TRENTON - Yes, assemblyman, we are all tired of this. Yes, assemblyman, we are all hurting. But, we must all ask Assemblyman Erik Peterson how he will ensure the safety of 9 million New Jerseyans as he apparently is preparing legislation to reopen New Jersey's non-essential businesses, with restrictions. A quote from Peterson: “We need to make decisions based on science and common sense, and not fear mongering." And here's another gem: "If we do not immediately begin to re-start our economy, the economic toll of Governor’s Murphy’s never-ending, no-risk approach will be more devastating on the health and welfare of New Jersey residents than the coronavirus.” Nothing screams "leadership" like political pandering in a time of global crisis. Frankly, many of Peterson's voters may appreciate a "no-risk approach" when it comes to their loved ones.

TRENTON — The city’s police computer has been hacked yet again, the second cyber attack since last fall. Ticked-off Mayor Reed Gusciora says this weekend’s computer attack is even worse as city cops cope with coronavirus. The Trentonian says the police department has not completely recovered from October’s ransom-ware attack when hackers demanded $50,000 to unlock encrypted data vital to protecting and serving. The city refused to cough up the cash, and city officials haven’t said how much it will now cost to repair and recover data, including personal info and criminal records. The culprits remain at-large.

STATEWIDE – It was just four years ago that New Jersey lawmakers were fiercely debating a 23-cent gas tax to fill a few of our standard budget holes. Hands were wringing; many wondered if such a huge new tax would make traveling too expensive for too many. That debate is now far away in the rear-view mirror with word that oil will soon be selling for – get this – less than $0 a barrel. In other words, with no customers, there is no value. Of course, by the time fuel eventually arrives at our pump, with state and federal taxes piled on accordingly, gas will still cost us something – for every month or so when we actually need to fill up.

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STATEWIDE – A question to ponder over the bong: Why are African-Americans 3 ½ times more likely to be busted for weed than whites? That disparity has only grown over the past decade, according to the ACLU. NJ Spotlight reports you can actually do something about it: Text, email or phone your elected representatives and tell them it’s time they finally legalize pot. Better yet, take the humanitarian approach. Tell them that prisoners serving time for marijuana-related crimes should be paroled to slow the spread of COVID-19 behind bars. The folks in Trenton – stuck in the haze of this coronavirus – await your call.

STATEWIDE – The state’s unemployment account has been hit with 718,000 requests in the past four weeks, yet NJ.com reports there somehow seems to be enough money in the kitty, at least for the moment. New Jersey has never been one to embrace a robust rainy-day fund for anything, but it appears there is enough cash for 13 weeks of claims in the Unemployment Trust Fund. Then, things get sketchy. The state could do three things: 1. borrow from Uncle Sam, 2. hike unemployment taxes for employers or 3. pull cash from other parts of the depleted state budget, which, of course, is laughable. Expect plenty of 1 and 2.

BRIEFING BREATHER: The average child recognizes more than 200 company logos by the time s/he enters first grade.

KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE DAY

BARRINGTON – Panicked members of the town’s Facebook page alerted authorities after some nefarious knucklehead posted a threat aimed at anyone heading to the local Rite Aid for a COVID-19 test. After a little digging, police discovered that Jacob M. Carr, 30, of Barrington, had posted, “I’m gonna run you all over with my SUV if I see anyone getting tested.” Huh? Carr has been charged with making second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction and violating the emergency orders by impeding the performance of an emergency function. According to the Courier Post, the Superintendent of the State Police, Col. Pat Callahan, praised some fast-thinking Facebook members. “The part about this story that's important is that people saw it on Facebook and did the right thing and called the police,” he said. Carr earns two Murphies on the knucklehead meter.

KNUCKLEHEAD SCORE: 2 out of 5 Murphies

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

OLD FORGE, PA – A Collingswood man drove to this Pennsylvania town to get naked after breaking into a funeral home. It probably made perfect sense to him, as this drunk 30-year-old man rummaged through the embalming chemicals and guzzled a few beers he found in the funeral home refrigerator. The Wilkes-Barre Citizen Voice says the Collingswood man also left a half-empty beer bottle in an open casket and empty beer cans in a parked car outside, which he also burglarized last weekend. He got released on $40,000 bail after being charged with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief-making. We may need to begin awarding out-of-state Murphies.

MADRID – It was announced this morning that the annual San Fermin bull-running festival has been cancelled in July because of the coronavirus crisis. Think about it: This festival that draws thousands of crazy participants, some of whom get gored and trampled as part of the fun, is now considered “too dangerous”?

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1926 that a baby girl was born to immense privilege, but has been stuck working every day of her life with never-ending scrutiny, analysis and criticism. Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth.

WORD OF THE DAY

Colloquy – [KAH-luh-kwee] – noun

Definition: Conversation, dialogue

Example: I was in intense colloquy all morning, investigating who put decaf in the coffee maker.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.”

- Mason Cooley

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“I’ve had great “ratings” my whole life, there’s nothing unusual about that for me. The White House News Conference ratings are “through the roof” (Monday Night Football , Bachelor Finale). But I don’t care about that.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Scattered

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun