Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Democrats, Big Labor Forgot About Jobs

I’ve always loved parades.
And I’ve attended many of them in my time.
But one parade above all others stands out in my memory.
I was just a kid at the time but I’ll never forget the big parade in my hometown to celebrate jobs. Sponsored by organized labor, the parade marched down Broadway in Camden (NJ) to herald the construction of the NS Savannah at Camden’s 273-acre New York Shipbuilding Corporation.
Above all, Camden was a blue-collar town. And it was solidly Democrat and pro-labor.
Employment was always the defining “bread and butter” issue for Democrats. And keeping people working and creating new jobs – good jobs – was the essential mission of the Democratic Party. Indeed, “jobs” was the party’s mantra and Democrats rarely spoke on any issue without mentioning jobs.
As Labor Day approaches once again, I think of that day in Camden so many years ago.
What happened?
What went wrong?
When did the Democratic Party lose sight of its core responsibility? When did it stop caring about jobs?
Recent jobs reports show that few if any new jobs are being created.
When he came into office, President Obama pledged to create 2.7 million to 3.6 million private sector jobs, But by some accounts the nation has lost almost that many jobs (and more!) since the President made his pledge. In fact, unemployment seems to be permanently stuck above 7% as it has been for a long time now.
But in arguing for its massive stimulus plan, the Obama Administration said that if the stimulus was adopted, unemployment could be brought down into the seven percent range or even lower. Instead, the high unemployment rate has barely moved.
And most Americans firmly believe that things seem to be headed in the wrong direction.
Remember, the official rate does not count the underemployed and people who have given up and simply dropped out of the labor market. When those two groups are added, the rate jumps to 17 percent or more. That means than more than 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
And now with Obamacare as a new full-time jobs destroyer, three out of four new jobs being created are actually part-time jobs. 
Also, 50 years after Dr. King's famous I Have A Dream speech the Black unemployment rate has not improved under President Barack Obama. The Pew Center recently reported that Black unemployment rate has returned to double that of the White unemployment rate.
But nobody on the left seems to want to talk about these failures – not the liberal establishment, not the Democratic leadership and certainly not the labor movement. President Obama argues that the economy was in a ditch and now “we’ve gotten it out of the ditch and want to put it in drive.” But the car still doesn’t seem to be moving -- not the way it should be; not the way Reagan got it moving ion the 1980s; not nearly that well.  Sometimes, Obama simply says we've hit some "bumps in the road." That's small consolation. And enough with the car metaphors already!
Instead, Democrats and Big Labor seem to want to talk about wedge issues such as gay "Marriage" as they immerse themselves in the popular culture -- and this even as Big Labor gets a pass on Obamacare. There's an inherent phoniness about it all.
There was a time when labor leaders were close to the people. There was a time when they actually worked alongside the people that they represented. Those days seem long gone.
And all of this has been happening as union membership has steadily dwindled. When the Savannah was built in Camden, labor unions represented a third of all workers. By 1983 the number had fallen to 20 percent. And by 2008 it was down to 12 percent. What’s more, the average age of union members seems to be getting older. The largest unionized age group is workers aged 55 to 64.
Why can’t the Democrats turn any of these numbers around?
What happened to one of the central promises of traditional liberalism – jobs?
These are questions worth pondering this Labor Day.

Summer Over On Labor Day? Hell, NO!

Repeat after me:
The whole notion that summer begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day is something that was dreamed up by the media and/or the travel industry. And it's a lie.
Because the calendar (and the seasons themselves) tell a whole different story.
May is often cool and transitional. And so is much of June.
Summer begins at the summer solstice on June 21.
And autumn begins at the autumnal equinox on September 22 at 10:49 AM.
June 21 is the longest day of daylight.
September 22 is a day when the hours of daylight and darkness are about equal. Thus, the equinox.
After September, darkness begins to take over and it remains that way until December 21 which is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. Each day after that, we get more sunlight until the vernal equinox in March -- the first day of spring.
That's the cycle of the seasons.
We have many warm, wonderful days ahead of us.
So, go out and enjoy summer until at least September 22.
And don't let anyone tell you it's over!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lonegan: Don't Attack Syria; Where's Booker Stand?

Christie Video: 'I'll Be Down The Shore This Weekend'

Bradley Beach, August 30, 2013. (Transcript Below)

Reporter: The recovery has been amazing. I mean even getting those boardwalks back up in time for Memorial Day...

Governor Christie: 22 of 23 boardwalks by Memorial Day is a pretty amazing feat and it was a combination of the money we got from the federal government, but mostly the efforts of the local governments in conjunction with the state government to get the work done, get the permitting done and everything else. And a lot of good people from the private sector who came here and worked really hard to get this work done all through the winter and into what was a really lousy spring as we remember. And an awful June for that matter. So we haven't had the benefit of a lot of weather help this summer either, but August has been pretty good and this weekend's going to be great. So, I'll be down here and I hope everyone else comes too.

Bishop Jumps To GOP, Calls For Courage In Moral Battle

Congratulations to Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode island who openly announced that he has switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP.

