I never really bought into the notion that there’s a friendly peace between the Obamas and the Clintons. Sure, Bill Clinton is campaigning for Obama, Hillary is the Secretary of State, and all appears to be tranquil in Democrat land. But I still don’t buy it.
I’m old enough to remember the political cage-match that was the 2008 Democratic primary, with its ugly charges of racism, the ‘pimping’ of Chelsea, the whole bit. Despite her bitter loss, Hillary still wants to be president, and I have no doubt that she will make another go of it. (I’ll leave the speculation as to whether she replaces Biden on the ticket this year or makes a solid run in 2016, for another time).
All that being said, there’s a literal endorsement battle between the two for Democrat candidates down ticket, one specifically in a congressional race here in New Jersey:
A top Obama campaign adviser is taking sides in a member-versus-member primary in New Jersey, with senior adviser David Axelrod set to campaign for Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), according to a national Democratic aide.
Rothman faces Rep. Bill Pascrell in a North Jersey district that was merged by redistricting.
Bill Clinton endorsed Pascrell this month, making this race the seventh in which he has supported a Hillary-endorsing candidate against an Obama backer.
The Pascrell campaign thinks so highly of Clinton, he made it to their latest campaign ad:
For what it’s worth, Pascrell’s district is a predominantly middle class, blue collar constituency, whereas Rothman’s former district included a sizable portion of the more affluent Bergen County which is closer to Manhattan, consisting of upper-middle class NYC commuters, and a growing immigrant population. Demographically, there’s a noticeable difference between the two, but both districts are solid blue Democrat.
And then there’s this–a source I know with knowledge of the Pascrell campaign implied that there was a financial strain on both camps because of the redistricting fight, but acknowledged the Pascrell got “a boost from the Clinton endorsement,” adding “…[Clinton's] favorables are much better than Obama, even in the cities.“
The primary’s on June 5th, and I’m thinking Pascrell wins the district, based on the demographics I mentioned and it could very well be that the Clinton endorsement puts him over the top. I’d be interested to see how the other Obama vs Clinton endorsements in other CDs go, and I’m sure the Obama campaign will be keeping an eye on that as well.
Okay, 2011 has seen many “great” storms, including the blizzards earlier in the year. But yesterday’s storm dumped about 3-4 inches of global warming onto central Jersey, and today was just warm enough to melt most of it away, creating miles of heavy, wet slush throughout the area. My friends and family in Northern Jersey were the hardest hit however, with over 6 inches in most areas (and over a foot in Sussex County).
With one of the earliest snowstorms on record (early being late October), piling snow onto trees which are still laden with leaves, which have only just recently begun to turn, the biggest danger we’ve had has been snapping trees and tree branches. Thanks to that, power is out all over the state.
During the warmer months, and into the fall, and
before after daylight savings time, I usually forgo the gym for walking and hiking. I really enjoy the seclusion and austerity of an hour-or-so walk. Roosevelt Park is somewhat close to my home and one of its great features is a 3+ mile hiking trail, which includes a paved walkway for about a quarter of the trail, and forest trails for the remainder.
This morning I bundled up to take a walk in the brisk post-storm air (sunny and upper 40s most of the day today) to find that the Nor’easter did a job on the trail that would make any landscaper proud. The trail already took a hit with Hurricane Irene this past August, and now even more damage was done. I took some photos with my iPhone.
Upon entering the trail:
Amazing how this happened:
In the following shot, you can see a stream. Up until August, you couldn’t see it from the the trail path. After Irene, it was partially visible. This morning, it’s in plain sight:
More ruined trees:
Finally, you can’t make it out to well, but here is significant damage to the trail which all but blocked the path:
September is usually a month of cooling down, switching gears to the fall, which happens to be my favorite season right now. Since August however, the weather here in Central Jersey has been an alternating mix of hazy, muggy days and rain. Lots of warm rainfall.
Today we actually got a respite from that, as the midday temps dropped to around 70, and a cool, steady drizzle was falling as I write this. Today felt like fall (still no sun) and this morning, looking out from my porch, I saw this:
tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler, so here’s hoping that we maintain some fall-ish weather.
Speaking of fall, it was in the fall of 1966 that the Beatles embarked on a mini-vacation from being Beatles, and enjoyed time on their own for those two months. George Harrison took off to India for about four weeks. And speaking of George, here’s the trailer for Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biopic of my favorite Beatle, which looks nothing short of awesome:
Anything to get a day off from work. Paid for by New Jersey taxpayers of course:
The largest state employee unions are organizing a rally at the Statehouse on Friday to express support for workers rallying in Wisconsin.
The Communications Workers of America, which represents most of the state’s employees, will participate in the rally at noon, and National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will address the crowd. The rally is organized by the AFL-CIO and supported by the Change to Win unions and the National Education Association.
“We are all Wisconsin public workers this week,” Hetty Rosenstein, CWA state director, said in a statement. “They’re trying to blame middle class workers for the financial mess that Wall Street caused. It’s more politics as usual and we’re ready to fight back.”
It’s all for the kids, I’m sure, but I wonder how much this will cost taxpayers?
I’m reminded by Jim Geraghty that yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the stimulus package–the $800 billion Keynesian boondoggle merely added to the deficit with no substantial gain. The NRSC has put together a commemorative video that should remind us all of the outright waste of taxpayer money:
It’s ironic really. A big portion of the stimulus went to plug the holes of states budgets, so that they could paper over their individual deficits. Despite warnings from conservative circles, those measures only acted as a band-aid, kicking the can to…2011. Now we have union protests in Wisconsin led by law-breaking teachers and their union, Democrat politicians literally running for their political lives out of state to avoid the reckoning. Now those protests are spreading to Ohio and possibly Indiana.
And let’s not forget what Chris Christie has been doing here in the Garden State in addressing the public union parasites straight on for the past year or so.
Yeah. Happy Anniversary, Stimulus.
Governor Chris Christie, continuing his road trip campaigning for Republican candidates throughout the country, stops in Iowa, with a warning to the GOP rank and file:
Christie said Republicans must deliver on their conservative promises if they gain power during the November elections. If they don’t follow through, he said voters will send the GOP “to the wilderness, and they are going to send us there for a long, long time.”
“As a party, it is put up or shut up time,” he said.
Voters are willing to accept the political pain of deep cuts in government spending as long as they know the pain is being spread equally, Christie argued. It makes sense to shrink government in tough economic times, and politicians seem to be the last to get that message, he said.
“We lost our way a number of years ago, and we became tax and spend light,” he said. “Less spending, smaller government, less regulation, smaller government — we’re going to be all about that again. We have to step up and stand for those principles again.”
It’s refreshing to see a Republican being fearless about his conservatism. The party needs more of this in order to win. Period.
The grown-ups in Trenton are trying to get things done, and that means having to just ignore the cry-babies as they pout and stamp their feet:
Political theater in Trenton reached new heights today as lawmakers advanced a school choice bill in hearing that was moved outside after a leading lawmaker publicly tangled with the state’s largest and most powerful teachers union.
While hundreds of private and charter school students staged a rally in support of the measure outside the Statehouse Annex, the New Jersey Education Association members packed the hearing room to show their opposition. That upset Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who wanted to free up some seats for supporters, much to the NJEA’s chagrin.
“They said, ‘We’re not moving,’” Lesniak said. “So I said, we’ll have it outside.”
Statehouse staff carried out desks and chairs for senators, and the hearing was held in front of hundreds of demonstrators under sunny skies.
In the end, the Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously approved the bill (S1872), which will provide scholarships for students to attend private schools.
So while a bipartisan effort to bring real change to our state’s educational system is winding through the senate chamber, the NJEA does what it does best–act like complete douchebags, making the issue a political one as opposed to being about educating disadvantaged students. The very same students that the NJEA claims to care so much about.
Let’s make it clear, that this school voucher bill is being shepherded through the legislature with bipartisan support. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are joining with civic groups to bring about real change here.
Only two explanations come to mind. First, the state of our education system must be in much worse condition than any casual observer is being led to believe. For this sort of cooperation to take place, things must really be desperate. Better late than never.
Secondly, nobody can overestimate the effect that Governor Christie is having on the political environment here in the Garden State. He survived whatever vile and malicious crap the NJEA threw at him during the budget battle earlier this year (including a union moron wishing death on the governor), and although he took a hit in the polls, it obviously hasn’t fazed him.
He’s making such a name for himself, he’s beginning to get noticed in larger circles.
Christie is tackling the nation’s worst state deficit — $10.7 billion of a $29.3 billion budget. In doing so, Christie has become the politician so many Americans crave, one willing to lose his job.
Indeed, Christie is doing something unheard of: governing as a Republican in a blue state, just as he campaigned, making good on promises, acting like his last election is behind him.
The crux of this opinion piece is that Christie is making a name for himself in national Republican politics, the implication being he will run for President one day. A possibility? Definitely.
But he has a boatload of work to do here in Jersey first, and he’s doing a much better job than I ever thought he would. So here’s hoping he stays put.
Greece is in trouble.
The IMF has approved a bailout, but that requires some tough love for the nation’s bloated public payroll:
…[I]t was left to Giorgos Papaconstantinou, the Greek finance minister, to outline the details of the unprecedented rescue package for a eurozone member.
Painting an even starker picture of the nation’s public finances, the politician predicted that with its economy also contracting, Greece’s public debt would hit nearly 150% of GDP before it even began to drop in 2014. At 120%, Athens has the highest public debt to GDP ratio on the continent. “The choice is between collapse or salvation,” he said.
Under the deal, agreed after 10 days of intense negotiations with the IMF and EU, VAT will also rise by two percentage points from 21%. Duties on fuel, cigarettes, alcohol and luxury goods will similarly increase by 10%.
The Greek government has vowed to rush emergency legislation through parliament by next Friday, which will enable it to enact the reforms.
The austerity measures required by the IMF to advance the loan require a lot of fiscal discipline, something that should have been in place all along. But, as a lot of the economies of the EU are finding out, you can’t keep siphoning the public till forever.
The Greek government is learning these lessons the hard way:
[The] protesters set fire to a building and a witness saw firemen evacuate at least four people. “There are probably people trapped in the building,” fire officials said in a statement before the news emerged that people trapped in the building had died. The police blamed what were called “hooded youths” for setting fire to the building.
The Greek fire brigade reported that three people died in the building, a branch of the Marfin Bank on the route of a protest march into the city center, according to The Associated Press. It had apparently been attacked with gasoline bombs.
The demonstrations were the first major protests since the Socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou unveiled belt-tightening changes on Sunday that amount to the biggest overhaul of the state in a generation.
As the 24-hour strike began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told legislators that the 110-billion euro plan to bail out Greece was “about nothing less than the future of Europe and the future of Germany in Europe.”
There is really no difference between what is happening in Europe and what will eventually happen here in the United States if fiscal house remains in disarray. Already California, one of the world’s biggest economies, has been having the same issues–balancing the ever-growing requests for spending vs. treasury receipts.
Here in New Jersey, Governor Christie is doing a yeoman’s job at trying to stem the tide of red ink.
Unfortunately, the Federal government takes the opposite approach and refuses to learn the lessons of what’s unfolding in Europe. The Obama administration and a partisan Congress are encouraging massive growth in spending, and onerous taxes to pay for it all.
Of course it’s not just Greece, nor even just Europe. Pick a nation, pick a state, pick a city — Los Angeles, say. The game is up. The grand Ponzi schemes of modern public financing have reached the point where Mr. Ponzi packs his bags and heads for Paraguay.
The reckoning is coming. We’re so screwed.
It feels like New Jersey isn’t having a spring season this weekend. We took a drive down to Long Branch yesterday for a walk on the beach, and our second first Surf Taco run of the season.
It’s been a balmy 80+ degrees here in the Garden State all weekend. It’s actually very muggy this morning, and we’re supposed to hit 87 today.
I’ll take it. It beats shoveling out of two feet of snow every weekend.
It was a historic day here in the Garden State on Tuesday. Middle-class voters all across the state made their voices heard behind one unmistakable message: Stop the insanity in Trenton.
What’s been getting the most attention since January of course, has been the governor’s battle with the NJEA. The only reason for that is that the union is the only party that has not agreed to any concessions. Concessions that would help alleviate the hard times of working middle class families in Jersey. The union would have none of that, of course, and now they are feeling the wrath of the average citizen. All of this came to a head on Tuesday.
George Will has a good piece in today’s WaPo on the significance of all this, and is definitely worth a read. He writes:
New Jersey’s governors are the nation’s strongest — American Caesars, really — who can veto line items and even rewrite legislative language. Christie is using his power to remind New Jersey that wealth goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well-treated. Prosperous states are practicing, at the expense of slow learners like New Jersey, “entrepreneurial federalism” — competing to have the most enticing business climate.
What we’re seeing here is a classic ideological case of collectivism vs individualism, of liberalism vs conservatism. I’ve been making the point all along that conservatives and Republicans all across the country should be watching what Governor Christie has been doing to the mindless robots of the Left, and learn from his example. This can be repeated over and over and over again, because in the end, individualism always wins out.