Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shooting reported at Pentagon Metro entrance

Victims include two Pentagon police officers

Three people, including two Pentagon police officers, were shot Thursday at the Metro transit entrance to the Pentagon, Pentagon officials told NBC News.

The third victim was possibly the suspect gunman, NBC reported.

Two of the victims were reportedly taken to George Washington Hospital for treatment; the third was treated at the scene for what was believed to be minor injuries.

The Pentagon was on lockdown following the shooting.

Some witnesses reported hearing gunshots being fired in the station and people screaming.

Imam Pleads Guilty To Lying To Feds In Alleged Terror Plot

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Ahmad Wais Afzali, a New York man charged in an alleged terrorist plot, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to federal agents.

Afzali, a Muslim cleric and funeral director from the New York borough of Queens, was one of the first people charged in what federal authorities have described as a plot to detonate bombs on New York subways.

Afzali was charged in a four-count indictment. He was accused of lying about whether he tipped off suspect Najibullah Zazi that the FBI had been asking questions about his activities. Zazi subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiring to detonate explosives in the United States.

On Thursday, Afzali told the court that police had asked him to help providing information about Zazi and others. He said he called Zazi on September 11, 2009, a day after he was contacted by authorities.

"I told him that our phone call was being monitored. I told Zazi, 'Don't get involved in Afghanistan garbage and Iraq garbage, that's my advice to you.'"

"On September 13 ... I was interrogated by FBI agents for the first time. I believed that the FBI was angry at me for calling Zazi," he added. "When I was asked whether I had told Zazi about law enforcement being interested in him, I lied and said I did not. My intention was not to protect Zazi, but to protect myself."

He admitted to repeating the lie during another interview with prosecutors a few days later, saying, "In doing so, I failed to live up to my obligation to this country, my community, my family, and my religion. I am truly sorry."

Afzali's plea deal reduced the charge from lying to federal agents "during the course of a terror investigation" -- which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. The basic charge of lying to feds carries a maximum sentence of five years.

However, his plea agreement recommends that Afzali be sentenced anywhere from zero to six months in prison. His sentencing hearing was tentatively scheduled for April 8.

Under the terms of the agreement, Afzali agreed to leave the United States within 90 days of completing any sentence he receives.

Two others have been charged in connection to the Zazi case.

Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin pleaded not guilty in February to new charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States, as well as several other counts. The two had previously faced lesser charges.

Prosecutors say the men -- 25-year-old U.S. citizens and residents of Queens -- conspired with Zazi "to attack the New York subway system in mid-September 2009."

Halladay looks like ace as Phillies top Yanks 3-2

CLEARWATER, Fla. — If first impressions are important to baseball fans in Philadelphia, new Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay aced his entry exam.

Halladay's spring debut with the Philadelphia Phillies did nothing to kill the buzz that engulfed the City of Brotherly love when the team dealt for the former Cy Young Award winner three months ago.

Halladay got the Grapefruit League schedule under way with two near-perfect innings in the Phillies' 3-2 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Halladay threw a pair of hitless innings while striking out three. Halladay was at the crux of a blockbuster four-team set of trades in December between the Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.

"I was excited for it," said Halladay, who spent his first 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. "You anticipate it, but once you get into the game, the game is always the same. Your approach is the same. I looked forward to it, especially early on. It's as much fun for me as it is for everyone else."

Halladay allowed just one base runner in his first outing with the Phillies. New York's Jamie Hoffmann, playing first base after Nick Johnson was scratched before the game with a back ailment, reached on an error by Philadelphia third baseman Placido Polanco with one out in the first.


Today's News NJ Supports Tony Mack For Mayor of Trenton, NJ

A resident of the City of Trenton, former Mercer County Freeholder Tony Mack was educated in the Trenton Public School system and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Howard University in Washington, DC. He earned his Master’s Degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Public Policy, and is completing coursework towards a PhD.

November 1996, Tony was elected to his first term on the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. In his capacity as Freeholder, Tony served on various committees including– the Commission on Child Abuse and Missing Children, the Airport Advisory Council, the Human Services Advisory Council, the Board of School Estimate as well as the Organization Rules and Procedures Committee. On January 6, 2000 Tony was elected to a second term as Freeholder and sworn in as President of the Board. Tony served the residents of Mercer County, as a Freeholder, for 12 years.

Tony served the Democratic Party as a committeeman in the East Ward (District 7) and West Ward (District 1) sections of the city. In addition, he was active in the City of Trenton’s 1996 and 1994 mayoral and city council campaigns. His current political affiliations include the Mercer County Democratic Caucus and former Chairperson of the Trenton Democratic Committee. As Chairperson, he led Trenton in a Mercer County victory in restoring a Democrat to the County Executive position after 24 years.

Tony is associated with various community and civic organizations. He is a member of the NAACP, Urban League Guild and a former member of Laborers Local #595 and a former President of AFSCME Local 2281. He served on the Board of Directors of Martin House Learning Center, President of the Board of Directors for the North 25 Housing Development and an Advisory Board member for the National Association of Counties (NaCO). He is also a lifetime member of American Council of Young Political Leaders. Tony’s commitment to Mercer County’s youth is demonstrated through his involvement with the Tony Mack Cares Foundation, an organization that assists students with academic achievement and career development.

He resides in the historic Berkeley Square section of Trenton with his wife Kara, son Tony II, and daughters Carrington, Madison and Kennedy.

Why Should You Vote For Tony Mack

I believe our campaign has the best message to retake City Hall and restore public trust in government. In order to get our message out I need your support. The Tony Mack Campaign is grateful for ANY contribution, whether it is $10 or $100. If you believe my message is the right one, then I ask you to make a contribution. I need your support! ~Tony

Give to the Mack Campaign NOW!!!!!!!!

The Check's In The Mail Defense Could Be What Gets Paterson

Lt. Gov. Paterson, Gov. Spitzer and an MTA official in July 2007

By Erin Geiger Smith

What New Yorkers won't do for Yankees tickets!

Well, maybe they would not do what the state ethics commission is saying Gov. David Paterson did.

Yesterday the State Commission on Public Integrity levied charges that Paterson improperly accepted tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series and then lied under oath about having meant to pay for them.

Today The New York Times reported that the investigative panel said Paterson backdated, or had another person backdate, the check they said was intended to pay for the tickets. That "other person" potentially being former Paterson aide David Johnson.

Johnson is, of course, the aide that was accused of abusing his girlfriend; the Paterson administration has come under fire for for their communications with the abused woman.

Citing the commission, the NYT said Johnson had his scheduler request tickets to the game, saying Paterson would attend in his official capacity and would not pay for the tickets, even though he did nothing gubernatorial while attending the game.

When a reporter asked who paid for the tickets, Paterson had it conveyed to the reporter that the Yankee's president had asked him to come. That proved untrue, and Paterson testified to the commission that he had intended to pay, had a check with him for the tickets but never had a chance to hand it to the proper person, so, he said, he gave it to Johnson to put it in the mail.

The commission said the evidence actually shows the check was only written after the reporter inquired who had paid for the tickets.

Read the NYT's full coverage here.

Jobless claims drop after rising for 2 weeks

WASHINGTON—New claims for jobless benefits fell last week in a sign that layoffs may be easing as the economy slowly recovers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000. That nearly matches Wall Street analysts' estimates of 470,000.

Still, any improvement in the job market is likely to be slow, as companies remain reluctant to hire. Last week's drop only partly reverses a sharp rise in claims in the previous two weeks.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out volatility, fell by 3,500 to 470,750. Despite the drop, the average has risen by about 20,000 since the beginning of the year.

Initial claims are considered a gauge of the pace of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers. But they have been volatile in recent weeks as last month's severe snowstorms in the Northeast have distorted the data.

Claims rose sharply two weeks ago partly because several states processed a backlog of claims that had built up from previous weeks when government offices closed due to bad weather. No states reported backlogs this week, a Labor Department analyst said.

In another sign that companies are raising output without adding many jobs, the department said in a separate report that productivity rose by 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter, higher than analysts' expectations of a 6.3 percent rise.

While higher productivity,

or output per hour worked, raises living standards in the long run, it also enables companies to get by with fewer workers.
The Federal Reserve had said in a report earlier this week that the recovery is plodding ahead but not at a strong enough pace to persuade companies to ramp up hiring.

The jobs market "remained soft throughout the nation," the Fed said Wednesday in a report known as the Beige Book.

The Labor Department will issue the February employment report Friday, and economists expect the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent as employers cut 50,000 jobs. The snowstorms likely inflated the job losses by up to 100,000, economists say.

