Archive for February, 2015

Biographies of Historic Figures

The BBC has produced Historic Figures, a site featuring brief biographies of the hundreds of individuals who have been featured in BBC works. They range from John Adams to Georgi Zhukov.

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NJ Pension Commission’s Final Report

Entitled Report of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission, this document presents a roadmap for closing the immense deficits in both the pension and health benefits systems for state retirees. Among its recommendations:

Freeze the existing pension plans; benefits earned to date would not be affected, but taxpayers cannot afford additional benefits to be earned under the existing plans

Align future public employee retirement benefits with private-sector levels; this is the sensible thing to do on its own merits and the savings will make funding more secure for employees and less painful to taxpayers

Also align public employee health benefits with private-sector levels; get ahead of the curve in controlling these staggering costs before they crowd out retirement benefits from State and local budgets

Fairly realign State and local responsibility for new and sustainable pension and health benefits; this will produce the best result from the perspective of employees and the State’s taxpayers as a whole

Lock in fixed and certain pension funding with a constitutional amendment; this will protect employees and retirees from the vagaries of politics and the annual budget process, improve the State’s financial condition, and make clear to all that the people of New Jersey have taken ownership of the problem and the solution

Transfer the assets, liabilities and risks of the existing pension and new retirement plans to employee entities willing and able to assume this obligation; allow those who receive the benefits to have the power and assume the risk of managing the plans to ensure that the available funds are sufficient to pay for the provided benefits.(2-3)

Analyses/reportage at: NJ.com, The Wall Street Journal, Asbury Park Press, NJEA, and NJ 101.5 (featuring reactions from all sides of the argument).

 

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2016 New Jersey Budget Address

Compelled to fund the pension system in full and with crumbling infrastructure that requires an increase in the gasoline tax, Governor Christie’s budget address will be listened to/watched to divine portents for the short-term as well as the long-term. It will be broadcast on NJTV starting at 2pm.

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Judge Orders Governor Christie to Fund Full Pension Payment

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has issued her opinion that Governor Christie broke the law in not fully funding this year’s pension payment; the full text of her 130 page opinion is online as well as key excerpts. This means that Governor Christie has to find $1.6 billion by the end of June and almost $3 billion for next fiscal year’s pension payment. Analyses/reportage are found at: NJ Spotlight, PolitickerNJ, The New York Times, NJ.com, Asbury Park Press, and The Washington Post.

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As Far As Climate Change Goes, What Happens in New York City Will Affect Jersey City As Well

The New York City Panel on Climate Change has just issued its 2015 report; the predictions are less than rosy. It states “Climate risks in the New York metropolitan region are increasing and are projected to continue to increase throughout the 21st century. Higher temperatures, heavy downpours, sea level rise, and intensified coastal flooding are the major climate hazards projected for the region.” (107) Here is its 2010 report.

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Additional News on NJCU’s New Business School

This recent article from nj.com provides additional information as well as a rendering of the floor plan for the new school.

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Year-end Review of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Activities

The Hubble Science Year in Review provides the reader with a re-capitulation of the previous year’s work with the Hubble Space Telescope. Accompanied by gorgeous photography (hence the large files), this annual publication presents articles that can be apprehended by the educated layperson; the articles themselves are accompanied by linked references. Well worth a perusal by anyone worthy of the appellation “space cadet”. Here are other Hubble accomplishments.

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