Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pallone, Neal and Scott Announce Lower Drug Costs Now Act’s Historic Investment in Medicare and Search for New Cures

December 5, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) released the following joint statement today announcing the historic investments in Medicare and the search for new cures that will be included in H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act when it goes to the House floor for a vote next week:

“When the House of Representatives takes up the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act next week, Democrats will not only deliver on our promise to lower prices For the People, but we will also make historic investments in Medicare and the search for new cures and treatments.

“Based on guidance from the Congressional Budget Office, we anticipate that H.R. 3 will save approximately $500 billion over the next ten years that we plan to reinvest in the American people.

“Today we are proud to announce that the Lower Drug Costs Now Act will include transformative expansions of Medicare’s benefits to include dental, vision and hearing for the first time in the history of the program. It will also include critical funding to assist innovation in the search for new cures and treatments, as well as funding to combat the opioid crisis.

“These significant investments are made possible as a result of our promise to finally empower the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for the American people. We look forward to following through on our promise next week.”

Summary of H.R. 3’s historic investments can be found here.

Pallone’s Anti-Robocalls Bill Overwhelmingly Passes House

December 4, 2019

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (NJ-06) bill, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, by an overwhelming vote of 417-3. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was announced as part of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the House and Senate last month, which reconciled the different anti-robocalls bills passed by the Senate in May and the House in June. This agreement increases the chances of the bill passing the Senate and being signed into law by the President.

“Today, the House is giving Americans back control of their phones. Talk to anyone, and you will hear just how annoyed people are by these calls. According to Robokiller, a whopping 5.6 billion robocalls were made to Americans in November alone. And in my district, according to YouMail, more than 200 million calls have been made to the 732 area code this year. That’s outrageous,” Pallone said.

“This is important legislation because unlawful robocalls are not only a nuisance, they are also undermining our entire phone system and consumers' safety as a result. Too often Americans simply will not pick up their phones, out of fear that a robocall is on the other end of the line.

“These calls are not just annoying, in a lot of instances they are scams targeted at consumers. And, unfortunately, these scams are becoming more sophisticated every day. All of these scams are different, and there won’t be a single silver bullet to fix them all, but the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act attacks the problem from multiple angles. It’s time for the Senate to pass this legislation and get it to the President’s desk for a signature.”

The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act:

  • Requires carriers to offer call-authentication technology to everyone at no additional charge;
  • Requires Opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking be offered at no additional charge to consumers;
  • Gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the ability to step up enforcement actions against unlawful robocalls with a longer statute of limitations and increased fines in certain cases;
  • Pushes the Department of Justice to bring more criminal prosecutions against criminal robocallers;
  • Requires the FCC to work to stop one-ring scams;
  • Helps the FCC and responsible carriers traceback and cutoff suspect phone companies that are responsible for sending vast numbers of unlawful robocalls; and
  • Protects patients, doctors and hospitals from unlawful robocalls.

In May, the Senate passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act by a vote of 97-1. In July, the House of Representatives passed Pallone’s Stopping Bad Robocalls Act by an overwhelming vote of 429-3. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act reconciles the differences between those two bills.

Pallone spoke on the House Floor in favor of the legislation. Video of his remarks are available below.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

I just happened to be surfing YouTube and found this music video from 11 years ago released by a band called Fleet Foxes. Their song "White Winter Hymnal" is somewhat mesmerizing and the video claymation is outstanding. There is so much good music out there that we miss if we don't go out and look for it or have others tell us about it. As a testement to how good this song is, I found several cover versions of it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Joe Biden: The World Is Laughing at President Trump

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Free Thanksgiving Dinner

There's no need to go hungry this Thanksgiving. There are a number of organizations in the area that will be serving free Thanksgiving dinner for those in need.

hat tip  Steven Duncan

Brown Friday

There are some things I just don't want to know about....

Donald Trump's Very Special Friendsgiving

From GZEROMedia:

You're invited to Donald Trump's very special Friendsgiving celebration with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and Mohammad bin Salman.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Brother -in-Law or The Tree It Appears.

