Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stimulus is Working in NJ

The Obama administration set up a website, Recovery.gov, to track stimulus spending throughout the country, and its results, especially the numbers of jobs saved. It's an extensive operation, financed with about $84 millions, and it's almost a real-time aggregation of various data, sortable by zip codes, congressional districts, industries, etc.

I looked at the New Jersey page, and the data is very encouraging. 384 jobs were saved in the 40th congressional district! 3 millions spent in the 17th district! That's great news!! There's only one problem. New Jersey only has 13 congressional districts. So what's going on here? Is it a programming error, or a way to hide spending?? Obama's website shows that $5,637,012 has been spent in the 15th district, and $7,095,859 more in the 0th district. Wouldn't that be called "money laundering"??

Despite this data being publicized in recent days (it applies to almost every state), there was no official explanation from the White House, and no attempts to fix it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NJ Congressional Races in 2010

Now that the election is over and NJ turned red, it's time to start thinking about winning back the Congress next year. It is supposed to (finally) be a good year for Republicans, and many incumbents are vulnerable. I looked over the NJ congressional races, and here's a summary:

Most vulnerable:
NJ-3: John Adler (Jon Runyan??)

NJ-6: Frank Pallone (no challenger yet)
NJ-12: Rush Holt (Mike Halfacre)

NJ-8: Bill Pascrell (Ian Walsh)
NJ-9: Steve Rothman (Steve Lonegan??)

Note that Mike Halfacre is the only established challenger so far. Ian Walsh just announced he's running. Former Eagle Jon Runyan said he's just considering. Steve Lonegan said that the world must end before he's running for Congress, but the rumors are hot.

Adler seems to be the most obvious target. Don't be deceived by his vote against the healthcare bill. He narrowly won in a strongly Republican district, maybe he was trying to save his job, but he's still a Dem. I'd say NJ-3 should be ours, if we can take 1-2 more seats in NJ, it would be a huge victory. We need at least 30 nationwide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Government is Denying Twice As Many Claims as Most Private Insurers

How many times have you heard the complaints that the evil medical insurance corporations are denying claims and leave people to die? And even more, that we need the Government to step in, and fix this problem? So you think that once Government takes over healthcare, you'll have a less chance of having your claim denied? Let's look at some facts.

The American Medical Association is publishing reports on health insurers' performance, split by lots of criteria. I'm looking at their report card for 2008 and I went to Page 5, which summarizes claim denials:

Payer Count of Records Denied Records Percent Of Claim Lines Denied
Aetna 637,239 43,317 6.80%
Anthem 250,070 11,546 4.62%
CIGNA 263,728 9,060 3.44%
Coventry 40,487 590 2.88%
Health Net 4,975 193 3.88%
Humana 143,026 4,142 2.90%
Medicare 6,938,431 475,566 6.85%
UHC 1,127,691 30,177 2.68%

Interesting, isn't it? Medicare (the Government) has the highest percentage of claim denials. And if you exclude Aetna, the Government is denying about twice as many claims as all the other evil private insurers!

But go ahead people, drink the Kool Aid, and keep dreaming that Government-run healthcare will mean your treatment will be more likely approved. As facts shown, you'll be twice as likely to be DENIED!

Thank you Mike Proto for finding this information!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

V-Day in Monmouth County and the State of NJ

"Middletown Democrats got Byrned and came up Short" - Art Gallagher

Last night I attended my first victory party, with the Middletown Republicans at the Lincroft Inn. By the time I got there, our local races were pretty much settled.

Steve Massell won by a huge margin, of 24%. I think everybody was expecting him to beat incumbent Patrick Short, but few expected the victory to be so big. I think this will bring a bit more sanity to the township committee meetings, now that Republicans return to a 4-1 lead. Everybody was happy last night, Steve brought his entire family and was surrounded by his new colleagues, Mayor Brightbill, Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and Committeeman Fiore.

Steve Massell delivering his victory speech

When I got there, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin was still watching the results, but she told me everything looks good. She and Sam Thompson won easily, by a 2-1 margin, against Bob Brown and Jim Whatshisname, despite some bogus Dem polls showing that the race is close. All in all, the Republicans swept all four Assembly races in Monmouth County, by an average of 2-1, so a big congrats to all of them: Handlin, Thompson, O'Scanlon, Casagrande, Rible, Angelini, Malone and Dancer.

Me and re-elected Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, on Sunday

We were also relaxed about John Curley's race for freeholder. Last year, he lost by a handful of votes, in what was a bad year for Republicans. But he didn't give up, John came back and campaigned as hard as he could. I've never seen a better, stronger campaigner than John Curley. He faced unfavorable odds: Democrats had won the previous three freeholder races in Monmouth County, breaking the 5-0 majority that Republicans had enjoyed for over 20 years. Our slogan this year was "Take back Monmouth County", as barely 9 month into power the Dems started running it into the ground. Last week, John told me he was polling 17% ahead of Middletown committeeman Sean Byrnes, but he didn't trust that and he'd cut it in half. Well, on election night he won by almost 21%! I don't think anybody expected such a big margin, even his most optimistic supporters. This means he'll join Lillian Burry and Rob Clifton and starting January 1st they'll do what they do best - keep Monmouth County a great place to live.

With new freeholder John Curley and re-elected Assemblyman Dave Rible, last Thursday at Bar A

So by around 9pm, we had three races nailed, and one remaining - the big one. Chris Christie against unpopular incumbent Jon Corzine. Everything was against Christie, especially NJ being a very blue state, where no Republican has won a statewide election since 1997 and Obama won last year by 15% (but also, no Democratic Governor has been re-elected here since 1978 - says a lot about what a great job they've been doing). When I first met Chris in February, he was a long shot, and all we could do as hope. Then over the summer he went to a comfortable lead in the polls, but in the last weeks before the election Corzine's negative adds paid off and they became statistically tied. But it was still better than recent years, when no Republican candidate went into election day with real hope of winning.

Back to Lincroft Inn. Around 10pm, the networks started calling the race for Chris Christie, as he was leading by 4-5% with two thirds of the vote counted. There was an explosion of hapiness in the room, but somehow it quickly calmed down, as it was still quite close and everybody was afraid the number could reverse in the end. It was extremely tense, as everybody left their tables and we were all stuck around the TV, cheering every time the percentage of the vote counted went up, and the difference stayed the same. Then Patrick Short made his way to the crowd, and went to Steve Massell to congratulate him for his own. I was a bit surprised and I think it was a nice gesture. He thanked him for a clean campaign, and forgot about all the mud he'd thrown at Steve's family. I wonder if he said again, like on his inauguration day, that "The People have spoken". Must've been a really short party for the Democrats, as they lost all their races.

Pat Short conceding the race

Minute after minute, it became more and more clear that we can't lose this victory, and the Christie-Guadagno won, by 49% - 44%. And 3rd party candidate Daggett got only 5%, despite polling around 10% or higher. It's a very big margin, it was never close as even Republicans had forecasted. And I think that what turned the tides was the strong endorsements, just over the past weekend, from the most conservative Republicans. People that had attacked Christie for month, and vowed to write in another name or vote for a 3rd party candidate, decided with a few days before the election that getting rid of Corzine is more important and, led by Steve Lonegan, urged all their followers to go out and vote for Christie. Without these endorsements, I'm afraid it would've been very close or Corzine might've stolen the win.

So it was a great night for the Monmouth Republicans. All state contests were won by around 2-1, including the Governor's race. In February, Chairman Joe Oxley promised Christie a 27,000 votes win. He delivered 64,000. Congrats to Joe who, in his first full year as Chairman, stopped the Democrat surge and won big in all the county-wide races. And it trickled down to many township races. Incumbents were thrown out, like in Middletown, the county's biggest township. In Howell, Republicans won their first seat since 2004. In Freehold Boro, the first since 2001. Even losing in Red Bank, a Dem stronghold, they lost by only 8 votes.

This is only the beginning. The great wins in NJ and VA should send a strong message to Obama and his cronies. And next year is even bigger than this one, as we have to take back the House, and stop Pelosi from trying to destroy America. We have Mike Halfacre here, taking on Rush Holt, and we need a strong candidate to take on Frank Pallone. If formerly blue New Jersey could do it, I'm sure America can do it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who Am I Voting For

Tomorrow is finally Election Day. Although it must be pretty clear for followers of this blog, here's how (and why) I'm voting for:

I've been asked several times how will Steve change things in Middletown, how will he make it better. The thing is that Middletown is doing pretty well now. I think it's called "the best-run town in New Jersey". I see new construction here almost every month, so people are moving into Middletown. So the idea is to keep Middletown as it is now - a great place to live. Steve's opponent, Pat Short, is focused mainly on opposing the good things the Republican leadership is doing. And he's in favor of COAH which would negatively affect our way of life here in Middletown. Steve is the young voice we need on the committee.

Monmouth County is one of the best counties to live in not only in New Jersey, but in the entire nation. For 30 years, the Republican majority has made sure it stays like this. The Democrats have been in power for just one year, and they're already trying to run in into the ground. They fired police officers and hired their political cronies. They want to privatize the county jail, but keep the useless youth detention center. They want to remove essential programs, but introduce a lot of wasteful spending. One year was enough, and I think Monmouth residents woke up and will vote for John Curley so you can Take Back Monmouth County.

Amy's and Sam's record on ethics and controlling spending is very clear. They're two of the most dedicated Republicans in the Assembly. We can't afford to lose any seat there, as we're trying to cut into the Democratic majority. It won't happen this year, but maybe it will in 2-3 years, and then I'm sure Amy will have an important role in the new leadership.

