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PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

tt36b.jpgI wanted to take a different approach to this week's blog post. So often, I write about policy or current events but I wanted to share with you a piece of poetry that I wrote some time ago. But first, I wanted to talk to you about why arts education is so critically important. Education in the arts, in my opinion, is essential to the development of each human being. Those who have studied the mechanics of education throughout history have emphasized the importance of the arts education in the process. Study of the arts is integral to our society. They are a part of the cultural heritage of every citizen of our country, and make us more complete as people. Whether your particular flavor is theater, poetry, dance, visual art or music, I believe the key to being a well-rounded human being is to be exposed to and try new things.

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POLITICKERNJ’s 50 Most Powerful Elected Officials: 2014

Below is this year’s PolitickerNJ list of the 50 most powerful elected officials in the State of New Jersey.

As always, this is obviously an inexact science, ultimately only prompting questions about the very nature of power.

At the heart of those questions lies the difference between organizational power, where politicians work within a specific political structure to accomplish legislative or executive goals; versus individual power, where the right to exercise one’s First Amendment without care of organizational consequences, creates its own unique kind of influence.

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The Governor’s Failing Grade on Transparency

tt35.jpgI used to love Sesame Street when I was a kid. I could watch it for hours sitting in amazement at that show. One of my favorite parts was learning what letter or word the show was brought to the viewers by. Taking a page from that childhood classic, today's post is brought to you by the word "transparent".

The dictionary defines "transparent" by using the following words: "easily understood....obvious...open... easily recognized or detected". I must admit that I find myself troubled as to how this seemingly clear definition is turned upside down in Trenton these days.

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The LG conundrum

The rubber chicken circuit role as embodied by a vastly overshadowed Kim Guadagno has politicos quietly re-evaluating the office of lieutenant governor.

The way it’s mostly defined now – as a silent second banana to the most powerful governor in the country – has created an uptick in speculation about the job’s future.

Given six years of precedent, does anyone truly want to be the LG of New Jersey?

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A Matter of Dying With Dignity

tt34_.jpgIt continues to be one of the most emotional issues of our day. Should a person have the right to terminate their life if they face impending death because of a medical condition? This issue bubbles to the surface as more states begin to legislate or place on the ballot the question of doctor-assisted suicide. It reaches the national conversation and bursts into the public's consciousness when someone becomes a cause célèbre over the issue. We only need to recall the tumultuous reaction to the Karen Ann Quinlan case (d. 1985) and Terri Schiavo story (d. 2005) to know that to be the case.

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South Jersey Democratic Party Universe Gutcheck

This is interesting. South Jersey sources talk about the probable retirement of several veteran Democratic brand names, Jim Whelan, Fred Madden and Steve Sweeney (from the senate, at least), among them. To give itself the best shot at maintaining all seats intact (and maybe even adding a senate seat!), the South must put LD7 in play in 2017 and single out conquest of that office currently occupied by veteran Republican Senator Diane Allen. That means the ascent of either Singleton or his district-mate, Herb Conaway (see below). Political advisor to the Carpenters and an acolyte of former Speaker Roberts, Singleton seems tailor-made for the speakership. But like Greenwald (above), he suffers a timing factor created by Sweeney playing the role of gubernatorial contender and the immediate legislative leadership limitations that places on the rest of the sitting senate president’s mates. Sweeney can’t get anything from the north by promising the speakership to Singleton. Thus, the Singleton story is one more illustration of how Sweeney seemingly stymies those two young men most obviously right on the bubble of power. But when one considers the discipline of the South Jersey Democratic operation and the horrific downside for Singleton (a staunch Building Tradesman) or Greenwald (his late mother a dear friend of GN3) if they step out of line, it also confirms the power structure Sweeney commands as he undertakes his own advance.

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Obstructing YOUR Right to Vote in Ohio

tt33.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong. Recently, the court split along political lines, voting 5-4 in an emergency order that would deny Ohio voters access to voting on the Sunday before Election Day. They overturned several previous Ohio rulings by a federal judge and the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals that denied an attempt to close polls as an early voting option.

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Hey, You! Don’t Get Into My Cloud!!

tt32.jpgIn BC time (before computers), if you graduated from college and needed a transcript, you would contact the school, pay a small fee and ask them to send a copy of your grades to a prospective employer, for example.You would usually share some private information such as year of graduation and social security number to confirm your identity. It was simple and it worked.

That was yesteryear. Today, an informational deluge resides with various educational institutions, in everything from grades to health records. And because of technology and the sheer onslaught of record keeping, educational institutions are turning to cloud computing services to maintain, store and protect this torrent of information. The problem is simple. These companies hold some of the most private educational and related information about us, yet few guidelines dictate their use of our data.

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Moose’s Legacy: The One Time You DON’T Get A Second Chance

There’s a lot of cruelty in the world.tt_31.jpg

It’s almost impossible to watch a news show without a rise in blood pressure after hearing someone explain how they’ve been the victims of some cruel act.

However, for most victims of cruelty, they can eventually raise a voice about their plight. Most, that is, except for one group that is always silent, no matter how much they are mistreated: our pets and animal friends.

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The “Job” You Never Considered

tt30.jpgA common phrase that we hear all the time, especially when we judge those who we look up to, is the term “role model”. We constantly refer to upstanding and outstanding individuals whom we admire from afar and yet are close enough that we believe that they are worthy to emulate in this way. For some, finding these viable role models over the course of our day-to-day life can be challenging.

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