Friday, December 23, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Best of 2005


Mr. Snitch, arguably Jersey's favorite Hoboken blogger, is hosting an effort to identify the best posts of 2005. Drop in and give him a link to something you found of high enough caliber to be included in the year's top 100.

I've got a few in mind myself. More later...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Carnival of NJ Bloggers #30

Mamacita (Humor, News & Entertainment for Women Who Can't Be Fooled) hosts the 30th edition of The Carnival of NJ Bloggers. Who knew something as simple as putting together a list of links could get controversial?

Incredibly Hard*

One of my little projects at work is a video production telling the story of our product. I got a script approved by management last week, hitting all of the important points that they wanted to discuss in the video. When the narrator read it for me last week, it ran 12:48.
Friday, a final decision was made that we needed a short version, around 5:00 long.
I'm supposed to be in the studio with the editor on Monday. I spent most of Saturday trying to pare down the script, with very little flexibility in what I could do, since the script is already recorded. The narration runs about 2 words per second, so I've basically had to take a 1500 word piece down to 600, without losing the meaningful bits.

The old saw about writing short pieces being harder than writing long pieces is absolutely true.

*I wonder what kind of search engine hits this will generate?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

One Year

Exactly one year ago, I stepped into the world of exposing expressing myself in public. It was a bit of a slow start, until I wrote about local and state political issues. I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to connect with such a wide variety of people, across New Jersey, across the country, and around the world.
While I didn't exactly set the blogging world on fire, I did at least get a few people to pay attention. The purpose of this post isn't to brag about a successful year, but rather to thank those of you who've stopped in and read, commented on, linked to, or even thought about what I've written. Special thanks go out to Patrick for my first trackback and Fausta for letting me guest blog, even though I didn't do a very good job of it. Enlighten New Jersey also deserves thanks for coming up with the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers, which led to my very own (and only) Instalanche.
The next year looks to be an interesting one. We should have a rowdy battle for the Senate seat currently held by Governor-Elect Corzine, and non-political life should also provide significant blog fodder.
Thanks again to the 13,219 unique visitors who've stopped by to read my stuff. It's been fun! See you again, real soon.

Internet Oracle

Back in 1998, I first stumbled across The Internet Oracle,™

an anonymous, cooperative email system for creative, (usually) humorous writing, serving the Net since 1989 and realizing its first virtual personality.
It's a pretty cool system. Users ask the oracle a question by email to, and as long as the words "tell me" appear in the subject line, it will be forwarded to another user for an answer. All of the answers are reviewed by the Oracle's Priests, who select the best for a periodic digest. Users vote on the digested "Oracularities," and the best of those are then published for each set of 25 digests.

Here's an example from the latest best-of digest:
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> O Oracle most helpful,
> Despite the fact that I lost my arms in a horrible accident 2 years
> ago, none of the arms dealers I've spoken to are willing to help. Why
> is that?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Like you, I'm stumped.

Give it a try! Just don't ask the w**dch*ck question.

Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers #29


Liz Thompson, New Jersey's favorite blogging Mommy, hosts the best Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers yet! If you haven't visited one of our Carnivals, make it a point to read this one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Terrorism of a Different Kind

America won a battle in the war on terrorism last week, but not in the "traditional" Islamists vs. the world struggle. This particular form of terrorism afflicts all of us, yet we've hardly been able to do anything about it. Until last week, in Texas.

What am I talking about? Judicial terrorism. The kind imposed on us by liberal courts over the years. The kind that usurps the power of the state legislatures, local school boards, and the people to decide how best to educate our children.

Today's editorial from the Wall Street Journal sums up the Texas victory:

The Texas Supreme Court did the expected last week and struck down the statewide property tax for funding public schools. But what was surprising and welcome was the Court's unanimous ruling that the Texas school system, which spends nearly $10,000 per student, satisfies the funding "adequacy" requirements of the state constitution. Most remarkable of all was the court's declaration that "more money does not guarantee better schools or more educated students."
The Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) also comments on the decision, with predictable spin (emphasis mine):
The Texas Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated ruling on Nov. 22, 2005, in the latest, and, for now, definitive, round of school finance litigation. The litigation involved the state of Texas defending itself against a challenge by two groups of school districts asserting that the current system of school finance was unconstitutional because it was inadequate, inefficient and effectively constituted a statewide property tax which violates the Texas Constitution. The trial court agreed with the school districts on all major counts, except one relating to facilities funding. The state and districts involved agreed to skip the appellate court and bring an expedited appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
In summary, the Texas Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the school finance system essentially establishes an unconstitutional statewide property tax. However, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the trial court with regard to adequacy and efficiency. Though TCTA certainly would have preferred that the Supreme Court rule that the schools were inadequately and inefficiently funded, the state’s win on these points appears to be a narrow one. As you will note from the excerpts from the actual decision below, the state appears to have “squeaked by” for now.
The complete decision by the court is here. TCTA exerpted the decision in their summary. Here are some encouraging bits:
  • Deficiencies and disparities in public education that fall short of a constitutional violation find remedy not through the judicial process, but through the political processes of legislation and elections.
  • [T]he judiciary’s duty is to decide the legal issues properly before it without dictating policy matters.
  • The public education system need not operate perfectly; it is adequate if districts are reasonably able to provide their students the access and opportunity the district court described.
  • The Constitution does not require a particular solution. We leave such matters to the discretion of the Legislature.
Contrast this decision with the reality here in New Jersey, imposed on the taxpayers by the ten (!) decisions in Abbott v. Burke from 1997-2003. They include the requirement for the Legislature "to assure by the commencement of the 1997-1998 school year, that per-pupil expenditures in the poor urban districts are equivalent to the average per-pupil expenditure in the wealthy suburban districts."
They also require the commissioner of education to implement full day kindergarten and half-day preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, school-to-work programs and alternative schools. Finally, and most expensively, they require funding for whatever supplemental programs the districts want, funding for "life-cycle and infrastructure deficiencies," and the assumption of management responsibility for school construction.

