Piney Powers, Charter Schools, Healthcare – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Piney Powers 
Phil Murphy withdrew the nomination of Kelly Mooij to the Pinelands Commission for reasons unspecified, though the Burlington County Times, citing “multiple sources,” says Mooij is expected to join the BPU instead.

Carleton Montgomery of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance had been, reportedly, in favor of Mooij’s appointment, but Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club had been a critic, or something, due to ties that the Audubon Society (where Mooij worked) had to forestry and utilities activities through some kind of stewardship council. You can be forgiven for not following the thread through that spiderweb, but we’re at the point where if someone tells me the Sierra Club is controlled by Halliburton, I can’t tell if they’re kidding or not.

Charter Schools
The Asbury Park Press has a long and exceedingly wonky series on charter schools that I haven’t fully read let alone digested, but cynics among you will be unsurprised to know two of the state’s largest charter school operators have been permitted, per this story, to, “monopolize hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid for public school construction, helping them to create networks of privately owned buildings” among other grifts innovations.

The beauty of owning lots of buildings is you’re then free to jack up rents or sell them back and forth at inflated prices, turning public money into private money that can be used to pay for diddums’ jet skis or whatever.

To be continued.

Adventures in Health Insurance 
In national news, the Trump Administration has used the attention shadow cast by the Attorney General’s release of his book report on the actual Mueller Report (which has not been released and may never be released) to decline to defend the Affordable Care Act in court, throwing the healthcare of lots of New Jerseyans, etc., into question.

Anyway, the response of Andy Kim as well as Frank Pallone and Tom Malinowski is a bill for “tax credits to help… Americans buy insurance and prevent the sale of policies that do not provide basic coverage for all policyholders, including those with pre-existing conditions” which is not the same as “Medicare for All” that the Dem presidential hopefuls are in favor of.

In related news, we got a $7,000 medical bill the other day for “emergency” services or something after our primary care pediatrician sent us for a scan at the hospital and we and our prescription were sent to the ER. Then when we called to question the bill, they told us to fax them a letter since email’s “not private” which ironically is a) not inaccurate and b) part of the reason we are in this mess right now vis a vis the ACA.

Anyway. Do you have a story about an insane medical bill? Fax us at!

For more feats of journalism…

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