OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
FRANKLIN - Call it an image problem, but residents in one of four towns in New Jersey called "Franklin Township" think its beyond time to consider a name change. The Franklin in Hunterdon County is doing a month-long online survey to see if a majority of its 3,000 residents believe the town should be renamed "Franklin Hills," NJ.com reports. That way, the town can still honor its namesake, Benjamin Franklin, but no longer compete for attention against the three other Franklin Townships, the one Franklin Borough and Franklin Lakes. Really, what the heck were our forefathers thinking?
ON THE RIVER - Even more evidence that Democrats are now running things: New Jersey is joining in a regional ban of fracking on the Delaware River basin. Gov. Phil Murphy's green light could lead the way toward a permanent ban on the controversial practice, which has been on "temporary prohibition" status for eight years. So, what exactly is fracking? Companies drill chemicals, water and sand into rock to extract oil and methane. Supporters say fracking gives Americans wonderfully-cheap domestic gas; opponents say it contaminates the water supply, releases toxic gases and sickens people. Interesting trade-off.
ON THE RAILS - A new bill is now banging around Trenton in the hopes of getting NJ Transit on the right track. There would be regular audits from the state, in concert with an outside firm, public hearings before fare hikes and route changes and even a "Chief Ethics Officer," NJ 101.5 reports. Here's something interesting: NJ Transit board members would have to be real-life commuters, or at least experts in transportation or human resources, rather than rubber-stamp members of the state's patronage pit. Other reforms are also part of the bill. Commuters have no clue if this is all window-dressing, but you can't argue Trenton hasn't made the beleaguered rail agency a top discussion point.
IN THE MEDIA
NEW YORK - You would just assume big-city tabloid editors harass the heck out of their reporters, with plenty of colorful language, threats and gestures. But this is 2018, and top editors of the Daily News are learning that times have drastically changed. Two of them have gotten the axe, following internal investigations. Rob Moore, the tabloid's managing editor, and Doc Jones, the Sunday managing editor, have both been shown the door, NJ.com reports. Apparently, Moore was "fostering a culture of fear," (which many editors consider an entitlement), while Jones is accused of grabbing and forcibly kissing a young reporter on her last day on the job. Perry White, you are not.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NEW YORK - The feds aren't feeling the love in New York, as this festering war over the tourism "I ❤ NY" signs is heating up. You may recall Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent $8.1 million to install these highway signs all over the state - even though the federal government said they are "non-compliant." Uncle Sam ordered Cuomo to take them down. Cuomo told Uncle Sam to go scratch. Now, Trump-appointed feds are threatening to withhold $14 million in aid until the Democratic governor agrees to remove each and every sign, perhaps personally. No comment yet from Albany, as, officially, "dialogue continues."
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was on this day in 1887 that a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney, Pa., the self-titled "Punxsutawney Groundhog Club," declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America's only true, red-blooded, weather-forecasting groundhog.
WORD OF THE DAY
Preternatural - [pree-ter-NATCH-uh-rul] - adjective
Definition: Existing outside of nature
Example: Why does my kid think it requires preternatural talent to throw out the garbage?
WEATHER IN A WORD
FROM THE MAILBAG
Editor's Note: We were schooled yesterday (by Ralph Siegel, a former Trenton AP reporter) in response to our belief yesterday that "freedom of religion" must obviously be important because the Founding Fathers placed it in the First Amendment...
Dear Jaffe Briefing,
I enjoy your newsletter every day and rarely have a chance to take issue with an historical assumption. 'Til now, at last.
When the original Bill of Rights was submitted in 1789, the current "First Amendment" was actually Number 4 on the list of 9 or 10. The first three dealt with property rights, Congressional apportionment and Congressional pay. They were highly complex and ultimately dropped as unnecessary. However, this does undercut the premise that the great freedom clauses of the First Amendment came first as a matter of priority. It was coincidental.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide
Dear Jaffe Briefing,
Hi, I've been reading your daily newsletters for a few years now. I do enjoy having a quick read about interesting and often bizarre NJ news highlights but I honestly get more enjoyment from your lighthearted humor that often accompanies these stories.
My goal is not to start a write-in war campaign regarding personal thoughts on our country's President. Just wanted to say that I don't believe you show any more bias against our President than you show towards any other politician or organized group. The Jaffe Briefing is an "equal opportunity" scalawag that doesn't pander. Please don't change a thing!!
Some people, mostly Trump supporters, need to find a sense of humor.