OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - New Jersey Republicans are not crazy. That's the key message, as state GOP members plan to barnstorm the state to connect with local leaders, in an effort to create a wide gap from President Trump. Republicans in the post-Christie era find themselves struggling for relevancy and identity, sandwiched between a Trump presidency that hates Blue states and a Democratic governor and Democratic-led Legislature. "We're going to simply try to do town halls and say, 'Hey, we're the Republican Party, but we're not crazy,'" said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick. He adds: "Donald Trump is not the leader of the Republican Party in Trenton...We don't answer for what someone might do in Washington." So, don't blame us, OK?

NEWARK - Did Chris Christie try to shut down another travel lane yesterday? The former governor vehemently denies attempting to get special treatment at a security line at Newark Liberty International Airport, tweeting it was "pure fiction." But it is still fun to write about this AP report. Let's call it "Gate Gate," with Christie accused of heading to a VIP access gate he when was re-directed to a regular screening line. Christie says it was the TSA official who informed the airport officer and his State Police security detail of the mix-up. The former governor complied and jumped in the back of a line of regular shmoes trying to get though airport security at Terminal C. But not before making the national wire for this non-news story.

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NEWARK - In more airport news, one must wonder what the heck a CNBC television crew was thinking, trying to sneak a fake bomb through security. The fake bomb was in a carry-on bag, with the crew hoping to capture the TSA letting it through. The good news: It was quickly snagged. But c'mon. Airport security has enough real issues to deal with. This fun little test - featuring a PVC pipe and wires - is not exactly welcomed. NJ.com reports all seven members of the crew were promptly arrested. To date, no one has blamed Chris Christie for being involved.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

TULSA, Okla. - Elvis fans are all shook up over a local auction, in which there is a bidding frenzy over a paper cup that Presley may or may not have used six decades ago. The crumpled blue-and-white Dixie cup was allegedly snagged by a fan in April 1956, after Elvis performed at the Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion. Bids for the now-yellowed paper cup had surpassed $1,575 on eBay, with the auction mercifully closing Sunday night. Track the action here.



MAR-A-LAGO, Fl. - There's yet more evidence that President Trump is truly among the working-class people in the South, as he rolls out an anniversary celebration of his inauguration on Saturday night. You can bet all those Walmart workers from Oklahoma will be invited to join along, with tickets only costing $50,000 a piece. And, for $250,000, these red-blooded Trump supporters can join the President in a roundtable discussion about all his wins, The Hill reports. So, it just costs a decade of earnings for these folks to personally thank their fearless leader for a few hundred bucks in tax cuts. Where do we sign up?

AT THE BAR - Craft brewers want us to believe that beer drinkers are now clamoring for their special-barreled, full-flavored, artisan beer. But apparently Americans still enjoy our mass-produced cans of swill. According to the Washington Post, Bud Light is still America's favorite beer, (Dilly, Dilly!), followed by Coors Lite and Miller Lite. If you want some real perspective on Bud Light, check out this video by John Oliver, who likens the beer to "the urine of a scared rabbit."

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Those still convinced professional wrestling is a sport will be celebrating the 27th anniversary of the big win on this day in 1991, when Sergeant Slaughter defeated the Ultimate Warrior to "win" the WWF championship belt.

WORD OF THE DAY

Trammel - [TRAM-ul] - noun

Definition: Something impeding activity, progress, or freedom

Example: Will Chris Christie be uncomfortable with the never-ceasing trammels of airport security?

WEATHER IN A WORD

Warming