Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is Christie's chief booster finally having a change of heart?

Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, above and below, lampooned the first presidential debate when "Saturday Night Live" kicked off its 42nd season this weekend. The New York Times calls the show "the NBC sketch-comedy institution."

Baldwin's Donald J. Trump pronounced "China" as "Gina," "Big Gina," and said "all the blacks live on one street in Chicago." McKinnon's Hillary Clinton looks as if she can see the White House from Rockefeller Center.


The biggest laugh line in the Sunday edition of The Record comes from Columnist Charles Stile, who has been polishing Governor Christie's image for nearly 6 years.

After a tedious Page 1 refresher course on the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013, Stile says with a straight face, referring to the Christie administration:

"In the first two weeks of the [Bridgegate] trial, there was little testimony or evidence presented of decisions driven by a commitment to public service" (A-8).

"The trial so far has produced a counter-narrative to the meticulously managed image of Christie as a bold, bipartisan leader determined to restore New Jersey's reputation and finances."

Stile has got to be kidding. When has anyone ever said "Christie" and "public service" in the same breath?

In fact, he is one of those journalists who turned his back on readers, and used his column, often played on A-1, to do his own meticulous managing of the GOP thug's image.

The veteran Trenton reporter has consistently ignored Christie's more than 500 vetoes, his unilateral cancellation of the first large-scale expansion of rail transit in decades; and his cuts in state aid to NJ Transit that may have led to Thursday morning's fatal crash in Hoboken.

Need I mention Christie's battle against affordable housing, his repeated veto of a hike in the minimum wage or his looting of state public employees' pension system?

Baldwin's Trump referred to moderator Lester Holt, portrayed by Michael Che, as "Jazzman" and "Coltrane."

Bergen light rail

Also on Page 1 today is a report on elected leaders cheering news that the long-delayed extension of NJ Transit's light-rail service to Ridgefield, Palisades Park and Englewood may finally happen (A-1).

Light rail will offer commuters a direct ride to PATH service into Manhattan.

Today's story mentions many more hurdles, including the need to complete an environmental study and the cost, around $1 billion.

But Staff Writer Christopher Maag doesn't even mention the air-quality benefits of an electrified train line that promises to take cars off of the road and reduce the need for more diesel transit buses. 

The big losers will be commuters who live in Tenafly, where residents voted against the plan.

It isn't known whether they were influenced by The Record, which ran two long stories that demonized the extension of light-rail service.

Those articles were edited by Dan Sforza, now the managing editor.

Paterson history

A Page 1 story about Paterson's once-vibrant Jewish community of 30,000 and a dozen synagogues is one of two in today's paper describing happier times.

The Business front waxes nostalgic over the Paterson Men's Shop, which will close Oct. 15 after an 81-year run on Main Street (B-1).

But the Local front carries a report on Silk City's 8th gunshot death in two months (L-1).

The Record's editorial board hasn't bothered asking why Christie has failed to bring to Paterson the same changes in policing he put into effect to fight violent crime in less-populous Camden.

Local news?

Staff Writer Deena Yellin has a glowing report on new businesses and restaurants opening in downtown Tenafly (L-3).

This while The Record's local editors continue to ignore the causes for all of the empty storefronts in neighboring Englewood.

But there is a follow-up to large-scale fraud in Englewood school cafeterias.

"Privacy concerns" are being cited over the district's decision to install finger scanners to prevent students from swiping for others, who then received a free lunch even though their parents haven't paid for the meal (L-1).

This contrasts to The Record's Hackensack reporter completely ignoring the city's Board of Education, its schools and the poor quality of food served at the high school, where hundreds of students rely on a nearby pizzeria and fast-food options for lunch.


Page O-2 in Opinion  is worth looking at for Brigid Harrison's column, "All woman were onstage with Clinton," in which she discusses how men treat women in power.

During the debate, Harrison reports, an unnamed Republican member of the House of Representatives tweeted, "She [Hillary Clinton] just comes across as my bitchy/wife mother."

GOP strategist Frank Luntz replied, "I'm sorry, congressman, but tonight Hillary is coming across as presidential."

Says Harrison: "Whether that guy likes it or not."

Food addictions

If I didn't know better, I'd think today's Better Living cover -- "Addicted to food" -- was a report on chief Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung.

That piece of chocolate layer cake in the illustration is just the kind of dessert Ung obsesses over in nearly ever one of the appraisals she has written in the past decade.

And she's an unapologetic carnivore, swooning over the "funk" of aged beef and ignoring how the animal might have been raised on harmful antibiotics to speed it to market.

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