His Reality Is a Mock Village Where Everybody Knows Him

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

March 9, 2020

At LifeTown, Kenneth Kaufman, who has autism, can pay for items in a controlled setting, like at a miniature ShopRite.Credit...

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LIVINGSTON, N.J. — The commotion began just as the teenage boy was to pay for his apple juice. He flapped his hands wildly, tugged at the noise-canceling headphones atop his brown curls and then turned to his mother to deliver a head butt.

The supermarket cashier stood quietly, her smile unwavering as she patiently waited for the boy’s mood to stabilize.

Kenneth Kaufman, 15, has autism, and is something of a regular here in this small grocery store inside LifeTown, a 53,000-square-foot complex dedicated to helping people with autism and other physical and intellectual disabilities to deal with everyday activities.

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Coronavirus: As Murphy Declares State of Emergency, Officials Focus on Mitigation, Containment

LILO H. STAINTON | MARCH 10, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at a coronavirus press conference, New Jersey Regional Operations & Intelligence Center in Ewing on March 5, 2020

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Public officials are working across state lines to piece together an expanding and increasingly complex puzzle when it comes to coronavirus in New Jersey, with cases diagnosed in six counties as of Monday and exposure linked to populated areas like New York City; Westchester County, New York and Boston.

The number of cases of coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, has ramped up quickly in recent days in the Garden State and throughout the tri-state region — as public health experts predicted — prompting New Jersey leaders to focus additional attention on strategies to mitigate the impact of the virus on local communities, in addition to continuing their efforts to prevent or contain its spread entirely.

Monday evening, Gov. Phil Murphy declared a public health emergency across all 21 counties, signing an executive order that provides greater flexibility and additional resources for the response. “The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy said.

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Whitman: Elect More Women to Counteract Misogyny in NJ Politics

COLLEEN O'DEA | MARCH 9, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman

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While she won’t be at tonight’s hearing of the committee looking into the mistreatment of women in New Jersey politics, the only woman elected to New Jersey’s highest office has at least one suggestion for improving the lot of women in politics everywhere: Elect more women.

“It’s unfortunate, but New Jersey is not alone,” said Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey’s first — and still only — female governor about continuing sexism in politics.

The ad hoc Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics convened by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (R-Bergen) is holding its second public listening session tonight at Rowan College at Burlington County in Mount Laurel from 4 p.m. to 7:30 pm. Weinberg, currently the highest-ranking and longest-serving woman in state government, said the sessions are both to hear from women “about their lived experiences relating to harassment, sexual assault and misogyny, and to gather ideas on steps that can be taken to positively change the political climate for women.”

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N.J. coronavirus update: Legislation would ensure Medicaid and insurance coverage

Posted Mar 06, 2020

Insurance companies and Medicaid would be required to provide coverage for testing and treatment of coronavirus in New Jersey, under bills being introduced in the Legislature.

The proposed action comes as a number of states — including California, Washington and New York — have ordered insurance companies to waive out-of-pocket costs for testing, amid conflicting signals from the Trump administration earlier in the week over who will pick up those costs.

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, meanwhile, said it is closely monitoring the situation with other state agency partners in connection with the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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Trump’s new environmental policy: Bury the facts

Posted Mar 05, 2020

By Steve C. Gold

The new regulations proposed by Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality would actually prohibit agencies from analyzing indirect or cumulative environmental impacts from projects. Climate change, of course, is the biggest cumulative impact of all, Steve Gold says.

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Fifty years ago, Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for the first time obliging the federal government to consider environmental damage when making decisions. Now the Trump Administration is proposing, by executive action, to deprive America of much of the benefit of this landmark law. The public can still weigh in on the proposed new rules, but only until March 10.

NEPA requires every federal agency to prepare an environmental impact statement for any proposed major federal action that would significantly affect the human environment. So when the Federal Highway Administration wants to fund the widening of Routes 1&9, or the Federal Aviation Administration wants to approve runway changes at Newark Airport, the agencies have to think about the environmental consequences of those actions. NEPA will not stop those projects from happening. But it will make sure that the federal agencies understand the environmental impacts and therefore have a chance to minimize the environmental damage.

For half a century, everybody has understood that a project’s “environmental impacts” go beyond its direct effects. If widening Routes 1&9 will attract new high-density development to the Meadowlands, NEPA says that the damage to the Meadowlands must be analyzed as part of the study of the road project. If runway changes at the airport are part of a larger expansion plan, NEPA says that the environmental impact of the runway changes must be analyzed in the context of the larger plan.

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Coronavirus update: First probable case announced in New Jersey

Posted Mar 04, 2020

New Jersey likely has its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, the governor’s office announced Wednesday night.

The patient, a man in his 30s, has been hospitalized since Tuesday in Bergen County following a “presumptive positive result” of the coronavirus, which causes the illness COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy and acting Gov. Sheila Oliver said.

The announcement did not name the hospital or say if the man had traveled recently.

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This big tech company gives employees $15 to buy lunch at local eateries

Posted Mar 04, 2020

As Newark residents outside braved windy, chilly weather Wednesday morning, the feeling inside the Fresh Coast eatery couldn’t have been warmer.

As customers crammed into the warm Raymond Boulevard restaurant, they were greeted by what co-owner Daniela Hoyos described as a cross between Miami and California.

Along one fauna-colored wall, a large neon sign proclaimed “high tides and good vibes.” The bright colors stood out from the walls and furniture, and tiki-style lights hung above the bar where employees assembled made-to-order poke bowls.

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Will the Supreme Court crown Trump as king? | Opinion

Posted Mar 04, 2020

By Donald Ayer, Tom Coleman and Christine Todd Whitman

President Trump’s lawyers will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that the president is absolutely immune from criminal proceedings. In their view, not only can the president not be indicted or prosecuted, he cannot even be investigated by law enforcement if he were to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

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President Trump is playing a shell game with the American people and rejecting the founding principle of this nation: We have a president, not a king.

In a case to be argued before the Supreme Court this month, Trump v. Vance, Trump’s lawyers maintain that the president is absolutely immune from criminal proceedings. In their view, not only can the president not be indicted or prosecuted, he cannot even be investigated by law enforcement if he were to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, as one of Trump’s lawyers told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

This breathtaking claim is anathema to the fundamental principle that the law applies equally to everyone, from an ordinary citizen to the president himself. That’s why we have joined 34 other former Republican officials, members of Congress and legal experts in signing a friend-of-the-court brief filed on Monday in support of New York prosecutors seeking to subpoena Trump’s financial records.

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The state wrecked this man’s life. Now, will Murphy do the right thing? | Editorial

Posted Mar 04, 2020

An innocent man is seeking a measly $200,000 in compensation from the state for his wrongful conviction, and the half a lifetime of suffering that followed.

Yet even that much, he is being denied, somewhere in the bureaucratic mire of the Murphy administration.

Dion Harrell was accused in 1988 of raping a teenage girl. A stranger had dragged her into a parking lot for the attack, and she later identified Harrell, saying she’d seen him once before at the McDonald’s where she worked.

He had several alibi witnesses who said he’d been playing basketball at the time. No matter. His life was ruined. He spent four years in prison and more than two decades as a registered sex offender, jobless and ostracized.

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The Trump sweepstakes have a personal touch that’s just a tad threatening | Opinion

Posted Mar 03, 2020

By Brock Haussamen

Brock Haussamen's letter from Team Trump 2020: “Brock, did you see President Trump’s email? We showed him the first round of Patriots who entered to win the dinner with him….He asked us why you haven’t entered yet, but we didn’t know what to tell him. Please contribute ANY AMOUNT before 11:59 PM TONIGHT.

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Since early February I’ve received solicitation letters from the Trump campaign that are intimidating, almost but not quite illegal, and probably very effective. The president’s flattering/bullying tactics seem to have reached out even to me, a life-long Democrat.

An early letter opened, “Brock, I just got out of a meeting with my team to discuss an upcoming trip to Palm Beach, Florida on March 6th, and I told them I wanted to invite YOU to join me….” It stresses that “All you have to do is contribute ANY AMOUNT and you’ll automatically be entered to win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Buttons to buy for various dollar amounts and a deadline reminder of “11:59 PM TONIGHT” followed.

On February 19, Team Trump 2020 wrote me: “Brock, did you see President Trump’s email? We showed him the first round of Patriots who entered to win the dinner with him….He asked us why you haven’t entered yet, but we didn’t know what to tell him. Please contribute ANY AMOUNT before 11:59 PM TONIGHT…” And near the closing: “Don’t make us tell him you STILL haven’t entered – get on the list NOW!”

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