After growing at a 5.9 percent rate at the end of 2009, many economists believe the recovery lost steam in the first three months of this year. They predict the economy will grow at a pace of around 3 percent from January to March.

High unemployment will likely slow the recovery as it reduces consumers' ability to spend. The economy has lost 8.4 million jobs since the recession began. The Fed expects unemployment to average 9.5 percent to 9.7 percent this year.

The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits, meanwhile, fell more than expected to 4.5 million, according to Thursday's report.

But the so-called continuing claims do not include millions of people who have used up the regular 26 weeks of benefits typically provided by states, and are receiving extended benefits for up to 73 additional weeks, paid for by the federal government.

Nearly 5.9 million people were receiving extended benefits in the week ended Feb. 13, the latest data available, up from about 5.7 million the previous week. The extended benefit data isn't seasonally adjusted and is volatile from week to week.

The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to continue those extended benefits through the month of March, after Sen. Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican, dropped his objection. Bunning had argued the cost of the benefits should be paid for rather than added to the deficit.

The Senate is still working on legislation that would continue the extra benefits through the end of the year.

4 convicted in German terror trial

DUESSELDORF, Germany — A court has convicted four men over a foiled 2007 plot to attack U.S. targets in Germany and given them prison sentences of up to 12 years.

Three of them — Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider, both German converts to Islam, and Turkish citizen Adem Yilmaz — were convicted of membership in a terrorist organization and other offenses. The fourth, Turkish citizen Attila Selek, was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization.

Gelowicz and Schneider were sentenced to 12 years in prison. Yilmaz was given 11 years and Selek five.

The men were accused of operating as a German cell of the radical Islamic Jihad Union and charged with plotting bombing attacks in Germany against American citizens and facilities including the U.S. Air Force's Ramstein base.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — A court is expected to deliver its verdict in the trial of four men who have acknowledged participating in a foiled 2007 plot to attack U.S. targets in Germany.

Thursday's scheduled verdict at the Duesseldorf state court comes at the end of a trial that opened last April.

Prosecutors are seeking prison sentences of up to 13 years for the men — two German converts to Islam and two Turkish citizens.

The men were arrested in 2007. They are suspected of operating as a German cell of the radical Islamic Jihad Union, and are charged with plotting bombing attacks in Germany against American citizens and facilities including the U.S. Air Force's Ramstein base.

All four defendants have confessed. There are no formal pleas in German trials.

Where Do Governor Christie's Nominees Stand on Critical Health Care Issues?

Health Care Policy - We're Winning Nationally
But the States Are The Next Battleground

The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to confirm three key policy makers to positions of influence over critical Health Care policy. Janet Rosenzweig (Department of Children and Families) and Jennifer Velez (Department of Human Services) are scheduled for confirmation hearings Monday, March 17 at 11:30am in Committee Room 4 of the State House Annex. Dr. Poonam Alaigh (Department of Health & Senior Services) is not yet scheduled.

With Barack Obama's government takeover of our health care system the number one issue facing our country, many of the decisions affecting the role of government in our lives and health care will move to the states. Americans for Prosperity has submitted thirteen key questions on health care policy to these three important appointees. As of today, none have responded.

Americans for Prosperity's 24,000 activists and donors and the rest of New Jersey's taxpayers deserve transparency and truthfulness on the positions these decision makers hold on these vital issues. Many of those reading this newsletter hold state's rights in high esteem. America is built on state's rights, but along with those rights is an obligation to engage your state government and demand the government you want. Does anyone want individuals making such important decisions who are not open and transparent?

The thirteen questions - which you can see here - are straight and to the point. Please call the Governor's office at 609-292-6000 and urge these folks to explain themselves:

Steve Lonegan
AFP State Director

Brown says too early to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe


Johannesburg — MANY thousands of South Africans gave their lives for the freedom of Britain in the two great wars of the last century. Britain is one of this country's main trading partners and the single biggest source of foreign tourists to our country. We have sporting links that go back more than a hundred years and South Africans have enriched English literature and science.

So it is appalling to have to witness the reception President Jacob Zuma has received on his state visit to the UK, from sections of the British media.

Zuma has been pilloried because of the chaotic state of his private life. But you would think British journalists would know better.