“The aha moment for me was the 2012 Democratic Party Convention. It was just awful,” the Bishop told a group of young Republicans.

Here's more of what he had to say in an interview with the National Catholic Register:
"We have to remind people that, in these cultural battles, moral issues are central. Our discussion of public life has to transcend purely economic and budgetary questions. Other issues — abortion, right to life, the nature of marriage, the obligations of family life — are important, and we should not discount them.
"I told the Young Republican group: 'You have to believe in something, and you need to be faithful to what you believe. You need to have moral courage, even if it contradicts public opinion polls.' They need to be profiles in courage, and that is something I find sadly lacking in most of our political leaders these days. . . . .
"If the religious community doesn’t speak truth to power, who will do it? We have the right and obligation to bring that religious perspective and moral voice to the public discussion — and not just on abortion."
Read more:

'Veterans For Christie' Debuts Leadership Team

Building on the broad, diverse base of support that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is receiving from across the state and political spectrum, Governor Christie today announced the Veterans for Christie coalition and unveiled its statewide leadership team. Veterans for Christie, representing veterans throughout the state in support of Governor Christie’s reelection, will be co-chaired by United States Marine Corps veteran and former State Commander of the New Jersey VFW William F. Thomson and United States Army veteran and former State Commander of the New Jersey American Legion Robert W. Looby.

“New Jersey’s veterans have served our nation and our state with courage, honor, and distinction and it has always been of great importance to me to provide every possible support we can for them. That's why having veterans from across our state who have served our state and nation like William Thomson, Robert Looby, and each member of this coalition stand with me in this campaign an especially gratifying and proud moment for me,” said Governor Christie. “I thank every veteran in our state for their service and sacrifice and am grateful for the support of these men and women of distinction who are standing with me in this campaign.”

Since taking office, Governor Christie has taken action on his commitment to supporting New Jersey’s veterans by providing critical support to those who have served and their families. Among these accomplishments for our veterans, the Governor moved forward with a critical expansion of the Veterans Haven North program to provide comprehensive psychiatric and vocational training and combat homelessness and mental health issues. Further, the Governor has expanded innovative job placement and vocational training efforts, including Helmets to Hardhats, VETeach, and Operation Hire A Hero.

“Today is an exceptionally proud moment for us and for our fellow New Jersey veterans who are standing with us in support of the Governor. The Veterans for Christie coalition is representative of more than just our support for our Governor. It is about the continued efforts of Governor Christie and his Administration to provide support for those who serve and their families,” said William Thomson and Robert Looby. “At a time when assisting our veterans transition back to a civilian life is most crucial, Governor Christie has stood up to do all that he can to ensure that our nation’s servicemen and women return home with easy access to veteran services. We thank Governor Christie and we are proud to stand with him today.”

The Veterans for Christie Coalition is led by a statewide leadership team and coordinators in all 21 counties.

Statewide Leadership Team:
Statewide Chair: Bill Thomson
Statewide Chair: Bob Looby

Atlantic County Chair: Len Daggett
Bergen County Chair: Bob Salvini
Burlington County Co-Chair: Bob Smyth
Burlington County Co-Chair: Paul Zimarowksi, Sr
Camden County Chair: George Singley
Cape May County Chair: Gerald Thornton, Cape May County Freeholder Director
Cumberland County Chair: Derrick Glenn
Essex County Chair: Joesph Fornoratto
Gloucester County Co-Chair: Ray Martin
Gloucester County Co-Chair: Dick Gardner
Hudson County Chair: Peter Varsalona
Hunterdon County Chair: Craig O'Brien, Raritan Township Committeeman
Mercer County Chair: Dan Gianquinto
Middlesex County Chair: Walter Ziawin
Monmouth County Chair: John Costigan
Morris County Chair: Dieter Rosellen
Ocean County Chair: Stephen Scaturro
Passaic County Chair: Tom Miller
Salem County Chair: Joseph Hannagan
Somerset County Chair: Joshua Dickerson
Sussex County Chair: Rich Vohden, Sussex County Freeholder
Union County Chair: Marc Krauss
Warren County Chair: Bill Dobbins

Christie: NJ Gets $53 Million+ In Security Funding

The Christie Administration announced today that New Jersey has been awarded more than $53 million in federal homeland security dollars for federal fiscal year 2013. The funding falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) core homeland security programs. This year, the U.S. DHS is distributing more than $1.5 billion to the states for a wide variety of homeland security and preparedness activities.

“Increased federal homeland security funds to help state and local law enforcement agencies better protect our citizens and our key infrastructure is fitting as we approach the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th attacks,” said Governor Christie. “The increase in the amount of federal funding is a testament to the leadership and efficient grant management practices of Ed Dickson and his team at the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.”

The state’s seven-county Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) received more than $21.6 million in funding for 2013, which represents the same amount of funding received last year. The New Jersey UASI, which includes Jersey City, Newark, and the seven counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic and Union, is considered an area at a greater risk of a terrorist attack, and thus received the seventh highest amount of funding awarded to the 25 UASI areas across the country.

