Thursday, July 31, 2014

W. Bush Bio Of Father Due In November

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, has authored a personal biography of his father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President. The currently untitled book will be released in the U.S. and Canada by Crown Publishers on November 11, 2014, in print and digital formats. Random House Audio will simultaneously issue an audio edition. The hardcover edition has an announced first printing of one million copies.

Tina Constable and Molly Stern, both Senior Vice Presidents and Publishers at The Crown Publishing Group, jointly acquired world, audio, electronic, and first and second serial rights to the work. Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly represented President Bush and negotiated the exPresident George W. Bush to Publish Personal Biography of His Father,  President George H. W. Bushclusive submission. Ms. Stern will edit the book in collaboration with Mary Choteborsky, Senior Editor.

Forty-three men have served as President of the United States. Countless books have been written about them. But never before has a President told the story of his father, another President, through his own eyes and in his own words. A unique and intimate biography, the book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President. The book shines new light on both the accomplished leader and the warm, decent man known best by his family. In addition, George W. Bush discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his own life, from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency.

“George H. W. Bush is a great servant, statesman, and father,” said President George W. Bush. “I loved writing the story of his life, and I hope others enjoy reading it.”

Said Maya Mavjee, President and Publisher of The Crown Publishing Group: “As the only father and son to each have served as President of the United States since John and John Quincy Adams, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush occupy a unique position in history. In this heartfelt, intimate, and illuminating portrait of his father, George W. Bush brings to vivid life his unique perspective of the personal qualities and principles that have animated George H. W. Bush’s extraordinary life of service to country and family.”

Mr. Bush’s previous book, DECISION POINTS, a memoir focused on the most consequential decisions in his personal and political life, was published by Crown in November 2010 and is the bestselling Presidential memoir of all time, with more than three million units sold to-date in the U.S. alone across all formats.

Is Tom Wolf Hiding Something? Huh?

Christie Signs Three Bills Into Law

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today took action on the following legislation:


A-1676/SCS for S-1524 (Johnson, Bramnick, Webber, Munoz, Bucco, Garcia, Casagrande/Weinberg, T. Kean) - W/ STATEMENT – Provides that crime victims do not have to pay fees to obtain records relating to the crime and that requests for such records are not public information

A-2444/S-2129 (Caputo, Singleton, Vainieri Huttle, Burzichelli, Webber/Whelan) – Allows person to request voluntary exclusion from gaming activities without acknowledging being problem gambler

A-3346/S-2138 (Diegnan, Pinkin, Sumter/Barnes, T. Kean) - Allows reemployment by school district of TPAF retiree as coach of athletic activity when compensation is under $10,000

A copy of the Governor’s statement is attached to the release.

Move To Rename Hwy. Portion To Honor Fallen Hero

Senator Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen David Russo and Scott Rumana (all R-40) introduced today legislation to create the “Christopher Goodell Memorial Highway” along State Route 17 in Waldwick in memory of the fallen hero.

“The profound sadness shared by people all across District 40 has not mitigated since this senseless tragedy, since we all lost a true local hero and his family lost their beloved son,” O’Toole said. “This act can instill the lasting honor that Christopher deserves in memory of his selfless service and sacrifices for us all.”

Waldwick Police Officer Goodell, a former U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty on July 17, when a tractor trailer struck the 32-year-old while he was operating radar on Route 17. The WHS graduate of 2000 was engaged to be married.

"Words cannot describe the remorse everyone feels over the tragic loss of Officer Goodell,” Russo said. “He was the epitome of selfless public service. Commemorating his name is one way no one will ever forget the honor with which he served."

"Officer Goodell's life was marked by service,” Rumana said. “Whether putting himself in harm's way in the military or serving as a police officer, his life was dedicated to protecting others. His dedication to keeping us safe will never be forgotten as we fittingly pay tribute to a fallen hero."

New Jersey's 16 Senate Republicans serve to make New Jersey the place to live, grow, work, vacation and retire. Caucus solutions to lower costs, create jobs, enhance education and empower people will help generations of families stay together and improve our state. Follow Senate Republicans on Social Media.

Christie Video: 'ACLU Stands With Me On This'

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Watchdogs Urge Permanent Police Advisory Group

The Committee of Seventy today urged the creation of a permanent and independent Police Advisory Commission to enable more effective public oversight of corruption and misconduct within the Philadelphia Police Department.

“Police misconduct has become an epidemic,” said Ellen Mattleman Kaplan, Seventy’s Interim President and CEO. “Too many officers play by their own rules and are poisoning the integrity of the entire police force. It’s not fair to the majority of officers who perform their jobs honorably. It has crushed the confidence of the citizens of Philadelphia.”

According to Kaplan, a proposed Charter amendment to create an independent Police Advisory Commission has been pending without action in City Council’s Law and Government Committee since its introduction in March 2012. The Commission – whose 17 members must reflect the diversity of the city and have skills and experience relevant to the Commission’s work – would have the power to investigate complaints against police officers and to make recommendations for disciplinary action. The Commission would also have subpoena power.

Kaplan said the current Police Advisory Commission, which exists by executive order, should be disbanded. “It has failed to accomplish its mandated mission to ‘prevent future incidents of police misconduct and abuses of civil rights, reduce the amount of money needed to satisfy judgments and settlements based upon allegations of police misconduct [and] promote public confidence in law enforcement.’”

In addition to demoralizing the public, the costs of police misconduct are huge, Kaplan pointed out. For example, she noted a Philadelphia Daily News report of nearly $14 million in settlements from the city in civil rights lawsuits against police in 2013, up from $8.3 million in 2012.

“It’s time to start fresh with a new Police Advisory Commission that citizens can trust,” Kaplan stated. “Council should move forward immediately with its proposal and, if approved by city voters as we hope it will be, make sure the Commission has enough resources to do its job.”

During this spring’s budget hearings in Council, the Police Advisory Commission’s Executive Director reported a budget of just under $283,000 for a staff of five to oversee 6,600 police officers. By contrast, Washington D.C.’s Police Complaints Board has a budget of over $2 million and oversees nearly 4,000 police officers.

Kaplan said that external oversight of the Police Department has been “weak to non-existent.” Recommendations to overhaul the Police Advisory Commission – as far back as a November 2001 report by the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Discipline – have been ignored. Further, an independent Integrity and Accountability Office that was created by a 1996 court-ordered settlement agreement, and issued a series of public recommendations to improve police accountability and practices, was shut down in 2005.

“The crisis of confidence in the police department can’t be shoved to the sidelines,” Kaplan concluded.

What You'll Discover At The Baseball Hall Of Fame

Even if you're a hard-core baseball fan, you'll make new and surprising discoveries at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
We're not even huge baseball fans. Never have been. But we had a great time during out visit to the Hall of Fame.
Indeed, who among us has not grown up playing baseball? We played street ball, sandlot ball and something akin to little league and can remember long summer afternoons filled with baseball. It's simply part of the fabric of America. And it all comes together at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
As the hallowed home of America's pastime, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a fixture in the delightful village of Cooperstown. Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2014, this independent, non-profit educational institution fosters a deeper appreciation of baseball and its place in history through interactive exhibits and special events.
Today, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown honors the players, managers, and journalists who have dramatically impacted the sport – both through their outstanding careers on the field, and by bringing the game to life through newspaper stories, radio broadcasts and televised games. Here you can dive into baseball's past and discover the struggles and defeats that made champions and crowned World Series winners.
Here's some of what you'll discover:
  • Baseball is a lighter, faster game today than ever before. Lighter clothing and equipment and new rules have made it that way.
  • Modern technology makes major league baseball more accurate and efficient than ever since umpires' calls can be challenged and overturned with the use of cameras and digital advances.
  • Baseball has spawned its share of modern American heroes but fewer men have done more for the sport than the Sultan of Swat, the Big Bambino, Babe Ruth. Babe was one of the first superstar players in any sport. He captured America's heart and his life and accomplishments have reached near mythical proportions. And rightfully, a whole corner of the Museum is all his.
  • The three outs that define every inning in baseball are a race against time and talent. Sooner or later, the outs will catch up with you, the innings will pile up and you'll be out of time and out of luck. But until that happens, you're alive and anything can and often will happen. In more ways than one, baseball is a matcher for life itself.
  • Among legendary major league teams, none have been more renowned or more successful than the pinstriped New York Yankees. Love 'em or hate 'em, the Yankees sit atop baseball's storied history, rich not just in monetary terms but rich in legacy and personality as well.
  • Ball parks (not to be confused with stadiums) have done as much to create the lure of major league baseball as anything else and the great ball parks (think Wrigley and Fenway) have a magic all their own.
  • You can enjoy a baseball game on the simplest, basic level (halls, strikes, outs, hits, runs) or with all the intricacies of an elaborate chess game. It's that simple and that complicated -- and therein lies its beauty.
Bottom line: While football may be America's most popular sport, baseball remains America's pastime. And no sport has a shrine like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It's a not-to-be-missed experience.
Below are photos of some of our favorite parts of the Museum as well as some of our favorite players enshrined in the Hall of Fame:

Above three photos: Babe Ruth's uniform, Joe DiMaggio's jersey, Willie May's jersey, shoes and a notable baseball hit by Mays.

Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame (he was banned from major league baseball for betting on games) but his Phillies jersey is in the Museum, signed in honor of his record-breaking 3,631st hit.

Above, the Phillies and Yankees (along with every other major league team) have their own section of the Museum -- all are filled with notable and often priceless memorabilia.
Below, some of the enduring stars of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

All photos copyright 2014 by Dan Cirucci.

Young Council Candidate Charts GOP Future

From our friends at the Save Jersey Blog:

By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog

Connor Montferrat

Save Jersey monitors races at both ends of the ballot. Typically, the ones at the “bottom” are what matter most to you and your community.
I recently sat down with one of the youngest candidates seeking office this year, Save Jersey, seeking to represent Hightstown at age 23. Some of you will know the name. During my time as Seton Hall CR chair, while I would like to claim restoring the club as a dominant force was all my own doing, I had a lot of help from the state organization. The chairman of that organization was Connor Montferrat; he’s become one of my good friends and I am truly excited to see him running for council in his hometown this year.

We discussed a wide-range of issues:

Q: As someone who has been involved in politics for quite some time, what made you feel this was the year to finally put your own name on the ballot?
It’s definitely different behind on the other side of the desk. But, I think I made up my mind when I saw Hightstown in trouble. Year after year the council has given no real solutions to the families that call Hightstown their home. I love my hometown and was lucky enough to grow up in a community that cared about its neighbors and their families. Now, I want to help and give back to the community that gave me the opportunities to succeed.

Q: For our readers who may not know, you are a former chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans; how do you think that experience will help you in your campaign? Are you going to be counting on your former CR colleagues like myself to build a volunteer army?
Yes, I was fortunate enough to be elected as chair for the College Republican volunteer organization in the state. During my time, each chapter had its on local mayor, council, or freeholder race to work on, and additionally helped on the Congressional races that year. That experience helped me become a better leader and taught me that working together is vital to any organization. I developed and maintained relationships with students, party leaders, and candidates throughout that year and still do today.

Q: Your town voted nearly 2-1 for Barack Obama but voted twice for Chris Christie. Why do you think that is and how can you tap into that same formula for success?
I strongly believe the voters of Hightstown and New Jersey alike enjoy seeing both sides of the party working together and finding solutions. More specifically, electing Democrats in the state legislature and a Republican governor; and nationally, electing Republicans in the House, Democrats in the Senate and for the Presidency. However, in Hightstown we have always been divided on town issues, not political parties. I am dedicated to walking door to door across town and giving voters an alternative to yearly tax increases and out of control spending. My community and neighbors are priority number one.

Q: Do you think the labels of “Republican” and “Democrat” have a big impact on a local race or do you think voter contact is the predominant factor?
Not at all. In Hightstown, it’s about issues not party. My father is the planning board chairman as well as municipal chairman of the Democrats. I have seen him dedicate his time to the town’s well-being, and now I have been inspired to do the same. My passion and optimism for our town is something most residents haven’t seen in a long time.

Q: If you are to be elected you will, at least for one year, serve in a minority capacity on the currently an all-Democratic council. What do you think your role would be as a minority member of council? What do you think you can accomplish?
Right, but the majority may not stay very long. This year there are two council seats and the mayoral seat open. However, there are two Democrat councilman running for mayor, one Democrat and one Independent. Hightstown is interesting because there’s an election every year. I’m looking to fast track redevelopment downtown, bring real savings to taxpayers through shared services, and make Hightstown affordable again. We need a mayor and council that will cooperate and work with the community for the good of Hightstown.

Q: As cliche as it may be, what advice can you offer to your younger peers on when the time is right is to make the leap from volunteer to candidate?
You can make a difference. You don’t have to be a candidate. You can always get involved in other ways such as working as staff on a campaign or get an internship in a government office or nonprofit. The big leap from volunteer to candidate was graduating Rutgers and having numerous conversations with mentors, community leaders, and family and friends. Getting advice and guidance from those people in your life is the most important thing you can do.

