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The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
 
ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for Hillary. Whatever the case, he is obviously brushing off New Jersey, stripping billions from the federal share for the Gateway Project. Originally, the plan was for NJ and NY to split the $30 billion construction cost with the feds. Now, Trump is only willing to give 20 percent, leaving the states to scramble and wonder if this desperately-needed tunnel can ever be built.

MENDHAM TOWNSHIP - The town is without a deputy mayor,following Rick Blood's immediate resignation last night. More than two dozen people took to the microphone to slam the local politician for a post on his personal Facebook page, in which illegal immigrants were likened to "rabid, messy, mean raccoons" that had "overtaken your basement." Blood apologized up and down, saying he cut-and-pasted a post from a friend before deleting it Sunday night, the Record reports. But it was too little, too late, as a stream of residents described his post with such terms as "disgusting," "vile" and "inherently racist." The council then adjourned into closed session. When the members resurfaced, it was announced the councilman had resigned, effective at midnight.
 
WEEHAWKEN - Why should Leonia have all the fun? Weehawken officials are also banning commuters from their local roads during the afternoon rush hour, from 3-7 p.m. Beginning today, "non-local drivers" won't be able to make the right-hand turn from Hackensack Plank Road to Pleasant Avenue, which had been a pleasant diversion for New York-bound commuters trying to sneak onto Route 495, CBS reports. Great news for local residents, who often complained that their local cops and ambulances could never squeeze through the traffic, as Waze keeps directing motorists off the main arteries.

AT HOME - If your plan to get rich is to buy a house in New Jersey, sit on it for a few years and then sell it for gazillions of dollars, you may be disappointed. Sure, all those folks who bought a house in, say, Millburn, for, say, $30,000 in, say, 1950, are in great shape. But real estate analysts say the house you bought in 2007 has only increased in value by 1 percent, NJ 101.5 reports. When you throw inflation into the mix, the average home sale actually dropped by 14 percent from 2007-2017. Maybe it is because people think its silly to buy an expensive home in a high-tax state. Maybe it is the state's high foreclosure rate. Or, maybe it is just so much easier to rent.

ONLINE - If real estate investment isn't your thing, how about bitcoin? Well, forget that too, as the state put the kibosh on the Bitcoin-related investment pool Bitstrade. This business apparently takes customers' Bitcoin and invests it in the stock market. But it can't do business in the state, as it is not registered with the state's Bureau of Securities. Oh, and the company's Redland, Calif. address doesn't exist, Fortune reports. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the state is trying to protect investors in cryptocurrency from being "lured into sending funds to an anonymous internet entity without knowing where the funds are going or how they'll be used." Putting it all under the mattress never looked so good.
 
 
IN THE MEDIA
 
CHICAGO - To be clear, "Pyeongchang" is a county in the provinceof Gangwon-doSouth Korea. Meanwhile, "P.F. Chang" is an Asian-themed chain restaurant founded in American in 1993. They are not the same thing, even though a Chicago television station, WLS, aired a graphic on Sunday with the Olympic rings and the phrase "P.F. Chang 2018."  The ABC affiliate explained to the Chicago Tribune that the graphic was from a "satirical" segment on Friday and - oops - was mistakenly re-aired.
 
 
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
 
LONDON - Sure, there are plenty of interpretations of "art." But maybe the Museum of London has gone just a wee bit too far, as it plans to display a part of the massive glob of fat that jammed the sewer system last September. This famous "fatberg," a 143-ton of grease, cooking fat and wet wipes, will be on display beginning Friday. "It's grand, magnificent, fascinating and disgusting. The perfect museum object!" gushed the exhibit curator, Vyki Sparkes.
 
 
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
 
It was this day in 1981 that The New York Times published its longest sentence - at 1,286 words. It was a direct quote of a high school student, filled with many "you knows" and "uhs." 
 
WORD OF THE DAY
 
Adust - [uh-DUST] - adjective
 
Definition: Scorched; burned
 
Example: That fatberg has an adust hue.
 
 
WEATHER IN A WORD
Quiet

Posted in Morning Briefing

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