Obama: Trump is trying to ‘kneecap’ Postal Service

Former President Barack Obama condemned President Donald Trump in a new interview over his efforts to “actively kneecap” the United States Postal Service in order to frustrate mail-in voting ahead of the November election — casting the maneuvers by his White House successor as “unique to modern political history.”

The criticism from Obama came in response to Trump’s admission Thursday that he opposes additional funding for the federal agency and election security grants because those provisions would help facilitate voting by mail amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

“What we’ve never seen before is a president say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the Postal Service to [discourage] voting, and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it.’ That’s sort of unheard of,” Obama told David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager and longtime adviser, in an interview on Cadence13’s Campaign HQ podcast released Friday.

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‘This is Not a Normal Election Year’

By Fred Snowflack | August 14, 2020

Insider NJ

 

Why are many Republicans so opposed to voting-by-mail?

After all, it is easier to vote by mail and you’d think a political party would want to make things easier for its supporters. And this should be especially true if, as studies suggest, your core voters skew older than Democratic supporters.

Perhaps not. The all-Republican Morris County freeholders this week endorsed in-person voting, suggesting outside polling places and spreading out voting over a few days. Give them credit for creativity.

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November election in N.J. to be mostly mail-in, Murphy will announce

Posted Aug 13, 2020

November’s elections in New Jersey — which includes the presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden — will be mostly mail-in as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the state, Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce Friday, NJ Advance Media has confirmed.

That means all of the state’s 6.2 million registered voters will be sent ballots to vote by mail in the Nov. 3 elections, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

There will also be a select number of local polling places across the state for people who choose to vote in person, the sources said.

The hybrid setup will be the same as the state’s July primary elections, which were delayed a month and conducted mostly mail-in to help protect against COVID-19. Murphy also delayed a number of local elections earlier in the year and made those races vote-by-mail only.

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Another Worry for School Districts as They Consider Fall Reopening — the Minefield of Legal Liability

JOHN MOONEY | AUGUST 14, 2020

NJ Spotlight

File photo: Aug. 5, 2020, elementary school students wait for classes to begin in Godley, Texas.

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As New Jersey’s school districts make reopening decisions — and the state issues new guidance, almost by the day — a question has come up more and more: Can schools be held legally liable if one of those decisions turns out to be wrong?

At least one bill has been filed in the Legislature that would grant schools immunity from civil liability in the case of a child or staff member getting sick from COVID-19, as has another that applies to colleges and universities.

The state school boards association this week posted its own guidance for members on potential liability, saying the law already provides some protections but also advising local boards to talk to their attorneys and check their insurance policies.

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Christie: Lobbying for Attention

By Carl Golden | August 13, 2020

Insider NJ

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

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With former Gov. Chris Christie’s recent rant holding the Murphy Administration responsible for the COVID-19 related deaths of thousands of nursing home patients, the political/media complex leapt into speculation overdrive, interpreting his tirade as evidence he intended to play a significant role in the 2021 election or as a step toward seeking a return to the office he left nearly three years ago.

The more logical explanation, though, is his tirade represented a well-documented craving for attention, a near insatiable desire to stand firmly astride the political landscape towering over everyone else.

His eight years as governor stand as irrefutable testimony to his obsession with occupying the center of attention, the individual around whom the political universe revolved no matter the issue or controversy.

His first term was largely a success, but the second was a disaster, stained by the Bridgegate scandal and his ill-advised decision to seek the Republican presidential nomination.

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New Jersey Gives Schools an All-Remote Option

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Aug. 12, 2020

The New Jersey Education Association had criticized the lack of uniform school safety guidelines and had called for all-remote instruction to protect its members and students from the risk of contracting the coronavirus.Credit...

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Gov. Philip D. Murphy is giving New Jersey districts the option to offer all-virtual classes when school resumes next month, relaxing his original requirement that teachers provide some in-person classroom instruction.

The policy shift comes as the state’s powerful teachers union for the first time publicly called for an all-virtual start to the school year given the risks still posed by the coronavirus.

It also follows decisions by two of New Jersey’s largest urban districts, Jersey City and Elizabeth, to offer only virtual instruction — plans that were in direct conflict with the governor’s original position and would have required approval from the state.

To be eligible to start the year with all-remote instruction, a district must be able to document why it cannot safely provide in-person instruction and set a date for a return to school, Mr. Murphy said.

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Booker tells Trump ‘your racism is showing’ after president hits him on low income housing in suburbs

Posted Aug 12, 2020

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday told President Donald Trump “your racism is showing” on Twitter after the president suggested that Booker and Joe Biden would push policies for low income housing to “invade” suburban neighborhoods.

Trump said on Twitter that Booker would run a Biden administration program to build low-income housing in suburban neighborhoods after bringing back a rule that the president rescinded, and therefore the “suburban housewife” would be voting Republican.

Booker responded on Twitter with one sentence:

“Donaled, your racism is showing.”

Booker added an extra E to the president’s first name after Trump had misspelled Booker’s first name (calling him Corey).

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Drugmaker from Japan relocating its N.J. workers to long-vacant site

Posted Aug 12, 2020

An oncology and neurology pharmaceutical company from Japan said Tuesday it would relocate all of its New Jersey employees to the former Hoffman-La Roche site on the border of Essex and Passaic counties.

Eisai Inc., of Tokyo, plans to transfer up to 1,200 of its research and development employees from Woodcliff Lake in Bergen County to the 116-acre site on the Nutley-Clifton border in late 2021, according to an announcement on the company’s website.

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NJ Supreme Court Says Gov. Murphy Can Borrow Billions Without Voter Approval. But There’s a Restriction

JOHN REITMEYER | AUGUST 12, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote the court’s unanimous opinion.

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New Jersey’s Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that affirmed Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration can borrow billions of dollars without voter approval to offset revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s highest court concluded in a unanimous opinion that the ongoing health crisis represents the type of major emergency that allows for bonds to be sold without voter sign-off under an exception to restrictions on borrowing and spending in the state Constitution.

But the opinion also said the emergency exception is not unlimited, and that the Murphy administration will have to clearly define in formal certifications the budget hole created by the health crisis before issuing any debt as part of its response.

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Will N.J. allow schools to reopen all-remote? Here’s what the governor has been saying.

Posted Aug 11, 2020

In late June, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a plan for the more than 2,500 public schools in New Jersey to reopen for in-person classes this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic, albeit with restrictions like masking and social distancing.

“The return to school will pose challenges, but we are confident that New Jersey’s school districts can move forward in a way that best serves the needs of their district while also achieving a safe environment for students and staff,” Murphy said while detailing the plan June 26.

And in the days after that, the governor said his “bias, hope, expectation” was for students to head back inside buildings. Currently, the state guidelines say all public schools districts are expected to offer some in-person classes.

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