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Archive for August, 2009

Beware: a Lame Duck Can be a Dangerous Animal

Thursday, August 20th, 2009


Ray Pinney

Like most politically-minded people in New Jersey, I will be focused this fall on the race for governor and on some on the assembly races.  I get a kick out of the drama of politics and will be glued to my television on Election Day. 

But while these races interest me, what really worries me more at this point is what happens during the time period between Election Day and when the elected officials are sworn into office. That time period is what is known as the “lame duck” session.

I did a little research on the phrase “lame duck” to see where it came from. Interestingly enough, it comes from the financial stock markets in the 1700s, when they had the Bears, the Bulls and the Lame Ducks. The “lame ducks” were those investors who could not pay off their debts from losses suffered through bad investments.  While the bear market and bull market are still with us, the use of the term “lame duck” in reference to the stock market has almost disappeared in the United States. 

Its use has shifted from the world of finance to the world of politics and government. (more…)

Is Chris Christie the “Change” Candidate?

Thursday, August 13th, 2009


Ray Pinney

What’s the one thing that never changes about elections? There is always a candidate advocating change.  The questions voters need to answer are:  Is the candidate really going to change things? Is this change better than the status quo?

After interviewing Chris Christie, the Republican gubernatorial candidate I had an answer to the first question.  At least on some education issues, he would have a different philosophy than the current administration. Marie Bilik, NJSBA’s executive director sat in on the interview with Christie. As we walked out of the building, she said “If he wins the election, we will have to adjust our focus.” (The interview “No One Should Doubt my Commitment Education is in the current issue of School Leader magazine and there is also a Web Extra that includes additional questions and information) (more…)

The Fallout of the Recent Corruption Scandal on Education

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


Ray Pinney 

While we all love to live in New Jersey, it is true that the cost of living is higher in New Jersey than in many other states. Whether you talking about house prices, attorney fees, or even the hourly rate of a plumber, you can be pretty sure that it is more expensive in our state than in others. 

I guess, then, that in some perverse way, we should be encouraged that several political and religious leaders did what they could to keep the cost of living down by selling their integrity at such reasonable prices. One’s good name can be sold for as little as $5,000 in New Jersey, or at least that is what the latest episode of local corruption demonstrates. You’d think someone’s integrity should be worth a bit more than that. 

I originally was not going to discuss corruption scandal because as I saw it was not related to education issues in New Jersey.  However, on further reflection I view the incident, which resulted in the arrest of 44 individuals, as having an indirect impact on education in New Jersey.  How is that so? (more…)