After all, wasn't it the last Conservative prime minister of that country who we now know was screwing one of his cabinet ministers while still in office? Wasn't it the heir to the British throne who told a woman over the telephone he wished he was one of her tampons? Wasn't it the British Parliament and the House of Lords that were hit last year with proof that dozens of British politicians had lied about their expenses and stolen money from the taxpaying public?

The British body politic is without peer when it comes to sex scandals and moral or financial hypocrisy and the sight of leading British newspapers having a go at Zuma for his lapses of virtue is sickening.

Zuma is being castigated for his polygamy but what if, as nearly happened, Mitt Romney, governor of the state of Massachusetts, had won the Republican nomination in 2008 and was now president of the US? He is a Mormon. It will happen one day. Those same British journalists insulting our president now would be licking the presidential boot if it was on an American foot.

Let us help you guys in Fleet Street with a little news. Life in SA, even under Zuma, is, trust us, a lot better than in the UK. Sure Zuma's imperfect. He may even be a lousy leader. But he's our lousy leader. We'll deal with him. When UK politicians visit here we'll be sure to treat them with respect.

Comedy Central yanks Stewart and Colbert from Hulu

by Stevie Smith
Hey, Stephen... don't look now, but I think we're being dropped from Hulu. Image: Hans

you’re a Hulu user with unwatched episodes of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report presently sitting in your queue, we’d suggest you get ‘em watched by Wednesday of next week because Comedy Central is pulling the shows from the popular online streaming service.

According to Hulu, the hit political satires are being taken from its virtual shelves due to the service’s current inability to secure the rights to the shows beyond midnight of March 09.

“In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated,” commented Andy Forsell, senior vice president of content and distribution at Hulu.

“After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time,” he added.

Although The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (and several other Comedy Central library shows) will soon depart, Forsell was keen to point out that Hulu is still in talks with the broadcaster regarding content opportunities and is confident that the two outfits will be working together again in the future.

A related Reuters report has indicated that Comedy Central’s decision to pull its leading properties from Hulu comes as a number of broadcasters and online content deliver services continue to squabble over programming fees.

I Thought Obama Was Against Nukes

Well, he is for us but he is happy for Iran to get them.

He is also not opposed to using the nuclear option. Word on the street is that today Obama will announce he has incorporated some Republican ideas (no serious tort reform) and that he now expects them to sign on or he will call for reconciliation (though he won’t use that word). Here is the compromise; Obama took 2700 pages of legislation and added about 30 pages of things Republicans like. So he wants them to vote for the 2700 pages they do not like in order to get 30 they will like.

That man boy is still smoking crack. He has to be. And that was the fastest six weeks in history (he did say they neded to get this done in the next six weeks).

No, Republicans will not sign on and Obama and the Democrats knew that. He held the summit to show Republicans as obstructionists and then they showed up and handed him his ass because they were prepared. America saw a party with ideas and a willingness to work together so long as they started from scratch.

Baby steps, Obama said, will not do it so it is his bill or nothing. This is beacue Obama and the Democrats need to pass something, anything, that is labeled health care before the next election. They do not want to be negotiating the bill through the next election because it will look like they failed.

If they had started last year with this summit instead of waiting until this year, there might not have been as many problems.

So now we are at the crossroads and Obama is expected to tell Republicans that they have his bill, vote on it or the Democrats will use reconciliation.

The president will call for an up or down vote on health care reform, as has happened in the past, and though he won’t use the word “reconciliation,” he’ll make it clear that if they’re not given an up or down vote, Democrats will use the reconciliation rules as Republicans have done in the past. ABC News

If this happens the Democrats will lose the House and the Senate in November. All the ACORN fraud in the world will not stop the tidal wave (but if you see ACORN fraud beat the hell out of the ACORN person doing it).

The American public does not want this bill and we are quite upset with these ninnies in DC telling us that they know what is best for us. We do not need you to spoon feed us (well, most liberals do) and we do not want you ramming this down our throats.

For a person who people claim is a smart politician Obama sure does not act like it. This guy is willing to lose control of the Congress to get this passed. He is not worried about himself because he is not up for 3 more years. But he will be a one term wonder because we will drive him out.

The provisions of this bill do not take place until after the 2012 elections. Obama will lose the majority and then he will lose the White House. Republicans will draft legislation to repeal all of this mess and if we have to, we can use reconciliation to do it. If any Democrat cries about that we can string him up for the hypocrisy.

And then the Democrat party will be irrelevant for many, many years to come.

Obama is destroying his party right along with this country.

