TRENTON – It’s unclear who is dying to drive in New Jersey. But state lawmakers say there are thousands of dead people who have valid licenses. The state auditor has found more than 6,000 licenses or other IDs issued in the state on behalf of dead people. Now, state lawmakers want the MVC to compare its licenses with death records at least once a month to ensure all of our drivers are alive and kicking. Under the current law, NJ 101.5 notes, the MVC does these scans on a periodic, but unspecified basis. Apparently, not enough, as Thomas Edison is now sitting in traffic on Route 1 south.

TRENTON – As President Donald Trump remains hell-bent on killing so-called ObamaCare, New Jersey lawmakers are trying to salvage it, at least here. NJ Spotlight is reporting on a package of bills that maintain the essential protections offered by the federal law — including no penalties for preexisting conditions, coverage for preventative care and insurance for children up to age 26 on their parents’ policies. For the most part, the bills have bipartisan backing. They’ll go to Gov. Phil Murphy early next week. Given his stance on healthcare, and eager to position himself as a progressive Democrat on the national stage, Murphy’s signature is extremely likely.

Sign Up for New Brunswick Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

TRENTON – There’s no question that electric cars are the future. The question is: Should New Jersey taxpayers help you buy one? There’s a bill that could end up on the governor’s desk this week in which the state would earmark at least $300 million over 10 years to help New Jerseyans subsidize the purchase of at least 60,000 electric cars, NJ 101.5 reports. That translates into a $5,000 price break per car, a nice, generous perk. The bill also mandates that at least 400 fast-charging stations be available to Garden State motorists at no fewer than 200 locations within the next five years. Again, we all love clean energy and appreciate our environmentally-minded lawmakers. But do taxpayer-funded subsidies move the needle for those who can easily afford a Tesla?

BRIEFING BREATHER: The Scots language has more than 400 words for 'snow.'

SEASIDE PARK – It’s beginning to look a lot like last year’s Christmas, as all your old trees are piling up at Island Beach State Park. The state park service was hoping to get about 200 holiday trees on Saturday to help shore up the beach dunes. Yet, according to Facebook, more than 2,000 donated trees arrived, and now the Friends of Island Beach State Park need your help to drag all these trees onto the dunes, where they will catch blown sand and help strengthen the dunes. You can begin your toil this Saturday at 8 a.m. in Parking Lot A23, with your own work gloves and a rubber mallet, as you silently pray that others also read this blurb. 

PISCATAWAY – It’ll be a frenzied, sold-out Rutgers Athletic Center tonight, as the scrappy Rutgers basketball team – undefeated at home and enjoying a five-game winning streak – takes on No. 20 Penn State. Not to hype this game, but it is really, really, really huge. If RU knocks off this Top 25 team, just as it did with Seton Hall last month, we’re looking at cracking the Top 25 for the first time since….well, hard to recall. If you like basketball, or like Rutgers, or like New Jersey, this is the game to watch. Tip-off at 7 p.m.

IN THE MEDIA

LAS VEGAS – With the passing of Yankee great Don Larsen on Jan. 1, there are plenty of tributes. But how many baseball fans can recall witnessing his perfect game in the World Series? Enter Herb Jaffe, who was a young kid writing sports for The Star-Ledger. (Yep, there’s a relation here.) Jaffe, 87, chatted with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where he is still filing stories, recalling that magical day against the cross-town Dodgers. And this is what Jaffe wrote, from the Yankees clubhouse on Oct. 9, 1956, when he witnessed Larsen enjoying a well-earned, post-game beer. He reports: “...hordes of flash bulbs popped and a chaotic barrage of screaming newsmen stumbled over one another to get to the dazed, perspiring figure who kept pinching his fingers in the hope of some assurance that it wasn’t all a dream. Photographers screamed at newsmen blocking their cameras and newsmen screamed back. Larsen fidgeted with the top button on his uniform. A photographer fell off a table he was standing on and no one seemed to care, and the interviews began…” Read all about it here.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

VERONA, WI – Among the many job openings at Oscar Meyer is an opportunity for people to drive its famous Wienermobile all over America for a year or so. In a job posting, the company says it needs 12 hot-doggers to “travel the hot dog highways of America” (if that is such a thing) and maximize the 27-foot-long Wienermobile as a “traveling public relations firm” for the company. It also promises you will be treated like a “mini-celebrity” as you go from town to town promoting wieners. Oscar Meyer is actually requiring applicants to be graduates of four-year accredited colleges, particularly in the fields of public relations, journalism, communications, advertising or marketing. Let’s also assume a valid driver’s license, the ability to manage events and oodles of available time. Here’s the job listing; can you cut the mustard?

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

There was plenty of clickety-clack on this day in 1714, when the typewriter was patented in England.

WORD OF THE DAY

Dragoon – [drə-GOON] – verb

Definition: To force into submission or compliance especially by violent measures

Example: Will young men and women across America be dragooned into the latest battle in the Middle East?

WIT OF THE DAY

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

― Albert Einstein

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Dropping

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