Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Has John Sette lost his grip on party unity?

One has to wonder what's up with Morris County Republicans? It seems everyone and their brother is coming out of the wood work to run against the three GOP incumbents who are up for re-election this year. Has John Sette lost his grip on party unity?

Or are these folks just looking for a part-time gig that pays $25K a year and full health benefits?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Republicans Behaving Badly

By Dan Eggen of the Washington Post

The Republican National Committee gave nearly $2,000 to a Southern California GOP contributor for meal expenses at Voyeur West Hollywood, a lesbian-themed California nightclub that features topless dancers wearing horse-bits and other bondage gear, according to newly filed disclosure records.

The RNC said Monday it is investigating the disbursement of the money to Erik Brown of Orange, Calif., who has donated about $10,000 to GOP candidates and is listed in public records as the CEO of Dynamic Marketing Inc., with offices in California and Washington. Brown did not immediately respond Monday to messages left by telephone and e-mail.

RNC spokesman Doug Heye said "I can't comment on him" when asked about Brown and his connection to the party committee. But Heye said Brown is "not on committee staff" and that the visit to the Voyeur nightclub "was not an RNC event." He said the RNC is investigating the expenditure and is requesting that the money be returned.

"It was not anything sanctioned by the committee, and that is why we have requested an investigation," Heye said. "Obviously, given the location, it's something that's not appropriate."

The Feb. 4 nightclub disbursement was included as part of the RNC's monthly expense reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. The reports also included tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures for luxury jets, limousines and posh hotels, prompting further criticism from Democrats and some Republicans over the spending habits of RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

The RNC spent more than $17,000 on private jet travel in February as well as nearly $13,000 for limousines and car services, and also ran up tabs at luxe hotels including the Beverly Hills Hotel ($9,000); the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons ($6,600) and the W Hotel in Washington ($15,000). The GOP's controversial midwinter meeting in Hawaii ended up costing the party $43,000 in expenses, not including airfare, the records show.

Steele has come under steady fire for his financial stewardship of the organization. The RNC had more than $22 million on hand when Steele arrived last year, but is down to under $10 million now despite raising $96 million during that time, records show. The Daily Caller website, which first noted the new FEC filings, also reported that Steele had suggested that the RNC should purchase a private jet for his travels after he first took over the job in January 2009.

The new financial records prompted mocking criticism from the Democratic National Committee, which issued a press release Monday entitled: "RNC: Risque National Committee." Spokesman Brad Woodhouse said DNC Chairman Tim Kaine usually travels on commercial flights and does not use limousine services.

"We think their extravagant spending and their high burn rate speaks for itself," said Woodhouse. "If limos, chartered aircraft and sex clubs are where they think their donors' money should be spent, who are we to judge? But it shouldn't give voters much confidence in Republicans when they say they want to be put back in charge of federal spending."

But Heye said that the RNC was being held to a different standard than Democrats, arguing that paying for high-end hotels and other accoutrements is standard practice for political parties when wooing wealthy donors. Steele's use of car services in February, for example, was primarily related to the launch of television advertisements in North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Oklahoma, Heye said.

"Obviously the press has taken a finer microscope to the RNC as opposed to the DNC," Heye said.

Steele's spending habits have prompted angry complaints from wealthy GOP donors and party officials, who fear the chairman is making poor financial decisions and undercutting the GOP's attempt to cast itself as the party of fiscal responsibility. "Nothing surprises me," said one former RNC aide, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "It definitely speaks to the desire for first class accommodations over there."

The expenditure of $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood is listed as "meals" on the RNC disclosure form, and comes right after an identical amount listed as a disbursement to Brown, the Southern California marketing executive. Heye said the two listings refer to the same single disbursement to Brown.

Brown has contributed nearly $10,000 to Republicans since 2007, including at least $1,500 to the RNC, records show. A Twitter account registered to a user of the same name also suggests Brown attended a football game in Washington on Oct. 26 with the committee chair: "Enjoying the football game with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (Eagles vs Redskins at FedEx Field)."

