STATEWIDE – Will these kids ever leave the dang house? That remains frightfully unclear, as Gov. Phil Murphy is now giving us the choice to decide if we want to send our cherubs to school this fall. Instead, parents can opt for “all-remote learning,” akin to what we all dealt with since March, certainly raising questions if these at-home students would be getting the “thorough and efficient” education we promised them. Murphy admits to a “lot of moving parts,” as new guidelines are being drafted likely at the same time this sentence is being constructed. The governor is sending a message that he wants children to be safe, passing the responsibility to parents to decide their fate. But how is that message supposed to be interpreted by teachers and staff wondering what choices they will have on Day One?

STATEWIDE – So, if you are desperate for any form of good news, here’s something: it seems as if the NFL and Big 10 will play some football this fall. Just don’t plan on attending any games, NJ.com reports. The Giants and Jets won’t have any fans in the cavernous Meadowlands stadium, leaving no one around to buy $12 cans of beer. Meanwhile, Rutgers announced yesterday that the stadium won’t host more than 500 people at games, likening the fun and excitement to a field hockey game at a county college. Just close friends and family would get to attend RU games, making fall football in Piscataway one hot ticket. Before football fans start grousing, as they do, remember this could all easily be yanked, too.

STATEWIDE – Some state lawmakers want to give restaurant owners a big tip – to the tune of $30 million – to offset the tremendous expense of planning indoor dining. As we all very well know, Murphy did an about-face, rescinding his initial decision to let those doors swing open on July 2 and sending hungry customers back outside. Business owners, already suffering from months of lost business, plunked down a hefty penny to retrofit their dining rooms to accommodate the latest safety regulations, to eventually be needed. Just not now. There’s no question that CARES Act money should be earmarked to these struggling restaurants in the form of grants and loans. But in this new world of “a billion here” and “a billion there,” what is the fair amount of compensation? Who figured $30 million ought to do the trick? And on what metrics? And, really, at this point, does it really matter?

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BRIEFING BREATHER

JFK often read four newspapers in 20 minutes.

TRENTON - The news stories and photos of the pandemic are unforgettable: Doctors, nurses and other first responders working around the clock, dire shortages of PPE, patients being treated on gurneys in hallways (until there was no room for even that), refrigerated trucks parked next to hospitals and nursing homes to provide extra morgue space. Imagine what it was like for the people on the front lines. It doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to see why estimates that half or virtually all of these professionals are suffering from some form of emotional trauma — PTSD. The state Senate has done the right thing, crafting and passing unanimously three bills that address this issue, NJ Spotlight reports. Now it’s up to the Assembly. Getting these bills on Gov. Murphy’s desk is every bit as critical at the $9.9 billion emergency-spending measure. These professionals have already risked their lives. Compromising their mental and emotional health is unthinkable. 

STATEWIDE – There are countless unemployed New Jerseyans supported with an extra $600 a week from the federal government, making joblessness slightly more palatable over these very long months. But the feds are getting ready to shut down the program at the end of July, unless Congress throws out another lifeline, NJ.com reports. Of course, the issue is partisan. Democrats want to extend the program through the end of the year, while President Trump says nothing is getting signed unless it includes a nonsensical payroll tax cut, helping both employers and employees. (Follow this guy’s logic: If you don’t have a job, you’re not paying payroll tax. So how would eliminating the payroll tax put any more money in your pocket?) The GOP also wants to trim the $600 payment, as treasury officials note that many Americans are earning more on unemployment than if they were working. (That’s correct, too.) Let’s pray the debate is about people, not politics.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Just in time for the Presidential election, here’s a cold, hard lesson on the proliferation of deep fake videos. Yes, fake is apparently the new real, if you can believe that, as researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spent 18 months creating a totally bogus video of President Richard Nixon giving a fake speech. But the words are real, drafted by speechwriter Bill Safire in case disaster struck the astronauts on the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, which gloriously happened 51 years ago yesterday. Luckily, Nixon never needed to give such a speech, but MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality made him say it anyway. Fascinating stuff; check it out here. It’s just another reinforcement: If you can’t believe something is true, likely it isn’t.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Roger Waters had a memorable gig on this day in 1990, performing “The Wall” where the Berlin Wall once stood, between the Brandenburg Gate and Leipziger Platz.

WORD OF THE DAY

Jink – [JINK] – verb

Definition: To move quickly or unexpectedly with sudden turns and shifts (as in dodging)

Example: I jinked between two trucks on the New Jersey Turnpike, narrowly missing a third.

WIT OF THE DAY

“The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity.”

-Eric Hoffer

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“We are united in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Hooky