Additionally, New Jersey was awarded more than $7.2 million under the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), which represents the sixth highest amount of SHSP funding across the nation. This year’s funding is more than $1 million more than the amount awarded in 2012, and represents an increase of more than 16% compared to last year’s award. As a result, OHSP will distribute more than $5.8 million to the state’s 21 counties based on a variety of factors, including risk, population and number of critical infrastructure sites. Funds will be used on a variety of homeland security, emergency management and domestic preparedness initiatives in each county.

Moreover, New Jersey nonprofit organizations operating in the UASI area will share in more than $861,000 in federal grants to improve their physical security under the 2013 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSPG). This year’s funding is more than 10% than the total amount awarded last year, and represents the third highest amount of funding awarded to UASI areas throughout the country. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has made $10 million available under this program, and established the criteria for eligible organizations. Nonprofit organizations awarded funding under this program will be announced in the coming weeks, and funds will be used to bolster physical security, purchase equipment, and train security personnel.

“We will continue to follow the Governor’s directive to distribute all homeland security funds based entirely on risk,” said Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) Director Edward Dickson. “Even though we are seeing an increase this year, given the reoccurring fiscal uncertainties, we cannot be assured of annual increases. Thus, we must continue to maximize investment opportunities, enhance existing partnerships with state and local agencies, and develop projects and programs that benefit entire regions and not just specific zip codes.”

Dickson said that transportation agencies in and around New Jersey were awarded more than $13.9 million under the Transit Security Grant Program. In fact, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, and the Delaware River Port Authority were awarded nearly 20% of the total funds made awarded under this nationwide program.

Dickson reported that under the Port Security Grant Program, law enforcement, emergency management agencies and critical private sector facilities operating in and around New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania ports were awarded more than $2.1 million in funding. Funds will be used to increase port area recovery and resiliency efforts, conduct port-related training programs and exercises, and improve the improvised explosive device (IED) prevention efforts in and around port areas. Furthermore, the New Jersey State Police was awarded more than $8 million under the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) Program to assist in the implementation of the National Preparedness System, which remains a key priority for U.S. DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Dickson said that OHSP is in the process of notifying each county of their direct award amount under the SHSP grant program. More information about OHSP and federal homeland security funding can be found

Catholic Universities Must Put Jesus First

Here is a special message from Patrick J. Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society which provides outreach and spiritual guidance to Catholic students at colleges and universities;

"Jesus is not an afterthought of a Catholic university, not an elective of a Catholic university," says Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix.

And again: "A Catholic university comes from the heart of the Church," he says. "It is not peripheral."

These are words of encouragement, but they also candidly acknowledge the failings in Catholic education. These and other recent statements from the bishops are key to the renewal of Catholic identity, which continues to build momentum!

Read our reports on Bishop Olmsted's forthright address... Bishop Loverde's
message to Christendom College about its role in the New Evangelization...Bishop Morlino's inspiring video for Catholic educators... Bishop Ricken'sblessing at Wyoming Catholic College... and Cardinal Wuerl's testament to Catholic schools' social witness, including "defense of the dignity of human life in all its stages."

As the academic year begins, please join me in praying that Catholic schools and colleges respond to God's call to faithfully live the teachings of the Church and grow in unity with the bishops. And please pray for The Cardinal Newman Society's work to promote and defend faithful Catholic education!

- Patrick J. Reilly, President
Cardinal Newman Society

Name One Thing That Hillary Has Accomplished

Video: Obama Supports Sex-Ed For Kindergartners

Get this: At a Planned Parenthood convention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on July 17, 2007, a teenage girl who said she worked as a sex-education “peer educator” in the D.C. public schools asked then-U.S. Sen. Obama what he would do to encourage the teaching of “medically accurate, age-appropriate, and responsible sex education.”
Obama first noted that he had worked with Planned Parenthood to push a sex education bill when he served in the Illinois state legislature.
Then he said: “I remember Alan Keyes—I ran against Alan Keyes—but I remember him using this in his campaign against me, saying, ‘Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergartners.
“And you know,” said Obama, “I didn’t know what to tell him. But it is the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in the schools.” published a story about what Obama told Planned Parenthood. It carried the headline: “Sex Ed for Kindergartners ‘Right Thing to Do,’ Says Obama.”See more at:
H/T: CNS News

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christie At The Shore: We Said We Would, And We Did!

Point Pleasant, 8-29-2013.

Governor Christie: There's nothing more Jersey than the Jersey Shore. Nothing more Jersey than our boardwalks. 
The first boardwalk in the country was built right here in New Jersey down in Atlantic City in 1870, and ever since then boardwalks have been being built. 24 beautiful light houses up and down our coast. And even seven presidents have vacationed on the Jersey Shore. 
The Jersey Shore has been a place for families more than anything else though, more than presidents, more than governors, even more than Snooki and The Situation. 
The Jersey Shore has been about families coming here and making memories with their parents and grandparents, with their children and grandchildren, with aunts and uncles. 
And so, when I came down here in the immediate aftermath of the storm and saw the destruction here in Point Pleasant Beach it broke my heart. You know, I wondered whether we were going to be able to recover, and recover quickly enough to be ready by Memorial Day. But you know already we've removed 96,000 cubic yards of debris from the state's waterways so people could swim and boat safely around the state. We've cleared debris from over 275 marinas, over 200 sunken boats, and the great news is -- and I could tell this when I was flying up here today, we flew up the coastline -- I've never seen the water in New Jersey look cleaner or better than it looks this summer and it's just great to see.

