OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

MOUNTAINSIDE - Oh, where to begin describing this 46-page lawsuit against two Mountainside cops? A detective sergeant placing his testicles on co-workers' food. And throwing poop-smeared toilet tissue at them. And defecating in someone's boots. And taunting with a dildo dubbed "Big Blue" he liked to wave in cops' faces, as he chased them around. And then there is the police lieutenant, accused of using his flashlight to ram in the anuses of male officers at police HQ - ramming so hard, apparently, that it was tough for one police officer to sit down, court papers say. There are many, many other charges too, like stealing a cop car from neighboring Berkeley Heights, walking around naked in the restroom, grabbing others' genitals, using the "n word," etc, etc. Both cops - who earn six-figure salaries - have been suspended as authorities try to discern fact v. fiction. Grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and read the allegations here.pdf

SOUTH ORANGE - A school board member is the latest official caught on a dash cam acting stupid. This incident occurred April 27, when she was caught cursing and complaining at a cop who pulled her over for speeding. It all began nice, like this: "My name is Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, I'm on the school board, I'm a community member of this town and I am sorry if I was speeding. I didn't realize I was speeding." Then, things went south real fast, as she began to sob and referred to the police chief as a "skinhead." The driver, an African-American, then said "I'm scared of cops because you guys hurt black people." At one point, the cop asked if she needed an ambulance because she seemed to be having a "panic attack" - another statement she found offensive.  Jeez. Just take the ticket.

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WEST LONG BRANCH - And now: a dose of reality. Many were super excited to learn that sports betting would be available at Monmouth Park by Memorial Day weekend, the first place in the state where we can finally wager, legally, on games. But, first, the state Legislature has to put some regulations in place. If state officials can move super fast, the party can begin in early June, NJ.com reports. This is one of those rare times when plenty of eyes are on the Legislature to actually act, as we've all waited seven years for this case to be worked out. So, yeah, yeah, we need regulations on the books. But please hurry. And, hey, you can always amend down the road, after the first few billions trade hands.

STATEWIDE - So, in 2019, it looks like we'll have legal sports betting and pot smoking in New Jersey. Why not score the trifecta and add legalized prostitution? That's a question from the Record, noting the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, a sex work advocacy group, says it would be much safer for hookers if their work was legal, as they could report assaults to the cops and require, under law, condom use. Also, perhaps they could even unionize, earn a nice pension and yell at johns who awkwardly cross the picket line.  Lots of information to digest here, with one pressing - and fascinating - question: Which state lawmaker will step forward and be the one to introduce this bill?

NOT IN NEW JERSEY - Sports betting is a potential boon for New Jersey, but the windfall wasn't enough to stop our famous former resident billionaire from moving to greener pastures to take bets on other sports franchises. David Tepper, once New Jersey's wealthiest resident, is set to buy the Carolina Panthers for a whopping $2.2 billion according to NFL.com, providing a fitting coda for the departure of the fund manager who two years ago took his $11 billion in assets to super-cheap Florida. All that stands in his way now is a vote of approval from NFL team owners, which appears likely. While it stung when Tepper moved south, taking millions of dollars of tax payments with him, it could be worse: he could've bought the Eagles and really posed a threat to New Jersey.

IN THE MEDIA

HAMILTON - When did reporters learn how to sing? At the annual Legislative Correspondents Club event - in which the Statehouse reporters get to roast the governor and other lawmakers - there were plenty of great skits last night. (Others, not so much.)  Usually, the voices of reporters are cringe-worthy, as carrying a tune is not a job requirement to attend a press conference. Kudos to the impressive voices of Brent Johnson of NJ.com, Katie Jennings of Politico, Charlie Stile of the Record and, of course, the operatic voice of Phil Alongi of NJTV. As a side note, the price of admission was easily worth the opportunity to hear a duet between Alongi and Gov. Phil Murphy to the tune of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."  Of course, we have a clip here.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

DALLAS - He seemed, well, mature. But, boy, what a great jump shot!And that is why a 25-year-old man was able to dupe two local high schools for nine months, enrolling in school under a fake name to play basketball. The, um, student was busted on Friday after enrolling in Skyline High School and later Hillcrest High School, as a freshman, where he joined the basketball team, became a star and even scored himself a 14-year-old girlfriend, the Dallas Morning News reports. School officials say he was able to dupe the school secretary by claiming he was a Hurricane Harvey evacuee.  He was spectacular at Hillcrest for the 2017-18 season, with coaches naming him an offensive player of the year. It all spiraled however, when opposing coaches recognized him in April as a player from 2011; it was also quickly learned he played college ball at Dallas Christian College.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1984 that Cincinnati Reds Mario Soto threw four strikeouts in one inning.

Huh? How?

It can occur - quite rarely - when a hitter takes first base after a third strike is dropped by the catcher.

WORD OF THE DAY

Winsome - [WIN-səm] - adjective

Definition: Cheerful, lighthearted

Example: My favorite music?  Giddy piano licks and a funky bass groove - so darn winsome.

WEATHER IN A WORD

Soaking