TRENTON - It was 105 years ago that Uncle Sam adopted its first drug laws, courtesy of President Woodrow Wilson. The law was fueled by frenzied, blatant racism: a crackdown to save White women from drug-peddling Mexicans and deranged Chinamen. (No, we are not making this up.) Fast forward to 2019: Regulating drug use is still on the front burner, as well as how it all relates to minority communities. As New Jersey continues to debate the legalization of marijuana, the Jaffe Podcast welcomed Assemblyman Jamel Holley to discuss how this proposal also relates directly to social justice. The proposed bill would scrub the criminal records of many minorities who have been busted for possessing and selling the drug. Click here to listen to the latest episode.
EAST BRUNSWICK - Uh, no.... vaping is not permitted at East Brunswick High School. News 12 New Jersey obtained an impressive, official-looking letter from the high school - even on what appears to be school letterhead - announcing the "EB One (Hit) Initiative." This new "policy" would allow students to take just one hit on an e-cigarette during the school day in the bathroom, without penalty. The letter went viral, as you can imagine, and, of course, it was posted prominently in school bathrooms. The school superintendent was particularly interested in the letter, as it had his signature at the bottom. Yet, he wants everyone to know that it is certainly a forgery, although the initiative was certainly a hit.
TRENTON - For years, dads could avoid stinky diaper changes in public places because, hey, the men's room doesn't have diaper-changing stations. Oh, darn! So, sorry, honey. But I'll hold your pocketbook for you! Love you! But, damn that state Legislature, which is now proposing that all public places - like restaurants, malls and libraries - now install these awful diaper-changing stations in the men's restroom as well. "Men are becoming more involved in the daily care of children," said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, D-Camden, whose measure cleared the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Feb. 14. Yeah, thanks, Gabriela.
TRENTON - You'd think New Jersey parents have a laser focus on those buses that take our precious darlings to and from school. Well, somebody certainly is - an entity known as the Garden State Initiative. The right-leaning GSI has just issued a report on the cost of New Jersey's school transportation system. So, guess what it takes to keep all those yellow kiddie wagons on the road? $1.2 billion annually, it seems. NJ Spotlight reports on the findings, which claims taxpayers can save more than $140 million a year on this mega-operation with a tug here and a tweak there. Follow the story in NJ Spotlight.
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Chris Christie took plenty of lumps for abandoning New Jersey for 261 days to run for president. Sen. Cory Booker is getting the same treatment, as the Republican State Committee launched a "Where in the World is Cory Booker?" online tracker to monitor his whereabouts, marked with cute red fedoras. State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt defends the site, telling Save Jersey: "There's a double standard when it comes to Cory Booker," claiming his February schedule is chock full of "fundraisers in Beverly Hills" and swings across early voting states. Meanwhile, Steinhardt says: "New Jersey is last ... in what we get from Washington. We need (a senator) who digs in and fights for New Jersey to get its fair share." Gotcha. Expect Democrats to also launch many of these "trackers."
READINGTON - A job as a middle school custodian is no one's life dream, but losing the gig because you mistakenly took a $20 box of chocolates is a gross injustice. You would think a Readington Middle School janitor earned the benefit of the doubt, after cleaning up after pre-teens who can't exactly figure out the proper use of a urinal. He is now suing the school district for workplace harassment and emotional distress after he mistakenly took the chocolate, thinking it was a Christmas gift for all his hard work scrubbing snot off desks all summer. Instead, the custodian was hauled down the to the main office and asked if he had dared take the box of candy, the Courier News reports. He was canned and is now suing the district for $2 million. The sweet taste of chocolate is nothing compared to the sweet taste of revenge.
IN THE MEDIA
STATEWIDE - It was not that long ago that a well-regarded columnist would only appear in a printed newspaper, where all the readers flocked. But as the latest breaking news now appears online, that's where news junkies are going first. And that is why TAPInto has been able to land one of the most popular columnists in New Jersey - Mark Di Ionno - who recently retired from The Star-Ledger.
TAPInto, with its 80 local news sites, 1 million monthly readers and 3 million monthly page views, is the next generation in covering hyper-local news, after the state's traditional newspapers have mostly abandoned county news bureaus and can no longer afford the local beat reporter. Says Di Ionno in his inaugural first column: "And here I am, extending a 40-year journalism career because I believe in the mission of this website, and I believe some people still want to read stories, not lists, and that an authentic New Jersey voice is not snarky or bada-bing or forced coolness, nor does it come from people who moved into Jersey City a couple of minutes ago and say they're New Yorkers." Read it all here.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
These are odd times. And there are odd Presidents. So, let's take a moment to look away from the "national emergency" in Washington and focus on a real, true oddity: the fact that pro-slavery President John Tyler - elected in 1841 - still has two, living grandsons. It's a story always worth revisiting. Tyler was born in 1790, he became the nation's 10th president, and then quickly abandoned the platform of his own political party, the Whigs. He lasted one term, was ill his whole life and finally kicked it in 1862. Yet, somehow, he was a little, um, playful in his old age. And so was one of his sons, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr., who spread his seed deep into his 70s. And, thus, welcome two grandsons born in the 1920s: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. and Harrison Ruffin Tyler. And, yup, they are still ticking.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
We all felt a little lazy and unmotivated on this day in 1998, when Tara Lipinski became the world's youngest Olympic gold medalist at the ripe old age of 15.
WORD OF THE DAY
Gibbous - [JIB-əs] - adjective
Definition: Marked by swelling
Example: Did you happen to catch a view of the gibbous former President?
WIT OF THE DAY
"Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit."
- George Carlin
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun