions toward their rising health insurance costs and state pensions while judges alone are exempted from this.” (Editorial, “Judges Aren't A Special Class,” Courier Post, 10/19/11)

·         “It would be terribly wrong to have one small, elite class of higly paid public workers not contribute as much as other, lower-paid, workers toward their benefits.” (Editorial, “Judges Aren't A Special Class,” Courier Post, 10/19/11)

The Record: “Christie said Tuesday that he will seek an amendment to the state constitution if subsequent court rulings uphold Feinberg's decision. There should be bipartisan support in the Legislature to make that amendment reality for the 2012 ballot. We doubt that New Jersey voters would support the continuation of a protected class of state employees.” (Editorial, “Judicial benefits,” The Record, 10/19/11)

·         “We support Christie's using his bully pulpit to rally public outrage over Feinberg's ruling. It is a self-serving decision. It should not stand.” (Editorial, “Judicial benefits,” The Record, 10/19/11)

·         “Judges are the only state employees whose salaries are protected by the state constitution. We understand why the provision existed. It was created to protect judges from political retribution. But what the Christie administration achieved with regard to pension and health reforms was not about political payback. It was about paycheck reality.”

·         “If we understand the literal ruling correctly, no judge in New Jersey should have to pay a higher income tax than was in effect on his or her date of hire. That is absurd.” (Editorial, “Judicial benefits,” The Record, 10/19/11)

Gloucester County Times: A constitutional amendment “may be worth a try, since shipping the case off to the appellate division and, eventually the state Supreme Court, may well yield another ruling of the kind that Christie correctly called ‘self-interested and outrageous.’” (Editorial, “Justice doesn't mean 'just us,’” Gloucester County Times, 10/20/11)

Burlington County Times: “In response, Christie said last week, ‘This outrageous, self-serving decision, where a judge is protecting her own pocketbook and those of her colleagues, is why the public has grown to have such little faith in the objectivity of the judiciary.’ Yeah. What he said.” (Editorial, “The Rules Don't Apply To Them,” Burlington County Times, 10/24/11)

·         “The state’s position, and we agree, is that the increase is not discriminatory because it applies to all state employees — as it should. Christie has asked the Legislature to step in, but thus far, it doesn’t look as if it’s eager to do so. Applying even a modicum of fairness to this issue seems too much to ask.” (Editorial, “The Rules Don't Apply To Them,” Burlington County Times, 10/24/11)