Obamanomics: The Facts Speak Volumes

Colors On The Mountain - A Spectacular Showcase

As a mountain summer enters its last phase it puts on a final, dazzling show.
No, we're not talking about the foliage -- not quite yet. We're talking about the last dazzling bursts of brilliant color from wildflowers, perennials and other varieties of plant life.
It is truly a spectacle to behold -- something that makes you glad to be alive.
We thought we'd share these with you, With love, from Vail!
All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

Christie Takes Action On Pending Legislation

Governor Chris Christie today took action on the following legislation:


A-718wGR/S-2123 (Ramos, Quijano, Caride, Mosquera/Ruiz) - Requires Department of Education to biannually distribute a letter to school districts reminding districts of requirement to enroll resident students regardless of immigration status

A-2593wGR/S-1397 (Wisniewski, Prieto, Giblin, Russo/A.R. Bucco, Oroho) - Requires Director of Division of Fire Safety to review preparation of local fire mutual aid plans and determine necessity of designated fire command structure

A-2596wGR/S-1829 (Wisniewski, Sumter, Jimenez/A.R. Bucco) - Removes requirement for one and two-family residences to be equipped with a portable fire extinguisher

A-2648wGR/S-1935 (Fuentes, Lampitt, Riley/Weinberg, Greenstein) - Concerns disclosure of certain employment information

A-2878wGR/SCS for S-1915, 1898 (Burzichelli, Greenwald, Ramos, Conaway, Caride/Sweeney, Whelan, O'Toole, Allen) - Prohibits requirement to disclose user name, password, or other means for accessing account or service through electronic communications device by employers

Join Eagles' Players For Kickoff Countdown, 9/5

Members of the Philadelphia Eagles will address the crowd and mingle with VIP guests as Miller Lite hosts the 2013 Countdown to Kickoff party at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia on Thursday, September 5 beginning at 6 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders will also be in attendance to take photos with fans and sign autographs.

The official Eagles drum-line will rock XFINITY Live! prior to Dirty Heads taking the Live! stage at 9 p.m.

Kicking-off the 2013-14 NFL season, the broadcast of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens vs. the Denver Broncos will be shown on the 32-foot HD screen beginning at 8:30 p.m. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to win Eagles autographed items throughout the evening.

This event is free and open to the public and there will be Miller Lite specials at the venue all night long.

XFINITY Live!, the filming location for Comcast SportsNet’s Eagles Pregame Live, hosts the biggest tailgate party in the city for every Eagles home game and features live performances by The Rockets.

XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is a dining and entertainment district centered in the heart of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. The one-of-a-kind venue features over a dozen restaurant and entertainment choices, including six main venues: Broad Street Bullies Pub, PBR Bar & Grill (Professional Bull Riders), Philly MarketPlace, Spectrum Grill, Victory Beer Hall and the first-ever NBC Sports Arena. XFINITY Live! is a joint partnership between Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor and Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies.

MillerCoors brews, markets and sells the MillerCoors portfolio of brands in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Built on a foundation of great beer brands and nearly 300 years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality beers. MillerCoors is the second-largest beer company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of U.S. beer sales. Led by two of the best-selling beers in the industry, Coors Light and Miller Lite, MillerCoors has a broad portfolio of highly complementary brands across every major industry segment. The company offers a variety of leading craft and import brands, including Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s, through its Tenth and Blake division. MillerCoors operates eight major breweries in the U.S., as well as the Leinenkugel’s craft brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisc., and two microbreweries, the 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee and the Blue Moon Brewing Company at Coors Field in Denver. MillerCoors insists on building its brands the right way through brewing quality, responsible marketing and environmental and community impact. MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company. Learn more at, at or on Twitter through @MillerCoors.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Would King Think Of Blacks' Plight Today?

On this, the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. "I Have A Dream" speech, Dr. Ben Carson ponders how King might react to the state of blacks today. Excerpt from a column in the
Washington Times:
The epidemic of black-on-black violent crime indicates that there has been a significant deterioration of values in the black community. Not only are the lives of their fellow blacks and others being devalued by street thugs, but the lives of unborn babies are being destroyed in disproportionate numbers in the black community.
There was a time when blacks were justifiably angry that the larger community discounted their value, but now, ironically, many members of the black community themselves place little or no value on these precious lives that are snuffed out without thought. I think King would be waging a crusade against the marginalization of black lives in America.
Another area of great concern would be the fact that 73 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. When this occurs, in most cases the educational pursuits of the mothers are terminated and the babies are condemned to a life of poverty and deprivation, which makes them more likely to end up in the penal system or the welfare system. This is a burden not only for the black community but for the nation at large.
Although I believe King would be very concerned for all parties in these tragedies, his energies would be primarily channeled into an attempt to give these young women the kind of self-esteem that would preclude their yielding to the charms of individuals who really don’t care about them and are only interested in their selfish pleasures.
Click here for the full column.

