Sometimes an idea that seems too good to be true is just that. One of those ideas is being touted by President-Elect Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress as a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal and replace” strategy. The idea is to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines. This regurgitated policy proposal is a popular sound bite, let consumers save money by purchasing health insurance coverage from another state where the policy may be cheaper. However, this proposal, which has been kicked around for well over a decade, is a bad idea.
"Remember, guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” This maxim was said to me when I got my firearms ID and has been recanted numerous times by proponents of the 2nd Amendment when faced with the conversation on our country’s passion for firearms. And, the truth is that they’re right! Guns in the hands of those bent on destruction and malice towards their fellow members of humanity or themselves are a recipe for disaster. Additionally, guns in untrained hands have also been shown to have the same unfortunate and disastrous outcome. But, the gun itself is simply an object or a tool for that destruction. I think that is important that we attempt to understand the science behind why and how firearm violence occurs. This understanding is critical towards removing the emotion from the gun debate. Hopefully, this will allow us to move towards a position where gun-control and gun-rights advocates can agree on some common sense approaches to reduce its impact on our society.
My fellow Americans,
As the results of our Presidential election have settled in, the emotions and passions associated with those results still run high. Many of us, regardless of our preferred candidate, felt very passionately about this election. Now that the outcome has been decided, we must take the high road and embrace our fellow citizens as we attempt to move forward as a nation.
No one ever woke up one day and said, “Today, I will become hooked on heroin.” However, for far too many New Jersey residents the pain of this disease is far too real. One of the most sobering experiences of my life was when I visited a heroin recovery support group. There, men and women, who continue to fight this sickness, shared with me their pain of addiction. I must admit I was not shocked by their stories, as my family has faced this scourge of addiction, but it did bring me right back to those difficult memories in my own life.
I listened to their stories of the intense high of heroin and how the feeling becomes so addictive that you will do anything and everything you can to feel that way again. How when you aren’t on it, your body aches and you cannot sleep or think clearly…or how your mind is dominated of thoughts on getting high again. I was told of the close calls with death and the abandonment of family and friends just to chase that high. They also shared with me their stories of immense regret and sadness, on how their lives had spiraled out of control…the fellow addicts they lost to this disease along the way and how they were seemingly powerless to combat their addiction.
There are a lot of important issues facing our state these days. Many have been discussed and debated through my blog posts over the years. One issue that I take very personally is in the area of animal protection and safety. So, while some may not read much of this week’s post past the headline because it isn’t as important to you as it is to me, I invite you to indulge me on this particular topic. Perhaps you will see why I care about it so much.
There are an estimated 82 million cats in the United States, making them among our most popular pets. Yet, there is a “medical” practice that many from around the globe have deemed to be barbaric, out of touch and frankly an unnecessary procedure: declawing.
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.
I was 17 years old and sat down at my family’s kitchen table with my father to have “The Talk”. Now this talk wasn’t about the birds and the bees but rather something more important. He said to me that now that I was driving he wanted to talk to me about my potential interactions with law enforcement. He never tried to scare me about what could happen if I get stopped, but rather how I should behave when I did. I remember this story because I recall having the same conversation with my oldest son when he turned the same age. The conversation centered around not making sudden movements or being combative on these occasions. No matter whether I thought I was in the right or not, the idea was to leave the encounter without it escalating into something far worse.