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Trump claims immunity from Apprentice contestant's lawsuit

President Trump’s private attorneys asserted in court this week that he should be immune from a defamation lawsuit filed against him because of his presidential duties.Summer Zervos, a former contestant from The Apprentice, sued Trump in New York on Jan. 17, just days before the inauguration. She came forward in October and accused Trump of kissing and groping her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2007. Trump denied the accusation, including a series of tweets calling the sexual misconduct allegations "100% fabricated and made-up charges,” “totally false” and “totally made up nonsense.Zervos’ attorney, Gloria Allred, demanded a retraction, to no avail. So, she sued. Zervos’ lawsuit claims the alleged defamation was “detrimental to Ms. Zervos’s reputation, honor and dignity.Trump’s attorneys said in this week's court filing that the supremacy clause of the U.S. constitution should bar the lawsuit since it could “distract a President from his public duties to the detriment of not only the President and his office but also the Nation,” attorney Marc Kasowitz included in his filing, from the 1997 Clinton v. Jones Supreme Court ruling. Legal scholars predicted a collision of private lawsuits from Trump’s life before the presidency once he took office. A USA TODAY investigation found around 75 such lawsuits still pending as Trump began his presidency. The Zervos case will likely rely on standards set in the case involving President Clinton, which clearly says presidents are not immune from private litigation while in office.However, Trump’s attorneys say the Clinton case left unresolved some questions, such as dismissing a case based on its likelihood to distract the presidency before it begins. Kasowitz said he would soon file a motion to dismiss the case that asks for an apology and $2,914.In a statement Tuesday, Gloria Allred said the president "does not enjoy legal immunity from our defamation lawsuit." "The United States Supreme Court address this legal immunity issue in Clinton v. Jones and determined unanimously that no man is above the law and that includes the president of United States," Allred said. "We look forward to arguing this issue in court." “Because of the Supreme Court case related to Bill Clinton, there’s no automatic shield for the president from civil action,” Samuel Issacharoff, a law professor at New York University told USA TODAY in November. “If he were president and called to testify and hostilities break out in the Middle East a court would probably postpone — but of course it’s a major dislocation to be going through these civil trials while he’s running an administration.” Clinton wasn’t the first president to be challenged with a suit over his life before the presidency. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy was sued in California for his role in a traffic incident at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Kennedy eventually settled for $17,500 after a judge ruled he could be sued like any other citizen. Trump and his companies have sued or been sued more than 4,000 times over the last four decades, according to a USA TODAY review of records in federal and state courts coast to coast.

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Hurricane makes 'largest undeveloped' oil find in UK waters

An oil exploration firm has made what it has described as the "largest undeveloped discovery" of oil in UK waters. Hurricane Energy said one billion barrels of recoverable oil could be contained within the Greater Lancaster Area, 60 miles (97km) west of Shetland. The company hopes to begin production in 2019. Dr Robert Trice, Hurricane's chief executive officer, described the find as "exciting times". He said: "This is a highly significant moment for Hurricane. "We believe that the Greater Lancaster Area is a single hydrocarbon accumulation, making it the largest undeveloped discovery on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)." Giant field The discovery is significantly larger than the average find in recent years, which has been about 25 million barrels. However, it is still a fifth of the size of the Forties field, which contains about five billion barrels - of which approximately two billion have been recovered. Hurricane discovered oil in two wells which sit about 30km apart. The company believes the oil they found forms part of the same giant field. Drilling at the Halifax prospect found a column of oil-bearing rock of at least 1,156m. It has been described as "very significant" in an independent analysis. 'Signs of optimism' Operations had to stop for budget and safety reasons, but Hurricane Energy plans to return for further appraisal. Shares rose 6% in early trading after the Halifax announcement. In the past year, their value has risen five-fold. Hurricane Energy has focussed its efforts on what it believes are neglected geological formations known as naturally fractured basement reservoirs. These occur in a series of drilling blocks west of Shetland, which Hurricane has apparently named after RAF aircraft, also including Typhoon, Whirlwind and Warwick. Lancaster and Halifax lie between the Schiehallion and Solan fields, west of Shetland, and to the south-east of Foinavon. Hurricane Energy claims to have found more oil in UK waters than any other exploration company over the past 10 years. All its prospects are wholly owned by the one company. 'Extremely exciting' Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said: "This is extremely exciting and welcome news for the UK Continental Shelf. "Hurricane Energy's announcement - coming just days after the Oil and Gas Authority awarded new licences to companies to explore for oil and gas in frontier areas - demonstrates the significant remaining potential of the UKCS. "Signs of optimism, mainly led by exploration and production companies, are returning to the basin, which has worked hard to reduce its costs and improve efficiency. "However, the UKCS needs fresh investment so it can capitalise on its potential, whether that be from new geological plays, or from enhanced recovery from existing fields. "There are still up to 20bn barrels of oil and gas to go after in the UKCS and we believe that makes the basin a very positive investment prospect indeed." Paul Wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy said: "Today's announcements of the first oil from the Flyndre field and the undeveloped discovery within the up to one billion barrels of oil equivalent thought to be recoverable from the Greater Lancaster field make it clear that the continental shelf in waters adjacent to Scotland, such as areas to the west of Shetland, continue to hold very significant potential. "In total, it is estimated that up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remains under the North Sea and in the wider basin. "I congratulate both companies on their announcements which further demonstrate Scotland's oil and gas industry has a bright future, for decades to come."

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Defiant U.S. Prosecutor Fired by Trump Administration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent U.S. prosecutor said the Trump administration fired him on Saturday after he refused to step down, adding a discordant note to what is normally a routine changing of top attorneys when a new president takes office. New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's defiant exit, first announced on Twitter, raised questions about President Donald Trump's ability to fill top jobs throughout his government. Trump has yet to put forward any candidates to serve as the nation's 93 district attorneys even as his Justice Department asked the 46 who have not yet quit to hand in their resignations on Friday. Key positions at agencies like the State Department and the Defense Department also remain unfilled. As the federal prosecutor for Manhattan and surrounding areas since 2009, Bharara secured insider-trading settlements from Wall Street firms and won criminal convictions in high-profile corruption and terrorism cases. He told reporters in November that Trump had asked him to stay in his post, and he refused to resign when asked to do so by the Justice Department on Friday. He said he was fired on Saturday afternoon. "Serving my country as U.S. Attorney here for the past seven years will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life, no matter what else I do or how long I live," Bharara said in a press statement. The Justice Department confirmed that Bharara was no longer serving in the position and declined further comment. Like all U.S. attorneys, Bharara is a political appointee who can be replaced when a new president takes office. Previous presidents have often asked outgoing U.S. attorneys to stay on the job until their replacements win confirmation in the U.S. Senate. The Washington Post, citing two people close to Trump, said the president's adviser Stephen Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted a clean slate of federal prosecutors to assert the administration's power. But the decision to replace so many sitting attorneys at once has raised questions about whether the Trump administration's ability to enforce the nation's laws would be hindered. "President Trump's abrupt and unexplained decision to summarily remove over 40 U.S. attorneys has once again caused chaos in the federal government," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the firings showed "the independence of the Justice Department is at risk under this administration" and that lawmakers had to carefully evaluate Trump's replacements. Career attorneys will carry on that work until new U.S. attorneys are put in place, the Justice Department said. Bharara said his deputy, Joon Kim, will serve as his temporary replacement. Marc Mukasey, a defense lawyer whose father served as attorney general under Republican President George W. Bush, has been mentioned as a possible replacement. He did not respond to a request for comment. HIGH-PROFILE OFFICE Bharara's office handles some of the most critical business and criminal cases passing through the federal judicial system. He has been overseeing a probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising. Bharara has successfully prosecuted state and local politicians for corruption, including former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. He won a lifetime sentence against the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and a 25-year sentence for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. He won a $1.8 billion insider-trading settlement against SAC Capital Advisors, the largest in history, which forced the hedge fund to shut down, and he forced JPMorgan Chase to pay $1.7 billion to settle charges related to its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. "His firing so early in President Trump's tenure is somewhat unexpected, but if you had asked me a few months ago whether I expected Preet to still be in that job in March I would have said no," said Matthew Schwartz, a former prosecutor under Bharara. Trump has asked two U.S. prosecutors to remain on the job, according to the Justice Department

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Trump Administration Tells Remaining U.S. Attorneys to Resign

The Trump administration acted abruptly Friday to force out the remaining U.S. attorneys who had not already stepped down. All 93 U.S. attorneys — the top federal prosecutors in the states — are political appointees. A total of 47 had already stepped down. Some states, divided into separate districts, have more than one. But mid-day Friday, the remaining 46 were told to submit their letters of resignation immediately. The move was announced by the Justice Department, and many of the prosecutors first learned of it when they received calls from reporters. A Justice Department statement said the action was taken "as was the case in prior transitions." "Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney's offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders," the statement said. In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno demanded the resignations of all 93 U.S. attorneys in the early days of the Clinton administration. A department official says current Attorney General Jeff Sessions still has the letter Reno sent him. Still, Friday's move came as a surprise to many of the federal prosecutors, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. After meeting with President Donald Trump in late November, Bharara said he was asked to stay on and agreed to do so. A White House official confirmed Friday that the administration intended to accept Bharara's letter of resignation. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemned the move. "I'm very concerned about the effect of this sudden and unexpected decision on federal law enforcement," she said in a statement. Feinstein said Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Donald McGahn assured her in January that the transition among federal prosecutors would be done in an orderly fashion to preserve continuity. "Clearly this is not the case," Feinstein said. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said the move contradicts what he was told by Trump about Bharara. "The President initiated a call to me in November and assured me he wanted Mr. Bharara to continue to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District," Schumer said in a statement. "By asking for the immediate resignation of every remaining U.S. Attorney before their replacements have been confirmed or even nominated, the President is interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice," Schumer said. The firings follow an appeal from Fox News commentator Sean Hannity who called for a "purge" of holdover political appointees and specifically cited the move by Reno in 1993. Some Justice Department officials said they believe Friday's firings were in part the result of Hannity's commentary.

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Sheryl Sandberg broke her silence Thursday

Sheryl Sandberg speaks, Trump out against abortion policy SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook executive and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg broke her silence Thursday, weighing in on President Trump's reinstatement of a Reagan-era policy banning U.S. foreign aid to health providers overseas who offer abortion counseling or advocate for a woman's right to have an abortion. In a Facebook post, Sandberg said the policy could have "terrible consequences for women and families around the world," cutting them off from other health services. She shared an article from the New York Times and said she supports passage of Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act. "I started my career working at the World Bank on health care in India. I saw firsthand how clinics funded by foreign aid are often the only source of health care for women. When women are given even the most basic health care information and services, they live longer, healthier lives — and they give birth to children who live longer, healthier lives," Sandberg wrote. "Comprehensive family planning helps prevent unintended pregnancies, deaths and abortions. This week’s executive order reinstating the global gag rule will make that work much harder. It bans health organizations around the world from providing counseling on all family planning options. If they refuse to abide by the ban, they could lose millions in funding from the United States. And this ban is harsher and broader than past orders by past presidents, because it covers every program that falls under global health assistance. That means it'll hurt more people." The Facebook post marked the first time since the presidential election that Sandberg, a champion of women's issues, has spoken out on the policies of the new administration. Right after the election, Sandberg said it was historic for women. "For the first time in our country's history, a woman was the nominee of a major party, and over 59 million Americans voted to put Hillary Clinton in the highest office in the land. Even though we fell short, that should make us all proud," she wrote in a Facebook post. "We have real challenges to face as a country. The only answer I’ve ever known to facing any challenge is to work harder. Today we pledge as Americans to keep working for a better future for everyone. Today we recommit ourselves to leaning in." But some wondered why Sandberg had not acknowledged last weekend's women's marches. "Since November, I've heard one phrase uttered over and over by senior women in the valley: 'Why isn't Sheryl saying anything about this?'" Pando's Sarah Lacy wrote on Thursday. The latest speculation in Washington: That Sandberg may be eyeing a run for president. A source told RealClear Politics that it's "common knowledge" in Democratic Party circles that Sandberg is considering it. Sandberg was a political appointee to the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration and a leading contender to serve as Treasury secretary in a Hillary Clinton administration and she is a major Democratic donor. Of course, plenty of people were convinced that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was eyeing a presidential run in 2020. He denied the speculation this week. One thing we know with far more certainty are Sandberg's shorter-term plans (besides helping Zuckerberg run Facebook). Sandberg is planning to embark on a book tour this spring. Her upcoming book, Option B, explores grieving and healing. Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly last year. The book tour kicks off in New York City on April 23.

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We can improve our community by getting your ass out of Trenton.

How dare you vote for the gas tax when we can't afford it in this economy. You are a low-life scumbag just like Christie!!!!!

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Public Option: Expanding Medicare

I have a background in pharmaceutical marketing, I completed a masters degree in healthcare policy in 2015 (PSU) with an emphasis on the ACA and healthcare reform, I currently do marketing and social media for Somerset County and the Federation of Democratic Women. I would very much like to help with Assemblyman Gusciora's initiative. How can I help?

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