The Slow, but Triumphant, Return of Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Just in time for the warm weather, I’ve learned some great news from home: Some portions of my beloved Sandy Hook, New Jersey beach and its recreation area will be available to the public again! The tireless rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy has paid off enough to merit a reopening ceremony on May 1st, and although I won’t be present for it, I couldn’t be happier.

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No PATH Photos for You!

The other day, I was riding the PATH Train from New Jersey to Manhattan and the Conductor — he’s the guy who manages opening and closing the doors and making announcements while the Engineers “drives” the train — came up to an Asian couple and demanded the woman delete the photograph of the train she took right before boarding. The woman was confused and embarrassed, but she followed the order and the Conductor watched her remove the photograph from her cellphone.  If she’d been using a traditional film camera, would the Conductor have confiscated her entire film roll?  The woman’s boyfriend took a more aggressive perch, and said, “There are no signs prohibiting taking pictures.”

The Conductor brusquely retorted, “There are signs everywhere.  Look for them.”  Then the Conductor left the car.  A few minutes passed and the Conductor came running back into our car to retrieve the train keys he’d left dangling in the control panel switchbox so he could bawl out the woman.  I thought to myself, “Which is a greater threat to the people riding a PATH train?  A tourist taking a photograph, or a Conductor who leaves his keys behind for the taking?”

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Banning Sign Language on a New Jersey School Bus

When I used to take a bus to school, I remember it being a rowdy ride most of the time. The kids were always bouncing up and down in the seats, despite the bus driver always going out of his way to show us the importance of putting on a seat belt. Some kids used to play a politically incorrect game called the “Chinese Fire Drill” in which they would jump into the seat directly in front of theirs. There was, naturally, plenty of horseplay on the bus.

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New Jersey Students Pick Up Pitchforks and Torches and Storm the Castle

In a delightful — and necessary — sign of a furious protest, students in New Jersey left their classrooms yesterday and took to the streets to reject the absolute decimation of their schools by newly elected governor Chris Christie.  Christie cut $820 million from the schools in an effort to keep a campaign promise to reduce spending.  The protest was inspired by, and directed through, a Facebook movement to fight back against an unfair budget axe.

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Juicy Campus Goes Toes Up

We are thrilled to learn the awful Juicy Campus site is dead and gone.

In its short life, the site generated controversy (and garnered a lot of
media attention) over the content of student posts, which were often
over-the-top, anonymous, and malicious. Some universities blocked the
site from their networks due to concerns about student safety. The New
Jersey Attorney General investigated the site last year over concerns
about fraud. Even many students were repulsed by the site — the
student government at Pepperdine University in California requested
that the site be blocked, though the university had taken no action.
And now there is no need.

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