GLEN ROCK - So much for the indigenous people of Glen Rock. The Borough Council is forgoing the latest political correctness for at least this moment, keeping "Columbus Day" on the local calendar via a unanimous vote, NJ.comreports. This was a big deal, evident in the fact that a standing-room crowd packed Borough Hall on Wednesday night. There was plenty of debate about the merits of the famous explorer vs. changing the national holiday to "Indigenous People's Day," in honor of those who were attacked, abused and enslaved by the explorers for the sake of "progress." Pros and cons were hashed and rehashed for 90 minutes before the vote, ending the debate for at least this one moment in time.
TRENTON - Money and politics go together like bread and butter. It's always interesting to see where the bread goes, who butters it and why. Speaking of which, NJ Spotlight reports that Gov. Phil Murphy may conditionally veto a bill that would require politically active nonprofits to reveal their funders. The governor has said he backs disclosure by so-called dark money organizations, but he seems ready to stall a bill that would require just that. Monday is the deadline for action by him, and campaign-finance reform advocates are getting nervous. That's why they launched an 11th-hour effort to coax the governor to sign the bill. Dark-money groups reportedly spent $50 million to influence gubernatorial and legislative races in New Jersey in 2017; that's a lot of bread. Throwing light on the issue is NJ Spotlight.
ROCKAWAY - Climate Change. Global Poverty Disparity. And now... a Helium Shortage. Just when you really, really need to hold a balloon, an international helium shortage is creating havoc at the party stores. And no one seems more impacted than Rockaway-based Party City, which announced yesterday that is needs to close 45 stores this year. No clue at the moment which locations the party supplier needs to shutter, but it is all about strengthening a company that has 870 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, shore-based environmentalists - tired of all those balloons flying into the ocean - hope this helium shortage lasts another century or so.
JERSEY CITY - What a terrible loss. There is no other way to describe Wednesday's passing of 89-year-old John Farmer, who has been writing news copy for The Star-Ledger for longer than most of us have been alive. He was an old-school, soft-spoken treasure, one of the few columnists in New Jersey who was able to tell the story, unbiased and relevant, from a position of calm experience and knowledge. No matter what nonsense would appear on an editorial page, there was always the trusted, enlightened piece by Farmer, whose final column ran last month. Farmer - neither a Democrat nor a Republican - was a master in the middle, bringing clarity to the fog, and never appeared to sensationalize his copy to draw more eyeballs or clicks. He never inserted himself into the story - as so many faux celebrity columnists do these days - and will forever be remembered by one word: Credible.
IN THE MEDIA
WASHINGTON - Apparently, the First Amendment has higher standards these days. And a significant chunk of the White House press corps doesn't meet those standards. The Trump White House has revoked a whole chunk of press passes, the Washington Post reports, citing "security." Under the new rules, in order to qualify for the highest level of access-known as a "hard pass"-journalists must show up at the White House for at least 90 days out of a 180-day period. Virtually the entire press corps failed to meet this new test, including all six of the Post's White House correspondents. Media outlets then had to apply for exceptions, or settle for six-month passes, which don't allow as much access. Because dozens of senior correspondents didn't meet the new standards either, "they all serve at the pleasure of Press Secretary Sarah Sanders" and "therefore, in theory, can have their credentials revoked any time they annoy Trump or his aides," the Post reports. Access to the White House is already meaningless, anyway. Notice there hasn't been an on-camera briefing in, like, two months?
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
ARLINGTON, Va. - Should inventors of robotic sextoys for women receive international acclaim? Apparently so, as the Consumer Technology Association opted to restore the Consumer Electronics Show's 2019 Innovation Award to a "robotic massager" by the Lora DiCarlo company. The device was honored in the "robotics and drones" category, but then stripped last fall, prompting Lora DiCarlo to call "SEXISM!" She correctly noted "a literal sex doll for men" was launched on the show floor in 2018. The backpedaling association now says it recognizes the "innovative technology," with apologies all around. Thomas Edison would be proud.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2012 that something seemed peculiar at the one-month-old Revel casino,which raked in only $13 million in gambling profits since it opened its doors. Not to worry, said execs of this gleaming and glorified structure to gambling, at the time. They claimed The Revel only had a "soft opening," which meant the official grand opening would not be for a few more weeks. So, apparently that meant the very-empty casino was intentionally limiting its profits. You know, for marketing and stuff.
WORD OF THE DAY
Antithetical - [an-tə-THET-ə-kəl] - adjective
Definition: In direct and unequivocal opposition
Example: Kids are antithetical about getting up early, trudging out on a sunny spring day to yet another day of school.
WIT OF THE DAY
"To be famous these days with no grounding and no substance is not especially difficult. I urge you instead to seek to be relevant, to be agile and educated."
- Anna Wintour
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun