BEDMINSTER – In this Trump era, the news is numbing. The President’s ethical lapses are met with seething outrage on one side, and dismissive shrugs on the other.  Still, reporters are trying to educate the masses, for those who still read blurbs with more than 280 characters. NJ.com, for example, is now reporting that Trump’s luxury properties have charged U.S. taxpayers $1.1 million, which includes hotel rooms at his luxury Bedminster club.  So, as Trump publicly touts his generous decision not to take a salary, yet directs the government to spend much more money in his private ventures, some would be rightfully infuriated by the latest abuse of power. And others have already flipped to the Comics section. Oh, that Garfield.

STATEWIDE – And so let the early voting begin!  As this will likely be the most polarized election in our lifetimes, both sides are already entrenched. No need to hear the orchestrated debates, watch the silly attack ads or note the bumper stickers on passing cars. County clerks across New Jersey are already sending out mail-in ballots; voters in places like Cranford, Raritan, and Elizabeth are already seeing them appear in mailboxes. County clerks have until Oct. 5 to get them all out. It’s now Game Time for the U.S. Postal Service to save our democracy.

BRIEFING BREATHER

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A corn flake shaped like the State of Illinois sold on eBay for $1,350.

STATEWIDE – Hear that? Shhh. Listen quietly. That’s the sound of the parade of Range Rovers heading down the New Jersey Turnpike, as our richiest rich flee the state with yesterday’s announcement of a millionaire’s tax.  That, at least, is the key talking point of our Republicans, who claim that this bump in state taxes for our fed-up wealthy will be enough for them to pack up and flee. “Governor Murphy’s plan to raise taxes is a gift for the Florida economy and a nightmare for New Jersey,” proclaimed Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick. Yes, the argument here is that our wealthiest residents will now put their mansions up for sale, pull their kids from private school, bid farewell to their fancy friends and family, leave their executive careers and head to a tax-friendly state – just because their state tax rate is increasing from 8.97% to 10.75%. Don’t these people have clever accountants?

FANWOOD – It was a pretty good deal for a freeloader, but the cops finally caught up with a 53-year-old man who had been living in the home of a 90-year-old lady. This story would have just gone down as downright weird, until authorities say he stole more than $90,000 from granny by locking her in her room, cutting access to her phone and scamming her into naming him as the beneficiary of her will. This whippersnapper is charged with opening credit cards in her name, using her other cards to buy whatever he damn well pleased and even wrote checks to himself, dismissing them as “investments.” No clue if he has a lawyer, while the victim is not speaking until the commercial break in Wheel of Fortune.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

TORONTO – It used to just be a quick place for a cheap taco, consumed in your car in about eight seconds.  But now it looks like Taco Bell is getting, well, fancy. The fast-food mega chain is now pairing its toasted cheesy chalupa with a lovely, earthy, 2018 Pinot Noir from Canada's Niagara-on-the-Lake region, Wine Spectator reports. This limited-edition bottling from Queenston Mile Vineyard is Taco Bell's first exclusive house wine and vineyard partnership. You can only order this wine at Taco Bells in Toronto – where liquor regulation is much more lax. As you hit the drive thru, ask for the “Jalapeño Noir.” The wine is currently sold out online, but you will eventually be able to buy bottles for $20 or so. Enjoy responsibly; and, of course, don’t drop the chalupa.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Sure, there are many ways in which you can cover your face to protect you and others from COVID. But, transportation officials in this British city remind passengers, wearing a live snake is not one of them.  Viral photos show a man sitting on a Manchester bus with a pet snake wrapped around his neck and mouth. A startled witness told the Manchester Evening News two things. First, she couldn’t believe any city still publishes an evening newspaper. And second, the man at first appeared to be wearing “a really funky mask” until the thing started squirming around and other passengers freaked out. A Transport for Greater Manchester representative said passengers must wear a face covering, but it does not need to be a face mask. But it can’t be alive. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Keeping an apparent grudge, police busted Judy Carne – an actress on Laugh-In – at JFK Airport on an 11-year-old drug warrant, on this day in 1990.

WORD OF THE DAY

Foment – [FOH-ment] – verb

Definition: To promote the growth or development

Example: No one can accuse me of fomenting unrest.

WIT OF THE DAY

 

“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.”

-Jonathan Zittrain

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Twitter makes sure that Trending on Twitter is anything bad, Fake or not, about President Donald Trump. So obvious what they are doing. Being studied now!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Cooler