Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ Category

Taxes, and a book

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Don’t miss these:

First, taxes:
My latest article, I’m a tax exile, and proud of it, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Then, the book:
In tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern, Silvio Canto and I will talk to Alina García-Lapuerta, author of La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris, a biography of Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, a fascinating character.

Sochi? No, Princeton!

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I’ve been live-teewting the 3rd-world conditions in Princeton for the past 36 hours, and this is the latest:

More at my twitter feed.

Who is to gain from smearing Robert Menendez?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Long-time readers of this blog know that I have not written favorably about the senior senator from New Jersey in the past.

This new story, however, has the fetid odor of a smear campaign:
Feds reportedly looking into Robert Menendez for allegedly helping fugitive bankers. The “fugitive bankers” are Ecuadorian brothers William and Roberto Isaías, who fled Ecuador ten years ago after the government allegedly confiscated media outlets they owned which were critical of the government. They are here legally.

The Isaías brothers

have a variety of real estate and oil holdings in the United States, and recently acquired to broadcast rights of CNN Latino. They have also created a network of private schools, according to Andes, Ecuador’s state news agency.

Now NBC NY is echoing the accusations the Ecuadorian government made against the brothers, charges for which Ecuador has provided no evidence,

The ambassador recommended the Isaias brothers be kicked out of the United States. But to date, the Justice Department says Ecuador’s government, which has been at odds with the U.S. in recent years, has not provided enough evidence to warrant extradition.

Ecuador has seized many of the Isaias brothers’ assets in that country. But so far, a court in Florida has rejected Ecuador’s efforts to seize assets inside the U.S.

Based on unnamed sources, NBC says that

the FBI is looking into why the New Jersey Democrat contacted a high-ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security in April 2012 to ask him to give “full consideration” and “expedite” its review of the case of William and Roberto Isaias, who are seeking permanent residence in the U.S. The report said Menendez also made calls to the Department of State about the brothers.

And Ricardo Patino, Ecuador’s chancellor, has said he thinks campaign donations to American politicians have helped the brothers stay in the country.

Let’s ponder that for a moment: The Correa regime thinks something, so NBC NY runs a story on it?

The same NBC whose talking heads support immigration amnesty?

There remains the Melgen investigation. A grand jury in Florida already found no basis for the prostitution allegations; the remaining investigation should be concluded and not dragged unnecessarily.

But this new story is flimsy indeed. Members of Congress routinely hear from their constituents on a variety of issues, and, going by the article, Menendez does not appear to have done anything inappropriate.

Menendez said that he had not heard anything from federal authorities.

Menendez, a member of Congressional Human Rights Caucus, has been a staunch supporter of human rights, meeting with dissidents, and consistently opposing lifting the travel ban on Cuba, “a regime that denies its own people basic human rights,”

He’s consistently shown vigorous support for the State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza, and supports international sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program – the sanctions that Ecuador and Venezuela attempt to help Iran avoid.

So, let’s ask, who gains from smearing Menendez? Who is to gain from having Menendez removed as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations?

UPDATE:
Ecuadorians Deny Making Improper Contributions to Sen. Menendez

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!


My 1 question on #bridgegate

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

New Jersey: Testicle-eating fish found in Passaic

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Posted without further comment,
Now testicle-eating fish related to the piranha is caught in NEW JERSEY lake weeks after it was found in France. Luckily, the guy who caught it was not in the water at the time.

Known as a slightly gentler cousin of the piranha, the pacu is native to the Amazon in South America and Pacific Islands and the local aquarium Boylan brought the fish to said they were stunned to see it.

Video below the fold,
(more…)

Why urban renewal failed

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

In a nutshell,

Phase 1 of Riverfront Park, as it is called, was completed last summer: a $15 million complex of playing fields on formerly derelict land, a couple of miles north of a giant sewage treatment plant, in the Ironbound district. This traditionally Portuguese working-class neighborhood avoided urban renewal 50 years ago and has thrived, partly as a consequence.

The Ironbound also sidestepped the redevelopment movement of the 1980s, which produced alien, corporate sites like Battery Park City.

From the NY Times.

And here’s what NJ residents are paying for:

Unfortunately, you can’t get there from here:

In Newark’s case, repairing the damage will not be easy. Mr. Rich, the planning director, led the way on foot the other morning from the train station to the new boardwalk. The trip required crisscrossing streets with meager accommodation for pedestrians, clambering up the exit ramp of an old bridge and hugging the gutter of a four-lane boulevard that lacks traffic lights allowing people to cross into the park. Along the way, he pointed out a riverside brownfield, the former Market Street Gas Works, now a cleanup project for PSE&G, the utility company. Next door, a grim mirrored-glass office building, headquarters for New Jersey Transit and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, squatted atop a multistory garage.

Michael Kimmelman, author of the article, forgot to mention that New Jersey Transit and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield are the two largest employers in the city of Newark, “grim mirrored-glass office building” or not.


News from New Jersey: Prince Harry, Napoleon’s penis

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

1. First, Prince Harry went to Mantoloking and got a fleece jacket,

Chris Christie gives Prince Harry his own ‘Royal Fleece’ on N.J. tour
Christie had joked that he would make sure Prince Harry stayed clothed during his trip to the Jersey Shore. He followed through on his vow by giving the visiting royal a version of his famous blue fleece.

Maybe there’s something to the fleece,

2. In case you were looking, Napoleon’s penis is in New Jersey. Jimmy Hoffa’s whereabouts are yet to be confirmed.

ACU doesn’t invite Christie to CPAC, gets lots of publicity

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

ABC, CNN and NBC are shocked, shocked! that NJ governor Chris Chistie was not invited to speak at CPAC this year. There’s even a Memeorandum link by now.

Why the big fuss?

Apparently their hopes of Christie being a front-runner among conservatives have been dashed, since “At least eight potential presidential contenders will be speaking at CPAC”. You’d think that by now, political reporters would have figured out that Republican and conservative are not synonyms.

But let’s not disabuse them of their notions, and encourage them to believe that, if Governor Christie beeeehaves, he’ll be invited to next year’s Oscars.


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In other CPAC news, my friends at the National Bloggers Club are Sending Bloggers to CPAC. Lend them a hand!


Ecuadorian minister lies about Cory Booker

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, is a rising star in national politics. As such, there are opportunists that may want to share the limelight.

Last Saturday news agency EFE reported that Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration, received the keys to the city of Newark from mayor Cory Booker.

EFE quoted “diplomatic sources” (meaning, Patiño’s press release) saying that mayor Booker awarded the keys for Patiño’s “work and efforts” on behalf of the thousands od Ecuadorians living in the area.

There’s only one problem: It isn’t true.

Cory Booker was in Los Angeles.

There’s even a photo of him at LAX,

I called mayor Booker’s office, and his very courteous staff confirmed that Mr. Booker indeed was in Los Angeles last Saturday, and he has not awarded the keys to the city to Patiño.

Obviously I wasn’t the only one asking. Ecuadorian website Ecuador en vivo reports that Patiño’s original press release announcing the event has now been deleted.

The real scandal in the Menendez story…

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

is the relationship between Miami ophthalmologist Solomon Melgen and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez:

Melgen had reportedly received help from Menendez is the matter of a port-security contract between a company owned by Melgen and the Dominican government. That contract could be worth as much as $50 million a year for 20 years — that is, a total of one billion dollars — except that Dominican officials refuse to honor what they have condemned as the “exorbitant” terms of the contract. Melgen’s financial situation looks shady; he reportedly owes the IRS $11.1 million. But if he could get the U.S. government to pressure the Dominican Republic into honoring that billion-dollar contract, Melgen’s money worries would be over.

Unfortunately for Melgen, however, Matthew Boyle broke the story less than a week before Election Day last fall and, while the mainstream media ignored Boyle’s exclusive at the time, now the potential political ramifications are quite serious. Even if it cannot be proven that Menendez consorted with hookers, underaged or otherwise, during his visits to Melgen’s Caribbean luxury resort, the New Jersey Democrat’s connection to his Florida benefactor is sure to be subjected to intense scrutiny now.

Let’s hope so.

In Santo Domingo, Vinicio Castillo, Melgen’s and Menendez’s Dominican lawyer – who also happens to be Melgen’s cousin – said the accusations are aimed at discrediting Salomon Melgen and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and stopping a contract to X-ray shipments moving through ports in the Dominican Republic.

Castillo called the allegations part of a “diabolical plot” orchestrated to discredit Melgen, who owns a company with a lucrative contract with the Dominican government to provide X-ray machines at ports. The machines would be used to scan shipping containers to look for contraband and illegal drugs.

The contract was originally signed with the Dominican government a decade ago. Two years ago, Melgen bought out the company that had signed the contract.

That contract has raised controversy due to its cost — an estimated $500 million to $1 billion over 20 years. And the machines have not been installed.

Menendez, who has received healthy campaign contributions from the doctor, in a July Senate hearing peppered Obama officials about what they were doing to help U.S. business interests in the Dominican Republic. He specifically mentioned the contract for X-ray equipment at the ports.

Castillo’s father, Vinicio “Vincho” Castillo, the government’s drug czar and Melgen’s uncle, has also spoken about the need for the machines.

Menendez would rather have you believe this is a story that “anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a Web site” concocted.