Prepare patriots. We will need to disobey anything they legislate and we will need to exert our will on them (remember, they get their power from us).

The tree of liberty is getting thirsty.

Big Dog Salute to JPT for the picture.

Cavaliers Tear Down Nets 111-92

Posted by Jeff Sack
The Cleveland Cavaliers exploded for 35 points in the first leading the New Jersey Nets by 20 points at the end of the period Wednesday night. That would be enough that New Jersey was never a threat for the rest of the night as Cleveland won handily by a final score of 111-92. LeBron James led all players with a double-double including a game high 26 points and dished off 14 assists while J.J. Hickson also had a double-double with 20 points and 13 boards. The Cavaliers have now won 5 straight game and 18 of their last 21 contests. Brook Lopez and Terrence Williams each scored 21 points to led the Nets in the loss.

This game became garbage time after the first 12 minutes of play as the Cavaliers opened up a 20 point lead at the end of the first quarter and the Nets never came close to being a threat the rest of the game. Cleveland would just dominate both ends of the court in the first and would lead 35-15 at the end of the quarter. The Nets would shave three points off their deficit in the second but the cavaliers would walk into the locker room at the half on top 59-42.

Things did not get any more pleasant in the second half for New Jersey or their fans at the Izod Center. Cleveland would lead at the end of the third by a score of 86-68. They never even came close to getting within single digits in the last quarter of the game.

LeBron James recorded a double-double with 26 points, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block in the Cavaliers victory. J.J. Hickson also had a double-double as he knocked down 20 points, 13 boards, 2 steals and 1 block while Antawn Jamison added 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. Mo Williams scored 16 points, 6 assists, 1 block and 1 rebound while Anderson Varejao chipped in with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal.

Brook Lopez had a double-double with 21 points, 14 boards and 2 assists while Terrence Williams came off the bench and added 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Yi Jianlian also had a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 1 assist. Devin Harris would put up 11 points while Chris Douglas-Roberts had 10 more in the loss. Cleveland is now 48-14 and will host the Detroit Pistons on Friday while New Jersey is now 6-54 and will host the Orlando Magic Friday.

Child Directed Air Traffic

Officials are investigating an incident where an air traffic controller brought his child to work and let him talk to pilots:

The probe comes after an audiotape caught the boy directing several pilots preparing for take-off last month.

In one exchange, the boy is heard saying: "JetBlue 171 contact departure." The pilot responds: "Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job."

The boy was apparently with his father – a certified air traffic controller. The adult is later heard saying with a laugh: "That’s what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school."

In another exchange, the child says: "MS 4-0-3, contact departure," and then adds: "Adios, amigo." The pilot responds: "Adios, amigo." The pilots on the tape appear to be not concerned that a child is giving them instructions.

The pilots may not be concerned, but the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association are:

"It is not indicative of the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves and exceed each and every day in the advancement of aviation safety," association spokesman Doug Church said in the statement.

The air traffic controller was put on administrative leave by the FAA while it conducts the investigation. David Pascoe, the owner of which posts recording of air traffic control communications, said that the whole thing was blown out of proportion:

"Nobody in the aviation community felt like this was anything more than a noble thing, that a father would take his kid to work.

"And when you listen to any of the recordings, the situation in the tower is very controlled. There is no hint … that anyone was too busy or anyone was interrupting the planes. The kid cleared two airplanes. It was very controlled and I don’t think safety was compromised, nor should anyone be disciplined for this," said Pascoe, who is also a pilot.

The recording was from a network of receivers, he said, but couldn’t reveal the source. The site, he said, exists for pilot education and sometimes other curious parties listen in. There was "absolutely no security threat" posed by the incident, he said.

By Alex

Rep. Massa To Retire Amid Sexual Harrassment Allegations

Jim Burroway

Freshman congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) announced that announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in November, citing his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and his doctors’ advice that he slow down. But Politico reports that while that may be one reason for Massa’s retirement, it may not be the only reason:

[S]everal House aides told POLITICO that the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that the New York Democrat, who is married with two children, made unwanted advances toward a junior male staffer.

A more senior staffer — Ronald Hikel, Massa’s former deputy chief of staff and legislative director — took the complaints to the ethics committee and was interviewed about them twice. Hikel declined to comment about the situation, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) confirmed that the Democratic leadership had been informed of the allegations before the news broke.

