Heard the One About the Disabled Muslim Comic From Jersey?

By Cara Buckley

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 29, 2018

The comic Maysoon Zayid, at home with her cat, says she wants to be “the image of the American you don’t think is American.

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CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — The stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid likes to joke that if there were a competition called the Oppression Olympics, she would win gold.

“I’m Palestinian, Muslim, I’m a woman of color, I’m disabled,” Zayid, who has cerebral palsy, tells audiences, before pausing a beat to hang her head, her long dark hair curtaining her face, “and I live in New Jersey.”

The joke lands laughs whether Zayid tells it in red states or blue, and puts people exactly where Zayid wants them: disarmed, charmed and eager for more. She told it near the beginning of her 2014 TED Talk, which drew nearly 15 million views, became the most-watched TED Talk that year and changed Zayid’s life. She now has a development deal with ABC to create a semiautobiographical sitcom called “Can-Can,” starring her.

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IN WAKE OF PITTSBURGH, JERSEY CITY KILLINGS MURPHY CALLS FOR TIGHTER GUN LAWS

JOHN REITMEYER | OCTOBER 30, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy announces support for new gun-safety measures in Trenton, flanked by Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (far left); Pamela Johnson, executive director of Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition; and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

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Gov. Phil Murphy and state lawmakers are launching another effort to tighten New Jersey’s already strict gun laws, announcing yesterday in the wake of the nation’s latest mass shooting that they will work to enact a new package of gun reforms within the next 90 days.

Among the latest anti-violence goals outlined at a news conference in Trenton yesterday, are proposals to update state law related to buying ammunition and to add a new crime for those who make “straw purchases” of guns for people already banned from owning a firearm.

The governor and Democratic legislative leaders will also look to increase funding for community-based gun-violence prevention initiatives and to update state law related to “smart guns,” which use new technology in an effort to ensure a firearm can only be discharged by its owner.

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Republican leader tells the truth: He'll gut Social Security and Medicare | Editorial

Posted October 29, 2018

Mitch McConnell, whose contempt for the middle class is so profound that it gives kleptocracy a bad name, has offered up another issue for voters to ponder over the next week: If the Republicans hold on to both houses of Congress, he suggested last week, the preferred GOP fix for the massive deficit created by their tax plan is to take a meat axe to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

Maybe he didn't plan to say that out loud, but hardly anyone was surprised when he did.

In December, amid broad bipartisan tittering, the Senate Majority Leader asserted that the tax cut - which mostly benefited corporations and the richest Americans - would actually shrink the deficit.

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African-Americans rally for social policy agenda after overwhelming Murphy support

Ryan P. Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, called on Gov. Phil Murphy to support a social policy agenda after African-Americans supported his election.
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NEWARK, NJ - A largely African-American crowd in a packed church basement in Newark voiced impatience and exasperation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, calling on him to commit to a proposed social policy agenda after they overwhelmingly committed themselves to his election. 

"Governor Phil Murphy got 94 percent of the black vote, and when you get 94 percent of a demographic's vote, you have to have specific plans to address the challenges that they face," said Ryan P. Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, before an overflow audience at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, noting the importance of the black ballot in Murphy's 2017 election win. 

Haygood's reference to the 94 percent near-unanimous black political support for Gov. Phil Murphy underscores three critical policy concerns he and other African-Americans feel the progressive Democrat has yet to address since taking office in January: changing New Jersey's youth justice system, restoring the right to vote to people with criminal convictions, and closing the racial wealth gap.

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'Major' deficiencies found at University Hospital following death of baby, state says

Posted October 25, 2018

A state inspection has uncovered "major infection control deficiencies" at University Hospital in Newark following the death of a premature baby, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

The state said its inspection of the hospital revealed issues with "hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness" and that it has created a "Directed Plan of Correction" for New Jersey's only public hospital, following an investigation that showed that the Department of Health's "recommended practices had not been implemented."

The premature baby that was in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit contracted the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, and was transferred to another unnamed facility, where the child died in late September, "prior to the Department's notification of problems in the NICU," the department stated.

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Menendez and Hugin Spar, With the Focus on Trump, in New Jersey Senate Debate

By Nick Corasaniti

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 24, 2018

Senator Robert Menendez, right, a Democrat from New Jersey, and the Republican challenger for his seat, Bob Hugin, engaged in a generally civil debate on Wednesday night in Newark.

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By Nick Corasaniti THE NEW YORK TIMES Oct. 24, 2018 Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his Republican challenger, Bob Hugin, squared off in a debate Wednesday night that simmered with an undercurrent of contempt, but rarely erupted into the mudslinging that has defined the race as the candidates repeatedly focused their disagreements on President Trump’s record.

The only scheduled debate between the men took place as the contest for Mr. Menendez’s seat has become unexpectedly close. Mr. Menendez is seeking re-election in a deeply blue state where Mr. Trump is immensely unpopular during a year when Democratic energy is surging.

But dogged by a federal corruption trial last year that ended in a hung jury, Mr. Menendez has maintained slim leads in most polls and has come under a wave of negative attacks from Mr. Hugin. A poll from Rutgers University released on Wednesday found Mr. Menendez leading by 5 points.

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WHAT DOES WHERE THEY STAND ON TRUMP SAY ABOUT HUGIN, MENENDEZ — AND FOR NJ?

COLLEEN O'DEA | OCTOBER 23, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Republican challenger Bob Hugin, left, and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

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Behind the nasty political ads dominating New Jersey’s battle for a U.S. Senate seat are two candidates who seem to share similar positions on many issues, at least on the surface, although how strongly the GOP challenger supports President Donald Trump is up for debate.

Incumbent Bob Menendez, 64, has a record and is clear in his support of Democratic positions on issues ranging from healthcare to gun control and opposes virtually everything about the Trump administration.

Where former pharmaceuticals executive Bob Hugin, 63, stands is less clear. At least some of his TV ads do not even mention he is a Republican. He says he will be an independent voice for New Jerseyans if elected and espouses several positions that appear to clash with those of Trump’s — although he was a convention delegate for Trump and donated to his campaign in 2016. In other instances, Hugin has supported some of Trump’s actions outright, most recently backing the controversial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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ACCESS TO MEDICINAL MARIJUANA CONTINUES TO EXPAND UNDER MURPHY

LILO H. STAINTON | OCTOBER 22, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Nearly twice as many patients are able to benefit from New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, compared to involvement in January, and access to the medicine has been eased, with hundreds of additional prescribers available and the wait time for treatment cut in half.

That’s the latest from the state Department of Health, which oversees the Garden State’s medicinal cannabis program and which is scheduled to release new data today.

The state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program now covers some 34,000 residents, half of whom have signed up for the nearly decade-old program in the past nine months, the DOH said. The majority of these new patients are diagnosed with one of five medical conditions — which include pain from various sources, anxiety and migraines — that were made eligible for coverage when Gov. Phil Murphy significantly expanded the scope of the program in March.

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Paul Ryan jabs at 'Montclair Mikie' in campaign event, says GOP is counting on N.J.

Posted Oct 17, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan, on left, with N.J. Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-26th District, at a rally in Hanover, Oct. 17, 2018 

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House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned for 11th District Republican Congressional candidate Jay Webber on Wednesday, seeking to boost the GOP in one of the nation's most closely-watched Congressional races.

Webber, a state Assemblyman from Morris County, is in a tight race with Democrat Mikie Sherrill, in a district that ordinarily favors Republicans. The seat opened up in January after Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen decided not to seek a 13th term.

Webber's race against Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor who launched her campaign eight months before Frelinghuysen exited, is drawing national attention as Democrats seek to pick up enough seats to win control of the House on Nov. 6.

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Hugin adopts Trumpian sleaze with fake news about Menendez and hookers | Editorial

Posted Oct 17, 2018

Bob Hugin has released a TV ad which repeats six-year-old allegations that Sen. Bob Menendez had a predilection for underage prostitutes, an assertion that is based almost entirely on a single anonymous source cited in an affidavit from an FBI special agent before the senator's 2016 corruption trial. 

Even the FBI doesn't know the identity of the anonymous source, and prosecutors never felt confident enough in its reliability to include this in their indictment of Menendez. But Hugin is relying on this charge to close the gap in the polls three weeks before Election Day.

So it's time to look at the core claims. The FBI agent, Gregory Sheehy, gave 23 pages of testimony that mostly recited information from an anonymous informant who called himself "Pete Williams."

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