Tag Archives: Bob Menendez

From Extraordinary Leaders Come Extraordinary Measures

Bookmark and Share     In a few days a dramatic motion picture that could shape politics in one state will be coming to a theatre near you. I have not seen it yet, so it would be premature to declare it to be a cinematic tour de force but I do know it will be inspirational. I also know that it may finally launch the rise of a political force to reckon with from New Jersey.

 The movie, “Extraordinary Measures”, stars Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser and it is based on the very real plight of John and Aileen Crowley who raced time and battled against all odds.

 John and Aileen were handed their greatest challenge when their children, Megan and Patrick were both born with a fatal neuromuscular disorder called Pompe disease.

Determined to change the deadly fate that doctors predicted, John and Aileen sought the care and treatment that could keep Patrick and Megan alive. But the disorder was so rare that few if any pharmaceutical entities attempted to develop effective treatments  for Pompe.  The disease was so rare that it lacked any widespread study. With so relatively few inflicted with Pompe, there was little if any profit motive for either the medical, scientific or pharmaceutical fields to devote much time, manpower and resources to it. Such a rare disease received barely even a fraction of the attention that more common health problems such as cancer receive.

The unimaginable situation that the Crowleys were dealt, compelled them to settle in Princeton, New Jersey so that they could be nearest to where some of the only doctors who had any experience in Pompe disease were located. But even in the hands of the most experienced experts of the disorder, John and Aileen were consistently forced to face the bleak diagnosis originally prescribed to their children.

Determined, John subsequently took up employment with Bristol-Meyers Squibb in the hope of fostering efforts to expedite a cure or treatment for the disease that was killing little Patrick and Megan.

After two years, with little progress and many roadblocks, he left Bristol-Meyers to break through the barriers and embark on a new venture to increase the pace of research into Pompe and the development of a cure. It was a race against time that was slowly taking the lives of his children.

Crowley joined forces with dedicated professionals and became the CEO of a biotech company called Novazyme. Eventually Novazyme merged with the world’s largest biotech company, Genzyme Corp., and soon after that the combined efforts of the two, brought about by John Crowley, expedited the creation of an enzyme replacement therapy for Pompe disease that is keeping the Crowley kids alive today.

Getting to that point was not easy and there were a great many trials and tribulations, but John Crowley, his wife, and the team he assembled, never gave up. The story is the stuff that books are written about. And before the movie was made about it, a book about the Crowley’s was written by a Pulitzer prize winning author.  It is called “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – And Bucked the Medical Establishment – In a Quest to Save His Children (ISBN 978-0060734398).

The experience now keeps Crowley hard at work as President and CEO of Cranbury, New Jersey based, Amicus Therapeutics. He believes that increased awareness about rare diseases, in general, is of great importance.

According to Crowley:

“There are 7000 rare diseases that collectively affect over 30 million people. That is more than everyone who suffers from all cancers and AIDS combined. So taken together these diseases are not rare at all – in fact they are remarkably prevalent. While the symptoms and severity of these rare diseases may vary, there are commonalities with regards to a framework of development for novel therapies that can and should be applied to all these disorders.”

Unfortunately, success stories like that of the Crowley family are far and few between. The uniqueness of their plight is one reason why it is so worthy of telling. The extraordinary measures that John Crowley and his wife took and the extraordinary feat of overcoming almost insurmountable odds to achieve a miracle of survival can only be accomplished by extraordinary people. Admittedl, few can be more motivated than a parent fighting for their children’s survival, but few have the faith, innovation and leadership required to make the impossible possible. Such qualities are what true leaders are made of. The type of leaders our nation needs more of. Leader’s who understand that personal freedom, can do more than people shackled by government burdens and blocked by government bureaucracies.

Perhaps that is why John Crowley is a Republican. He is not someone who will allow his fate to be written for him. He is determined to write his own. He is not someone content with being restricted by government but happier to get government out of the way.

It is also perhaps why, in the last few election cycles, John Crowley has been seen as a possible candidate for elected office in New Jersey. In 2008, there were some who hoped that Crowley would seek the US Senate seat currently occupied by the long serving, lackluster Frank Lautenberg.  Crowley failed to enter the race.