Muslims And Democracy: Is THIS How It Works?

NJ Broadens Eligibility For Post-Sandy Aid

Demonstrating Governor Christie’s commitment to the recovery of small businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced a policy broadening eligibility criteria and enabling Stronger NJ Business Grant support for New Jersey marinas impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

To provide disaster relief money to marinas in need while remaining consistent with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding regulations, the Christie Administration and HUD developed a policy to distinguish yacht clubs and marinas supported by private membership from marinas that provide access and services needed to enjoy the waterways. These family-owned small businesses provide boat slips, public boat ramps, fuel, fishing supplies, restaurants, boat maintenance and more. Notably, marinas that support commercial activities remain eligible for Stronger NJ Business Grant assistance.

“New Jersey’s recreational boating industry and the small, family-owned businesses that comprise a large segment of our maritime community contribute substantially to state and local economies,” said Michele A. Brown, CEO, EDA. “The marine industry affords many types of jobs, provides tax revenues, and drives tourism. We welcome the opportunity to offer grant support to this important segment of our economy that was so heavily impacted by the storm.”

Since May 1, storm-impacted small businesses have been applying for EDA administered grants of up to $50,000 through the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, which is funded by New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) provided by HUD. The program is the first of these CDBG-funded business recovery programs and utilizes $260 million of the $460 million CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation.

Stronger NJ Business Grant Workshops specifically for marina owners will be taking place in coming weeks throughout impacted communities.

Melissa Danko, Executive Director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) said, “We are extremely pleased to hear the State worked hard to enable grants for marinas, as many of our business owners will now be eligible for the support they need to stay in business and contribute to the rebuilding of our economy.”

Established in 1972, the MTA/NJ is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the recreational marine industry and waterways in New Jersey. MTA/NJ conducted a survey following Superstorm Sandy, to which 109 responses were received. Among that group of respondents, total losses of inventory, equipment, and supplies were estimated at $19.2 million. Damages to facilities including buildings, property, and docks among respondents are estimated at $35.5 million. When combined, these losses total $54.7 million, 72% of which is presumed by the MTA/NJ to be uninsured. Taking into account the entire marina population of NJ, MTA/NJ estimates total losses to be over $100 million.

“Many of the small businesses that completed our survey were devastated by the storm and are still struggling to rebuild and recover,” said Danko.

To date, the EDA has received 360 completed applications under the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, and 51 businesses have been awarded grants totaling up to $2.66 million. Once approved for a grant, businesses have up to one year to submit receipts and invoices for eligible expenses, at which point the EDA will issue a disbursement.

Eligibility for Stronger NJ Business Grants is no longer tied to whether a business has applied for a Small Business Association Loan. In some cases, businesses may be eligible for reimbursement of repair costs incurred prior to applying for a grant.

On July 1, the EDA unveiled the $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan program, which provides low-cost loans of up to $5 million to eligible businesses and non-profits that were impacted by the storm, as well as businesses looking to expand within storm-impacted communities.

Applications for Stronger NJ Business Grants must be received on or by October 31, 2013. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan programs, including the complete list of eligibility criteria and eligible uses of funds visit or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).

To help businesses with the application process, EDA business advisors are available at One-Stop Career Centers in the nine most impacted counties. For One-Stop Center locations and hours, please visit Appointments are suggested, but not required.

Beck, NJ Senate GOP: End To 'Jackpot' Pensions

New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) stated the following regarding news that Red Bank taxpayers are on the hook for $326,000 plus interest to fund the unused sick and vacation time of five retiring borough employees.

“Senate Republicans will not stop fighting to end taxpayer funded jackpots for retiring local public employees who were fortunate enough to be healthy and accumulate hundreds of unused sick days,” Beck said. “There should be enough votes to end this gross practice that is unique to local government in New Jersey.”

The unused sick and vacation days property tax liability across New Jersey is nearly $1 billion, according to the state Department of Community Affairs.

The Asbury Park Press reported that Red Bank officials will decide at tonight’s council meeting whether to borrow $326,000 plus interest over five years to fund such employee payouts: In November 2010, the borough financed $750,000 over five years for payouts to 11 retiring employees.

“For years, our constituents have called for an end to sick-leave jackpots, and there is legislation ready to get it done,” Beck noted. “Legislative Democrats have blocked this reform to appease their special political interests in an election year. That is wrong. It is beyond time for them to finish the job with us to lower property tax burdens on our over-taxed residents.”

