Back in the ‘dam… and barely able to keep my eyes open. Naturally it is good to be back, my boat has NOT sunk, and slightly more importantly, I wanted to share what I find interesting about some recent developments in the land of the United States and my state-of-birth, New Jersey.
First off, the world doesn’t really need another blog to mention the historical swearing in of Nancy P as speaker of the house, but I have to admit it is a positive development.. or at least it sounds positive thus far. For firstclass nonstop, these-people-never-sleep coverage of whenever a senator says boo… read Americablog. Unfortunately in a few hours I was supposed to travel to Paris to meet Chris and John the Americabloggers, but Ive simply spent too much money and energy so I now need to sit here in the Old West and recharge til it is time to run again. No Paris for me right now.
Here’s what is really interesting, and I only FIRST noticed over lunch today when Ellen said.. hey look... and there in the Dutch newspaper, is a thing about how New Jersey’s governor wants to abolish the death penalty..and it looks like he may do it! YOu can read New Jersey’s official Death Penalty Commission report here. Maybe present it at school for show and tell or something, because it is yet more hard evidence of a failed policy and a necessary change.
Hearing this, and the continuing battle to have civil unions, which hopefully becomes law soon, makes me just a bit prouder of my home state. Or is it too soon for any of this?
I was on the phone with the great D-Rock yesterday evening. He is now working for a political campaign. He spoke a bit about the tasks he has to do… if you’ve ever heard people talk about American elections, you’ve probably heard about the phonecalls, donations, speeches, going door-to-door, etc. (do they still do that last one?)
Nevermind what I think of the whole system. Lets put that aside.
Now besides the normal dry, corrupt, and uninspiring selection of candidates, you also get what are called “Public Questions”. I guess it is something like a referendum only with a different name. Here’s how they read:
Dedicates Annual Revenue of an Amount Equal to a Tax Rate of 0.5% under the State Sales Tax for Property Tax Reform
Constitutional Amendment to Expand Uses of Dedicated Tax Revenues to Fund Improvements and Facilities on Preserved Open Space Lands
Constitutional Amendment Changes the Dedication of Motor Fuels Tax to State Transportation System
Generally boring, I know. But I find number 3 to be fun; maybe they’ll further re-introduce all the train systems and light rail systems they spent the better part of the last 60 years dismantling.
Time to go find the more interesting ballot questions around the country.
In order to further explore the theme of how cities thrive and decay, specifically the case of Asbury Park, the following is part 1 of a vlogged history. The last minute has a audio-video timing problem, fixing it would give me an ulcer. Please Note: Im just an amateur armchair historian, I don’t claim to know everything about the place, but I have been doing endless hours of research.