Christie Caught With His Hand in the Bully Jar

Fort Lee, New Jersey lies across the river from New York City and is a bedroom community for many who work in the Big Apple.  I was born and lived in Bergen County until I was eight so I have some knowledge of Jowsey.  It is home to many people of attitude and Gov. Chris Christie is just an example of that side of the Garden State.  Of course Tony Soprano was also but no one would consider electing him to statewide office.  Christie has always reminded me of the HBO gangster character.

While running for re-election last year the popular Guv was soliciting endorsements from Democratic officials.  The Mayor Fort Lee, a Dem, refused to do so.  Christie apparently retaliated by closing several lanes onto the George Washington Bridge at rush hour.  An elderly woman whose ambulance was delayed as a result of the traffic jam died when EMT’s couldn’t treat her symptoms in time.  Christie has denied all knowledge and involvement in the scandal.

Oops, now the AP has released emails and texts implicating his Deputy Chief of Staff.  Of course this scandal has had Christie’s fingerprints all over it from the start.  It’s exactly the type of political revenge in which he revels.  He also denied any of his staffers involvement in the affair until yesterday when he finally came clean when the evidence went public.  So who in the world would believe anything he says about his own involvement?

No Area Safe From Fracking

by Walter Brasch

At the time New Jersey established a ban on fracking, it seemed symbolic, much like the moratorium in Vermont, which has no economically recoverable natural gas; the Marcellus Shale, primarily in New York and Pennsylvania, doesn’t extend into New Jersey.

New York has a moratorium on fracking until a health impact statement is completed.

Pennsylvania, rushing to compete with groundhogs in digging up the state, has no such moratorium. Nor does the state have any plans to conduct extensive research into the health effects of fracking-Gov. Tom Corbett, the gas industry’s cheerleader, cut $2 million from the Department of Health to provide for a public health analysis.

As it is, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie exercised his authority and partially vetoed his state’s moratorium to reduce it to a one-year ban. That moratorium expired in January.

During this past year, more evidence became public. Beneath New Jersey and extending into southeastern Pennsylvania lies the Newark Basin.

But, even then, New Jersey residents may believe they are safe. Although there was economically recoverable gas in the South Newark basin that lies beneath five counties in Pennsylvania, most of New Jersey is barren of recoverable gas in the North Newark Basin.

But, New Jersey isn’t safe, and there are four major reasons:

● (1) Independent scientific studies reveal both environmental and health effects from fracking. As every elementary school child knows, air and water pollution don’t stop at Pennsylvania’s borders.

● (2) Part of the Utica Shale lies below the Newark Basin, primarily beneath Sussex and Warren counties. To get recoverable gas would require significantly more water and toxic chemicals to be sent into the deeper shale, and would produce significantly more toxic wastewater, along with the resulting health and environmental problems. If drillers can see a way to profitably take natural gas from the Utica Shale, they will.

● (3) Even if there is no fracking in the state, New Jersey is a prime location for compressor stations and the large underground transmission lines from the Marcellus Shale to New York.  At least once a day, somewhere in the country, is a pipeline leak or gas explosion.

● (4) New Jersey is open to receiving toxic waste. Several hundred thousand gallons of frackwaste and drillings that were too toxic or radioactive to be left in Pennsylvania have been trucked into New Jersey to be processed and disposed.

“These plants aren’t designed to safely process this waste before dumping it into our rivers and landfills,” says Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

The New Jersey senate voted 30-5, and the assembly voted 56-19, to ban frack waste. The vote appeared strong enough to be veto proof, but, Gov. Christie vetoed it in June. The legislature hasn’t brought up a vote to override the veto, probably because some Republicans believe such an action could be politically embarrassing for themselves and the popular governor. That lack of action has left New Jersey open to being Pennsylvania’s dumping ground-and the continued butt of jokes from New York comics.

Gov. Christie’s veto wasn’t justified, says Carluccio, because “the main responsibility of the State is to protect residents’ health and safety and a ban on toxic frack waste would do exactly that. The Governor’s veto is an inexcusable cop-out without legal foundation, exposing New Jersey’s communities and drinking water to just what we don’t need-more pollution.”

Just as Pennsylvania residents who live outside the Marcellus Shale shouldn’t believe they are safe from fracking’s effects, neither should the people of New Jersey believe that just because wells don’t dot their landscape they also are safe.

[Dr. Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist, and the author of 18 books. His latest book, Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster, is available at local bookstores, www.greeleyandstone.com, and amazon.com.