The courts can have a large impact on state policy toward any number of things, but have no business setting those policies. New Jersey courts have consistently gotten it wrong on education. Texas has gotten it right, this time.

Monday, November 28, 2005

What do you get ...

... when you mix a curious 3-year-old with an available digital camera?


In both video and still. I have upwards of 30 shots like this, from various dates.

So, should I lock my office, or just enjoy the little presents? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Update: Call for Fragging Ends Instructor's Job!

Just before the Warren County Community College meeting noted in this post, the treasonous seditionist "instructor," John Daly, resigned his position to avoid being fired. Here's what the board had to say (quoted in full, emphasis mine):

At the request of Warren County Community College President, Dr. William Austin, the College’s Board of Trustees met tonight to review available facts concerning a recent dispute between an adjunct instructor at the College, Mr. John Daly, and a WCCC student and certain safety concerns that arose as a result thereof. The dispute revolved around, among other things, comments made in an e-mail from the instructor to the student who was representing a new student organization and other facts and circumstances that came to the Board’s attention subsequent thereto.
Tonight’s meeting of the Board was initially called to consider what if any action would be taken. As we prepared for that meeting, we received word from Mr. Daly that he had tendered his resignation from WCCC effective immediately. The Board has accepted his resignation.
The Board has no further public comment on this matter.
One wonders what other facts came to light as the board and school management dug into this "instructor's" activities. Anyone think the press will bother to ask?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New Jersey Prof Urges Fragging U.S. Officers

This is outrageous! New Jersey has its very own extremist college professor nutjob, complete with open advocacy of treasonous murder. Robert Williscroft of The Dead Hand has all the gory details, but here's a quick summary:

1. Young Americans for Freedom plans to host a meeting featuring Lt Col Scott Rutter.
2. Organization leader emails her contact list to promote the event.
3. Adjunct Professor Instructor (of Basic Writing and Developmental English) John Daly sends an inflammatory (and illiterate) response, including the following gem: "Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs."
4. Warren County Community College (WCCC) issues a press release distancing itself from Daly's remarks.
5. WCCC issues a press release announcing aspecial board meeting to "consider personnel matters."

Sounds like this is going to turn out all right. We'll know for sure after Tuesday, November 22nd.

State Tax Cuts?

USA Today reports Outlook good for tax cuts by states.

Soaring state tax collections have created momentum for tax cuts in 2006, when most governors and legislators will face voters.
State and local revenue rose 7.2% in the first nine months of this year, the biggest jump since 1990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Spending is up 6%, the most since 2001.
Three years of strong revenue growth have left many states with large surpluses. New Mexico is looking at a $1 billion surplus. Florida expects more than $3 billion.
Even financially troubled California took in $3.4 billion more than it spent in the budget year that ended June 30 — the state's first surplus since 2000. California's deficit was erased by a 13.2% revenue increase.
But where's New Jersey in this list? Isn't our state revenue growing as well? If even California can get out of its hole, why can't we? Roberto at Dynamobuzz notes that we are already facing a $5 billion "shortfall" in next year's budget.

What the politicians don't tell us is that the shortfall is really the difference between the bureaucrats' featherbedding, goldplating, moneygrabbing wishlist and the projected revenue from current taxes. According to the Office of Legislative Services analysis of the Governor's Budget in March 2005, revenues have been growing significantly the last couple of years: They estimated fiscal year 2005 at $27,384 million and FY 2006 at $27,613 million. The largest portion of that, the income tax, has grown 43% since 2003, yet cannot satisfy the politicians lust for cash.

What gets really interesting is a comparison to another state with a budget "shortfall." Carroll Andrew Morse of Rhode Island group blog Anchor Rising wrote this week about the state's $60 million problem, which is about 2% of their total budget. It also works out to about $56 per person in the state. Here in Jersey, the so-called shortfall is over 18% of FY 2006 projected state spending, or $575 for every single one of us (based on 2004 US Census estimated population).

We cannot tolerate a state government that plans to spend us into oblivion. Send a message to Trenton that the government's top line can not be allowed to grow, especially at the rate demanded by the tax receivers. This so-called budget gap must be resolved by reducing spending, not by increasing revenue.

Update: Enlighten New Jersey had a great piece on the budget the other day. It looks like they have better (i.e., more recent) numbers than I used, but the differences are marginal.

Rhodes Scholars

I am usually proud of the accomplishments of my alma mater and her graduates. Today is no exception. Three US Naval Academy midshipmen and one grad have been chosen for 2006 Rhodes Scholarships, more than any other school in the country. They are:

Ensign William R. Kelly, New York (USNA and Harvard)
Nicholas M. Schmitz, Bethesda, Maryland
Paul J. Angelo, Columbia Station, Ohio
Jacquelyn R. Hanna, Lisbon, North Dakota

Full article at here []

For those who wish to keep score:

U.S. Naval Academy


Yale University


University of Chicago


Duke University


Stanford University


University of Washington


Nebraska Wesleyan University


Rice University


Gettysburg College


Amherst College


Florida State University


University of Pittsburgh


Wake Forest University


Wheaton College (Mass)


Dartmouth College


Wabash College


Brown University


University of Pennsylvania


University of the South


Princeton University


University of Richmond


University of Denver


This brings me to an interesting thought about anti-military bias. I find it remarkable that four students from a single institution could be selected for such a prestigious honor, yet the Associated Press doesn't mention it in the article. Am I being overly sensitive?

(Thanks for the open trackback posts!: The Blue State Conservatives, Is It Just Me?, Soldier's Angel Holly Aho, The Political Teen, and Don Surber.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Election Bang for the Buck

Welcome, Blue Staters!

Enlighten New Jersey shares some interesting data in the aftermath of the gubernatorial election.

In the 2001 New Jersey governor's race with Jim McGreevey against Bret Schundler, the candidates spent a combined $36 million on the campaign with the Democrat McGreevey outspending the Republican Schundler by a margin of 3-to-1. The result was McGreevey 1,229,818 votes to Schundler’s 915,314, a difference of 314,504 votes in favor of the Democrat.

In this year’s gubernatorial race the candidate’s spent a combined $75 million with Jon Corzine outspending Doug Forrester by a margin of 2-to-1. The result was Corzine 1,157,385 votes and Forrester 954,347, a difference of 203,038 votes in favor of the Democrat.
Since I love to play with numbers, I decided to see what I could learn here. First, some basic spending rates. (See if you can guess which candidate is a fiscal conservative.)

Campaign Spending per Vote
McGreevey (D)
$ 21.95
Schundler (R)
$ 9.83
Corzine (D)
$ 43.20
Forrester (R)
$ 26.20

So that made me wonder, what would it take for Forrester to buy parity with Corzine? On a pure cost per vote basis ($26 apiece), that works out to another $5.3 million. Any amount of additional spending by Forrester would likely have been matched by Corzine. Assuming he did so at 1:1, Corzine's additional $5.3 million would have added another 123,117 votes to his total, meaning Forrester would not have closed the gap completely. Assuming a constant average cost, Doug needed to spend about $13 million more to get even.

Right about now, you're probably thinking the average cost is a flawed assumption. You're right. Forrester's $26 average price includes a lot of committed Republicans. A better measure would be the marginal cost per vote gained from the last election. Forrester spent about $16 million more than Schundler and garnered 39 thousand more votes, so his marginal vote cost works out to just under $410. At that rate, Doug needed to spend another $83 million to close the 200 kilovote gap with Corzine.

Applying the same marginal cost per vote model to Corzine, this gets really interesting. Corzine spent about $23 million more than McGreevey, for 72 thousand fewer votes, yielding a marginal rate of negative $317.53 per vote. If he spent the same additional $83 million as Forrester, he would lose 262,000 votes, giving Forrester a significant margin. The break-even point in this model comes in at about $36 million in additional spending.

So what's my point? Obviously, more spending by the Republican campaign was not the answer to winning this election. More effective spending would have helped, and for the most part Republican spending was significantly more effective than Democrat spending. What this data tells me is that Corzine is not an effective manager of money, delivering negative vote productivity in a largely blue state, while spraying cash like water through a fire hose. He may get the results he sets out to achieve, but he does it in a way that is wasteful and inefficient when using his own money. I'm not looking forward to what he will start doing with my money once he gets to Drumthwacket.

Thanks to The Blue State Conservatives for hosting the Friday Linkfest.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Valour-IT Veterans Day Challenge

In a little over 2 hours, the Valour-IT Interservice Fundraising Challenge will end. In the end, the donations raised by the four service teams will provide enough funding to purchase over 110 voice activated laptops for our wounded troops. Nearly 76 thousand dollars, not including mailed in checks and undesignated donations. I am absolutely astounded at the results, though not surprised given the ingenuity, determination and generosity of the blogging community at large, and milbloggers in particular.

Thank you to every one who contributed, posted, talked and linked to help this project.

If you are interested in seeing the data I collected for the tracking chart, it's at
The Valour-IT Veterans Day Challenge, and it will stay up as long as I maintain this service. Feel free to hotlink it if you so desire.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Valour-IT Still Going Strong

Now that two teams have beaten the $21,000 goal, SMASH reports the Army has challenged the Navy in a race to $25,000.

So far, Navy has a slim lead, $22,318 to $22,128. A linear projection out to midnight tomorrow night would put us on pace for $25,282, with Army falling short of the mark (just barely).

Go donate to the Navy cause! C'mon, click the button, you know you want to!

Super Gator

This must have been one hell of an alligator. I wonder if they lived in Jersey? Near the Parkway?


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Valour-IT News Flash

This just in from the Valour-IT database:


To the generous donor(s) who pushed our team back on top, thank you!

The count now stands:

Navy Army Marines Air Force
$18,668 $11,905 $ 5,890

The chart in the previous post shows the details, and our illustrious leader's husband offers words of encouragement (see update 10). Sorry, Jim.

Update, 10:03 PM:
It's going to be a nail-biter in the race to $20,000. Army is using its larger mass to rake in big gains, while Navy brings in higher average donations to keep a slight lead. The score stands Navy: $19.833; Army: $19,358.

Update, 10:17 PM:
Navy: $19.933; Army: $19,358.

Update, 10:43 PM: Navy: $19.983; Army: $19,358. Only $1,017 left for Navy!

Cha-Ching! 10:48 PM, Navy first over the $20,000 mark with $20,008!

Update, 11:00 PM. In the 12 minutes since the last update, some Army sand baggers (John from GA and Randy) dropped $1,650.00 to pull exactly $1,000 ahead of Navy. John from GA is Army's single largest contribution thus far, at $1,500. That puts the senior service first over the line at $21,008. Congratulations, Army. We'll be there with you in a little bit.

Update, 12:00 AM. Closing out the day, Army remains in the lead at $21,008, while Navy has closed the gap again, sitting at $20,463. For those who are interested, here's a chart showing the final moments (scroll down to the previous post for full details on all teams).

Update, Thursday 6:30 AM: Navy's back in the lead, and has crossed the line with another $637 overnight.

Valour--IT, Day 7

Here's the latest status. Looks like the total is now at 70 laptops, if my calculations are correct.

Also, I looked at the total trend, and if it holds we should hit $60,000 by Friday at midnight eastern time. Here's the plot for that:

These totals only include those that have given to a particular team through the PayPal buttons. As the Valour-IT blog reports each night, there are undesignated and check donations coming in as well.

Keep pushing, and give til it hurts! Our Troops need your support!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Valour-IT Project Day 6

The good news continues from the weekend - over $7,000 pledged online to the teams today.
So what does this $7,000 mean? Each laptop (with software and shipping) costs about $675, so today's donations will add 10 laptops to the pool available for our wounded. The total raised so far, over $44,300, will supply 66 machines, enough to complete phase 1 of the project in Bethesda, and place 6-7 machines at each of the centers in phase 2.

Unfortunately, there was also bad news today. Navy's $1,000 lead turned into a $1,500 shortfall behind Army, although the last few hours have seen Navy surging again, closing the gap to about $1,000 (see the chart below). In an attempt to boost Navy participation, Da Goddess is offering her services for substantial donations in Southern California. Citizen SMASH, meanwhile, is selling off his wife! This Army lead cannot be allowed to continue, and we will do whatever it takes to make things right.

Forrester for Governor

Anyone who has read my blog knows my politics are decidedly conservative. Accordingly, I'm pushing the button for Doug Forrester for Governor tomorrow. I believe that Corzine's "plans" for New Jersey, along with his ties to the Democrat party apparatus, make him a poor choice to govern our state.

Suzette has another reason: he can't even be bothered to respond to a constituent request for his position on a bill! This is an indication that he is ineffective as an administrator, and should not be given the reins of the most powerful governorship in the United States.

Elect Doug Forrester!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Valour-IT Day 5 Update

Today was one of those good news / bad news days. On the plus side, over $5,000 in new contributions were recorded. On the minus side, Army closed the gap by over a thousand dollars, shrinking Navy's lead as you can see in the chart below.

In other good news, two Valour-IT posts were included in the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers, and Jim at Parway Rest Stop has joined the fray. He's challenging other Jersey bloggers to do so as well:

I'm making a special appeal to Jersey Bloggers who are active military, vets, those who have friends or family in the military and generally to all those who really do "support our troops." You need not make a large donation. Every single donation helps!

Since Jim's readership is about a zillion times larger than mine, we may see some additional donations from the Garden State real soon. This is a good thing, because the OPORD in effect calls for FIRE FOR EFFECT, and we'll need all the guns we can get.