Senate Republicans have repeatedly urged legislative Democrats to allow votes on bills to end sick-leave payouts, this year via Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s S1564 or Senator Joe Kyrillos’ S808; most recently:

New Jersey's 16 Senate Republicans serve to protect families; make this state more affordable; create jobs; improve education for all students regardless of their ZIP code; and hold all levels of government accountable. This caucus urges the Senate Democrats, who at this time determine what legislation is considered, to work with us to adopt the people's priorities for New Jersey: Follow Senate Republicans on Social Media:

Mark Levin Returns To WNTP Philadelphia

Mark LevinThe current NY Times best-selling author is coming home to NewsTalk 990! Philadelphia native Mark Levin begins broadcasting LIVE “from the bunker” over WNTP on Labor Day, this Monday, September 2! Welcome back to The Great One! Hear Mark LIVE from 6-9pm on NewsTalk 990 AM! Our friend Hugh Hewitt moves to the 9pm-12midnight slot weeknights, and The Steve Deace Show follows Dennis Miller, weekdays from 3-5am!

Christie Post Sandy: No Shame In Accepting Help

News Conference In Sea Bright, NJ on August 28, 2013:
 Governor Christie: I’m here in Sea Bright today, not only to come back and go visit some businesses with the mayor and some of the members of my cabinet, but I’m also here because I need you take advantage of these programs for yourself, for your families, for your employees who count on you to be able to make the payroll. We fought hard to get marinas covered now under this, which the federal government never permitted before. Now we’re having them cover marinas here in New Jersey. So you know, we’re in there fighting all the time with the feds like the mayor is fighting for you, and we get these wins, and we need you to take advantage of it. There’s no shame in coming forward and getting this help. It’s something that we’ve done for other states when they’ve suffered similar disasters and it’s New Jersey’s turn to use every resource at our disposal to recover.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photo Essay: Enchanting Village's Peaks And Valleys

Here at our western command center in Vail, we continue to marvel at the beauty all around us -- both natural and man-made.
Vail's peaks and valley's enthrall us!
All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

Christie Announces New Post-Storm Initiative

In support of New Jersey Governor Christie’s commitment to helping storm-impacted small businesses and communities recover, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today at a Board meeting approved the creation of the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program. The $75 million program will offer financial assistance to support 1) development and public improvement projects; 2) main street revitalization; and, 3) Community Development Financial Institutions providing loans to small businesses.

“As New Jersey continues to rebuild and recover, it is critical that we remain focused on strengthening our local communities and restoring economic vitality throughout the state,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele A. Brown. “The Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program will help lead to neighborhood stability, increased local tax revenues, new employment opportunities and the attraction of additional investment to our region.”

Following the approval of New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan, Governor Christie called on the EDA to administer $460 million of the state’s CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation to assist businesses and communities. The $75 million Stronger NJ NCR Program will support projects located throughout the state, with a focus on the nine most impacted counties of Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The $260 million Stronger NJ Business Grant and $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan programs were previously introduced and remain active.

Through the NCR Program, $62.5 million will be allocated to help advance development and public improvement projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Projects must fall under at least one of the following four categories:

1.Catalytic Projects, which must be located in commercial or industrial areas. These projects must include planned physical improvements that have commercial or mixed uses, including retail, office, hospitality, community, and industrial; projects with a housing component can only receive funding for the commercial component. Projects can involve construction or rehabilitation of commercial and mixed-use buildings, parking, and supporting infrastructure (i.e. utilities, streetscape, drainage, etc.).

2. Transformative Neighborhood Projects, which must have the same characteristics of catalytic projects, but be located within residential areas.

3. Innovation Projects, which also must have the same attributes of catalytic projects, but may be of a smaller scale and involve multi-tenant technology business development. This could include the creation of specialized laboratory or research and development space to be used by a technology business. Projects may be stand-alone or distinct parts of a larger development.

4. Recreational, Cultural and Park Land Amenities, which must be planned physical improvements that have recreational or cultural uses within commercial, residential or existing/planned park areas. These projects can involve construction or improvement of parks, recreational structures, boardwalks and esplanades, cultural and community facilities, and supporting infrastructure (i.e. utilities, streetscape, signage and drainage).

Applicants must be for-profit developers; municipalities and county governments undertaking publically owned or to be publically owned projects; state or municipal redevelopment agencies; or, other eligible economic development non-profits. Funds may be used for construction and/or rehabilitation, property acquisition and assembly, demolition and clearance, environmental investigation and remediation, pre-development costs, mitigation measures, and infrastructure.

To be eligible for funding, projects in the nine most impacted counties must either have been damaged by the storm or demonstrate that they will contribute to the revitalization of an area that sustained damage. Projects located outside the nine counties must have sustained damage themselves. Projects must show a clear ability to utilize the entire amount of awarded funding by December 31, 2014. In accordance with federal requirements, projects must also meet at least one of four defined national objectives: urgent need; low and moderate income employment creation; low and moderate income area benefit; and/or slum and blight reduction. A gap in project funding must exist, and funds provided under the program cannot duplicate benefits related to recovery provided by other governmental and insurance sources.

The EDA will utilize $10 million to support main street revitalization projects in order to advance the recovery of economic activity in the commercial corridors of storm-impacted communities. The program will offer financial assistance to support improvements such as streetscapes, lighting sidewalks, façade, code-related and other physical upgrades to commercial areas.

In addition, the NCR Program will allocate a total of $2.5 million to provide existing CDFIs with up to a $500,000 grant to fund small business loans in the nine most impacted counties.