RIP Frank Lautenberg

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away this morning.  A gentleman and unabashed liberal he championed the Garden State’s poor and working families in Washington.  I met him briefly in last year when he journeyed to West Chester, or, as he humorously termed it, “our western suburbs” to speak outside a Paul Ryan rally.  I recorded his comments that day:

NJ Gov. Chris Christie will appoint an immediate, short term successor meaning Democrats lose yet another Senate seat until a special election is conducted to fill the remainder of Lautenberg’s term (through next year).  

Toomey Votes Against Sandy Relief

Sen. Pat Toomey screwed his own constituents by voting against Hurricane Sandy Relief.  The Lehigh Valley, where he lives, was hit hard by the superstorm.  Allentown and Bethlehem were hit by 70 mph winds during the storm.  Our neighbors in New Jersey and New York were devastated.  What does it say about Pennsylvania when we abandon our neighbors in their time of need?

It’s bad enough Toomey doesn’t believe in science and is part of the problem regarding climate change but at some point he has to be accountable for the damage those beliefs create.  This vote was obnoxious.

GOP Celebrates the Oppression of Big Business

The Republican National Convention has been nothing short of a huge celebration of the power of Big Business.  Fueled by about a dozen billionaires, one of whom has pledged to give $100 million to defeat the President, they have orated for two days about the horrors of Big Government.  That’s because Big Government is the only check to Big Business.  The Gilded Age II is what they want to restore, a time of monopolies, no worker rights, massive profits and oppression of the people.

Paul Ryan spoke last night about crowning the Reagan Revolution.  Its aim was to starve the federal government through massive debt until they could justify cutting all social programs for the poor, minorities, the elderly and children.  Ryan’s Budget does just that:  30 million thrown off health care by repealing ObamaCare, another 30 million tossed out of Medicaid, veterans benefits slashed, food stamps, home heating and housing assistance would all see the chopping block.  

They say they’re doing this because we have to.  Wrong.  By ending the wars, repealing the Bush Tax Cuts and reviving the economy we can afford to take care of the poor.  We do not need to rob from the poor to further enrich the rich which is what Paul Ryan’s policies do.  As many have labeled it Romney Hood, these folks want to take away the safety net, give more tax cuts to the 1% and explode the deficit once again.  Ryan does not pay for his latest round of tax cuts which give the rich a 1% tax rate.

Conservative prevaricators have been flooding the letters to the editor columns with lies about the Ryan Budget plan for Medicare.  He slashes it by $716 billion to give more tax cuts to the rich.  No one age 54 or under will get Medicare even though they’ve been paying into the program for years.  Those over 54 get to remain in the successful and popular program but when they die off it disappears.  That’s getting rid of Medicare.  One you attain the age of 67 (yes, that age of eligibility increases under Ryan) you get a voucher for $6,000 to go out and purchase a policy costing $12,400.  Maybe they’ll accept your pre-existing conditions but probably not meaning you’re on your own.

The theme of the convention is “We Built This.”  Yes, Republicans built this disaster.  Even as Paul Ryan bemoans the fact his Party caused all the problems he doesn’t want to take personal responsibility for it.  Ryan voted for the unfunded wars, he voted for the Bush Tax Cuts and he voted for Bush Budgets which exploded the deficit.  He voted for failed economic policies but he won’t accept responsibility for those actions.  So much for personal responsibility in today’s Republican Party.

They have a huge Deficit Clock going in the Center, built with 62% government funding.  A banner saying “we built this” should hang over it because the GOP created this deficit.  Ronald Reagan increased the debt by $1.9 trillion, George H.W. Bush by $1.3 trillion and George W. Bush by $5.1 trillion then passed along a failed economy which created another $5 trillion hole.  They want to blame Barack Obama for their mess though.  We’ll see exactly how stupid America has become on November 6th.

News & Notes December 9, 2011

AFER argued for the release of video of the court testimony over Proposition H8.  There seems to be no legitimate argument about keeping these from the public.  The effort was streamed on the internets last night.  If these tapes are public everyone could see how lame and absent the arguments are against marriage equality.  Plus, Rick Perry’s head might explode.

The Texas Governor went on a homophobic rant this week in a campaign ad.

He seems to be conflating the fact people are born gay and simply want to defend our country with a constitutional clause prohibiting people like him from brainwashing and indoctrinating our kids into their extreme, fringe religious views.  That makes him unfit to be any kind of leader.  Plus, interestingly, he wore the same coat in the video that Heath Ledger did in “Brokeback Mountain.”  Rick, I just can’t quit you.  Oops, yes I can.

