One of the many reasons that I love spring is due to the return of baseball. Some of my fondest memories growing up center around the game, and spending time with my Dad talking, watching and most years lamenting the woes of our favorite team each and every spring. That rite of the season is something I truly miss.
And frankly, is there anything more American than baseball, which, to slightly mimic a famous comedy routine, has been “very, very good to us”?Read more
We’re not the first, but this is one time New Jersey should be an enthusiastic follower.
I’m referring to Tennessee, which recently launched the country’s first animal abuse registry.
The approach is very simple. In Tennessee, if you are convicted of animal abuse, your name appears on a registry for two years. If you are convicted of animal abuse a second time, your name appears on the registry for five years.
The idea is particularly pertinent if someone plans on working with animals. Just as we place extra trust in teachers and law enforcement, so too should we ensure that those engaged in the handling of animals have a spotless record.Read more
I told a friend that my next blog was going to be about poverty in America. He blinked rapidly in succession. “Big topic,” he said.
“Important topic,” I replied.
But he had a point. The immensity of the poverty issue continues to be nothing short of stunning. I confirmed this belief when I learned about the numbers.Read more
Whether as a child, a teenager, or an adult, we have all sustained an injury or illness. It’s just a part of life. Sometimes these things are minor in nature; other times they are much more serious. When the serious times arrive, many of us are fortunate enough to secure quality health care services that we can afford. But for thousands of people across New Jersey, quality affordable health care remains elusive. It is something we as a state and as a nation can no longer tolerate.Read more
Can you think of any subject where there is unanimous agreement that results in constant grousing other than on the subject of property taxes? Everyone complains, and I’m sure that you’ve never heard your neighbor say, “My property taxes are too low.”
But New Jersey residents, in particular, have solid footing for their complaints. We have the highest average property taxes in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation and the Fiscal Times. And, our residents have faced the gradual and tenacious rise of taxes for years. The average statewide property tax rose from $8,161 in 2014 to its highest level in New Jersey history at $8,353 in 2015.Read more
Most of us recall the frequent admonition of our parents from when we were younger: Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd. They had a basic fear. Associating with the wrong crowd could unduly influence our moral and personal code in a negative fashion. And when we did dabble in the wrong crowd, in the back of our brain, we knew in this instance that our parents were right.Read more
So you want to be a educator?
How would you feel about overseeing the teaching of kids, 70 percent of whom live below the poverty line? What would you do if about 10 percent of your students were homeless? Any thoughts about spending your own money to help these students buy all those extras? You know things like deodorant, toothpaste and other hygiene products that many of us take for granted?
Probably not an appealing proposition and no one would blame you if you took a pass. But, thousands of people accept that challenge every day. And, I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with them to try and make education more equitable and rewarding for the children of our great state. Beverly School District Superintendent Elizabeth “Liz” Giacobbe, is someone who lives and embraces that challenge every day. And, from my perspective truly embodies what an educational leader is all about.Read more
We know the popular advice. Don’t talk about politics and religion during a dinner party because to do so would only result in a social misstep or something worse. Many consider it a volatile social cocktail.
That is precisely why we shouldn’t be afraid to mix the two in any discussion. And by refraining from a discussion, in a fair-minded and reasonable manner, we only confirm a misguided taboo.Read more
Some years back, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jimmy Breslin wrote a book entitled, “How the Good Guys Finally Won,” which took to task members of the Nixon administration during Watergate.
The subject is different, but the title of this blog captures the spirit of the moment: The Good Guys (that’s you, the citizens of New Jersey) finally have a victory against some of the most despicable companies in operation throughout most of the United States. These are predatory lenders who participate in what is often called “payday loans.”
Just what is predatory lending? Allow debt.org to answer: “Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower. It is also any practice that convinces a borrower to accept unfair terms through deceptive, coercive, exploitative or unscrupulous actions for a loan that a borrower doesn’t need, doesn’t want or can’t afford.”Read more
The next time you fill a glass of water from your faucet, it might not be surprising if you think of Flint, Michigan.
Given Flint’s recent media coverage and the unconscionable conduct of leaders responsible for that fiasco, is anyone unaware of how important, indeed, precarious our access is to clean, safe and plentiful water? And, water problems aren’t confined only to Flint, where residents unknowingly drank water contaminated with lead for months. Before Flint, there was the issue of lead-leached water in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland and in 2008 when gallons of toxic coal ash containing lead flowed into the Tennessee River causing enormous hardships to the people of that area. Clean, safe water and the infrastructure that delivers and protects it are a major problem throughout the United States.
What we face today are a myriad of circumstances and a culture of modest indifference that have pooled together and gurgled upward to give New Jersey residents and the rest of the United States a clean water crisis.Read more