Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Elections Matter

They certainly matter to NJ Governor Chris Christie, who took a special interest in the election for State Senate in the 8th Legislative District, in which Olympic Gold Medalist and Willingboro native Carl Lewis had plans to run as a Democrat.

Now, it is hardly breaking news that the Governor is a petty, vindictive bully. By the time Lewis formally announced his candidacy on April 11, calling Christie a "good friend", Christie's plan to derail Lewis' candidacy was well underway, and the fate of the campaign had been all but sealed.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christie sent one of his young thugs after Lewis, in a series of "increasingly tense phone calls", marked by attempted intimidation and implied threats:

(H)e received the first of increasingly tense phone calls from Frank Luna, a veteran political operative who performs constituent services for the governor.

Luna asked Walker, executive director of the Carl Lewis Foundation, whether Lewis was running for the Eighth District Senate seat. According to Walker, Luna told him: "The governor is concerned."

The two spoke daily the next two days, and on April 9, Walker said, Luna told him "the governor is very upset and disappointed, and Carl would be embarrassing himself by running."

Walker said that in that April 9 conversation, Luna told him, "How can you expect the governor to work hand-in-hand with Carl when Carl is working against him? You can forget about this program."

Christie and Lewis spoke April 10.

Christie knew that, should Lewis decide to declare anyway, the Republicans would challenge Lewis' NJ residency in court, and if the court punted, he could count on Lt Governor / Secretary of State Kim Guadagno to pull a Katherine Harris and rule against Lewis,

We get the government we deserve. For those Democrats who were disappointed with the Corzine campaign and decided to stay home in November 2009, or worse, voted for Christie thinking "how bad can he be?", consider this: It could have been Loretta Weinberg making the decision on Carl Lewis' eligibility to run in NJ.While we cannot know for sure how a Secretary of State Weinberg would have ruled, we can be reasonably sure that, stateswoman that she is, she would have given careful consideration to the facts of the case and ruled as Secretary of State, not as the Governor's sock puppet.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton: if you don't vote, you are, in fact, voting for the person you don't want. Let's not let that happen again.

Get out and vote today if your school district is holding elections today.

Get out and vote in November. We need a Democratic majority in the Legislature to hold this out-of-control Governor in check.

Remember, elections matter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Blog - "Keep It Warm"

On the occasion of Mark "Flo" Volman's 64th birthday, one of my favorite songs from the Turtles and Flo and Eddie. The lyrics still resonate, 35 years later:

Write another song for the money
Something they can sing, not so funny
Money in the bank to keep us warm

Stick another grape in the juicer
Or fill your guts with grease and get get looser
You are what you eat , so eat it warm

Roll another joint for the Gipper
Get the Gipper high, he gets hipper
Stick it in his mouth and keep him warm

Elect another jerk to the White House
Gracie Slick is losing her door mouse
Take her off the streets and keep her warm

Fight another war if they make you
Squeal on a friend or they'll take you
The future's in your lap, so keep it warm...

Warm, here in your arms
Safe from all harm, where I belong
Warm, cozy and calm, another
Dawn together warm....

My woodie's broken down by the beach now
And TM's gotten far out of reach now
Tell the Mahareesh to keep it warm

George is suing Paul, suing Ringo
and immigration wants John and Yoko
All they need is love, to keep them warm

Kill another whale with your power
Or shoot a bunch a kids from a tower
Snipe them in their cars
Blood keeps them warm


Make a better world from the old one
Make yourself a baby and hold one
Hold her in your arms and keep her warm,
Keep her warm, Keep her warm,
Keep her warm...........

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Is Not Kosher - The Wall of Separation, Redux

Another week, another "town hall".

This time it's at the Westlake Golf and Country Club, an over-55 community  in Jackson, NJ. This event is about the same as all the others, held on a weekday morning, with little or no advance notice, except to Christie supporters, all but guaranteeing a homogeneous crowd, this time packed with retirees who feel they no longer should pay property taxes, now that they no longer have kids in school.

But what makes this "town hall" different from the others?

Because this event is being held on Tuesday, April 19th, the second day of Pesach, or Passover, when Jews are preparing for the second seder, and will be unable to attend. This is either a deliberate attempt to exclude Jews from the event, or at best, extreme, insensitive, political tone-deafness.

In March 9, Christie breached (in my opinion) the wall of separation between church and state by holding a "town hall" at a Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday, a Catholic holiday. An OPRA request that I filed to learn who paid for this event was blown-off by the governor's office, on a technicality, when I made the mistake of using the word "information" in my request. Although the governor's counsel understood full well the intent of my inquiry, he refused to answer.

About a week later, the governor held a "town hall" in Woodbridge, where he stacked the audience with parochial school students wearing t-shirts supporting the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a voucher program that would steer taxpayer funds into private schools.

There is no question, now, that the governor is using these "town hall" meetings as a tool to promote his anti-women's health, pro-voucher, papist agenda. This is further borne out by the timing of the latest "town hall", erecting a new wall of separation by making it difficult or impossible for Jews to attend.

If this bothers you, and it should, please write to the governor's office to express your outrage.
Contact Matt Mowers at the Office of the Governor:,
and cc Constituent Relations:

Remind Governor Christie he is he Governor of ALL the people of New Jersey.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jackie Robinson's Autograph - Not For Sale

This story originally appeared in 2009 on CNN iReport, in response to the question, would you sell any of your prized possessions to pick up some extra cash in this bad economy. 

The years 1956 and 1957 were a one-two punch for my poor mother - in December 1956, she gave birth to me, and in October 1957, her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers announced they were moving to the West Coast. A bit too much trauma for one person to have to endure over one ten-month period!

The Dodgers' move to L.A. was one of those events, like the Depression and World War 2, that the adults in our house talked about so much I sometimes thought I actually remembered it. Mom was a rabid Dodgers fan, and refused, until her last day on earth, to watch any baseball, as long as the Dodgers are not in Brooklyn.

One of her prized possessions is an official Ford Frick National League baseball, autographed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. I am not sure of the exact year (1954/55?), but I know Mom got the ball thanks to an acquaintance of my grandfather, a sportswriter for the local paper picked it up at spring training.

The ball has the autographs of many Hall-of-Famers, giants and legends of the Brooklyn Bums, including:

- Gil Hodges, who went on to manage the 1969 Miracle Mets to World Series victory, and, in one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in sports history, is not in the Hall of Fame

- Pee Wee Reese, whose iconic gesture, putting his arm around teammate Jackie Robinson's shoulder, silenced a hostile crowd in Cincinnati

- Slugger Duke Snider, the "Duke of Flatbush"

- Roy Campanella, who was tragically paralyzed in an auto accident in 1958

And of course, Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the first African American to play in the major leagues, and whose number, 42, is retired forever.

Jackie Robinson! This guy used to steal home! Who does that today?

The autographs are starting to fade. The ball belongs to my family, and I am currently the custodian, keeping it in the dark in an undisclosed location, taking it out occasionally to show anyone who may want to see it.

I'm not sure what this ball is worth in the sports memorabilia market, but I'm not selling it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

1,000 Words

An unscientific poll appears on the right-hand page of the Capitol Quickies blog in the Asbury Park Press.

The question:

The results:


Friday, April 1, 2011

Hockey Dad For A Night

It was not a good night for the Flyers last night, who couldn't seem to find the net and got thrashed by the Atlanta Thrashers (whoever that is) 1-0. It was a better night for my son's amateur hockey team Legacy, who played a scrimmage after the Flyers/Thrashers game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, home of the Flyers and the 76ers.

These guys have come a long way from ten years or so ago when they used to play street hockey as teenagers on an abandoned tennis court, with hay bales as boundaries. Now they're playing on the Flyers' ice, outscoring them 7-0. Final score: Red team 5, White team 2.

These guys played three 17 minute periods with a one minute break between periods. Pretty good if you ask me. But I'm biased.

Here's my boy, #27, Dan Pickens in the video: