OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TRENTON - The state plan to use the NJ Lottery profits to shore up the broke pension system appears like a good way to pump in $1 billion. But The Washington Post is raising many an eyebrow over Gov. Chris Christie's claim that it will "provide an immediate reduction in the state's long-term retiree obligations by $13.5 billion." The newspaper likens the plan to moving a dollar from one pocket to another and then proclaiming you now have $13.50! The concern is that other states may mimic this "lottery lollapalooza," if the deal somehow gets the blessing of major credit ratings and the Government Accounting Standards Board, doing further damage to underfunded pensions around the nation with all the misleading bookkeeping. The buck stops, so to speak, with these credit agencies, which have the spectacular ability to slice through the political BS. State workers, and those trying to enjoy their retirement from government service, should be closely following the experts' opinions on the matter.
TRENTON - You have to wonder about the seriousness of President Trump's "vote fraud" panel, demanding that each state provide voter data. New Jersey has no plans to comply with the request. But the Philadelphia Inquirer cleverly notes that the federal commission only needs to drum up 65 cents to purchase the information from the state, featuring lists of every voter, county by county, along with a unique voter ID number, address, date of birth, party affiliation, voter status, etc. So, 65 cents for all this, for those willing to drive to Trenton to pick up a CD. Or the state will even mail it to Washington D.C. But that would jack up the cost to $2.55.
NEWTON - It's an offbeat way to get attention, but Mayor Wayne Levante thinks his online petition is just quirky enough to lure a big grocery store chain into his Sussex County town, NJ.com says. Levante is desperate for Trader Joe's to open here - the famous purveyor of "two-buck chuck" - targeting the business in his iPetitions.com appeal. The growing California-based chain already has a dozen New Jersey stores, but none are way the heck up in Sussex County. So far, the mayor's petition has nearly 1,650 signatures. Yes, the frozen crab cakes must be that tasty.
ALPINE - No surprise that Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov wants to cash out of his ritzy estate here. It's priced to sell fast at a measly, bargain basement price of $7 million, much less than he paid. After all, Agalarov - known as the "Donald Trump of Russia" - and his pop singer son, Emin, are now under fire for apparently peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton to Trump Jr. Realtor.com says this makes Agalarov a motivated seller for his seven-bedroom, eight-bath French-style mansion. It comes fully furnished, with a library, wine cellar, two pools and perhaps plenty of terrific recording and surveillance equipment.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
VALENCIA, CA. - Imagine a Super Soaker so powerful that it can shatter windows, split watermelons, or drench your noisy neighbors with the yappy dog. Okay, stop imagining. It's here! And it's the latest creation from Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer who last year built the world's biggest Nerf gun. Rober tells The Verge he's sure his souped-up Super Soaker will also set a Guinness World Record. It's seven feet long and uses pressurized nitrogen gas to shoot water at 243 mph, or 2,400 pounds per square inch. Powerful enough to pick a water fight with a fire truck, or seek anonymous revenge on that bully one town over.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Assume the lines were only two hours long for the Dumbo ride, when Disneyland opened to the public on this day in 1955 in Anaheim, California. It was a spectacular investment: Only $17 million to build on 160 acres; it now generates $3 billion a year, fueled by overpriced turkey legs and Mickey apparel that seemed to look cool in the park.
WORD OF THE DAY
Exculpatory - [ik-SKUHL-puh-TAW-ree] - adjective
Definition: Evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial that can clear him of guilt. It is the opposite of inculpatory evidence, which tends to prove guilt.
Example: My son presented exculpatory evidence, proving he wasn't the one who left the ice cream carton on the counter over the weekend.
WEATHER IN A WORD