STATEWIDE – Get vaccinated! That’s the prevailing message from government officials at all levels, if you watch all those public service messages. Businesses are also eager for workers to get vaccinated, with such entities as Trader Joe’s and Dollar General offering cash to whoever accepts the needle. Yet, back in reality, hordes of New Jerseyans are eager to take the shot, but just can’t find it available within a two-hour driving distance. Two of the highly-hyped mega-site centers in the state had to close for at least one day this week because demand far outweighed the supply. It seems all these urgent messages need to somehow be synched. How’s this? Urge people to get vaccinated and give them a specific place and time to do so.

FORT LEE – Time for some political candidacy in Fort Lee. That’s the message from former Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly, who famously wrote “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” She is now running for county clerk in Bergen County – home to Fort Lee and the epicenter of the Bridgegate mess that took her boss out of contention for the White House and made her a household name. Kelly still claims she was not aware of the huge traffic jam created in 2013 that derailed her government career and prompted front-page news that escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court. It would seem as if this mom would want to run as far away as possible from Fort Lee, perhaps get a nice, quiet, normal job in the private sector.  But seeking political office in the center of it all?  All we can offer is a big, fat “Hmmm.”

STATEWIDE – On Election Day, nearly three million New Jerseyans gave a thumb’s up for legalized recreational weed. Yet, as NJ.com notes, state officials are still tinkering around with the bill. And of more concern: people are still getting busted for smoking a joint. The call is for Gov. Phil Murphy to immediately sign a depenalization bill, putting an end to 30,000 or so senseless arrests a year, and follow the will of 67% of voters. Not only do these arrests target communities of color, they are also bogging down a court system trying to dispense justice during a pandemic and wasting the time and effort of cops with much, much better things to do. What is Murphy waiting for?

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BRIEFING BREATHER

It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky. 

TOMS RIVER – It’s perhaps the shortest-ever run for governor. Less than five days after Ocean County freeholder-now-Commissioner Joe Vicari declared himself the fifth GOP gubernatorial challenger, New Jersey Globe says Vicari abruptly bolted from the race. From the start, “Boltin’ Joe” vowed he wouldn’t vie for votes against other GOP contenders, claiming his quirky campaign was to solely draw attention to South Jersey’s lack of representation on state authorities, boards and commissions. Vicari, 74, is no stranger to oddity. In recent years, he led a charge to bomb North Korea and to make his county the first to sue China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Even quirkier, this guy somehow managed to become our state’s longest-serving county official, elected 14 times since 1981.

TRENTON – So, if Bernie Sanders wears another pair of great mittens for a photo, can we use that image in any way we darn please? If it’s close to his re-election, perhaps not. State lawmakers say endlessly photo-shopped media content featuring a political candidate would be banned in New Jersey within 60 days of an election, under a proposed law introduced in the Assembly.  The issue is not really about this ongoing “Where’s Waldo” thing with Bernie, the concern is manipulated media content or deepfakes that make it appear as if a candidate said something that he or she clearly didn’t. It all stems back to a 2018 fake video of President Obama, showing him give a speech he never gave. Chilling stuff here, as we already struggle with fact v. fiction. The bill would require disclosure of deepfakes – such as divulging that Bernie Sanders did not, in fact, sit on a closed beach with Chris Christie.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

JACKSONVILLE, FL. – If you must steal a cop car, can you at least wear some clothes?  That is the message for naked Florida man, now shown on some video footage driving in a marked police cruiser, before crashing it in the woods. There will be plenty for the courts to see, as the 22-year-old man is facing a whole bunch of charges, swapping his nakedness for prison-issue orange. Cops first learned something was amiss around noon last Thursday, when they saw a young man streak across Interstate 10. He then made a dash for the responding officers. The suspect was then treated for road rash and thrown in jail for a very generous $4,011 in bail, as tow trucks came to drag back the cop car.

BAR GRAMMAR

A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1998 that a certain president said he “did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

WORD OF THE DAY

Feckless – [FECK-lus] – adjective

Definition: Weak, ineffective

Example: How I long for my feckless youth of endless Atari.

WIT OF THE DAY

“I have come to a resolution myself as I hope every good citizen will, never again to purchase any article of foreign manufacture which can be had of American make, be the difference of price what it may.”

-Thomas Jefferson

BIDEN BLURB

“We can rebuild the vitality of American manufacturing and our industrial strength. A big piece of that is centered around the idea that when we use taxpayer money to rebuild America, we buy American and we support American jobs.”

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

Blech