“It is tragic that the best advice one might give an addict begging for treatment is to get arrested.”
By Declan O’Scanlon
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon
There are many issues and challenges we face as a society that are ripe for spirited political debate. Addiction isn’t one of them. Governor Christie’s position that we must treat addiction as something other than a crime is exactly correct. Addiction – whether you buy the disease designation or not – is for some people a virtually irresistible, destructive force that compels the addict’s cooperation in his own destruction. That concept can be a difficult one to reconcile for those who have had the good fortune not to have battled addiction – their own or a family member’s. Unfortunately, that pool of lucky people is dwindling as the heroin epidemic continues to voraciously march through our streets and schools. Alcohol, while not the substance of the moment, continues its incessant march.
There is room for debate about exactly what addiction is. Cancer is unquestionably a disease – seeming to have a mind of its own and an unrelenting mission no matter the intentions or actions of its victims. Addiction, in many ways, is much more complicated. It is a condition whose progression depends on the direct, intentional participation of the afflicted. The fact that the addicted are complicit in their own destruction is both frustrating and confusing for all involved. It is easy for caregivers and loved ones to be sympathetic to cancer victims. Addiction is as likely to elicit anger, blame and scorn as sympathy.
By Jack Ciattarelli For decades, Trenton politicians from both parties have shied away from providing real long-term solutions. We can’t afford to wait any longer. Why are pension systems for municipal and county employees, as well as the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, all solvent? Because the employer pension contributions to these systems are funded by… Read the rest of this entry »
As we approach the next phase in the process of privatizing of the long embattled Monmouth County Care Centers, the following items were submitted to the Freeholders, on behalf of the residents and family members of John L. Montgomery, to be included in the Request for Proposal and the Conditions of the Sale of their home:
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” Napoleon is supposed to have said. That maxim explains why so many Democrats can barely hide their glee every time Donald Trump lets loose a fresh torrent of idiotic bombast or a new poll reinforces his pre-eminence in the Republican field. Trump is too much for… Read the rest of this entry »
Gopal’s only political play is to attack the integrity of the candidates he’s running against, regardless of the veracity of the attack.
Vin Gopal is setting himself up for another fall. photo via facebook
By Art Gallagher
In the aftermath of Red Bank Council President Art Murphy announcing on MoreMonmouthMusingsthat he would resign his seat on the borough council and withdraw as a candidate for another term, Monmouth Demcoratic Chairman Vin Gopal complained to the Asbury Park Press and The Two River Times that he has a hard time recruiting candidates to run for office because of the toxic political environment.
Gopal however, said Murphy’s decision was not solely in response to the video. “It’s part of a larger problem with contemporary politics,” Gopal said, alleging that political opponents had on the sly recorded Murphy, unbeknownst to the councilman and released it for political gain.
“It’s sad it’s come to this,” Gopal said, noting that these tactics increasingly have been making it difficult to get qualified candidates.”
Last year, the New Jersey legislature voted on a measure that prohibited the infliction of “sexual orientation reparative therapy” on young individuals of our state. This is the frequently torturous “treatment” designed to turn the gay straight. Although I abstained on the vote because of a potential technical issue, I vocally supported the initiative. Recently, the debate on this issue has re-emerged as several high-profile national and local Republicans have discussed both this issue and homosexuality. Their words demand comment.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, taking issue with policies prohibiting this “treatment,” justified his position last year by suggesting that homosexuality was simply a destructive lifestyle choice, which he went on to say was just like alcoholism. Perry managed to insult and infuriate the entire gay community along with every member of every family who has ever dealt with addiction issues – all at once. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon also vying for the Republican presidential nomination, suggested that being gay was a choice – as evidenced by supposed prison conversions. The most recent commentary came from Congressman Scott Garrett (R-5th District), who expressed a refusal to support gay candidates and said the Republican Party shouldn’t either.
These men each have a long list of substantial accomplishments and I bet I agree with them on most policy issues. But on the issues of homosexuality and addiction each of them has demonstrated a stunning level of closed-minded ignorance that – notwithstanding their apparent inability to genuinely embrace reality – most people of average intelligence would instinctively know to try to conceal.
During the same week that his administration diluted the commitments required from newly naturalized Americans, President Obama in word and deed baited the scorning of American Jews. Let’s take a look at these issues one at a time.
On July 21, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services modified its naturalization policy to allow immigrants to become citizens while refraining from committing to military service if the country called upon them. With the stroke of a pen, the standards and obligations for becoming an American were lowered. Maybe the intention was to foster a bigger melting pot. A melting pot, the administration would like us to believe, where all Americans will be treated equally. A melting pot where no religious or ethnic group will be the target of government invective and stereotypes. A melting pot where no group will have its, even heretofore higher standards of, loyalty to the United States questioned solely as a function of their religious convictions.
Now that the 2016 budget debate is over, we must get back to the most pressing state issue of our time. The suggestion of some in the public worker sector that those of us who voted against the budget are in favor of our abandoning our commitment to ensuring their pensions is completely false. For any responsible elected official, and decent human being, it is imperative that we meet our commitments in a way that protects our pubic workers – and the NJ economy at the same time.
The reason we couldn’t make a payment larger than the $1.3 billion one included in the Governor’s budget has nothing to do with a lack of will or integrity. It’s about devoting as much $ as possible without inflicting massive, economy-killing, tax increases on an economy just now showing signs of real growth. Without economic growth there will be no chance we will be able to meet our commitments to the system in the many years to come – so ensuring growth is as important to public workers as anyone else. We don’t simply have a $1.8 billion deficit this year. We have a $6 to $7 billion hole over the next few years. Taxing the life out of our economy this year, with no plan going forward – and leaving us in a $2 billion hole next year as the Democrat’s proposed budget would – is bad policy, for all New Jerseyans.
But it is true as well that we can’t foster growth to the exclusion of our obligation to our dedicated public workers. And I can’t state that point vehemently enough. Our teachers and other public workers are decent, devoted, professional people. Generalizations to the contrary are without merit.
The July 4th weekend is a great time for gallery hopping. Many new exhibitions opened their doors last weekend, and I’m going to give you a run down on some of the most interesting—and provocative. The wide variety of artwork may surprise you, and some of it may even shock you.
A good place to start is at AJ Dillon gallery in Atlantic Highlands. The gallery has an exhibition that has been running all month called “Stars and Stripes Forever.” It ends on July 4th, but is well worth squeezing into your schedule.
Gallery owner Frank Leahy asked local artists to come up with their own interpretation of the American flag, or what they think of when they ponder the American flag. One interpretation that grabbed my attention was a large America flag hung sideways with Jimi Hendrix face painted on it. It’s called Don’t Tread on Red by Jana Moriarty. You’ll find it hanging in a place of distinction—a pillar-like wall to the right as you walk in the gallery.