These Are the 40 “Hate Groups” in N.J., Says Southern Poverty Law Center

New Jersey Hate Groups

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center.

New Jersey has 40 “hate groups,” the Southern Poverty Law Center says in a new report — good for fourth-most in the country, and part of an East Coast cluster of extremism that includes Pennsylvania (ranked fifth, with 38 such groups) and New York (third, with 44).

New Jersey’s ranking, though, appears to be based mostly on the diffuse membership of the AC Skins, a “racist skinhead” group: SPLC says the group has chapters in 14 cities across the state, accounting for about a third of the total 40 groups said to be based there. Read more »

Gabby Giffords to Lobby for New Gun Laws in Jersey

Gabby Giffords, courtesy her Facebook page.

Gabby Giffords, courtesy her Facebook page.

Gabby Giffords, the former U.S. congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt despite traumatic head wounds, will be in New Jersey today to lobby for tougher gun laws in that state.

Her appearance today is part of a broader two-day swing through Eastern states to encourage action by state legislatures. “If Congress won’t act, then maybe leaders in the states will,” she said in a Tuesday Facebook post. Read more »

N.J. Senate Urges Rejection of Christie-Exxon Settlement

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Last week, we told you about Chris Christie’s $225 deal with Exxon to settle a pollution case in which the energy company was accused of doing nearly $9 billion in pollution damage to the state’s wetlands, marshes, and meadows — a deal that even got Jon Stewart steamed.

Turns out he’s not alone.

The New Jersey Senate on Monday passed a resolution asking a judge to reject that settlement as “grossly inappropriate, improper, and inadequate.” Read more »

New Jersey, Pennsylvania Really, Really Stink at Pension Funding

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New Jersey and Pennsylvania have America’s most-underfunded public employee pension systems, says a new report from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. In fact, the report suggests, the two states have fallen so short of making the annual required contributions to the funds that they’ve managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Political battles are being waged in both states over how best to deal with the underfunding — Chris Christie versus the teachers unions in New Jersey, while House Republicans in Pennsylvania say pension reform must be part of any budget deal with Gov. Tom Wolf — but the report traces the underfunding back to the flush days of the late 1990s. Read more »

Robert Marshall, Blind Faith’s Murderous Husband, Has Died

In this Dec. 13, 2007 file photo, inmate Robert O. Marshall speaks to the Associated Press in a lawyers conference room at the maximum security New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, N.J.  New Jersey's Department of Corrections said Robert O. Marshall died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at South Woods State Prison in southern New Jersey. He was 75. Marshall, a New Jersey insurance salesman, was convicted of plotting to kill his wife in a crime that inspired the bestselling book "Blind Faith" and a TV movie. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

In this Dec. 13, 2007 file photo, inmate Robert O. Marshall speaks to the Associated Press in a lawyers conference room at the maximum security New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, N.J. New Jersey’s Department of Corrections said Robert O. Marshall died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at South Woods State Prison in southern New Jersey. He was 75. Marshall, a New Jersey insurance salesman, was convicted of plotting to kill his wife in a crime that inspired the bestselling book “Blind Faith” and a TV movie. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Robert Marshall, the Toms River man who was convicted of killing his wife and became the subject of a book and TV movie about murder, has died in prison. He was 75.

Joe McGinnis wrote the book Blind Faith about the mystery surrounding Maria Marshall’s death. The book was turned into the 1990 NBC movie of the same name, with actor Robert Urich starring as Robert Marshall.

Read more »

Christie Faces New Federal Probe

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been targeted by a new federal probe, multiple outlets are reporting.

“Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as members of his administration, a man at the center of the investigation told ABC News. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey has interviewed former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who claims he was fired because he objected to Christie officials dismissing indictments against political allies of the governor.”
Read more »

In South Jersey, District Instructs Families How to Opt Out of Testing

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

Haddon Township School District isn’t necessarily against PARCC, the highly controversial standardized education assessment that has been adopted by dozens of states nation-wide. But district officials are telling parents how their kids can get out of taking it. And parents opposed to the test are hailing it as a win.

In a letter dated January 26, 2015 (below), District Superintendent Dr. Nancy Ward outlined Haddon Township’s provisions for parents who wish their children to be exempt from the high-stakes exam, which has come under fire by education advocates in other states: Trisha Kocanda, a superintendent outside of Chicago, wrote an open letter on PARCC, which was later published in The Washington Post. In it, Kocanda said she was “wary. We are concerned about the amount of instructional time it will displace, the impact this will have on students, and the usefulness of the results.”

Read more »

Three Reasons Chris Christie Is the Wrong Man to Fix Atlantic City

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks in Atlantic City N.J., on Thursday, May 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks in Atlantic City N.J., on Thursday, May 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Here’s what stinks about New Jersey’s takeover of Atlantic City’s finances: Chris Christie hasn’t exactly proven himself extra-insightful about how to arrest the city’s decline.

Christie has doubled-down and then doubled-down again on projects and ideas that were clearly dubious, all in an attempt to extend Atlantic City’s shelf-life as a gambling mecca — and yet in the end he decided it was the city’s leaders who couldn’t be trusted with its financial future.

“I can’t wait any longer,” the governor said in announcing the takeover. “We need to take more aggressive action.”

Granted, there’s a lot of short-sightedness and blame to assign all around when we talk of Atlantic City’s stumbles. But Christie’s aggressive actions have been, taken as a whole, aggressively wrong.

Here are three reasons Chris Christie is the wrong man to fix Atlantic City:

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South Jersey Police Shooting Draws National Attention

Video of a South Jersey police-involved shooting has drawn national attention, becoming the latest flashpoint in the debate over policing practices.

The incident took place in Bridgeton, south of Philadelphia.

“The video is from December 30th when two police officers pulled over two men in a car,” 6ABC reports. “Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley ordered 36-year-old Jerame Reid not to move before Reid appears to push his way out of the passenger side door. The video appears to show Reid with his hands in front of him as he stands to get out of the car and is shot and killed by the officers.”

“I’m going to shoot you,” Days shouted in the video,  the Associated Press reported. “You’re going to be f—ing dead. If you reach for something, you’re going to be f—ing dead.”

In a statement, Cumberland County prosecutors have said “during the course of the stop a handgun was revealed and later recovered.” According to the South Jersey Times, “Police have not said who the gun belonged to. The video appears to show Days removing a silver object from the car.”

The video was made public after open-records requests by area newspapers. The New York Daily News reports: “The Bridgeton Police Department released a statement Tuesday expressing it was upset over the video’s release, calling it unprofessional and uncompassionate ‘out of respect for the family.'”

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