Month: July 2016
There are a rising number of incidents between people and cars these days. For some reason the good folks managing local governments at the Jersey shore are seeing an uptick in pedestrians walking into traffic. Yes, walking into traffic.
Are you kidding? We have to remind adults that it’s a good idea to look both ways before crossing the street? Remember, even though Trenton passed a law requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, the painted crosswalk doesn’t create a magic shield protecting pedestrians from a car that fails to stop. Just look both ways and make sure the car actually stops before crossing.
See? didn’t even need a law.
So I’m out of the state for a couple days with my family and boom! The gas tax makes it’s ugly return. Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney got together and came up with a scheme to raise your taxes…again.
What’s even worse is that they are calling it a tax cut. Sound familiar? It’s not. They will raise the cost of buying gas in the Garden State by $.23 a gallon and then through an elaborate and confusing pitch to distract you, make you think that because of tax deductions and a cut in the estate tax, you’re actually making money! It’s disgusting, dishonest and deceitful. And that’s not even the worst part…
The big issue today is that there are reportedly many Republican legislators who are considering voting to override the Governor’s expected veto of the tax. At least the Democrats are being honest, they campaign on revenue and higher taxes. But the GOP? They ask for your votes by proclaiming that they will be the strong voice of the people opposing further taxes on our already over-taxed citizens. It’s gotta stop. As Jersey Joe Piscopo put it on my radio show this morning, #StopIt. You’re right Joe, how many more people and businesses need to leave the Garden State before the politicians do something to improve the economy and cost of living here? Enough is enough. #NoGasTax. Call your Republican legislators and tell ’em to get a backbone and vote against the tax and support the Governor if he vetoes this latest assault on your bank account.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to have a down to earth, not PC, honest conversation with some young men from Winslow Twp. NJ. Their actions inspired our latest honoree for #BlueFriday. I asked them questions that you don’t often hear during an exchange between the media and activists. Especially when one is white and the other is black. The answers from these courageous, intelligent and thoughtful men may surprise you. Happy I’m able to continue the dialogue with Andre and Nigel. And yes, this is another example of life truly being about “the small stuff”.
Tragic, horrific, disturbing, dangerous…these are just some of the words that came to mind as the news circulated about the ambush murders of three police officers on Sunday. The situation in America regarding law enforcement and the media storyline is getting worse with every news cycle. Over the past two weeks, five officers murdered in Dallas, a terror attack in Nice and three officers murdered in Baton Rouge. The President has stepped up to the microphone each time to deliver a reaction to the events. Instead of offering the words necessary to calm a nation and inspire confidence and solutions, in each case he made it political. Guess he really took former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s words to heart about never letting a good crisis go to waste.
You may remember that Emanuel is the mayor of Chicago now as murders skyrocket on his watch… but that’s for another blog post.
Sad, disgusting, inappropriate, dangerous. These are the words that came to mind as I watched the President deliver his remarks yesterday. His focus was on political rhetoric and divisive speech. He wants the American people to believe that there are two equal sides at play here. On one side, people with legitimate grievances against the police and on the other the need to keep law enforcement officers safe. The problem is that the sides are not equal. To raise an incident that resulted in a man’s death during an arrest to the level of an assassination of officers responding to a 911 call is inaccurate, disingenuous and wrong.
Today’s #BlueFriday honoree is the Director of Public Safety in Newark, Anthony Ambrose. Leading a police force in any major city is a huge undertaking. In a dangerous city like Newark it’s especially trying. Decades of failed leadership and increasing crime have hurt local residents. I’ve often talked about solutions that go back to successful models of city policing from the past couple decades. Looks like the team in Newark are starting to make some headway.
This week two things happened that demonstrate without new leadership in Trenton our state will become increasingly unaffordable. And that’s saying a lot considering we are already one of the highest tax burdened states in the nation.
The Republican Governor and Democratic Senate President met and discussed how to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The didn’t find a mutually agreeable solution, but they agreed on one thing…the gas tax should be raised by $0.23.
Then in another blow to commuters and residents, the leader of the Republicans in the NJ Assembly, Jon Bramnick embraced the hike in the gas tax as a “strategic necessity“.
In “Trenton Speak” the phases “Strategic Necessity” and “Tax Fairness” means YOU will pay more to live and work here. A lot more.
As much as I tried to take the conversation to the waste in the New Jersey budget today on the show, there was a constant pull from the callers to get back to the conversation of race and law enforcement.
Here’s my quick take. The false narrative being pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement enabled by many politicians and the media is harming the very people that they claim to represent. Murder among black Americans is high and rising. For nearly twenty years the crime rates in our cities was dropping precipitously creating opportunity for families to live without the constant fear of being subject to horrific street violence. The dramatic increase started under Rudy Giuliani’s leadership in New York City, employing police policies known as “Broken Windows”, “CompStat” and “Stop & Frisk.” By the time Rudy left office murders had dropped from a high of 2,600 in 1990 to less than 900 in 2001. Rapes, robberies and assaults all way down showing a return of order to the city. The trend was picked up in other cities across America and for the next two decades crime dropped by nearly 50%.
Pulled Pork. Yup it’s delicious.
My version is a bit different. Inspired by the roast pork sandwich from Tony Luke’s in Philly.
Get a pork shoulder or better, a “Boston Butt” and brine it…equal parts sugar and salt, italian parsley chopped, red pepper flakes and a few cloves of garlic rough chopped. Cover in water and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 225 degrees, take the pork out of the brine and pat it dry. Then place the pork in a dutch oven cover the outside with olive oil and cover as evenly as possible with chopped italian parsley, red pepper flakes, salt, cracked black pepper and four chopped cloves of garlic.
I’m not leaving out measurements to protect a recipe, I do it by sight based on the size of the pork shoulder. And yes it’s slightly different every time.
Check the pork after 6 hours and be prepared to leave it alone for a total of ten. When the bone can be pulled out without a lot of resistance, it’s done. Then take a french baguette, cut the bread in 6 inch sections and slice open. On both sides place a few slices of sharp provolone…buy a wedge don’t go with deli slices! Under the broiler to melt the cheese and toast the bread slightly.
The key is to have broccoli rabe prepared ahead of time. I buy two bunches of rabe cut the stems off and blanch until it turns bright green…about 5 minutes. Make sure you salt the water before throwing in the rabe. Take a separate frying pan heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Throw in the rabe and cook down for a few minutes. Then add a few chopped cloves of garlic and finish cooking – less than a minute with the garlic.
The rabe goes on one side of the bread and the pork on the other. If you like add some tabasco and enjoy. Here’s the video as I prepped the pork and got it into the oven early this am.
More to come.
So the Governor is away. He left after signing a budget and taking out the red pen to exercise his line item veto power. Given that the budget is nearly $35 Billion a few hundred million in vetoes don’t exactly make the state’s financial situation any better, but it’s a start.
Too often politicians are looking for a huge statement, a grand headline, a game-changing move. And more often than not the big move is blocked and the voters and taxpayers are left holding the bag. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, elected in 2010 with a new Republican majority in both houses, successfully made that move changing the way pensions and benefits for state workers and teachers. That state went from a $3.6 billion deficit to a $900 million surplus. As you know, Governor Christie has had to deal with both houses of the NJ legislators solidly under Democratic control. Given the ineptitude of the GOP opposition in this state, that’s likely to be the case for some time.