Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Juror Diary (3) – Freedom

As quoted in The Chapo Guide to Revolution (page 48)

About sums up my feelings on jury selection rules after my near miss today.

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Juror Diary (2) – Justice Delayed

Prisoners get access to an exercise yard. We don’t.

We started with 60 of us to be interviewed plus thirteen already seated in the jury box. The first one of us passed the whisper-interview and at 9:30 this morning took the fourteenth seat.

Done. We are out of here. I might not even get to The Chapo Guide To Revolution.

How wrong I was.

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Juror Diary

I am sitting in a Union County courthouse doing the civic duty of waiting along with about 100 other jurors watching one of us chatting with a judge and three lawyers.

Much of this could have been done online, as with our electoral system, if it were not for so many government jobs dependent on this inefficiency masquerading as fairness.

In any case I do see improvements in herding methods.

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Xmas Humbugs (Bête Noires)

Humbug: an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception

Bête noire: something that is particularly disliked

Here is my list at the moment:

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Likely In 2019

A market crash has a tendency to force actions in the pension world as all those convenient projections about getting 7.5% earnings annually come to naught.

With that in mind what do you see for 2019?

Other answers:

  • more kicking the can – 5
  • no leaders for decisions that will solve problems
  • continued downturn in the markets
  • Less than $4B pension payment
  • cola

And elseways…

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Pension Provisions of New Republican Tax Plan

Bob Woodward’s Fear is now available with its narrative of a dysfunctional executive surrounded by a combination of traitors and dedicated public servants looking to keep the country on the right path notwithstanding the distractions. Among the latter group are Republicans on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee which just released a tax plan that would:

I work with retirement plans so I can speak to some of the proposals in the second bullet point which, for the most part, make sense:

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Politicians Cashing In – Still had an interesting article on how New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney killed a pension-padding bill for politicians:

Last week, Matt [Friedman] you all about the 11 elected officials who applied to take advantage of the new law that lets some politicians buy back time they spent out of the pension system, allowing them to further pad their retirement income and do so at the same tier they were at previously. The bill was designed to benefit former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, and it was signed by Gov. Chris Christie just days after Redd was hired as the CEO of an obscure university governing board at a salary of $275,000.

One of the more interesting things Matt found in the documents he obtained through a public record request involve the application of Sen. James Beach (D-Camden). It appeared not to make financial sense for Beach to re-enroll under the law: he would need to pay the pension system $150,000 to qualify. That’s what the state told him in a letter sent on April 16. Two months later, in the midst of budget negotiations in June, Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) introduced a bill that would allow elected officials who are already receiving pensions to continue receiving the benefits while re-enrolling in the system and building more credits. They wouldn’t have to pay back any money. Voila! Beach could get back in and without giving away the farm.

But that bill, which McKeon said he introduced at the request of “leadership,” didn’t make it to the floor of either house after Matt revealed its existence and other reporters followed up. What happened to it? According to Senate President Steve Sweeney, it died at his hands. “I was never going to do it,” Sweeney said during a two-hour interview with the POLITICO staff on Friday. Where did it come from? “The Assembly. It wasn’t my bill,” Sweeney said.

The Senate president made the remarks as he pushes Gov. Phil Murphy and fellow lawmakers to consider further cuts to public employee pensions and health benefits that are outlined in a new report from his fiscal policy working group. When Matt suggested he wasn’t leading by example, given the brazen efforts to pad the pensions of elected officials, Sweeney swung back hard. “Not true. You’re wrong,” he snapped, cutting Matt off. Why, pray tell? Because of the 2007 law that cut future elected officials out of the pension system. “There are thousands of people that are not in the pension system today that would have been in the pension system if we didn’t make the change.” He added: “You can’t make 11 the example when there’s thousands that are out.”

Not quite all out according to a review of current retirees.

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