Q: How can people contact you and get involved with your campaign?
Always feel free to email me at or reach out in other ways through Facebook or Twitter @CMontferrat. Currently, I’m a dual master’s student in Public Policy and City and Regional Planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. During the week, I work at the Rutgers Department of External Affairs and on the weekends, I am a server at the retirement community, Meadow Lakes, located in Hightstown.

- See more at:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Great Dining Value: Three-Course Menu, $16.50!

Pressure Builds In NJ For Bail Reform

“Time To Overhaul N.J.’s Bail System”
Ahead Of The Special Legislative Session, Voices Across New Jersey Continue To Urge The Legislature To Act On Bail Reform

“We must act now, in the public interest, to protect our children and our communities from the most serious criminals who, under current law, must be set free if able to post even a fraction of the bail set by a judge. Together we can take action on this crucial matter of public importance. The security and stability of our communities demands that we take this action now.”
– Governor Chris Christie, Letter to The Legislature, July 29, 2014

Bishop Reginald Jackson: “I urge the State Senate to pass this legislation on Thursday, and for members of the Assembly to also return to vote on the legislation that it may be placed on the November ballot.” (Press Release, 7/30/14)

·         “Bail reform is long overdue in New Jersey, and has been called for by many for many years. To delay this matter from a vote now would be irresponsible.”

·         “I urge both chambers of the State Legislature to act on SCR 128 by Monday. This is not hard to do, but it is hard to understand why what a majority wants can’t get acted on. In the words of Spike Lee I urge all parties to, ‘do the right thing.’”

Former Governor Jim McGreevey: "I strongly support bail reform. The poor ought not to be denied freedom merely because of their inability to afford bail. The bail reform legislation is on the side of the angels." (Press Release, 7/30/14)

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd: “I strongly support the efforts of Senator Norcross to address a flawed bail system that treats those accused or charged with non-violent offenses the same as individuals charged with violent offenses.” (“Redd and Moran state support for bail reform,” Politicker NJ, 7/29/14)

·         “If we are serious about keeping our communities safe from the real violent criminals, then it is critically important that we focus all of our efforts on making sure that the true lawbreakers – murderers, drug dealers and other hardened repeat violent offenders – are the ones that remain in jail.”

Camden Council President Francisco Moran: “The current bail system is antiquated and unfair to the poor and minorities on petty offenses and really only benefits the bail bondsman at the expense of struggling families.” (“Redd and Moran state support for bail reform,” Politicker NJ, 7/29/14)

Rev. Vanessa Wilson of Pemberton"Scripture commands us not to take advantage of the poor or cheat them in court.” (Editorial, “Wrong role for SCLC,” Inquirer, 7/30/14)

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra: “For those men and women who are incarcerated for no other reason because they are poor, this is an opportunity to move forward.” (David Levinsky, “Christie calls for special legislative session to pass bail reform,” Burlington County Times, 7/29/14)

Brick Township Police Chief Nils Bergquist Jr.: "It's an incredibly noble intent, what they're trying to accomplish here.” (Michael Symons, “Christie wants quick action on bail reform,” Asbury Park Press, 7/29/14)

·         “A small percentage of the people arrested in this state end up languishing in jail unnecessarily because they don't have means. This would put everyone in jail for a period of time, regardless of their means. ... Focus on that small group — everyone who's still in jail after 48 hours, take a good close look at."

Asbury Park Press: “We applaud the governor’s action. Now is the time to get this done.” (Editorial, “Time to overhaul N.J.’s bail system,” Asbury Park Press, 7/29/14)

·         “If the legislature does run out of time, all it is doing keeping presumably innocent poor people in jail, where all they have is time. The reforms are not outrageous.”

·         “[T]he bill is a fine start and should be passed.”

·         “The costly unfair bail system is broken. Let the bill pass, giving the poor the same shot at justice as the well-heeled. Let’s give voters the right to decide…”

Star-Ledger: “This is too important an issue to abandon because of summer slump.” (Editorial, “Chris Christie comes to the rescue of N.J. bail reform,” Star-Ledger, 7/29/14)

·         “Now it's up to legislators to do the responsible thing and push this legislative package through - in the name of protecting both public safety and the poor.”

 The Record: “His decision to call for a special session of the Legislature on Thursday is a smart, decisive example of a governor using his executive power effectively.” (Editorial, “Bail reform,” The Record, 7/30/14)

·         “Reforming a bail system skewed to favor the middle and upper classes should be a high priority.”

·         “The governor, by calling a special session, has made this a high priority issue. And it is.”

Inquirer: “Any changes must keep intact defendants' rights to a speedy trial. But that goal is possible if legislators don't become distracted by the bail bondsmen's hired guns.” (Editorial, “Wrong role for SCLC,” Inquirer, 7/30/14)

Wolf And Obama: Cap 'n Trade War On Coal?

In Pennsylvania, the Corbett-Cawley campaign today released a statement regarding Secretary Tom Wolf’s decision to stand with President Barack Obama and his war on coal as they both support a devastating cap-and-trade tax on Pennsylvania job creators. On Thursday, the EPA will hold hearings in Pittsburgh on their new regulations that jeopardize 62,000 jobs supported by Pennsylvania’s coal industry. 

Today, Governor Corbett joined West Virginia’s Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor for a pro-energy jobs rally in Pittsburgh ahead of tomorrow’s hearings.

Here is the statement:

“Millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf has chosen to stand with President Obama and his job-killing new cap-and-trade tax even though they both jeopardize over 62,000 jobs supported by the Pennsylvania coal industry,” stated Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack. “Maybe the availability of family sustaining, middle class jobs and affordable electricity isn’t important to a millionaire like Tom Wolf, but it’s important for job creators and the rest of the hardworking people of Pennsylvania.”

In early June, the Obama Administration announced a cap-and-trade plan similar to the one proposed by Secretary Tom Wolf, where the amount of allowed emissions from power producers is capped and they are required to reduce their emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels. If a company releases more than the allowed emissions, they could be forced to purchase costly emissions credits, install expensive upgrades, or even close power plants, all on the backs of consumers and the families who depend on coal jobs and affordable, reliable energy.

Governor Tom Corbett was quick to stand up against President Barack Obama’s latest attack on Pennsylvania’s coal industry. The Corbett-Cawley campaign also launched an online petition that called on Wolf to withdraw his support for the Obama-Wolf energy tax. To date, Wolf has refused to discuss his support for Obama’s war on coal. According to the Pennsylvania Independent, “[Tom Wolf’s] campaign was silent on the new EPA rule, as a spokesman didn’t return a message seeking comment.” Similarly, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported, “Corbett's Democratic opponent in November, Tom Wolf, offered a measured response...”

Under the ‘Climate Change’ section of Secretary Tom Wolf’s website, it states, “Under Tom’s leadership, Pennsylvania will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.” It has otherwise been noted by the York Daily Record that “Wolf supports joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an effort among nine states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” In a PennFuture survey, Wolf said “Additionally, I will focus on reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions by having Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.” Corbett challenged Wolf to denounce this cap-and-trade tax he has supported as part of his “A Fresh Start” plan, and to instead support the Pennsylvania coal industry and the Pennsylvania families who rely on this critical industry.

“I am alarmed that President Obama and Tom Wolf would both support a cap-and-trade tax on our energy sector that would jeopardize over 62,000 Pennsylvania coal jobs,” stated Governor Tom Corbett in June. “Pennsylvania is the country’s fourth-leading coal producer, and if President Obama and Tom Wolf had their way, they would be handing out pink slips to 62,000 Pennsylvanians. Our state has come too far over the past four years to go back to these overreaching tax-and-spend policies, and Pennsylvanians have my promise that I will fight these regulations every step of the way.”

Corbett’s support for Pennsylvania’s coal industry earned him the endorsement of Boilermakers Local 154. In endorsing Corbett, Boilermakers Local 154 Business Manager Raymond C. Ventrone touted Governor Corbett’s commitment to the energy industry in Pennsylvania.

“Since taking office, Governor Tom Corbett has kept his promise to fight for Pennsylvania jobs, making our Commonwealth stronger and more prosperous for our members, their families and all Pennsylvanians,” said Business Manager Raymond Ventrone. “We look forward to what the next four years of Governor Corbett’s leadership will hold for Pennsylvania’s future and are proud to stand with him as he seeks re-election this November.”

For more information on the Corbett-Cawley campaign for a stronger Pennsylvania, please visit

Xfinity Live's FREE Country Fest Debuts Aug. 1

The official Coors Light Country Fest takes over XFINITY Live! Philadelphia with interactive games, drink specials, a special appearance by Florida Georgia Line and an exclusive performance by country star Tyler Farr on Friday, August 1 beginning at 2 p.m.

Festivities include drink specials featuring Coors Light and Coors Light Summer Brew prior to country mega star Jason Aldean’s concert later that evening at Citizens Bank Park. Aldean is bringing his “Burn It Down Tour” to the ballpark featuring country sensations Tyler Farr and Florida Georgia Line.
Coors Light Country Fest is free to the public and will feature music throughout the day including an appearance by American Country star Tyler Farr, known for his hit single “Whiskey in My Water.” Also performing on the XFINITY Live! Stage at Coors Light Country Fest are bands “Shot of Southern” and “Philbilly” best known for their outstanding covers on famous country songs such as Rascall Flatts’ song “Me and My Gang.”
Patrons can also participate in interactive games and contests. Contest prizes include Tyler Farr concert tickets, autographed guitars by Jason Aldean, Tyler Farr and Florida Georgia Line.  

Complimentary on-site parking will be available after 8 p.m.

Christie Video: Finish Job On Bail Reform Now!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in Trenton today as he prepares to bring the state legislature back into session to act on bail reform.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel VS Hamas: Facts Tell The Story!

Pope Embraces Pentecostal Church; Calls For Unity

Unity in diversity and the plea for forgiveness for the lack of understanding shown by some Catholics towards their Pentecostal brothers were the key themes of the Pope's address at the Pentecostal Church of the Reconciliation in Caserta yesterday, during his meeting with his friend, the pastor Giovanni Traettino, whom he known for many years, both in Buenos Aires and as bishop of Rome, engaged in ecumenism. 

The meeting took place in a cheerful and intimate atmosphere, and was attended by 200 people, mostly Pentecostals from Italy, the United States and Argentina, as well as other countries. “With men like you”, said Pastor Traettino to his friend, Pope Francis, “there is hope for us, as Christians”.

The Pope's address responded to the discourse pronounced by Pastor Traettino, who had remarked that the presence of Jesus and walking in the presence of Jesus should be at the centre of our life. Francis remarked that “walk” was God's first commandment to his people, represented by Abraham – “walk before me faithfully and be blameless” – and added, “I don't understand a Christian who stands still! I don't understand a Christian who doesn't walk. A Christian must walk … because that which is still, that does not move ahead, becomes corrupt. Like still water, which is the first to become stagnant. … There are Christians who confuse walking and moving ahead with moving around. These, instead, are errants who saunter here and there; these are people who lack parrhesia, the boldness to go ahead; they lack hope”.

He went on to cite the story of Jacob who, during a time of famine, sent his eleven sons – ten of whom were guilty of betrayal, having sold their brother Joseph – to Egypt to buy grain. There, they once again found Joseph, who in the meantime had become the vizier. 

“When we walk in God's presence, we find brotherhood”, asserted the Pope. “When instead we stop, we scrutinise each other too much, and we set out on another path, that of gossip. … And in this way it begins, from the first moment the division of the Church began. And it is not the Holy Spirit who causes division! … From the very beginning there has been this temptation in the Christian community. 'I am from this group, you are from that one', 'No! I am the Church, you are a sect', and so on. … The Holy Spirit creates diversity in the Church … diversity, rich and beautiful. But, at the same time, the Holy Spirit creates unity, and so the Church is one in her diversity. To borrow a phrase used by an evangelical, a phrase I love, it is the 'reconciled diversity' of the Holy Spirit, Who creates both of these things: diversity in charisms, and harmony in charisms”.

To offer an image of how unity in the Church could be, Pope Francis first described a sphere, all of whose points are equidistant from the centre. This, he said, was an example of uniformity, and “the Holy Spirit does not create uniformity”. “Let us imagine, instead, a polyhedron: it is an example of unity, but with many different parts, each with its own peculiarity and charism. This is unity in diversity. This is the path that we Christians take, giving it the theological name of ecumenism: we seek to ensure that this diversity is harmonised by the Holy Spirit and becomes a unity; we seek to walk in the presence of God to be blameless”.

