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NJ’s largest paper endorses Chris Daggett for Governor and rejects the two party system

Chris Daggett, Independent Candidate for NJ Governor

Chris Daggett, Independent Candidate for NJ Governor

Man-o-man, I should’ve been paying closer attention.  Guys, this is the Big Kahuna.  The Star-Ledger, one of New Jersey’s largest papers, has endorsed Independent Chris Daggett for governor.  The reasons for this endorsement are spectacular.  Let’s have a read:

The Star-Ledger today endorses independent candidate Chris Daggett and recommends his election as the next governor of New Jersey.

The newspaper’s decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state’s current plight.

Only by breaking the hold of the Democratic and Republican mandarins on the governor’s office and putting a rein on their power will the state have any hope for the kind of change needed to halt its downward economic, political and ethical spiral.

New Jersey needs radical change in Trenton. Neither of the major parties is likely to provide it. Daggett’s election would send shock waves through New Jersey’s ossified political system and, we believe, provide a start in a new direction.

It would signal the entrenched leadership of both parties — and the interest groups they regularly represent — that an ill-served and angry electorate demands something better.

The lamentable fact is that the two parties are, themselves, little more than narrow special interests. Their competition for short-term political and/or monetary gain has jeopardized the state’s long-term economic health and left it with a tarnished national reputation.

For disappointed Democrats and Republicans, a decision to vote for Daggett will mean a break with party loyalty — no easy thing. What we’re suggesting is a temporary suspension of that loyalty as a way to begin changing the corrosive culture of Trenton. Daggett would owe nothing to either party establishment; he’d be free to recruit best talent wherever he found it. As he told The Star-Ledger editorial board, he’d feel no obligation to honor the traditional Democratic-Republican deal that requires bipartisan balance on the Supreme Court. He’d apparently take the best he could find regardless of party affiliation — or lack thereof.

Just go read the whole thing.  This is potentially a shot heard round the country.  Daggett is still polling behind Jon “I’m awarding all of Hillary’s delegates to Obama” Corzine and Chris Christie.  But in recent weeks, he’s gone from nowhere to capturing almost 20% of the vote.  It wouldn’t be the first time a state has elected an Independent for Governor, think Jesse Ventura in Minnesota.  But New Jersey is huge compared Minnesota.  There’s still several weeks left for Daggett to make up ground.  I’ve seen Daggett/Esposito signs on my way to work and I understand that his performance at the first debate was really good.

I do worry about Daggett’s intention of taking on the unions, especially the teacher’s union.  But having served on a NJ Board of Ed, I also understand that the union wields a big stick but doesn’t always deliver results.  Lifetime tenure is granted to teachers in my district after 3 years with little or no expectation that they will acquire new skills or expertise for a changing global marketplace.  It does concern me when Daggett pledges to take on the pensions of public servants.   We also need to demand more of NJ’s wealthiest  residents who like the tax system as it is- balanced on the backs of middle class homeowners.  I hope he will address this problem.  The last thing we want is to hobble the unions so much that they cease to be examples of labor strength.  Daggett needs to find a happy medium.

As the Star-Ledger says, here’s the way to take back your government.  What our current crop of politicians need right now is discipline and for the voters to hold them accountable for their bad behavior.  With the election of people like Daggett, we are capable of issuing the parties a warning.  Shape up or it’s four years on the Naughty Step.  And then we keep putting them back on that step until they get the message and do what we tell them to do.  All we lack is the courage and determination to carry through on our warnings.

If we end up with better politicians in the meantime, so much the better.

If you want to help send shockwaves around NJ and the rest of the country, you can contribute to Daggett’s campaign here. The next debate for Governor will be October 16 and will be broadcast on October 18.

