Thursday, January 31, 2013

FBI Raids Office Of Donor With Menendez Ties

From our friend Matt Rooney at the Save Jersey blog:
Potential Scandal Surrounding New Jersey Senator, New Foreign Relations Chairman Takes Another Wild Turn in West Palm Beach, Florida
Well, well, well, Save Jerseyans.
Does New Jersey’s mainstream media wish they’d paid attention to this Daily Caller Bob Menendez story a little earlier, especially now that he’s the new Foreign Relations Chairman of the U.S. Senate? Or are they still more concerned about protecting Democrats than doing their jobs? I can only imagine how much attention this story would be getting if there was an “R” after the highlighted politician’s name instead of a “D.”
In case you haven’t heard… (h/t Miami Herald):
Agents gathered at the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, to start hauling away potential evidence in several vans.
The investigation is believed to be focusing on Melgen’s finances and the allegations about Menendez’s trips and contact with prostitutes. A spokesman for Menendez could not be reached for comment, nor could Melgen.
Fox News also reports that this doctor “allegedly was involved in providing young prostitutes to Sen. Bob Menendez — a claim the senator’s office has denied,” though they were unable to confirm whether the alleged FBI investigation into Menendez was indeed the focus of today’s raid. For those who need a little background, you can visit our Save Jersey Menendez archives for more information. Just last Friday, theDaily Caller reported that the FBI was allegedly investigating trips taken by Senator Menendez to the Dominican Republic.
We’ll see if anything Jersey-related comes of this, folks. If I’m Chris Christie this morning, I’m putting my short list of GOP U.S. Senate appointments together… just in case…

Jersey Mike's - A Phenomenal Success Story!

Jersey Mike's hoagie shops seem to be opening everywhere.
In fact there are now more than 600 Jersey Mikes stores and the newest one just opened in South Jersey on Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill.
Here's the way the way Jersey Mike's tells the story of their phenomenal success:
It started back in 1956, in this actual storefront location and was originally called Mike's Subs. Mike opened the small shop in the sea-side town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. You have to remember that in 1956, there were very few franchise restaurants or hamburger chains. No chain pizza, chicken or taco restaurants, either. In 1956, proprietors or mom-and-pop businesses would open their stores in basic storefront locations like you see here. To survive and thrive, they had to offer exceptional quality products, coupled with unparalleled service. In 1956, Mike was unique in that the product he was offering was a relatively new item in American society – the submarine sandwich.
Mike also benefited from the geographic location of his store. Point Pleasant, New Jersey is centrally located in the state on the legendary Jersey Shore. It is approximately 1 hour south of New York City, 1 hour east of Philadelphia, and about 3 hours north of Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. For over a century, the people that lived and worked in these metropolitan areas would flock to Point Pleasant to experience the sun, surf, sand, boardwalk, salt water taffy, and all the treasures that made up the legendary Jersey Shore experience. Mike capitalized on the influx of vacationers, visitors and local residents by offering them his unique new product – submarine sandwiches. But what really differentiated his restaurant was the experience he gave his customers. Recognizing them by name, and knowing the sandwich they were going to order, because of their frequent visits. People would line up throughout the summer to buy the sub sandwiches that Mike was selling, and to enjoy the experience of coming into his shop. For over half a decade, he built the business into a thriving landmark, and was a pioneer of the authentic subs sandwich.
In 1972, Peter Cancro was a high school student in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. He began working at Mike's Subs at the age of 14. Peter loved working at Mike's. He loved authentic submarine sandwiches. But even more, Peter loved working behind the counter, interacting and talking with the customers. He liked learning about where they were from and their summer vacation experiences. He took pride in knowing which authentic sub sandwich his loyal customer would order as they entered the store. When Peter was a senior in high school, he overheard the owner of Mike's Subs discussing selling the business. He thought to himself, "I love the food, I love working in the store, maybe I'll buy the shop." Pretty ambitious for a 17 year old kid. Peter approached his football coach and said "Hey coach, Mike's Sub shop is for sale, and I'm interested in buying it. Can you help me out?" It didn't hurt that his football coach was also a banker. The football coach came through for Peter, and backed his loan. So, at the tender age of 17 – before he was legally able to slice a sub – Peter Cancro became the owner and proprietor of Mike's Subs 
Today, Peter Cancro is CEO of Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems Inc., overseeing more than 600 locations open and under development. Despite the title, Peter still jumps behind the counter to test his skills and demonstrate his passion for the product and the customer. He tries to instill that passion in every store he enters and with every franchisee he meets.
Now, the authentic taste – served Mike's Way™ with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, oil, vinegar and spices – is available nationwide. The secret? Everything about Jersey Mike’s is high quality. The certified Angus Beef top rounds are trimmed and cooked right in the store. The meats and cheeses are all top-quality premium brands. The bread is fresh-baked each day on the premises. And of course, everything’s prepared right in front of you. It’s what makes Jersey Mike’s boast that it has the most authentic tasting submarine sandwich available. And it’s a tradition of quality Mike's says they'll never outgrow.
Well, we visited the newest Jersey Mike's and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The menu is appealing. The prices are reasonable. The hoagies and the cheese steak sandwiches are plentiful and tasty. And every member of the staff goes out of his or her way to make your visit satisfying.
In addition to all that the Jersey Mike's stores have a tradition of giving back to the community. The newest store is dedicating its grand opening to Cherry Hill High School West and is busy raising funds for that purpose. It's an admirable endeavor.
Photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

