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TSA Rifles Through Bags, Conducts Pat Downs At Paul Ryan Event

TSA Rifles Through Bags, Conducts Pat Downs At Paul Ryan Event

Government agents moving out of airports and into the streets
Steve Watson
Aug 22, 2012

For some time we have been warning that the TSA is systematically moving beyond the nation’s airports and conducting operations on the streets of America.

The latest example of this kind of activity occurred at an event organized by Mitt Romney’s GOP running mate Paul Ryan this past weekend in The Villages, Florida.

The Shark Tank blog reports that TSA officers showed up alongside Secret Service and the local Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and proceeded to do what they do like no one else does.

“A big WTF is in order here.” the blog notes, adding “We heard that the TSA was going to expand its ummm, ‘reach,’ but to assist in political campaigns is quite the jump in broadening their ‘transportation security horizons.’”

“I counted no less than (6) TSA agents alongside the usual uniformed Secret Service detail-not to be confused with the ‘Men In Black’ looking agents.” blogger Javier Manjarres notes, with a picture of the agents in action (below).

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Court Strikes Down EPA’s Abuse of Power

Court Strikes Down EPA’s Abuse of Power
Diane Katz
August 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm 

A major component of the Obama Administration’s regulatory crackdown on fossil fuels was struck down Tuesday by a federal appeals court panel that ruled the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule “transgressed statutory boundaries.” The decision vacates a measure that otherwise jeopardized thousands of jobs and the reliability of the nation’s electricity supply.

The regulation at issue, also known as the Transport Rule, involves power plant emissions (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, in particular) that waft across state lines and contribute significantly to other states’ noncompliance with national air quality standards. Finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August 2011, the rule was stayed shortly thereafter in response to dozens of legal challenges from states, utilities, trade associations, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Derived from the so-called “good neighbor” provisions in the Clean Air Act, the regulation mandated reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent (below 2005 levels) and nitrogen oxides by 54 percent (below 2005 levels) in just two years. Analysts warned that the requirements, which would necessitate retrofitting some 575 coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants, were unaffordable and unachievable in the allotted timeframe. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation estimated that companies would be compelled to retire 3 GW to 7 GW of electricity generation (the equivalent of powering 2.25 million to 5.25 million homes).

In other words, the rule—along with more than a dozen other costly regulations imposed in the past three years—went a long way toward realizing President Obama’s 2008 campaign declaration that electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket” under his energy platform.

The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to calculate an upwind state’s contribution to a downwind state’s nonattainment of air quality standards (accounting for the downwind state’s own contribution and emissions from other upwind states). But the EPA ignored the plain language of the statute and instead required far more stringent cuts in emissions—irrespective of states’ actual contributions to nonattainment in downwind states. In so doing, the court concluded, “EPA’s reading of [the good neighbor provision] reaches far beyond what the text will bear.”

Indeed, much to the court’s chagrin, the EPA went to ridiculous lengths to justify its abuse of authority. As noted in the opinion, the “EPA would not rule out the possibility that…it could require a state to reduce more than the State’s total emissions that go out of State.” (Emphasis in original.)

The court also rejected the EPA’s “absurd” and “unreasonable” attempt to force implementation plans on the states before the states were given a reasonable opportunity to implement their own. For all its other flaws, the Clean Air Act does allow for a measure of federalism: The EPA is authorized to set air quality standards, but states are responsible for choosing which individual sources within their borders must reduce emissions and by how much. The EPA instead trampled on the statute by foisting federal implementation plans on the states before they were given an opportunity to devise their own.

Until the EPA comes up with a lawful rule, the court ordered the agency to revive a previous incarnation of the good neighbor regulation (a.k.a. the Clean Air Interstate Rule)—despite the fundamental flaws in that regulation previously identified by the court. But the court is also once again requiring the agency to formulate a new rule that will pass legal muster and warned the agency that it must act expeditiously.

Whether the agency will appeal Tuesday’s ruling remains to be seen. But there’s little reason to expect that the EPA will hew by the rules in the future, considering its longstanding disregard for the law. Meanwhile, a dozen other costly and unwarranted regulations still threaten the energy sector, diverting huge sums of money and time to challenging government’s chronic abuse of power. But the fight is worth waging.  

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Back to School: Education 2012: Top New Jersey High Schools

Back to School: Education 2012: Top New Jersey High Schools

Just in time for back-to-school, we present our 2012 list of the best public high schools in New Jersey.

Posted August 13, 2012 by Ken Schlager, Amanda Staab

Glen Rock, which moves from number 28 in 2010 to number 4 this year.

Ridgewood dropped from 20th to 28th

For the first time since 2008, a new number 1 tops the New Jersey Monthly list of the state’s Top 100 Public High Schools. New Providence High School in Union County ascends to the summit of the rankings, up from number 5 on the previous list (published in September 2010). In fact, a number of high schools make significant moves up—or down—the list, which is based on data reported by the schools to the Department of Education for the 2010-2011 school year. (

Some of the biggest moves are fueled in part by New Jersey’s use of a new graduation-rate calculation. In the past, our rankings distinguished between students going on to four-year colleges, two-year colleges and other postsecondary schools. The data for students going to four-year colleges was given extra weight, making it a potent driver of the results. This year’s rankings use the new four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, introduced by New Jersey in 2011, as mandated by the federal government.

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Poll: 84 Percent of Young Adults Say Key Life Decisions in Jeopardy

Poll: 84 Percent of Young Adults Say Key Life Decisions in Jeopardy

89 Percent of Young Adults Say the Poor Economy Impacts Daily Life, 84 Percent Say Key Life Decisions in Jeopardy

Only 38 percent say today’s leaders represent their interests, while 76 percent intend to vote in the presidential election

Washington, DC – (8/22/12) – Generation Opportunity, the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in America engaging and mobilizing young Americans (18-29 years old) on the important economic issues facing the nation, released new polling data today on Millennials as the 2012 presidential election nears. Since its launch in June of 2011, Generation Opportunity has amassed a following of 4 million fans on Facebook and is actively organizing Millennials across the country through grassroots tactics, voter registration, and voter turnout efforts.

“These numbers should put elected leaders on notice. What you see is a very pointed story of the impact the failed policies coming out of the White House over the course of the last three years are having on the daily lives and the long-term plans of young Americans. Frankly, it is not a pretty picture – millions of young Americans are paying the price, in a very personal way, for failed leadership and failed policies,” stated Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor. “Millennials are savvy. They know national policies have personal impact – they feel it first-hand. So it is no surprise that so few believe their interests are being represented in Washington, and it is no surprise that they plan to make their voices heard this November.”

For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,003 American adults ages 18-29 between July 27 and July 31, 2012. This study has a ±3.1% margin of error at a 95% confidence interval, and sampling quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old nationwide population with regard to race, region, and gender.

89% of young people ages 18-29 say the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):

51% reduced their entertainment budget;
43% reduced their grocery/food budget;
43% cut back on gifts for friends and family;
40% skipped a vacation;
38% driven less;
36% taken active steps to reduce home energy costs;
32% tried to find an additional job;
27% sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
26% changed their living situation (moved in with family, taken extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
17% skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event;
1% other;
8% none of the above (accepted only this response);
3% do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).

84% of young people ages 18-29 had planned to but now might delay or not make at all a major life change or move forward on a major purchase due to the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):

38% – Buy their own place;
32% – Go back to school/getting more education or training;
31% – Start a family;
27% – Change jobs/cities;
26% – Pay off student loans or other debt;
25% – Save for retirement;
23% – Get married;
12% – None of the above (accepted only this response);
4% – Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).

83% of young people ages 18-29 say that current economic conditions have impacted their summer plans (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):

53% cut back on entertainment and non-essential social spending like nice meals, spa treatments, bars, and going to the movies;
34% had to skip taking a vacation here in the United States;
25% will spend the summer looking for a job until one opens up;
24% had to work all summer without any vacations;
24% will spend the summer working a job they do not like just to make ends meet;
19% had to skip taking a vacation abroad to another country;
1% other, specified;
14% none of the above (accepted only this response);
3% do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).

64% of young people ages 18-29 believe the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.

76% believe that the lack of job opportunities is shrinking the American middle class.

Only 38% believe that today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.

76% of Millennials plan to vote in the election for President this year.

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Back to School: School Choice program eyes expansion

Back to School: School Choice program eyes expansion

The state Education Department has proposed changes to the popular Interdistrict School Choice Program, including allowing more public schools to participate.

It would also accept “non-public school students.” Such students, according to the proposal, could “enroll in choice schools if the choice school district chooses to admit the student and seats are available after all eligible public school students have been admitted.”  (Hassan, State Street Wire)


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Study finds car computers vulnerable to viruses, hijacking

Study finds car computers vulnerable to viruses, hijacking
By Keith Laing – 08/21/12 03:29 PM ET

As cars are becoming more computerized, they are also becoming more susceptible to viruses, a study released this month found.

The report, from the University of California San Diego and the University of Washington’s Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS), argued that “[M]odern automobiles are pervasively computerized, and hence potentially vulnerable to attack.”

The group found that cars are becoming more vulnerable to attacks from external remote-controlled devices, such as Bluetooth headsets and GPS tracking.

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Governor Christie to sign bill today expanding Rutgers University

Governor Christie to sign bill today expanding Rutgers University

Governor Christie is expected to sign a bill later today that will give Rutgers University coveted medical and dental schools, substantially increasing the size and stature of the state university.

The bill, which passed the Legislature earlier this summer, will merge most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers. The medical university’s campuses in Newark and New Brunswick/Piscataway will be taken over by Rutgers by July 2013.

The governor and other proponents of the move say it will shore up the struggling medical university and elevate Rutgers – enabling the state to attract more medical research dollars.  (Alex, The Record)

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Americans Having Fewer Babies Crimping Consumer Spending

Americans Having Fewer Babies Crimping Consumer Spending
By Steve Matthews – Aug 21, 2012 4:11 PM ET

Debra Mollen, 41, a psychology professor in Denton, Texas, said she and her husband don’t plan to have children as they strive to pay down their mortgage and save for retirement.

“Children are really expensive,” Mollen said, and the 2008 financial crisis shows the importance of building a nest egg. “Retirement is not an option for a lot of folks.”

Mollen isn’t alone, as Americans have had fewer babies each year since the 2008 financial meltdown, with births falling to a 12-year low in 2011, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The low birth rate and reduced immigration resulted in the smallest gain in population since World War II, which may hurt spending on everything from Huggies diapers to pregnancy kits, child care and education.

“Consumption bumps up when families have children,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc in New York, who worked at the Federal Reserve from 1995 to 2000, and researched household finances. “The fact we are seeing fewer births is something of a drag on consumer spending. To the extent this turns out to be a persistent trend, it is something to be worried about.”

The population increased by 0.92 percent, or 2.8 million people, to 311.6 million from the end of the decennial population count on April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011, the slowest rate over a similar period since the mid-1940s, the Census Bureau said.

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Attorney says Ridgewood is required to make Graydon Park accessible

photo by Alan Seiden

Attorney says Ridgewood is required to make Graydon Park accessible
TUESDAY AUGUST 21, 2012, 10:07 AM

The village is legally responsible to ensure that the entire facility at Graydon Park conforms to all regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when Ridgewood’s governing body proceeds with plans to improve accessibility into the pool, legal officials confirmed last week.

Members of the Village Council last month discussed the possibility of modifying preliminary plans for a new ADA ramp leading into the water, but the topic was left open for future dialogue following a debate over the municipality’s legal accessibility obligations.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn picked up the conversation last week and verified that accessibility compliance regulations differ for public and private entities.

“Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, private businesses and private homes only have a legal obligation to make accessibility changes if they’re undertaking a major renovation. The question is: We’re not making major renovations with Graydon, do we still have a legal obligation?” Aronsohn said during last week’s work session.

Village Attorney Matt Rogers detailed the ADA and explained how it will impact Ridgewood’s plans to improve accessibility at the pool.

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Lunch at the Stable

Lunch at the Stable
August 20,2012
PJ Blogger

Ridgewood NJ, On the way to the train station I noticed the Stable had a $9.99 Prix-Fixe lunch special so I thought it was worth a try. The food was excellent though the service could have been a bit more enthusiastic . The Empanada appetizer was near perfect ,with a crisp pis crust filled with moist meaty filling. For the main coarse I had the chorizo,chicken and shrimp combo served over a bed of yellow rice which was cooked to perfection and just enough to fill the bill but not enough to put me in a food coma .

If you do not already know the Stable Restaurant located in Ridgewood, NJ, offers an exciting new way to dine the popular Rodizio style of restaurant service where unlimited slow cooking servings of a wide variety of skewered meats. Featuring: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Chicken, Sausages, and more are server right of the cooking skewer, then sliced or platter at the table for you to enjoy it.

Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Rodizio begins at 5 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

I am a big fan of ” rodizio” style cooking so i am going to come back and give it a try as soon as I work up an appetite.