We don’t know the nature of the allegations. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and they may not necessarily be physical. “Inviting” someone to perform a sexual act as an expression of anger could conceivably fit the definition. And that’s the defense Massa is going with:

“Do I or have I ever used salty language when I’m angry, especially in the privacy of my inner office or even at home? Yes, I have, and I have apologized to those where it’s appropriate,” Massa said. “But those kinds of articles, unsubstantiated, without fact or backing, are a symptom of what’s wrong with this city.”

Iraq's most powerful coalitions

Jalal Talabani, Iraq's first non-Arab president, is head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [GETTY]

The coalition list which won the 2005 elections is the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA). Comprising mainly religious Shia parties, it was formed with the blessing of Iraq's most influential Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani.

At the time, it consisted of 18 conservative Shia Islamist groups, although it continued to be dominated by just three: the Islamic Dawa Party, led by Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister; the pro-Iranian Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim; and the Iraqi nationalist Sadr movement, loyal to populist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Politically, the coalition's platform was based on the principles of security, sovereignty and reconstruction; it promised to crack down on the insurgency and corruption.

But by 2006, the coalition was heavily criticised for failing to tackle both issues during its first year in power.

Read More..

63 Killed in Stampede at Indian Temple

At least 63 people were killed in a massive stampede at a temple in northern India, Thursday.

Police say the dead included women and children, while many other people were injured.

Thousand of people had gathered at the Ram Janki temple in Uttar Pradesh to collect free clothes and other goods being handed out during a religious festival.

The stampede broke out when the main gate of the temple collapsed.

New Jersey Governor declares "Fiscal Emergency" Freezes Money

"A state of fiscal emergency exists in the State of New Jersey by reason of the facts and circumstances set forth", Chris Christie Governor


WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey (?State?) is confronting an unprecedented financial crisis affecting all levels of government; and

WHEREAS, actual and anticipated revenue collections by the State continue to fall far below the amounts estimated in the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations Act, P.L.2009, c.68; and

WHEREAS, the Acting State Treasurer estimates that the State expects to realize revenue shortfalls in its sales and corporate business taxes of approximately $442 million and $180 million, respectively; and

WHEREAS, the Acting State Treasurer further projects that realty transfer and insurance premium taxes are expected to be short by a combined $200 million; and

WHEREAS, these newly identified tax shortfalls added to more than $415 million in revenue shortfalls previously identified, create a projected aggregate net revenue shortfall of $1.212 billion for Fiscal Year 2010, taking into account other appropriate revenue adjustments; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the expected annual revenue shortfall, the Acting State Treasurer has further revised the estimated July 1, 2009 beginning balance to $613.8 million, representing a reduction of $121 million from the original estimated beginning balance contained in the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations Act; and

WHEREAS, the combination of the aforementioned anticipated annual revenue shortfall and the revised beginning balance results in a total projected funding shortage for Fiscal Year 2010 of approximately $1.333 billion; and 2

WHEREAS, the State further anticipates additional spending needs during Fiscal Year 2010 of $872 million, including essential programs administered by the Department of Human Services and additional municipal aid; and

WHEREAS, the combined total estimated funding shortage and additional spending needs for Fiscal Year 2010 is projected to exceed $2.2 billion; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey State Constitution requires the Governor to take care that the laws of this State be faithfully executed, N.J.Const. (1947) Article V, Section 1, Paragraph 11, including ensuring compliance with the constitutional mandate that a balanced State budget be maintained, N.J.Const. (1947) Article VIII, Section 2, Paragraph 2; and

WHEREAS, the Governor is entrusted with the responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of this State, as well as the responsibility to aid in the prevention of damage, loss, or destruction of property in the event of emergency affecting the State pursuant to the Disaster Control Act, N.J.S.A. App.A:9-30 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, during the course of a fiscal year, the Governor may take steps to freeze State spending if it appears that revenues have fallen below those originally anticipated by impounding certain funds pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:27B-31 to ensure that appropriations are not used to support waste, mismanagement or extravagance in a time of severely diminished fiscal resources; and

WHEREAS, in order to protect against and meet emergencies that may arise during each fiscal year, the Director of the 3 Division of Budget and Accounting (?Director?) is authorized to freeze State spending by placing certain funds in reserve pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:27B-26 to ensure that the State's budget remains balanced; and

