OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

NEWARK - The South Ward man to be arraigned this morning for slugging a bishop on camera goes by the name "The Fightin' Preacher," drives a 1970s pink Cadillac with zebra-print interior, wears flashy suits, and was once, apparently, a professional boxer. TAPInto Newark reports his love of quoting the Bible with his own special interpretations of that "white hoe ass" Virgin Mary and freely shares his deep concerns that white people are hijacking Christianity. The saga of The Fightin' Preacher, also known as "Dog Time," will play out in an Essex County courtroom for throwing the punch during Saturday's otherwise peaceful Mass at Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  

ON THE ROAD - Remember all the hand-wringing last October about the gas tax? Remember how people howled that this new 23-cents-a-gallon tax would cause the price of food to skyrocket, that people would not be able to afford to go on vacation and that perhaps people wouldn't even have money to commute to work? Well, the gas tax has been in place for a few months now. No one likes to pay it, but, c'mon, have you really felt it? NJ 101.5 reports that average price for a gallon of gas in New Jersey is $2.36, with the Oil Price Information Services saying you can find stations selling gas for as low as $2.07 a gallon - a lovely number that harks back to the pre-gas tax days.  

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JERSEY CITY - Hey, so what's another $1.8 billion of debt? The Star-Ledger is out with an alarming story about how the state could be liable for one heckuva bill for the Pulaski Skyway repairs, following a Port Authority screw-up. The Port Authority has to cough up $400,000 in fines, after it misled investors when it issued bonds for the mega-project. Because of this massive boo-boo, can the Port Authority legally be banned from paying for the project? And, if that is the scary case, is New Jersey on the hook? One analyst tells The Star-Ledger: "If deemed to be an illegal issue of funds, the state would have to return the funds to the Port Authority." Politico notes Gov. Chris Christie hasn't taken a question from the NJ press corps for 147 days, so don't expect any clarity there.

EDISON - Getting a traffic ticket? Make sure to give a big smile. You're on camera. The Police Department here is poised to become the largest in Middlesex County to have all uniformed officers equipped with body-worn cameras. Under a deal with Taser International Inc., Edison cops will soon get 125 body-worn cameras, 60 state-of-the-art dashboard cameras for its patrol cars and 125 Tasers for its officers. Mayor Thomas Lankey tells TAPInto that body-worn and dashboard cameras "are essential to modern law enforcement" to enhance evidence-gathering and prosecutions, increase officer accountability, and raise public confidence. 

SECAUCUS - The Boy Scouts say an eight-year-old transgender boy is now welcome back to the troop, after he was kicked out because he was born a girl. The Boy Scouts have mercifully changed the policy, saying they now find transgender children perfectly worthy of membership. But, in this one case, it appears the damage has already been done for this one boy, whose story is now national news. Sometimes, you don't want to be groundbreaking; you just want to hang with your friends and enjoy the feeling of boring normalcy. 

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

TOKYO - Remember when mommy would swaddle you and gently rock you to sleep as a baby? Well, likely not. But apparently being swaddled is the new trend in Tokyo, especially for new moms dealing with post-pregnancy aches and pains. They are asked to lay on their backs, with their knees to their chests, and are then bundled in white cloths. Therapists then rock them back and forth over cushions, perhaps humming a lullaby. Binkies are optional and all participants must change their own diapers.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1990 that the first McDonald's opened in Russia, in Moscow, featuring a "Big Mak".... But no spoon for the McBorscht, comrade?

WORD OF THE DAY 

Kibitzer [KIB-it-ser] - noun 

Definition: One who looks on and often offers unwanted advice or comment  

Example: The latest Executive Order: No kibitzers in the White House.  

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Flakes