Voyeur West Hollywood has garnered attention in Los Angeles for its risque and outrageous theme since opening last fall, attracting celebrities such as Lindsey Lohan and Leonardo DiCaprio. A Los Angeles Times article said the club had a "dark, leather-heavy interior" that was "reminiscent of the masked orgy scene" from the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" and includes "impromptu bondage and S&M 'scenes' being played out on an elevated platform by scantily clad performers." Opening night included one woman "with a horse's bit in her mouth...strapped to the wall by another," the article said.

Club management officials did not immediately respond to a telephone message left at Voyeur's office on Monday.

Staff writer Philip Rucker contributed to this report.

Parker scores a knockout!

This wasn't even close!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

President Obama To GOP Republicans - Can you Hear Me Now?

Fresh off his health care reform victory, President Obama continued to show Senate Republicans why "Hail to the Chief" is played when he walks in the room.

More GOP Hypocrisy!

Republicans caught in their own hypocrisy? What a surprise!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Yes We Can" meets "Hell No You Can't"

The House Minority Leader expands on the GOP's strategy for leading the country...

Frenchman Hacks Obama's Twitter Account!

Here's the story.

It's not our friend Eric Frenchman, but the headline did get your attention!

More False Promises from Popper

Every time we read about the 2010 municipal budget, Vice Mayor Howard Popper continues to tell how they are cutting spending across the board by 20%. Well folks, this is nothing but a big a LIE. Remember LOWER TAXES NOW?

Truth be told, after SEVEN budget meetings, the committee has only cut 6% the "departmental expenses", a category of spending which represents only 12% of the overall budget.

It is time to end the lies and get to work. The schools have made public their tough choices to deal their fiscal challenges. It's time for the Popper and his fellow committeemen to "man up" and do the same.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John "Pay-to-Play" Krickus' new playmates

Former Washington Township Mayor John Krickus has join forces with Parsippany Council President Ann Grossi and Montville businessman Tom Mastrangelo on a ticket that will challenge a trio of GOP incumbent Morris County Freeholders.

Two questions for Ms. Grossi and Mr. Mastrangelo:

Do you think it is OK for your running mate, John Krickus, to have asked a township employee for a list of professionals with whom the township had spent a certain amount of taxpayer dollars? Do you think it is OK for John Krickus to have used this list to solicit these professionals for campaign contributions using township letterhead?

Losing ugly

Here is a preview of how America will see the angry party of "No"

A picture is worth a thousand words!

The party of NO is in trouble

Here is a new USA Today/Gallup poll that shows a significant turnaround in the way Americans view health care reform now that the bill has passed. The public now has a 49% favorable/40% unfavorable view of the bill.

Just like Obama in the 2008 campaign...the more they get to know, the more they like! If this trend continues, the GOP will find itself in no man's land come November.

Township Committee - What Say You?

Now that both our school districts have announced how they will address their respective state aid reductions by eliminating a combined 50.5 positions, when will the Township Committee announce how it plans to address its state aid reduction? What is taking the Committee so long to get its act together? Are they too busy searching for a new scapegoat now that the schools have addressed their budgets in fiscally responsible manner? For starters, it would be nice if the Committee updated the budget on the Township Website to accurately reflect what is known at this time. This copy doesn't reflect the state aid cuts and therefore doesn't show the correct tax increase which now stands at over 12%!  Will the Committee continue its ongoing hypocrisy by allocating taxpayer money to audit the school budgets should they fail at the ballot box?

So much for Howard Popper’s promise of "LOWER TAXES NOW!!!"

West Morris Regional to cut 32 jobs

The West Morris Regional Board of Education has decided to address over $4 milion in state aid reductions by eliminating 32 positions (including 17 teachers). In additon, courtesy busing has been eliminated. The overall tax levy increase will be about 3.3%, which is to be expected. "This is a very difficult budget, equally difficult in the way it affects students, families and staff, " said school board president Cristen Forrester. "We were very mindful of spreading the cuts around, while keeping in mind the maintenance of our educational core values."

While this has been a difficult decision, the BOE is to be commended for taking the issue head on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Waterloo?

By a 219-211 vote, the House has passed the most sweeping legislation in half a century.

How ya like me now?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final Health Care/Student Loan Reform Bill CBO Score

The CBO has just released its final score of the bills that will be passed tomorrow by the House of Representatives.  The savings to the deficit in the 2010 - 2019 period are estimated to be $143 Billion!

A Conservative Food Fight That's Fun To Watch!

This is getting ugly!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mayor Ken Short is Clueless!

According to the OT, Mayor Short "said the township anticipates $75,000 to $100,000 less in state aid this year than the $1.8 million received in 2009." Think again Mr. Short...your buddy, the Governor, who received over 69% of the vote in Washington Township has cut our municipal state aid by more than three times your "anticipated" amount. I guess those "Trenton Democrats" weren't so bad after all, huh?

What made the Mayor think we were only going to get hit with a $75 - $100K cut?  What is he smoking? Any fool could have recognized we were due for a bigger cut given the state's dire fiscal condition.

WTBOE To Slash 20.5 Jobs!

The day of reckoning has arrived. After receiving a $2 million dollar cut in state aid, the WTBOE has taken a difficult, but necessary step of laying off twenty and a half positions. Kudos to BOE President Michelle Skurchak and Finance Chair Mike Rec for dealing with this in a responsible manner and for not asking residents to "go look at the township budget" as a way of deflecting attention from their responsibilities. The same can't be said of Mayor Short and the Committee.

Speaking of the Township Committee, when will its members tell us how they will address the $837K gap that exists in the municipal budget? How many positions are they prepared to eliminate? Or are they planning to use tax levy cap exemptions to impose another all-Republican 11% tax increase?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CBO Scores Final Health Care Reform Bill (Preliminary)

The CBO has weighed in on the numbers associated with the final reconciliation health care bill.  The bill will cost $940 Billion and will result in $138 Billion in deficit savings over the next ten years. I look forward to the bill's passage on Sunday. This will be an HISTORIC achievement by President Obama and the Democrats despite stiff opposition from Republicans who have yet to offer an alternative that provides affordable access to the 30 plus million Americans who cannot afford health insurance.

Christie Guts WT/WM School Aid!

In addition to the aforementioned municipal aid cut, Governor Christies has cut school aid to Washington Township by $2,043,369 or 23.2%. School aid to the West Morris Regional District was cut by $2,290,215 or 42.2%.

Christie Cuts Municipal Aid by 20%!

Governor Chris Christie, who won Washington Township with 69% of the vote in the last election, returned the favor with a $362,263 or 20.1% proposed cut in municipal aid. With this loss of aid, the current municipal budget now contains a municipal tax increase of over 11.6 percent! 

For the record, I agree with the Governor's proposed cut and remind my Republican friends it wasn't the "Trenton Democrats" who imposed it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Once again Ken comes up Short!

Here is another blatent example of Mayor Ken Short's incompetence.

Short said the property owner affected by the spill, Jeff Koch of Beaver Brook Road, had complained about conditions in the neighboring mobile home village as recently as May 2009. “We asked Sherwood Village to clean up the problems and issued some citations. We thought they had been taken care of,” said Short. “But that may not have been the case.”
Update: Here is a Star Ledger article that describes this situation in greater detail.  Note the clueless comments from our esteemed Township Committee members. Also, what company provides Jefff Koch's homeowners insurance?  If it's Allstate, purchased through the Short Family Agency, wouldn't Short's involvement in any of this be a clear conflict of interest?

DR Slams Township Committee!

Yesterday's Daily Record slams the Township Committee on its opposition to enacting "Pay-to-Play" ethics reform! You would think with former Mayor John Krickus having shook down Township vendors for campaign contributions, this would be a "no brainer". 

Update: As it turns out, Krickus' township contractor shakedown came up during last week's pay-to-play committee work session discussion when Harlin Parker mentioned a past situation where "a gentleman had solicited money from local contractors". Mayor Ken Short quickly defended Krickus' actions by saying "I am not sure if there was a problem or not, because under the ELEC laws at that time, what he did was legal. Harlin responded by saying "It is not a matter of it being illegal at the time. It's just a matter of it being distasteful and not in keeping with the spirit of getting rid of even the appearance of pay-to-play or even the opportunity of pay-to-play".  The entire "pay-to-play" discussion begins at 1 hour and 4 minutes into this recording.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tough love from the Governor

I had the opportunity to watch Governor Christie's budget address. Sounds like he is not playing around! I look forward to reviewing his budget brief. I like the aid cuts he announced and hope he can get the 2.5% "hard cap" constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall.  It's only a matter of time before our local officials start whining about our aid cuts. My advice - suck it up and do your job.

In the end, the question remains…will my property tax bill be lower during his tenure? That’s what he promised….that’s what he is on the hook to deliver.

Time for township employees to pay their fair share!

As of this morning, the Township Committee still needs to cut $474,804 from the municipal budget to bring the tax rate increase down to the state mandated maximum of 4%. Not that they should stop there, but this is the Committee we are talking about! At least $377K of this amount could be gained if our municipal employees agreed to pay the same 27% share of their benefit costs to the degree most of us do in the private sector. In addition, a good portion of the remaining $100K could be made up by eliminating payments to employees who choose not to take benefits.

The time has come for public employees to pay their fair share!

In full disclosure as a committeeman, I ran on a platform of voting "NO" for any employee contract that did not include a 20% employee contribution towards health care costs. During my tenure, I voted on three contracts, casting a "NO" vote each time as my threshold was not met.

Update: I just received a phone call from an irate municipal worker who wanted to know why I am taking this position. When I asked this person if they would rather see 7 of their co-workers get pink slips instead, the silence was deafening...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Got a spare $40 - $68 Billion?

The President's proposal to revamp the Student Loan program has been scored by the CBO, which estimates it will save between $40-$68 Billion over the next 10 years.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A step in the right direction

According the Star Ledger, Governor Christie will soon propose a hard 2.5% cap on property tax increases. While this does not address his promise to "LOWER" property taxes, it is a step in the right direction at it builds on the softer 4% tax levy cap, imposed by his predecessor, Governor Corzine.

As you can see from the chart on the left, more has to be done to keep our all Republican WashingtonTownship Committees in check!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Americans Do Support Health Care Reform

Here is why it's important to dig into the numbers when interpreting any poll on health care reform. It's not as cut and dry as Republicans would have us believe.

Apples to Apples...

Average municipal tax increase contained within the last three all-Republican budgets (2005, 2009, 2010) - 7.8%

Average municipal tax increase during my three years as Finance Liaison (2006, 2007, 2008) - 3.2%

Miss me yet?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Poor Howard!

After running for office three times and spending more than $30,000 of his own money on campaigns, it seems being a committeeman may be too tough for Howard Popper. Here is what he said at this week’s TC Work Session:

"The budget is killing us right now,'' Popper added. "We are a voluntary, unpaid committee that put in untold hours including a three-hour meeting last Saturday morning.''
Poor baby! One can only hope voters will relieve Howard of the burdens of the job when he is up for reelection in the fall.


When anger is an illness

Unlike N.P.D., I.E.D. is no laughting matter.

David Brooks Gets It!

March 12, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist (NYT)
Getting Obama Right

Who is Barack Obama?

If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal. He plays by ruthless, Chicago politics rules. He is arrogant toward foes, condescending toward allies and runs a partisan political machine.

If you ask a liberal Democrat, you are likely to hear that Obama is an inspiring but overly intellectual leader who has trouble making up his mind and fighting for his positions. He has not defined a clear mission. He has allowed the Republicans to dominate debate. He is too quick to compromise and too cerebral to push things through.

You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable. Political partisans always imagine the other side is ruthlessly effective and that the public would be with them if only their side had better messaging. And finally, you’ll notice that both views distort reality. They tell you more about the information cocoons that partisans live in these days than about Obama himself.

The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy — from his book “The Audacity of Hope” to his joint-session health care speech last September — he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.

He has tried to find this balance in a town without an organized center — in a town in which liberals chair the main committees and small-government conservatives lead the opposition. He has tried to do it in a context maximally inhospitable to his aims.

But he has done it with tremendous tenacity. Readers of this column know that I’ve been critical on health care and other matters. Obama is four clicks to my left on most issues. He is inadequate on the greatest moral challenge of our day: the $9.7 trillion in new debt being created this decade. He has misread the country, imagining a hunger for federal activism that doesn’t exist. But he is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington.

Liberals are wrong to call him weak and indecisive. He’s just not always pursuing their aims. Conservatives are wrong to call him a big-government liberal. That’s just not a fair reading of his agenda.

Take health care. He has pushed a program that expands coverage, creates exchanges and moderately tinkers with the status quo — too moderately to restrain costs. To call this an orthodox liberal plan is an absurdity. It more closely resembles the center-left deals cut by Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, or Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney. Obama has pushed this program with a tenacity unmatched in modern political history; with more tenacity than Bill Clinton pushed his health care plan or George W. Bush pushed Social Security reform.

Take education. Obama has taken on a Democratic constituency, the teachers’ unions, with a courage not seen since George W. Bush took on the anti-immigration forces in his own party. In a remarkable speech on March 1, he went straight at the guardians of the status quo by calling for the removal of failing teachers in failing schools. Obama has been the most determined education reformer in the modern presidency.

Take foreign policy. To the consternation of many on the left, Obama has continued about 80 percent of the policies of the second Bush term. Obama conducted a long review of the Afghan policy and was genuinely moved by the evidence. He has emerged as a liberal hawk, pursuing victory in Iraq and adopting an Afghan surge that has already utterly transformed the momentum in that war. The Taliban is now in retreat and its leaders are being assassinated or captured at a steady rate.

Take finance. Obama and Tim Geithner are vilified on the left as craven to Wall Street and on the right as clueless bureaucrats who know nothing about how markets function. But they have tried with halting success to find a center-left set of restraints to provide some stability to market operations.

In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reid airs it out for McConnell

March 11, 2009
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader McConnell:

Eleven months ago, I wrote you to share my expectations for the coming health reform debate. At the time, I expressed Democrats' intention to work in good faith with Republicans, and my desire that – while we would disagree at times – we could engage in an honest discussion grounded in facts rather than fear, and focused on producing results, not playing partisan politics.

Obviously, the opposite has happened, as many Republicans have spent the past year mischaracterizing the health reform bill and misleading the public. Though we have tried to engage in a serious discussion, our efforts have been met by repeatedly debunked myths and outright lies. At the same time, Republicans have resorted to extraordinary legislative maneuvers in an effort not to improve the bill, but to delay and kill it. After watching these tactics for nearly a year, there is only one conclusion an objective observer could make: these Republican maneuvers are rooted less in substantive policy concerns and more in a partisan desire to discredit Democrats, bolster Republicans, and protect the status quo on behalf of the insurance industry.

In fact, the attacks on the health care bill are part of a broader pattern. As has been well documented, your caucus conspicuously shattered the record for obstruction last Congress by demanding gratuitous procedural votes on even the most non-controversial matters, and by stalling the work of the Senate despite the urgency of the serious problems facing our country. Senate Republicans are on pace to again break their own record this Congress, illustrated by Sen. Bunning's effort to prevent the Senate from acting to extend families' unemployment and health benefits even after those benefits had expired.

While Republicans were distorting the facts in the health care debate and inflicting delay after needless delay, millions of Americans have continued to suffer as they struggle to afford to stay healthy, stay out of bankruptcy and stay in their homes. Thousands of Americans lose their health care every day, and tens of thousands of the uninsured have lost their lives since this debate began. Meanwhile, rising health costs have contributed to a rising federal budget deficit.

To address these problems, 60 Senators voted to pass historic reform that will make health insurance more affordable, make health insurance companies more accountable and reduce our deficit by roughly a trillion dollars. The House passed a similar bill. However, many Republicans now are demanding that we simply ignore the progress we've made, the extensive debate and negotiations we've held, the amendments we've added (including more than 100 from Republicans) and the votes of a supermajority in favor of a bill whose contents the American people unambiguously support. We will not. We will finish the job. We will do so by revising individual elements of the bills both Houses of Congress passed last year, and we plan to use the regular budget reconciliation process that the Republican caucus has used many times.

I know that many Republicans have expressed concerns with our use of the existing Senate rules, but their argument is unjustified. There is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the use of reconciliation. As one of the most senior Senators in your caucus, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, said in explaining the use of this very same option, “Is there something wrong with majority rules? I don't think so.” Similarly, as non-partisan congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein said in this Sunday's New York Times, our proposal is “compatible with the law, Senate rules and the framers' intent.”

Reconciliation is designed to deal with budget-related matters, and some have expressed doubt that it could be used for comprehensive health care reform that includes many policies with no budget implications. But the reconciliation bill now under consideration would not be the vehicle for comprehensive reform – that bill already passed outside of reconciliation with 60 votes. Instead, reconciliation would be used to make a modest number of changes to the original legislation, all of which would be budget-related. There is nothing inappropriate about this. Reconciliation has been used many times for a variety of health-related matters, including the establishment of the Children's Health Insurance Program and COBRA benefits, and many changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

As you know, the vast majority of bills developed through reconciliation were passed by Republican Congresses and signed into law by Republican Presidents – including President Bush's massive, budget-busting tax breaks for multi-millionaires. Given this history, one might conclude that Republicans believe a majority vote is sufficient to increase the deficit and benefit the super-rich, but not to reduce the deficit and benefit the middle class. Alternatively, perhaps Republicans believe a majority vote is appropriate only when Republicans are in the majority. Either way, we disagree.

Keep in mind that reconciliation will not exclude Republicans from the legislative process. You will continue to have an opportunity to offer amendments and change the shape of the legislation. In addition, at the end of the process, the bill can pass only if it wins a democratic, up-or-down majority vote. If Republicans want to vote against a bill that reduces health care costs, fills the prescription drug “donut hole” for seniors and reduces the deficit, you will have every right to do so.

United States Senator

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Morris County budget proposal has another tax cut

While I haven't seen the details, at first glance, kudos are in order for the Morris County Freeholders. The county reduced its payroll by some 48 positions. This is a far different tactic than the one John Krickus used to produce his "surplus manipulating" tax cut which ultimately led to 2005's 11% tax hike debacle.

Let's go Hoyas!

As some of you know, I am a native of Washington D.C.  I also love college basketball and am a big fan of the Georgetown Hoyas! Earlier today they kicked some major butt to open the Big East Tournament! Their opponent, South Florida, took 16 minutes to score its first 10 points.

Obama Defies Pessimists as Rising Economy Converges With Stocks

Here is a story put out by Bloomberg News (not exactly the MSM) that surely will have a few of the President's haters placed on suicide watch.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mr. Incompetent

Unless the union contracts, mentioned in this article, were locked up in a vault until yesterday, it seems candidate Christie didn’t know what he was talking about. Now Governor Christie has to deal the "expectations" aftermath of candidate Christie’s blatant incompetence.

Get back to work!