Putin is blaming Hillary for election protests in Russia.  The people think Valdimir rigged his re-election.  At least Russians are smarter than Americans who simply yawned when elections were rigged.  So Putin bought a bunch of DRE Diebold voting machines?

If it’s a “slam dunk” that Mars once had water does that mean we now have to invade it?

The state office controlling the Open Records Act has determined that Penn State doesn’t have to comply with requests to release documents surrounding the Sandusky scandal.  At the time the law was passed concerns that Joe Paterno’s salary might be made public (it eventually was) fueled some concerns to give the university an exemption.  Now that’s seemingly protecting the institution in a case involving the sexual molestation of children.   People are understandably outraged.

Sandusky’s preliminary hearing is Tuesday and I scored a seat in the press room.  I also have an important Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Board meeting Tuesday so I’ll have to make a decision which to attend.  Update:  Since the PA Newspaper Association isn’t capable of properly credentialing people I’ll be passing on covering the hearing.

The EPA has found fracking chemicals in an aquifer in Wyoming.  This is proof that hydrofracking is poisoning our water sources.  The gas industry keeps attempting to brainwash us with ads littering our television screens that fracking isn’t a threat.  Now we know they’re lying and these commercials need to be banned as propaganda.

Bill O’Reilly hit a man with his umbrella then tried to get him arrested by telling a cop the opposite.  This is so typical of Fox News:  do something bad then blame it on the other side.  If he doesn’t like being castigated in public he might consider adopting a shred of decency.

Chris Christie got mic checked at a Romney event and went off on the 99%.  Is it just me or does his reaction and demeanor remind you of Tony Soprano?  

I have no idea about the reliability of this information but if there’s even a shred of truth in it a federal grand jury needs to investigate.  

A Town Gone Bad: ‘VIP’ sex ring protected by PA Attorney General Tom Corbett from yardbird tv on Vimeo.

Rick Santorum’s latest rant illustrating his lack of common sense is that we don’t need food stamps because so many people are obese.  For someone who is supposed to be smart he’s awfully dumb.  People on food stamps eat rather badly, resulting in obesity, because they still cannot afford healthy food.  Sometimes a candy bar winds up being lunch because they don’t have money for real food.

The Pennsylvania Society is this weekend at the Waldorf Astoria.  As usual don’t expect to see me there, this is way to rich for my blood.

Anne Covey (Hearts) Karl Rove

Commonwealth Court candidate Anne Covey is seen chatting it up with Karl Rove in this picture from a dinner in Franklin County.  Rove, of course, is infamous for politicizing the justice system while serving as “Bush’s Brain.”  While in the White House as President Bush’s political director he oversaw the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys because they weren’t using their prosecutorial powers to jail enough Democrats.

Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General at the time, was eventually forced out of office for implementing Karl Rove’s mandate to politicize the Department of Justice.  Only “Loyal Bushies” such as Chris Christie, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan and Marybeth Buchanan kept their jobs and the Governor of Alabama was imprisoned on trumped up charges by Rove’s henchman.

Cozying up to the likes of Rove while running for one of our high courts doesn’t show very good judgment.  Would Covey use him as an example for corrupting our justice system here in Pennsylvania?  This picture scares the dickens out of me.

News & Notes June 1, 2011

U.S. military intervention in Libya has been illegal now for more than a week because the 60 day War Powers Act authorization expired.  President Obama didn’t even ask Congress for express permission to continue operations in that theater until after the 60 days.  

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is rumored to be considering joing the GOP presidential field because he thinks all the current crop is saddled with serious baggage.  Hmmm, like embracing secessionism?

Congresswoman Hochul was sworn in today to represent New York’s 26th District.

In Wisconsin recall elections will be held against six Tea Party State Senators.  They illegally voted to remove collective bargaining rights from state workers.

In various LGBT news President Obama recognized June as Gay Pride month and the San Francisco Giants released a “It Gets Better” video:

Illinois became the eleventh state to authorize civil unions.

New York’s Attorney General is suing the federal government over shale drilling:

The federal government should conduct a full environmental review that weighs potential damage to the welfare of people in the Delaware River watershed and the drinking water quality for millions of New Yorkers before allowing natural gas drilling in the region, the state’s attorney general said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

A domestic terrorist was arrested in Wisconsin for trying to assassinate a Planned parenthood doctor in Madison.