Valour-IT Day 4 Update

Just before midnight on November 5th, the Valour-IT challenge has raised an astonishing $32,051. Each service is contributing steadily, with NAVY firmly in the lead. The tracking chart for all four services shows that both NAVY and Army are tracking to beat the $21,000 goal on their own.

Please contribute to this great cause -- wounded military personnel need your help. All you need to do is click the button in my sidebar. Even $10 can make a difference.

If you'd like to do more, you can join the NAVY team, led by Mrs. Smash, here. The other service team leads are Holly Aho (Marines), BlackFive (Army), and Mrs. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette (Air Force). A complete list of participating blogs can be found here.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Project Valour-IT Cartoon

Check out the Ipso Facto Cartoon Blog for a cool Project Valour-IT cartoon. It seems penguins and wounded soldiers have something in common...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Valour-IT Update

As of 4:00 PM EST Friday 042100Z NOV 05 , the four teams combined have raised over $21,000 to provide voice controlled laptops for wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. The current standings:











Air Force


Nice job, Navy, but don't slow down! We can't let the Army gain an inch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Project Valour-IT

Welcome, New Jersey Carnival 25 readers.

Project Valour-IT "provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers." The project needs to raise $110,000 to implement its first two phases, and $600,000 to place 150 laptops in every major military medical center. (Click here for details of the project plan).

The mil-blogging community is running a little friendly competition between now and Veteran's Day, November 11th, to see which service can raise the most money for the project. Mrs. Smash at The Indepundit is leading the charge for the Navy team. If you can help, after all of the other calls for charity in the past few months, please do!


Update: The Navy team got moving nicely today after an initial rough start. The chart below shows our progress toward the $21,000 goal. Please consider contrbuting to help our cause!

More updates here, here, and here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Corzine Tripping

Enlighten NJ asks, "Will Corzine Trip?" in response to an article by Steve Kornacki at I think he's already on his way down, based on a couple of subtle indicators. Here's what we're seeing:
1. My wife had a conversation with a neighbor who we know to be a solid, dedicated Democrat. Although he didn't make an emphatic statement, he let on that he would probably support Forrester in the election.
2. Another neighbor, who we did not realize was a Democrat until a "Corzine for Governor" sign went up in the front yard, appears to have removed said signage. Signs for other Democrat candidates remain in place.
Yes, I know it's scant evidence, but I'm willing to accept it as a working theory for now.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Carnival Is In Town!


KateSpot hosts this week's Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers with a nice, traditional look. Go forth and read, you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Local Politics Revisited

A while back, I noted that I had not yet made up my mind about the Delanco township committee race. Well, I made up my mind when the Republican candidate called me and asked for my support. I even agreed to put up a sign in the yard, a first for the four years we've lived here.

Today, as my wife was picking up the kids from school, she was confronted by one of my occasional readers over our choice of candidates. This woman loudly questioned our choice and asked why my wife wouldn't vote for an honest Democrat. She responded that all politics is essentially local, and if she started voting Democrat at this level, she might find herself repeating that mistake at the state and national level.

You go, girl!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Jersey Perspective: Corzine Predictions

Jack at Jersey Perspective asks, "What issue could sway New Jersey moderates to the conservative side?"

I don't think they can be swayed toward the conservatives so much as they can be swayed away from the liberals (or "progressives" as some of the liberals seem to prefer). There are a few issues that can help Forrester increase the Corzine repulsion factor felt by moderates / independents in New Jersey:

1. Taxes, Taxes, Taxes. Drop the slogans and point out the facts.
Under this year's FAIR rebate program, the best you can do if under 65 and not disabled is $350. Corzine would increase this rebate by 10% a year for four years, providing a whopping $35 dollars in tax "relief" to the average homeowner in the first year, followed by $38.50, $42.35, and $46.59. That $162.44 will do absolutely nothing for the average homeowner, who bears most of the property tax burden.
I'm pretty close to average when it comes to property taxes here in Delanco, paying about $4,500 a year. Forrester's plan would reduce my property tax burden by 10% in each of the next three years. The $450 savings in the first year alone is triple what Corzine offers. Forrester's campaign needs to hammer this fact home.
2. Corruption. Corzine's close associations with convicted criminals, censured senators, unfaithful husbands, disgraced governors, corporate raiders, county bosses, etc. The latest ad at PoliticsNJ and a new web site, Corzine's Connections, hit this issue pretty nicely. (H/T Enlighten NJ)
3. Weakness. Corzine's complete lack of substance over the 5 years he's been in the Senate. Enlighten NJ brought up this issue back in July, but I haven't seen much from the Forrester campaign on it.
4. Insanity. Corzine's ludicrous health care proposal, which would break the state's financial back. This was discussed in depth by both Enlighten NJ and your humble host.

Up until the last week or so, I was beginning to despair. But now I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and there's a possibility it might not be a train coming down the tracks.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


For some reason, comments (and trackbacks) got themselves broken in my template. It appears that Blogger has implemented a rudimentary trackback feature, so I'll blame them. In the meantime, this post is a test to see if my template changes have turned Haloscan trackbacks and comments back on or not.

Score 21 and win a prize!

The 21st Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers makes its appearance this week at The Opinion Mill. Steven Hart offers a unique patter to introduce a wide variety of Jersey voices. Overall, an interesting effort, although I think it could have done without three "George Bush is a monkey" references.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


For the first time since 5th grade (31 years ago), I attended a Cub Scout pack meeting tonight. All I can say is, "Wow!" The capacity of 20 boys to create sound is absolutely incredible.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Local Politics

Here in the little town of Delanco we have, for the first time in recent memory, a contested election for two seats on the township committee. One of the incumbents, Kathleen Quinn, was appointed to her seat on September 21st to replace John Browne after his resignation. She is running for a full 3-year term against Fernand C. Ouellette. The other incumbent, Phil Brackett, was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Victor Vittorino's resignation, and is running to complete the remaining 13 months of the term against Ed Devinney.
My first instinct is to back my party's candidates. Unfortunately, I've seen no communication from them to help me understand their positions. I don't know them personally, and they don't appear to have a web site. Also unfortunately, Delanco has operated under one-party rule for quite some time, and my party's candidates are the incumbents.
The challengers, on the other hand, have been visibly active over the last year. They have opposed a redevelopment plan that would have abused eminent domain, dug into the background of the whole Columns fiasco, and they even have a web site.
So this election comes down to a question of direction. Do the resignations of two township committee members signal enough of a change, or is it necessary to split the township committee 4-1 or 3-2 between parties? One of my readers approached me during the town-wide yard sale over the weekend, and asked if I would be supporting the Democrats because of my position on the Columns issue. I haven't decided yet, and am not sure that I will decide before election day.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Sharon from The Center of New Jersey Life hosts this week's extra-special 20th Anniversary of the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers. As usual since my own hosting experience in week eleven, I had nothing to contribute. I really need to work on getting excited about blogging again, especially with the election coming up in only a month.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

OK, bilge rats, this be important. Today be talk like a sea dog day, so make aye you remember t' splice t' mainbrace at low tide.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Thank you to the four readers who have been returning here on a daily basis, waiting for me to post something. Unfortunately, I've had quite the busy time the last few weeks. I spent a lovely week in Hoboken attending class at Stevens, spent three weekends on the roof scraping and painting, and made it to my 20th college reunion last weekend.
In between all that, I'm trying to cram 12 hours of work into each 10 hour day, with a travel schedule all its own. Today, for example, I had to drive 120 miles to Baltimore for a 3-hour meeting, then drive back and put a couple of hours in at the office.
I really do intend to keep this little blog experiment alive. Please bear with me!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Bob eCache says that the President shouldn't release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to the Katrina-induced spike in oil prices, but the Energy Secretary just appeared on MSNBC and announced that the reserve would be tapped. I agree with Bob, this is not the best idea in the world. I like a cheap tank of gas as much as the next guy, but I don't think it's worth the strategic cost. A lot of the past year's run up in oil prices can be accounted for by the supply being diverted to fill the reserve after Clinton's fiddling around in 1996.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Educators" and Wal-Mart

Katie of A Constrained Vision comments on the NEA boycott of Wal-Mart, especially noting the hypocrisy of the union position. As I pointed out here, NEA's boycott has nothing to do with helping the children, or helping families get their kids through school with low priced necessities. The boycott is all about solidarity with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which has been frustrated in its attempts to unionize Wal-Mart employees.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers 14

SloppyDawg hosts Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers 14, with a really nice set of satellite shots to highlight the state. One of the best carnivals yet, and I wish I'd had time to write soemthing this week to be included.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

NJCarnival 1101

Riehl World View hosts the weekly Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers. Quite a collection of food, fun, remembrance, anger, encouragement, photography, and even golf. A must read for anyone in or from New Jersey!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weekend at the Shore

What a hot, sticky day! Many New Jerseyans are heading down the shore to get away from the heat and have some fun.

No such luck in the SmadaNek household. Here's my weekend project:

Mrs. Smada has spent most of the week up on a ladder working the side, and now it's my turn to pitch in. These are 90-year-old tin gutters, and haven't been properly maintained for probably 20 years. Lots of repairs, along with the necessary scraping and repainting.

Would one of you bring me a nice cold drink? Say about 3:00 this afternoon? Thanks!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers XIII


Don't forget folks: the lucky thirteenth edition of the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers will be hosted at Riehl World View this week. Don't forget to submit your links via

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why Shop at Wal-Mart?

The NEA, AFT, and UFCW would have us believe that Wal-Mart is all about taking advantage of people. As I noted back in this post, they are trying to organize a boycott of Wal-Mart until the company pledges not to tolerate "exploitation of children."

In response to their call for a boycott, I said, "Our family will be purchasing school supplies at Wal-Mart this year." Mrs. Smada took the kids there today. Here's why we make that choice.

(updated to clarify): We bought 3 Elmer's glue bottles (1 for each kid in school). Price was 20 cents each, for a total cost of 60 cents. A comparable bottle, found at the linked Staples site, was priced at $1.99, and would have cost us a total of $5.97

Total cost to me for all those items was $67.63. At comparable retail prices in other stores, those items would have cost nearly twice what I paid. The table below has the details of what we bought, what we paid, and what we probably would have paid without Wal-Mart.

Item Qty
Cost "Retail"

Cost Source
Elmer's Glue 3
$ 0.20 $ 0.60 $ 1.99

$ 5.97
Glue Stick 3
$ 0.20 $ 0.60 $ 0.24
$ 0.71
Theme book 6
$ 0.10 $ 0.60 $ 0.23
$ 1.38
1-inch binder 1
$ 0.55 $ 0.55 $ 0.99
$ 0.99
Boy's shorts 2
$ 4.50 $ 9.00 $ 12.99
$ 25.98
Boy's shirts 3
$ 3.88 $11.64 $ 6.99
$ 20.97
Boy's jeans 1
$ 3.00 $ 3.00 $ 17.99
$ 17.99
striped t-shirts 3
$ 4.88 $14.64 $ 6.99
$ 20.97
Girl's jeans (Jordache) 1
$ 11.00 $11.00 $ 10.94
$ 10.94 eBay
Girl's jeans 1
$ 9.00 $ 9.00 $ 11.98
$ 11.98
Carpenter shorts 1
$ 7.00 $ 7.00 $ 8.99
$ 8.99



The numbers say it all. Why go anywhere else?

Linkage Has an Impact

Mr. Snitch points out "Why all Jersey bloggers should submit their bestest, shiniest posts to the NJ Carnival this weekend." Namely, the added exposure to be gained for your thoughts expressed in writing. I'll second the motion, and add that you should also consider hosting a carnival at your earliest opportunity, like I did.
The result: a gi-normous spike in traffic. Check it out.

Corzine Joins Union Stunt Staged At New Jersey School

Following up on my earlier post, Enlighten New Jersey reports on the Dems' atttempts to influence Wal-Mart through intimidation and boycott on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

I find the participation of the teachers' unions particularly bizarre in this case. Wal-Mart provides access to low-priced supplies for those in need. Trying to block their access to those supplies in this way will hurt their progress through school: how can Johnny learn to write if his family can't afford to buy pencils?

Their participation is especially galling given that the school at which they held the event, Samuel L. Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, failed to meet adequate yearly progress standards this year. Wouldn't the teachers' time be better spent strategizing better ways to teach eighth graders?

By the way, this news article has absolutely NO relationship to the above information. Right.

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Jersey Democrats, Teacher's Unions Conspire to Drive Up Cost of School Supplies

This handy press release announces a press conference intended to pressure Wal-Mart.

The "Send Wal-Mart Back to School" Campaign is part of nation- wide effort being led by the two largest teacher's groups in America, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), and The ATF and NEA have partnered with in what is latest phase in the growing national campaign to change Wal-Mart that began in April of this year.
Apparently, because Wal-Mart is not unionized, the teacher's unions feel compelled to join the UFCW in criticizing the company at every turn. Also piling on will be some of our favorite New Jersey political figures:
Teachers and other speakers at the press conference, which include United States Senator Jon Corzine, Assemblymen Jack Conners and Herb Conaway, and many local political leaders, will highlight how Wal-Mart has repeatedly failed America and our community.
Sure, Wal-Mart has failed America. Failed all of us by bringing us decent quality goods, when we need them, at reasonable prices. While employing 1.3 million people. Profitably.
Their excuse for all the big-company bashing is, of course, "the children."
Speakers will, in particular, call on Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, to adopt a "Zero Tolerance" policy and promise the American people that Wal-Mart will forever end its exploitation of children in the United States and globally, and will no longer break child labor laws in America.
Because, of course, zero-tolerance policies work so well.
Local teachers, community leaders, and students, will also discuss the growing negative effect Wal-Mart has on all of America's families and children, as well as our public schools, because the company increasingly shifts its costs on to American taxpayers.
This press conference is taking place on school property, specifically the Samuel L. Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, New Jersey. Seems to me, that by using a public facility for their press conference, UFCW, the teacher's unions, and the politicians are shifting the cost of their campaign against Wal-Mart onto the taxpayers of Edgewater Park. I wonder how many hours of overtime this will require by the police department, the school maintenance folks, etc.

Our family will be purchasing school supplies at Wal-Mart this year.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers Eleven


New Jersey has many different types of bloggers, covering more topics than I ever imagined possible. Previous hosts have organized posts alphabetically, geographically, randomly, and by methods I am unable to discern with my limited mental capacity. I am humbled by the efforts of my predecessors, and hope you will appreciate my own contribution as much as I have theirs. So now, the Carnival:

Jersey daily life
a common topic of blogs
across Garden State

A mother's nightmare:
sick kid, emergency room.
White hot Mommy rage.

Rob picks up a meme
and shares the things he misses.
Memories of youth.

Jersey City bound?
Public service announcement
from Dojo Mojo.

New Jersey heat wave.
Tigerhawk's saving power,
only four PCs.

Cobweb Studios
photoblogs around our state.
Drawbridge near turnpike.

Beer or Piscopo?
Sinatra in Hoboken.
Where is the remote?

New Jersey humor
always gives me a chuckle.
Thanks, Parkway Rest Stop!

Soul bits gone missing,
Center of New Jersey Life
hearing old music.

PDC Ryan
is taking the bar exam.
Almost a lawyer.

Mary is also,
and spends a difficult day
creamless, breakfastless.

Debbie Galant notes
Much Ado about Garbage.
Commenters abound.

Joe sounds so angry.
Irresponsible woman
needs to see a shrink.

Jeff at Buzzmachine
makes a clean break with the past.
No more AO-Hell.

Jersey miracle.
Hoboken housing project:
Jesus statue sees.

Nightfly likes movies.
Amadeus makes the cut.
A month of good films.

Bob takes care of pets
while Gina enjoys The Shore.
Cat psychology.

Precious appliance
almost burns down This Full House.
The art of toasting.

When it comes to dance
Tami can't get serious,
but Nietzsche sure could.

Internet quiz time.
Pictures not all that they seem.
Think helicopter.

Cell phone ICE
In case of emergency
contact your loved ones.

Dental fetishist
tries to hit on Gigglechick.
Results not pretty.

Jersey politics
generate conversation
and create a buzz

Dynamobuzz says
ex-New Jersey senator
not fit for prime time.

Newark Policeman
slain. Gangs in the streets: Why? How?
Professor Kim asks.

Monmouth County "club":
LittleSilvered likes it not,
but New York is worse.

Whom should Newark trust?
Enlighten New Jersey notes
Forrester leading.

Gymnasium costs
spiral uncontrollably.
Thirteen point eight mil!

Meanwhile, SCC
has blown all of our money.
RBM: "No more!"

Outraged at Abbotts,
New political blogger
is Assemblyman.

Home rule is not cheap.
Double-dippers make it worse.
G.D.'s solution.

Beach access ruling.
Time and tide wait for no man
at Opinion Mill.

Math not improved by
state education money
in Abbott districts

Town changes its name:
Belmar? No, it's Lake Como.
Map Quest does not care.

Millburn gets a clock,
Nancy and David get ad.
True philanthropy?

United States pols
get their share of attention
in the Garden State

Political Dogs:
"liberals under my bed"
summertime reading

Princess Tata gives
Vice Presidential advice.
Think he will listen?

Poetic Leanings:
Org chart for Republicans -
Dante's Inferno.

John Roberts Gay? No.
Not really. But maybe yes.
greeneggs explores it.

Sluggo skips his nap
to ponder religious tests.
Dems need to step back.

Enlighten ponders
Hillary, Condi Oh-Eight:
why not their last names?

Terrorism is
a problem for all of us.
Bloggers have their say.

Mary Madigan
Covers Muslim Brotherhood.
This is light posting?

Gigglechick transforms
Bag search opportunities
to story treatment.

New Jersey Transit
can't protect its passengers.
SloppyDawg tells how.

Sometimes food brings up
a conversational urge.
Here are examples.

Yummy baklava
from a Lithuanian?
Secret recipe.

Inadmissible idea!
Hondo wants your thoughts.

Red Snapper isn't
what you might believe it is:
Reptilian broth.

issues affect New Jersey.
We write about them.

Dead Russian spammer
got what was coming to him.
Jim says "Too badsky."

Ali Abdullah Saleh
can release a child from jail.
Sign the petition.

Is Saleh running?
Armies of Liberation
has the full story.

A treaty is passed.
"repeal ... all import quotas"
Fausta likes free trade.

Free trade book review:
Steve says, Ideal weekend read.
Would Friedman agree?

Nuclear power
lets China make hydrogen.
We need power plants.

The French have some gall
criticizing the shuttle.
Can't build a damn roof.

Summer is a time
to kick back and enjoy life.
Bloggers do it well.

Lazy July week.
Vacation doing nothing,
except barbecue.

Perfect Pink Sunday
(except the poison ivy)
pondering boyfriends.

Down at Ell Bee Eye
Shamrocketship drinks and tans.
Girls do a tough job.

courtesy of her husband,
Suzette learns new word.

Ocean County Fair.
Many photographs taken.
Bet the girls had fun.

Everything's All Right
Down the Shore
with Count Basie,
"the Kid from Red Bank."

Bradley Beach pictures
show "Down the Shore" in color.
Nice traffic photo!

Thanks for stopping in, reading this far, and not going insane in the process. Next week, the Carnival moves to The Center of NJ Life, hosted by Sharon. Post early, post often, and forward your links to

TTLB UberCarnival