Yesterday I received a 2010 municipal budget update from our township CFO. It isn't pretty. After two months, the Township Committee still has a long way to go, as the current tax increase is a whopping 9%! And this is BEFORE a possible state aid cut. In order to get within the state mandated tax levy cap of 4%, the committee still needs to shed $520K in spending. Why is all this proving so difficult for a bunch of self described fiscal conservatives?

Also, why isn’t this update posted on the township website?

Glenn Beck Got Punked!

No explanation required.

The blind leading the blind...

James Carville once said if you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you can get anyone who lives there to say just about anything. He must have had this guy in mind.

What's even funnier is how conservative Republicans are foolishly hitching their wagons to his story.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A hypocrite and a liar...

According to the Washington Post:

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a fierce opponent of Democratic health-care reform efforts who has said America under President Obama is headed toward socialism, told a Canadian audience her family used to go to Canada to get medical care when she was growing up.

"My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not -- this was in the '60s -- we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada," Palin said a speech Saturday night, according to the Calgary Herald.

Palin spoke before a paying audience of 1,200 in Calgary, with tickets costing between $150 and $200, the Medicine Hat News of Medicine Hat, Alberta, reported.

Whitehorse, in the Yukon, Canada, is north of Skagway.

Palin has also told an alternate version of the story that had her family traveling south by ferry to Juneau from Skagway for treatment of her brother's burned foot, rather than to Canada, according to a 2007 report posted by the Skagway News.

Obama is the Man in NJ!

Here are the results of a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll:

First the bad news (for Republicans) - Governor Christie is viewed less favorable by voters than President Obama; so much for the whole "rejection" of Obama's policies" argument.

Now the good news - Governor Christie is way more popular than Sarah Palin, who only managed a 27% approval rating. Ouch! Kind of makes anyone currently singing her praises look like an idiot!

Liz Cheney Gets Pimp Slapped by the Left and Right!

Seems like her latest trick backfired!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

WTBOE stability good for taxpayers!

Despite the legitimate county-wide misgivings of the Daily Record, the news that our local WTBOE will remain stable with its current members is net positive for WT taxpayers as all but one of these folks produced last year's school budget that contained an overall spending DECREASE and a tax increase of less than 1%! In these tough economic times, it's hard to realistically ask for more than this. While this year will be just as challenging, I have every confidence this group will produce another budget worthy of our support.

With the Township Committee, it's a totally different story as a majority of the committee now consists of the WTBOE's former dead weight. Based on last year's sky rocking 60% growth in the municipal tax increase, I don't expect things to be any better this year as it is clear these committeeman have no clue on how to deal with the rapid decline in non-tax revenue, which has resulted from their own incompetence.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Harlin Parker Speaks!

A couple of months ago I mentioned to Harlin Parker how his monthly column in the "Black River News" was not in his best interest, since the BRN isn't worth what people leave in outhouses. Instead I suggested he pursue a column in the OT.  Not the New York Times, but a major step up from the BRN.  Here is Harlin's first shot!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reconciliation - Rules of the Senate Explained!

Given what Republican Senator Judd Gregg said back in March of 2005, how can ANY Senate Rrepublican now claim "reconciliation" is a radical move by Democrats to "ram through" health care reform?

Is this really necessary?

Just when you think Republican's could not sink any lower, they do something that makes you realize, "how could I have been so naive?" It's not like this was put out by some crazy "tea bagger". This presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, 2010. It would be great if key Republican leaders in our town, i.e., Guy Gregg, Chris Westrick, Mayor Ken Short, etc. spoke out against this, but I won't hold my breath waiting for them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Health Care in the Red Zone!

After months of uncertainly, health care reform appears to now be in the red zone, headed towards the goal line.  Here is a nice graphic that explains the path forward.  As to the GOP objecting to the use of reconciliation to bring the required fixes in the already passed Senate bill to a majority up or down vote, could it be any more hypocritical? The GOP has used reconciliation 14 of the 21 times it has been used by Congress.