The Stores Are Stocked With Bright Summer Colors

You may not have taken the time to notice but spring -- and even summer -- have arrived.
The stores are already well stocked with fresh, bright summer colors for both men and women, boys and girls.
If you're looking for a sweater to warm you a bit as February arrives, you can pretty much forget about it. They're gone -- disappeared. You might find some outerwear but whatever's left is in broken sizes and is largely picked over.
But if you're looking for short sleeve shirts or shorts (even green or orange or blue or yellow shorts and/or pants -- yes, bright green pants) you'll find them all nicely folded, stacked, beautifully displayed and ready to sell off the shelves.
Now, maybe they'll be greatly reduced even before the warmer weather arrives.
But they're there waiting for you right now if that's what you really, really, really want.
It's gotten so that in retailing winter effectively ends at Christmas, even though Christmas is only four days into the cold weather season.
The stores have their final after-Christmas sales and clearances and then it's "welcome springtime!"
And you'd better hurry.
Because, before you know it it'll be fall and back-toschool time once again.
Photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Video: 'We Are Now Europe' BizGuy Santelli Says

CNBC's astute Rick Santelli (the man who first called for a "tea party" style revolt against Obamanomics) now says that today's dismal economic figures showing slow growth mean that it's essentially over. We are now Europe.

Blackberry Z10 - First View Photo Just Revealed!

Reports say that the new Blackberry Z10 comes outfitted with a palm-friendly 4.2-inch 1,280 x 768 display -- amounting to a pixel density of 356 dpi -- and measures in at 5.13 (130mm) x 2.6 (66mm) x 0.37 (9.3mm) inches.
They claim it's it significantly bulkier than the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III. 
It's reportedly not the thinnest device but at 138 grams, the Z10 won't be weighing down your hand either. 
The Z10 will ship LTE-ready for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, with carrier-branded models across the top four US operators.

Photo: Gay Jim Nabors Marries Longtime Partner

News outlets are reporting that legendary TV star Jim Nabors has married his longtime gay partner in Washington state (Seattle) where gay marriage is now legal.

Nabors who starred in The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle USMC lives in Hawaii with his partner Stan Cadwallader. Nabors is 82 and his partner, a former Honolulu firefighter is 64.

The couple met in 1975.

Nabors says he’s been open about his homosexuality to co-workers and friends but never acknowledged it to the media before.

He's explained to friends that when two people have been together so long it's just "natural" that they would want to formalize their relationship.

"I'm 82 and he's in his 60s and so we've been together for 38 years and I'm not ashamed of people knowing, it's just that it was such a personal thing, I didn't tell anybody," Nabors said. "I'm very happy that I've had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you, I'm just very happy."

Yes, These Starlets Rival The Greatest Beauties!

People keep asking us all the time: Are there any Hollywood stars today who rival the great beauties of another era?
Well, it's hard to find another Sophia Loren or Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner.
But two of the most beautiful women in the movies today are Anne Hathaway and Diane Lane.
Hathaway was wonderful in The Devil Wears Prada, the retro hit, Get Smart and now Les Miserables which is garnering her considerable honors. Indeed, she seems likely to snag an Oscar next month.
Diane Lane was stellar in Under The Tuscan Sun and Nights In Rodanthe. It's a treat whenever she appears on the screen.
These two fine actresses epitomize grace, beauty, talent and class. 
They know what they're all about. They understand that they are stars and their careers appear to be well managed. 
They are not overexposed - not in your face. And so, when they do show up on the screen it's all the more exciting.
Anne Hathaway and Diane Lane: Bellisimo!

Christie's NJ Supreme Court Nominees Score High

What They’re Saying:
“Independence And Fair-Mindedness”
Robert Hanna And David Bauman “Appear Well-Qualified For The [New Jersey Supreme] Court,” And The Senate Needs To “Act Promptly And Take Petty Politics Out Of The Mix”

The Record“Analysis: Supreme Court Nominees Have Independent Streak” (Anthony Campisi, “Analysis: Supreme Court Nominees Have Independent Streak,” The Record, 12/12/12)

·        “Christie said he had imposed no litmus test on his nominees, and people who know the men spoke of their independence and fair-mindedness.”

The Record Editorial Board: “[B]oth men appear well-qualified for the court.” (Editorial, “A Full Court,” The Record, 12/11/12)

·        “If the governor selects well-qualified nominees to sit on the bench, the Senate should confirm those nominees. Enough petty politics. It's time for the New Jersey Supreme Court to have a full roster of judges.”

·        And unlike Harris and Kwon, they both have been previously confirmed by the Senate for the jobs they have now. … The Senate approved both with no dissenting votes.

·        “In an annual review of judges by the New Jersey Law Journal, Bauman earned his highest score (9.27 out of 10) for handling cases without ethnic, religious or political bias. That type of record would serve him well on the Supreme Court.”

Asbury Park Press Editorial Board: “[W]e hope the obsession with the nominees’ political histories won’t obscure the need for the Senate to view the candidates’ qualifications with an open mind.” (Editorial, “Will politics prevail on court nominees?” Asbury Park Press, 12/12/12)

South Jersey Times Editorial Board: “It’s too soon to judge whether either potential justice will pass muster, but not too soon to ask that lawmakers act promptly and take petty politics out of the mix.” (Editorial, “Give N.J. Justice Picks Fast, Fair Scrutiny,” South Jersey Times, 12/12/12)

·        “On Monday, the governor sent the Senate two new names. It’s a new opportunity to provide a full-strength court.”

·        “The reasons for the rejections were fairly weak. At this point, Sweeney and the Democrats own the problem of why the Supreme Court limps along with five justices ...”

Monmouth County attorney Brian Ansell “… who works with Bauman as chairman of the local bar association’s civil practice committee, called him ‘knowledgeable, fair and sensitive to the needs of all individuals involved in the justice system.’” (Anthony Campisi, “Analysis: Supreme Court Nominees Have Independent Streak,” The Record, 12/12/12)

Ocean Township Attorney Peter Lucas “ … who has known Bauman since he was in private practice, highlighted his ‘personal integrity’ in explaining why Bauman is a judge straight out of ‘central casting.’” (Anthony Campisi, “Analysis: Supreme Court Nominees Have Independent Streak,” The Record, 12/12/12)

“[L]awrence Lustberg, one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, said Hanna has shown ‘really good judgment.’ Hanna worked under Lustberg while an attorney at Gibbons PC in Newark and appeared opposite him many times in the years Hanna worked as a federal prosecutor.”

·        “I think he would be an excellent justice,” Lustberg said, adding that Hanna is a “very, very solid decision-maker.”

Remembering Charlton Heston: A Courageous Citizen

The renewed debate about gun control has people talking about the late Charlton Heston once again. Yes, Heston was a fearless defender of the Second Amendment. And Heston never did anything in a small or unassuming way. That just wasn't his style.
Because he was part of a time when Hollywood stars really were, literally and figuratively, bigger than life.
Charleton Heston was of those stars. No question about it.
Of course he is best known for his starring roles in epics such as Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. But few realize that his career actually began on the stage, on Broadway. In 1947, Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell.
Still, Heston's physical stature, deep, penetrating eyes, chiseled features and sheer manliness made it inevitable that Hollywood would beckon. And those of us who saw Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth in 1952 knew that Heston's portrayal of a hard-driving circus boss had "star" written all over it. From that point on it was pretty much one Big Role after another. The man and the times merged as Hollywood embraced wide-screen epic drama as an answer to the power of the small screen which had come to inhabit everyone's living room.
For me, The Greatest Show On Earth started a lifelong love affair with the circus.
In the 1950s and early 60s Heston championed liberal causes and even marched with Dr. King and stood on the platform with the late civil rights leader at the historic 1963 March On Washington which culminated in the landmark "I Have A Dream" speech.
But like many of us Heston saw the Democrat Party moving further and further to the left and he eventually embraced conservative causes and the candidacy of his good friend and colleague Ronald Reagan.
Charleton Heston was a man of his times - a fully engaged artist, active citizen, leader and patriot who was never afraid to be who he was, to change his mind and to speak out and fight for what he believed in. George Clooney and Brad Pitt were cited as modern day Charleton Hestons. But the truth is that Clooney, Pitt and Affleck together are hardly fit to polish Heston's tombstone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Christie Announces Direct Appointments

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie filed the following direct appointments with the Secretary of State’s Office.



Public Members

Reappoint Anthony Campbell, Ph.D. (Lawrenceville, Mercer)

Reappoint Chief Mark Gould (Quinton, Salem)

Reappoint Ann M. Wilson, DSW (Rutherford, Bergen)

Appoint Jody Marrie Patterson (Asbury Park, Monmouth)

Appoint Linda Walder Fiddle, Esq. (Ridgewood, Bergen)

Appoint M. Ali Chaudry, Ph.D. (Basking Ridge, Somerset)

Appoint Michael Pulsinelli (Manahawkin, Ocean)

Appoint Martin Tuchman (Princeton, Mercer)

Appoint Laura Pople, Ph.D. (Perth Amboy, Middlesex)

Disadvantaged Youth Expert

Reappoint Reverend William E. Coleman, Jr. (Ewing, Mercer)

Community-Based Organization Representative

Reappoint Reverend Wayne W. Meisel (Princeton, Mercer)

Older Adult Program Representative

Appoint Emily A. Greenfield, Ph.D. (Secaucus, Hudson)

Business Representative

Appoint Charles Biscieglia (Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic)

Christie Blasts Sweeney: Calls Inaction 'Reprehensible'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has now blasted Senate President Steve Sweeeney on Sweeney's failure to even permit consideration of the Governor's Supreme Court Nominations.
Governor Christie: I have to tell you, I think that what the Senate President is doing is reprehensible. I have nominated two extraordinarily well qualified people to the Supreme Court. I have compromised by not nominating two Republicans, but nominating one Republican and one Independent. I have nominated the first Asian-American, if he were to serve on the court, to also address their calls for more diversity on the court and the Senate President stands in the door of the Judiciary Committee and refuses to give these two extraordinarily well qualified men the courtesy of a hearing. Members of the Judiciary Committee haven’t even returned their phone calls. The Senate President needs to start doing his job. He needs to stand up and do what the constitution requires him to do, which is to hold a hearing and give these people an up or down vote. Steve Sweeney knows how this should work and this is cowardice. Not to give these gentlemen a hearing and it’s disrespectful to the role the court plays in our state and it’s disrespectful of the authority of the Governor under the constitution to not even give the Governor’s nominees a fair hearing. They can vote however they want to vote, I can’t tell them how to vote as was evident from my last two nominees. But to sit and do nothing now is just unacceptable. And the Senate President is abrogating his duties and responsibilities. He’s running around playing politics. How about taking a couple of minutes to actually do your job? And this is on him. If he wanted to hold these hearings he could order them to be held tomorrow. He hasn’t done it and I’m starting to lose my patience.

Kean Wants Tough New Local Ethics Oversight

Responding to a report issued by State Comptroller Matthew Boxer detailing how a Chesterfield Township Committeeman exploited his position to reap a $200,000 windfall on the sale of development rights on his property, New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. is calling for the Senate to consider legislation he is sponsoring to tighten local government ethics oversight.

“This case of alleged self-dealing by an elected official exposes a need for greater accountability at the local level,” said Kean. “In addition to, as the Comptroller recommends, subjecting local government officials to the same penalties as state officials for violating ethics laws, we should also bring adjudication of such local conflicts of interest the same agency as those occurring at the state level.”

Currently, ethics violations by municipal or school board officials are subject to a set of smaller monetary penalties than those involving state officials, and are adjudicated by the Department of Community Affairs or Department of Education, respectively.

Senator Kean is the sponsor of S-2068, which enhances local government accountability in the following ways:

  • Gives the State Ethics Board jurisdiction over conflicts of interest law involving municipal government officials, removing such cases from DCA and DOE.
  • As recommended by the Comptroller, subjects local government officials to the same schedule of monetary penalties as those faced by state officials for violations of the New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law.
  • Requires the State Ethics Commission to promulgate financial disclosure forms for municipal and school board officials.
“Fragmented ethics oversight that subjects different levels of government to different standards is a recipe for violating the public trust,” Kean continued. “My legislation subjects the government closest to the people- local government- to the higher ethical standards required of state officials and streamlines enforcement of conflicts of interest laws. As the legislative session for 2013 ramps up, I call on the Senate President to ensure that this legislation is given consideration and a vote our colleagues.”

Hollywood Nudes - Three Of The Greatest, Ever!

It's Oscar season and that has us all talking about Hollywood and reminiscing about the great stars and personalities who made the motion picture business so endlessly fascination -- and alluring!
Yes, modern Hollywood starlets have a reputation for letting it all hang out.
But movie stars have always flaunted it.
And three of the greatest Hollywood nudes of all time were also statuesque beauties.
Which is just another way of saying they had plenty to show and they weren't shy about showing it.
Marlene Dietrich (shown above) exuded glamour and sensuality. She was an international star who donned skin tight outfits one minute and men's garb the next. Her androgynous beauty crossed all boundary lines. And it is well-documented that Marlena was extremely comfortable in her own skin.
On the MGM lot in Hollywood she was known as one of those stars who preferred to have her hair and makeup completed while she sat in the nude. And it didn't matter to her whether there were men or women around to watch. Her dressing room door was seldom closed and she was said to have an easy way about her on movie sets as well. To Marlene, showing off your assets was part of being a star.
Tallulah Bankhead was known for her salty mouth, her drinking and her unwillingness to wear undergarments or to keep her clothes on for a very long time. For Tallulah much of it was part of her desire to shock and be outrageous. But she also got a kick out of it as well. She titillated director Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Lifeboat by climbing in and out of the boat in question while not wearing anything under her skirt. She made sure that the esteemed director and everyone else on the set got a good view. Tallulah was known as one of Hollywood's most unabashed exhibitionists.
Finally, Joan Crawford (aka "Mommie Dearest") was like no mom you've ever known. Joan's way of telling a man that she wanted him (and she wanted and had many men) was to simply take her clothes off. Sometimes, she would tell the guy: "Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable." After a few moments, she would reappear stark naked. If you hadn't noticed that Crawford had a great body, she wouldn't hesitate to remind you of it.
Dietrich, Bankhead and Crawford were all strong, powerful women. They did not suffer fools gladly. And they didn't hesitate to get right to the point.
Though they were liberated long before the modern women's movement, they had no intention of relinquishing their sensuality or their strong and obvious sexual appetites.
They were unconventional, to say the least. And each was a remarkable talent.
All of these stories (and more) are well documented in any one of a number of excellent Hollywood memoirs of the period.
So, lest you think we live in outrageous times -- think again.
The only difference now is that much of the misbehavior of and by stars is reported as it happens. In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, we had to wait till after our idols passed on to get the real scoop on how they actually behaved.
Stars images were more carefully crafted and largely preserved. 
Yes, the era before cell phone cameras and You Tube did have a certain appeal.

Food Porn: Why Some Restaurants Are Banning It

They call it "food porn."
It happens when you photograph your food in a restaurant.
If you follow this blog (and we know you do) then you've seen many, many photographs of the meals we've eaten in various dining spots. The photos go along with our restaurant reviews. And we show you the dishes exactly as they are presented to us.
people tell us they love seeing the photos. They appreciate it.
So, here's a warning to restauranteurs: No photo, no review. No shot, no mention. No nice, no dice. Be forewarned!

Wintour & Co.: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

The Daily Telegraph is out with a great story about Anna Wintour (The Queen of Mean) and her zillionaire main squeeze Shelby Bryan. The philosophy of this devious duo seems to be "Do as we say, not as we do." Apparently, they think that paying taxes is only for clueless working stiffs. Here's an excerpt.
Shelby Bryan, the long-term boyfriend of Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor in contention to be Barack Obama's next ambassador to Britain, owes the US government more than $1.2 million in taxes. Bryan, a former adviser to Bill Clinton who helped raise funds for Mr Obama's re-election campaign, has owed the money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since 2006, according to court filings obtained by The Daily Telegraph from Texas.
As usual, we have to read the foreign press to find out what's going on in our own country.
Click here to read more.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Christie Nominates Seven To Superior Court Of NJ

Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie filed the following nominations with the State Senate. The Governor’s nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate.


Nominate for appointment Marie Ann Carey (Cranford, Union)

Nominate for appointment Daniel R. Lindemann (Wayne, Passaic)

Nominate for appointment Mirtha Ospina (Hoboken, Hudson)

Nominate for appointment Joseph W. Oxley (Red Bank, Monmouth)

Nominate for appointment Louis S. Sceusi (Rockaway Township, Morris)

Nominate for appointment Joseph A. Turula (Jersey City, Hudson)

Nominate for appointment John A. Young, Jr. (Secaucus, Hudson)


Nominate for appointment Raymond Nisivoccia, CPA, RMA, PSA (Randolph, Morris)

Orgasm: University Event Shows You How To Do It!

The Campus Reform web site is reporting on a new program at the University of Minnesota (a public university) on How To Achieve Orgasm. The program is reportedly costing the university more that $3,000 and is apparently open to both men and women (indeed to "people of all genders) and people of all ages.

Here's an excerpt:

"The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (UMTC) is set to hold an event this spring designed to help its female undergraduate students achieve more and greater orgasms.

"A promotional poster for the event says it is all about 'sexuality and pleasure.'

"The university’s official online description of the event entitled, 'The Female Orgasm,'  describes it as open to both male and female students.

"'Orgasm aficionados and beginners of all genders are welcome to come learn about everything from multiple orgasms to that mysterious G-spot,' reads the description posted on the school’s official events calendar.

“'Whether you want to learn how to have your first orgasm, how to have better ones, or how to help you girlfriend, Kate and Marshall cover it all…' it adds.

“'Are you coming?' it asks."

Video: Bloomberg Keps His Guns But Yours Must Go

Pennacchio: Let's Compromise On Minimum Wage

New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio, sponsor of legislative amendments to responsibly increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50, stated the following in response to Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto today of A-2162:
“The governor’s conditional veto is further proof that many Republicans and Democrats agree that the state’s minimum wage should be increased.
“But instead of compromising to increase the minimum wage, Legislative Democrats would rather use this issue to mislead and gain support during this year’s campaigns. They would rather hold the workforce as political pawns for the election. What Trenton Democrats don’t realize is that New Jersey’s workforce is smart enough to realize when they are being played.”
“Republicans have repeatedly tried to compromise on an increase, even in the aftermath of the national recession and Superstorm Sandy. We, now in conjunction with Gov. Christie, have offered predictable annual increases over three years so that small businesses can budget to remain stable and grow.”

O'Toole Offers Measure For Swift NJ Storm Cleanup

New Jersey State Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) introduced legislation today that will allow certain trained municipal employees to immediately clear utility lines during emergencies, such as Superstorm Sandy.

“After Superstorm Sandy, too many roads and properties remained blocked or closed by debris for far too long, while communities waited for utility companies to take care of business,” O’Toole said. “This measure will assure that public workers can without delay save lives, property and utility infrastructure, and re-open road access to motorists free of charge to taxpayers.”

Senator O’Toole authored this initiative after a recent meeting with New Jersey BPU President Robert Hanna and mayors from his District 40. This bill requires public utility companies to submit to the BPU a plan for their response to a major emergency event. It requires utility companies to:

1)      Train each municipal emergency management coordinator and any public works employee to receive the necessary certification to move/clear disconnected, above-ground power lines;
2)      Defend the municipality and trained employees against any related civil claims;
3)      Reimburse a municipality at a rate of at least half the hourly rate of certified municipal employees for the time spent moving and protecting power lines.

“Residents and communities should not be held hostage, waiting for utility companies to respond,” O’Toole concluded. “This proactive approach will expedite a return to normalcy after a disaster.”

Minimum Wage: Christie Offers Alternate Plan

Acting to support a responsible increase in the state’s minimum wage while providing direct relief to New Jersey’s working families and protecting the state’s economic recovery, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today put forward a plan to increase the state’s minimum wage by one dollar over a phase-in period of three years and to provide direct relief to struggling families with a 25 percent increase to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. The plan accompanies Governor Christie's conditional veto of the minimum wage bill sent to him by the State Legislature.

The Governor’s approach acts on his commitment to deliver real relief to working families in a careful, responsible manner that does not jeopardize New Jersey’s economic progress and, as a result, provides assistance to those who need both direct relief and access to sustainable and meaningful job opportunities. In contrast, the bill as passed by the Legislature, A-2162, represents a one-sided approach that will reverse New Jersey’s economic progress by taking a step backwards.

“In these difficult times those most impacted by challenging economic conditions – our state’s working families – need assistance. Instead of the lopsided approach taken by the Legislature, this plan delivers a responsible, balanced approach that increases the minimum wage by one dollar over a phase-in period of three years, while helping our working families with direct relief through an increase in our state’s Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Governor Christie. “I urge the Legislature to act quickly to provide real relief to New Jersey’s working families, while giving our small businesses a critical phase-in period to plan for the wage increase.”

Under Governor Christie’s proposal, New Jersey’s minimum wage earners will receive an immediate raise of twenty-five cents per hour in the first year, followed by a second-year increase of fifty cents, and finally another twenty-five cent per hour increase in the third year. By combining both immediate and long-term increases to minimum wage pay and removing the volatile unpredictability of automatic increases, the Governor’s plan will give workers the relief they need and also give New Jersey’s small businesses a short, but necessary, period to plan for the implementation of a one-dollar increase. This sensible and balanced approach will prevent the layoffs and relocations certain to accompany the Legislature’s current proposal.

“To make certain that New Jersey’s working families are on the strongest economic footing possible to continue their economic progress, today I am also proposing that the benefit amounts provided under the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program be increased by 25 percent,” said Governor Christie. “Implemented with a phased-in one-dollar increase in the minimum wage, my plan will give workers the additional income and relief that will spur consumer spending and help grow strong, sound families.”

The Governor’s proposal includes a full restoration of the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit, first proposed over a year ago in his January 2012 State of the State Address. At 25 percent of the federal tax credit, the state EITC will be increased from the current level of 20 percent of the federal benefit and be fully implemented in taxable year 2014, providing a $550 benefit to the average eligible beneficiary - struggling working families who most need the help.

· The Governor’s EITC Increase Will Be Fully Implemented For Taxable Year 2014 To Provide Immediate Relief To Working New Jersey Families.

· This Means The Average Eligible Family Will Receive A $550 Annual Benefit.

· It Will Also Make New Jersey One Of The Most Generous Programs In The Country.

New Kids, Degrees, Boyz To Hit Philly June 15; Tkts 2/2

Multi-platinum selling group New Kids on the Block lead the aptly titled “The Package Tour” to Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, June 15.

Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, February 2 at 10 a.m. exclusively through ComcastTIX online at, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center box office.

“The Package Tour” will feature NKTOB with special guests 98 Degrees and Philadelphia natives, Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time.

Announcing the tour on The View, NKTOB sent the audience into total chaos when they surprised them with “The Package Tour” opening acts and provided a glimpse of what’s to come when all bands performed a capella. Together, these three legendary heartthrob groups are destined to put on an incredible show for all their loyal fans.

“Ladies, we’re coming for you,” said NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg. “This is going to be the craziest year yet-the single, the album, the tour with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men … We can’t wait to give fans ‘The Package!’”

Along with the announcement of the tour, the New Kids on the Block also publicized their plans for new music. The group’s brand new album “10” will be released on April 2nd, with the first single “Remix (I like The)” debuting on iTunes January 28th. The album has been in the works for the past six months, during which the group has been quietly writing and recording the album. NKOTB have sold more than 80 million albums worldwide -- including back-to-back international #1 songs, 1988’s Hangin’ Tough and 1990’s Step By Step -- and a series of crossover smash R&B, pop hits like “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Cover Girl,” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” “Hangin’ Tough,” “I’ll Be Loving You,” “Step By Step” and “Tonight.” 

The group shattered concert box office records playing an estimated 200 concerts a year, in sold out stadiums throughout the world. They still hold many of these records to date. They were Forbes highest paid entertainers of 1990, beating out Michael Jackson and Madonna. The band boasted an extensive and highly profitable merchandise line which included everything from lunch boxes and sleeping bags to comic books, marbles and dolls.

Obama To Football Fans: Examine Your Conscience

The President of the United States one week before the Super Bowl: 
"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much." 
Soooo -- just remember to examine your conscience before you watch that game this Sunday, fans!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Difference Between Brits And Italians

Why We Love Parc On Rittenhouse Square

We've told you before how much we love Parc Restaurant on Philadelphia's fashionable Rittenhouse Square. But we're not sure we've ever completely explained why.
Yes, we love the location. The square is scenic and memorable no matter the season.
And yes, we love the people watching. The city's greatest characters are here and it's grand to watch them come and go.
Plus, the service is always unfailingly professional but with absolutely no pretenses. It's almost as if the management and the servers have a sixth sense about how you want to be treated and why.
On top of all that there's the atmosphere -- a brasserie that's marvelously authentic down to the smallest detail.
But as with any great dining spot it's the food that keeps us coming back.
At lunch, we love the croque madame. This is a variation on the croque-monsieur, a French twist on grilled ham and cheese. Traditionally, instead of dipping the sandwich in egg before sautéeing in butter (as you would for a croque-monsieur), you grill the sandwich first and top with homemade Mornay Sauce, cheese, and sunny-side up egg.
Now, the funny thing is we don't eat ham and eggs at home. But just look at the croque madame (below) as it was recently served to us and note that it comes with a lovely side salad. We ask you: Who can resist it?

Like everything at Parc this croque madame is consistently excellent. Every time you order it, it's positively perfecto! And we truly feel that it's the simplicity of it that makes it so wonderful. Let's face it: The simplest dishes are always the best because the food must stand on its own, unadulterated and properly prepared. There's no place for the ham and egg to hide here. So, they have to be good.
And, if an egg is this good then one should be enough.
And it truly is, as it is served on a divine slice of thick French bread.
Which brings us to the bread at Parc.

At this restaurant a basket of bread (real, cooked-on-the-premises fresh bread) is always brought to your table. It's just another touch of hospitality you won't soon forget because the bread is probably the best in the city.
The cranberry nut bread here is renowned. It's so crunchy and sweet you'll become addicted to it. And look at that section of baguette. It's extraordinary!

And we cannot finish talking about Parc without raving about the warm shrimp salad with lemon beurre blanc and avocado and the smoked salmon tartine with horseradish crème fraîche, capers and red onions.
We show them (and everything else) exactly as they were served to us. All superb!
Finally, did we mention the city's best restaurant manager, Carol and our very favorite waiter, Drew? Well there, we did.
Every single time, for all these reasons Parc lives up to its outstanding reputation.
C'est magnifique!

Sally Starr - Remembering A Children's TV Icon

Sally Starr.
The mere mention of her name conjures up images of black-and-white console TVs, Popeye and Bluto,  cowboys and indians and a kindly "aunt Sally" figure who watched out for you between the end of the school day and dinner time.
To Philadelphians she was and always will be "Our Gal Sal."
She understood the intimacy of TV and a part of her must surely have always remained a child.
Sally Starr didn't need child counsellors or psychologists or advisors or consultants to help her do childrens' TV. She just did it. She knew. She understood. She cared. She believed.
Yes, she believed.
She really believed in things like "love, luck and lollipops" -- a phrase she used again and again on her show. And it wasn't an accident that the "love" part came first and the lollipops came last.
There was no doubt that Sally Starr believed in God and in good and evil and in simply letting kids be kids. It was all right there -- just Sally, the cartoons and her audience. She didn't need any gimmicks. She didn't even need to raise her voice, ever.
She simply understood kids and knew hot to talk to them, how to relate to them, how to make them feel good and contended and secure.
Sally Starr enjoyed a long and accomplished life. In fact, she turned 90-years-old just two days ag
For nearly 20 years, beginning in the 1950s, when TV was in its infancy, Sally Starr had daytime shows here on 6 ABC-TV in Philadelphia.
Born Alleen Mae Beller in 1923, she had her name legally changed to Sally Starr in 1941.
Sally Starr had many accomplishments and it's safe to say that she was truly beloved throughout the Philadelphia region and always fondly remembered by the (now grown) children that she cared for and mentored via TV. She was a member of the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
She retired and moved to Florida, where in 1987 a fire destroyed her home and her treasured broadcast memorabilia.
Sally Starr then moved back to the Delaware Valley and did a radio show at a Vineland station before moving into a continuing care facility in Berlin, New Jersey.
A cause of death has not been released.
Funeral services will be held privately.

