The Morning Briefing May 11, 2012
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – There's one candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey who has not raised a nickel, has no support system and not one voter knows who he is. And he is winning the race, the latest polls show. This candidate, known as "Someone Else," has 37 percent of the vote, compared to the incumbent frontrunner, Sen. Bob Menendez, at 30 percent. Maybe the Republican candidate – State Sen. Joe Kyrillos – should print bumper stickers that read: "Vote Kyrillos or Else."
MORRISTOWN – Don't mess with a man's password. That's the message handed down by a Superior Court judge in Morristown, as authorities want to crack open the BlackBerry phone of a California trucker busted for hauling "only" 364 pounds of marijuana. The Daily Record reports that if the trucker divulged that information, it would be akin to self-incrimination, violating the Fifth Amendment. Seems cracking the password should be the late-night job of an eager-beaver law intern, who can begin with "1111" and work up to "9999."
TRENTON – Federal health care reform – which Republicans angrily dismiss as "ObamaCare" – has taken a step back in New Jersey, as Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation to create an online marketplace – like an Expedia.com – for the middle class to buy federally-subsidized health insurance. Christie didn't see the logic in passing the legislation when the Supreme Court is still deciding if Obama's plan is legal. This online marketplace makes sense – as long as brokers remain in the mix to explain the plans and ensure people aren't buying what they don't need.
ON THE FIELD – Are the New Jersey Generals coming back? Not at all likely, but the USFL is being reincarnated next year as a sort of minor league system for football players eager to show NFL scouts they have game, ESPN reports. The USFL will learn from past mistakes, only playing from March to June when the NFL is on break, and only playing in cities where there is no current NFL franchise. New Jersey sports bars must love the concept, as it expands the wing-and-beer diet for football fans for another 14 weeks.
PATERSON – Two related professional moving companies are being shut down after numerous complaints of bait-and-switch and charging customers ridiculous rates. The companies would offer to move people's stuff for as low as $210, but once it's all packed up and on the truck, they would suddenly add on hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fees. No pay, no stuff. In one case, the Record reports, a mover offered a woman to have sex to lower the fees or to release her belongings. This is all a victory for U-Haul and any other company that encourages you to gather some buddies with pizza and beer and move it all yourself.
ATLANTIC CITY – More than ever, a key economic indicator of the state's economy is casino revenue. If unemployment is up, slot revenue is down. NJ Biz reports the casinos are still bleeding, with casino gaming revenue down about $29 million last month compared to last April. One shining star is the Tropicana, which somehow managed to increase its revenue from the year-to-year comparison by a whopping 39 percent. Every other casino was flat or lost money. Upcoming key indicators will be the "official" grand opening of the mega-resort Revel, with four days of Beyoncé concerts, and this glitzy "Do AC" ad campaign.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1967 that 100 million phones were wired and installed in America. One nine-year-old daughter, reading over a shoulder at this precise moment, asks how you wire and install a cell phone.