Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LoBiondo on TSA Scanners

I saw in the The Cape May County Herald that Frank LoBiondo weighed in on the TSA controversy. He calls for "balance" which I certainly hope he tries for himself in the next Congress.

The official website has the full letter he sent to Pistole:

Amid news reports detailing “invasive” security procedures including the physical pat-downs of children, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) is urging Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole to “continue developing procedures that will both protect the safety and health and dignity of airline passengers.”



“We all agree that securing our airports and those flying is a critical aspect of our homeland security efforts. However, those same security efforts should not serve as an assault on the personal dignity of passengers. There is a balance that can and must be struck to ensuring our aviation network is secure without compromising the values for which our nation was founded,” said LoBiondo, a member of the House Aviation Subcommittee.

Full text of the letter sent to TSA Administrator Pistole late last week is as follows:

Dear Administrator Pistole:

I am writing to express my serious concerns about the new screening policies and how those policies are being executed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel at airports throughout the Nation.

Under the new guidelines established by TSA, passengers are subject to a mechanical full body scan, or a physical pat-down. The full body scan has created some worries about the negative on individuals' health due to the small amount of radiation utilized. There are also serious concerns that the scan amounts to a "virtual strip search" -- an invasion of privacy and an assault on personal dignity. While I am pleased that TSA has taken steps to address these concerns, such as separating the viewer of the scan images from the actual person being viewed and blurring sensitive "personal" areas on the images, I urge you to continue developing procedures that will both protect the safety and health and dignity of airline passengers.

I am sure you are acutely aware of the widespread skepticism and public outrage these policies are generating. While I fully recognize the need for enhanced security guidelines to maintain the safety of the airways and the fact that TSA instituted these new guidelines to protect passengers, commonsense must be part of the security equation. As a father and grandfather, I was particularly disturbed by the video of a three year old child being patted down by a TSA agent while the child screamed and cried in the arms of her mother. Surely, clarification and refinement of the guidelines must be undertaken, as well as enhanced or remedial training for TSA agents

Monday, November 15, 2010

Breaking: LoBiondo Campaign Defrauded?

Fraud? Embezzlement? Cheated? Whatever the right word is, this sounds bad for Frank LoBiondo's campaign:

Several hundred thousand dollars are missing from the campaign account of U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo,


The preliminary report seems to point to the campaign treasurer. Mr. LoBiondo himself has done nothing wrong. I wish him luck in bringing the (alleged) crooks to justice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Congratulations to Frank LoBiondo

As expected, Frank LoBiondo won another term in Congress yesterday. I congratulate him and encourage him to work on strengthening the moderate faction in the Republican party. I know he expressed some frustrations with the last Republican majority so hopefully he can be effective this time. One advantage of his breaking his term-limits pledge is that he now has the seniority and experience to lead.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frank LoBiondo on video discussing TARP

Here's a Frank LoBiondo video posted by Gary Stein. The footage is from a 2010 meeting with the editorial board of the Courier-Post:



The later section just have Mr. Stein.

Also, I want to say Stein is quite correct to complain that Frank LoBiondo voted to repeal Glass-Steagal "which set the whole thing up." Glass-Steagal legislation was put in place during the Great Depression and prevented a major banking collapse for seventy years. It took less than ten years under LoBiondo's deregulated system for banks nationwide to collapse.

How to find your polling place

This google tool lets you look up your polling place:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Frank LoBiondo avoiding debates

The Press of Atlantic City looked at Frank LoBiondo's campaign and I'm surprised he's refused to even do debates:


The congressman has not agreed to any debates but has visited many groups of Republicans, some of whom are candidates down the ticket in counties in his congressional district, while others are just enthusiastic supporters.


As the reporter, Juliet Fletcher, notes, LoBiondo is not spending much money on his campaign so it's not like he's afraid of losing. I think he's afraid of having to defend his record in a way that can be used in future years: either with a right-wing challenge or a facing a moderate Democrat. His campaigning with local Republican candidates may be meant to protect him from a future Tea Party primary challenge (see Mike Castle.)


We are in a serious economic crisis and an elected Representative has the obligation to defend his record and present his plans in public. Everyone understands that incumbents don't like to take the risk, but when he's completely safe like LoBiondo, he should certainly do so. LoBiondo has a reputation for being very secretive and avoiding reporters.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Frank LoBiondo leads in poll

We actually have a poll of New Jersey's Second Congressional District thanks to The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. In a sample of 400 likely voters in the district (PDF), they found Frank LoBiondo leads Gary Stein:

59 percent would vote for incumbent Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R) if the election was held today. 25 percent would vote for Gary Stein (D) and 13 percent were not sure. 68 percent had a favorable opinion of LoBiondo. 18 percent had a favorable opinion of Stein, however, Stein also had 72 percent who were not familiar enough with him to give an opinion. 56 percent approved of LoBiondo’s job performance.