Oh, and one more thing for our NJ readers out there.  Jon Corzine and the Democratic party has absolutely no respect for you as a voter.  Don’t forget that Hillary Clinton won our state by 10 points but didn’t get a single delegate from our state at the 2008 Democratic Party Convention in Denver.  Instead, Jon Corzine handed all of our votes, every last one of them, over to Barack Obama.  They didn’t listen to us last year.  That’s why they aren’t listening to us this year.  Corzine is sadly mistaken if he thought we would ever forget the disgraceful behavior of our superdelegates at the Convention.  If you want your vote to actually mean something again, start by throwing this guy out of office:

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Your Breakfast Read, Sunday Edition

Candidate President Obama Earth Shattering “Gay Agenda” Speech

Obama gave his long awaited “gay agenda” speech yesterday, but it looks like something is in the air: Nobody is fooled, not even his biggest sycophants.
John Aravosis asks: Where’s the beef?

Barack Obama just promised us that if he becomes president, he’s going to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and get ENDA passed. It was a bit surreal. I’m sitting at a fundraiser for the No on 1 effort in Maine (that Obama didn’t even bother to mention), and we were all just speechless (actually, hardly speechless – and I thought yelling at the TV was long since over). Obama repeated his campaign promises. That was it.

What’s particularly disturbing is how President Obama contradicts himself, and his own administration, when talking to a gay crowd.

Andrew Sullivan says the whole thing was “Much Worse Than I Expected

He says he will end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but he has done nothing, and he offered no time-line,no deadline for action and no verifiable record that he has done anything, despite his claims that he has.

He says he is ending the HIV ban, but it is still in force, a year and a half after it was signed by George W. Bush and passed by massive majorities in both houses.

He says he favors equality for gay couples but said nothing tonight to support the initiatives in Maine or in Washngton State or the struggle in Washington DC for marriage equality. That’s a test of real sincerity on this matter. He failed it.

He says he wants to end discrimination in employment even as he is firing more gay people solely for being gay than any other employer in the country – as commander-in-chief. And if an employer is firing gay people all the time, is it tolerable to accept as a response that he will stop doing it one day – but gives no time-line at all to hold him to?

(Emphasis mine)

Joe Sudbay yawns “Obama’s big gay speech: Heard it all before.

[T]onight, he did not deliver anything new or exciting. He did not assuage our concerns.

Doubts arise after Obama pledges to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Some advocates said they already have heard Obama’s promises and now they want a timeline. Cleve Jones, a pioneer activist, said Obama delivered a brilliant speech, but added “it lacked the answer to our most pressing question, which is when.”

“He repeated his promises that he’s made to us before, but he did not indicate when he would accomplish these goals and we’ve been waiting for a while now,” said Jones, national co-chair of a major gay-rights rally scheduled for Sunday on the National Mall.

DADT is even worsae than you think
I Didn’t Tell. It Didn’t Matter.

Trying to serve his country, a young man faced bigotry and abuse


2009 Nobel Peace Prize: More Afterthoughts

You knew this was coming didn’t you?
Barack Obama’s Nobel peace prize is snub to Bill Clinton

Although the award of the Nobel peace prize to President Barack Obama was widely interpreted as a repudiation of the Republican era of George W Bush, the real snub may have been to Bill Clinton.

The former Democratic president is widely held to be overdue for the prize. He helped to promote peace in Northern Ireland and devoted more time to achieving a Middle East deal than any other president, although the effort was unsuccessful.

Since leaving the White House he has created the Clinton Global Initiative to combat problems from Aids to global warming, worked hard on good causes and is the United Nations special envoy to Haiti.

Winning the Prize, Losing the Peace

Barack Obama — president and Nobel laureate. Not bad for a fellow just five years removed from the Illinois Senate. But caveat victor: The president may soon regret having won this honor, and the Nobel committee may regret having awarded it to him.

Michael Moore thinks he may have been too hard on Obama in his initial column and asks he friends to “Get Off Obama’s Back“, to which Dissenting Justice replies “Absolutely Not!

I remain highly skeptical of the Nobel Peace Prize committee’s decision. My skepticism stems from Obama’s continuation of policies that leftists — including Moore — criticized loudly, passionately, and relentlessly for the last 8 years. These policies include wars, troop surges, handouts to corporations, rendition, indefinite detention, denial of habeas corpus, military tribunals, state secrets, and a lack of positive action on GLBT rights. Moore’s essay does not mention these things — neither do the liberal defenses that have emerged which condemn progressives who question the prize committee’s decision. If liberals truly hated these practices, then they should apply the same criticism to Obama. Otherwise, their criticism looks disingenuous and partisan.


Health Care Nightmare

In related news: The sun rises from the east.
Watering down the public option

Groping for a way out of a political bind, Democrats are defining down what constitutes a government-run insurance plan — and by extension, what it takes to declare victory.

At this point, Senate Democrats are signaling they could get behind just about anything they could plausibly call the public option – from a “trigger” that could kick in a public insurance plan later, to Delaware Sen. Tom Carper’s proposal to give states an option to create a government program.

The NY Times has a long editorial breaking down the Baucus Bill.
The Baucus Bill

The Senate Finance Committee may finally be ready to vote on its version of a health care reform bill. For months, its chairman, Max Baucus, and other members have struggled to produce legislation that could win significant Republican support. Fat chance. Only one Republican on the committee seems open to voting for the bill, and the entire Republican Congressional leadership seems determined — for ideological and partisan reasons — to torpedo the entire reform effort.


Economy Watch

Crisis? What crisis
Huge profits put Goldman on track for pay bonanza

The profits, which could be as much as three times the level of last year, are the result of better business conditions but the size of the rewards – from which top bankers could receive multi-million pound packages – will set Goldman on a collision course with governments on both sides of the Atlantic

Joe, the answer is “no they don’t.”
The Question Is: Have Banks No Shame?

“They can’t pay what they owe!” [Simon Johnson] began angrily. Then he paused, collected his thoughts and started over: “Tim Geithner saved them on terms extremely favorable to the banks. They should support all of his proposed reforms.”

Mr. Johnson continued, “What gets me is that the banks have continued to oppose consumer protection. How can they be opposed to consumer protection as defined by a man who is the most favorable Treasury secretary they have had in a generation? If he has decided that this is what they need, what moral right do they have to oppose it? It is unconscionable.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

These people still getting their bonuses.
Steep Wall Street Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions

The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees.

Third-quarter stock rally can’t quell investor worries

We keep falling behind. From 1st to 3rd before you can say “meltdown”.
UK ‘becomes top financial centre’

The UK has overtaken the United States to be ranked as the World’s leading financial centre, despite doubts about its economic stability.

Too small must fail.
Small Banks Fail at Growing Rate, Straining F.D.I.C.

A year after Washington rescued the banks considered too big to fail, the ones deemed too small to save are approaching a grim milestone: the 100th bank failure of 2009.
In what has become a ritual, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has swooped down on a handful of troubled lenders almost every Friday, seizing 98 since January alone and putting their assets into the hands of another bank.

What? You thought there wouldn’t be any ranking? Fat chance.
America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 2009

BusinessWeek readers nominated a record number of young entrepreneurs. Meet the 25 most impressive.


Af-Pak Headaches

Fergawdsake! How many lives do these guys have?
A Dogged Taliban Chief Rebounds, Vexing U.S.

In late 2001, Mullah Muhammad Omar’s prospects seemed utterly bleak. The ill-educated, one-eyed leader of the Taliban had fled on a motorbike after his fighters were swiftly routed by the Americans invading Afghanistan.
[…]
Eight years later, Mullah Omar leads an insurgency that has gained steady ground in much of Afghanistan against much better equipped American and NATO forces. Far from a historical footnote, he represents a vexing security challenge for the Obama administration, one that has consumed the president’s advisers, divided Democrats and left many Americans frustrated.

In Pakistan, Militants Attack Army Bastion

The attack amounted to a stunning security breach as the Pakistani military prepares what it says will be an all-out assault against militants in the Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. At least six military officials were killed.

Are Obama advisers downplaying Afghanistan dangers?

As the Obama administration reconsiders its Afghanistan policy, White House officials are minimizing warnings from the intelligence community, the military and the State Department about the risks of adopting a limited strategy focused on al Qaida, U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military officials told McClatchy.

I don’t know how good they are, but I find it a little disturbing that a major policy could be the purview of one family.
Husband and wife take stage in debate on Afghanistan

As intellectual architects of the controversial “surge’’ strategy in Iraq in 2007, military scholars Frederick and Kimberly Kagan have been frequent targets of the left, derided as “warmongers’’ and “cheerleaders’’ of the neoconservative ideology that advocates a muscular foreign policy to spread American values.Now, with a new administration in power, the influential husband-and-wife team has emerged again, this time at the center of the debate over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Will Obama regret having in McChrystal his own Petraeus?
Obama Wanted a Petraeus. Buyer Beware.


Around The Nation: Political Edition

A compelling portrait of Joe Biden
From health-care reform to Afghanistan, Joe Biden has bucked Obama—as only a good Veep can

Joe Biden had a question. During a long Sunday meeting with President Obama and top national-security advisers on Sept. 13, the VP interjected, “Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?” Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. “And how much will we spend on Pakistan?” Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. “Well, by my calculations that’s a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we’re spending in Pakistan, we’re spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?” The White House Situation Room fell silent. But the questions had their desired effect: those gathered began putting more thought into Pakistan as the key theater in the region.

CA probably have the most interesting politics of any State in the upcoming election cycle.
The California governor’s race: Early and heated

With eight months until its primaries, California is drawing the stars

CA remains solidly Blue
Polling shows little to please Republicans in 2010

Republicans had to look for a very long time at last week’s Field Poll of California voters to find something remotely uplifting as they ponder the 2010 state elections. There it was, eventually: Against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat running for governor, the assorted GOP candidates were losing by only single digits.

But they were losing to Newsom, a candidate who was behind in his own party’s primary by 20 points and who had a net unfavorable rating among all voters questioned by the poll. Former governor and current Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown was clocking not only Newsom but also his potential GOP general election foes, each by more than 20 points.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, like Brown a longtime punching bag and fundraising tool to the Republican Party, was also running double digits ahead of her two potential Republican challengers in the 2010 race.

Hmmm. How do you deal with an adulterer and possibly tax cheat in a political campaign?
Sen. John Ensign complicates Nevada campaigns

As Nevada candidates gear up for 2010, there are risks to either condemning or supporting the senator, who in June acknowledged an extramarital affair with an aide.


Around The World: Madame Secretary Edition

Front seat view of Clinton diplomacy

BBC News, travelling with Hillary Clinton

Clinton Helps Save Turkey-Armenia Accord

Turkey and Armenia signed a landmark agreement Saturday to establish diplomatic relations and open their sealed border after a century of enmity, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton helped the two sides clear a last-minute snag.

The contentious issue of whether the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians during the final days of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide is only hinted at in the agreement.

“There were several times when I said to all of the parties involved that this is too important,” Clinton said. “This has to be seen through. We have come too far. All of the work that has gone into the protocols should not be walked away from.”

Clinton woos Russia over Iran sanctions

Amid increasing fears of an Israeli strike against Iran, America will this week press Russia to support a threat of tougher sanctions against Tehran in an attempt to avert possible military action.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, on Tuesday with worries about Iran’s nuclear ambitions at the top of the agenda.

NI on agenda for Clinton talks

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Ireland this afternoon for a two-day visit to Dublin and Belfast during which she will reaffirm bilateral ties and stress the Obama administration’s commitment to political progress and economic development in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Clinton’s visit is part of a week-long trip during which she will undertake official engagements in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Russia.

Clinton warns on Pakistan threat

The US secretary of state has said that a militant attack on Pakistan’s army HQ is evidence of an increasing threat against the authority of the state.

Brown and Clinton to discuss Afghanistan and Northern Ireland


Odds & Ends

The Clintons are celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary today, but check out below for a good laugh:
‘Clintons Separate!’

They may award questionable Nobel Peace Prizes but Norwegians still own the best place to live. We’re number 13.
Norway is the Most Desirable Place to Live

From stylish hotels that resemble 1970s Soviet housing to boutiques that elevate kitschy East German goods to high design, Berlin is still divided — on whether the Iron Curtain was cool. There’s even a German word for it, “ostalgie,” a combination of the words “ost” (east) and “nostalgie” (nostalgia).
Yup, there are out there.
<a href=”http://www.nyti

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/travel/11HotelsOne.html?em”>100 Hotels Under $150
The NY Times spent 36 hrs where I live.
36 Hours in Berlin

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