This is a major change in the nation's drug policy, and we essentially have it thanks to the fact that most if not all legislators didn't bother to read the massive spending bill that passed last weekend and is set to be signed by President Obama.
Yesterday was the first time I ever saw Governor Chris Christie hold a press conference in front of a large fire that displaced people and businesses, despite the fact that hundreds of major fires occur every year in the state of New Jersey.
There's a myth out there, repeated often by Democrats endorsing Governor Chris Christie, that Christie is supportive of business in New Jersey. Apparently, that only means big business.
Brick City is getting itself a nice new shopping center and everyone is a little relieved that it's not Walmart.
For New Jersey, the highest paid state employee is Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood, who makes $750,000 before incentives. All football coaches combined for $2.5 million (none less than $118,000). The women's basketball coach makes $550K, and her staff combines to $1.2 million (none less than $55,000).
Rutgers released a poll that show Chris Christie has 68 percent overall approval among New Jersey residents, down a few points and showing real weakness on the economy, jobs and taxes.
So we have recent anti-women and anti-gay scandals and three basketball coaches fired for moral turpitude kind of stuff, but the President of Rutgers didn't think, "Oh, dang. It's happening again. I better get on top of this!"
Always classy, the RNC decided to fundraise off statutory rape with a joke. And they wonder why their influence is shrinking.
For those who believe that it is more important to help sick people feel better than to fear the coming druggie apocalypse, good news has arrived:
More than two years after New Jersey legislators passed a law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, patients qualified to receive the drug may register for identification cards beginning Thursday.
Oh, good! Now my friend with a brain tumor can regain his appetite after chemo. And my neighbor with glaucoma can have the excruciating pressure in her eyes relieved! And the co-worker with chronic back pain can get back to work and being a productive member of society, getting off disability and onto some restored pride.
Meh, not so much.
The state Department of Health has granted preliminary approval to just six nonprofit marijuana dispensaries, and only one is expected to have the drug available by next month.
This is nuts, in my mind. Two years after the legislation passed it is ridiculous that we are just now allowing people to register their intent to use medical marijuana, but there's no marijuana available.
It's the same playbook used by anti-choice folks against abortion and contraceptives. They accept that it's legal (for now), but they put up so many barriers it's nearly impossible to access the legal service.
My friend, neighbor and co-worker thank you, Governor Christie, for this tiny step. Now stop traveling all over the country and make this a reality.
Chris Christie made a very specific, enumerated claim the other day:
"When I was U.S. Attorney we wound up putting 10 percent of the state Legislature in jail during my seven years."
Politifact checked this out and discovered that the number is actually three percent. That means Christie was 333% off from his actual record. It explains how he can claim a Jersey Comeback while state income tax receipts are down, state business tax receipts are down, and unemployment is up.
Called on this fabrication, Christie's spokesman said:
"Really?" Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail. "Every other person in the audience understood the Governor was making a rhetorical point about his extensive record in combating political corruption as U.S. Attorney and not, as you seem to be suggesting, citing, with great exactitude, some baseball statistic."
But Christie did speak with great exactitude about his own record. He didn't say, "something like ten percent." He didn't say, "a whole bunch." He didn't even resort to ridiculous hyperbole as in, "Every second seat was vacant because they were all in jail."
Christie gave a number that was exaggerated but still within the realm of possibility, knowing that the people in the room would walk out with a specific number -- ten percent -- in their heads.
Which is a lie.
Joe Kyrillos won his party's nomination for US Senate yesterday, and today came out "swinging" against Bob Menendez, suggesting that our current US Senator isn't well liked even within his own party.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who secured the Republican U.S. Senate candidate nomination Tuesday, called his Democratic opponent, Sen. Bob Menendez, “a mediocre senator” who hasn’t the kind of impact past Democratic lawmakers have had.
He said other Democrats have told him so as he kicked off his post-primary battle against Menendez with a press conference at the Statehouse.
I'll bet I know who one of the "other Democrats" are. One is probably this one:
The president of the Elizabeth Board of Education understated her household income by as much as $100,000 to obtain free school lunch for her children, a state grand jury has charged.
Marie L. Munn, who was arrested along with two others in September after a series of stories in The Star-Ledger about abuses in the federally funded lunch program in Elizabeth, was accused in the indictment of lying on applications for her two children to obtain free or reduced lunch over a five-year period, receiving $4,549 in benefits to which they were not entitled.
Munn, a Democrat, endorsed Christie for Governor.
"I will not nominate a Democrat until I have four Republicans," he said. "I am entitled to have four Republicans on the court. If they want Democrats on the court they better win the next election."
That is, very simply, the single most egregious attempt to demand a partisan judicial branch that I have ever seen.
It is also the single most telling quote ever from the bully in chief: "I AM ENTITLED!"
I love shopping on Amazon. I have a free shipping account, and get books, food, toys, music and lots of other stuff there.
And had I bought the stuff across the way at my local corner store it would have been seven percent more expensive even though the transaction occurred in NJ. That's because Amazon wasn't collecting state sales taxes.
Now, according to reports, Amazon will begin collecting and remitting sales tax to New Jersey.
Myself, I think this is good news. If all stuff bought over the Internet had sales tax attached it would offset the loss of sales tax from the disruption Internet commerce caused, and level the playing field a little with our brick and mortar stores here in NJ.
What do you think?
Chris Christie is very concerned that medical marijuana is against federal law.
Chris Christie is not at all concerned that sports gambling is against federal law.
It's kind of funny for a recent United States Attorney to have such malleable opinions on federal law's impact on following state law. But with medical marijuana, which brings no revenue to the state coffers, he is delaying implementation. And with sports betting, which should be revenue positive for the state, it's full speed ahead.
If Cory Booker is upset at how the Romney campaign is using him to beat up President Obama, maybe he should talk to early and active Romney booster -- and Booker Best Buddy -- Chris Christie about it.
Christie can stop this if he wants, but he doesn't want. He's happy to let you twist in the wind. It weakens you as a future opponent, Mayor, and that makes Christie happy.
I know Chris Christie and his cohorts who want to totally restructure (read: end) public education won't like this, but Newsweek says 74 of the top 1,000 public schools in the United States are in New Jersey.
That would be 7.4 percent of ALL public schools in the country. (I did the math based on my own NJ public education.)
In a state that has 2.8 percent of the country's population. (I did that math with Google. Sue me.)
So please, stop belittling our state's educational system. There are problems, and they need to be addressed. But suggesting it is broken is just plain stupid, and we've been educated better than that.
In our public schools.
Chris Christie complains a lot about public sector worker's vacation days.
The NJ state constitution mandates that when the Governor leaves the state that he give up authority to the Lt. Governor (previously the Senate President) which means that a NJ Governor traveling out of state is on vacation.
Maybe if the Governor is traveling to Israel on a trade mission you could stretch to make the whole trip a work trip, but how about speaking to "committed conservatives" in DC, or stumping for embattled Wisconsin governors, or speaking for a presidential candidate, or hanging out at Disneyland, or etc., etc., etc.
If Christie is running the state from outside our borders then he is violating the state constitution. If he is not then he is taking an awful lot of vacation.
From the Star Ledger:
Preliminary figures show New Jersey's business and income tax collections for the crucial month of April have fallen short of expectations, according to a recent memorandum prepared by the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services.
At the same time tax receipts are down and unemployment is almost a full point higher than the national average Chris Christie is running all over the country to speak to "committed conservatives," stumping for another state's governor in a recall election, and "relishing" a possible VP bid.
But all that aside, all his out-of-state trips when he should be here working at the job we elected him to, next week at a "town hall meeting" Christie will call someone a name and the media will fawn all over him once again.
Why? Because it just doesn't matter what he does. The guy makes Ronald Reagan look like old style NFL stickum.
In case anyone is confused, the "good looking girls" referenced in this clip are the media.
"I could sit down and negotiate with the Democratic leadership and the Democratically controlled legislature to try to come to an agreement on these cuts, or, thanks to New Jersey's unique Constitutional structure, cut spending through executive order," he said. ...
"The great thing about operating by executive order is, first, that I didn't have to tell anybody," Christie said.
Any Democratic legislators who get caught up in Christie's personality in the future should have this shoved in their faces.
Just thinking that someone who could be the dictionary photograph for couch potato shouldn't be accusing other Americans of being couch potatoes.