WHEREAS, failure to exercise these powers would result in the State lacking sufficient resources to provide essential State services and basic operations of State government for the balance of Fiscal Year 2010, causing devastating immediate impacts on the residents of the State; and

WHEREAS, in order to determine which items of spending should be reserved or impounded, the Director has conferred with the various departments of State government to identify items which can be reduced for Fiscal Year 2010; and

WHEREAS, aid to school districts represents a significant part of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, and because of the magnitude of the fiscal crisis and the fact that less than five months are left in the fiscal year to address it, it is necessary to freeze a portion of State school aid in order to address this fiscal emergency; and

WHEREAS, many school districts currently have surplus monies in their budgets that are available but not budgeted that could be made available to support those districts? current expenses during the current period of fiscal emergency; and

WHEREAS, given the dire position of the State?s finances, it is necessary to freeze State aid payments to school districts that have available resources so that the freeze can be implemented without affecting the ability of these districts 4 to meet the educational obligations under the state constitution or placing a school district into deficit; and

WHEREAS, in the event that the State?s financial condition deteriorates rather than improves during the remainder of the current fiscal year, I intend to aggressively utilize every authority at my disposal to ensure the maintenance of a balanced State budget;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. A state of fiscal emergency exists in the State of New Jersey by reason of the facts and circumstances set forth above.

2. In light of these facts and circumstances, the Director is hereby ordered immediately to identify and place into reserve items of appropriation pursuant to N.J.S.A 52:27B-26 in an amount sufficient to ensure that the State budget is in balance. The Director shall notify the Governor immediately of the list of items placed into reserve. In the event that during the remainder of Fiscal Year 2010, actual revenues collected are less than the revenues estimated on January 19, 2010, the Director shall take such further actions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:27B-26 to place into reserve additional items of appropriation so as to maintain a balanced budget. The Director shall report to the Governor any additional items of appropriation which are placed into reserve.

3. The Director is hereby ordered, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Education 5 (?Commissioner?), to determine the amount of State school aid that must be frozen in order to meet the fiscal emergency. The Director shall report to the Commissioner the amount of school aid to be reserved under the spending freeze required by this Order.

4. The Commissioner is hereby directed to review the budgets of all school districts and determine for each school district the amount of unanticipated surplus and reserve account monies (?Surplus?) available but not budgeted in such school district that could be used to support the district?s educational programs by being transferred to the current operating budget in the event of a withholding of State school aid.

5. The Commissioner, consistent with his constitutional responsibilities, shall allocate the amount of State school aid determined by the Director to be frozen among all the school districts so that the amount of State school aid frozen for each school district shall not exceed the Surplus for such school district or the amount of its remaining State school aid for Fiscal Year 2010. Upon such allocation, the Commissioner shall notify the Director of the amount determined for each school district, whereupon the Director shall place into reserve from State school aid for each school district the amount specified by the Commissioner.

6. The Commissioner, as necessary and appropriate, shall exercise his statutory and constitutional powers to authorize school districts, upon their request, to transfer Surplus to their current operating accounts to pay ongoing costs of operation 6

7. The Acting State Treasurer, in consultation with the Acting Attorney General, is hereby directed to study and make any appropriate recommendations to the Governor considering the projected costs to the State and local entities associated with previously negotiated employee salary structures and, if appropriate, presenting proposed alternatives to achieve necessary cost savings in light of the current fiscal crisis.

8. The Acting State Treasurer, in consultation with the Director, is further directed to monitor the collection of revenues and expenditures and to report to the Governor on an ongoing basis so that adjustments, if any, can be made by placing in reserve or impounding items of appropriation in order to meet changing fiscal conditions.

9. All State officials and agencies shall cooperate fully in the implementation of this Order.

10. I have taken what I believe to be the least intrusive actions available to me in order to address this fiscal emergency; however, until such time as the current state of fiscal emergency is terminated, I reserve the right to take such additional actions, invoke such additional emergency powers, and issue such emergency orders or directives as may be necessary to meet the potentially devastating problems presented by this emergency, to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of this State, and to ensure the continued provision of essential State services. 7

11. This Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in full force and effect until rescinded, modified, or supplemented by me in response to the ongoing fiscal emergency, or until such time as a General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 is enacted.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 11th day of February Two Thousand and Ten, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-Fourth.

/s/ Chris Christie Governor
Attest: /s/Jeffrey S. Chiesa
Chief Counsel to the Governor