OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - First, there was a turkey in every pot. Then there was the "Square Deal," the "New Deal" and now Sen. Cory Booker says it is time for government to offer a, uh, great deal: A job to anyone who wants one. He is proposing federal grants that would select 15 "local areas" in which adults could get a job at $15 an hour or more, as well as family/sick leave and health benefits. The "Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act" sounds terrific, but before we spend more federal money, perhaps we should check with business first. Many companies are continually advertising for workers, offering health benefits, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, holiday overtime and a bunch of other benefits from Day One. And all without tapping Uncle Sam.

WOODBRIDGE - She's a "Toys 'R' Us kid," and she wants her kids to be "Toys 'R' Us kids" too. So, 8-year-old Delilah Jane Farrell Lattanzi hopes to bail out the Wayne-based toy store chain. Delilah tells News 12 NJ: "My mom grew up with it, my grandmother grew up with it. I can't imagine my kids not knowing what Toys 'R' Us is." The third-grader is persuading classmates at Mawbey Elementary School and their parents to sign a petition and she's raising money with a lemonade stand. If Toys "R" Us won't accept her generosity, Delilah says she'll donate to a children's hospital or at least kick in for Geoffrey's unemployment check.

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ONLINE - What better way to rid yourself of time-sucking social media than learning you are being monitored by the KGB? Following some alarming news last month that the profiles of millions of Facebook users were harvested by Cambridge Analytica, some New Jerseyans are looking to dump their profiles, as the number of Google searches originating from the Garden State about how to delete Facebook doubled in the weeks since the scandal broke. It's not particularly significant, though, as only 27,000 individuals from the state's Facebook community have sought to cleanse themselves from "liking" things, NJ.com reports; a number that surely excludes any number of racist cousins and former high school acquaintances continually asking you to play YoVille or Bejeweled Blitz. 

NEWARK - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez has only been in office for four months, but she is already in closed-door meetings with Sen. Cory Booker. The pair will then be holding a roundtable in Newark today to discuss her proposed bill, "Dignity for Incarcerated Primary Caretakers Parents Act," which mirrors the legislation Booker is pushing on the Hill. The bill requires the Department of Corrections to help encourage and ensure inmates can maintain and build relationships with their children, while showing more compassion to female prisoners and their needs.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

KÖNIZ, SWITZERLAND - File this one under "Taxpayer Money Hard at Work." The latest culprits caught red-handed on a speeding camera are a pair of ducks, flying at a zippy 30 mph in a designated slow zone. Fines for speeding can be thousands of dollars in Switzerland, and there's no question these feathery felons are a serious flight risk. But their lawyer will do just swimmingly, and they won't be facing a hefty bill. Good to see no cars quacked up.

VICTORVILLE, Ca. - A lonely tumbleweed rolling through a dusty frontier town is a familiar scene from the old western flicks. But Victorville is no one-horse town. Still, this 122,000-person city an hour from Los Angeles is under siege by thousands of tumbleweeds. They're rolling in herds down its streets and stacking up against homes, sometimes forming two-story mounds that trap people inside. A city official tells the LA Times: "Tumbleweeds are extremely thorny; they connect together like Legos. You can't just grab them. They really hurt. You need special tools." City workers are scrambling to haul them away, but high winds are just blowing in more from the desert.  (See? Yet another benefit of living in New Jersey.)

GEORGETOWN, Ma. - Ya think political correctness may have gone too far when little kids get banned from calling their best friends, well, their "best friends?" A Massachusetts mom just yanked her 4-year-old daughter out of the Pentucket Workshop Preschool here after teachers told the little girl that she shouldn't single out a classmate her "best friend." Why not? School officials' rationale: It may make some timid tykes feel sad, marginalized, or "like outsiders." Fair enough, but mom tells CBS News the policy is "ridiculous, outrageous and silly," saying children should be allowed to say "anything loving." Hard to argue with that, especially if the argument is coming from our best friends.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1997 that - with much hype - "Titanic" opened as a Broadway play. Luckily, the play didn't sink.

WORD OF THE DAY

Traduce - [trə-DOOSS] - verb

Definition: To violate or betray

Example: Have we all been traduced by Facebook?

WEATHER IN A WORD

Splendid