BEDMINSTER – There’s a collective sigh of relief in the hills of Somerset County today with word that President Trump is spending his weekend elsewhere. Let’s make the gigantic assumption that Trump had somebody read The Jaffe Briefing to him earlier this week, when we described how remarkably expensive and disruptive it is to have a sitting President sitting around (or perhaps golfing) in Somerset County. Instead, Trump is heading to Maine, or wherever, to tour a manufacturing plant, or something. Again, a huge sigh of relief, as protesters eagerly follow Trump wherever he roams. Optics of Trump playing golf at his lush resort, as protesters beat down the gates in fury, isn’t good for his club’s business, right?
STATEWIDE – Climate change and sex. There’s gotta be some connection somewhere. And there certainly is. One study suggests that rising temperatures are lowering people’s sex drive, with obvious consequences for the U.S. birth rate. But there’s no word if members of the New Jersey State Board of Education are reading the research. NJ Spotlight reports that on Thursday the board advanced revised standards for how both climate change and sex education will be taught in the Garden State. (Separately, we assume.) There’s only so much those little minds can hold at any one time.
MONTCLAIR – Demanding a full-scale election recount is rather unusual for politicians in this ordinarily reasonable town where real estate is hot, hot, hot. Most folks can’t remember the last time a recount happened here. But, mayoral candidate Renee Baskerville is breaking that streak. Politico says she is challenging her 195-vote loss to opponent Sean Spiller in May 12’s vote-by-mail-only race. And her reasons sound awfully similar to ones that surfaced in Paterson’s dicey election: Ballots mishandled and improperly postmarked by postal workers (hmm?); claims that the town’s Post Office closed four hours early on Election Day because of insufficient staff; and a few other alleged irregularities. Sounds like a recurring post-election theme.
The first episode of “Joanie Loves Chachi” was the highest-rated American program in the history of Korean television. In unrelated news, “Chachi” translates to “penis” in the Korean language.
ATLANTIC CITY – There have been months of news reports about the struggling casino industry, with conferences and other big events cancelled because of the pandemic. Lost jobs, no wages and recent riots have just capped off a spring to forget. Yet, the mayor is promising a 5% decrease in property taxes. The Press of Atlantic City reports that Mayor Marty Small says “this is the biggest gift I can give the taxpayers,” clearly assuming the money is coming out of his own pocket. The state calls it a “prudent” budget, yet the newspaper is also quick to note that Atlantic City owes $566 million or so, which should be paid off, by, say, 2100. Meanwhile, enjoy the tax break.
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP – A shout-out to safety is how Hand’s variety store is heralding its 68th year, a grand re-opening. This popular LBI store has added the words “Wash Your” to its large “Hand’s” storefront sign along Long Beach Boulevard, reminding patrons to sanitize. Originally set to permanently close this year, Hand’s owners changed their minds, telling The Sandpaper “too many people wanted us to stay.” True. Few visitors have left LBI since 1952 without nautical kitsch, flip-flops or boogie boards from Hand’s. But, this store won’t be selling much beachwear this summer. Owners say the pandemic put many suppliers out-of-business. No worries. Hand’s shelves are restocked with plenty of lacquered captain’s wheels, faux seagulls and other beachy souvenirs that You. Just. Have. To. Have.
RANDOLPH – Promises to safely reopen would’ve been more believable if mom-and-pop business owners actually used those safety precautions at a recent rally here. But, the Randolph Reporter says they didn’t. Rallying in the parking lot of a Sussex Turnpike tennis center, small business owners urged Gov. Murphy to let them reopen soon. One owner insisted they “deserve the same rights and opportunities as the big box stores.” (We agree.) Others said their stores and businesses could easily employ the same safety measures as box stores, like limiting customers and requiring masks. (Absolutely) But, the weekly paper tossed a wet blanket on these pledges, saying this rally brought out a bunch of “pro-gun militia members, an assortment of politicians and political hopefuls … mostly unmasked and ignoring social distancing protocols.” The take-away got lost.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
SAN DIEGO – This pandemic has been really good for stuffed animals, the only ones permitted to ride “The Giant Dipper” roller coaster at a local theme park. Operators of Belmont Park said they needed to keep running the roller coaster every day since mid-March for the machinery to stay nice and greased. Workers admitted it got pretty depressing to operate an empty ride since mid-March, so they decided to strap in some large teddy bears and other former prizes for the daily joy ride. The San Diego Union Tribune says the number of runs each day has increased, as people are now looking forward to watching the ride and taking video of the fun-filled, wind-swept toys. And the animals may become a permanent fixture, helping to ensure social distancing on the ride once it opens to real, living people.
STATEWIDE – The national job stats are out again this morning, and what a surprise. No one can really explain this; the widespread expectation is that national unemployment in May would be at 20%. But, somehow, the unemployment numbers decreased from 14% to 13.3% last month. Financial experts don’t really understand why. Meanwhile, the stock market churned higher in early trading this morning, as all the economic textbooks are being chucked from the third-floor window.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2013 that New Jersey got a new U.S. senator whose name we could never really pronounce, as Jeffrey Chiesa was named as a placeholder following the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
WORD OF THE DAY
Overmorrow – [oh-ver-mawr-oh] – noun
Definition: The day after tomorrow
Example: There will be no Jaffe Briefing published overmorrow.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
“Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was “Chaos,” which I didn’t like, & changed to “Mad Dog”...”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD