Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Business Idea, thanks to Exxon

Based on Exxon's latest record profits, and my desire to someday be independently wealthy so that I can just take my puppy to the beach every day instead of sitting in a fabric enclosed cube, I have decided that for my latest business idea, I want to start an energy company.

Here is my plan... a lease on offshore property is just $3/acre with a lease area covering 9 square miles. So, 9 square miles is about 5,760 acres and at $3 per acre my yearly cost is just $17,280/year for 9 square miles. For what it's worth, my father pays about that much in property taxes alone on his barely 2 acres of land here in Monmouth County so talk about a great deal on 5,760 acres!

I can't be sure how much it costs for a drilling rig and a boat, or to build a windmill.... but maybe I'll just build a man made island out there and build a resort on it, or maybe I'll just float a few of these McMansions that are being foreclosed on out there and rent them for $2,000/wk, which is half of what a beach house down in Kitty Hawk costs for a week, and I'll be all set. Some other ideas include offering scuba classes, or swimming lessons, or sub-lease my land for fishing, sink a few old train cars out there even to have better breeding grounds. The possibilities seem endless with 5,760 acre of land and $17K/year is incredibly cheap for land in New Jersey.... which reminds me... aren't those federal waters, why does NJ *THINK* they own that land? Hrm.

Anyhow, in between the McMansions, or just somewhere else on my 9 sq mile parcel, I'll do a little of that energy production since it seems so profitable for Exxon. If Exxon can make $1,485.55 a second as an energy company, then I'd be happy with making even 1/1000th of that per second with my energy company, which is still $128,351.52/day! Hell, I'll use barely an acre for my energy company and aim to make 1/10,000th and STILL make 12,835.15/day, my land will be paid off in 2 days... in fact.. I'll only operate my energy company on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day while everyone else is closed and still profit! This is genius, I can't seem to find a flaw in my plan.....

If any readers are interested in becoming partners in my new energy business, shoot me an email, I'm about as serious as a Soap Opera.

Of course, if you are "one of them" who wants to "save the ocean"... maybe you and your friends should get together and lease the land yourselves? At least draw some increased demand which draws prices up, which means more income from leases, which means less taxes for me... or just more money available for politicians to waste.

Whatever... I shouldn't be giving away my business ideas for free.... new business here I come!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Mr. Environment" Frank Pallone Fails Again

The worst newspaper in the world is reporting on the polluted beaches we have here in New Jersey, again. The APP claims Activists urge state to clean up beaches but these are the same activists who seem to be fueling Frank "Mr. Environment" Pallone's PR machine with the line "he's good for the environment."

Let us review. Frank has been in office for the past 20 years. During the twenty years, we have seen the environment become more and more polluted each year as noted:

Last year, closure and advisory days at ocean, bay and Great Lakes beaches
topped 20,000 for the third straight year, "confirming that our nation's beaches
continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk," the
report says.
Last year's total was the second highest in 18 years, according to the
report, which is on the Web.

So I ask, again, Where's Frank to save the day? Frank was able to create legislation to use our tax money to monitor the water, and then what? We've been paying to monitor the Branchport Creek for 2 years now, the sad part about this is that 2 years later, those "DANGER - Polluted Water" signs still exist over in the Branchport Creek. It's no mystery where the pollution comes from as Monmouth Park has admitted fault for this pollution, but where is Frank Pallone going after the polluter? Frank's CleanWhatever Acts are indeeed just an act supposed to call for water monitoring and strict penalties for party responsible for the pollution.

In my opinion, the problem is that there is a conflict of interest between our elected officials, Frank Pallone, Jon Corzine, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez etc along with Dennis Robinson (D) at the NJSEA and Lisa Jackson (D) at the DEP. Based on the apparent conflict of interest and lack of action, I suppose contacting US Attorney Chris Christie to see if they can get involved might be the next logical step. If nothing else, maybe the AG's office can check and see if those non-English speaking workers at Monmouth are legal immigrants following MP's SOP for manure removal.

The Haskell is this weekend at Monmouth Park Frank, care to do something to force a cleanup, or will you just be heading over there to place and bet and hang out with your friends?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

They're just weeerds, so I'm just sayin'

"Words have not only meanings, but..." also have multiple meanings, and we as humans naturally conjure up images in our mind based on words, and their meanings. For example, if I say "I drive a red sports car" (I do not, my sports cars are both blue) then you understand that "red" is something like a rose color, or a heart, or a cherry, or a strawberry, something "red" if you will, but lets not get into that discussion today. Let us review some words.

First, let's review the words "a" or "the" as in "a nose" or "a toe". If I suggest that I have "a" nose, you understand that I, as a human, have one single nose. In general, human entities have a single nose. If I suggest that I have "a toe" you would ask what happened to my other 9, because again, we as humans understand that human entities have, in general, 10 toes. We should be careful about the use of the article "a" so as not to be disingenuous and/or ambiguous in our meaning. For example, each entity has "a voice" and we as humans understand that each entity has a single voice, just one. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be appointed or elected representatives of some group of people can indeed suggest we are "a voice" for our organization, for example, I am "a voice for" which is my car club. People freely join my car club with the understanding that I run the car club, my rules. However, I am NOT "a voice for car enthusiasts", which is a much broader group of people, most of whom have no clue who I am and probably don't want me to speak for them. If one should suggest they are "a voice" for something, they should be specific in who or what they are "a voice" for and ensure that everyone understands exactly which entity they represent and they should also ensure that everyone knows that they represent only one small entity, not everyone.

Moving on, we should examine the word "spam". [When I was your age!] "Spam" was this meat like food in a blue can, yellow letters I believe. I suppose it is one of the worst things like food I have ever eaten but this is what "spam" is, or was. However, today the word "spam" is associated with those annoying, unsolicited emails that show up in your inbox thanks to Monty Python and a geek on usenet back in the early 80s. In this case, it is interesting to see that the meaning of a word, like "spam" has changed drastically over time. Ask a youth today "did you get spam today?" and the answer is probably "yes, in my email". Had you asked a youth back in the 60s "did you get spam today?" the answer might have been "eww gross, who eats that crap" or "I'd never buy that garbage".

Continuing forward with more words, if I were a cool Youth living here in Monmouth County, I might turn on my radio and rock out with my cock out (do the kids still say that? didn't think so...) to Hot 97. For anyone who is not in the know (let me guess, the kids don't say that either?) Hot 97 "IS HIP HOP AND R&B".
As of today, the top song on this awesome radio station is by an "artist" called "The Dream f/ Young Jeezy" by the title of "I Love Your Girl". Being the BIG FAN of Hot 97 that I am, I enjoy singing along:
Oh He bought chu dat watch?
such a nice guy he's so generous!
U sucka ass nigga U let's go nigga
Now being the *HUGE* HIP HOP AND R&B fan that I am, I sing the number one tune without worry, including singing the word "nigga" which I believe is short (or "shawty" if you listen to HOT 97!) for "the n-word".
I also love to sing the bridge to the song which is:
As she runs her fingers through her hair, he tryna call her over there but she like, F**k! That nigga! She drop it down to the floor, I'm like shawty you should go, but she like F**k! That nigga! Call it envy, I want her on me, all up in my head, now she in my bed,
I don't know what any of that means. I could try to do a word analysis on it but the punctuation, spelling and grammar all are an epic failure.

Suppose I go on to the number two song today which is by the "artist" by the name of "Lil Wayne" titled "A Milli". Again, being the BIG FAN that I am, I sing along:
Im Millie in here wit them Young Money Milli on aires,Think you really pop a wheelie in air,Mac Milli..the Vanilli’s in here.. im a rascal dont get whopped,I get brats who dont give top,I get tassel, pass you wit a flow you could never put a brake on,An I break on anything a nigga take on,
Again, I just don't know what that all means, but how cool am I for blasting that funk out my speakers!? The kids don't say that either, "hot damn"... oppps. hrm. LOLs!

So today, when I say the word "nigga", most people picture some gangster (or is it "gangsta"? see,) thug, and I don't mean some Italian fella with a Tommy Gun, I mean some black skinned gentleman with a sideways pistol. It's also fair to suggest that "nigga" is the same as "nigger", just pronounced with an "a" sound instead of the "er" sound, just as "tryna" in my song lyrics is instead of "trying to". Overtime, the word "nigger" has changed from being a derogatory term for black slaves instead of word that is used to glorify black stereotypes.

Unfortunately, just as my grandmother, who is from a very different generation of humans, still associates spam with that disgusting meat product, there are some older generations who still associate "nigger" and/or "nigga" with a derogatory term. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your politics, the word has changed meanings and it is no longer used to offend.

Of course, cutting someone's nuts off still hasn't changed meaning - it still means castrating someone as far as I know.

Finally, what makes the internet great is that we can freely use the words "a", "spam", "nigga' and the like and the public can freely chose to read, or not read, our words. Additionally, through the internet, our audience is global. I have several frequent readers from California and many from Florida, had I been publishing a newspaper, it would be impossible for me to reach this large of an audience. Again, fortunately, or unfortunately, "newspapers" are going the way of the word "nigger" changing in meaning from print press paper product to an online conglomeration of articles. Sadly, there are those who still think that newspapers are important and influential, as they are from an older generation. For traditional newspapers to remain relevant, they will have to adopt the new online version of "newspapers", just as for older folks will have to adopt the new meaning of "nigga" vs the old version of the word.

For that matter, "fat" back in the 1930s probably mean a 6ft tall 250lb man, these days, I think that is called "husky" and "fat" is when you hit 300lbs, go figure, another word which has changed. Likewise, I'm a geek, which in the 1970s meant skinny with glasses and a pocket protector, maybe bad breath to boot, but I'm cruising at a healthy 6ft/190lb and a rather muscular build and many of my geek friends are in equal or better shape, I suppose "geek" is a changed word as well. In any case, I am indeed "a" geek, one of many geeks because we know there is more than one geek in the world, however, I only have "a" voice, one of many voices in the world, but "a" voice for myself and no one else who claims to represent youths is "a voice" for me.

P.S. - I've NEVER listened to HOT 97 and it was painful just to have to load their website, never mind try to listen to the songs and/or try to read the lyrics.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Running For Congress: Random Observations During the Campaign

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

I’m certain that there are some other notable events that occurred along my journey before primary night that I either forgot or are hard to put into my timeline and story. If I ever recall other details, I'll throw them up as an update of some sort.

In no particular order, these are some other issues and things that happened while I was a candidate for Congress. I didn’t know about, or expect, most of these things.

I received postcards. LOTS and LOTS of postcards. I received these post cards from the "right to life" people, from the NRA people, the people to save this, the people to do that, the right for who, the anti-this or pro-that group, etc. Every day I would get home from work for lunch and find at least a half dozen, sometimes two dozen, postcards from some group(s) in my mailbox.

In general, the postcards are "friendly" and are just black and white text where some organization pre-prints the message and all you do as a member is write your name and return address, throw a stamp on it and drop the postcard in the mail. However, the "pro-life" groups, and I’m pro-life, but these fanatics are nearly intolerable, apparently like to send half page postcards (a normal postcard is quarter page) where the whole front of the postcard is a picture of what I suppose is an aborted fetus. Something like a head, with something like eyes, in something like a dish, in something like liquid goo and it’s just a horrific and awful picture. You can see the scan of one of the several of the same postcards like this I received to the left.

Now, I suppose they send this type of postcard to make a point but I’m rather squeamish; I pass out when I get basic routine blood work done. I skipped lunch after I dry heaved from the picture. I’m pro-life, so if these pro-life people spend a second of time in the future to learn about the candidates before sending that kind of postcard, I would have been able to digest my breakfast that day and I wouldn’t have had to explain the picture to a 12 year old when he saw it.

Regardless, when I saw my mail woman that weekend, even she was offended by the postcards and asked about it. Truth be told, I was so offended by the postcard, in thinking that by supporting the pro-life position I was supporting this group of fanatics who send that kind of postcard, that I considered declaring myself pro-choice that very day just to NOT represent the fanatics who find it acceptable to send those kinds of pictures in the mail; at least put it in a brown paper envelope like my dirty magazines have to be sent in. Fortunately, I do believe in the pro-life position enough that I’m willing to put aside the thought that I’d represent the person or people who sent me that postcard and maintained my pro-life position.

In any case, I suspect the other candidates received similar postcards, in similar quantities. I have to wonder if their cause would be better served spending the time and money to just talk to their family members or neighbors about the prolife platform and maybe they should convince the majority of voters that pro-life is the most sane position for our society as clearly the majority of voters in this state seem to vote pro-choice as represented by most Democrats, or maybe voters in this state just don’t care about abortion so much and are tired of religious fanatics and such forcing the issue upon them, or sending them disturbing postcards like these.

As a final note on the whole issue of abortion, the only reason I even addressed abortion in my campaign and address it here in my recap is because for some reason this one issue seems to set the bar for a majority of voters as the make or break issue; I find this to be disturbing on many levels. First, the issue should really be a throw away issue as the percentages of the population seeking an abortion is so low that I suspect most women haven’t had an abortion and aren’t seeking an abortion. From the numbers I’ve seen, there is only a relatively small percentage of the population seeking abortions and oddly enough, it seems that abortions are more common in the "poorer" and "richer" populations, i.e. those who can’t afford to raise a child if they were to give birth and receive some taxpayer money to pay for the abortion, and those who are so wealthy that spending the money for a medical procedure like an abortion is no different than buying a new face, breasts, buns or car. With all of the issues we as American tax payers face, pollution, high gas prices, high food prices, decreased value of the dollar, loss of jobs to overseas companies, etc, I simply can’t comprehend why this one issue seems to top so many people’s lists of important issues. I assure you, while I am pro-life and would vote pro-life as a congressman, I certainly wouldn’t the congressman introducing new legislation or fighting this battle everyday, although I might fight the battle to stop using my money, taxpayer money, to fund abortions on day one as I, for one, don’t want my money being given away to other people while I receive no benefit. Of course, it's also interesting that we have federal laws that protect the lives of migratory birds like those disgusting geese (you can't go stomp on goose eggs) but we don't have federal laws to protect humans (ie, human eggs/babies). It's an interesting topic really, but again, so many other issues seem so much more important.

You also get surveys. LOTS AND LOTS of surveys. Again, every group, every organization, every topic, sends you a survey. “on HR ####, you would: (a)…(b)…(c)” and you’re expected to provide answers to these surveys. Since I was reasonably busy going door to door and working a real job, I did my best to research the questions and answer to the best of my ability and beliefs, hopefully I got the answers right. I was a straight A student through high school so if my testing skills were good, I could have passed! You don’t get back a “thank you...but we (will or won’t) ask our members to support you” – you just have to assume that you sent the right answers and/or someone cares about your response. I took all of the surveys seriously, answered them all, and never heard back from any of them. If I ever run again, I might just mark “c” for all questions and see what happens, or not send them back and see what happens. In either case, I would love to see 200 people decide to run for the same office one year and see if these fanatical organizations would send a copy of their silly survey to all 200 candidates, or get enough candidates to get these organizations to go broke trying to print and manage enough surveys for each candidate. The issues these organizations stand for are important issues, but then I’ve never received a paper in the mail from “The Right To Work Foundation” before a primary that provides me with the responses from all of the potential candidates that they surveyed so that I can make an informed decision. I don’t even get a piece of paper endorsing one candidate so that I can make a decision based on some organization’s (biased) interpretation of the survey results. These organizations are out to serve themselves and their own interests over the interests of the majority of public. If these groups cared about the public, they would publish their survey information, if not just online, well before the election. The organizations instead appear as useless as their surveys.

You also get PHONE CALLS. LOTS of phone calls. I provided a “Google Grand Central” phone number as my “contact phone number” rather than give out my actual cell phone number or home phone number. The Google Grand Central number is a real 10 digit phone number you can dial from any phone and Google routes the call to any number, or numbers, you designate. Anyone who did some searching could have found my actual cell phone number posted online, but I didn’t make them obvious in my campaign and only advertised my Google number. It’s a good thing because from about 7am to about 8pm, my cell phone would ring (and show the Google number on caller id) and I would essentially ignore the call because I was eating breakfast, driving, at work, talking to voters door to door, etc. Most people didn’t leave a message, those who did generally left messages asking me to support positions I already showed my support for on my website, others were asking me to support some HR# as if I was already in office. To be quite honest, I answered ALL calls for the first few days or weeks after I published the number, spoke to a dozen or more people at length and from that point forward, I let every call go to voicemail. I want to hear what people have to say and what their issues are, but every person I spoke with either went on and on about one issue that I had already addressed on my website, or just wanted to yell and complain about some government mistreatment they were suffering from. I’m suffering too, that’s why I’m running for office…. Stop complaining and get out and make a difference. It’s not that I DON’T want to talk to voters, but I DO have a day job, and I DO have to afford $4/gal gas, and I DO have to afford higher food costs just like you. I was TRYING to get into office to address those problems but am/was powerless now. Again, no offense, the issues people were calling about were important, but then, go out, talk to your neighbors, friends, family, etc and tell them. I understand. In fact, if you took the time to visit my website and get my phone number, you certainly could have read my position on the issues while you were there, leading me to believe many of these calls were calls from people who some group provided a number to and told them to call. I shouldn’t complain about phone calls since I was running for office AND provided a number, however, I believe that I can complain about people calling to reiterate the same issues I’ve already addressed because some group told these people to call without telling these people who I am or what I stand for before they handed over a number.

You also get EMAILS. Interestingly enough, many of these email are also form letters from some organization and the sender probably has no idea who they contacted or what they sent. The sender probably just fills in their name/email address and clicks “send”. Again, the issues are important, it’s good to see support for the issues, but in general, I was getting form letter emails about positions that I support and show my support for on my website, go figure. If the organizations that hosted this “complain to your candidate” form did some leg work and/or provided a candidates position on the issues, perhaps the number of emails would decrease and the ability to reply would increase. Then again, neither of my other two primary opponents had websites, email addresses or any position statements so perhaps I was just to the guy to complain to in the district since no one else, Pallone included, listens to the voters. I replied to MOST all emails that had a questions/comment that needed a reply as I could reply late at night after I knocked on doors all day and night.

I also received emails from the grammar Nazis commenting on the misuse of an apostrophe, the spelling of a word, or the lack of a citation, quote, comma, period, parenthesis, etc. Again, if you wanted “trimmed and proper” positions written by some party hack rather than honest, passionate opinion and positions from an average concerned voter, then I certainly wasn’t the guy you wanted to vote for as anything written and on my website was written by me, on my own, without consulting some party PR guy, running it through the publication editor, checking it for PC or potentially “outrageous” content. What I wrote was just my opinion, many items were clearly written in jest, implying sarcasm, and many emails were from people who just didn’t get it.

For example, would I really spend your tax money and mine to have rabid dogs patrol the border between the US and Mexico as I suggested? Of course not! That would be cruelty towards animals making them work in the hot desert for no pay, not to mention, who knows what diseases those border crossers might give a dog if the dog should bite one? See the sarcasm? Offensive, maybe, but the point is clearly that I simply oppose illegal immigration and open borders and think we need to do SOMETHING about it rather than the NOTHING we are doing right now. There surely is a “better” solution than rabid dogs, but my suggestion clearly demonstrates my concern that SOMETHING is better than the NOTHING we have right now. So why would I even suggest such a thing? What sane person thinks of that? Well…. “when I was your age….” you would see some junk yard and “protecting” that junk yard was a fence and inside were a pack of large and scary Dobermans, ready to tear apart anything that crossed that fence. I’m really not suggesting that we unleash dogs on border crossers, but the concept of using dogs to protect a border isn’t so outrageous and unheard of after all if you stop and think about it for just one second, in fact, it’s slightly humorous in a topic that is very serious and emotional. Maybe we need more candidates willing to be honest, show some humor or taking risky positions rather than try to appease everyone and everything with rhetoric. We don’t need to train rapid dogs but we do need to address border security.

You also get advertisements. Yes, advertisements trying to sell you, the candidate, “stuff”. The advertisements ranged from hundred page, full color, high gloss brochures showing you any possible item you can imagine with a “someone for something” printed on it to more postcards pointing you to a website that contained all, or more, of the same items for sale. Apparently, there is a huge industry that has grown around campaigns as I counted just over twenty different companies who I received such advertisements from, some of them contacted me more than once, in case I might have been using another company.

But these were just the advertisements received via postal mail. I also received several phone calls and voicemail, both on my private home and cell phone numbers and on my campaign line from companies that appear to be campaign management firms of some sort. I didn’t pay much attention to any of them, but one that caught my attention for some reason was a company that seemed willing to work for me for free! Their business is to basically be in charge of handling all campaign donations, at no cost to you, and they even were willing to figure out and file all of the paperwork you needed to file. They do this at no cost to you and simply take a significant cut off of the top of each contribution to handle their management expenses. I bet it’s a decent service and a good company and having received the “House of Representatives” booklet regarding campaign finance reporting, I must say that if an average no one like me wanted to collection campaign contributions, I’d need such a company if not just to free me from the days it would take to read and understand the reporting requirements.

Another notable advertisement was a phone call from Comcast, who wanted me to purchase some television advertising on their cable network, if only their customer service would call me back when my cable service was problematic or my bill was wrong, I might have been more polite and listened to the guy who called me. I canceled my Comcast service because I couldn't get a call back from them on a problem with my internet service even, imagine that.

The last notable call, and some emails, was from a campaign manager/management firm that was willing to write the platform, flyers, campaign materials, organize press events, etc. The interesting item here is that they seemed to mean what they said – they were willing to write the platform, their platform, not mine, and all I had to do, in exchange for their free service, was be the talking head behind their platform. Does anyone really do this? I hope not, but then they must be in business for a reason, or it was some gag, scary either way.

Me on Melissa Gaffney on Art Gallagher on Jim Purcell on Middletown Mike.... ewww!

A few bloggers are weighing in on this Anthony Fiore fella which has created quite the circle jerk of blog links which I now feel inclined to join thanks to my inclusion by Melissa Gaffney.

First, my $.02 on Mr. Fiore - I don't know the guy but I don't like him, sorry. At first glance, I would really have liked to see M'town and the public get behind Mr. Fiore, support him and elect him. He is a relatively young fella who seems to want to be involved and get something done and I like that about him. The "problem" is that he appears to be a liar based on what we know and it doesn't appear that he can reasonably work himself out of the lie; ie - this is an outright lie, not a misunderstanding, typo, misquote, misspeak (is that a word?), etc. In other words, I have no problem with Mr. Fiore who is a VP at a Bank (isn't that the starting job title?) and the holder of a BA in Political Science (don't those pollysci degrees come from diploma mills or cracker jack boxes?) running for office, but I do have a problem with any candidate being a liar. Melissa's blog covers the whole story pretty well.

For what it's worth, I have a friend who really was a volunteer firefighter in Carteret (no bullshit!) and paid EMT in Carteret during some of the years Mr. Fiore claims to have been a volunteer firefighter. My friend doesn't seem to have a recollection of Mr. Fiore and she would know as she was a busy and active volunteer. I won't call bullshit on Mr. Fiore for this claim (yet) but based on his other lies, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to prove his volunteer firefighter status as well.

So anyway.... on to the blogger circle jerk.... I feel the need to defend Ms. Gaffney from the claims that she is anti-GOP. I can verify that Ms. Gaffney was polite to Ms. Brightbill at the Bayshore Flood Management meeting thing (as noted in a previous blog entry) and Ms. Gaffney has always been polite to me, in fact, my girlfriend and I even took Melissa out to dinner after the primary and we have made plans to meet for another dinner. My opinion, and it is just an opinion from an Average No One, is that Melissa, like me, just finds that most politicians start with good intentions and their true colors show quickly. Also like me, Melissa doesn't seem to be shy about pointing out those colors and in fact wants to see those colors.

It's also worth noting that Melissa doesn't seem to be fan of Mr. Lautenberg (see the comments) and Melissa has also noted several times that Lautenberg's office and Rush Holt's office have been almost non-existent on the FEMA issue, don't return calls, etc. Aside from that, it seems that she might be correct and the GOP members ignore her and/or give her ammunition. Again, I have to say - I sent Melissa a friendly email following a blog entry in which she noted my flyer, and I'd list our relationship as "professional pen pals" since then. Now, I suppose I could have taken the route "yeah! I'm bad mouthing Pallone, so take it!" but she was being accurate and I emailed her to simply note that I would have said hello but I didn't want to interrupt the meeting to talk to her, then she left early so sorry we missed each other. Pam was very friendly to me (I had no idea who Pam was at that point) when she saw my flyer, Melissa was very friendly to Pam (seemed to know each other but Pam didn't seem too happy to see Melissa, what do I know) and I was just sitting as quiet as possible so as not to cause trouble and see what other people had to say. *Shrug*.

So to keep the circle jerk alive....
Jim Purcell on Inside Clamdigger is covering Melissa Gaffney of Sable Minded but Art Gallagher of MoreMonmouthMusings is also covering the story and Middletown Mike of, well, nothing, is talking about Art and if I'm lucky, someone will now cover me covering Melissa who is covering Art who was covering Jim who was also covering Melissa and again, I don't know why I included Mike other than that he commented on Art on a different subject.

(Update: July 24 - fixed some spelling/typo errors)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rutgers - The State University You Can't Afford ... and this George Zoffinger guy, again.

Following Thursday's Board of Governors meeting, tuition at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is set to increase, again. The new tuition cost is being reported by at $21,482 for New Jersey residents, I didn't go look at the cost per credit which is the important number in my opinion - guestimating just 12 credits per semester and two semesters, that is $895/credit which seems insane - even at 15 credits per semester by two semesters - $716 per credit - I thought I paid about $150ish or so per credit back in the day when I graduated from Rutgers in '02 so hopefully my calculations are wrong in some way. These costs don't seem to include books and other expenses so I'm guessing it's closer to $30,000 per year to go to college. In any case, even at the $21,000 number, Rutgers has apparently become one of the most expensive public colleges in the nation - no surprise since New Jersey is one of the most expensive places to live, go figure.

Tuition aside, this article caught my attention for another reason aside from the cost of tuition. That name "George Zoffinger" is familiar to me. When I pass the "DANGER" signs at the local park, I associate them with pollution from Monmouth Park. Incidentally, George Zoffinger was the NJSEA CEO and the NJSEA operates Monmouth Park. How ironic that the guy who runs an organization that pollutes a federal waterway is also the guy on the Board of Govenors for Rutgers, a university that includes Cook College, also know as the hippie environmentalist school (yes, I graduated from RU/Cook College with my CS degree). Incidentally, the University Board didn't seem to want Mr. Zoffinger but he was given the job anyway. I suppose political connections go a long way. Mr. Zoffinger never got around to cleaning up the mess he was responsible for in the Branchport Creek - I doubt he'll ever get around to cleaning up the mess that is college tuition at Rutgers.

Prior to becoming a board member at Rutgers, Mr. Zoffinger swore there would be no conflicts on interest with his other business in front of students. However, a little research would show that Mr. Zoffinger also swore there was no conflict of interest with his son's law firm, a conflict of interest that cost him his position as CEO of the NJSEA. Imagine that, resigning from appointed high paying position to move on to another appointed (I mean elected, yeah right) position.

I don't know much about this Mr. Zoffinger fella, but it seems that every time I read bad news for New Jersey, his name seems to get a mention in some way. Tuition has increased over 6% in back to back years and seems to be at least double, if not quadruple, the cost in the past 10 years. At the same time, gas prices have quadrupled in the past 10 years. The Rutgers Board of Governors cites rising fuel and operation costs for the tuition increase, but where is the increase in pay for New Jersey residents? The decrease in property taxes? How is some 17 year old making $5.25/hr at Burger King or the like going to afford the tuition and the gallon of gas to sit in traffic on Rt 1 or Rt 18 to get to Rutgers for class? In fact, a student would have to work the better part of a day just to afford to drive across campus, never mind afford to pay for a class once they got there. Even if a student stays on campus, how is a student to afford on campus housing? And we can't expect families to help their children out with tuition and fuel expenses as family budgets are already drained through increased fuel and food prices, increased property taxes, the 7% sales tax, etc. Of course I'm sure there are plenty of student loans available, and just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I'm sure those federal agencies are soon to go broke as well, but don't sweat it, Mr. Zoffinger appears to be a wealthy banker - maybe his bank can get you a loan? I'm sure with today's high interest rates, you'll be able to pay that college tuition cost back in 20-30 years - in the meantime, you can buy (un)Affordable Housing in New Jersey and pay that back for the next 30 years as well, good luck.

There seems to be some interesting information about Mr. Zoffinger available if you care to search around and it seems like he might have some interesting ideas (and in fact a summer home here in Long Branch - maybe I've seen him around town?) but at the end of the day, whatever it is he is trying to do isn't helping students get an education, isn't helping keep our rivers clean and isn't addressing the root problem, which is New Jersey becoming more and more unaffordable year after year.

I wonder if Frank Pallone, also a "big shot" from Long Branch, who has taken donations from Mr. Zoffinger, is aware of the cost of tuition at Rutgers, and the pollution in the river? I would doubt Frank knows since his recent letter that came in mail made it sound like Frank cares about education costs and availability as well as clean water. Whatever Frank.... continue to do nothing, I'm sure enough people will vote for you in November so that you can continue to do nothing and your pal George can continue to damage NJ.

P.S. - In case you care, The Worst Newspaper in the World has a story about the tuition costs too. As always, the comments are most entertaining.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Youth Rights: A Lower Drinking Age - Doubtful

I've always been a strong advocate of youth rights - the concept that everyone, regardless of age, deserves some representation and some "fair" rights. I firmly believe that allowing the youth to vote would be a GoodThing(TM) as it would force older Americans to show up at the polls to make sure "those kids!" don't wreck the place (because everyone knows, it's us youths who are spending trillions and taking away freedoms as we play on your lawns).

Along with lowering the voting age, many in the youth rights movement want to see the drinking age lowered to 18, or removed completely. Although I'm a non-drinker, and a non-parent, I've always believed that in an ideal world, parents would raise their children and the government wouldn't regulate what beverages parents provide to their offspring. For that matter, if some youth has money to purchase alcohol, I don't see a problem with said youth choosing to spend their money purchasing an alcoholic beverage the same way an adult might purchase such goods. We have public intoxication laws, DWI laws, etc and these should be enforced on anyone of any age - I'm not endorsing drunk driving or public intoxication/disorderly conduct, simply suggesting that we don't need to have extra laws that are based on age. I know what you're thinking - the government doesn't come into your home and make sure you don't give your offspring a beer - now take your offspring to your local Morton's Steakhouse and try to get a glass of wine with that steak for your 16 year old - good luck with that, even if you pay double.

While all of this sounds nice in my little ideal world, today's APP stories are both enraging and completely disheartening.

First I read that 17 "youths" were arrested at PNC Back Arts Center for underage drinking. I have to use the term "youths" lightly as "There were one 18-year-old, seven 19-year-olds and the rest were 20, [Sgt. Stephen Jones of Holmdel PD] said. " In case no one was paying attention - 18, 19 and 20 are not "youths" - they are adults. This "crime" will be on their criminal record, as adults, not their "juvenile" records never to be seen again - but the "crime" is only a "crime" because they are "juveniles" in some strange way when it comes to alcohol. The usual complaints follow - "adults" who are old enough to vote, serve in the military, get married without parental consent, engage in sexual intercourse with other adults without parental consent, can purchase lottery tickets (but ironically can't gamble at a casino - 21 for that) - you can buy tobacco and get lung cancer, but not alcohol and kill the liver. I, for one, just want to believe that these laws are simply the Criminalization of the Youth. It doesn't make sense to set the drinking age to 21 when society has somehow figured out that 18 is close enough to being an adult. Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of those who would gladly see most anything (aside from military service) to see a raise to 21.

Did I win over your support through sympathy yet? No... didn't think so.

Second I read about this dopey drunk 19 year old who causes $5000 worth of property damage named Erol Papraniku. The quick "facts" - 7:30am! - Holmdel rich kid. 2000 Mercedes-Benz. 3 "adult" friends in the car, also drunk. Passing 2 cars == fail. And because of this dolt, my own support even wans because on the same day I see those 17 "adults" arrested for being "youths", I read about this fella who is the same age and can't obey the law. Something about one bad egg or a spoiled bunch, I'm not old enough to know the phrase.

I urge all of my youth rights supporting friends along with any and all readers to remind your offspring, your classmates, friends, brothers, sisters, etc that just one idiot like Mr. Erol Papraniku is why the 17 other "youths" get criminalized, just for being the wrong age. It's hard for me and other youth rights activists to make progress when even one blatant mistake like this is made. I'm certain that there was at least one, probably many more "adult" DWIs and/or accidents on the same day - but they don't make the news and they are somehow acceptable or at least understandable - but this is what we have - the media pointing out when the youth screws up, no one around to report if and when we do right thing.

Want to see a lower drinking age? Stop acting like idiots and driving drunk. Stop drinking in the parking lot of PNC bank directly in front of State Police officer. Use that lump above your shoulders and convince your friends to do the same. A small amount of self-control and responsibility will go a long way. Surely you 16 year olds won't see the benefits of your efforts, but if the next few graduating classes can keep their DWIs and drunk driving deaths and arrests down, maybe, just maybe, future generations won't be criminalized just for being youths. (I know this can't be explained to most 16 year olds, I don't know why I bother sometimes)

I offer this song from the punk-rock band Anti-Flag titled Drink Drank Punk:
gulp, gulp, gulp
i want to
drink more beer
until i
drink drank punk (repeat)
i'm so cool
i can drink so much
i can drink
more than you
drink drank punk (repeat)
met a girl at the bar oh
she was a 10 at 2:00 i gave her four stars oh
i took her home she spent the night oh
at 10:00 am she was a fright
some old guy
bought me some
we got drunk at the mall
drink drank punk (repeat)
mom's gonna get us at the mall oh
in a drunken stupor hope i don't fall oh
i chew on a big wad of gum oh
mom won't notice, she's old and dumb
drink drank punk (repeat)

Update on Ruth - The Old Lady Neighbor

As an update on my old lady neighbor, Ruth....

Last Friday night (7/11 - no, I didn't get my free Slurpee) I arrived home from work around 6pm to find Ruth sitting outside, once again yelling for help. My girlfriend was having a party with some friends and family over so rather than each of them have to tend to Ruth, I strolled on over to see what Ruth needed. Her nurse, Joy, had apparently not stopped by (or stopped by but then left, not sure) and Ruth needed to get home because this wasn't her house. Sigh. I did the usual explanations of who I am, where we are, etc and brought her some fruit and a diet coke.

About an hour later (7pm ish), I saw Joy, the nurse, pull up in her van so I ran over to intercept her and let her know what has been going on. Joy assures me that she thinks Ruth belongs in a home or needs 24/7 care. I asked Joy if she worked for a company or was a private CHHA (Certified Home Health Aid I guess it's called) and all she told me is that she was with Home Health Aids - I should have asked for a phone number/supervisor's name but Ruth was screaming profanities at this point because I was keeping Joy from getting to her so I let her off easy and got back to my company. As a new side story (are you keeping up with these?) - Joy had a big ol' doberman-type looking dog in the back of her van, which she left in the van, in the heat, for at least the hour she was with Ruth. As a dog lover, I'd say Joy seems a bit irresponsible with dogs, never mind human life - I'll be keeping an eye on the dog situation as well now (call me a nosey prick or dog fanatic here if you want).

Saturday I had to make a trip to Delaware so before I left, I stopped by to chat with Ruth and bring her some breakfast. I told her that I wouldn't be home all day but I would check on her tomorrow (Sunday), and off I went. (side note! On my way home - a SWEET Mercedes McLaren F1 SLR sped by me doing about 120 or so on I-195 near Great Adventure - what an AWESOME car -I NEED one...)

Sunday I left my house early in the morning and didn't see Ruth outside so I thought nothing of it and went about my day. When I got back home around 7pm Sunday, Ruth walked to my driveway (again) to tell me that she has been trying to get a hold of her friend who lives here (me) because he's missing (no I'm not, you're not so lucky to get rid of me!) and she's hungry. She had apparently attracted some other neighbors Saturday while screaming for me.

I made two phone calls Monday to her son Keith's car dealership ( 732-922-1500 if you want to inquire about a Volkswagen, i wouldn't give out the number for any other reason) and both times I was told he's "in a meeting". Uhh-huh. I left messages with the receptionist and did not receive a call back, imagine that.

Lunch was quiet on Monday - I saw Joy's van outside, but when I got home from work, I ate my dinner and as I was putting my sneakers on to walk my puppy, I saw Ruth getting out of another neighbor's truck.... IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!

I went outside to figure out 1) How she got in the truck, 2) Why she was getting out in front of my house - and the other neighbor told me she was in the middle of the street so he stopped and she insisted that she needed to come to my house because she lives there. I did the usual explanation but this time she refused to believe me and wouldn't walk home. She insisted that she lived in my house and she saw her mom and dad go in the house "before".

With little choices left and no return calls from her son, I asked my girlfriend to call the police department - at which point Ruth was willing to walk home - I'd almost swear that she is perfectly healthy and in perfect mental stability but just looking for attention as she seems to recognize when she's gone too far, but the sane part of me understands that she's just lost her mind.

When we got back to HER HOUSE - she insisted this was the wrong house, she has two of them - and her clothes and food weren't here. In case anyone cares - somewhere along the lines Ruth told me that she was a Republican and the Democrats in government took her things when they moved her. Right or wrong, I had to laugh, to which she asked me if I was "coo-coo" and told me I was crazy like the rest of "them". She might be right, who knows.

A Long Branch Patrolman came by to check out the scene - chatted with my GF and two other neighbors who came out to see what the problem was and then came over to Ruth and I who had managed our way back to her porch. The patrolman had been to the house a few times before (although not recently - I guess my efforts over the past few months have eased their work a little bit?) but basically said that all he can do is file a report and if the situation becomes an on-going problem, he can take her to the Crisis center.

After about an hour and half, the Patrolman was finally able to get away and I left with the officer. He ended up making a second stop when Ruth had managed to walk into the street about an hour later - then claiming she lost her cane - so she was using an old broom for balance - the officer and my GF tried to find the cane but could not locate it so they left to her screaming for her cane. My apologies to anyone who was a victim of a real crime last night - i didn't mean to take a law officer away from real police work to baby sit Ruth, I was hoping an officer could have done something more immediate about the problem.

I placed phone calls to both the Long Branch Senior Center to inquire about Meals on Wheels (Thanks for the tip Marge!) and to her son's car dealership again. No call backs from her son, still, but an Anne from the Senior Center called me back and suggested calling Protective Services for the Elderly. Anne says she can get Ruth setup on a meals on wheels program, but that she thought such a thing would be a band-aid more than any kind of solution to the street crossing/etc. I then placed a call to an "Intake Worker" named Nicole at Protective Services who said the situation and names sounded familiar and then verified that someone else had called about a week ago and that they would be sending a case worker out shortly. I suppose one of my other neighbors made that phone call as I was trying to give Ruth, and her son, some time before I got "the government" involved - must be the Libertarian in me.

Anyhow - I'll post updates as I'm sure that when I get home for lunch, or after work, there will be some more (non)excitement. In the meantime, as I said, any readers looking to buy a VW might contact her son, Keith Lawson, at 732-922-1500. I recommend calling often as he seems to be busy and I recommending making multiple calls, even if you get him on the line as I hear that he'll give better deals the more often you call him. Of course, you SHOULD NOT bother Keith about his lack of care for his own mother or the burden of caring for her that has become the responsibility of us concerned neighbors, that just wouldn't be the right thing to do and I wouldn't ask people to make such a call, nor would I endorse such pestering actions. If I don't hear back from Keith and/or Protective Services soon - I might just have to take Ruth for a car ride one morning and bring her over to her son's dealership - sometimes she tells me she wants to go there so I'd just be helping a neighbor right?

Maybe our friends Radiohead said it best in their hit song Karma Police:

Karma police, Ive given all I can, its not enough

Ive given all I can, but were still on the payroll

This is what you get, this is what you get

This is what you get, when you mess with us

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

Off to lunch... wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Response from NJDEP on Car Wash rules

*Whew* well that was close.... According to Bruce Friedman, the Supervisor of Municipal / General Stormwater Permitting Unit of the Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (WHAT A TITLE!):

I can assure you that there is no such pending regulation prohibiting residents from washing their vehicles. Atlantic Highlands Borough Clerk Dwayne Harris was either confused or misquoted in the Asbury Park Press article. I have personally spoken to Mr. Harris and explained to him that the requirements only apply to municipally owned vehicles.

Well that's a a relief because I'm a big fan of putting on my wife beater and gold chains on and washing my TransAms. (Seen Zoolander? HAH!) I suppose the misquote or lack of questioning Mr. Harris' story is just more evidence that the Asbury Park Press is indeed, the worst newspaper ever! It is irresponsible for the APP to have published the line "As a result, every vehicle, including municipal ones, will have to go to a car wash to be washed." without checking the facts first. Luckly, not enough people seem to read the APP, or read the details of such articles, or we might have seen a lynch mob form yesterday, although it might have been fun either way.

In any case, my rant(s) from yesterday stand - No town, Atlantic Highlands included, should be collecting, or even thinking about collecting, $1 million worth of tax payer money to start and operate a business, regardless of where the profits are to go. Having noted Mr. Harris' plan, I suggest those of you in Atlantic Highland demand a refund because according to Mr. Harris, there is about $1 million of excess tax payer money that the town has no use for and can give back. Then again, my own Long Branch operates a beach access business by selling beach badges to fund lifegaurds, beach cleaning and such - I suppose there is a line somewhere, certainly the town carwash crosses that line - the beach club, maybe not. I do think beaches should be free but then if someone expects a lifegaurd and beach combing/trash removal, someone has to pay for it, and the libertarian "voluntarism" approach to saving lives and cleaning trash doesn't seem so dependable.

Anyhow, I don't know if this Mr. Harris is Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian (doubtful!), etc, but I hope that voters in Atlantic Highlands unseat this gentleman in the next election, or sooner. I've never met Mr. Harris but based on the idea alone, I award him Bonehead of the Day Award and indeed hope he never represents anyone in New Jersey, or any other state in this nation again.

Furthermore, yesterday's rant about the US vs other nations (like Abu Dahbi) still stands. We still can't find a few dollars to fund a transit tunnel and they are still putting gold dust on coffee (doesn't sound tasty but whatever, point stands) while we pay $4.22/gallon this morning. We also can't find money for public schools and they are opening an NYU campus and bringing the mueseums there. What happened to the good ol' US of A?

In the meantime, I also recommend cancelling your daily subscription to the APP and investing in a decent newspaper with real reporting.

Thank you very much to Bruce Friedman for his speedy response. His full reply follows:
Mr. Hogan: I can assure you that there is no such pending regulation prohibiting residents from washing their vehicles. Atlantic Highlands Borough Clerk Dwayne Harris was either confused or misquoted in the Asbury Park Press article. I have personally spoken to Mr. Harris and explained to him that the requirements only apply to municipally owned vehicles.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulates almost all municipalities in the state in an effort to improve water quality. Most municipalities have been issued a municipal stormwater general permit. One of the requirements of the permit is for municipalities to properly manage their wash water discharge from public works yards by February 28, 2009 to prevent polluting local receiving waters. A copy of the permit and the specific requirement may be found at (see page 19 of 33).

If you have additional questions or would like further clarification, please contact me directly.

Thank you,

Bruce Friedman, Supervisor
Municipal / General Stormwater Permitting Unit
Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
dont spam Bruce Friedman at the DEP.State.NJ.US but that is his email - his email at the dep url
(609) 633-7021
Fax (609) 984-2147

Running for Congress: Primary Day, and Night

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

All of this leads up to Primary Day 2008, June 3rd. I had received a voice mail from Diane Walsh, a reporter with the Star Ledger, in the morning asking where I would be to celebrating that night. I never called her back but I almost wonder if she left me the message expecting me to win, hah!

Diane had wrote one brief article covering the 6th Congressional District in the Star Ledger. The article had my picture, looking all handsome and professional next to Bob with a reflection coming off of his head and Peter looking like a circus clown, and I suppose if no one else, Diane had probably spoken to the other two candidates and had some idea what they stood for or who they were, I wonder if Peter yelled at her too?

Primary Day was no big deal for me to be honest. I voted early in the morning; was Republican number 3 to vote. My girlfriend was 2nd in line to vote, I think she voted for me and I won’t admit to bribing her with a coffee and breakfast. After voting, I went to work and wrote computer code in my cubicle, far from an outside window or a polling location. I didn’t take the day off to try to go get some last minute votes, make phone calls to registered voters or drive senior citizens to the poll in exchange for a vote. By the time Primary day came, I was either way out ahead, or so far behind it wouldn’t have mattered.

Since Primary Day was no big deal to me, I never called Diane Walsh back for two reasons. First, I was reasonably sure that I was going to lose because I was reasonably sure that Murray was going to lose and I was then reasonably sure that if people didn’t vote for Murray at the top of the line, they probably wouldn’t vote for me for Congress on the second line. Second, I was exhausted from having walked nearly every street in 17 towns (I didn’t make it to every town in the district, sorry) every day and night that I wasn’t working and was just happy to be done and be able to relax. A few extra votes wasn’t likely to make a difference at that point and I had done as much as I reasonably could have done, one more day wasn’t going to make or break a win or a loss. I had planned to have some family and friends over my house and that was all I had planned, nothing to do with newspapers or TV camera crews, suits, balloons, etc.

Of course, come primary day, as I sat in my cube at work, I was excited when I received a press release from Murray Sabrin announcing “Murray Sabrin wins NJ Senate Race” or something to the effect. I was excited for a second, then I remembered it was a Murray press release which meant it was probably untrue and a stretch of the truth. After reading it, I realized it was just Murray’s prediction of the future – and we saw how well that went with his Cowboy Cal bet and press releases.

Come Tuesday night, I didn’t even have anyone over as I had taken my puppy, Allie, to the park after work to make up for lost time with her and ended up cancelling on the few people I had invited as I instead picked a dozen or so ticks off of my black Labrador retriever’s thick fur and gave her a bath. It was an exciting primary night full of soap, water, Vaseline and tweezers, make your own joke here. (FWIW – I do put front line plus on her – only one ticked appeared to be biting her, the others were just on her, gross. I’ve since made an effort to clip her hair in one tiny spot below her collar before applying the frontline plus to get better penetration.) My girlfriend turned on NJN and we watched the results come in, or I should say, she watched the results come in as I dried my puppy with a towel, blow-dried her and brushed her hair… while pulling a few more ticks off of her; none on me, thanks for asking. I think the total number of ticks was 12, can ticks vote?

With 39% of precincts reporting, my girlfriend let me know that I was losing, somehow. Let me rephrase, I knew how, probably because of my association with Murray and the awful campaign he ran, I was losing. Not just losing to the traffic court judge, Bob McLeod, I was losing to Angry Peter as well. I kind of expected to lose in a close race to Bob McLeod because he had the party line and I didn’t get to about half of the towns in the district. I never expected to lose to Angry Peter. According to the TV reports on NJN, the “win” was official at 79% of precincts reporting with Bob McLeod winning about 55% of the votes, Peter Cerrato winning about 25% of the vote and I managed about 20% of the vote, all give or take a few percentage points as I wasn’t really paying attention. The final numbers, with all precincts reporting, seemed to be about 16% for me, which I’m happy with as I didn’t think I would get even 5% of the vote back when I decided to run.

It was a fitting finale to my campaign. While I watched the other candidates in other districts make their TV appearances and speeches in suits and ties in front of some audience at some ballroom, just as they likely announced their candidacy in some grand display, I went and sent off a few quick “thank you” emails, just the same dull way I had announced my candidacy just months before.

Having checked the news the next day, I had officially lost to both of these guys. The final split was somewhere along the lines of McLeod: 3000, Cerrato: 2000, Hogan: 1000. Oddly enough, the percentages for the three of us nearly mirrored the percentages that the Senate candidates received and even more odd, about the total number of primary voters was the same as the number of people I reached. If I was convinced that I was somehow important, I’d take credit for getting 6000 people to go vote, but instead I suspect that 6000 people I reached went to work and didn’t get to the voting booths and 6000 other people got out to vote. At least I tried, and at least I had some fun and met some great people. Best of all, since I lost, I can get back to my full daily workout routine.

Coming up next - Random Observations During the Campaign - some postcards I recieved, some phone calls I received, some emails - all while being a candidate.

Why I won't be voting for the Constitution Party either...

This morning I found an email invite to meet a Mr. Peter Boyce, Constitution Party Candidate for Congress in NJ-02. The email tells me when and where to meet Peter but I'm not going to share that information here because Peter Boyce won't be getting my vote, support or any future mentions, all because of one line at the bottom on the email and then displayed on his website:

“My position on any issue is no mystery. All one needs to do is read the United States Constitution and the Ten Commandments.” ~ Peter F. Boyce

Go ahead and call me a single issue voter but....

Sorry Peter, the Ten what? Did you mean the Ten Amendments? Like the first Ten we call the Bill of the Rights? I don't know what this ten commandments is or why it's in caps as if it's some proper noun nor do I know what you speak of. Had you left your statement at "All one needs to do is read the United States Constitution and it's first Ten Amendments" I'd of at least put a link to your website here, but sorry, the US government has enough laws to keep me down, I don't need, or want, your religious morals and "commandments" keeping me down too.

I have no problem with organized religions or my elected representatives believing in and practicing a religion, but I'd like an elected representative who will make decisions, according to the Constitution, in the best interests of We the People, even if the interests of We the People are somehow against the morals of your church.

Gambling, pornography, gay marriage, abortion, death penalty - are all examples of issues that place one's religious morals and beliefs against their political responsibility to represent We the People according to the Constitution. Time after time, the Constitution Party and it's overly (self-proclaimed) religious candidates, sidestep the Constitution in favor of religion. Granting me freedom from unconstitutional legislation is desired, but not with the caveat that my freedom is impeded upon by your religious morals.

Peter is not in my district so no point in any Peter supporters trying to convince me to consider otherwise. If there is a Constitution Party candidate (or Libertarian party candidate, or any other Independant/3rd party candidates for that matter) here in the 6th, I don't know the names or anything else but I'll do all of the reading if someone wants to point me to such candidates and their websites.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In the "People Suck" Category...

A buddy of mine sent me this picture all of the way from California this morning. The blue Volvo showed up last and my friend watched this dolt park. Subtle, I know, but this is where we've come as a nation. Tanks (the white truck) that take up two spots, bad drivers (in the red car) who can't fit in the lines and a lazy idiot who HAS to fit in that spot in the middle rather than park somewhere else. I didn't ask how the driver of the blue managed to get out of the car.

Maybe I'm just cranky today, it is a Monday.

What happened to this country we call the US of A?

I have an email in to the NJ DEP for more information, but this morning's APP covered a small little story noting that Atlantic Highlands is considering a town-run car wash. I'll be honest, I DO have a problem with "the government" spending anyone's tax money to start a business. How about, if "the government" has $1 MILLION to spend on a car wash, maybe they need to cut property taxes a bit? Or put that $1 MILLION into that transit tunnel NJ needs to fund?

But the real story was in a single line that I hadn't heard before and I HOPE is just a misprint/mistake in comprehension...

In 2009, washing vehicles in driveways and on the street will be prohibited by the state Department of Environmental Protection's stormwater management regulations, he said.

Huh? What? Did I read that correctly? Is it my comprehension skills that are lacking? Will it be illegal for me to wash my own car? Does some clown, who We the People apparently elected to represent us, think this is a good idea? WHAT THE F? Back in the day, I used to get all excited when Mom and Dad said "sure, go wash the pos rust bucket!"... imagine if I was a lucky kid who's dad had a nice car? I'd of cleaned it twice a day!

As I said, I have an email in to NJ DEP for clarification/more information. I'm reasonably sure that should the town car wash, or the DEP regulations, be true, we may as well call Freedom as we know it done and gone... then again, maybe it is done and gone anyhow...

...WHILE YOU APPARENTLY CAN'T WASH YOUR OWN is what the rest of the world is doing....

Belgium-based InBev is buying the great American beer company Anheuser-Busch for $49.9 billion. Remember when the US used to export Tobacco? Neither do I.... but it sounded good and I think was part of a revolution... but don't worry, your elected represented killed/is killing that industry, just like they killed the American beer industry. Way to go. I don't drink beer or any alcohol, but I certainly recognize Anheuser-Busch as a Great American Institution, not just some company with shareholders. F their shareholders! And "Mothers Against Drunk Driving" (MADD) too.

Moving right along...The Government of Abu Dhabi bought the Chrysler Building while at the same time purchasing $20 BILLION worth of aircraft from a European company, not even Boeing, Lockheed or some other American company. WE INVENTED THE DAMN AIRPLANE!!! (Update: 5:36pm - a reader emailed me to note that 1) some of the orders are through Boeing, the rest are through Airbus... and 2) Correct, this James Hogan (me) is not James Hogan, CEO of Etihad - but if said billionaire wants to send me money, please let me know.) And Abu Dhabi also has their billion dollar hotel. Hey at least now when some terrorists fly an airplane into a building, it'll be their plane, and their building. Offended? Too bad, your elected officials (and mine) are letting it happen. Sell-outs. Free markets my sack, the last thing that the US needs is foreign governments owning huge properties and/or business here and how about free markets where US based companies can compete for such $20 BILLION orders without the government over regulating everything?

And did I mention that NYU will have a campus in Abu Dhabi? Or is it the Louvre (the French museum) moving to Abu Dhabi that gets your attention? Maybe the Guggenheim opening in Abu Dhabi? Anything else we want to send over there? And I won't even get into the spending over in Dubai, another oil rich nation, where they recently created some man-made islands in the shape of the world along with a few other billion dollar projects that are just designed to show off their wealth.

Meanwhile, our politicians are worried about banning off-shore drilling, banning off-shore wind farms, banning nuclear power and can't figure out how to raise a few million for a transit tunnel We the People want, and need. Just watch and do nothing while these other countries are just pumping oil out, raking our money in at $4+/gallon and funding BILLION dollar projects.... while Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, along with all of our US banks fail. Awful. I'll add the Meguire's and Turtle Wax companies to other great American companies (who make all of their products in China, go figure) who will be out of business when you can't Wash your own car, but don't sweat it... Obama will use the tax money from those of us who still have a job to pay for unemployment and healthcare for anyone who ends up out of work.

After this weekend's news, I have to say - I am absolutely disgusted by what has become of this country. We lost 9 American soldiers in Afghanistan because we're too scared to tell Pakistan to get out of our way while we hunt terrorists. The Iraqi prime minister is bossing our Army around as if he is in charge of our military. We have 50,000+ soldiers who signed up for the Army defending the Korean border and NJ is sending over a brigade of National Guardsmen who signed up to defend our own borders to Iraq because our Army is spread so thin. Meanwhile, illegals are still crossing the US border every day from Mexico and/or Canada and our politicians don't see a problem with sending the people who are supposed to defend our borders to other nations? At the same time, we have lawyers and politicians (and people) who want to extend our constitutional rights to these border crossing criminals, but my criminal friend gave up his constitutional rights when he committed a crime and went to prison. This weekend, I even read that a whole town of Mexicans was seeking political asylum in Texas because of drug cartel/gang violence in Mexico - sure - let gangs and thugs operate freely at our borders while we just take in refugees and pay for them.

Maybe some of the readers will find this entry offensive, or unAmerican, but when my government is worried about me washing my car and how to fund a million dollar train tunnel while I'm paying 50%+ of my income directly into taxes and other countries are raping us of $4/gallon gasoline while funding BILLION dollar projects and sprinkling gold dust on their coffee, I am not just disgusted, I am offended. I was promised flying cars as a kid, I don't even have a car without an internal combustion engine yet. The first solar car was a working prototype in the 1950s, where is that car now? Electric cars are nothing new, where is it? France has working, profitable, cheap, safe nuclear electricity based on US technology, where is my cheap nuclear electricity? Abu Dhabi is buying our piece of crap 100 year old concrete buildings and building castles made of pure gold, where is my $.10 train tunnel? My MOM line? My hose to wash my car with? Ridiculous.

I can't be alone here, someone else has to see what is going on and have workable solutions? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Running for Congress: The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

Despite the personal issue of the Calleia case, the lack of media coverage, the lack of support from the Sabrin campaign, the lack of support from the meetups and just one frustrating experience after the other, I spent most every night after work and most hours every weekend continuing my door to door effort.

I had purchased, well really my brother had purchased for me, the entire Republican mailing list from the county clerk’s office. It seems anyone can go get this information relatively cheap; $100 gets you names, addresses, age and some other random information (some phone numbers even) on a CD with one HUGE pipe delimited text file on it. George at the Sabrin campaign had also provided about 3800 names/addresses of "likely primary voters" that I guess is somehow available through the Republican party and so I eventually had good lists of voters outside of Long Branch to work from. (As I said, George and all of the guys with the Sabrin campaign were very helpful personally, as you can see, but I still maintain that it was the campaign as a whole that was the problem.) It was kind of amazing to me as a software guy who always thinks about data security just how much personal data is available about people, at a cheap rate, if they are a registered voter. Having seen just how much aggregate data is available, I’m tempted to un-register to vote just to get my name, address, phone number, etc off of those lists and have some form of privacy and/or safety, but alas, that would not help as you can find "formerly registered voters" as well. Creepy.

Being a software guy, I bounced George’s list of likely primary voters (which appeared to be a few years old) up against the "new" list I had from the county and only about 1800 of the 3800 names/addresses on George’s list were still registered Republicans at the same address according to the clerk’s office. I had hoped to send a postcard out to these people but after reading the press releases from the Sabrin campaign that I had mentioned previously, I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to send them, nor did I think my single postcard would help my cause and overcome the damage the Sabrin campaign had done, and I couldn’t afford, nor did I have time for, multiple postcards. My dad offered to fund sending the postcards out but I couldn’t accept his money either since as time went on and more and more garbage press releases were sent from the Sabrin campaign, I could see the writing getting more and more clear that I would suffer from Sabrin’s negative, and media branded as insane, campaign. As I went through each town, I did make it a point to knock on doors and talk to the "primary voters" while simply leaving a flyer on "registered republican" door handles and quickly moving on, making the most of my time. I suspect most people who jsut got a flyer on the door were just annoyed by a flyer on their door and tossed it in the trash (then didn't vote for me).

The total cost of my campaign was about $64 for flyers, a pair of sneakers I wore out, $100 (that my brother spent for the mailing list) and many hours of my time and my girlfriend’s time. At the end of my campaign, I had distributed just over 6000 flyers (many of these printed myself so I don’t know my own cost in time, paper and laser printer toners so I didn't included that in my $64 claim) in 17 towns on my own and really did the best I could do to win, and certainly far more than Bob or Peter had done. No one on the meetups helped me out aside from one guy, Dan who helped for one night for an hour or so. Aside from Dan, I can say that those 6000 flyers (and I can only guestimate the actual number based on the total number of flyers I had printed) were handed out door to door by my girlfriend and I. Some other people may have printed my flyer and distributed a few flyers on their own, some people at least claimed they were doing this, but I have no evidence that this ever really happened. If so, thank you for your help if you were helping and silent about your help.

Having visited at least 6,000 houses, in case you’re not from this district, or you are Frank Pallone and just never got out to see the people you represent, we live in a nice, but very diverse area. In Monmouth Beach, part of D6, my girlfriend and I talked to people and left flyers on doors at houses that must be worth double-digit millions of dollars and had driveway’s full of nice, clean, expense cars – kind of a hard sell for me to claim I represent the average working class fella when I was making that claim to millionaires. In many other towns, we talked to people and left flyers at houses that might have been condemned after my flyer became the final piece of litter that made it possible for condemnation to take place and had driveways full of rusted, old, beat up cars that probably didn’t run. Regardless, I met many wonderful people in each of these towns I visited. I certainly can’t remember them all, but I will mention a few “interesting” individuals (some names changed to protect the innocent) who come to mind, only because they demonstrate the diversity that exists in this district, and because it was my experience with many of these people, among others, that fueled my motivation and kept me going. In no particular of when or where I met them:

While begging for signatures on my petition here in Long Branch, I met a woman, we’ll call her “Sue” (not her real name). I would say she was probably mid 20s or so (ok, probably mid 30s or so, but I’m trying to score some brownie points in case I run again!.. fine, MAYBE she was even mid 40s but my girlfriend said that, not me – see I’m such a politician!). When I knocked on her door, she tried to tell me to “Go Away. I don’t want to buy any magazines.” I suppose she mistook me and my clipboard for one of those college students who sell magazines “to go on a school trip”, or to fund a keg party, whichever. It was probably 8:30pm by this point, I was tired and “Sue” was the last house on my list for the night so I yelled to her through her screen door, foyer and front door “no no no no… please….. I’m not trying to sell anything. I just want to run for Congress”. I suppose for some reason she believed me because she came to the door and I delivered my line. She was one of a few who asked at least one question. She asked me “great. I’m a single issue voter. Where do you stand on the 2nd amendment?” I explained my position, she explained that she agreed but suggested I keep my position under my hat before the gun control groups beat me with sticks. I later posted my position, nearly verbatim, on my website. If nothing else, I try to be brutally honest, even if my honesty is the wrong answer. I later left a flyer on “Sue”’s door, she didn’t seem to be home when I stopped by, or thought someone selling magazines was knocking. I hope the wind didn’t blow my flyer away and even circled the “Pro Right to Bear Arms” item and wrote a note, something like “Hope you remember talking to me. Please come vote! – Jim”. I’m almost tempted to go knock on “Sue”’s door and see if she really voted for me, but it doesn’t matter too much and she doesn’t have to tell me anyhow. Either way, I like “Sue”, regardless of if she voted for me or not, and hopefully “Sue” doesn’t fire off a few rounds to those individuals playing the loud rap music across the street from her house.

Another interesting character I met while knocking on doors for signatures on my petition in Keansburg was an older woman who came to the door, heard my speech and asked “Is this some kind of joke? Is this one of those TV shows? Where are the cameras? Are you serious?” After some explanation of my insanity, she agreed to sign my petition – I somehow doubt she came out to vote as I left still thinking she’s looking for those candid camera guys and wondering how serious I was. If you, the reader, were this woman, don’t put on a foil hat, this is and was real, don’t panic. I didn’t note her name or address and I don’t remember even what street I was on so I might not have reached this woman a second time with a flyer, sorry.

I also met “a dumb plumber” in Long Branch. This man is no “dumb plumber” but that’s how he described himself to me when I explained I was just a dumb software guy pretending I could make a difference by running for Congress. This guy really understands that our freedoms are being eroded by over-government and our wallets are being drained by over-taxation and he even had some interesting ideas on how to solve some of the problems. This guy really does get it, and he was well informed about many issues. I could probably have learned a lot from him but after talking to him for over an hour and a half, the sun had set and it got cold and we both needed to seek warm shelter. Again, this man is no dumb plumber although I don’t think he came out to vote. He admits to being very apathetic and skeptical of the whole process. Maybe I inspired him to vote or maybe even better he’ll come knocking on my door looking for a signature so that he could run for office. This man is a true patriot and would probably make a great congressman. I spoke to him a second time when I left a flyer at his house. He commended me for my efforts and I firmly believe that this man, having voted for me or not, believed in my cause and efforts. Thank you sir and should I ever need a plumber, I’ll come knock on your door again.

I also met a MLB Hall of Famer. His brother, also a hall of famer, apparently lives next door to me (but is a registered Democrat), who’d of known I lived among celebrities? Hopefully the Yankees won that day and I apologize for interrupting your game watching. He told me Frank Pallone was his cousin. Maybe he was serious, maybe he was joking, maybe he just wanted to get rid of me so he could watch “his Yankees”. I won’t blow his spot and say if he signed my petition or not, just in case he is Frank’s cousin, but he did show me his hall of fame pictures and some other cool memorabilia only a true Hall of Famer would have. Awesome stuff, someday I might make the trip the MLB Hall of Fame to check it out.

Another person I met was the wife of Art Gallagher, the blogger who had been helping me out so much for the past few months. I didn’t have names printed on my list for Highlands and I suspected I would eventually run into Art if I hit all of the houses, so after walking up a big hill, and then walking up an even bigger driveway, I bothered the woman who was just trying to mind her own business and do some gardening. She told me that she’s a “big fan”. I suppose “fan” is the right word… a “fan” of a “politician”? Interesting. She then told me that her and her husband have been following my efforts. I quickly realized who she was, chatted with her, asked for Art, but had missed him by minutes. Apparently Art is a busy guy and a hard worker… here I thought Art just sat in his basement all day and night writing a blog, but it turns out that Art is like a Big Shot™ and is president of a Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, or something along those lines, and a committeeman along with some other elected titles and volunteer positions as well as a working stiff. Having traded many emails with Art, reading his blog, and finally meeting and talking to Art after the primary, I have to say that Art is certainly a person who I would support to physical exhaustion if and when he runs for a major office. Oddly enough, aside from Art signing my petition outside of the Monmouth Convention while rushing out and yelling “Murray is crazy!” I only spoke to Art one time on the phone during my campaign and traded some emails with him. It wasn't until after the primary that I finally met Art, in person, again.

I also met “Chad”, again not his real name, but “Chad”sounds like a funny name to me and if your name is really Chad and you’re offended, too bad, it’s funny to me and I’m allowed to find your name funny. I don’t regret meeting “Chad” at all but I think my girlfriend started to think I was finally abducted by some irate citizen whom I bothered when I didn't meet her back at the time and place we agreed to meet. While in Monmouth Beach, after visiting some jaw dropping houses, I reached a dead end road and “Chad” was out on his front lawn keeping a careful eye on me as I made my way up "his" street knocking on random doors, talking to everyone and leaving a paper on doors where no one answered. “Chad” was probably as weary of me as I was of him. I slowly approached “Chad” as I could tell that “Chad” meant business. I handed him my flyer, delivered my usual intro and “Chad” immediately asked “Polluted Rivers? What do YOU know about polluted rivers young man?” I explained the “Danger” signs at the local park that I’ve been seeing for the past two years and before I could finish a sentence, “Chad” said “come here a second, I want to show you something”. Now, if I wasn’t a big strong gym rat, I probably would have said “ohh would you look at the time, gotta go, sorry” but I’m in good shape and “Chad” is an older gentlemen, no offense, so I’m pretty sure that I could have put the hurt on him if I needed. In his garage, “Chad” had papers, STACKS of FOLDERS of STACKS of papers detailing and outlining Monmouth Park’s role in the pollution of the Shrewsbury River. Papers that detail the political non-sense surrounding the issue, papers that detail the expense to you and I, the taxpayers, from the pollution; papers with broken promises and resolutions and a law suit that was to be filed against the State DEP, mayors, NJSEA, Monmouth Park, etc, etc. etc. I learned much from the hour or more I spent talking to “Chad” and with my race over, I’m going to stop by “Chad”’s house one day soon and find out what, if anything, I can do to help the cause. I don’t know where “Chad” stands on anything else, he didn’t want to talk about anything else and I don’t think he could care less about anything else as he makes a living off of the water. I don’t think he cared about where I stand on anything else, and I don’t know if “Chad” really voted for me, but I like “Chad” and I hope that “Chad” continues to battle our elected officials and state agencies to get our river cleaned. I generally despise people who file lawsuits against the government, since we the tax payers pay for those lawsuits, but in this case, we’re already paying for the monitoring/pollution so without a lawsuit we’d continue to pay for Monmouth Park’s pollution forever. Thanks for your work “Chad”!

I also met a woman who didn’t want to sign my petition because while she is very much a Republican, she told me that she always votes for Mr. Pallone “because he got my son into West Point”. I won’t rat her out either, she may or may not have signed my petition, and our conversation was brief, but it is mind boggling to think that this woman votes for someone (Pallone) who then votes against things she believes in, because the person she’s voting for “got her son into West Point”. My advise, never sell your vote for a buck. Truth is that if your son was accepted to West Point, he was accepted based on his own merit, or should have been. Be proud of your son’s accomplishment and I’d like to think that We the People are proud of your son’s commitment to our nation, but your vote should not be for sale, or for lease, for favors from elected politicians; such is the "problem" that leads to corrupt politics. Don't feed the broken system and vote for the Pallone just because he provided "favors" to you.

These are just a few notable characters, I certainly met many people that were inspiring, friendly, helpful, supportive or otherwise memorable in their own way and if I had a better memory or infinite amounts of time, I could tell a story about each person I met in my journey to become a congressman. I also met a few not so friendly people along the way, like the woman who told me "the system works" and even they inspired me in some strange way. In fact, as an update to that part of my story, after reviewing some mugshots – I now know EXACLTY who the woman who told me "the system works" is, but I won’t rat her out – other than saying that she is a "big shot" in some small little world of her own.

FWIW - of the 1000+ doors I knocked on, only ONE person slammed the door in my face and no one threatened me - maybe there are friendly people in New Jersey afterall???

Coming up next - Primary Day, and Night - What a big day! Like all of the other big shots, I must have been wearing my suit and hosting a big party, right?