Later that year and in the early part of 2009, there was some speculation that John Crowley might run for Governor of New Jersey. Crowley declined to enter that race too.

I am one of those who held out hope for his candidacy.

Crowley is not a typical politician. He is a doer. His children’s lives are a testimony to that fact. He is not a go-along-to-get-a-long type. He is a man who gets what needs to be done, done. The type of person New Jersey and our nation needs in government, and his record is one of accomplishment, education and dedication.

Before his children were born, John was schooled for three semesters at the U.S. Naval Academy, graduated with degrees in foreign service from Georgetown University and went on to obtain his J.D from Notre Dame Law School before working as a litigation associate in the health care industry. He subsequently furthered his education and received an M.B.A from Harvard Business School. From there he went on to work for a San Francisco based management consulting firm.

Now, at 42, in addition to being a proud parent of three, devoted husband, as well as President and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, Crowley is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is also not shy about his political beliefs. As part of a political action committee called “Building the New Majority”, John assists a grassroots network that helps launch the candidacies of good Republicans on the local, county and statewide levels.

 Whether or not John Crowley will himself ever be one of those candidates is still a question mark. What the future holds is anybody’s guess. At least anybody who is not John Crowley. I have a feeling he knows what he intends to do.

Despite the recent election of a Republican Governor, New Jersey has few figures who are in any great position to win a statewide office in a state that leans so heavily to the left. But John Crowley would be one the few people who could be a strong candidate and who also has experience with uphill battles. The opportunity for statewide office will not come until 2012 when Democrat Senator Bob Menendez will be up for reelection. For that seat, there has recently been some speculation about financial journalist and anchorman Lou Dobbs running for the against Menendez, but if I had my druthers, the next Republican nominee for US Senate would be John Crowley.

Aside from knowing how to run a successful business that saves lives and aside from his having a track record of accomplishment that few can match, few candidates for elected office have a major motion picture made about them. That kind of introduction to the public can not be matched by any 30 second campaign commercial that airs during Desperate Housewives, when you get up to relieve yourself.

So I am looking forward to catching Extraordinary Measures   when it comes out on January 22nd .

Aside from promising to be one of those entertaining, feel good flicks, I look forward to seeing what I believe will be the launch of a new political rising star.

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Ted Kennedy’s Dying Wish Becomes A Trend In New Jersey

Bookmark and Share  Who knew that one of Ted Kennedy’s greatest legacies would have been his dying wish to legalize partisan political power grabs? But such is the case.

As the liberal led majorities in New Jersey’s State Senate and Assembly brace themselves for operating under the leadership of a newly elected Republican Governor, they are desperately trying to insure that they do not lose anymore elected positions than they expect to in the coming years.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman John McKeon, an Essex County Democrat, requires the Governor to temporarily fill U.S. Senate vacancies with a members of the same party as the person whose seat they fill and get rid of the current call for a special election to fill out the full term of any such vacancy.

This type of manipulation of the democratic process is much like that which Ted Kennedy initiated in Massachusetts. While lying on his deathbed, he penned a letter asking the state legislature to change existing laws which called fall vacancies in the United States Senate to be filled by the winner of a special election. In its place, Kennedy wanted the Governor to be able to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. The funny thing is that this was how vacancies use to be filled. But several years back, Massachusetts had a Republican Governor——-Mitt Romney. Back then, in 2004, it was feared that if Massachusetts Senator John Kerrey was elected President, Governor Romney would have appointed his replacement to his senate seat and it probably would not have been with a Democrat. So Kennedy asked the legislature to make sure that such a thing could not happen. He asked that the law be changed so that the vacancy was filled by a special election.

Fast forward 5 years and as Kennedy lay dying, since the new Governor of Massachusetts was a Democrat, like him, he asked that Massachusetts change the law back to what he originally opposed. This enabled liberal Governor Deval Patrick to appoint Kennedy’s replacement rather than risk losing the seat in a special election.

The episode was an example of political insincerity and it hit all time heights of hypocrisy. It was also a despicably low way for Ted Kennedy to end his life and career. But like everything else Ted Kennedy did, it influenced unscrupulous liberals to continue his legacy and go out of their way to manipulate the democratic process.

New Jersey Assemblyman McKeon’s bill is a shameful attempt to do the same that Kennedy did. Such attempts to change the process in New Jersey were not attempted when Governor Jon Corzine appointed Democrat Bob Menendez to fill his own vacated seat in the United States Senate. However, now that a Republican has the opportunity to yield the same power that they once had, they want the rules changed. But beyond that is the absolutely ridiculous, and totally blatant nature of just how partisan Democrats are willing to go. McKeon actually stresses that the seat must be filled by someone of the same party as the person whom they replace. That is unheard of. To actually try to legislate away any hope of nonpartisan politics is a dreadfully obnoxious attempt to block any opportunity for decency to play a role in politics. The proposed legislation actually makes it clear that McKeon and his cohorts believe party is more important than ability.

The push for such an embarrassingly partisan power grab does raise questions though.

Next month, five term liberal Senator Frank Lautenberg will turn 86 years old.

The man is already brain dead. He has been, even before he retired in 2000 and was illegally thrown back on the ballot in 2002 when Democrats were losing Bob Torricelli’s senate seat to Republican Doug Forrester. But since then, Lautenberg has truly been a non-entity. All of his activity takes place on press releases issued by his very large senate staff. Other than that, when Frank was running for reelection last year, he needed to be reminded of who he was and after having the drool wiped from his chin, reminded where he was.

Currently I believe both he and West Virginia’s Robert Byrd are propped up by leaning them against one another in the Senate chambers for appearances. But other than that they are useless. They are simply 2 more numbers helping Harry Reid, the Democrat senate majority leader, to maintain majority status and control.

Now until someone places a mirror under Lautenberg’s nose and confirms my assessment, Lautenberg is suppose to be 91 year’s old when his fifth term expires in 2015. That is unless, of course, it is proven that Lautenberg has actually expired before his term.

Perhaps this is why New Jersey Democrats want to change the rules. Could they themselves be realizing that they might not be able to prop up the comatose Senator for much longer? And could it be they fear that when the gig is up, Republican Governor Chris Christie could replace Lautenberg with a Republican who is actually breathing? My guess is that the answer is yes. But add to that the fact that things are not looking good for Democrats as they begin to lose more than they win. In this past November’s elections, they lost far more than they won. They lost County Executives, Governors, state legislative seats, Attorney Generals and as host of other local county, and statewide elected offices and all indications are that the trend is growing.

So Democrats are scared. They should be. But that is no excuse to manipulate the process. Democrats need to understand that their power should lie in superior leadership and ideas. It should lie in policies that are helping, not hurting people.

Apparently they realize that they and their policies are not superior. In fact, as time progresses, more and more people are once again realizing that Democrats are not good leaders and that their ideas and policies are inferior, not superior. That is why they losing their hold on power.. That is why they are all trying to practice Ted Kennedy’s deathbed policy that puts politics ahead of policy and politicians above the people.

Do they not have any shame?

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STIMULUS DOLLARS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

6aantillegalstimulusBookmark and Share     Prior to the senate’s passage of the most expensive spending package in history, there was a great deal of debate on exactly what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 should include and what guidelines should be created regarding how money in the bill would be spent. 

A bill of such historic size and scope has a lot of strings attached and well it should. That is why Republicans in the Senate tried to insure that one of the greatest concerns in this bill, jobs, be addressed properly. So Alabama’s Republican Senator, Jeff Sessions, tried to offer amendment SA 239. It was an amendment that required all businesses that received any troubled asset relief money or that would get any other federal funds or tax breaks be required to implement use of the electonic verification data base that currently operates under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security.

The E-Verify system vets the immigration status of workers and helps to prevent the hiring of undocumented immigrants.

The measure would have been an added level of security to help insure that the stimulus package did its job for the American people. It was meant to insure that money aimed at increasing jobs for Americans did just that and created jobs for Americans and not foreign citizens living here illegally.

But despite attempts to make this spending bill a more meaningful recovery package, Democrat Senator Max Baucus of Montana objected to the measure.

Immediately following the objection, Nebraska Democrat Senator Ben Nelson made a motion to conclude debate on the entire stimulus package and with a vote of 61 to 36 debate was ended and the stimulus package was scheduled to be voted on without any assurances that any stimulus created jobs will go only to American citizens.

Had debate not ended and the amendment been approved, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and New Jersey Senator Robert antillimmMenendez pledged that they would have used their veto power, under special procedures, to have blocked the E-Verify amendment from being included the final bill.

By denying inclusion of the E-Verify amendment, Democrats have slapped unemployed Americans in the face and Senators Reid, Menendez, Baucus and Nelson have gone out of their way to put the employment opportunities of illegal immigrants on par with hard working, law abiding, American workers. Some reports suggest that their refusal to approve the measure could account for as much as 10 or 11 percent of the money in this stimulus package going towards the hiring of illegal immigrants.

With billions of dollars of questionable spending already included in this so-called recovery package, it is a travesty to see lawmakers go out of their way to willfully waste more by insuring that illegal immigrants have a fair shot at taking jobs away from needy Americans.

Sadly, this is just one example of the American Recovery and Investment Act’s wasteful spending and misappropriation of funds.

Even sadder is the apparent loyalty that Democrats have to the underground culture of illegal immigration.

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STIMULUS PACKAGE JOKE

These are the insightful words of humorist and columnist Dave Barry:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy

Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

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CURBING GOVERNMENT & EMPOWERING PEOPLE; An interview with Steve Lonegan – Part II

Bookmark and Share     Confident that he will be the Republican nominee for Governor, Steve Lonegan answered questions in this interview in a way that came across to me as a back to basics strategy. A strategy that would scale back the scope of government and their intrusiveness in our lives. A strategy that intends to strip off the extras which cost us more.

In the previous installment of this interview, we got a good glimpse of that approach to government when the Mayor answered questions involving the Committee On Affordable Housing. Aside from calling the actions of the committee “leftwing social engineering“ he called for its abolishment.

Such signs of Lonegans desire to put government back in its proper place are most evident in the area of taxes.

antlone1In part two of this interview, Lonegan volunteered that the “first thing” he needs “to do in the state of New Jersey is to cut taxes“.

He says “we have the worst income tax, we have the highest top end rate in the east at 9%, we have the highest sales tax in the nation and the highest property taxes“.

The former mayor claims that these exorbitant taxes are all “a result of the massive growth of state government”. He adds that “we also have the worst estate tax in the country so not only can you not afford to live here, you can’t afford to die here” and he made it clear that under a Lonegan administration, the solution that he will provide to the problem will be achieved by cutting taxes across the board which you do by cutting the size of government. He added that he will do so by “cutting it with an axe, not a scalpel”.

  • …..“The number one driving force behind increases in property taxes in New Jersey is the state government“…..-Steve Lonegan, 1/21/09-POLITICS 24/7 interview

As for property taxes Lonegan believes the key to solving the problem is lifting government off of our backs and giving mayors and local council members “back the tools they need to govern effectively rather than become functionaries of the state whose job it becomes to implement all the COAH mandates and all the other unfunded mandates that Trenton heaps on the backs of local officials.”

Stating that after 12 years as Mayor of Bogotá he knows the burdens of which he speaks, and proclaimed that he knows what it takes to cut taxes and that due to the overreaching that Trenton participates in, local “officials do not have the tools” to cut taxes .”

He added “we need to eliminate COAH which will be driving up our property taxes. We need to give mayors and councils the ability to negotiate union contracts on a fair playing field and we need to give school boards the ability to negotiate teachers contracts and give them  a fair playing field which they do not have now.”

  • …..”The real losers here are the students”…..      -Steve Lonegan, 1/21/09-POLITICS 24/7 interview

Another factor, one of the most important factors, in rising property taxes is the 15 year old Abbot School funding formula which Lonegan clearly states is plain wrong.

Calling the Abbot funding system “another product of our liberal state supreme court”, Lonegan explains that we have the 33 most expensive school districts in America. “These are the Abbot districts where spending per student ranges as much as $25,000 and in some cases $30,000 per student and the real travesty here is that after billions and billions of dollars pored into these school districts, we still have students coming out of these school districts with a less than mediocre education, often in unsafe schools”, he added.

  • ….“I think the idea of collecting money from people and sending it back is absurd”…..                        – Steve Lonegan, 1/21/09-POLITICS 24/7 interview 

Still on the topic of property taxes, I asked the Mayor what he thought of the homestaed rebate program which eligible homeowners recieve after paying their taxes.  His response was expected and right on the mark.

“I think the idea of collecting money money from people and sending it back is absurd.  I think the whole sytem should be eliminated”  said Lonegan.  He  further stated that as governor, as  he reduces the size of government, “one of the programs that will go will be the homestaed rebate program”. 

  • …..”cut taxes for everyone”…..           Steve Lonegan, 1/21/09-POLITICS 24/7 interview

But before anyone takes tthe line about doing away with the homestaead rebate and tries to paint Lonegan as someone who refuses to make it easier for taxpayers in New Jersey, he made clear that his goal is to “cut taxes for everyone and give them real tax cuts, not some phomy income redistribution scheme that requires people to call into some stupid phone number and wait for an hour”.  Steve believes that if we can “start cutting the state’s income and sales tax for the people, they will say, we don’t want your rebate anymore”

As for the education of our children Lonegan declared that the highlight of his career will be the day that he signs a bill requiring every Abbot school districts to “give a quality education to students with the same funding as every other school district in the state of New Jersey”. 

If they don’t, Lonegan demands that they give each parent of those students a voucher so that they can go to the school of their choice.

With much of our discussion dealing with funding and mandates I asked Mayor Lonegan if as Governor, he would refuse any federal funding for the state because of strings that may be attached to it.

When it comes to our return on the tax dollar that New Jerseyans send to Washington, D.C., most of it has to do with the ability of our representatives in D.C. and how good they are at delivering for the state. Our representatives in the U.S. Senate, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez have been a sleep and during their naps, New Jersey has fallen to last place when it comes to the money we get back from Washington. Although New Jersey could use all the help it can get right now, I asked Steve if there was any limit to what help he would reject  t from Washington because of some of the federal strings attached to it.

His matter of fact response was “I certainly would, it depends on the strings of course so it has to be analyzed case by case.”

The mayor did feel that it is a “sad state of affairs when the federal government uses money to manipulate us into implementing their agenda on the state level.”

But that answer cuts both ways.

For instance, I am a supporter of legislation sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn, which prohibits the use of federal money involving projects that a state or local entity obtains through eminent domain policies. I also support federal legislation to link the refusal of Homeland Security dollars to states that allow themselves to be sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.

However the Mayor’s comment has merit. There are many cases where the federal government does refuse to turn over money to a state if they fall short of adopting some of D.C’s  intended social engineering programs, programs like COAH for example,  and besides, he did state that he looks forward to the day when we don’t need any help from Washington.

All in all Steve Lonegan presented a great case for not only conservatives but for taxpayers as well.

He also demonstrated that someone with the experience of a New Jersey township or municipal mayor, might just be what New Jersey needs in a Governor. Who knows best what the ramifications of Trenton’s decisions are in the towns, villages, cities and municipalities, throughout our state, than a mayor who has had to deal with what comes out of Trenton?

His points are hard to argue and the only real area for debate, regarding his points, deal with the approach to the solutions of each of those points and that’s what the Republican primary for the gubernatorial nomination will be all about.

In the next part of this interview we will get into that debate as we ask the Mayor about his opponents and his chances of winning.

We will also get into what may become a political liability and deep bump in Lonegan’s road to victory among Republicans.                                                                        Bookmark and Share

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A friend of mine is in the naval reserves…………….

A few weeks ago, He was attending a conference that included admirals in both the US and the French navies. At a cocktail reception, my friend found himself in a small group that included an admiral from each of the two navies.  

The French admiral started complaining that whereas Europeans learned many languages, Americans only learned English. He then asked. “Why is it that we have to speak English in these conferences rather than you have to speak French?”  

Without even hesitating, the American admiral replied. “Maybe it is because we arranged it so that you did not have to learn to speak German.”

The group became silent.

Submitted by Mike, Broomfield, Co.

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