I know I haven't posted anything directly to this page in a while but here is something that I just couldn't pass up.

In 2017, Gerry Scharfenberger appointed is son-in-law, Tony Perry, to the Middletown Township Committee. In 2018, Perry got a hold of a list of township resident emails from Middletown using an anonymous OPRA request which his campaign used to  sent out an "anonymous" email to residents from a non-existent shadow group attacking his opponent, Sean Byrnes. He still maintains no knowledge of the incident even though he was caught red handed by the Asbury Park Press.

Now you have Dan Scharfenberger, Gerry's son, acting as the campaign manager for the Mayor of Hamilton Township, running an anonymous blog that exposed expunged criminal information of the mayor's Republican primary campaign opponent, David Henderson. It is a crime to release information on expunged criminal records.

Although it's a misdemeanor charge, Dan Scharfenberger, nonetheless is was under criminal investigation for releasing the information on Henderson.

Here are a few links to multiple reports concerning this posting:

Republicans Hush on Charges Against Tom Kean’s Political Director

Prosecutors: Mayor Kelly Yaede gave campaign manager 'green light' to publish Henderson's expunged criminal records


That Scharfenberger family must be very proud of itself, ethically speaking of course.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Movie Leonardo DiCaprio Doesn't Want You To See

After reading about (and watching the 3 part documentary) that the published on August 12th, I finally watched the video of " Don's Plum"; The movie that Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby Maguire didn't want you to see back in 1995.

The story of Don's Plum is fascinating. I recommend reading the article and watching the documentary, I mentioned above before watching the movie in order to get all the background before watching the movie.

Don's Plum was a small budget, indie movie, made for ~ $100K between a group of friends that had the potential to make $Millions at box offices around the world. Instead, friendships were lost and careers ruined as a result of egos and misunderstandings.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 15, 2019 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

The July 15th meeting of the Middletown Township Committee was held at the Tonya Keller Recreation Center, in North Middletown. This meeting happened to be the only meeting of the month for the Committee. I'm still in the process of viewing the video but wanted to post it before to much time has gone by.

Here's a rundown of the night's event:

Members of the Ideal Beach Community Association were presented with a sign that will be mounted on the concession stand at Ideal Beach.

Ordinances were introduced to:

- appoint Debra Marchetti as the new Tax Collector
- reduce the speed limit on Broadway and Center Ave in Leonardo
- Place a stop sign on Cooper Rd where it intersects with McClees Rd
- Make Alexander Dr., in River Plaza, a no stopping or standing area
- Add right turn controls onto Roger Ave in Lincroft
- To borrow $29k in bonds to purchase a video pipe inspection camera
- To borrow $340k for the acquisition of easements for the Pt. Monmouth flood control project
- To borrow $170k for improvements to Grand Tour in the Hartshorne area
- To borrow $377k for various improvements in the township

Resolutions were adopted to:

- add grant monies received to the budget
- the filing of the municipal audit
- the appointment of the Deputy Tax Collector
- appointing an additional public defender
- approved grant applications for the Campbell's Junction Transit Hub Project and to make improvements to Holland Rd.

Residents spoke of newly installed no parking signs on their streets by the beach, leaving them with nowhere to park even though people are parking there to go to the beach and have issues of with illegal parking along Pt. Monmouth Rd, by Bayshore Waterfront Park and no police enforcement. The police chief explained that they were not equipped to handle this situation.

As always you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

July 10, 2019 Middletown Planning Board Meeting - Village 35

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but it's still important to post.

At the July 10th meeting of the Middletown Planning Board, the Board unanimously approved the Village 35 project despite the concerns of many residents that were in attendance that evening. You can read what the Asbury Park Press had to say about ... HERE

Needless to say, other than the developer, there aren't many people happy about this decision. As designed, the Village 35 center is going to be a monstrosity and eyesore for anyone living or traveling in the vicinity of highway 35 between Tindall Road and Kanes Lane and beyond.

Many of those objecting to the size and scope of this project would like to see it downsized and some kind of passive recreation included. 

There has been a long history of law suits surrounding this development and i wouldn't be too surprised if that history is extended by a couple more.