The Jaffe Briefing will be on vacation beginning Wednesday, July 1, returning Tuesday, July 7

STATEWIDE – Today is the day. Finally. After months of more waiting, and many, many hours of extra parallel parking, 17-year-old kids can finally take their road test to get a driver’s license. Yet, if they expect to nail the test and zoom on out of the MVC, there is still some more waiting to do, if you can believe that. They can take the road test today, if they get through the line, but then they have to wait until July 7 to get their license, as the backlog mounts. But, hey kids, don’t worry: Those who pass the test will be given access to special, super-duper “Road Test” express lanes at the MVC beginning July 7, which means they should likely have their license by, say, September, or so.

STATEWIDE – Thursday can not come soon enough for bar and restaurant owners, finally allowed once again to welcome customers inside. But things are going to be vastly different than before mid-March, when we could mingle, chit-chat and freely move about the eatery. Now, when the doors swing open, all customers will have to wear a mask, unless they are seated. There’s no wandering up to the bar to order a drink or an app, and you better not dare be within six feet of other customers. Also, these businesses will be limited to 25% capacity, so there’s plenty of space to spread out. Yup, very different. But, at this point, we’ll take it.

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IN MAILBOXES – “Please Mr. Postman, how can this be? My mail-in ballot got returned to me?” Those are questions (or rhymes) plenty of early primary voters are asking. And, Gov. Phil Murphy’s top attorney, Matt Platkin, has the state's official answer: The U.S. Postal Service has lousy equipment. Its optical scanners have trouble reading delivery addresses (presumably county clerk offices) on “some ballots.” So, an “undisclosed number” (translation: “heaps”) are getting sent back to voters. Platkin told New Jersey Globe on Friday that state officials consulted with the Postal Service about the envelope design specifically to avoid this snafu. (Fat lot of good that did). The state should get reimbursed for all that wasted prepaid postage. Yes, now we are arguing about stamps.

BRIEFING BREATHER

38% of American men say they love cars more than women.

TRENTON – There’s “mini” and then there’s “mini.” NJ Spotlight has some pointers for what to watch for today as state legislators are expected to give final approval on what’s being called a “mini” state budget to cover the months of July, August and September. It’s all relative, of course, because the mini-budget has a maxi price tag attached — just a smidge shy of $8 billion, at $7.7. billion. The COVID-19 pandemic has utterly changed New Jersey’s financial outlook and lopped off billions in state revenues, thus the need for this odd little “mini” budget. The three-month spending legislation doesn’t include any direct tax hikes, but just you watch and wait.

LAKE HOPATCONG – A little rain sank a pro-Trump boat parade that promised to bring hundreds of flag-waving boaters and anti-Trump protesters to our state’s largest lake on Saturday. Morning drizzle, and thunderstorm forecasts, prompted Sussex County Republicans to make a last-minute cancellation. Seems plausible: Anyone who enjoys watery pastimes like, say, boating might be timid about getting wet. Or, just maybe, Trumpers jumped ship after hearing the president also bailed on his weekend trip to Bedminster, staying in DC to get soaked by the Sunday morning political pundits for virus spikes. Sussex GOP Chairman Jerry Scanlan promised the New Jersey Herald this boat parade will be rescheduled, come hell or high water, vowing “it will be bigger and better than this one was going to be.” Um, weather permitting.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BENNINGTON, VT – While most people’s knees hurt when they have to get up for that third cup of morning coffee, one runner has found a way to make us feel even worse about ourselves. Dust some of the donut crumbs off your shirt to read this: A Vermont woman has spent her entire COVID-19 lockdown running a marathon each and every day. She has now reached Day 87 of her attempt, which she plans to end at 100 days – if her knees are still attached to her body. The runner had been living in Italy in March when she found out the summer marathons she had been training for were cancelled. She started on the treadmill while ordered to stay inside, and then hit the streets, hoping to do 15 marathons in 15 days. Then, she kept going and going and going….

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2012 that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their divorce, after five years of marriage. The supermarket tabloids were crushed.

WORD OF THE DAY

Argot – [AHR-goh] – noun

Definition: The language used by a particular type or group of people; an often more or less secret vocabulary and idiom peculiar to a particular group

Example: These damn kids with video games have their own argot; no clue what they are talking about.

WIT OF THE DAY

“We can objectively see quite serious achievements even during his short time in office…On a personal level, Trump made a very good impression on me.”

-Vladimir Putin

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Brilliant