Jaffe Morning Briefing: Aug. 14, 2014


The Morning Briefing will be on summer hiatus beginning Monday, Aug. 18, returning Sept. 2.

ON THE RAILS – A difference between Sen. Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie: Booker tweets, and voters swoon. Christie tweets, and voters fume. Commuters waiting for delayed trains at Penn Station had little patience for Christie tweets Friday night, in which he was talking up the Jersey shore, The Record reports. @Drift22 wrote, “You have no clue what’s going on in Penn Station right now, do you?” And @MilindShah tweeted, “Delays due to one tunnel are far too frequent.” Christie tweeted they should all “hang in there,” blaming Amtrak for delays. It prompted commuters to blast the Governor on social media, questioning – once again – why he cancelled construction of that extra rail tunnel his first year in office. Meanwhile, commuters were calmed by Booker tweets about an itty-bitty bunny.

OCEAN CITY – Before Gov. Chris Christie tweets about the beauty of the Ocean City Music Pier, he may want to check to see if the trains are running on time. He will be in town today to chat up vacationing voters who had thought they escaped the frenetic pace. Instead, they have the opportunity to be a part of the “No Pain, No Gain” summer tour, in which they can hear Christie talk tough about state pension reform and the difficult decisions they lie ahead. Or they can spritz on more lotion and turn the page on the paperback. Tough decision.

TRENTON – It should be one depressing meeting on Sept. 8, when Gov. Chris Christie convenes a summit to talk about what is happening to Atlantic City. The room will be filled with the top political, business and labor execs, who are still trying to wrap their heads around the mounting competition and Atlantic City’s self-implosion. Four casinos will likely be dark this fall and room rates at Harrah’s are now selling for $41 on Priceline. The big question: How do we save the eight remaining casinos?

ATLANTIC CITY – How’d they do it? Perhaps the State Police will offer up some tasty tidbits in the armed robbery of Caesars on July 21, in which bandits made off with $180,000. State Police will be talking to media later today about the arrest of eight people, including a former casino guard, who took off with two plastic boxes of cash two weeks after he was fired. Expect some Hollywood screenwriters to be scribbling furiously, desperate for new material for “Oceans 14.”

ROSELLE – These days, there isn’t much municipal government can afford to offer, other than plugging that gaping sinkhole in front of your house. And that’s what makes the ever-evolving “Roselle First” program newsworthy, as the borough initiative has helped find jobs for 100 residents this year, while aiding many others to prepare resumes and learn job-hunting skills. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. has taken notice; he will be in Roselle today to learn why Roselle First is succeeding, as he promotes some workforce legislation.

STATEWIDE – Of no surprise to anyone, New Jersey pays more for heath benefits for state workers than most other states, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation. Their report says New Jersey ranked number three in costs, at $1,334 per employee on average. That doubles the lowest premium paid, in South Dakota, where costs an average $580 per worker. No clue why there is such a disparity, but we can’t grouse about health care costs for state employees – promised pensions when they retire, yet keep seeing governors raid their fund to balance the state budget.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD – With the First Family now on summer vacation, CBS thought it would be a good time to compare the amount of “days off” President Obama has taken, compared to his predecessor, George W. Bush. Comparing the presidencies side-by-side in the amount of days served, Bush had 381 days of vacation, compared with 129 days for Obama. But when it comes to golf, Obama wiped the floor with Bush – playing 186 rounds since January 2009. Bush only played 24 rounds, saying the criticism was just too much when he had troops deployed overseas.


It’s difficult to imagine the Democrats trying to muster up raw, unbridled enthusiasm for their Presidential candidate – Jimmy Carter – who they nominated on this day in 1980 during Democratic National Convention in New York.

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