Obama's Latest Ploy: House GOP Members Bogus

With Barack Obama, it's always something.
There's always some bellyache; always some excuse; always some whine; always some reason why he can't seem to accomplish everything (or sometimes even anything) that he wants to accomplish.
Now comes Obama's latest lament: It's the Republican members of the House who are blocking him and this is sooo wrong because somehow they're not even in legitimate seats representing legitimate districts.
Wha . . . . ?
You heard that right.
In fact, here's what the president jut told the liberal New Republic in an interview:
The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they're really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies.
There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country, but I can't get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.
"I can get more than fifty percent of the country?" 
Well, Mr. President -- maybe.
Need we remind you barely broke fifty percent in the election which you won with fifty-one percent of the vote?  Yes, you managed to slide by with a victory that was dependent on 330,000 votes in four states. And now you're popularity has dropped below fifty percent once again. So, you hardly have a clear mandate from the American people. In fact, you're the first president in nearly a hundred years to be elected to his second term with a smaller margin of victory than the first.

And, there's more.
When the president is not blaming "gerrymandered' districts and illegitimately-elected Republicans, he's blaming Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, suggesting that they're actually calling the shots for the GOP. Here's what he says about his prospects, going forward:
One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it.
So, from the way Obama tells it, there are no Democrats elected from safe or gerrymandered districts. And Democrat voters are open-minded; surely no Democrat voters engage in bloc voting. Horrors! And Democrats are not subject to pressure from traditionally liberal media outlets (of which there are far more than conservative-leaning outlets). And Democrats don't answer to their own set of rigorously progressively cheerleaders and enforcers such as the AFL-CIO, the NEA, the trial lawyers and others. Oh, of course not. No way!

Simply taken at face value, President Obama's arguments are laughable -- or at least they would be if they weren't so sad and pathetic!

Dining: Just For The Halibut, Head Over To Redstone

Do you like halibut?
We do and we order it every chance we get, whenever it's on the menu at any of our favorite restaurants.
We were recently dining at Redstone and we ordered the parmesan crusted halibut with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled greens, tomato marmalade and caper beurre blanc. It was extraordinary!
Just look at the photo of it above -- shown exactly as it was presented to us.
The halibut was seared and the crust was thin and just crispy enough. Though it lovingly caressed the halibut in no way did the crust detract from the wonderfully light flavor of the fish which was tender and succulent. Adorning this substantial piece of fish were zesty garlic mashed potatoes and firm green beans.
Without a doubt, his was one of the finest servings of halibut we've ever enjoyed anywhere.
As you can see from the photo Redstone's warm, inviting bar area (with spacious dining sections on either side) is surely the place to be on chilly winter nights. And the staff is helpful and courteous.

Pictured below are two of the other dishes that we enjoyed at Redstone: The rotisserie chicken chopped salad with mixed greens, rotisserie chicken, cornbread croutons, grape tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, golden raisins, sweet corn and honey-lime vinaigrette (blue cheese crumbles available upon request) and a special chicken marsalla dish that was featured the night we were there. The plates ranged from $14 for the salad to $32 for the halibut.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Romney To Stay Involved, Help Candidates

Mitt Romney has told friends and supporters that he's "not going away."
During a quick visit to Washington this weekend Romney explained that he has deliberately stayed out of the spotlight since November's election in part because he didn't want to be a distraction during the fiscal cliff crisis and negotiations.
But Romney said people should not interpret this to mean he's not interested in the future of the country or the fate of the GOP.
Romney says he will work for Republican candidates this year and in 2014 and 2016 and he will be speaking out once again. But Romney also reportedly made it clear he will not be seeking office again.
Who will Romney be supporting and when? One would guess that he will now be totally free to pick and choose candidates and that he will remember those who were kindly disposed toward and indeed loyal to him during the campaign. And presumably he will not forget those who disappointed him or who came up short during the campaign.
About 100 people (including Paul Ryan) were at the event with the Romneys in Washington. Surely those people can count themselves among those who will continue to enjoy Mitt and Ann Romney's friendship and goodwill.

Bawdy Sundance Party Celebrates Decadence

The once cozy Sundance Film Festival (which gave rise to the independent film movement) is beginning to turn relatively tame Park City Utah into a den of iniquity, or so it would seem. Here's an excerpt from a revealing story in the Los Angeles Times:
"Parties at the Sundance Film Festival typically feature maverick filmmakers, the best in nouvelle cowboy cuisine and plentiful pours of high-end spirits and Utah microbrews.
"But the bash thrown by Hollywood's powerful Creative Artists Agency on Sunday night took festival revelry in an unexpectedly bawdy direction, as
Sundance guests mingled with lingerie-clad women pretending to snort prop cocaine, erotic dancers outfitted with sex toys and an Alice in Wonderland look-alike performing a simulated sex act on a man in a rabbit costume.
"For decades, CAA has carefully maintained a reputation as Hollywood's most meticulous talent firm, but CAA's leave-nothing-to-chance attention to decorum vanished in that Bacchanalian blizzard on the snowy streets of this mountain resort."

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Week: Dan Cirucci Blog Welcomes World

Here's the rundown on nations sending the most visitors to the Dan Cirucci blog this week:

United States
United Kingdom