TRENTON – You’ve already poured your favorite beverage, filled a big bucket of popcorn and hunkered down in your best chair. No, this has nothing to do with tonight’s college football national championship. We’re talking about real excitement: Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State Address tomorrow. All – or at least some of us – wonder what he’ll chat about. Assume, he’ll say, there have been tremendous victories over the past two years and your life has drastically improved under the Murphy Administration. And assume he is not done yet! No sir. Expect lots of high-fives over such issues as raising the minimum wage, controlling guns, equal-pay rules and family medical leave. But if Murphy expects to get re-elected, there must be action over our still-high property taxes and our commuter train system that’s still off the rails. And it would be good if Murphy can get more Democrats to like him.

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — The living thing that has killed the most humans? Mosquitoes. They are followed by Tsetse bugs, assassin bugs and freshwater snails. The cheetah is nowhere on this list, but still the cops don’t want people jumping the fence at the Cape May County Zoo for an up-close-and-personal peek. NJ 101.5 reports a man has been booted from the zoo, after he tried to check out two cheetahs, Buju and Beenie, who are brothers. The eight-year-old cheetahs ignored him, while zoo keepers kicked the guy out. The sheriff’s office then slapped this trespasser with some violations. No comment from Buju or Beenie. 

TRENTON – Such is the segregated nature of New Jersey’s public school system that, as NJ Spotlight reports, a potentially epic lawsuit has kicked off in Trenton. It’s all about why kids lucky enough to live in places like Millburn get superb education and opportunity, while kids who live in, say, Irvington may not. According to the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, “This type of litigation always takes a long time … Even if the litigation itself resolves quickly, often the monitoring period and the execution of whatever agreement can take decades.” In other words, the kids in school today could be answering to “Gramps” and “Grandma” by the time the dust has settled on this one. There’s lots to explain here, with plenty of ramifications, so read NJ Spotlight.

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BRIEFING BREATHER: The first letters of the months July through November spell "Jason."

EAST BRUNSWICK – With little drama, state Democratic committee members unanimously returned Chairman John Currie and Vice Chair Peg Schaffer to their posts for new 18-month terms. The Democratic reorg at the East Brunswick Hilton on Saturday was a who’s who of party elite with Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin forced to wear suits on a freakishly glorious, sunny day. Currie, state chair since 2013, has led the Passaic County Democrats for 27 years. Schaffer, long-time party chair in Somerset County, pulled off back-to-back election wins that put Democrats in control of the freeholder board for the first time since 1965 and clinched the sheriff and county clerk seats.

ON THE PHONE – “There’s no problem with your credit,” but for the billionth time you get that same infuriating robocall. No surprise. New Jersey phone-users got slammed with 1.5 billion (yep, billion) unwanted robocalls in 2019. Telecom website Let’s Talk says the Garden State is the fifth hardest hit by “Rachel from cardholder services” and a legion of other annoying automated callers hawking cheap insurance, free solar panels, extended car warranties, and debt-reduction loans. But it says Jerseyans ranked #1 for making the most (and perhaps the loudest) complaints about robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission. The feds just passed a law increasing fines on these spammy calls and requiring phone companies to begin authenticating calls. We learned this via robocall.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MONTPELIER, VT – Speaking of unwanted phone calls, a state lawmakerwants to completely ban cellphones for anyone under 21. But, he confesses he may not vote for the bill. Huh? Democrat Sen. John Rodgers introduced a bill last week to make it illegal for anyone under 21 to own or use a cellphone. It would be a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Rodgers says Vermont already bans under-21s from buying guns and cigarettes, but he says cellphones kill more young people who text-and-drive or commit bullying-induced suicides. He tells the Times-Argus: “I have no delusions it’s going to pass. I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself.” But, he says he wants to spark much-needed, larger public debate.

AT HOME – Those who market scented candles for a living must now up their game, as Gwyneth Paltrow‘s Goop online store is selling out a $75 votive marketed as “This Smells Like My Vagina.” According to a listing on Goop’s online store, Paltrow was testing scents when she blurted out, “Uhhh..this smells like a vagina.” The name stuck, and the candle is now described with a “funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent.” The brand did a “test run” for the candle, selling out within hours. Now if you don’t want to drop $75 for Paltrow’s vagina candle, you can also make one of your own, with a blend of geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes “juxtaposed” with Damask rose and ambrette seed.” Or, just go with pumpkin spice.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1957 that Wham-O begins production of the “Pluto Platters,” which changed its name to “Frisbee.” The name change skyrocketed sales, as the Frisbee was marketed as a “sport,” not a “toy.” Pretty sneaky, sis.

WORD OF THE DAY

Weal – [WEEL] – noun

Definition: A sound, healthy or prosperous state

Example: Is our government solely devoted to the general weal?

WIT OF THE DAY

“You can go to live in France, but you can’t become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can’t become a German, an Italian... From any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”

― Ronald Reagan

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Grey

THE NEW 60
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by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun