July 28, 2012 |
TRENTON - It took less than 12 minutes for a state Senate panel to put its stamp of approval on a measure that would force judges to pay more for their retirement benefits, as the state's other public workers now are required to do. Thursday's hearing before the Labor Committee was a small step toward putting the question before voters in November. If the resolution is approved by the Legislature on Monday, as expected, voters will be asked to give the Legislature authority to increase judges' contributions to their pensions and health care costs in retirement.
July 19, 2012 |
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a new Syria resolution until Thursday in a last-minute effort to get key Western nations and Russia to agree on measures to end the dramatically escalating violence. International envoy Kofi Annan contacted several governments Tuesday and urged the council to postpone Wednesday's scheduled vote so its deeply divided members could "unite and take concerted and strong action that would help stem the bloodshed in Syria and build momentum for a political transition," his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.
July 19, 2012 |
What's your Klout score? Increasingly, that's the question asked during job interviews, before first dates, and for the chance to win cool trips. For the clueless, Klout is the four-year-old controversial granddaddy of social scoring, in which a secret algorithm distills the ability to influence online action into a single number between 1 and 100. Think of it as a credit score for the social Net. Your tweets, posts, videos — and the responses they garner from friends and followers — affect your score for better or worse and by extension the off-line world's opinion of you. The field is flush with competitors, including PeerIndex, Kred, Twitter Grader, and so on — all ready to cash in on marketing to the influential.
July 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans have blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote Monday was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads. Another version of the Disclose Act passed the then-Democratic-controlled House in 2010 but was similarly blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
June 24, 2012 |
TRENTON - A $32 billion state budget that contains money for tax relief, but with a provision to hold the funds for at least six months, cleared its final committee hurdle Friday. Republican Gov. Christie threatened to make things uncomfortable for the Legislature's majority Democrats unless they make the tax cut immediate. The bill, approved by the budget panel, heads to the Assembly and Senate for showdowns next week, then to the governor for his signature. A balanced budget must be in place by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
June 20, 2012 |
TRENTON — The idea of making tenure tougher for New Jersey teachers to get and easier to lose took a big leap forward Monday when a state Senate committee advanced a bill and Gov. Christie endorsed it. Bills on the issue have won committee approval in both chambers of the state's Legislature in the last five days, with the support of the state's education-advocacy cottage industry. The Senate bill was put together by Teresa Ruiz (D., Essex), who worked out the details with groups representing a variety of interests.
June 17, 2012 |
MILAN — The Italian government on Friday announced measures worth $100 billion to spur economic growth, streamline the notoriously bloated public sector, and lower national debt, part of its attempt to convince international investors that its finances are sustainable. Italy has become the new focus of concern in the eurozone ahead of the Greek election Sunday. That vote could result in Greece's exit from the multi-nation currency, and in increased economic turmoil across the region.
June 15, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS — The people who measure these sorts of things said that the ball traveled 466 feet, but those people did not consult Shane Victorino before making their proclamation, a fact that was evident in the look of derision that spread across the centerfielder's face when informed of the settled-upon distance. "No way that was 466," he said. Whatever the official distance of Jim Thome's majestic home run over the tall, black batters' eye in dead center at Target Field — longer than 466, according to Victorino, but not as long as Ryan Howard's blast over the batters' eye in Miami one year — the important thing was the conversation itself.
May 22, 2012 |
A New Jersey Assembly committee approved a bill Monday that will allow patrons to gamble outside the traditional gaming floors of Atlantic City's casinos. The measure lets the New Jersey casinos offer handheld gambling devices — patrons can use one while waiting in line at a casino restaurant, poolside, or sitting in a lounge area, as long as they remain on casino property. Lawmakers say it provides Atlantic City another way to generate gaming revenue and keep customers longer on the property as regional casino competition intensifies.
May 10, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill Tuesday to preserve low interest rates for millions of college students' loans, as the two parties engaged in election-year choreography aimed at showing each is the better protector of families in today's rugged economy. The 52-45 vote to begin debating the legislation fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to proceed and stalled work on an effort both parties expect will ultimately produce a compromise, probably soon.