OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TRENTON - Red-blooded New Jerseyans, in their respectable Republican cloth coats, have been dreading today. An actual breathing liberal, once again, takes over the governor's office and ruins everything. It was eight strong years of solid conservative stewardship, they think, as they trudge up the stairs of the War Memorial in Trenton, scuffing their high-gloss wingtips, and brace themselves for this former Obama-era German ambassador to take the oath as governor at high noon. To them, a basement of liberals is a "whine cellar." Murphy probably calls his Tic Tacs "Entite-mints," they grumble. He'll probably turn Drumthwacket into a community beet farm. But, hey, it is only four years, right? RIGHT?
TRENTON - It could be eight long, scary years for these wing-tippers,as the Murphy agenda is something concocted in their darkest nightmares. This landslide victory was built on legalized marijuana, a $15 minimum wage, a millionaire's tax and safeguards for all those undocumented immigrants allegedly stealing all the great jobs. The Washington Post questions if the Murphy agenda could be the template for a blue wave sweeping the country as a Trump backlash. With Democrats running the state Legislature, as well, will New Jersey's liberals be able to move the ball, or eat each other while battling through the process? Republicans will be watching from the sideline, eager to pounce.
HOBOKEN - To Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and 100 or so other city residents, yesterday's "Day of Service" called for flooding NJ Transit's building in Newark to block the agency from buying a glorious piece of riverfront property that Hoboken wants as a public park. The privately-owned ferry company, New York Waterway, is salivating over the purchase of the Union Dry Dock. Fortunately, for Bhalla and others, the vote was postponed, but the whole scenario caught the attention of Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, claiming this rush to vote on a federal holiday "is emblematic of everything the public has come to loathe about NJ Transit and another reason why it needs a complete overhaul." Rather then semi-secret land deals, NJ Transit should devote its attention to getting trains back and forth on a somewhat reliable schedule.
TRENTON - As workers were etching a new name on the door, and changing the drapes with fury, Gov. Chris Christie found a dusty, half-dried Bic yesterday to sign 109 bills in his final strokes as governor, and ignoring/rejecting 41 or so other bills. Thank you, Mr. Christie, for agreeing to ban "bump stock," from guns, stripping crazy policing powers from the NJSPCA and ensuring background checks for workers assigned to people with developmental disabilities. Yet he rejected an attempt to ban elephants from being used in circuses. And we thought Republicans liked elephants.
TRENTON - If your form of entertainment is slamming a fifth of bourbon and then taking a drone for a spin, you better head out to Pennsylvania. No more drunken slobs are allowed to fly unmanned drone aircraft in New Jersey, in one of the final laws signed by Gov. Chris Christie. It is doubtful many drunks stormed the Statehouse, demanding that it is their unalienable right to be completely plastered before sending their drones into the Jersey skies, making this an easy law for the governor to sign. Here is what you need to know: Curb your drinking to ensure a blood alcohol content level of 0.07 percent, or face six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, if, for some reason, a cop is actually able to find you cowering behind that bush.
IN THE MEDIA
Q: What do you get when you take horses and attach big horns, shaggy fur and giant hooves?
A: Fake gnus.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Only in the Saudi capital - where the streets are carved in marble - is the local Ritz Carlton used as a make-shift prison. No joke, as the country's elite caught up in a corruption sting have been thrown in the Ritz Carlton "prison," forced to dine exclusively on room service, order only one afternoon massage and lounge in imported cashmere robes, as opposed to standard prison garb. Phone lines have been cut to the hotel since Nov. 5, when the crackdown began. Ritz Carlton is pleased to note the hotel will be open to actual guests just in time for Valentine's Day. Yet guests should expect to share a hot tub with crooked real estate developers. No extra charge for that.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
The guy selling shoes at the local Payless was laughing himself silly on this day in 2012 when hackers busted in on 24 million customer accounts at online shoe giant Zappos.
WORD OF THE DAY
Demiurge - [DEM-ee-erj] - noun
Definition: One that is an autonomous creative force or decisive power
Example: Will Governor Murphy be more successful than other state leaders at playing demiurge?
WEATHER IN A WORD