For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs and to sign up for updates on the Stronger NJ NCR Program, visit or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).

As Schools Reopen: Let Boys Be Boys!

AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers explores the growing gender gap in education and its implications for future generations.

Today's Super Duper Brain Challenge

McAuliffe: Virginia's One Man Flip-Flop Band

Terry has flip-flopped on his energy positions - from coal to offshore energy. Now, he's refusing to take a stand on the Obama Administration's War on Coal, all while benefiting from untold dollars from the radical environmentalist lobby.
It's time to hold Terry accountable for his flip-flops and refusal to tell Virginians where he stands.

Army-Navy To Meet At PPL Park November 8

Members of the two American service academies will go head-to-head in the soccer battle for the 80th Annual Army-Navy Cup II to take place at PPL Park on Friday, November 8.

For the student athletes, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to play in a professional environment, surrounded by family and supporters. For the coaches, it’s a chance to showcase their players and program in the soccer-rich Greater Philadelphia Region.

New this year, the event will be streamed live, internationally as the premier match in a package being produced by the National Soccer Coaches of Association of America allowing members the military around the world to witness the match.

"We could not be more excited to play in the second Army-Navy Cup at PPL Park,” reflected Army Head Coach Russell Payne. “Last year's event was a fantastic experience for our guys, not only having a great battle against Navy but also soaking in the tremendous atmosphere at PPL Park. I know this year's event will be no different.”

Last year, nearly 4,000 fans enjoyed the amazingly spirited match that ended in a 1-1 tie. This year’s clash will be the last game of the Patriot League’s regular season, making each team come in hungrier than ever for a win with playoff implications likely.

"It's a great opportunity for both teams to experience playing in a professional atmosphere in such a big game,” offered Navy Head Coach Dave Brandt. “Both programs are on the rise and will be factors in the Patriot League Tournament race; and there could be something extra riding on it as it’s the last game of the regular season. Those things will only make what is already one of the biggest rivalries anywhere, an even better game."

"Philadelphia is a great city and it is a great opportunity for us to play at PPL Park again,” said Navy Senior Defender and Team Captain Zach Davis. “The crowd was great last year and the fans added a lot of excitement to a game that is already very exciting. Now there is an extra twist this year with it being the last game of the regular season. It's nice to cap the season playing against Army, especially in such a great venue.”

“Our guys are ecstatic about returning to PPL Park to take on Navy”, said Army Goalkeeper and Captain Winston Boldt. “But, most importantly, we know that members of our military stationed all over the world will be able to watch this competitive soccer match. As collegiate athletes, nothing could possibly motivate us more than that. It is shaping up to be a memorable night.”

Navy will open up the 2013 season at Davidson on Friday, August 30. Army will open up their season against the Keydets of VMI on Friday, August 30 at Clinton Field in West Point, NY.

In cooperation with the Philadelphia Sports Congress, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Board and Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau, hospitality packages have been created for those interested in taking in the historically rich sites in both Philadelphia and Delaware counties. to find out more about these specially created packages.

Great Price: Ronald Reagan Eight Film Package

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You See In 'The Butler'

People are getting very excited over Lee Daniels' movie The Butler.
The raves have been plenty and there's lots of Oscar buzz.
And the movie has led the box office sweepstakes for the second consecutive week.
It is quite a tale: sweeping, compelling, dramatic and highly-charged, as we mentioned in our review.
Just one problem: The story of the butler as depicted in the movie is not true. 
It's merely BASED on a true story -- and there's the rub. 
The real butler's story (his name was Eugene Allen) was detailed in a 2008 article in The Washington Post which became the basis for the movie. In truth, the butler was not the child of sharecroppers in the deep south and he never saw his mother raped or his father murdered as depicted in the movie. Though he grew up in segregated Virginia, he worked hard to advance himself and never really expected to get as far as he did. But in part by happenstance he got a job at the White House and rose to become maître d hote, the highest position in White House service.
By all accounts, Eugene Allen had a normal, quiet life as a middle-class African-American and was married to the same woman for 65 years. She never had an affair and was not an alcoholic. 
And yes -- they had a son. But their son was not a civil rights protester. Instead, their son served honorably in Vietnam and apparently never made a peep of protest through the pre- and post-civil rights era. 
What is true is that Ronald and Nancy Reagan invited him and Mrs. Allen to a formal state dinner at the White House and President Reagan promoted him and made sure he got the salary that he deserved. 
And this is true as well: Eugene Allen kept the photos of all the presidents he served in the basement of his modest home in DC. However, only one presidential photo maintained a place of honor in the Allens' living room: Ronald Reagan. 
Don't believe everything Hollywood tells you. 
because tinseltown has a way of telling its stories through a frequently-skewed looking glass.

Christie Video: New Fed/NJ Transit Effort A N'tl Model

Great Fall Lineup At Jewish History Museum

The National Museum of American Jewish History is excited to announce a rich and diverse public programming schedule for the fall. 

Illustrating the Margins: Celebrating Children's Book Illustrators 

The Museum is thrilled to present the following series of programs in conjunction with
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats and The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation's special anniversary exhibition, The Night Max Wore His Wolf Suit: 50 Years of Wild Things. Reciprocal admission discounts available through February 2014.
Grandparents' Day   
Photo credit: Matthew Christopher 
Sunday, September 8  from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Free for children and grandparents at NMAJH and the Rosenbach  
In honor of Grandparents' Day, the Museum will host family-friendly activities. Additionally, a family guide to the exhibition will be available.

Activities will include: 

Keats-Inspired Crafts
11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Participants can create a mini-book, design a dream hat, make a puppet, and more.

Story Corner
11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
The Snowy DayWhere the Wild Things Are, and other stories will be read aloud for participants.

Animated Films of Keats and Sendak Classics
11:00 am to 4:30 pm
Will include The Snowy DayWhistle for WilliePeter's ChairWhere the Wild Things AreIn the Night KitchenThe Nutshell Kids, and other favorites.

Chalk Art on the Plaza
11:30 am to 4:00 pm
The NMAJH plaza will become a canvas for intergenerational art making. Participants will work with a professional artist to fill the space with their illustrations.

Docent-Led Tours
11:30 am and 2:30 pm
Docents will be available to take visitors on tours of both The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats and the Museum's permanent exhibition. 

Spaces can be reserved at the admissions desk.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

An Afternoon of Sendak on Film 
Sunday, October 13
FREE with Museum admission 

As the Museum celebrates the work of Ezra Jack Keatsit also recognizes Maurice Sendakan award-winning American Jewish writer whose books inspire children around the globe.

11:00 am Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak (USA, 2009, 38 min) 
3:00 pm Where the Wild Things Are (USA, 2009, 101 min)       

Photo Credit: Thomas KristichJerry Pinkney

Panel Discussion: Children's Literature and Social JusticeWednesday, October 16 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
$8/FREE for NMAJH, Rosenbach, and Philadelphia Museum of
Art Members

This panel discussion will explore the role of children's literature as a vehicle for social justice and for empowering children, inspired by the work of Ezra Jack Keats and Maurice Sendak. Speakers include renowned illustrator, Jerry Pinkney, award-winning illustrator, Bryan Collier and Patrick Rodgers, the Rosenbach's Sendak Collection Curator.


Additional Fall Programming  
 A Taste of Opera: Nabucco
Sunday, September 15 from 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm 
FREE, reservations Required 

Presented by Opera Philadelphia and the Museum, this one-hourprogram at NMAJH will feature selections from several Verdi operas including highlights from Nabucco, which recounts the biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar, and includes the famous Chorus of Hebrew Slaves. Several cast members from Opera Philadelphia's production ofNabucco will perform, including two Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Winners, mezzo-soprano Margaret Mezzacappa and bass-baritone Musa Ngquanwana

Philadelphia Premiere of Breaking Home Ties and Opening Reception for Special ExhibitionNow Showing: "Pop" Lubin's Silent Film Empire
Photo Credit: The National Center for Jewish Film
Sunday, September 22   
Opening Reception at 6:00 pm
Film Screening at 7:00 pm
$18/$15 Members

NMAJH will host the Philadelphia premiere of Breaking Home Ties(USA, 1922, 78 min), the last film produced by Philadelphia's own Betzwood Motion Picture Studio. Event includes an original score performed live, and exclusive access to the opening reception of the Museum's special exhibition, Now Showing: "Pop" Lubin's Silent Film Empire  about motion picture pioneer and Betzwood founder, Siegmund Lubin. This exhibition will run through February 7, 2014. Discussion to follow featuring Dr. Joseph P. Eckhardt, Professor Emeritus of History at Montgomery County Community College, and Lisa Rivo, Associate Director of the National Center for Jewish Film.    

Film restoration and new English subtitles by the National Center for Jewish Film.

Exhibition release coming soon. 

Who Should be an American?
The Past and Future of Immigration Policy
Thursday, October 3 at 7:00 pm
$8/FREE for NMAJH, National Constitution Center Members, and PennCard holders
Joseph Berger, longtime metropolitan reporter for The New York Times and author of two books addressing immigration, will moderate this forum featuring Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, and Mae Ngai, the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History at Columbia University.  

In partnership with University of Pennsylvania's Jewish Studies Program and Social Science Policy Forum, co-sponsored by the National Constitution Center, and supported by the Arlene and Stanley Ginsburg Family Foundation. 

The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects
Tuesday, November 12 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
$12/$8 Members 

Author talk featuring Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture. Don't miss this inside look at American History through the treasures of the Smithsonian, including objects currently on view at the Museum.

Amazing Greenery: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail

Every time we visit the beautiful Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail we are struck by the great variety of greens that we find there.
The mountains are rich in luscious greens of every variation including blue-greens, deep hues, bright spring-like greens, variegated patches and the sort of greens that were meant to stand proudly and boldly against an azure sky.
Yes, the Gardens have many flowering plants that incorporate the full range of other colors (and we'll show you those in a later post) but these greens always captivate us with their richness, their differentiated texture and their pure, pristine beauty.
Today was a perfect day at the Gardens.
And we are happy to share these photos with you.
All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.