Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!
The Route 40 Roundup took a semi-planned hiatus last week as the Howler went to the spa to have his sarcasm levels adjusted. We’ll see how long he keeps his pledge to Focus His Enthusiasms in a More Positive Direction.
Party of the Century
In the meantime, guess who spent New Year’s Eve partying with the president at Mar-a-Lago? South Jersey’s own George Norcross, seen (at that link) next to a guy in a silver dinner jacket. You’d like to think it’s ironic, that jacket, but who actually knows.
In college I worked a few New Year’s Eve parties at Trump Marina when there were so many high-rollers in town the casinos had to bring in scrubs like me because there weren’t enough actual waitstaff and those parties were every bit as classy as you’d imagine, let me tell you.
Usually I kind of like it when three generations of a family all get schnockered and make buffoons of themselves together, but when you start to realize the grandparents have arranged the grandkids’ dates, it starts to feel stranger. The whole event had a definite Wyatt Koch feel to it, in retrospect. They paid you like a thousand dollars to work the dinner and brunch and my god was it almost not worth it.
You can watch the whole livestream of guests entering the Party of the Century here. George buzzes by a little before the 2:30 mark by my count. Thanks to the unstoppable Amy Rosenberg for finding this video.
While we’re at it, did you know Comrade Norcross loaned $200,000 to a Steve Sweeney Super PAC. Then it looks like they sent the money back to him.
Elsewhere in Plutocrats
Aggrieved Connecticut millionaire Tom MacArthur says the GOP tax law is good for you and its unprecedented unpopularity is due not to the bill’s actual tangible shittiness but to our recalcitrant media, which is guilty either of “terrible reporting or willfully spreading misinformation.”
In fact, MacArthur says, the average NJ taxpayer will see a tax cut (he doesn’t say over what timeframe) under the GOP law, while urging you to look it up for yourself. “You can type ‘ITEP December 16 study’ into any search engine and find this information, but don’t look for it in any major news publication in New Jersey. You won’t find it,” he says.
Protip: Anyone who sends you out into the internet in search of “information” where you’ll find it, pristine and free of any ulterior motive, is probably selling something. Still, after some hesitation, I took the bait and fired up the old Search Engine, then watched as it came sputteringly to life. I then instructed my manservant to type “ITEP December 16 study” on a 5×3 index card. After some fiddling with the contraption, Reginald showed me how to insert the Search into the Engine, which we did. Almost instantaneously, an “information” was produced. “The final tax bill that Republicans in Congress are poised to approve would provide most of its benefits to high-income households and foreign investors while raising taxes on many low- and middle-income Americans.” Or click here to read it yourself.
Anyhow, the whole premise is wrong. I think it’s a scandal your property taxes fund your schools, but I’d be ok paying a little more if it meant rich people paid their share too. The Walton family gets, I don’t know, a $7.8 billion subsidy to underpay workers at WalMart. Apple paid .005% in taxes on its global profits a few years ago. My dear friends in the private-equity and hedge fund industries get to keep their carried-interest tax-loophole on the fortunes they make destroying the American working class. Maybe our taxes aren’t the issue.
In realer news, Frank Gilliam was sworn in as Atlantic City mayor while arch-nemesis Marty Small was voted in as City Council President 5-3. The tireless Lynda Cohen was there to cover it, noting Small and Mo Delgado had their first argument of the new year.
“Same old, same old,” a member of the public said, Lynda said.
The battle lines are clear on Atlantic City Council as President Marty Small and Councilman Mo Delgado have their first argument of the new year over council schedule… "Same old, same old," says a member of the public
— Lynda Cohen (@LyndaCohen) January 1, 2018
A year ago New Jersey basically eliminated cash bail, and Big Joe Hernandez at WHYY took a look at how the reforms have played out since. “Preliminary crime statistics from the New Jersey State Police show no major bump in violent offenses across New Jersey. In fact, just the opposite is true: For many serious crimes, the rates are dropping.”
Sexual harassment survivor and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson is the new head of the Miss America Organization board of directors. Three other Miss Americas were also added to the board after Hollywood weirdo Sam Haskell resigned before the holidays. Congratulations, ladies! I wonder if CRDA will subsidize their pay.
Unlike other, daintier, municipalities, Atlantic City went through with its Polar Bear Plunge yesterday and Tim Hawk was there to document it for NJ.com.
For these and the rest of the stories around an icy South Jersey, see our Route 40 Roundup.
The Mummers strutted through Philly’s deep freeze–It was 12 degrees outside in Philadelphia, but the Mummers were undeterred. whyy.org
THE LIST: NJ’S DEADLIEST COUNTIES FOR TRAFFIC FATALITIES IN PAST YEAR–Last year was the deadliest on New Jersey’s roads in the past decade. www.njspotlight.com
What Weedman thinks about weed legalization might surprise you–Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion has been fighting for marijuana legalization for over 20 years. And although he is excited by the prospect of marijuana becoming legal in the Garden State very soon, he's not its biggest fan. www.nj.com
LoBiondo on leaving Congress: ‘At a certain point it’s got to end’–WASHINGTON -- Rep. Frank LoBiondo increasingly is an outlier among his fellow House Republicans, but that's not why he's calling it a congressional career after 24 years at the Capitol. www.nj.com
Coughlin Announces NJ Assembly Leadership Staff–Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) on Thursday announced senior staff members that will join the Assembly Leadership Office and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee in January after he takes the helm as New Jersey’s next Assembly speaker. observer.com
Bass River First Day Hike draws hardiest for 7 miles in severe cold–BASS RIVER STATE FOREST — Chuck and Linda Luther of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, drove to the Pinelands on Monday morning in bitter cold to hike for several hours through its famous pygmy pine forest. www.pressofatlanticcity.com