STATEWIDE - It's hoped one of the big topics of the gubernatorial campaign will be the state's god-awful credit rating, the second-lowest among 50 states. The rating has been downgraded three or four times by each of the three major ratings over the past six years. Gov. Chris Christie downplays the spiral, of course, saying, "Every economic story starts with 11 credit downgrades as if that means a thing to people in terms of their everyday life." Well, it does. It shows the state is mired in terrible economic health, even with all the taxes that property owners and businesses funnel into the hungry kitty. As New Jersey loves to borrow money, we obviously need a stellar credit rating to minimize costs. So, for our next governor, the big question: How will you impress Moody's?

ON THE RAILS - It was supposed to be the "Summer of Hell" for commuters, but perhaps it should be officially renamed a "Summer of Heck." We are at the mid-point of all this track work in Penn Station, and it appears that commuters are not trying to tar and feather NJ Transit execs. This is a huge victory for the transit authority as our thin-skinned commuters are not exactly known for patience and forgiveness. From NJ Transit and Amtrak, to the commuters on the Morris & Essex Line, all appears ok, as this project glides toward completion by September 1. Riders now have to take PATH, a ferry or bus, but aren't any later for work than usual. So, let's gently call this a tentative victory.

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JACKSON - If you are a Little League baseball fan - and, really, who isn't - then your eyes are glued to the action this morning in Bristol, CT. The first pitch is set for 10 a.m., when the Holbrook Little League of Jackson - the clear crowd favorite - continues its march toward a Little League World Series championship, playing some poor slob of a team from Plainview, N.Y. Holbrook - Jersey's Team - is looking really good in this regional tourney, demolishing a team from Washington D.C., 16-6, with hopes of making the big show in Willamsport, Pa., beginning Aug. 17. Go Holbrook!

SOMEWHERE ELSE - It is going to be a tough 10 days for the Jaffe Briefing, as Gov. Chris Christie is heading overseas tonight on vacation. Unclear what the heck we will write about if the governor is not around to audition for WFAN, shag foul balls and blindly defend the President on the topic du jour. Christie would not give specifics of where he is headed, as it is none of our damn business, we are told. But if you hear about a hot-headed guy with nachos yelling expletives at a soccer fan in Barcelona, well, there you go.

DOWN THE SHORE - While Gov. Chris Christie is overseas, he is inviting President Donald Trump to stay at his now-famous shore house, as part of Trump's titillating 17-day vacation in Somerset County. The governor made the invite Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" show, so now perhaps we can get a terrific aerial photo of Trump sitting on that beach chair, certain to be an international meme. Or, more likely, Trump will reject the offer, saying quite publicly, that he doesn't want to stay in that dump.

TRENTON - Unclear how seriously NASA is taking its job opening for a "Planetary Protection Officer," as it has not yet rejected the application of a 9-year-old boy from New Jersey. The applicant, who describes himself as a "Guardian of the Galaxy," told NASA he has a specific expertise in space-themed movies. The fourth-grader has acknowledged he may be a little young for the six-figure position, but his easily moldable brain can think like an alien. The application is currently under review by tight-lipped NASA officials.


It was this day in 1956 that Red Sox slugger Ted Williams spat at the hometown crowd. Actually, he spat twice, popping back out of the dugout and spitting again to make sure they got the point. Why? The $100,000 superstar made an error in the 11th inning; fans were still jeering when he made the catch to end the inning. The manager fined Williams $5,000.

(Williams went to Baltimore the next day, with Orioles fans cheering him raucously.)



Schadenfreude - [SHAH-dun-froy-duh] - noun

Definition: Enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

Example: I couldn't help but feel a mountain of schadenfreude when the guy who cut me off on the Parkway got stuck behind a camp bus.