Friday, August 4, 2017

Impeachment: This is how it would work

From Roll Call:
Published on Aug 3, 2017

President Donald Trump has only been in office for six months, but polls show the nation is evenly split on whether he should be removed from office. Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings draws out what the process would look like, and explains the long odds of a GOP House and Senate removing a president from their own party.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Booker: America should legalize marijuana

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses. This has wasted human potential, torn apart families and communities, and squandered massive sums of taxpayer dollars.

Currently, over half of all drug arrests in the United States are due to marijuana—the majority for simple possession. Police now arrest more Americans for simple possession of marijuana than for all violent crimes—murder, sexual assault, and armed robbery—combined.

It’s time the federal government follow the lead of many of our states and our nation’s capital, and begin to take meaningful steps to reverse mass incarceration and address the gross injustices of the failed War on Drugs. It’s time to legalize marijuana in the United States of America.

That’s why I’ve introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, a bill that if passed will legalize marijuana at the federal level, and incentivize states to legalize it at the state level. The bill would also retroactively apply to those serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related offenses, providing for a judge’s review of their marijuana sentence.

Our federal marijuana laws have not made our country safer—in fact, by enforcing our existing marijuana laws on predominantly low-level, nonviolent offenders, police are forced to take away precious resources from fighting violent crime in our communities.

Marijuana-related offenses are also not enforced equally across race and class. It’s a disturbing fact that while blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, African Americans are almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

The War on Drugs has failed all Americans, and has had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor. Legalizing marijuana across our country is the right thing to do for public safety, and will reduce our overflowing prison population.

If you agree that our marijuana laws have been ineffective and that we can make our criminal justice system more just by legalizing marijuana, please join me in supporting the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.

Thank you for your support.


Monday, July 31, 2017

No Show Smith

Published on Jul 24, 2017 
Rep. Chris "No Show" Smith (NJ-04) has not held a public town hall in nearly 25 years. Instead, he prefers to spend his time demonizing his constituents on talk radio and in the op-ed pages of the local paper, rubbing elbows with campaign donors, and taking it easy in his home of the last few decades in Herndon, VA. He has yet to say anything challenging the increasingly-disturbing Trump administration, probably because he's made a bargain to continue fawning over 45 in exchange for the ability to advance his misogynistic, homophobic, anti-choice agenda.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pallone on Trumpcare Senate Defeat

July 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement this morning after the Senate rejected the so-called “skinny” Trumpcare amendment:

“From the very beginning, every version of Trumpcare has been heartless. The American people were justifiably concerned about losing their health care, paying significantly more money for less care, and the prospect of being discriminated against due to a pre-existing condition. Despite all of the secrecy behind these plans, the American people were never fooled by Trumpcare, and they have consistently voiced their strong opposition to these cruel plans.

“With the Senate’s action early this morning, it is my hope that Republicans will abandon any thought of repealing the Affordable Care Act so that we can work together on bipartisan solutions to reduce costs and improve access to care.”

Schumer: 'We Can Work Together, Our Country Demands It'

From NBC News

"We are relieved."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reacts to the dramatic overnight vote that resulted in GOP failing to repeal Obamacare, and pays tribute to Sen. John McCain, who voted against the "skinny" repeal.

Whiny Little Mitch

From NBC News

An emotional Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the 1:40 a.m. vote went down that Republicans remained committed to repealing the Obama-era health law. 
“We told our constituents we would vote that way and when the moment came, the moment came, most of us did," he said. 
"This is clearly a disappointment," McConnell added. "It's time to move on."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Middletown Firefighters Hold Shave a Hero // Save a Hero Event

The Shave a Hero// Save a Hero event is a family oriented, heartfelt afternoon aiming to raise as many funds as possible so that we at Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer can help fulfill desperately needed research grants specific to children's cancers. This event will be held RAIN or SHINE!

WHEN: Saturday July 29, 2017

TIME: Noon - 4:00pm

WHERE: Community Firehouse Station #4,
75 Appleton Avenue
Leonardo, NJ

This beautiful, fun-filled afternoon will consist of food, activities, raffles, prizes, face-painting, balloon animals, lots of laughter and OF COURSE head shaving!

While the main attraction will be our BIG heroes (local firefighters, police officers and first-aid responders), being shaved by our LITTLE heroes (both childhood cancer fighters and survivors), shaving is open to anyone willing to go for the bald is beautiful our eyes ANYONE willing to shave their head or help us in any other capacity is a true hero!

Remember, whether you plan on shaving or not...ALL ARE WELCOME at our event so spread the word and we CAN'T WAIT to see you!!

I first heard of this event while driving home from work yesterday morning while listening to Shellie Sonstein on Q104.3, and knew that I just had to let others know about it. If you would like to learn more about the fundraiser and organization, checkout the website Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer.  If you can't attend the fundraiser and/or wish to support the cause, you can do so ... HERE   Thanks MM

Above, 6-year-old Mia McCaffrey shaves 1st Asst. Chief (Middletown Twp. Fire Dept) Ryan Clarke's head during the filming of "Fighter" (August 2016). This past March 17th Mia passed away from the cancer that she was fighting (parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma). Shave a Hero//Save a Hero was inspired by Mia's brave fight and all will be raised in her beautiful name to fight the very cancer that took her life.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

New York Giants' 2017 Training Camp Open Practice Schedule

The NY Giants head to training camp this week. If you'd like to attend one of their open practices this year, below is the schedule and further information to know before you go.  I've taken my son and father to Giants camp several times in the past. It's a great way to spend a few hours watching and talking about our favorite football team and the upcoming season.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants announced the schedule for their 2017 training camp, which will be presented by Toyota. The camp will feature 11 practice sessions open to the public at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, which is located on the MetLife Sports Complex. The first practice session will take place on Friday, July 28 at 11:40 a.m.


Admission: There is no admission charge for watching training camp workouts. All practices will be held at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center

Fan Guidelines: Practice sessions will be open to the public throughout training camp (July 28-Aug. 14). Limited seating is provided alongside the practice fields. Restroom facilities, concession stands and a free kids' activity area will be available.

Fan Parking: Parking is free and is located in Lot K on the grounds of the MetLife Sports Complex. The lot will open to the public one hour before the scheduled start time of practice and the gates will open 30 minutes before practice begins. The parking lot will close one hour following the conclusion of practice. All fans attending practice will be subject to security screening before entering the seating area.

Autographs: Select Giants legends will sign autographs during practice each day for all fans. A listing of those Giants legends and the dates they will sign will be released on

Each day after practice, a rotating group of current Giants players will sign autographs for the first 400 fans age 12 and under. The autograph opportunity will take place behind the Kids’ Zone area. All kids who are interested in the opportunity are encouraged to visit the sign-up table with a guardian immediately upon arriving at the practice so that they can receive a wristband. The sign-up table will be located immediately in front of the kids’ autograph area, and all wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once wristbanded, they can enjoy the rest of practice and are encouraged to return 30 minutes prior to the end of practice to be allowed into the autograph area. Kids must have a wristband to be permitted into the autograph area.

Kids’ Zone: Families will love the Big Blue Kids’ Zone at camp, with games, face painting, and inflatables for kids of all ages. The first 200 kids who visit the Big Blue Kids’ Zone at every practice will also receive a special gift. Families can visit the Big Blue Kids’ Zone when the gates open through the end of practice.

Rain Policy: In the event of inclement weather (including rain, wind, thunderstorms or extreme heat), practices will be moved indoors and be closed to the public. Please check prior to every practice for up-to-the-minute changes in the daily practice schedule.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

I found this interesting article while surfing for some compelling content to post. It's no wonder health care is so expensive when hospitals, pharmacies and us patients are told that we need to toss out a drug that's past its expiration date. It's been found that many drugs are perfectly fine to use years after the date on the label has come and gone. -MM

Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.

by Marshall Allen
ProPublica, July 18, 2017

The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless. 
But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

Cantrell called Roy Gerona, a University of California, San Francisco, researcher who specializes in analyzing chemicals. Gerona had grown up in the Philippines and had seen people recover from sickness by taking expired drugs with no apparent ill effects.

“This was very cool,” Gerona says. “Who gets the chance of analyzing drugs that have been in storage for more than 30 years?”

The age of the drugs might have been bizarre, but the question the researchers wanted to answer wasn’t. Pharmacies across the country — in major medical centers and in neighborhood strip malls — routinely toss out tons of scarce and potentially valuable prescription drugs when they hit their expiration dates.

Gerona and Cantrell, a pharmacist and toxicologist, knew that the term “expiration date” was a misnomer. The dates on drug labels are simply the point up to which the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies guarantee their effectiveness, typically at two or three years. But the dates don’t necessarily mean they’re ineffective immediately after they “expire” — just that there’s no incentive for drugmakers to study whether they could still be usable.

ProPublica has been researching why the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world. One answer, broadly, is waste — some of it buried in practices that the medical establishment and the rest of us take for granted. We’ve documented how hospitals often discard pricey new supplies, how nursing homes trash valuable medications after patients pass away or move out, and how drug companies create expensive combinations of cheap drugs. Experts estimate such squandering eats up about $765 billion a year — as much as a quarter of all the country’s health care spending...

Continue reading

Pallone and Pascrell Introduce Bipartisan Flood Insurance Reform Bill in the House

July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) introduced the bipartisan Sustainable, Affordable, Fair and Efficient National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SAFE NFIP) of 2017. The bill protects policyholders from skyrocketing premiums and reauthorizes the NFIP for six years, while also reforming current practices. Those reforms include: improved flood mapping, greater affordability, and increased oversight of the program.

Last month Pascrell and Pallone announced their support for the Senate version of the SAFE NFIP Act, which was spearheaded by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), and their intention to work with House colleagues to introduce companion legislation.

The Congressmen have been leaders in demanding transparency and swift action on behalf of those who have suffered from inefficiencies and widespread fraud in the National Flood Insurance Program, and have championed the need for reforms of the program.

The legislation would take concrete steps to improve quality and accountability in the National Flood Insurance Program by implementing the following policies:

- Provide long-term certainty, reauthorizing the NFIP for six years.

- Protect policyholders from excessive rate hikes, capping annual premium increases to 10 percent.

- Reinvest in proactive mitigation efforts that have a 4:1 return on investment, with some projects enjoying a 54:1 return on investment.

- Fund new Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for more accurate mapping of flood risks across the country.

- Provide FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.

“Superstorm Sandy devastated many communities in my district. In the wake of the storm, too many of my constituents found that, after responsibly paying for their flood insurance, their policy failed to provide the coverage they needed and deserved when they needed it the most. Many were prevented from repairing their homes and resuming their lives by a claims review process that moved too slowly and was riddled with fraud. As this was happening and people were suffering, the flood insurance companies made record profits.” said Rep. Pallone. “The SAFE NFIP Act takes concrete steps to make the program more affordable, increase oversight and transparency of the flood insurance companies, invest in mitigation efforts, and reform the claims process using lessons learned from Sandy. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight for this bill and our constituents.”

“Too many New Jerseyans were left holding the bag in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Pascrell. “In many cases, it took years for them to work through the claims review process to repair the damage done to their homes, businesses, and lives. As my constituents suffered, we learned this slow process was rife with fraud, abuse, and waste. Now, with Congress set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, New Jerseyans deserve to know their representatives are fighting for their interests in Washington. Unlike thepartisan legislation coming from some corners in the House, the bipartisan SAFE NFIP Act makes needed reforms based on the lessons learned from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. The SAFE NFIP Act creates investments in pre-disaster flood control and mitigation efforts, increases oversight and transparency of the flood insurance companies, and reforms the claims process in order to help protect New Jersey families in the future.”

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey and other states along the Eastern Seaboard, causing tens of billions of dollars in economic losses, and destroying or damaging hundreds of thousands of homes. The recovery of many New Jerseyans has been hindered by FEMA’s handling of the Sandy Claims Review Process. According to the FEMA, 16% of claims in the review process remain open. So far, policyholders have received $217,320,492 in additional payments from FEMA.

Congressmen Pallone and Pascrell will continue to work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to make meaningful improvements to the flood insurance program. The House bill is also cosponsored by Reps. Albio Sires (NJ-08), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10).Congress must reauthorize the NFIP, which expires on Sept. 30, 2017.