Pastor Traettino had also referred to the incarnation of Jesus, and the Holy Father responded that “the incarnation of the Word is the foundation – it is Jesus Christ! God and man, Son of God and Son of man, true God and true man. This is how the first Christians understood Him to be and they fought hard to maintain this truth: the Lord is God and man. It is the mystery of Christ's flesh. … I love the poor, the widow, the slave, the imprisoned. … I love them all, as these people who suffer are Christ's flesh. … It is not possible to preach a purely intellectual Gospel: the Gospel is the truth but it is also love and beauty! And this is the joy of the Gospel!”.

“On this path, many times we have done the same thing as the brothers of Joseph, when jealous and envy have divided us”, he remarked. “That sad story in which the Gospel for some was lived as truth and they did not realise that behind this attitude there were bad things, things that were not the Lord's, an ugly attempt at division. That sad history, in which there are repeated the same things that Joseph's brother did: denouncements, the laws of these people who 'are against the purity of the race'. … And these laws were ratified by baptised persons! Some of those who enacted these laws, and some of those who persecuted, denounced their pentecostal brothers because they were 'enthusiastic', almost 'crazy', who spoiled the race. … I am a pastor of Catholics, and I beg forgiveness for this. I ask your forgiveness on behalf of those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and who were tempted by the devil, and who did the same thing that Joseph's brothers did. I ask the Lord for the grace to recognise and to forgive”.

Pope Francis went on to comment on Pastor Traettino's words, “The truth is an encounter”. “An encounter between people”, he emphasised. “The truth is not made in a laboratory, it is made in life, seeking Jesus in order to find Him. But the greatest and most beautiful mystery is that when we find Jesus, we realise that He sought us first, that He had found us first, because He arrives before us. I like to use the Spanish verb 'primerea' to describe this, meaning that He precedes us, and always awaits us. … That encounter that transforms us: everything comes from that encounter. This is the path of Christian sanctity: seeking Jesus every day in order to meet him, and letting oneself be sought and found by Jesus every day”.

“We are on that path of unity, among brothers”, he concluded. “Some people will be surprised: they will say, the Pope has gone to the evangelicals! He has gone to meet his brothers! Yes! Because – and this is the truth – they came to me first, in Buenos Aires. … And so this friendship began, this closeness between the pastors in Buenos Aires, and here today. I thank you, and I ask you to pray for me, as I need your prayers”.

Following the meeting, in the mid afternoon, the Pope returned to the Vatican by helicopter.

Governor Christie Calls Special Legislative Session

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is calling a Special Session of the State Legislature for this Thursday, calling on the Legislature to seize the moment and pass bipartisan legislation that will keep dangerous individuals off the streets and bring greater fairness to the system. For two and half years, the Governor has engaged the legislature and continually called for this type of reform, beginning with his State of the State Address in 2012.

Now, we are finally on the cusp of seeing action, with broad-based reform supported by the Governor, bipartisan members of the legislature, the judiciary, interest groups such as the NAACP, ACLU, and Drug Policy Alliance, and opinion leaders from across the state.

As the Star Ledger Editorial Board pointed out in an editorial on this very topic this morning, reform is “desperately needed” and at risk of falling victim to legislative dysfunction. From the piece on the reform package and the need to act now:

The only people who win if this reform doesn’t pass are bail bondsmen. And the victims will be the poor, who continue to sit in jail for an average of 10 months for minor offenses, even though they pose no risk to the community.

Rich people who can afford a bail bond simply walk free, no matter how dangerous they may be. This broken system is an economic injustice, a threat to public safety and a drain on state taxpayers. We are warehousing people who don’t pose any danger.

Under the proposed reform, most people arrested for minor crimes would simply be released without bail. Those accused of more serious crimes or thought to be a flight danger would get a risk assessment, and only the biggest threats would be detained.

It’s a sorely needed overhaul, but comes with a short window. If Monday’s vote is delayed, the legislation would likely be passed next year at the earliest, and might not take effect until 2018. And it may never be passed at all: Who knows if legislators would have the appetite to take this on again?

Instead of a system that allows people charged with the most serious violent crimes out on the street, and keeps those who commit minor offenses and just can't afford bail behind bars, this legislation will finally bring common sense and fairness to the system. The legislation being debated includes the following:

·        SCR128: A Constitutional Amendment that would provide necessary flexibility in the justice system to allow for individuals proven to be dangerous or a threat to public safety to be held without bail ahead of trial through a pre-trial assessment.  If approved, this would appear for voter approval on the November 2014 General Election ballot.
·        S946: Legislation that would set the parameters for dangerousness when determining bail eligibility and create bail alternatives for individuals charged with nonviolent offenses.  This would bring fairness to low-income individuals who have not been charged with violent crimes and do not belong warehoused in jails awaiting trail, but cannot afford bail.

BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS ON THIS ISSUE – The moment for action is now, with bipartisan consensus on sweeping reform being reached by the Governor, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Stuart Rabner and his special commission formed to look specifically at bail reform, members of both parties of the legislature, interest groups as diverse as the NAACP, ACLU, and Drug Policy Alliance, and opinion leaders from around the state.

On B'way, For 'Lady Day,' It's Now All Gravy!

The producers of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the musical play starring record breaking six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, are thrilled to announce that the production in now in profits, after recouping its initial investment of $2.6 million.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill previously announced that the production has now extended its limited engagement through September 21st, 2014.

The original cast recording of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which topped four of the Billboard Charts in its first week of release (#1 in Cast Albums, #1 in Jazz, #1 in Traditional Jazz and #1 in Heatseekers), is now available for purchase from PS Classics. For more information visit

Tickets are available via, by calling (212) 239-6200, or at the box office of Circle in the Square (West 50th Street, btwn. Broadway and 8th Avenue).

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill began performances on March 25th, 2014, and opened on April 13th, 2014. In addition to Audra McDonald’s Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play, the productions sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Play.

“Audra McDonald is a vocal genius!
One of the greatest performances I ever hope to see.”
New York Magazine

MESMERIZING! Pouring her heart into her voice, Audra McDonald breathes life into Billie Holiday’s greatest songs.”
The New York Times

Daily News

“The best 90 minutes you’ll ever witness!
Audra McDonald is again AUDACIOUSLY AWESOME.”

“STUNNING & HEARTBREAKING. The performance of her career!
Get to the Circle in the Square theatre – pronto!”
Huffington Post

“One of the most exquisite & haunting performances of the year!”
Entertainment Weekly

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill recounts Holiday's life story through the songs that made her famous. 1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime.  Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses.   

Among the songs that are performed: “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is directed by Ms. McDonald’s frequent collaborator, Lonny Price.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jessica Genick, and Will Trice, who are joined by Ronald Frankel, Rebecca Gold, Roger Berlind, Ken Greiner, Gabrielle Palitz, Irene Gandy and GFour Productions.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill made its award-winning premiere with off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre in 1986.

Great Summer Nights At Jewish History Museum!

Summer Nights at the Museum
As July winds to a close, August heats up at the National Museum of American jewish History in Philadelphia.
Don't miss extended hours, special tours, film, and more, exclusively on Wednesday nights. Keep reading for details about Pay What You Wish Wednesdays, tomorrow night's Field of Dreams screeningpoetry, and Café Conversations. See you tomorrow night!
Every Wednesday through October from 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Pay-what-you-wish Museum Admission includes:
  • Access to the permanent exhibition and the special exhibition Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American 
  • Hour-long Chasing Dreams-themed tour at 5:30 pm
  • Complimentary baseball-themed snacks and beer served by the Museum's Pomegranates Café
  • FREE access to special programs such as Café Conversations (more below) 
Summer Cinema: Field of Dreams -- tomorrow night!    
Wednesday, July 30 at 7:00 pm

Join us for our final screening in our Classics & Crackerjacks: Summer Cinemaseries, Field of Dreams, with remarks from longtime film critic for The Philadelphia InquirerCarrie Rickey, and fun, baseball-themed giveaways.Read more...  
Members: click here to purchase tickets and to access special pricing forother upcoming programs. 
Special pre-film poetry reading in the Café at 6:15 pm: swing by
the Café before the screening for Growing Up Baseball, a poetry
reading with Jacob Winterstein.
Café Conversation: Laura SilverWednesday, August 6 at 7:00 pm

In the Museum Café - included with PWYW Museum Admission
Meet award-winning journalist, Laura Silver, author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, which Joan Nathan has called "truly riveting."
Co-sponsored by Temple University's Feinstein Center for American Jewish History
Café Conversation: Neil Lanctot
Wednesday, August 13 at 7:00 pm 

In the Museum Ca
fé - included with PWYW Museum Admission

Sit down for a chat with Neil Lanctot, Ph.D., baseball historian and author of Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campanella, hailed "a rich and thoroughly enjoyable book" by the Los Angeles Times.
Click here for a full calendar of Chasing Dreams programs.