This is of course the main race in our State. Republicans have a unique chance to win their first statewide election in 12 years. Since Christine Todd Whitman won in 1997, no Republican candidate went into Election Day with clear chances of winning. I know there's a lot of disagreement on Christie's positions, but it's clear that he'll reduce taxes, control spending, and appoint more conservative judges on the Supreme Court. He also promised to help us get rid of COAH. This will be a close election, so everybody must go out and vote for Christie. His former opponent, Steve Lonegan, said it best on Sunday: "you must not vote for a third party candidate, or write in someone's name; only a vote for Christie will ensure that we don't get four more years of Corzine". We can't afford Corzine any more, and voting for Chris is the only way to prevent that. I'm very glad to see that even the most conservative Republicans changed their mind and have publicly declared their intention to vote for Chris&Kim. When Rick Shaftan, Mike Illions, Mike Proto or Steve Lonegan urge people to vote for Christie, you know we can't lose this election!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pre Election Sunday Rallies

On the last Sunday before the elections, I attended two very different rallies, but both had the some goal: getting people to vote for Christie, and get rid of Corzine! There've been many differences between the moderate and the more conservative Republicans, and I know there are a lot of Republicans who don't like Christie, but for now he is the best (and only) choice in this election. I understand some friends took a vow not to vote for him, and kept saying they'll write in some other name, or vote for a 3rd party candidate, but that is equivalent to voting for Corzine, and I never understood how any of them could think that four more years of Corzine would be somehow better than electing Christie.

My first event today was the Morristown Tea Party, in front of Washington's Headquarters. The Morristown group is famous as being one of the first ones in NJ, and attracting the biggest crowds at each of their rallies. I met Jeff Weingarten, the Morristown leader, and we both agreed that the tea party groups should come together, go to the events together, and clear their differences. Now I know there are quite a few other tea party leaders who don't like Jeff, and I think this is really dumb. I can understand where the conflict between conservative Republicans and moderate Republicans comes from, but the conflict between conservatives who like Jeff and conservatives who don't like Jeff is beyond me. The thing is, tea partiers don't really care about that, they're just looking for a forum to express their beliefs, and this bickering just puts some leaders in a bad light.

The event was nicely organized, a crowd of maybe a couple hundred people, and there was a band to entertain the people during the breaks. The first speaker was Steve Lonegan, who came out strongly for Christie in recent days. I think this is a big victory for Christie's campaign, to get Lonegan on his side, as this could finally determine the conservative "rebels" to not waste their vote on a meaningless candidate. And we saw the first results. I met there Mike Proto, very conservative blogger, who despite all his claims over the past few months, said he'll vote for Christie (although he formulated it very differently). I also met Alice (the one with the Restaurant) who's also determined to vote for Christie. At the end of his speech, Steve Lonegan thanked his primary voters, and urged all of them "not to write in his name, but vote for Christie to make sure Corzine doesn't get four more years".

The highlight of the Morristown Tea Party was the appearance by Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, the one who famously told Obama "You Lie!" when the president tried to mislead the nationwide audience. To make that clear, Joe Wilson called Obama on his claim that the healthcare bill doesn't cover illegal immigrants. People at home could've believed that, but Joe knew it very well, because Republicans in the house had tried 3 times to introduce an amendment to deny coverage to illegals, and 3 times had the Democrats voted it down. So it was not a mistake, or a provision that could be interpreted, Obama's people have intentionally refused to keep illegals of taxpayer-funded insurance. And Democrats reacted quickly, the day after Joe Wilson called that like they discreetly voted the amendment into the law.

Joe Wilson was a very friendly guy, he was funny and witty, but he was dead serious in his speech when he said that we have to vote for Christie, not only because we couldn't stand four more years of Corzine, but a victory here and in Virginia would send a clear message to Nancy Pelosi that Americans are waking up, and the Democrats' rule in Congress is coming to an end. Wilson started by making a few ties to New Jersey (best line was that he likes our shore... although it's not really Hilton Head), praised Reagan on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then hammered the healthcare bill that the House will be voting on. As he said, it's a 2,000 pages bill, and 2,000 pages can't be a bill on healthcare, but a bill on taking over America and taking control of our lives. It's about replacing the doctor-pacient relationship with a doctor-53 government agencies-pacient relationship. It was very nice of Congressman Wilson to come to NJ and help our cause in the upcoming election.

It was a very good event in Morristown and it's the first time that I see Chris Christie supporters and tea partiers really mingling together and rallying for the same cause. From Morristown I drove back to Middletown where the Bachstad Tavern hosted a stop on Chris Christie's bus tour. And of course I found my local fellow tea partiers there, who stopped their weekly protest short and came in full force to support our candidate. The Tavern was packed, there were hundreds of people, all the local officials: assemblymen, senators, mayors, committeemen, GOP officials, Middletown republicans, and many more. Our freeholder candidate, John Curley, gave a passionate speech, as did Senator Kyrillos, Chairman Oxley, NJ GOP Chairman Jay Webber, Lt Governor candidate Kim Guadagno and, of course, Chris Christie. Chris mentioned everything that's wrong about Corzine, told us how the DNC is paying robocalls in favor of Daggett, and reached out to Lonegan supporters, thanking him for helping with his campaign. The crowd was very energetic, and I left with a very good vibe that NJ Republicans might finally win a statewide election for the first time in 12 years.

Only less than two days are left and now it's more important than ever to get everybody out to vote, and to vote for the only candidate that can assure the democrats' defeat: CHRIS CHRISTIE!