STATEWIDE – With high school graduations creeping up in just a few short weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy is feeling the heat from ticked-off parents and devastated soon-to-be graduates who have likely had the worst spring of their lives. They are now wandering out to the grocery store and the hardware store and perhaps the liquor store, watching people park their cars and go in and out, in and out. Sort of like a procession, perhaps akin to a graduation procession. It all begs the question: So, governor, you’re saying there is absolutely no way to do some sort of a graduation ceremony for these kids? Parents are now collecting signatures on petitions, one of which already has 32,000 names, arguing that if businesses, parks and beaches can be open, why can’t great minds come together and develop a socially-distanced graduation? Governor: Be the hero.

STATEWIDE – So, it is Thursday morning. And that means the feds are out with the latest unemployment report. Ugh. There were 2.9 million Americans filing unemployment claims over the last week, bringing the total national number to 36 million who filed. Of that number, 22 million people are now receiving benefits. Meanwhile, it is expected that 42% of layoffs this spring could be permanent. (So, where is that V-shaped recovery that’s been hyped?) Anyway, this all falls back on Congress, which has the power to spend, and the Federal Reserve, which has the power to lend. Politics and pundits aside, they are the only lifelines here.

TRENTON – Sooo, in other good news, it looks like the state has lost about $3.5 billion last month, according to the monthly revenue report. And that is not really the bad news. What is mind-boggling is that the state is looking at more than $10 billion less in revenue through the 2021 state budget, NJ 101.5 reports. (And we thought the state was hopelessly broke before.) Gov. Phil Murphy says the report “shows the fiscal cliff we are now looking over the side of.” So here’s hoping people pay their year-end state taxes and corporate business taxes on time. Reminder the deadline: Wednesday, July 15. Assume the state will even offer curbside pick-up.

Sign Up for New Brunswick Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

BRIEFING BREATHER

A pound of potato chips costs 200 times more than a pound of potatoes.

ATLANTIC CITY – The mayor keeps his day job, at least for now. Voters have rejected a referendum to permanently scrap the mayor’s job and shrink the City Council from nine to five members, who would then pick a qualified city manager to run this seaside resort. Results of Tuesday’s special ballot question won’t be final until Friday, but the Press of Atlantic City reports it was heading for a 3–1 defeat. A group called “Atlantic City Residents for Good Government” led the charge to end about 170 years of City Hall corruption by a “cartel of ignoramuses.” Current Mayor Marty Small Sr., who slammed the group as wealthy out-of-towners, said: “This was all about money-power versus people-power. We had no money at all and we smoked them!” Small's not out of the woods yet. He now faces two challengers in the July 7 primary.

NEWARK – Sen. Cory Booker and Mayor Ras Baraka are claiming that New Jersey’s minority-owned businesses — including firms owned by women and veterans — were short changed when it came to federal COVID-19 recovery loans. Some cynics out there are probably saying, “Of course they were.” Others are probably dismissing the charges as “business as usual from Booker.” NJ Spotlight reports that trying to prove the charges is devilishly difficult: The Small Business Administration, which handled the loan applications, doesn’t collect demographic data. So Booker is going directly to the banks, asking for a wealth of information ranging from the racial and ethnic makeup of business owners approved for loans to the number of loans by ZIP code. There’s no guessing what he’ll find out, unclear if banks even have that info. But one thing is certain: The Garden State has seen more than its share of tragedy.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The porn industry could show America how to safely put people back to work. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, says the head physician at Harvard University’s Global Health Institute. The LA-based multi-billion-dollar adult film industry has had successful workplace safety protocols since the HIV scare in 1990s. To keep performers pounding out porn, they are required to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases every 14 days and there’s an easily accessible database to monitor their health. The good doctor tells the medical website STAT: “These are the kinds of tools we need. This can work. We just have to scale it up.” So, perhaps President Trump should dial up another porn star for, you know, the safety of the country.

ROCKFORD, IL. - The last surviving member of the 1943 Rockford Peaches immortalized in Penny Marshall's 1992 film, “A League of Their Own,” has died at 101. Pitcher Mary Pratt, a slight lefty who once threw a no-hitter and put together a 20-win season during her career in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, died May 6 in a retirement home, the Washington Post reports. Although Pratt's memory was fading in recent years, she still knew all the words to the Peaches' team song (“Oh, we’re all in bed by 10 o’clock, that is a dirty lie/ We are the Rockford ballclub, our motto ‘Do or die’ ”), which she sang at her 100th birthday party. No cause of death has been released but be assured she's safe at home.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2014 that The New York Times needed to reinstall its glass ceiling, firing its very first female executive editor after three years.

WORD OF THE DAY

Pelagic – [puh-LAJ-ik] – adjective

Definition: Of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea; oceanic

Example: Duh. Everyone knows that the most pelagic bird species are migrating over New Jersey this month.

WIT OF THE DAY

 

“I gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing.”

-Richard M. Nixon

 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

 

“I’ve studied history quite a lot. I learned a lot from Richard Nixon. And Nixon was right, never back down and never fire people.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

70