Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Man to Watch, Bill Brennan

-

When I tell you that Bill Brennan, host of the new Cablevision network show The New Jersey Civil Circus is the bomb, I' m not kidding.

I love this guy.

I'm not sure if he'll blow or spontaneously combust first, but if he continues with the same apoplectic delivery of TNJCC's maiden voyage then you'd better stand back...

BOOM!



Watch him.

If you're paying attention, you'll feel like a bomb's exploded in your living room as Brennan rattles off example after example of real living, breathing civil employees who are suckling off your teat (figuratively speaking); gobbling up your tax dollars in truly obscene examples of waste, greed and of course, patronage.

Brennan's material is illuminating in the true sense; he is casting light on rats who screw us in the shadows. These critters sustain themselves through our ignorance and it's guys like Brennan who make it possible to root them out by discovery then collective disgust.

Bill, please watch your back. And return my email.

For those that missed the program, it's well-worth an hour of your time.

Part 1 of 2


A familiar name is the winner of his "Big Teat-Sucker Derby" of the Month, for the most egregious, shameless suckling at your wallet with a series of no-bid contracts for Hudson County municipalities and a pile of invoices for such 'services' such at videotaping a building or snapping a photograph in addition to his bill for monthly "professional consulting services".

The Hoboken Journal gives a nice summary of this segment which I'm too lazy to do.

You'll find this 'winner' announced about 2 minutes into the Part 2.

Part 2 of 2


I'll post the schedule for his next Cablevision broadcast of The New Jersey Civil Circus when I get that information.

(Update 7:35pm)
I just got a very nice email from Mr. Brennan... he appreciates the GA support and gave thanks for spreading the word. He also politely requested that I tone down, uh.... certain implications about his life expectancy, so as not to alarm his loved ones.

Mr. Brennan, I have respectfully complied.

He's going to send me the Hoboken broadcast schedule when it becomes available. I've also requested some more information about him... if I get it, I'll let you know. He is a fascinating guy.

In a second email he wrote (re: politickernj):

Check out the article "Rumana's headache" corruption flourishes up here in the burbs too!


Right after dinner, Bill!

Reader Note

Some of you may notice a missing post. I whacked it myself on the advice of a friend.

It looks like Saturday's post has incurred the wrath of the subject's minions, a particular one with a Weehawken address. So it's best to err on the side of caution in such an environment.

Or as he put it:

"... that ass hat in Weehawken does have the evil gene that we discussed you are lacking. I just don’t trust that whack job for a multitude of reasons. The posts today were freaking creepy."

Advice taken.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Misprint?

If you're like me, in this age of skyrocketing food prices, you cruise the aisles of your local supermarket with your eyes peeled for bargains. Even if it's something not on your list. Dog food, let's say. So what, if you don't have a dog. You may get one one day, and when you do you won't get 3 cans of Alpo for the price of 2. Grab it! The sale's over on Friday.

How does one find these bargains?

In my local supermarket, they're tagged with attractive, 4-color printed signage on heavy card stock, which must cost the franchise a pretty penny. But boy, those signs sure do get your attention, emblazoned with a logo branding the advertised item as part of a "Lower Price Project" and shouting at you, "NEW LOW PRICE!"

If you're a properly-trained Pavlovian consumer, when you see such a sign you will drool and your arm will automatically jut out to grab the item. Quickly. Before it sells out at it's "NEW LOW PRICE!"

That's what I do.

Yesterday at the same market I bought (3) cases of Poland Spring water, a bargain at $9.99 ( that penny saved counts). The fact I knocked out 3 vertebrae carrying them home doesn't matter- I saved 4 bucks. That's 6 cans of Alpo. For my cat.

So, imagine my surprise this morning, back at the supermarket, drawn to one of these signs, I actually read it.

I love asparagus, don't you? It tastes great grilled with extra-virgin olive oil and a little salt. I buy it on sale nowadays because it's gotten pricey at around $2.99/lb., sometimes $3.99/lb.; a veggie that's about 25% waste (when removing the tough bottom of the stalk).

So my arm had already extended to grab some of this lovely asparagus offered at a "NEW LOW PRICE!" when I read the sign:

Excuse me?

Does that really say $4.99/ lb.?

Not only has my supermarket raised the price of asparagus by at least 25%, they're advertising it to us as a 'new low price" on one of their attractive, high-end signs.

Now, guys. In the words of Judge Judy, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Was the $4.99 a misprint? Or the "NEW LOW PRICED!" part?

The only way I'm paying $4.99/lb for asparagus is if it comes with a free turkey.

So I walked the aisles to check of items similarly touted as having "NEW LOW PRICE!", and to be fair, most of advertised were price-reduced.

But, today's Asparagus Incident has shaken my confidence in the printed word at my local supermarket,: I will be using critical thinking going forward when shopping, no longer impressed by the good graphic layout or attractive colors seducing me with promises. I'll be the judge of whether that's a 'NEW LOW PRICE!" or a "NEW HIGH PRICE!"

With that in mind, I have made the appropriate correction to the asparagus signage, and I hope my supermarket will follow suit.


Let's keep it real.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Poll Dancer


All the men come in these places
And the men are all the same
You don't look at their faces
And you don't ask their names
You don't think of them as human
You don't think of them at all
You keep your mind on the money
Keeping your eyes on the wall

He's your private dancer,
a dancer for money
He'll do what you want him to do
He's your private dancer,
a dancer for money
And any old music will do

He makes more than 300,000 dollars
He wants to live out by the sea
Fill his wallet with your money
With no-bid contracts for Hudson County
All the men come in these places
And the men are all the same
You don't look at their faces
And you don't ask their names

He's your private dancer,
a dancer for money
He'll do what you want him to do
He's your private dancer,
a dancer for money
And any old music will do

Deutch marks or dollars
American Express will do nicely, thank you
Let me loosen up your collar
Tell me, do you wanna see me do the shimmy again?

Readers, shimmy on over to Hoboken Journal and take your pole and G-string with you. Da Kurt's got a great piece on a some Paul Swibinski monkey business going on over at a Hoboken Reporter web poll.

The web poll accompanied the HR's story on Hoboken PBA President Vince Lombardi's 's criticism of the mayor's plan to layoff 18 police officers. You see, Mr. Swibinski's company, Vision Media, is consulting for the Hoboken PBA and wouldn't you know the web poll asking "who do you think is right in this debate, Mayor Zimmer or the Police Union" flip-flopped from Zimmer ahead by nearly a double margin, to an overnight tsunami of Police Union votes washing the mayor out to sea. In web-speak, that's SPAMMING.

Swibinski.... you're so BUSTED.

Well, it appears counter-insurgents have come to Zimmer's rescue, but not in the sheer numbers that Swibinski has marshalled... he could have done this with automated proxy-server software. Or, Da Kurt discovered the poll lets you vote more than once after you end your web session.

Call it cheating the 'old-fashioned' way.

In any event, Swibinski is quite the Poll Dancer.

He's gyrated those poll numbers up, and up, and up... wiggled his little moneymaker to the ka-ching, ka-ching of his client's growing tab, and stuffed plenty of G's in his G-string.... because according to The New Jersey Civil Circus Cablevison host, Bill Brennan, the lady makes a pretty penny for his shimmy, in the neighborhood of $300K per year.

WOW. For that much loot I could be persuaded to do the Devil's work. You think I'm kidding?

I am.

This one's for you, Paul.

Bret Under the Bus






(Updated 8/28/10)
It looks like not only was New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler squished like a bug under the wheels of the school bus but he may have dived under it himself.

Or maybe not. This one is murky.

Schundler was fired by Governor Christie yesterday morning. Why?

As you may know, New Jersey lost a whopping $400 million 'Race to the Top' federal education grant, and New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler was both blamed for a bungled answer during his presentation to the U.S. Department of Education, and then lying to Governor Christie about it. Said bungle described in the NJ Star-Ledger:

The state lost a competitive grant contest for education funding by 3 points. While the state lost points across a number of areas for substantive issues, a blunder on one 5-point question has caused an uproar in Trenton. The state lost 4.8 points by seemingly misreading the question, which asked for information from 2008 and 2009 budgets. The state provided information from 2011.

So Schundler couldn't provide information for 2008 and 2009 budgets. But the plot thickens.

According to the New Jersey Teacher's Association, the information for the correct budget years was in an earlier (May 27) application draft submitted, and suggested that the 'administration' had changed it for the final June 1st submission. Why? To scrub compromises made with the state's largest teacher's union, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), Christie's nemesis, for those years under the Corzine administration.

Which begs the question, who ordered the removal of the budget data that tripped up Schundler?

If it came from 'higher up', is it fair to scapegoat Schundler for not having the answer at the presentation?

Perhaps realizing the magnitude and consequence of his blunder Schundler may have then made a bad call to deceive his boss on the presentation. Not a great plan. But is it FAIR to blame Schundler for not delivering the grant if critical information was pulled out of the application? The panel would not have needed to ask for the data had it been included.

It's still unclear how the error was made. The New Jersey Teachers Association produced a version as of May 27 of the bungled answer — from a draft including compromises later jettisoned — that included information for the correct budget years. The NJEA said the paper proved the administration had changed it in the process of re-writing the application to take out the compromises with the state's largest teachers union, which has been Christie's most vocal combatant during his first year as governor. The application was submitted June 1.

Further, based on the June kerfuffle with Governor Christie, as reported on June 3rd in the Star-Ledger, one can surmise that Schundler's boss was tinkering and tweaking with the state's application data right up until the June 1st submission.

Gov. Chris Christie continued to publicly criticize his own education commissioner today, ignoring the teachers’ union’s claim that he is undermining the credibility of one of the state’s most important officers.

The governor also renewed his attacks on New Jersey Education Association, and said he doesn’t believe his rejection of an agreement worked out by Commissioner Bret Schundler and the union will endanger the state’s application for up to $400 million in federal school funding.

At issue is the second round of funding available through President Obama’s competitive grant program, designed to reward states for aggressive and new approaches to improving schools. New Jersey filed a first-round application in January, but failed, while Delaware received $100 million and Tennessee got $500 million. Up to 15 states are likely to win funding out 36 that applied.

The state hand-delivered its application Tuesday.Christie made his comments a day after publicly scolding Schundler for agreeing to compromises on teacher tenure and merit pay - which were to be part of the application for $400,000 in Race to the Top funding from the Obama administration.

Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington think tank, said the political scuffle in Trenton probably would have no effect on New Jersey’s application but losing the NJEA’s endorsement could.

"It’s not as if they’re going to deduct 10 points because the governor had a nasty clash with the union," Jennings said. "It’s all a matter of how many points you gain for each element of the application. By not agreeing with the teachers union, the state is losing points. Then again, its comparative. You have to know what’s in all 36 applications (from other competing states)."

Maybe you were wrong, Jack. Maybe the political scuffle in Trenton had everything to do with New Jersey's application, as in the removal of Corzine concessions with the teacher's union, the data that Schundler didn't have at the presentation.

Well, it's over and done for Bret Schundler.

I'm guessing the writing was on the wall, but who knew he'd be bearing the weight of a devastating $400 million dollar loss to New Jersey public schools, one which will certainly dog him for the rest of his political or business career.

Not nice, Governor.

(Original post: 06/04/10)


Look who's mad at New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler!

It appears that Mr. Schundler went off the ranch in his negotiations with the New Jersey Education Association, and was publicly accused by his boss on Monday of caving in to union demands.

On Tuesday, Christie repeated his criticism to the Star Ledger.

Christie made his comments a day after publicly scolding Schundler for agreeing to compromises on teacher tenure and merit pay - which were to be part of the application for $400M in Race to the Top funding from the Obama administration.

During an exclusive interview, Christie said Schundler was never empowered to negotiate away key provisions of the governor’s education agenda and any impression to the contrary was wrong. The governor said the deal Schundler reached with the union did nothing but cave in to the NJEA and gut his plan for improving state schools. Christie said he heard Thursday night that an accord had been reached but knew no details.

Ouch.

It's one thing for a boss to reprimand an employee in his office, it's another to do it in front of a nation. Schundler might have had national aspirations, but he's just been kneecapped by his popular Republican boss, made to look like a freelancer instead of a party loyalist, and no doubt he's damaged goods for the rest of his term should he choose to stay. Certainly his credibility has been seriously undermined by the Governor's public spanking. State-wide and nationally. So Christie sacrificed Schundler to send a message: autonomy is a state-of-mind; in MY state you follow MY orders.

At issue is the second round of funding available through President Obama’s competitive grant program, designed to reward states for aggressive and new approaches to improving schools. New Jersey filed a first-round application in January, but failed, while Delaware received $100 million and Tennessee got $500 million. Up to 15 states are likely to win funding out 36 that applied.

The state hand-delivered its application Tuesday.

Christie has been battling the NJEA since last year’s nasty gubernatorial campaign when the union backed Gov. Jon Corzine aggressively. So when news of a deal was announced last week it was welcomed as a sign that peace had been reached between the two sides.

Uh, yeah. Peace.

What were the concessions that Schundler made against the Governor's wishes? And how do these concessions 'gut' his plans for improving state schools? He doesn't say. But...

My overall impression of Schundler is much improved from when he was appointed. In spite of disagreements with his policies, such as his support of vouchers, he seems to be a principled guy, not a party hack. That's how I saw it when he attended the Hoboken Republican Club's 6th Annual Lincoln Dinner here in Hoboken during the recent very heated BoE race.

Commissioner Schundler was invited as the keynote speaker. There he praised the current (Kids-First majority) BoE's performance on their substantial budget decrease and getting custodial union givebacks on healthcare, in front of their all-Republican opponents, Team Real Results. That was not an act of hackery. That was Schundler praising the achievements of our School Board, irrespective of party affiliation.

So now that he has strayed off his boss' righteous path, how far did he go and is the impact really so grievous to the accomplishment of Christie's plans?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Whether Schundler can stay on unbowed and unrepentant, or if he caves or if he quits.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reunions

So how was your week?

I shared mine with animals, the living and the dead.

LA (Little Avenger) was thrilled to go back to the farm we'd visited last summer to see her donkey pals Brownie and Whitey. She'd spent hours feeding them wild grass and dandelions on the hillside last year and looked forward to doing more of the same.

Like 'they' say: sometimes you can't go back.

The donkey duo were no longer roaming the pastoral rolling meadows but were confined 'exhibits' in a revamped 'petting zoo'. Which now charged a fee for admission.

click any photo to enlarge
LA greets Brownie and Whitey

Petting Whitey

Dreaming of better days

LA drew this later:


I think she captured that wistful stare.

Our next reunion was with Alberto, the badass llama, who tried ripping his exhibit signage off the wall as we cheered him on.

Go Alberto!


One badass llama


We also caught up with our old friend, Pig, who was now Mama Pig with 12 piglets...

and 7 nipples...


Does anyone know how that works?

Feeding 12 hungry kids when you've only got 7 nipples? It seems an appropriate time for an Octomom joke.

It was so nice to visit with old friends, but we wondered about the fate of Chocolate, the well-hung donkey. We found him roaming the hillside, blessed with freedom.

LA tries to get Chocolate's attention

She's got it- with dandelions

Which ended a day of reunions at the farm; bittersweet for LA who couldn't understand why her friends were incarcerated but glad to see them still.

So much for the living. Now for the dead.

The Visitor Center at Mount Greylock contained an assortment of gutted and stuffed animal friends scattered about in cases, hanging from the ceiling, off the wall, in a 'Nature Discovery Room' for kids-- a gruesome menagerie; the stuff nightmares are made of. In fact, LA had a bad dream that night, about a monster.

Meet the critters.

opossum


bobcat


turkey


fox

owl

squirrel

hawk

Don't those freak you out?

Maybe it's me. Not a fan of taxidermy. I like my animals with a pulse and a wet nose.

But it was an otherwise nice day on Mount Greylock. Did you know that it's the tallest mountain in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet?

Big deal, you say; Mount Everest is 29,029 feet tall, and K2 is 28,251 feet tall, and Kangchenjunga is 28,169 feet tall.

Well hotshot, those aren't in Massachusetts.

In fact, I climbed Mount Greylock. Well... not the whole thing. Not most of it. Part of it. A little piece. But I could have done it all if I wanted to. I just didn't want to. See, here I am at the uh... bottom...


So, good to be back in Hoboken... I think. Time to catch up.

Message to Da Kurt: thanks so much for loaning me your camera for the trip.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to the Farm


Dear friends,

LA
(Little Avenger) made a commitment last year to some livestock she met in the Berkshires that she'd be back next summer, and promises must be kept.

Here they are:


She named them "Brownie" (her's) and "Whitey" (mine).

We spent hours feeding them tall grass and weeds which they gobbled up without salad dressing. I would've taken my weeds with Ken's Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette, but different strokes for different... uh, folks, as they say.


Yum, yum!

And those weren't the only critters she befriended there.

Here's LA gettin' jiggy wit da lama.


Yes, my girl can't wait to go back. And her livestock chums have her penciled into their datebooks.

So GA will be back in a week... No worries, Pearl the Cat fans, friends have moved in for the week to keep her alive and loved.

So, it's back to the farm, and back to one more animal friend I forgot to mention: LA named him "Chocolate", but I called him "Happy".


See what I mean?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Low Wattage Bulb


"Have you heard or seen this phrase?"
asks Perry Klaussen of Hoboken411, about the graffiti pictured which reads, " I (star of David) Jew York!!"

Why yes, Perry. I have.

Some of the folks who use that phrase look like this:


Others who (star of David) "Jew York" look like this:


And some even look like this:


Now, I will speak to you as I would an imbecile.

Here are things you should know.

When "Jew" is inserted in place of a verb or an adjective, it isn't friendly. No (sane) Jewish person is ever going to do so. The only exception might be when Jews are in the company of other Jews but I've NEVER heard that, not in my lifetime.

You have Jewish friends, don't you?

Beth Mason, for example.

Ask her about the notion of "Jewish Graffiti" and "Jew York". And get back to us.

Let There Be Peace on Earth



Hear ye, hear ye...

There will be NO trial ('A' vs. 'B')... mediation over, the matter has been DROPPED!


Common sense has prevailed.

Brain War


Brinkmanship is the practice of pushing dangerous events to the verge of disaster in order to achieve the most advantageous outcome.

This maneuver of pushing a situation to the brink succeeds by forcing the opponent to back down and make concessions. This might be achieved through diplomatic maneuvers by creating the impression that one is willing to use extreme methods rather than concede. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear force was often used as such an escalating measure.

Yesterday's blog post inspired a few interesting exchanges.

I'd written that a dismal outcome was in store for you-know-who ('B') in his ongoing legal matter with a horse ('A'), but could be avoided with 2 words: I'm sorry.

Not a single person thought an amicable settlement would be reached between those 2 letters of the alphabet this morning in New Jersey Municipal Court where a court-ordered remediation is being held.

Not a one
.

All believed the kind of mania that fuels B's wind-baggy theatrics at City Council meetings would propel him onto a court room stage... lights, camera, action... ladies and gentleman, the show is about to begin.

I'm not so sure.

I'm thinking what may be going on in Camp 'B' is all about brinkmanship.

Say what you will about 'B', he is no dummy. Far from it. It is possible that the best possible outcome (for him) is negotiated on the cusp of war. If so, I am guessing the peace treaty will include a gag order, so we the people never know whether an apology was given or received... a face-saving condition.

That's a guess, people. The cup I drink from is half-full.

But in my view, the war is not really between sides 'A' and 'B'; it's going on inside B's head. As in the left and right hemispheres of his brain. They're just not getting along.

Which means the outcome today is at the mercy of these 2 warring halves.

Which will prevail?

The naysayers (not to be confused with the neigh-sayer) are going with a right-brain victory.

I'm rooting for his left. Hemisphere.

I don't wish him ruin, you know. Just redemption.

Say it, Rodney. To the brain.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorry is the Hardest Word

It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

Out of deference to Da Horsey, I haven't written about the ongoing legal matter which is being covered by Da Kurt in The Hoboken Journal.

And I don't care to get into specifics of the case. But the psychodrama unfolding is what is fascinating. The entire matter can 'go away' if 'B' simply apologizes to 'A'. That's essentially 2 words: "I'm sorry".

That offer was made through the decency and generosity of 'A'; a hand extended to a drowning man (or letter of the alphabet). It has been refused thus far.

Now, all are innocent until proven otherwise in court. I'm not a court. So am amazed at 'B' 's unwillingness to take an easy exit off a self-destructive course.

Why is 'sorry' so hard to say? It isn't even an admission of guilt. It's just an admission of sorriness. It's an honorable thing to be sorry-- it shows the humanity of the sorrowful, that he/she have considered the impact of their actions, possible detrimental effects for which they feel sorrow. What's the big deal?

Is it a macho, male thing?

Do women have an easier time saying 'sorry'?

Saying 'sorry' is easy for me. I am constantly apologizing... I just apologized to my cat for not feeding her. True. I forgot to buy cat food yesterday (cans) so she has to do with dry food for now. And I'm sorry about that.

Does that mean I am guilty of willful cat-starvation? That I didn't buy her food out of malice? That I want her to suffer? Of course not! Now all of that may be true (it's not), but the mere fact of being sorry, of saying "I'm sorry", conveys feelings at the consequences of the 'act' and does not address my intent or motive. If I were not sorry that my cat was denied her flaked tuna breakfast, what would that say about my humanity? And if I grabbed my cat's camera and ran off with it? You bet I'd be sorry.

Is saying 'sorry' for guys as hard as it is for them to ask for directions?

You know what I mean, ladies.

So, did my cat accept my apology? No. She doesn't understand English. She understands milk. So I gave her a saucer full. And all's forgiven-- for now.

That's the power of "I'm sorry".

Guys, look at the words "I'm sorry" as you would a pair of nunchuks.

You know, these things:


Macho, huh? Wouldn't you like a pair of these? Feel that testosterone surging?

So how about a pair of these (words): I'm + sorry.

The words make you stronger, not weaker. They show your emotional maturity. And fearlessness.

As for asking for directions...well, any guy that needs to ask for directions needs a masculinity check. Pronto.

Kapish, Sissy-boy?

Sing it, Elton!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Geezers That Rock

It's been so long since I've done a Geezers That Rock that a couple of prime candidates have since kicked the bucket. Well, I'm short for time today, so here we go!

Any Deep Purple fans out there? Raise your hand. Me, too. What a great British band, and do you know they're still alive, together and touring?

It's true.

Now, I'm not that much of a geezer myself that I listened to them from their inception back in 1968... 42 years ago.They've had quite a turbulent history; many line-up changes, an 8-year hiatus, and only one original band member, Ian Paice (drums), remains today. But rest assured, except for the guitarist, Steve Morse, the rest are old: Roger Glover (bass), Ian Gilliam(vocals), Don Airey (keyboards). And that's why they're featured today on GTR. And they still rock.

Have a listen... from a 2006 concert, the song is Lazy off their 1972 album, Machine Head.




Do these geezers still have it, or what?

Here's another song (a fave of mine), Maybe I'm a Leo, off that same album, from a 2009 concert in Norway:



So, stop feeling sorry for yourself... get up, pick up your air guitar and remember you've still got it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trash or Treasure

Perhaps it was curmudgeonly of me to assume that no current residents of District 33 would be grateful to get a birthday card from their elected representative in the New Jersey State Senate, Brian Stack, as I posted the other day .

After all, this town is full of lonely,depressed, clinically insane residents who might actually enjoy getting a birthday card from a Hudson County politician.

Some of these unhinged folks might even look forward to getting his birthday card year after year. I'll bet some of those folded-paper beauties are framed and hanging above the mantles of current residents all over town. As the saying goes: one man's trash is another's treasure.

Speaking of which... I have one of these paper treasures myself.

Not from a Hudson County V.I.P., but from an even bigger muckity- muck:

That's right, people.

I was on the Clinton's White House Christmas Card list! Just me and 100,000 or so other of their best friends and donors. Maybe 200,000.

Even so... I was thrilled to get this card... unlike the one I got from the Hudson County guy, what's-his-name. Smack? Snack? Oh, right.. Stack.

Of course, 1993 was a good year for the Clinton presidency; before the '94 Gingrich-led Republican Revolution and that incident with the intern... you know, the suck heard 'round-the-world. What a colossal, idiotic embarrassment for America that was. Yeah, like most of our past presidents, from George Washington down weren't a bunch of horn-dogs. Who cares?

Only in America.

Did you ever read that piece of Republican-produced, soft-core porn the American taxpayers financed, the Starr Report?

You didn't?

Here's a tiny redacted sample of how your hard-earned tax dollars were spent by that partisan puritanical PERVERT, Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and the gang of finger-wagging, sexual-McCarthyites (House Republicans):

According to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the President kissed. She unbuttoned her jacket; either she unhooked her ___________ ; and he touched her_________ with his hands and mouth.(161) Ms. Lewinsky testified: "I believe he took a phone call . . . and so we moved from the hallway into the back office . . . . [H]e put his hand ________and stimulated ________________."(162) While the President continued talking on the phone (Ms. Lewinsky understood that the caller was a Member of Congress or a Senator), she ___________on him.(163) He finished his call, and, a moment later, told Ms. Lewinsky to stop. In her recollection: "I told him that I wanted . . . to complete that. And he said . . . that he needed to wait until he trusted me more. And then I think he made a joke . . . that he hadn't had that in a long time."(164)

Oye frickin' vey!

Can you BELIEVE this stuff is what our elected (Republican) leaders put at the top of the legislative heap? And spent MILLIONS of your tax dollars on? But I digress...


So why did I get a Christmas card from The White House in '93? (Not to be repeated in '94, '95, '96, '97... and so on) Because I'd worked as a volunteer in '92 on the Clinton Presidential Campaign.

But that's ancient history.

All I have now are memories.... and my card.

That's why I should have considered others who likewise treasure a birthday or holiday card from their favorite politician as a keepsake to be passed down for generations-- like that lock of your great-grandmother's hair or your great-uncle's glass eye.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Promises, Promises

Today I find myself on the same side of an issue as... Beth Mason.

Now, before my pal Da Horsey hauls off and writes another one of these, declaring me a traitor to all things fluffy and good, or a water-carrier (substitute "Hermes" for "water") or a defender of Klaussen-patronage and slayer of bunny-rabbits, let me explain.

While 2nd Ward Councilwoman Mason is manipulating the issue of property-tax relief like Silly Putty, rolling it over the pages of H411 to reproduce the distortions there, she's got the right issue.

My reform friends, do not dismiss the issue out-of-hand because of it's source.

When Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi came to town in 2008 to cleanse out Hoboken's choked innards and fill an $11.7M budget gap gifted us by outgoing Mayor Dave Roberts we all knew what was coming.

Here's what Doctor Judy prescribed for our chronic overspending and it's resultant budget condition:


Well, we took it like... men and ladies because it came with a qualifier: TEMPORARY.

TEMPORARY tax hike. The 4th quarter of 2008... it hurt, but we were promised it was TEMPORARY.

OK, well, shit happens. The coastal fringes of Hoboken are falling into the Hudson. We need a cash reserve to cover retroactive raises for public safety union members. We don't have a COMMUNITY SWIMMING POOL, our town has an embarrassing TIN BUCKET instead- for kids only- which is tantamount to child abuse. Call DIFYS, someone.

So... Hoboken's entire available $12 million dollar budget surplus (NOT $20 million, Ms. Mason... stop repeating that or your nose will grow like Piniocchio's) can't be handed back to taxpayers. But how about a GOOD FAITH percentage of it for tax relief, with a proposal for staggered reflief phased over, let's say 3-years, to bring us BACK to where we were? And to fulfill a PROMISE made to the taxpayers of Hoboken.

I applaud Mayor Zimmer and the City Council for this era of sound fiscal management and responsibility. And 4th Ward Councilman Mike Lenz is a critical player in the way forward for our town's fiscal restoration. We need to elect him in November.

That said, our coffers runneth over. Good.

There are multiple uses vying for this money. The one that must not be forgotten is the promise to our stressed-out, over-burdened taxpayers.

Let's get it on.

(Update, 9:30 am)
Da Horsey has an excellent piece today where fiscal oracle Lenz sends the Mason-H411 '$20M budget surplus' spin-missile spiraling in flames down to earth. CRASH.

Lenz tells Da Horsey, "So, cutting through the misleading claims, our surplus is actually just under $12 million." Thanks, Mike.

Problems can't be fixed nor promises kept on a foundation of lies.


As long as you all understand who's serious about taking care of this city and who's snowing you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday

We're gonna have a good time

I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you


Don't you love when a politician remembers your birthday then sends you a card with their picture on it?

I do.

Yesterday I received this birthday card from 33rd District State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and boy, was I excited!

He doesn't know me from a hole in the wall yet was thinking about me on my birthday! Which was in June.

Some of my so-called friends didn't wish me "happy birthday" this year-- never mind spending cash from dubious sources to buy a birthday card for me or "current resident" sent via bulk mail.Not like State Senator Stack, who wants nothing from me at ALL. But my happiness.

It's personal... but I'll let you read his private musings:


He wished me happiness in 2 languages! And signed my name on the blank line!

I'm touched.

Yet our Senator's a pragmatist; he knows there's no reason to waste a good birthday card if I'm dead, been evicted, deported or foreclosed on, arrested or moved away, so also extends his heartfelt happy birthday wishes to "CURRENT RESIDENT".


Dear State Senator Stack,

Maybe you can tuck a little birthday check in next year's card, like my Grandma and aunts used to do?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday the 13th

This was sent to me this morning from 'Perry Belfiore' (Da Kurt of The Hoboken Journal). With the message "bloggers can be monstrous".

Punked.

I actually replied with a 'thank you' and a compliment about his hair (doesn't Perry Belfiore have the BEST hair? It's so voluminous, I want to poke it with my finger--not a stick. It almost looks like a possum is perched on his head, it's so beautiful and well-shaped. Not kidding, he ought to do shampoo commercials. I wonder what he eats to make it so healthy. Yogurt? Peanut butter? Egg yolks?)

Perry, I'm your hair's biggest fan! Can I get it's autograph?

Con men and pranksters take note: prior to my first cup of coffee I'll fall for anything.

So since it's Friday the 13th, I thought Kurt's JibJab theme was apropos.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fun with Forgery

Perhaps consciousness-of- guilt drove the Weehawken trout to reinvent himself as zimmshamm on the nj.com forum yesterday.

In case you missed it zimmshamm is an angry, immature, fact-challenged Zimmerphobic horsey-hater the likes of which you haven't seen since 12 seconds ago when he posted as:

1) HudsonShark

2) horsesbehind

3) antinucci

4) nocluedawn

5) insidersedge

6) panamajak

7) patiofurniture

8) patiofurniture3

(pick one of the above)

In fairness to our hapless sardine, there's a rumor that 2 others: a man and a woman, post under at least one of the above names. If true, shame on them for letting anchovy-boy take all the heat. With friends like that...

As for the antics of zimmshamm, for 38-minutes yesterday he riddled the nj.com forum rat-a-tat-tat! with a smear so brain-dead, amateurish and possibly criminal he puts the 'op' in between the 'D' and the 'E'.

And the target of said smear?

Wax figurine of Roman Brice on display at Madamme Tussaud's in NYC

Here's how zimmshamm started, the first of 8 similar posts:

And so on...

No kidding!

Roman Brice
, aka Da Horsey, proprietor of MSV was the "controller of cash" for the Zimmer campaign? In other words, Zimmer's Campaign Treasurer?

Not true, you say.

Well, zimmshamm has evidence:


An official "Dawn Zimmer for Hoboken Mayor" campaign check!

With a verifiable bank account number... and a date... and a.... what is that on the lower right-hand corner? A signature! Why... it says, "Roman Brice"... Da Horsey! A-ha! Caught red-hoofed!

Except for one problem.

It's a forgery.

Have you ever seen Roman's signature? To see it once is to never forget it. And that ain't it.

Somehow zimmshamm procured a Zimmer campaign check and forged Roman Brice's endorsement. That's check fraud.

In order to publish on the internet with intent to harm Brice's reputation. That's libel.

Both crimes.

Writing a bad check with fraudulent purposes is a serious offense accompanied by serious check fraud penalties for those found guilty. Check fraud specifically may involve signing another person’s name to a check, forging a signed endorsement or signature on a check, altering the writing on a check, constructing a fake check, or purposely writing bad checks to merchants. Check fraud laws may also vary state to state. Depending on the severity of the crime, the law may consider the forger guilty of a misdemeanor or felony.

In court, check fraud or forgery must be proven with the intent to defraud another person or institution. In order for prosecution to be continued, it is not required that there be proven injury to an innocent party. Practically every US state has passed a law declaring forgery to be illegal and punishable and Congress has also passed its own legislation pertaining to the crime.

What would get our boy so angry at Da Horsey that he'd link to a fraudulent check not once but 8 times?

I have no idea, do you?



(Updated 6:24 pm)
A friend whom I respect believes zimmshamm is another individual. That may be right.. or wrong.

All I can say is ALL the apples in that basket are rotten. Pick one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tortorella

Last night, Hoboken's BoE voted to approve the replacement for Charles Tortorella, the Wallace School principal whose retirement takes effect on August 31.

I'd like to report the result, but LA (Little Avenger) was bored. So I took her home when the Board members went into closed session to discuss agenda item 35: the recommendation of Batholomew (Bart) Reilly for Wallace School Principal for the 2010-2011 school year. BoE member Maureen Sullivan had requested that this item be discussed prior to a vote.

So I shook Bart's hand and congratulated him on the way out. To which he replied, "Not yet".

For my part, I like Wallace Vice Principal Reilly very much.

True, he's not the charisma-machine of his predecessor but rather a low-key and steady presence in the Wallace schoolyard, available to parents for a talk, a good listener and responsive. I'm crossing my fingers for you, Bart.

That said, I'm sorry Tortorella's gone.

Not an office-dweller, you'd find his tall, lean figure pacing the Wallace halls, parked in a classroom, lording over a bustling schoolyard or in front of the building talking to a cop or a parent; I don't doubt that he knew the names of nearly every one of his 800+ students. Hands-on, he was. Not a chair-warmer. And passion for advancing our kids' educational experience was what Mr. T was all about. He made a difference, he really did. And he shall be missed.

So, Mr. T, thank you. And happy trails.



(Update: 8:50 am)
My peeps have just informed me that Bart Reilly was approved unanimously by the School Board to succeed Mr. T.! Thanks, gals and guys of the BoE.

Now to you, Mr. Reilly.... congratulations!

Best of luck in your new leadership position at Wallace School. And remember, now you'll be wearing many more hats than before. At least: