OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
STATEWIDE - There are nervous parents who insist their cherubic kids get the full meal plan at college so they don't starve themselves. And there are college students, who discover that cold pizza and a few swigs of last night's Busch Light make for a nutritious and balanced breakfast. And then, there's Assemblyman Jamel Holley, noting too many meals are being paid for at dining halls, but are left uneaten. He has introduced legislation that would allow college students to donate unused, non-refundable, non-transferable meal plan funds to local food banks. Sounds like a perfectly sensible idea; will be interesting to see who steps up to oppose it.
BERNARDS TOWNSHIP - The township has been a punching bag for bad publicity, following its controversial rejection of plans to build a mosque, after 39 or so public hearings over four years. There are lawsuits flying everywhere, even courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice, while the Star-Ledger has assailed Bernards officials as "the face of bigotry." In response, bruised-and-beaten local officials have brought in the big guns - in the form of Burton Trent Public Affairs, a take-the-gloves-off Trenton lobbying firm - to do battle in the court of public opinion. Media can cover this case however they choose - but should now expect to justify every period, comma and semicolon.
TRENTON - To be enshrined in the New Jersey Hall of Fame isn't exactly a lifetime achievement award. This year's 15 inductees include younger folks like soccer player Carli Lloyd, musician Wyclef Jean and talk show host Kelly Ripa. It also includes some beloved New Jerseyans, like the late Al Koeppe, actor Ray Liotta and heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner. And then there's Philip Kearny, who commanded the First New Jersey Brigade and was killed in the Civil War, journalist Connie Chung, singer Connie Francis, musician Tommy James and others. Honorees are diverse and across-the-board; trying to find a pattern has proven completely impossible.
STATEWIDE - Bus companies are one beneficiary of the fledgling Trump Administration, as the state is expected to dispatch about 300 buses on Saturday to the Women's March, NJ.com says. Apparently, a seat on a bus is at a premium, going for about $200 if you can score one. There are an estimated 200,000 people going to this rally, on "Day One" of the new President, with the message that women's rights are human rights. This all generated from one Facebook post, showing the new President that people are watching, closely. Local bus companies eagerly encourage as many rallies as possible. Say, how about a "Daughter's March" next week?
NEWARK - There are now two members of Congress from New Jersey boycotting the inaugural: Reps. Donald Payne and Bonnie Watson Coleman. Both contend Trump is unfit to lead. Fine. But he has not yet served a day in office and there is (gulp) a chance - albeit slight at most - that he could somehow become the most effective, most inclusive President in the history of our nation. Out of respect for the transition of power, and in desperate prayers for this country, we must give him the benefit of the doubt, until he royally screws up.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Inquiring minds demand to know: How high is too high for a pile of chicken poop? The answer: Eight feet. As farmers stockpile the winter waste for use as fertilizer for the spring planting, poultry experts warn the dung should not exceed seven feet. Otherwise, it can explode. We know that for an indisputable fact, after a pile of chicken crap combusted in western Arkansas, demolishing a nearby mobile home. (Editor's Note: Why are people living next to a mountain of bird turd in Western Arkansas?) The fire "hit the sweet spot," explained Karl VanDevender, a self-proclaimed feces expert at the University of Arkansas, describing, in detail, how the mix of moisture, texture and decomposition can ignite a pile of poo.
IN THE MEDIA
Everybody knows at least one giant asshole. That indisputable fact made a Donate Life ad promoting organ donation one of the most effective of the past year, and probably one of the most daring pieces of marketing ever-beginning with its catchy title. Enjoy this three-minute film, titled "The World's Biggest Asshole." And welcome to the world of Coleman F. Sweeney.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that a new world record was achieved when the United Kingdom's Lewis Clarke - just 16 - trekked to the South Pole. Great, but what the heck is wrong with his parents?
WORD OF THE DAY
Abstemious [ab-STEE-mee-us] - adjective
Definition: Marked by restraint especially in the consumption of booze.
Example: With the repeal of Obamacare, will Americans hit the bottle or become more abstemious?
WEATHER IN A WORD