Happy Birthday, Rosa Parks!

GLEN ROCK – Never get in the way of a drunk and his cheese balls. That is the lesson we are learning this morning, following the alarming news that two local men came to blows over an argument about their cheese balls. It’s all still under investigation – there are lots of fingerprints in the cheese dust – but it appears the men were drinking booze at the Glen Rock Athletic Club on Friday night. The Record says an argument ensued over the cheese balls and the men needed to be separated. Cops descended on the scene and the pair was booted from the athletic club. They can come back, but perhaps only with Pringles.

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PRINCETON – The social lives of more than a dozen Princeton University students are taking a substantial hit, after university officials have ordered them to “self-isolate” for the common good. Throwing a keg party and just inviting yourself doesn’t seem to be a lot of fun, but it is all these students can do for 14 days of confinement. Why the loneliness, Princeton? Because these students recently traveled to China and the university is justifiably panicked that they could be carrying the coronavirus. These students must stay indoors, and are banned from attending classes or jobs or strolls around campus to admire the ivy. Sounds like plenty of macaroni and cheese dinners and Netflix, as ticked-off roommates find sleep elsewhere. 

IN HOUSES OF WORSHIP – Just knowing your church’s usher or your rabbi’s wife might be packing a .357 Magnum oughta make you feel safer. Well, that’s why Assemblyman Ron Dancer proposes a law allowing congregants to carry concealed handguns in the God’s house during services. Fired up over last year’s church shootings in other states, Dancer explains to NJ101.5: “Evil exists and mental illness exists. We need to protect ourselves. Worshipers, of all people, should not be defenseless.” His bill would let churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship deputize at least one pistol-packing congregant and require them to get state firearms training. But, only God knows what could go wrong.

BRIEFING BREATHER: Every color of Froot Loops is the same flavor.

STATEWIDE – It’s no secret that we waste an astonishing amount of food in this country. If you need to see hard numbers, about 38 million tons of food is wasted in the United States annually, according to the EPA. Now consider this: A lot of that food waste is trucked to garbage dumps, where it rots — releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Or it goes up in smoke in an incinerator — releasing even more methane. The clean-and-green answer is to ship this former food to composting plants or food-waste-to-energy facilities. Trenton has been kicking around a law for six years that would require large generators of food waste like hospitals and prisons to do just that, NJ Spotlight reports. It has a good shot at making it into law this legislative session. The big question: Who would be expected to pay for this?

BELLEVILLE – Meet Milo. He has spikey brown hair, stands less than 2 feet tall and is helping special needs students in the township. The community raised $10,000 money through a fundraiser known as a “Color Run” to purchase Milo and provide training on how to use him. He’s a robot specifically programmed to help teach kids with autism. Milo is a very patient robot, able to deliver the same lesson over and over, without getting tired or losing his tremendous enthusiasm. Milo also uses consistent, simplified language and tone of voice and speech that is slightly slower for better comprehension. So, if you happen to see Milo, make sure to welcome him to Belleville.

IN THE MEDIA

NEWARK – Give credit where it is due. TAPInto Newark is being hailed for breaking a story about allegations that an African American employee was fired in retaliation for speaking up about racial discrimination at the radio station. That led the WBGO president, Amy Niles, to resign. The New York Times jumped on the story four hours later. The Star-Ledger – which used to be the preeminent news organization in Newark – got around to the story the next day. For some reason, the Star-Ledgerreporter claimed he “broke the news,”with the argument that he was unaware of the TAPInto Newark story, written by Mark Bonamo, which is why the scoop wasn’t properly credited in the Star-Ledger. Usually, this stuff just goes away, as there is more news to chase. But New Jersey Globe actually wrote about the snub, with a feeble defense from the Star-Ledger reporter who proclaimed ignorance that Bonamo’s story existed. New Jersey Globe concludes: “TAPintoNewark appears to have supplanted the Star-Ledger as the go-to place for local news in Newark.” An amazing statement.

ON AIR – The fact that President Donald Trump leads a democracy appears to be a terrible inconvenience, as countries like China and North Korea have their own media channels that exclusively distribute information to the masses, unquestioned. Of course, countries with only one political party would never, ever abuse the privilege that they, alone, determine what is “real” and what is “fake” when it comes to the affairs of state. And that’s what it is so darn appealing for Trump, tweeting that the USA should have its very own, state-run, global news network that can counter the “unfair” coverage on CNN. “Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!,” Trump tweeted. The White House has not immediately responded to press inquiries if Trump is actually serious. Perhaps we have to wait for comment from the up-and-coming Trump News Network (TNN). Even foxier than FOX.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MUENSTER, TX – Unclear if you still can recall you New Year’s Resolutions, but one local man is still going strong: eating only dog food since January 1. Sure, he happens to run the marketing department of a pet food distributor. But he vows his commitment to a diet of dog food is solely because of his commitment to chicken, beef, elk and venison-based dog foods. The sales guy says it’s all high-protein, freeze-dried premium dog food and kibble, noting he has a special affection for “ancient grains ocean fish.” So the obvious, hit-you-over-the-head message here: If the dog food is good for him, it must be great for your best friend, Rover. Or, perhaps Rover deserves better.

HARRISBURG PA – Here’s a twist: A state agency that ferrets out wasteful spending in state government is wasting $160,000 on handguns and ammo that its investigators are not allowed to use. So-called “investigators” in the Pennsylvania Inspector General’s Office are largely pencil-pushers. They don’t kick down doors with guns blazing. Rather, they peruse budgets and try not to spill coffee on their desks. The Philly Inquirer says 145 semi-automatics, ammunition and holsters have sat in mothballs since 2017. The agency’s former director apparently jumped the gun, buying the weapons after his agency got limited authorized to issue subpoenas and search warrants. If you’re interested, check eBay for a deal on some “like-new” firearms.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1997 that Secretary of State Madeline Albright learns her grandparents were Jewish. Apparently, the matzo ball soup on Passover wasn’t a tip-off.

WORD OF THE DAY

Hierophant – [HYE-ə-rə-fant] – noun

Definition: A person who explains; an advocate

Example: This political primary is anarchy, filled with games, strategy and slights, good people and bad, hierophants and hustlers.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

― Confucius

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.”

- Donald J. Trump, via Twitter

WEATHER IN A WORD

Wet

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