A private citizen running around in a bus has been dangling the media like puppets and they insist on playing along.  I won’t fall for her tricks and give her any publicity.  The moronic former Governor known for her sinister vengeful streak visited Philadelphia and Gettysburg.  She isn’t the first secessionist to leave that town a loser.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie used a $12 million state helicopter to fly to Bergen County (my birthplace) so he could watch five innings of his son’s baseball game.  A limo drove him the 100 yards from the copter to the field.  Is it just me or do others think the exercise might have done him good?

The Obama Administration is getting tough on health insurance executives whose decisions on Medicare and Medicaid patients flouts the law.  They’re going after them personally not just the companies.  

Now, on top of fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal charges even if they weren’t involved in the scheme but could have stopped it had they known. Furthermore, they can also be banned from doing business with government health programs, a career-ending consequence.

Rep. Anthony Weiner won’t answer queries about a lewd picture Tweeted to a college student.  He claims someone hacked his account as a prank.  Andrew Breitbart is attempting to slander him by publishing the underwear picture though it is obvious it was a hack job.  The Congressman could end all of the media hype simply by answering the simple questions.  Not doing so makes him appear guilty.

Isn’t it hypocrisy when Tea Party people keep clinging to the constitution then turning around and trashing it?  Sen. Rand Paul complained bitterly, correctly, about the civil liberty infringements authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act then turned around and claimed Americans shouldn’t have their First Amendment right to free assembly and free speech:

PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after – they should be deported or put in prison.

What is it tea baggers, do you support the entire constitution or merely parts?

The Center For American Progress has an excellent list of Pentagon items ripe for elimination.  If we’re going to slash spending everyone has to bear the brunt:

While we must always adequately fund the military and honor our servicemen and women, Congress can save up to $1.4 trillion over the next 12 years by eliminating overbudget and unnecessary defense programs, revamping military health care, and consolidating and capping spending across the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State. None of these actions will compromise national security.

In a new CNN poll 58% of Americans don’t agree with the Ryan Plan to dismantle Medicare.

“Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”

News & Notes May 12, 2011

I’ll be in Delaware tomorrow covering an event with the Secretary of Commerce.

I began this blog five years ago Tuesday at Blogger.  I wasn’t happy with the service constantly going down and quickly left there for a new home.  Today Blogspot went down completely leaving some major bloggers with time on their hands.  Blogger is free but you get what you pay for.

Chris Christie blasted President Obama today for not doing “big things.”  I suppose passing health insurance reform, killing Bin Laden, escalating the war in Afghanistan, bring ing most of our troops home from Iraq, bombing Libya and repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell aren’t “big things.”   What an assh*le.

John Boehner is holding the debt ceiling hostage to trillions more in spending cuts.  This is known as extortion.  What if Dems had done the same thing the seven times Republicans under Boehner voted to raise the debt celing when George W Bush was bankrupting the country for no good reason?  Oh wait, yes, it to line the pockets of his corrupt contributors…  This is the problem with paying off hostage takers, they keep coming back for more.  Why don’t we just say these guys are terrorists for holding the country hostage, declare them enemy combatants and send them to Gitmo?

Thanks go to Florida Gov. Rick “The Grifter” Scott for refusing all that federal money for high speed rail.  Now we’re getting a chunk of it.

Republicans have backed themselves into yet another corner defending oil companies.  So let’s get this straight, so far the GOP is against worker’s organizing rights, against women having access to abortions, against welfare programs for the poor, against Social Security and Medicare, against the EPA, for oil companies, for Wall Street, against the stimulus bill  which saved millions of jobs and turned the economy around, against saving jobs, against creating new jobs since thus far they’ve not done a dang thing about that, against public education, for expanded gun rights, for voter suppression, and many more issues I’ve forgotten for the moment.  They think they can win next year on this platform?  Against the guy who actually got Bin Laden?

The Dummies are at it again this time pillorying The Donald:

The problem with trying to sue companies for pollution is linking them scientifically to the contaminants.  Simply because people near gas wells can light their tap water on fire doesn’t mean the gas company contaminated their drinking water.  After all the tooth fairy might have done it instead.  Pennsylvanians getting barium poisoning probably just had too many colonoscopies.  Finally a scientific study which was peer reviewed and published links the gas drillers with their pollution.  Line up the lawyers, let’s go get these bastards.

Speaking of Marcellus shale isn’t it interesting how gas drillers are screwing us through our politicians?  I wonder if these guys bent over and used lube or did it bareback?  Allegheny County Executive candidate Rich Fitzgerald is the latest to join the orgy.  Here’s an excerpt from a fund raising email he sent to gas companies:

“I need money and I need it fast. Its great to hear from [Chesapeake Energy Exec] Dave Spiegelmeyer about how wonderful I am for the industry, but what I really need from Dave is money. Not ‘I wish I could be at your event, but I’m out of town. Just know we’re behind you’. Well if you are, put your money where your mouth is and help fund this campaign.”

In a bit of good news a hedge fund manager was convicted of insider trading.  Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Management was convicted on 14 counts.  Of course Wall Street is filled with criminals like this guy but only a very few get prosecuted.  Meanwhile you got defrauded on your mortgage, lost your home, your job, your car and your retirement account.  Wondering why your ass hurts?  You’re getting screwed constantly and aren’t even gay.

Anyone who invests in the stock market is a sucker.  The game is fixed by these crooks.

Republicans in Harrisburg are working on Corbett’s budget and have replaced some of the huge cuts to education.  They did it on the backs of poor people by gutting welfare by another $400 million.  That makes DPW cuts over $1 million.  They claim it’ll be taken out of all that waste and fraud poor people commit to get welfare.  Yes and Santa Clause will show up on Christmas Eve and give these great souls fabulous gifts for being such good Christians.  This is modern day Grim Fairy Tale.  There’s very little fraud and abuse and now services for the poor are facing massive cuts in benefits.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed that state’s civil unions bill today.  Next up for this progressive state is medical marijuana.

Rick Santorum is in the news not for his fledgling presidential campaign but for being a rat.  OK, we knew all these years this guy is a rat so what’s new?  It turns out he was involved in the John Ensign affair.  You’ll recall the Nevada Senator had an affair with the wife of a close aide.  When the hubby discovered the cheating he turned to then Sen. Santorum who turned the letter over to Ensign.  It is just one big boy’s club in DC.

News & Notes December 30, 2010

Three months plus after losing my desktop computer Erie Insurance still hasn’t settled the claim.  If you have auto or homeowners through them my advice is this:  switch.  This company has been dragging its feet for so long…

Joe Miller took his sore loser fight in Alaska to federal court after losing in state courts and got his butt handed to him there also.  It is a fundamental right of each voter to have their clear intention counted.  This Tea bagger is undemocratic.  He’s the biggest sore loser since Norm Coleman.

Speaking of big losers NJ Gov. Chris Christie had his political star snuffed out in this week’s blizzard.  How basic a management decision is it not to have both the Governor and Lt. Governor gone at the same time?  It proved a bonanza for Democrats who were left behind to deal with the storm.  Newark Mayor Corey Booker may ride his storm heroism to the Governor’s mansion.

In New York Mayor Bloomberg also saw his political career go down in flames due tot he storm.  How much snow do you need Mayor before declaring a snow emergency?  Six feet?  That’s how far underground your career just went.  Say hello to Christie when you get there.

Yard sings continue to pollute area roadways almost two months after the election.  If you put them up you can take them down folks.  

In another neighboring state Christine O’Donnell is calling Joe Biden out for what she calls “thug” behavior because the FBI is investigating her campaign finances.  This is a good one.  Former staffers accused her of using campaign money to pay personal expenses including her rent.  The FBI has a duty to investigate legitimate complaints such as this.  What made this so legitimate?  O’Donnell herself admitted using funds for her rent.  She claims it was legit because she was running her campaign out of her home.  That doesn’t make it legal only even more unethical.

How is this different from State Sen. Bob Mellow renting state office space for his office from his own company?  This is crooked politics plain and simple.  Christine should just twitch her nose and turn the FBI agents into bats.

Fox News just keeps getting more and more extreme.  Tucker Carlson thinks Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs.  As much as we here at TPP have castigated and criticized Vick and the Eagles let’s get real.  We don’t execute people for animal cruelty.  We shouldn’t take any life much less for such an offense.  As much as we hate Vick and what he did the man did do his time and repaid his debt to society.  He didn’t deserve to be hired by the Beagles after what he did but executed?  Going by that rationale every hunter should be on death row.  Stupid is as stupid says.

Bang…I just killed Tucker’s bow tie.  Now there’s an unpardonable offense, someone call the fashion police!

Happy New Year to everyone!