Jaffe Morning Briefing: July 18, 2014


JERSEY CITY – The story of the day – by far – is the funeral of a city police officer, Melvin Santiago, 23, ambushed and shot on Sunday while responding to an armed robbery at a local Walgreens. Moments earlier, the shooter had said: “Watch the news later. I’m going to be famous.” The Jersey Journal reports 1,000 people have paid respects at a local funeral home. Today’s farewell begins at 10:30 a.m. with a procession from Pavonia Avenue to St. Aloysius Church, including countless cops, elected officials, family, friends and local residents.

TRENTON – The fundamental purpose of attending college, we assume, is to learn. And so it is difficult to understand a new state program, called the “New Jersey Prior Learning Assessment Network,” in which college students can take tests to skip college classes. It is designed to help busy people zip through school. If students already know parts of the curriculum, shouldn’t (a) the school develop more robust course work for them or (b) the students pursue a degree in a subject they don’t already know? Yes, yes, people need college degrees to advance in life. But “higher learning” and “diploma mill” are becoming synonymous.

PINE HILL – The “ick” factor has hit the pinnacle at Pine Hill Middle School, where a teacher and former town councilman is looking at years in prison today for what can best be described as “inappropriate sexual communications” with 17 of the boys in his art class. What crossed the line was this assignment: bring semen-stained tissues to school so the class can make art projects. Hey, we warned you of the “ick” factor.

MONTCLAIR – The Motor City Madman is causing a considerable amount of Cat Scratch Fever in this progressive enclave. According to the Alternative Press, labor unions, elected officials and organizers are planning to protest Ted Nugent, slated to play the Wellmont on July 22, for his NRA-drenched political beliefs and frequent commentary not unlike something you might hear from a member of an Upper Peninsula militia. One has to question the wisdom of Live Nation, which books the Wellmont, for bringing the Nuge to a place like Montclair, but considering not even half the tickets have sold for the show, perhaps it’s best to let the market play this one out.

SOMEWHERE IN IOWA – It is always interesting to read out-of-town newspapers about Gov. Chris Christie, such as yesterday’s coverage of a $25,000 fundraiser at a 150-acre estate in rural Iowa, overlooking the Raccoon River. One GOP businessman said Christie has done a good job turning around the state’s fiscal situation (Huh?) and then asked how the governor would bring all that New Jersey success to the national level. Christie’s response: you need to reform entitlements, establish a more business-friendly tax code and repatriate foreign profits, reports the Des Moines Register. There you go.


CORBIN, KT – Getting busted for shoplifting wasn’t enough for a 29-year-old Kentucky man who had been stealing beer all day from a convenience store and guzzling it. When cops hauled him in late Tuesday, he asked for his one phone call. But instead of calling a family member for bail money, he called the local Domino’s Pizza and ordered five pies to the station – under the name of his arresting officer. More criminal charges were piled on – without the anchovies.

ONLINE – “Weird Al” Yankovic, who we haven’t heard much from since the 1990s, is apparently alive and releasing a new video each day this week – one of which mocks texters who are steadily destroying the fundamental structure of the English language. Weird Al offers basic grammar lessons through a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Great stuff; See it here:


NEWARK – PolitickerNJ offers its two or three cents on the apparent hiring of a celebrity gossip blogger to serve as the political reporter for the Star-Ledger, which the political website affectionately calls “LedgerNJ.comNJMediaAdvanceGroup.” Politicker held nothing back, saying the hiring of Claude Brodesser-Akne is like replacing William Carlos Williams with Joe Piscopo. Politicker even offers its own suggestions of who is more qualified for the job at the “suckling remnants of the state paper of record.” They include: Captain Pike from the original Star Trek TV series, Piers Morgan of CNN fame, Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” Butch Patrick who played “Eddie” on “The Munsters” and, finally, Richard Simmons. Read it here.


It was one year ago that Detroit hit rock bottom, filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, buried under $18.5 billion in debt.

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