TRENTON – People who are somehow able to publicly defecate into bottles managed to make the governor’s press briefing yesterday, with the State Police superintendent rightfully complaining about some, er, litter discovered in state parks over Mother’s Day weekend. Because the restrooms were closed, State Park Police are reporting “an inordinate amount” of urine and feces being left behind in bottles. State Police note there is a zero-tolerance policy for those few individuals who can somehow squeeze their excrement into a 2-liter of Diet Coke and then ditch it under a park bench. Gov. Phil Murphy chimed in on the “disheartening” report, NJ 101.5 reports, adding: “You're not going to get a warning if we catch you leaving something like that behind.”
STATEWIDE – Did you know history is being made today in New Jersey? Political junkies would be quick to tell you that today is the state’s first election to be conducted almost entirely with vote-by-mail ballots. Politico says there are 17 regular and two special municipal elections, 14 school board races and a fire district election. The biggest, most-contentious local race is in Paterson, with 18 candidates running for six city council seats. Most of these elections are not too titillating except, of course, in Paterson where NBC News already reports accusations of voter fraud over the mishandling of hundreds of mail-in-ballots. Plenty of eyes are watching today’s dry-run for July 7th, when our state holds its primary elections, also expected to heavily rely on mail-ins. Some advice: Don’t wait up for results tonight.
TRENTON – Just when “wave parades” were gathering steam across the Garden State, it looks like we finally had a fun way to honor graduating seniors and give them a decent send-off. But, sigh, the state is pulling the plug on that one, too, deeming it a “public gathering.” So, yes, you can do wave parades for kids’ birthdays, which is nice. But a wave parade, with hundreds of cars, for graduation? No way. Why? Because such a parade would entice large groups to get together, congregating at the high schools and other places where the parade would go by. Sounds like fun. Sounds like progress. Sounds like something to look forward to. So, uh, no. Yet – to add some confusion here – the state is allowing “drive-by celebrations” that usually involve police escorts, the Record reports. Expect plenty of debate about the difference between a “wave parade” and a “drive by celebration.”
Female red kangaroos have three vaginas.
TRENTON - As we plan for the slow, steady reopening of New Jersey, “contact tracing” is a strategy that can be used to limit the spread of COVID-19. But how does it impact personal privacy? That's the big question from Assemblyman Jamel Holley, calling for actual, in-person public hearings (when they are finally permitted) to hash this out. Contact tracing can use mobile applications, pulling heaps of data from GPS or Bluetooth that follow a person’s every movement and every human interaction. It begs another awkward question: What happens to all of this invasive technology - and all the detailed info collected - once the pandemic is behind us? Big Brother is asking.
TRENTON – If the state furloughed 100,000 government workers during this emergency, would the typical resident notice? That’s another question bouncing around Trenton, as the state is looking to reduce hours for state and local public workers to save hundreds of millions of dollars, while allowing state and federal unemployment benefits to make up for lost wages. The Senate Majority Office estimates state and local government employers could save $750 million over three months by furloughing a quarter of the state’s 400,000-person public-sector workforce, NJ.com reports. Saving money is always nice – although such a move puts a further burden on the pummeled unemployment office. And how would such a plan affect government service?
UNION TOWNSHIP – No one would fault New Jersey education chief Lamont Repollet for calling it quits. For starters, all Garden State schools remain locked down, with Zoom becoming a top educational tool. Problems have been insurmountable, like trying to work remotely with kids with special needs, who need classroom aides and special accommodations. Even the challenges of trying to teach first graders, who bounce around like crazy, seem impossible to those of us who haven’t been in primary school for decades. And we haven’t even mentioned the 90,000 kids, by the state Board of Education’s guess, who don’t have access to the internet for the Zoom calls. So Repollet has decided to move to Kean University, where he’ll serve as president starting next month. But it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire. Kean is hemorrhaging money, which could mean deep cuts to faculty and classes, NJ Spotlight reports. And if the commissioner thinks dealing with the NJEA is tough, just wait until he deals with angry professors, angry students and their angry families, as he tries to keep the tuition flowing in.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND – People demand hot tap water here. And if the water dares to be just tepid, well, dammit, the police are going to know about it. That has prompted the cops to tell the public to stop calling the 999 emergency numbers (equivalent to 911) if the taps aren’t dispensing hot water. "If you haven't got any hot water … then you'll need an engineer. Ringing 999 and asking for the police won't help you," the cops tweeted. The reminder comes after the frustrated Essex Police issued a similar reminder in April, when a 999 caller reported his neighbor was snoring loudly. “Advice was given to them and snoring is never a reason to call 999, no matter how annoying it is," officers tweeted. Need to fry an egg, change your oil or pen a love letter? Call 999.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1990 that Saturday Night Live opted to use a tape delay, as it welcomed its foul-mouthed host, Andrew Dice Clay.
WORD OF THE DAY
Flotsam – [FLAHT-sum] – noun
Definition: Miscellaneous or unimportant material
Example: This weekend, I am going to attempt to navigate the flotsam in my garage.
WIT OF THE DAY
“You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”
“Obamagate makes Watergate look small time!”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD