TRENTON – Of all the doom and gloom in the economy, at least the state Labor Department employees are getting a wistful chuckle at the mountain of unemployment requests suddenly dumped on their plate. How, exactly, will they be able to process this immediate 1,500% spike in requests, as nearly 156,000 New Jerseyans found themselves promptly dismissed from work in the past week? Who will handle this 16-fold increase, more than three times greater than any other week in the 34 years that labor officials tracked this kind of stuff? For the week of March 21, there were 155,815 claims, amounting to one out of 26 workers eligible for unemployment. To compare, back in the good ol’ days of March 14, there were only 9,467 claims. State labor officials say that “despite some challenges,” everyone will get benefits “as soon as possible.” Perhaps they can hire some people to help.

TRENTON – There’s some less-than-awful news coming from the state Department of Environmental Protection, reporting that two of the main causes of air pollution in the state are 20% to 30% below last year’s levels. Let’s face it, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter are what make New Jersey air New Jersey air, that eye-watering brown atmosphere that keeps us sitting by the AC for most of August. Here’s the question: Are Gov. Murphy’s stay-at-home, “essential business” regulations responsible for the dip? The experts tell NJ Spotlight it's too early to say; we’ll know soon enough. And when there are no cars, trucks or trains belching out chemicals, our state’s air will be almost pristine. Wait. Do we really believe that, or are these walls just closing in?

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PATERSON – All eyes are now on an old silk mill in Paterson, quickly re-purposing itself to churn out 100,000 cloth face masks and gowns a week. The Record reports how this one remaining textile mill, a 130-year-old factory in the city’s Bunker Hill section, has been able to stay alive through the generations by making tote bags with corporate logos. The company was able to survive global trade wars, in which items can be produced for pennies in China and then shipped over. But, thankfully, this Paterson company was able to stay open, as so many others closed, and is now thrust onto the front lines, as healthcare workers are desperately in need of gowns and masks. The factory is now burning the midnight oil, just like it did in 1900.

BRIEFING BREATHER: Elvis had a twin brother, Garon, who died at birth. That’s why Elvis had the middle name of Aron.

IN THE MEDIA

ON AIR – For many of us, now is the time to die for our country. That’s according to TV crackpot Glenn Beck, who is now arguing that Americans over the age of 50 should get off their lazy asses and return to work to save the economy. Forget the pandemic; you’ve lived long enough. It’s now time to sacrifice yourself for the good of the country, even though you are the most medically vulnerable. “I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,” he says, according to Media Matters. “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country.” All will agree: Glenn Beck should go to work.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

ROCHESTER, NY – Dr. Anthony Fauci is the fact-based face of the coronavirus response. He is also the face of a donut shop in Rochester known as “Donuts Delite.” Customers can enjoy a donut that features Fauci's face on edible paper and placed atop a buttercream-frosted donut. The shop owner tells CNN that Fauci donuts are now selling like hotcakes. He figured selling a few hundred of the treats. But, to date, thousands have been ordered and dispatched across the country. Says the shop owner: “I never met a guy that worldwide he is so loved. And a month ago, we never knew his first and last name... His political agenda is medical. It's facts... the American public needs facts now.” As long as people keep ordering Fauci donuts, the shop will keep making them.

BETHLEHEM, PA – Fauci donuts may now be part of your Easter celebration, with word that PEEPS are the latest casualty of coronavirus shutdowns. No more of those bright yellow marshmallow chicks will be hatched until sometime in April after state officials told PEEPS-makers to cease production of Eastertide treats. That order came a week after the confections company, Just Born, vowed to keep churning out PEEPS, telling the Express-Times they are an “emotionally healthy necessity.” The company, which has made PEEPS for the Easter season since the 1940s, says it already shipped a bunch to retailers. So, hopefully, there will be plenty of sweet chicks and Fauci donuts in your basket.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

A future president was center ring on this day in 1988, when “Macho Man” Savage pinned Ted DiBiase in WrestleMania IV at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. No, we’re not talking about Obama.

WORD OF THE DAY

Redux – [ree-DUKS] – adjective

Definition: Brought back

Example: Will April feel like a March redux?

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Jersey Comedian J.L. Cauvin has racked up millions of hits with this video shortly after President Trump opined that the country would "open up" by Easter.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Really?! You’re going to compare Donald Trump to Jesus Christ. May I remind you, Jesus Christ never had to cut a check to keep Mary Magdalene quiet.”

- Stephen Colbert

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“I have no time for stupidity.”

-Donald J. Trump (March 25, 2020)

WEATHER IN A WORD: Perfect

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