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US Senate overwhelmingly passed criminal justice reform bill backed and promoted by President Trump

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Washington DC, The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a criminal justice reform bill backed and promoted by President Trump on Tuesday night.The First Step Act passed on a vote of 87 to 12, with dozens of Republicans joining all the Democratic senators in approving the bill.

Congressmen Tom Reed (NY-23) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, released to the following statement:
“The Problem Solvers Caucus was proud to put our full weight behind the FIRST Step Act more than six months ago. This bill betters our communities, improves the lives of thousands and saves taxpayers money. Congress must continue to craft and pass more bipartisan legislation like the FIRST Step Act.”

Trump congratulated the Senate in a tweet soon after it passed , “America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes. Congratulations to the Senate on the bi-partisan passing of a historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill,” he tweeted. He went on , “This will keep our communities safer, and provide hope and a second chance, to those who earn it. In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!”

The bill will make sweeping changes to the criminal justice system if signed into law, including making it easier for some prisoners to earn early release to halfway houses and protecting first-time offenders from mandatory minimum sentences.

Jared Kushner said in a USA Today editorial  in November , “The administration also worked with Congress to draft the FIRST STEP Act, legislation which seeks to strengthen recidivism reduction and evidence-based reentry programs for inmates in federal prisons. We continue to work with the law enforcement and faith and business communities to find ways to get people leaving prison properly reintegrated into society.”

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Stockton Poll: Menendez Hugin Race a Dead Heat

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Rodgewood blog

Ridgewood  NJ, The race for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey is a statistical dead heat, with incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez leading Republican challenger Bob Hugin by two percentage points, according to a Stockton University poll released today.

Continue reading Stockton Poll: Menendez Hugin Race a Dead Heat

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Is Booker hearing footsteps?

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Jackson: Is Booker hearing footsteps?

AUGUST 10, 2014, 6:00 PM    LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 2014, 11:39 PM
BY HERB JACKSON
RECORD COLUMNIST
THE RECORD

Sen. Cory Booker last year saw what ignoring a little-known opponent can do. He was slammed for not winning a special election by the landslide his celebrity and overwhelming financial advantage suggested was possible.

Now he’s running again, and a new poll shows him under the 50 percent mark that signifies a safe incumbent. And that’s with virtually unknown and underfunded Republican opponent Jeff Bell trailing by just 10 points.

So once again, Booker faces questions about expectations.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Booker would receive 47 percent of the vote and Bell 37 percent if the election were held now. The poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points, meaning Booker’s true support could be as low as 44.1 or as high as 49.9.

Bell, the surprise winner of June’s low-turnout primary, who also won an upset in the June 1978 Senate primary, is almost within striking distance — even though 77 percent of voters haven’t heard of him and his latest disclosure report shows his campaign $46,000 in debt, while Booker’s campaign has $3.5 million to spend.

The poll’s findings caught the attention of some national political writers who were focusing on other states in this year’s Senate races, but there is also historical evidence that a truly competitive race from Bell could be just a mirage. Summer polls, taken before candidates start advertising and voters pay attention, have been off the mark before.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/jackson-is-booker-hearing-footsteps-1.1065293#sthash.Bi1g1E2n.dpuf

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CIA admits to spying on Senate

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CIA admits to spying on Senate
By Julian Hattem – 07/31/14 12:32 PM EDT

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/213933-cia-admits-to-wrongly-hacking-into-senate-computers#ixzz399aEwd7A
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

CIA officials improperly hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers as staffers compiled a report on “enhanced interrogation” techniques, the spy agency’s inspector general has concluded.

In a statement shared with The Hill, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the internal watchdog determined “that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and the committee about access to the network they used to share documents.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/213933-cia-admits-to-wrongly-hacking-into-senate-computers#ixzz399a3WJSL

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Menendez the Liability

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Menendez with the Mayor Photo Boyd Loving

Menendez the Liability

Jul. 16 Bob Menendez, Corruption, Foreign Policy 3 comments

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Fending off foreign intriguers and Communist conspirators isn’t cheap, Save Jerseyans.

According to IRS filings for the legal defense fund of Senator Robert “Hudson Bob” Menendez (D-Dominican Republic, Ecuador) released Tuesday, the Cuban conspiracy *cough cough* to undermine the sitting Senate Foreign Relations Chairman is a $700,000 endeavor to date.

Nice, right?

Our state’s senior senator now owns the distinction of being the U.S. Senate’s most frequently investigated member, gracing the headlines annually for one poor decision or questionable association after another,  but a full 1 1/2 after the New York Times called on Harry Reid to take his gavel away, the man who is also Congress’s senior most foreign policy leader remains at his post without a single call – right or left – for his removal.

– See more at: http://savejersey.com/2014/07/menendez-legal-defense-fund/#sthash.0I7UkmMB.dpuf

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Booker wants his picture taken with every senator

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Booker wants his picture taken with every senator

Like a high schooler collecting yearbook messages before summer break, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is roaming the halls of the Senate before August recess asking his peers to pose for selfies. (Itkowitz/The Washington Post)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2014/07/12/booker-wants-his-picture-taken-with-every-senator/

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Cory Booker can be beaten

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In the March Monmouth/APP poll, 55% of NJ voters said Booker deserves to be reelected.  Today, only 44% say the former Newark Mayor deserves his own six year term in Washington. 

Cory Booker can be beaten

Senator Cory Booker’s support for reelection took a sharp drop since March, according to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press pollreleased this morning.

In the March Monmouth/APP poll, 55% of NJ voters said Booker deserves to be reelected.  Today, only 44% say the former Newark Mayor deserves his own six year term in Washington. Booker was elected last October to fill the remainder of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s term.  He faces off with Republican Jeff Bell in November.

Booker would beat Bell easily if the election where today, 43%-23%, but 15% say they would vote for a third party candidate and 17% are unsure. But the vast majority of voters, 82%, don’t know enough about Bell for express a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.  The GOP nominee for U.S. Senate against Bill Bradley in 1978, Bell scored a surprise victory in the GOP primary for Senate last month. Of those who do know enough about Bell to express an opinion, the overwhelming impression, 2-1, is favorable.

Perhaps the worst indicator of support for Booker is his favorability rating.  While net positive by a significant 43%-14% margin, 43% said they have no opinion of Booker. That is a stunningly high number for a man who was elected to the U.S. Senate last fall, served as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city for over seven years, has over 1 million twitter followers and who has spent over $12 million on his reelection effort since the first of the year.

http://www.moremonmouthmusings.net/2014/07/02/booker-can-be-beaten/

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Bell, Booker and Candle

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Bell, Booker and Candle
By Post Editorial Board
June 22, 2014 | 7:55pm

Sen. Cory Booker has everything going for him in his re-election race against former Reagan speechwriter Jeff Bell.

Booker has a war chest of $2.9 million, against a mere $76,000 for Bell. Booker is a Democratic incumbent running in a mostly blue state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by 700,000. And according to a recent Rassmussen poll, 39 percent of New Jerseyans don’t even know who the heck Jeff Bell is.

All Bell has going for him is his conviction, which is that government is making it harder for working people to support their families.

In short, he’s a free-market, traditional values, pro-immigration conservative who thinks its high time someone took this message to the people of New Jersey.

So here’s the question: Despite all Booker’s advantages, why does the latest poll show his support at under 50 percent?

Rassmussen’s recent survey of likely voters puts Booker’s support at 48 percent, against 35 percent for Bell. That’s a 13 percentage-point difference, which is the same percentage who say they are undecided.

Bell, of course, remains a long shot in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican to the US Senate since 1972. Ironically, the Republican who won that seat was Clifford Case, the man Bell beat in the Republican primary back in 1978 — only to lose to Democrat Bill Bradley in the general election.

http://nypost.com/2014/06/22/bell-booker-and-candle/

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So Who is Jeff Bell

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So Who is Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell has worked at the highest levels of American politics and public policy for over forty years. In 1978, at age 34, he became the New Jersey Republican Party nominee for U.S. Senate when he defeated four-term incumbent Clifford Case. As the first major candidate to win on the theme of tax cuts, he produced television ads for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign using the same message. He later worked as an advocate for the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986 with Jack Kemp and Bill Bradley, the man who defeated him in the 1978 general election.

A graduate of Columbia University, Jeff went on to serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, where he was an intelligence advisor to the South Vietnamese infantry during the Tet offensive. Upon returning home, he joined the national presidential campaign staff of Richard Nixon in 1968 and later went to work for Ronald Reagan in 1974. He developed Governor Reagan’s first proposals for federal tax and spending reduction when Reagan ran for president in 1976. During the 1980 campaign, Jeff was elected from New Jersey as a Reagan delegate to the Republican national convention.

From 1988-2000, Jeff served as president of Lehrman Bell Mueller Cannon Inc., an economic forecasting and consulting firm. From 2000-2010, he was a principal of Capital City Partners, where he worked on promoting comprehensive immigration reform, the Bush Administration’s faith-based initiatives, and combating human trafficking, among other issues. In 2009, he was among the co-founders of the American Principles Project, a public policy organization dedicated to advancing conservative ideas derived from the principles of the American founding. As Policy Director, he headed its monetary reform initiative aimed at renewing sound money by restoring the dollar’s value in gold. He resigned from that position in February 2014 to run for U.S. Senate.

Jeff is the author of two books, The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism (2012), for which he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh, and Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality (1992). His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Weekly Standard, National Review, and various other outlets. He has served as a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy Institute of Politics, visiting professor at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University, the DeWitt Wallace Fellow in Communications at the American Enterprise Institute, and as a board member of the American Conservative Union and Campaign Finance Institute. From 1978 to 1980, he served as the president of the Manhattan Institute.

Jeff and his wife Rosalie have been married since 1983 and have three sons and one daughter ranging in ages from 19 to 28 as well as a one-year-old granddaughter.