Front Page News?

The big story in yesterday’s Asbury Park Press was the political spat between southern Jersey lawmakers and U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg over the proposed Rutgers-Rowan merger.  Large photos of State Senate President Sweeney and Lautenberg covered most of the front page.

In case you haven’t been following, Governor Chris Christie has proposed reorganizing Rutgers, Rowan and the University of Medicine and Dentistry.  Rutgers-Camden would become part of Rowan. Rowan would get a medical school associated with George Norcross Univeristy Cooper University Hospital.  Robert Wood Johnson Hospital would become part of a medical school at Rutgers-New Brunswick, and it will be a while before there are more UMDNJ indictments.

MMM hasn’t been following it all that much.  Our young legal eagle friends at Save Jersey don’t like it because they think it will devalue their law degrees if they apply to a firm that doesn’t know the difference between Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark.  And then there’s the two idiots who don’t like the deal…that former Navy SEAL that ran for Assembly who got into it with Christie at a Town Hall meeting and Lautenberg.

If not for the idiot SEAL and the idiot U. S. Senator nobody from New Jersey who isn’t directly affected by the merger would know about it, except for news junkies like us.

Lautenberg wrote to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan alleging the proposed merger is improper and copied U.S. Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder and New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney Paul “New Jersey is not corrupt” Fishman, thereby implying that the merger is criminal. 

Having already used “idiot” and “numb-nuts” with great fanfare, Christie’s team dubbed Lautenberg’s letter as “outrageous,” “uninformed,” and “bizarre.”

None of that was front page newsworthy.  It took Norcross and Sweeney launching  Sweeney’s 2014 campaign for Launtenberg’s job to make the front page of the APP.

Wednesday morning Sweeney emailed a scathing open letter attacking Lautenberg for opposing the merger and for his failure as a U.S. Senator to bring home Washington money for New Jersey’s higher education institutions.  Several other south Jersey lawmakers, including two Republicans, signed with letter with Sweeney. Norcross later sent a statement calling Lautenberg a “great Senator for north Jersey” who has failed southern New Jersey to the same email list.

The Sweeney/Norcross statements are not really about the Rutger-Rowan merger.  The real message is that Lautenberg’s career is coming to an end.  That message has been confirmed by the silence of Democratic leaders who have staid out of this fight.  U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Assembly Speaker Sheilia Oliver, Democratic State Chairman John Wisniewski, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker have all been silent.  No one is backing up Lautenberg. 

The message to Lautenberg…prepare for retirement… just don’t quit and let Christie appoint your replacement.  The message to Democratic donors…don’t give to Lautenberg’s 2014 reelection campaign.

So, the point of the last 460 words is that The Asbury Park Press made the 2014 race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate front page news yesterday.  That wouldn’t be so bad if there were not a U.S. Senate election between two relatively unknown candidates, U.S. Senator Bob Mendendez and State Senator Joe Kyrillos this year.

Posted: March 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 U.S. Senate Race, Rowan Universtiy, Rutgers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Higher Education Restructuring

Last month Governor Chris Christie announce a complex restructuring of New Jersey’s medical schools.

Under the proposal,  Newark’s UMDNJ would be replaced by New Jersey Health Sciences University, University Hospital would be placed under non-profit management and Rutgers-Camden and its law school would become part of Rowan University.  Cooper Medical School in Camden would become part of Rowan.

Mark Magyar has an excellent piece on the proposed restructuring at NJSpotlight.

Alarmed by the prospect of losing the prestige that comes with the Rutgers name, many at Rutgers Camden, including our friend Brian McGovern of Save Jersey are fighting the move to Rowan.  Save Jersey has become Save Rutgers Camden today with a lengthy post about how to legally block the merger.

Magyar in his NJSpotlight piece noted that the name of the South Jersey institution is important to advocates of the merger as well:

The absorption of Rutgers-Camden, with its 6,000-plus students, into Rowan, with more than 11,000 students, was not so much a matter of numbers as of name. Sources said that the family of Henry Rowan, who donated $100 million to expand his alma mater, Glassboro State College, into Rowan University, balked at the idea of the Rutgers name displacing Rowan.

Furthermore, Norcross, as head of Cooper University Medical Center, had been heavily involved in the creation of the new Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, and both he and Sweeney have talked about the importance of a South Jersey university that would not be a stepchild to the much larger Rutgers University in New Brunswick, as the Camden campus was sometimes perceived to be.

The South Jersey merger with Rowan has also gotten some push back from Rutgers-Camden faculty,  Rutgers retiring president Richard McCormick.  Colleen O’Dea outlines reports both sides of the controversy in a  NJSpotlight piece today.

Posted: February 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Rowan Universtiy, Rutgers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Higher Education Restructuring

Is UMDNJ The New Planned Parenthood?

By James Hogan

If you’ve been following the snooze lately, you might have heard that NJ’s own UMDNJ tried to force nurses with religious or moral objections into assisting with abortions, which seems to be a violation of Federal and State law. UMDNJ has countered by arguing that they are requiring their nurses to assist with “pre-” and “post-” care, which sounds like a case of testing semantics to me. Regardless of if their order for nurses to assist at any point violates the federal or state law, there seems to be another, much larger problem that is going unnoticed in the snooze; UMDNJ performs abortions.

Maybe that’s old news to you the reader, but it was news to me because, at least as far as I knew, federal law, specifically the Hyde Amendment, prohibits federal tax dollars from funding abortions. UMDNJ boasts on it’s website “Over the last five years, UMDNJ has attracted $628 million in federal research grants.” In other words, UMDNJ has received $628 million in federal dollars, and performs abortions. They may or may not have received funds directly for abortions, but it wasn’t so long ago that the US House Voted for strip funding from Planned Parenthood after similar concerns about abortions being performed there were brought to light.

It also seems important to note that NJ Governor Chris Christie, who seems to be openly pro-life, and “as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Christie led a federal takeover of UMDNJ in 2005 amid allegations of fiscal mismanagement and political corruption at the institution.” More recently, Governor Chris Christie gave an OK to merge UMDNJ, where abortions are performed and federal tax money is sent, with Rutgers, the State University of NJ, that also receives state, and probably federal money. The best I can hope is that, like me, Chris Christie will find it news that UMDNJ performs abortions, but unlike me, he’ll be able to do something about it. And, in the opinion of this Average No One, this issue should matter to you regardless of if you are pro-life or pro-choice because the issue is really about where your federal tax money is going, and if a federal law is being broken by spending your tax money on abortions.

Posted: November 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Abortion, Planned Parenthood, UMDNJ | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »