Too many rules? Or not enough? N.J. plan to reopen schools has district leaders scrambling.

Posted Jun 26, 2020

Closing New Jersey’s 2,500 public schools was relatively simple.

An executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy in March contained a single paragraph saying all of the state’s schools would be closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reopening those schools is proving to be more complicated.

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Township worker says he was denied federal sick pay after being exposed to coronavirus on the job

Posted Jun 26, 2020

An Irvington tax department employee claims the township denied him federal money reserved for those sickened by the coronavirus and had his paycheck reduced after he spoke up about it, according to a lawsuit.

In a complaint filed in federal court June 19, Anthony Brown, of West Orange, alleges he was exposed to the virus while working in the municipal office, after being deemed an “essential employee.” He claims Irvington did not allow him to collect money provided to those who leave work to recover from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and had multiple requests denied by the city. When Brown continued to ask for the federal aid, he began to see deductions from his paychecks, according to the lawsuit.

“Following Brown’s complaints regarding Irvington’s failure to provide him paid Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) leave, the township began making improper deductions from Brown’s pay,” the lawsuit reads. “Brown requested explanations for the deductions from his pay and demanded that the deductions stop. Irvington did not respond to Brown.”

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Trump Seals His Fate as One of the Country’s Worst Presidents Ever

By Carl Golden | June 26, 2020

Insider NJ

 

In what will surely go down as the most stunningly stupid decision to come out of any White House in the 244-year history of the republic, the Trump Administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

With the country ravaged — economically and personally — by the worst public health crisis in a century, the cadre of blockheads surrounding the president agreed that some 20 million Americans should be denied access to health insurance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected 2.7 million Americans, killed more than 120,000 and its recent resurgence in parts of the country will certainly kill many more.

Does no one in the White House read newspapers?  Or watch television?

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Murphy: ‘Everythings Gotta Be On The Table’ For Budget, Including Possible Tax Increases

By Insider NJ | June 25, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy

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On Thursday, June 25, Governor Phil Murphy held his daily press conference addressing the latest developments in the state’s war against COVID-19.

The Department of Labor released unemployment figures, reporting 33,000 initial claims last week, bringing the department’s totals to 1.3 million claims and $8.2B in benefits paid.  Murphy said, “96% of all those deemed eligible received at least one payment.”  Many of the new calls coming into the call center can be traced to specific issues.  “Even with this shift in volume to the call center, we understand some residents are experiencing wait times and we urge your continued patience.”

Murphy reported that he had a “civil but frank” discussion with postal authorities regarding ballot issues, where he asked about their training protocols and manpower status relative to the May 12 local elections.  “We need them punching fully at their weight.”

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Obamacare Must 'Fall,' Trump Administration Tells Supreme Court

June 26, 2020

NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Thursday the Trump administration reaffirmed its position that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

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In a filing with the Supreme Court, the Trump administration has reaffirmed its position that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is illegal because Congress eliminated the individual tax penalty for failing to purchase medical insurance.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court, said in a brief that the other provisions of Obamacare are impossible to separate from the individual mandate and that "it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall."

Shortly after the brief appeared on the court's docket late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "President Trump and the Republicans' campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty."

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Why the White House said no to virus testing in Trumpland | Editorial

Posted Jun 25, 2020

What are we to make of President Trump’s declaration in Tulsa that he ordered his people to “slow down” testing for coronavirus, because it drove up the numbers and made his stats look bad? 

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” the president said at his rally on Saturday. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

Let’s walk through it from South Jersey Congressman Andy Kim’s perspective, since he just went after Trump on Twitter. 

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Trump visiting N.J. after hosting rally in a hotspot, but won’t follow Murphy’s quarantine mandate

Posted Jun 24, 2020

On the heels of his mask-optional campaign rally in Arizona, President Donald Trump will not follow Phil Murphy’s new 14-day quarantine mandate when he travels to his private golf club in Bedminster on Friday, the White House said.

“The president of the United States is not a civilian,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in response to a query Wednesday from NJ Advance Media.

He said anyone who comes close to the president, including staff, guests and press, is tested for the coronavirus.

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Coming Here from a COVID-19 Hotspot? NJ Says Travelers Must Quarantine Themselves

LILO H. STAINTON | JUNE 24, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

Travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport in early February 2020

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Out-of-state travelers are being asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks when they arrive in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, if they are coming from a state with high COVID-19 rates or ongoing spread of the virus.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — who has hinted at such a strategy in the past — joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont for an online news conference Wednesday to announce the travel advisory, which takes effect at midnight.

Murphy said later the advisory, which he described as “not a polite recommendation,” would be accompanied by a public relations campaign with billboards and airport signs to inform visitors; hotels will also be asked to spread the message. But compliance depends largely on the goodwill of those visiting, he acknowledged.

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‘We can be a model.’ Newark shifts money to turn police precinct into social services HQ.

Posted Jun 24, 2020

Newark City Council on Wednesday fully passed an ordinance that will divert about $11.4 million - or 5% - from the city’s public safety budget to turn a police precinct into headquarters for social services.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka signed the ordinance hours later outside the city’s First Precinct, which will eventually be moved to make room for the new Office of Violence Prevention. The office will house social workers who will be dispatched to handle calls about mental health, homelessness or drug abuse.

“A social worker probably can deal with those issues a lot better than a person with a gun,” Baraka told reporters.

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The Six Crises of Donald Trump

By Alan Steinberg | June 23, 2020

Insider NJ

 

After he lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon wrote a political memoir entitled Six Crises.  The book served not only as a Nixon career autobiography but also as a political history of Postwar America through 1960.

The six crises described in the book included the following: 1) the Alger Hiss case; 2) the “Checkers” speech; 3) the Eisenhower heart attack of 1955; 4) the Nixon motorcade confrontation with a violent mob in Venezuela in May, 1958; 5) the Nixon “kitchen debate” verbal exchange with the leader of the former Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in 1959; and 6) the election of 1960.  The study of these episodes in the life of Richard Nixon gives the reader a vivid insight into his character, philosophy, and decision- making process.

Nixon was both a patriot and a leader of both genuine intellect and intellectual curiosity, regardless of his other flaws.  Trump is decidedly anti-intellectual and consumed by a narcissism that negates any possibility of patriotism.

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