Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Legislature stops Christie, gunman avenges Syrian slaughter

Moments after pumping several bullets into the back of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov on Monday, a Turkish police officer shouted, "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" This photo and others from Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, who was covering the event at an arts center, are certain to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Governor Christie is down but not out after the state Legislature killed a bill that would have allowed him to cash in on a book-publishing deal while giving hefty raises to his Cabinet officers, judges and legislative aides.

But a separate bill -- to drop the requirement that public notices be published in newspapers -- survived, and will be debated again next year  (1A and 6A).

For the biggest piece of fiction in today's paper, see the third paragraph of the Page 1 news story:

"It was a stunning turn of events for Christie, who was once regarded as a master of cutting deals with New Jersey's Democratic political bosses and muscling the bills through the Legislature" (1A).

Christie hasn't made deals for years; instead, he's unleashed more than 500 vetoes to get his way with the majority Democrats -- vetoes that have hurt the working and middle classes in New Jersey.

And shame on Charles Stile for yet another front-page column on what Christie once was and what he is now -- amounting to a rewrite of every piece under the byline of the burned-out Trenton reporter since the GOP bully abandoned his White House dreams last February (1A).

Defending profits

The Record and other newspapers, as well as the New Jersey Press Association, portrayed the battle over legal notices as a "free press" issue.

The NJPA ran a full-page ad on the back of The Record's Local section claiming Christie is trying to "hide ... vital information" from the public, including "government contract bids, air and water pollution emergencies, and meetings of legislative bodies" (8L on Sunday).

But the substantial revenue generated by publication of the notices amounts to a questionable subsidy to newspapers, which are supposed to be independent.

Finally, the notices are of little use to taxpayers, because they are printed in small type and poorly organized. 

In Hackensack, the City Clerk's Office spends about $1,000 a month on publishing the legal notices, an official said on Monday.

The city's Board of Education also publishes its own meeting schedule and budget, but spends less than the City Clerk's Office.

Christie apparently exaggerated the savings to government and business as $80 million a year, if the notices were put online.

'Don't forget Aleppo'

Every time the news media reported Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Tump's praise for Vladimir Putin, few editors reminded readers of the Russian bombers that were pulverizing Aleppo to keep a dictator in power.

On Monday, a Turkish cop fatally wounded Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, avenging all of the deaths of innocent civilians during the civil war struggle for Syria's biggest city.

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