OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - It's still the "Battle of the Unknowns." Yet it looks as if Phil Murphy is easily marching to victory as our next governor. Quinnipiac University is out with its latest poll, saying the Democrat has hit the magic 50 percent mark, leading Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno 50 - 25 percent, as unannounced independent Joe Piscopo bows out. Yet in the June primary - and yes, there is a primary election for governor next month - more than half of Democrats and Republicans remain undecided about their candidates. But, somehow, pollsters say the numbers still lean toward Murphy easily winning in November. Meanwhile, voters say "Who?"  

FREEHOLD - Monmouth County apparently has oodles of cash to throw at a new, official county seal. Freeholders have proudly unveiled their nifty new emblem, depicting a farmer and his trusty plow. The previous version - which nobody likely glanced at since it was created in 1798 - looks like a coffin in a church graveyard or maybe a boat, The Asbury Park Press suggests. Sounds like a simple switch, right? It's not. It means replacing piles of county flags, signs and plaques, vehicle decals, letterhead and even shoulder patches on county employee uniforms. Expect sticker shock. 

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TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie is right: Americans must show respect for the Office of the President. But, to be fair, America has never, ever experienced the likes of President Donald J. Trump, quick to insult, berate and embarrass anyone. Christie called out some blistering comments from Stephen Colbert, calling for him to be suspended as host from "The Late Show." Says Christie: "I just feel like if a late-night talk show host said something that was incredibly gross and insensitive about President Obama that he probably would have already been fired. My concern is: Where's the outrage?"  

Well, there is plenty of outrage, evident in Colbert's on-air comments about Trump, after the President insulted John Dickerson, host of "Face the Nation." Says Colbert:  

"You have more people marching against you than cancer." 

"You're not the POTUS, you're the 'gloat-us'." 

"You attract more skinheads than free Rogaine." 

"The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's cock holster." (Editor's Note: Yeah, that one is over the top.)

BERNARDS - You lived for six centuries and witnessed the birth of New Jersey. You once provided shade for George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette to discuss the Revolutionary War. And, now, you will be a table. The 600-year-old white oak tree torn down at the Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge will now become furniture. News 12 New Jersey reports a Hillside carpenter is using some of the 116,000 pounds of wood to make altar tables for the church and some nice meeting tables at Bernards town hall.  

TRENTON - The proposed $300 million renovation of the Statehouse - which the Christie Administration claims is a major statewide priority that we must all embrace - now apparently will cost upwards of $750 million, NJ.com reports. Finance guys are now factoring in the obvious: the state doesn't have the cash for such a project and will need to borrow. So, we are now talking long-term debt and interest payments, like $20 million to $25 million a year for 20 or 30 years or so. Good timing. When this project is finally paid off, it will be in line with the next gargantuan plan to renovate the Statehouse, which will then be around 250 years old or so. 

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

CHALKHILL, Pa. - Apparently, Hillary Clinton got herself good and drunk, jumped in her car and led cops on a chase from Maryland to Pennsylvania. Cops could only stop drunken Hillary by using spike strips to flatten her tires in Fayette County, Pa. The woman, who identified herself as Hillary Clinton and obviously, without question, must be her, then refused tests for drugs and alcohol and was thrown in jail. Now, Hillary doesn't have an attorney, and is set to appear before the judge on May 9. Police also suspect Hillary could possibly be Holly Lynn Donahoo, 36, of Louisville, Kentucky. But President Trump isn't buying it.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 2011 that President Obama decided not to release photos of a dead Osama bin Laden. Conspiracy theorists howl.  

WORD OF THE DAY 

Platitude - [plat-i-tood] - noun 

Definition: A flat, dull or trite remark  

Example: One of the most common platitudes we hear is that "words fail." But words are not failing for Mr. Colbert. 

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Beauty 

P.S. Happy National Weather Observers' Day

P.P.S. And...May the Fourth be With You.