TRENTON – A billion here. A billion over there. Yawn. There’s just too darn much money these days. But as state leaders are expecting a lovely $6 billion in federal cash for pandemic relief, some are now expressing curiosity about all the billions in CARES Act money that has already filtered through the state. Actually, that grand figure would certainly generate at least some attention – $23.46 billion. The big check was sent to the state last April, as our world was crumbling under lockdown. The state treasurer has kept track of it all – perhaps on the back of a cocktail napkin – ticking off $15 billion for unemployment, $2.4 billion for a relief fund, as well as a sprinkling of millions here, and millions there, for social services, emergency spending and $15 million to cover residents’ utility payments. With so much cash flying all over the place, one can only hope a decent majority went where it was truly needed. That said, many thanks to New Jersey for the Ferrari.

TRENTON – The date was Nov. 18. Donald Trump was claiming he won a bogus election, vowing to sue up until Inauguration Day. There were two runoffs for Senate in Georgia. And then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was vowing there would be no federal aid for pandemic relief. Dark days, indeed. It was under this cloud – Gov. Phil Murphy argues – that his administration decided to borrow $4 billion, with projections showing a $4.3 billion revenue shortfall through June 30, 2021. Republicans and others are now ripping into the governor for a decision they deem as hasty, based on the current rosy finances of the state, prompting this colorful response from Murphy: “I haven’t heard so much Monday morning quarterbacking since Howard Cosell retired.”

BRIEFING BREATHER

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If you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you'll see is called “eigengrau.”

SANDY HOOK – The pandemic hasn’t just affected our lives, it has also affected our trash. The latest report from Clean Ocean Action, which releases an annual tally of all of our beach garbage, says the count of discovered plastics, food wrappers and cigarette butts also included plenty of PPE. In fact, group volunteers reported finding 1,113 masks and other types of protective gear sitting on our precious beaches. This has been a huge issue for the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, which even launched an awards program last year to honor groups that have valiantly fought all this PPE litter over the past 14 months.

WASHINGTON – A New Jersey congresswoman suing a U.S. president? Well, that must certainly be something stemming from the Trump administration. The plaintiff is Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, forced to hide in a tiny safe room during the Jan. 6 Capitol attacks, who is going after the 45th president and his band of merry conspiracy theorists, including Rudy Guiliani, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Watson Coleman, along with nine other ticked-off members of Congress, is arguing that Trump and the others blatantly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, preventing Congress from certifying electoral votes, NJ.com reports. Of course, Trump will deny any involvement, via yet another attorney.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BANGOR, Maine — There’s $20,000 somewhere in Maine. And it’s yours for the taking. A couple from Newcastle tucked away the stash, the Lincoln County News reports, after spending three years trying to find the perfect hiding spot.  This statewide game was created to celebrate Maine’s 200 years of statehood. Finding this treasure will involve solving a secret, a riddle and a puzzle. Getting started means ponying up for a deck of cards or flash cards for $19.99 or $39.99, with a dollar from each sale going to the Maine Cancer Foundation. Happy hunting.

NEW YORK – It turns out Superman isn’t averse to that green stuff – and we don’t mean Kryptonite. An unnamed buyer recently plunked down a record $3.25 million in a private sale for a copy of Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of the Man of Steel, AP reports. Much like the muscle-bound, spit-curled superhero himself, the copy of the comic has remained in remarkably good condition despite being 83 years old. The seller of this particular issue bought the comic in 2018 for slightly more than $2 million. Since then, the value has gone up, up and away…

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Mayor Eastwood takes the oath of office in Carmel, CA. on this day in 1986. No one appeared on his lawn.

WORD OF THE DAY

Brusque – [BRUSK] – adjective

Definition: Markedly short and abrupt

Example: I hope I am not becoming too brusque with my clients and co-workers as spring fever hits.

WIT OF THE DAY

“The only reason I took steroids was for my health purposes. I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes.”

-Mark McGwire

BIDEN BLURB

 

“Jim Crowe on Steroids, what's happening in Georgia.”

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

Awesome