OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

PLAINFIELD - Those who dabble in Union County politics are learning this morning that the former Democratic chairman, Jerry Green, has died at age 79 after a long illness. Green, a longtime assemblyman from Plainfield, rose through the ranks from serving on the freeholder board in the late 1980s.  He will be remembered as a Roselle native, a star basketball player, who began as a supermarket butcher, then an entrepreneur, before ultimately becoming the most powerful Democrat in Union County. As Assemblyman Jamel Holley puts it, as a Green protégé, the late chairman was the voice for those who just needed a fighting chance to succeed. TAPInto Scotch Plains-Fanwood did a terrific profile on Green in 2015; read it here.

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LAKEHURST - New Jersey - a proud pharma capital - now gets the honor of imprisoning one of the top industry criminals. Martin Shkreli, the renowned "pharma bro" and former drug industry CEO famous for proudly price-gouging AIDS patients for a life-saving drug, was moved Tuesday to a low security federal prison at Fort Dix to serve time for his multi-million dollar fraud. Amenities for this pharma fraudster include the standard issue fare for white collars: gym equipment, racquetball courts, horseshoe pits, volleyball, bocce ball lanes, intramural sports, a music room, pool tables and plenty of arts and crafts, according to NJ.com. Looks like this Pharma Phelon is entering New Jersey's version of Club Phed and, phrankly, it's a little ph*cked up. 

TRENTON - A doomsday scenario is being played out in Trenton by those who support the governor's budget plan, featuring plenty of extra spending and taxes. Their message: the money is desperately needed and New Jersey has absolutely no choice but to support it. In fact, the acting state Department of Environmental Protection chief told lawmakers that the state would not even be able to afford lifeguards at state lakes without the governor's plan, calling for an extra $1.6 billion in taxes, NJ 101.5 reports. The New Jersey Working Families Alliance found a clever way to advocate for the millionaire's tax as a way out, featuring a Monopoly-style Mr. Money Bags to sit through budget hearings. He argued yesterday that the super-rich, like himself, should be footing the bill. And then he headed back to Park Place.

IN THE NIGHT SKY - Extraterrestrials seem to think the Garden State is just out-of-this-world. And why not? We've got all-night diners, casino gambling and authentic boardwalk custard. Alien-watchers from the "Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network" (MUFON) say March was a thrilling month for UFOs in New Jersey, with nine sightings from Nutley to Old Bridge, North Brunswick to Egg Harbor. But, it was the St. Patrick's Day UFO seen above a Wall Township Quick Chek that sparked an Asbury Park Press exposé about the 2,200 times alien aircraft have apparently whisked across our skies since 1930. Why don't they stay and stake a claim? Bet it's the taxes.

STATEWIDE - Speaking of aliens - those illegal ones President Trump is itching to deport - well, they actually make a big contribution to our state's economy. The DC-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy just released data showing New Jersey's estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants paid $587 million last year in state and local taxes. If they got legal status, their contribution would jump to $661 million in sales, income and property taxes. Erika J. Nava, analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, tells The Record: "New Jersey immigrants aren't takers, they're taxpayers willing to contribute to our state and make New Jersey better." And how many people are willing to work the graveyard shift at that Wall Township Quick Chek?

IN THE MEDIA

DALLAS - The war of op-eds is on full display this morning, as readers of the Dallas Morning News are reading a response from Gov. Phil Murphy. Yesterday, we talked about how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott penned a pretty ballsy op-ed for the Sunday Star-Ledger, calling New Jersey a financial mess and urging us all to move down to Texas for plenty of rootin' tootin' cheap livin' an' good eatin'. Murphy countered, saying Abbott puts the powerful first and his state's economy has plummeted under his leadership. Murphy says New Jersey is the perfect place for Texas businesses to relocate, with our strategic location, great education, solid health care, low crime, high pay, and boundless potential.  Plus we don't have that asshat, Jerry Jones. (We added that one.) Back to you, Abbott.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

OSLO - Norway seems to be one fun place. It is so fun, in fact, that government officials are informing high school graduates that they should refrain, whenever possible, from running naked across any bridges. They should also try to not have sex on the roundabouts, as it is a proven distraction for other drivers. The official announcement was made in preparation for Norway's annual post-graduation period known as "Russ," which is a celebration that takes weeks and includes plenty of wild nudity, excessive drinking and public sex.  Meanwhile, in New Jersey, we celebrate our high school seniors with "Project Graduation" in the gym, featuring endless soda, balloons and a DJ.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was today in 1973, not yesterday or tomorrow, that Barbra Streisand recorded "Between Yesterday and Tomorrow."

WORD OF THE DAY

Cuckoo - [KOO-koo] - adjective

Definition: Deficient in a sense of intelligence

Example: Are UFO watchers all going cuckoo?

WEATHER IN A WORD

Puddles