Happy Teachers' Day!

 ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Sen. Cory Booker wants to be the anti-gun candidate for President. But he seems more like the common-sense candidate, as his proposed gun policy seems basic and logical. He's talking about requiring licenses for all gun owners, mandatory gun safety courses, universal background checks and banning assault weapons as part of his 14-part plan. Sounds like it will save a bunch of lives. The argument: If you need a license to drive a car, why not to carry a gun? Of course, the National Rifle Association is seething. And probably half the country is seething, too. But, with all we have experienced in recent years, how else can anyone expect America to get any safer?

STATEWIDE - The pension system is going broke! The pension system is going broke! For years, that is what state pensioners have told us, pleading with whatever governor in power to ensure there's enough money in the state budget to shore it up. NJ.com reports some actual good news: The gaping state pension hole - the worst in the nation - is not as gaping as it once was. The state continued to starve its pension system - a proud New Jersey tradition - handing over billions less than is needed. Yet, somehow, the unfunded liabilities dropped by nearly $12 billion last year, to only $130 billion or so. Still alarming. Still frightening. But, hey, not as alarming or frightening.

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NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University seems to have decided that bigger is better, especially when it comes to medical schools and the need to attract serious research funding and world-class educators. Rutgers is lucky; it has two medical schools - one in Newark, one in New Brunswick. The long-term plan, it says, is not to merge. Rather, NJ Spotlight reports, the university wants to cherry-pick specialties and departments that make more sense at one facility over another. And it says no one's going to get the axe, which hasn't stopped some folks at both schools from urging that the only way forward is cautiously and carefully. Meanwhile, the university is involved in a historic battle over salaries and benefits. That alone has probably got some folks working at the medical schools spooked.  Read about their future in today's NJ Spotlight. 

NEWARK - If you pee on a marked police car at a movie theater, crowds cheer and it gets posted on social media, don't expect the cops to find it uproariously funny. That is what a 22-year-old West Orange man will soon know, as the city's police director announced the young man has been busted 24 hours after the dumb stunt Saturday at the CityPlex 12 Newark movie theater. Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose is using phrases like "personal insult" and "disrespect" and "we moved quickly." A municipal court judge will certainly agree.


STATEWIDE - Now is the time to buy useless, worthless trinkets. That's because tariffs on about $200 billion in Chinese goods will will be jumping to 25% at 12:01 a.m. Friday as our President continues to wage his trade war. The tariff had been holding steady at 10% before Trump's latest tweet-threat came out of nowhere on Sunday and instantly shattered China's stock market. The vice premier of China is supposed to be visiting the U.S. on Thursday to talk some sense into some people. Meanwhile, time is running out for you to buy about 500 pairs of flimsy flip-flops from China, for, say, $3. Shipping included.

LOS ANGELES - Let's all agree: There are many pressing issues in America. But it seems that people just want to talk about the damn coffee cup that mistakenly appeared on Game of Thrones Sunday night. So, uh, we should talk about it, too. If you were one of the three people in the country who didn't see the episode, here's what happened: Characters were drinking from goblets and horns at a celebration. Amateur sleuths with plenty of extra time noticed what appeared to be a Starbucks cup. HBO joked: "The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea." Executive producers weren't as pleased, with one telling WNYC that "Our onset prop people and decorators are so on it, 1,000%." 

For the moment, let's call it "The Game of Throw Ins."


 It was this day in 1994 that "Paula Jones" became a household world, as America got its first very public glimpse of President Clinton's private hobby. Jones sued the President for sexual harassment, stemming from an incident when he was Arkansas governor. Clinton settled for $850,000 - a bargain, he would later discover.


Necromancy - [NEK-roh-man-see] - noun

Definition: Predicting the future by communicating with the spirits of the dead

Example: I'm thinking of performing some necromancy this weekend to ensure my kid's soccer game doesn't get rained out. Again.


"Never trust people who smile constantly. They're either selling something or not very bright."

- Laurell K. Hamilton



A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun