TRENTON – $14 billion. Boy, that sounds like a lot of money. And that is the number the state Assembly is kicking around today, as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s borrowing plan to desperately shore up the state. Politico reports the state is seeking an immediate $5 billion, with the rest of the cash coming from federal stimulus loans. For Murphy to be asking for $14 billion – which we have to pay back at some point – now is the time: His ratings are probably the best they will ever be, as New Jerseyans always support our leaders in a crisis. The Assembly is just one hurdle here; this mega-borrowing plan also needs the blessing of the Senate, as well the courts, as lawsuits will certainly be flying. And, of course, there are the minority Republicans, howling from the back seats.

STATEWIDE – Expect social distancing in New Jersey to get plenty more social in just 11 days, as Murphy is allowing bars to extend their outside footprint just in time to salvage the summer. The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control has gotten the OK to hand out special permits to bars, allowing them to dispense the suds outside of their premises into November. Imagine the possibilities: Outdoor Giants games, served up under the stars. A glass of wine at sunset and perhaps a well-made Manhattan overlooking, well, Manhattan. Murphy seems onboard with it all, if we can just manage to keep that six feet of distance after the third round.

STATEWIDE – Knuckleheads don’t get immortalized on bobbleheads. So, it’s fitting that Phil Murphy is getting his very own. The Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum just started online sales of Murphy bobbleheads, honoring our governor for his coronavirus crisis leadership. For $25 (plus shipping), you can have your very own mini-Murphy sitting on your desk or bookshelf. It features our governor at his press briefing table with the words “Stay At Home.” The museum donates $5 from each purchase to fund more surgical face masks. TAPinto says this effort has already raised more than $200,000 from bobbleheads sales of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others in its “essential heroes collection.”

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BRIEFING BREATHER

The most expensive bobblehead ever sold was a 1961 New York Yankee that went for $59,750 at a 2014 auction. It wasn’t even a real player.

TRENTON – Wanna run New Jersey’s public education? Now is the time to drop a resume at the governor’s door, as both of his cabinet members in charge of education are graduating to bigger and brighter things. A resignation letter appeared last month from state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, announcing he is hanging up his red tape for a new job in an ivy tower at Kean University, where he becomes president next month. And now there is Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis, who is being promoted to the front office as a chief policy adviser. Politico notes this is a precarious time for musical chairs, as school districts and colleges are reeling from the pandemic. Strong, consistent, smart, tactical, broad and vocal leadership from Trenton is a must.

CLIFFSIDE PARK – Social distancing was no problem with a big black bear wandering for hours around the Oxen Hill neighborhood here. This fuzzy omnivore was an eye-popping event for residents on Monday who shared photos and videos with the Daily Voice. Eyewitness sightings came from Esplanade Place and a few streets near Palisade and Lafayette avenues. One startled woman saw Yogi – foraging for tasty ‘pick-a-nick’ baskets or loose-lidded trash cans – near the high school: “He walked right past my husband in our driveway.” Too bad this pandemic has kept Ranger Rick, shaggy, unshaven and bitter, sitting home and watching Netflix cartoons.

CAPE MAY – On this page, we celebrate victories, both big and small. So it is very much worth noting that Cape May County is the first county in the state to announce not one new COVID-19 case was reported. That happened yesterday to the glee of county officials. This is the first time this feat has occurred since April 5 in Cape May and is certainly worth a high-five. Once that same feat occurs in Hudson County, let's throw a socially-distanced parade.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

GRANDVIEW, W. Va. – Poor, poor Julie Wheeler; she plummeted to her death off an overlook. But, wait. No! Julie is alive! Wheeler just faked her disappearance so she wouldn’t have to go to prison. Cops busted her on Tuesday, after spending days trying to find her rotting, fetid corpse at the bottom of the New River Gorge National Park. Her accomplices – her husband and teen-aged son – claimed that poor ma had fallen from the main overlook on Sunday, even planting some of her personal items there, prompting a massive search. She was finally found Tuesday, “alive and well” tucked in the closet of her home. Wheeler is to be sentenced June 17 for running a corrupt pill mill – if she doesn’t leap into another ravine.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2012 when major pop stars appeared at Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and others performed; unclear if the queen noticed.

WORD OF THE DAY

Wamble – [wäm-bəl] – intransitive verb

Definition: A rumbling of the stomach

Example: As I smell the morning pancakes, I hear some wambling.

WIT OF THE DAY

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

―Mahatma Gandhi

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“The National Guard is ready!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Steamy