Recently, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani challenged publicly whether or not President Barack Obama loves America.
The back-story occurred last week when Mr. Giuliani was attending a dinner for potential Republican presidential hopeful Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at the swanky New York 21 restaurant. According to New York Magazine, Giuliani said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. ... He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."Read more
The discomfort over educational testing in New Jersey is increasing as parents ponder whether or not they should allow their children to take the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). What is adding urgency to the debate is that the first round of the PARCC is in March. The name of the test reflects its intended purpose: to ensure that a student is both prepared for and successful in college. The results of the test also play a role in a teacher’s evaluation. The more students who score well would, as expected, reflect positively on the teacher.Read more
This is serious business. There appear to be 216,000-plus New Jersey residents who have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act, but about 500,000 who have not. (Some estimates place the number at 900,000 New Jersey residents who are eligible and uninsured.)
The deadline for 2015 enrollment is Feb. 15, a short three days before the deadline. You can sign up NOW by visiting www.HealthCare.gov.
Please enroll. It is your right under the law. If there has ever been a reason for participatory democracy, I can hardly think of a better one than participating in the Affordable Care Act.Read more
This month is Black History Month. Throughout this period, we will be exposed to the dreams, struggles and achievements of African Americans, often highlighted by their quest for truth and justice. (We should note that Canada and the United Kingdom also have a Black History Month.) However, Black History Month is much more than a historical reflection for African Americans. It is a reminder that it is history for all of us. While I’m certainly proud of the individual achievements of my ancestors, as a legislator who represents people of every color, creed and ethnicity, this month points to an even greater reason to celebrate.Read more
January is National Mentoring Month. This is an ideal time to think about the impact that each of us can have on one another by giving our time to offer guidance and counsel. Too often, we shy away from the chance to do this simple act of positive encouragement. When I was young, my parents had a picture of a man reaching back over a wall pulling someone else up to achieve the same goal he had done. This picture embodied this ideal perfectly. It's not enough for one to "make it" themselves. It is our responsibility to bring someone else to the same achievement.
Research shows that young people who interact with mentors on a consistent basis are less likely to abuse drugs and engage in violent behavior, and more likely to graduate from high school and continue their education through college. Furthermore, a mentor's position as a positive role model can inspire children to strive for success, and instill a sense of confidence that will allow them to achieve their full potential in school, their communities, and in their future careers.Read more
In New Jersey, we adhere to Megan’s Law. It is named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who, in 1996, was raped and murdered by a neighbor, a convicted sex offender. Megan’s law is the informal name that some states use for laws requiring sex offenders to register with authorities. It is a good law, one that I support and that I believe may have deterred possible attacks by repeat sexual predators. However, I believe we can strengthen its provisions.Read more
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 19, I can’t help but think about the tumultuous times we seem to find ourselves in lately. We could certainly use his steady hand, implacable courage and profound faith to lead us in meeting these new challenges. They seem to be everywhere, whether it’s an issue of race relations, continued economic inequality or terrorism emanating from some misguided interpretation of religion.Read more
Sometimes a simple test of basic knowledge gives a person insight into whether they know something that most of us would consider obvious or fundamental. If you have a high school student (or older) at home, ask your child if they know who is the vice president of the United States. Then ask them to name at least ONE of the two U.S. senators from New Jersey. Finally, ask them who their state representative is. If they answered all correctly, fabulous. One or two correct answers is a positive sign … but if your child failed completely, well then, a civics lesson just might be in order. Indeed, as a parent, you might consider taking the same test. I won't ask how you did though.Read more
Judge Sol Wachter once famously said that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich." While that may seem funny to some, it is an alarming concept to think about in the context of our country's system of jurisprudence for many others. I have often heard this phrase repeated in popular culture through television, movies or in casual conversation when discussing the court system. It refers to the idea that many times prosecutors achieve indictments against someone, almost regardless of the circumstances, when they place a case before a grand jury.Read more
The foundation of our government is ingrained in the hallowed words of our Constitution: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."Read more