They also surveyed the 1st and 3rd districts and overall of the 1200 likely South Jersey voters, "57 percent of the voters give President Obama good marks." That's a very good score, much better than his national rating. Obviously there's some dissonance in that LoBiondo is doing everything he can to stop anything Obama does, yet some people like that or don't think about it. 66% choose "jobs and the economy" as the top issue, as I would too.

(A personal note: I've been busy with work and personal items so I haven't been able to blog much. Needless to say, Representative LoBiondo is expected to be re-elected easily and he is voting against everything in the House, so perhaps we don't need a lot of posts anyway.)

He's not a liberal, but Gary Stein has posted at Blue Jersey to make his case over Lobiondo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

LoBiondo wins Republican nomination

No surprise, but LoBiondo trounced his Tea Party challengers with 99% reporting:

LoBiondo, Frank (i) 19,059 78%
Biamonte, Linda 2,944 12%
Ward, Donna 2,415 10%

His 78% was better than "moderates" Chris Smith (69%) and Leonard Lance (56%.) It was even better than Frelinghuysen's 76% (though F., in a more Republican district, had far more actual votes.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Frank LoBiondo giving his campaign donations away

Frank LoBiondo runs as a moderate but he's now the largest donor to the NRCC. The $130,000 he raised pretending it was for himself is now going to be used to elect extreme conservatives all over the country.

Here's the Roll Call article:

Thirty House Republicans directly transferred more than $1.1 million to the NRCC last month, according to a Roll Call analysis of the NRCC’s April fundraising report filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission...

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.) transferred $130,000 to the NRCC last month, more than any other House Republican.


Certainly there's no reason for anyone to donate to him. Give straight to the NRCC if that's what you want to do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Frank LoBiondo's Party tried legalized extortion, again

The Washington Post has an important article on how Republicans are pressuring corporations to give them money (my emphasis):

The change comes as top Republicans lawmakers appeal more directly to business leaders, putting them on notice that the GOP is keeping track of the corporate donations ledger and will remember who stood by the party. As part of an effort dubbed "Sell the Fight," House Republican leaders have met privately with corporate executives and lobbyists to argue that their giving has tilted too far toward Democrats and that they need to steer more money to industry-friendly GOP candidates in key races in 2010.

"These corporate leaders and lobbyists have got interests and clients they need to look out for, and they are reading the tea leaves just like everyone else," said Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), the deputy chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who has made several private pitches to corporate PAC leaders. "They see what's happening . . . and they don't want to get cut short."

The fundraising efforts of Republican lawmakers mirror those used after the party gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 Republican Revolution. Party leaders at the time, especially then-House Whip Tom Delay, used their new positions in power to pull in corporate checks. Delay kept a list of lobbyists categorized as "friendly" and "unfriendly" based on campaign contributions.


Despite his seniority, Frank LoBiondo is never given the GOP leadership positions he deserves so I don't know that I can blame him personally but this behavior led to a lot of abuses in the last two decades. (And yes, Democrats are too influenced by corporate money too.) Basically I consider it extortion even if politicians make sure it is legal.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sorry, no

I was surprised to see this claim in the Gloucester County Times:

South Jersey politicians should be hearing footsteps after voters elsewhere ousted key incumbents in recent primary balloting...

This November, the two U.S. House representatives serving Gloucester County, Rob Andrews, D-1st Dist. (coming up on 20 years), and Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist. (coming up on 16 years), can now consider themselves more vulnerable than in the past.


Barring the proverbial Live Boy or Dead Girl, that's not right. Democrats are not running a major candidate, and I am sure Mr. LoBiondo knows it. (Andrews doesn't have anything to worry about either.)

Now, who knows in 2012?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

LoBiondo: Still lots of money

The FEC report on Frank LoBiondo tell us his campaign has $1,128,245 cash on hand. That's not quite as much as it would seem, as his campaign spent over $490,000 in 2009 and the first three months of 2010. He raised over $563,000. Over $333,000 came from political action committees: everyone from Rolls Royce (I'm not kidding) to Government Employees to Hannahs to the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

He also donated $140,000 to other Republicans:

CHRIS CHRISTIE FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS PARSIPPANY NJ 07054 03/13/2009 $3,400
TEDISCO FOR CONGRESS CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS CLIFTON PARK NY 12065 03/13/2009 $1,000
AMODEO & POLISTINA FOR ASSEMBLY CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS LINWOOD NJ 08221 06/16/2009 $5,200
FRIENDS OF ROY BLUNT CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS 65805 05/29/2009 $2,000
CUMBERLAND COUNTY G.O.P. CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS VINELAND NJ 08360 05/29/2009 $15,000
DONOHUE-CONRAD 2009 CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS LINWOOD NJ 08221 05/17/2009 $5,200
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP REPUBLICAN ORG. CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS NEWFIELD NJ 08344 05/21/2009 $2,000
VENTNOR REPUBLICAN CLUB CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS VENTNOR CITY NJ 08406 05/29/2009 $500
ZACH WAMP FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS CHATTANOOGA TN 37422 05/17/2009 $2,500
STEVE CHABOT FOR CONGRESS CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS CINCINNATI OH 45211 08/01/2009 $1,000
CHRIS CHRISTIE FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS PARSIPPANY NJ 07054 08/29/2009 $2,000
CUMBERLAND COUNTY G.O.P. CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS BRIDGETON NJ 08302 09/09/2009 $12,000
CUMBERLAND COUNTY G.O.P. CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS BRIDGETON NJ 08302 08/31/2009 $2,500
ESTELL MANOR REPUBLICAN CLUB CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION FROM EXCESS ESTELL MANOR NJ 08319 08/21/2009 $500
SWEDESBORO REPUBLICAN ASSOCIATION CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS SWEDESBORO NJ 08085 09/18/2009 $1,000
ASSEMBLY REPUBLICAN VICTORY CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS TRENTON NJ 08608 10/23/2009 $25,000
FUND TO RE-ELECT BAKER & ZAPPARIELLO CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS MINOTOLA NJ 08341 10/03/2009 $500
FUND TO RE-ELECT BAKER & ZAPPARIELLO CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS MINOTOLA NJ 08341 10/20/2009 $500
CURCIO, JIM CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS HAMMONTON NJ 08037 10/27/2009 $1,500
ATLANTIC COUNTY REPUBLICAN ORGANIZATION CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS LINWOOD NJ 08221 10/03/2009 $15,000
FRIENDS OF CAREW, VAIN & TURON CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS NORTHFIELD NJ 08225 10/17/2009 $250
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP REPUBLICAN LEAGUE CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS OCEANVILLE NJ 08231 10/09/2009 $2,500
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP REPUBLICAN ORG. CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS MAYS LANDING NJ 08330 10/09/2009 $2,500
LAURY/JENNINGS 2009 CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS BRIDGETON NJ 08302 10/23/2009 $5,000
LOCKWOOD FOR COMMITTEE CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS CAPE MAY CT HSE NJ 08210 10/23/2009 $300
MACCARONE & FEIN FOR WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP NJ 08085 10/10/2009 $500
RUDDER FOR ASSEMBLY CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS MOUNT HOLLY NJ 08060 10/28/2009 $5,000
SPCC 2009 CAMPAIGN CONTRIB FROM EXCESS SOMERS POINT NJ 08244 10/15/2009 $250

Monday, April 19, 2010

LoBiondo and the 2010 Elections (aka I may vote for him!)

Last week was the filing deadline for the major party nominations for Congress and four people filed in the New Jersey's 2nd district. Frank LoBiondo faces two primary challengers: Linda Biamonte and Donna Ward. Biamante is a Tea Party type challenging from the right. Personally I sure hope she doesn't have any success, but she has gotten a bit of press. Donna Ward was easily beaten by LoBiondo last time. She ran as a "Constitutional Republican" (aka a Ron Paul-type, I think) and refused to endorse LoBiondo.

The big Democratic names--Van Drew, Whelan--all passed. 2012 does seem like a potentially better year assuming the economy recovers. Meanwhile, no low-level Democrats stepped up to challenge LoBiondo the way long-shot challengers Dave Kurkowski and Viola Thomas-Hughes did in the last two cycles. But wait, we have Gary Stein He ran previously for Congress and Governor as a long-shot third party candidate. So he quite smartly has effectively grabbed the Democratic nomination. I'm not sure I can vote for him, so who knows, I may become a LoBiondo supporter! Well, we'll say what Mr. Stein says in the campaign. I trust the bit about UFOs on his website is a joke or a hack. Still, if you really want to shake things up you could vote for Stein.

In any case, LoBiondo is the overwhelming favorite for re-election at this point.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Letter to the editor

Charles Ciraolo of Vineland wrote a great letter about LoBiondo in the Daily Journal. Here are some excerpts:


We are one of the richest countries in the world; yet, 46 million have no health benefits while millions more have lousy benefits. We rank 17th worldwide, following Portugal, with health care and yet we pay the most per person. Most of our bankruptcies are now due to health care costs. One of the biggest reasons our American manufacturers go to Canada is because they do not have to pay for health care benefits.

While President Obama was trying to reach across the aisle to the Republicans, as Republicans said they wanted to do, Republicans offered no program of their own but just said no to every proposal set forth by the Democrats.


It goes on...

It is quite apparent to any thinking loyal American the thing to do is throw more Republicans out of office next election. What has happened is this, and I will use Mr. Frank LoBiondo as an example. Your representative brags what he has done for your state, whether it is getting a federal grant to fill in the beaches, etc. Once having showed you what a great job he is doing for you, he can then feel free do what the party wants him to do on a national level. He can do this because he now feels safe of being elected again next time. In an article in The Daily Journal, he blasted the health care bill.


He said it should have bipartisan support. What planet is he from? For more than one year, President Obama has been trying to work with the Republicans and has asked for their ideas. LoBiondo doesn't want the federal government getting involved with health insurance, no sir. He likes the way the big insurance companies are working, such as United Health Care, which made $4.2 billion in profit last year. He likes pre-existing conditions, the doughnut hole for Medicare recipients who have to come up with a couple of thousand dollars out of their pocket, and limits set on your policy so they can drop you.

Boeing in Millville

Reporter Dan Walsh described the opening of Boeing’s U.S. Army helicopter modification center at Millville Airport. As LoBiondo has cited it as a key development:

“It sends a message to the world that if a major international corporation like Boeing can select Millville, this is a place worth paying attention to,” LoBiondo said.


Walsh says Boeing is not holding a career fair, but instead is mainly hiring through their website (I assume it's www.boeing.com/employment) so if you hope to be one of the hundred or so hired there click through.

Friday, April 2, 2010

LoBiondo questioned at town hall about Constitution

Someone sent me this video of Frank LoBiondo with the following comment, which I reproduce in full. Personally, my sympathies are with LoBiondo because it's easy to get confused in a pop quiz. He confuses Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution with the 1st Amendment. One might also think of the famous Preamble. The video is more of the questioner than the Congressman, but some people think it is important.



The e-mail:

Congressman LoBiondo is unable to to explain Article 1 Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution

( Article I Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.)



that is the full text of the article and he was unaware of it and he has been serving in the house for over 10 years



nor is he able to tell the audience the 1st amendment



How are we to trust this man to protect our liberties when he doesn't even know what they are ?



Update April 8, 2010: This story has been working it's way up the media chain and now is in The Hill. How odd though to credit the Star-Ledger when it's the same video posted by the activist. I guess the professionals only acknowledge the professionals.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LoBiondo on offshore drilling

A post here last year observed that Frank LoBiondo supported offshore oil drilling there but not here and Representative LoBiondo has stayed consistent now that President Obama has backed that plan.

Here's the quote in northjersey.com:

But Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, whose district also includes Shore communities, said Obama’s announcement echoes his own position on expanding offshore drilling. “While my opposition to drilling off New Jersey has not changed, I have supported legislation allowing states to decide if they want to explore off their shores,” LoBiondo said in a statement. “Combined with increased nuclear, solar, wind, biofuels and conservation efforts, expanded offshore drilling will enhance our national security and lead our country to energy independence.”


Senators Lautenberg and Menendez, and Governor Christie came out against the plan.

Incidentally, the reports are that "cap and trade" is considered dead so LoBiondo may be on board with the energy/climate change bill in the end. Note his positive comments here about other energy sources also backed in the bill.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Frank Lobiondo angry over F-35

I found this video at "War News Updates" of Frank LoBiondo getting angry over the F-35. [Actually, LoBiondo's staff posted the video.]



Look at the disaster NASA was lead into over years (and blaming Obama or Bush for NASA's manned space flight gap is missing the big picture.) While I'm not sure whether LoBiondo is blaming the right people, and I don't think the F-22 was successful, it's good he's complaining.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An opportunity for LoBiondo

There's a lot of perfectly legitimate opposition to the health care bill, embodied by Representative Frank LoBiondo himself -- his decision to vote no. That he and I disagree is something we can talk about. (He uses votes, speeches and press releases, and I have a blog.)

But there's a big difference in a republic between saying NO and calling for acts of violence. Cut gas lines, bricks thrown through windows, faxed nooses. An atmosphere of mob violence is being created as some right-wing extremisms follow their absurd accusations of socialism and fascism to the "logical" conclusion of revolution and violence. Some will become terrorists as they imagine they are facing a tyrannical government. It's not the vast majority I'm talking about, but a few. Not only Muslims suicidally ram planes into government buildings. And to a liberal, the mob violence of the 1870s-1960s used to oppress blacks suggests this not as foreign a desire as we'd like to think. (And no doubt a conservative will be quick to point to leftist violence here and around the world.)

Frank LoBiondo is not responsible for this -- I think he's more afraid of the Tea Party than aligned with them, and I haven't seen such extreme language from him -- but he has the opportunity to condemn anti-health care reform violence. Call for disappointed conservatives to express their unhappiness at the ballot box or peaceful demonstrations, not violence. Some thing very dangerous is being deliberately unleashed in America, and no moderate, "Main Street" Republican can be comfortable with it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LoBiondo and the benefits of health care reform he opposes

Frank LoBiondo has whole-heartedly opposed the Democrats' health care efforts and his final statement after his no vote is clear:

U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today issued the following statement prior to voting NO on the healthcare reform bill:

“Today’s vote is historic in that it is a missed opportunity to truly reign in health insurance costs, increase quality of care, and really improve the healthcare system for countless Americans.

“President Obama and the Congress could have and should have crafted bipartisan solutions to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible for everyone. We could have and should have already enacted common-sense policies such as allowing insurance to be bought across state lines, repealing the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies, medical malpractice reform, and removing restrictions on coverage for those with preexisting conditions. The Democrat leadership made the calculated decision against this approach and thus, we have now arrived at this severely-flawed healthcare bill before us today...


Yes, I love the use of the bold, ALL-CAPS, underlined "NO" too. I do wish Republicans just say they want to mostly deregulate health care insurance -- when you think about it, that what's "bought across state lines" is intended to lead to. It would be nice to be honest about it, but I guess it is about as popular when you phrase it thta was as "privatizing Social Security." I also wanted to comment that "removing restrictions on those with preexisting conditions" has the drawback, according to most economists, that many people won't buy insurance until after they get a big sickness. That leads to the collapse of the system as only sick, expensive people buy insurance, and that is why Obama supported the individual mandate to buy insurance even though like LoBiondo he knows it is better politics to condemn it.

The opposite view of LoBiondo is that this reform will help millions of people get the health care they need, and reform many of the worst practices of the insurance industry. An Analysis of health care reform's effects on LoBiondo's NJ2 district reveals:

  • Improve coverage for 447,000 residents with health insurance.
  • Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 150,000 families and 15,900 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
  • Improve Medicare for 113,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
  • Extend coverage to 30,000 uninsured residents.
  • Guarantee that 9,200 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Protect 1,600 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Allow 49,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 37 community health centers.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $47 million annually.


That is a lot to be proud of, even if LoBiondo says NO and tells us instead to deregulate to whatever South Dakota wants.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LoBiondo surrenders to Tea Party, abandons his energy views

The big news -- though sadly not that surprising -- is that Frank LoBiondo has surrendered to the most extreme elements of his party (my bold):

Although they're upset with his "aye" vote on cap and trade, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Bridgeton) says he welcomes primary opposition, and is encouraged by the organizing efforts of the Tea Party movement.

"I think it's great," says the 16-year veteran of the U.S. House. "A lot of people are energized, and when people are energized, we're all better off."

"If the cap and trade vote came up again, I wouldn't support it," adds LoBiondo, who would like to see the country develop a coherent energy policy - without the tax penalties included in the bill he originally supported.


He couldn't have put it any more plainly unless he was wearing a "white flag" on his lapel. I am disappointed but again not surprised.

It does show that LoBiondo had a lot of projection going on when he yelled at Lou Magazzu:

I believe this nation is on a disastrous march. And now Democrats are losing votes because of the policies of extremists in your party.


According to LoBiondo's previously expressed views, our energy policy was on a disastrous course but now he has flipped his vote because of extremists in the Republican party. Sad to blame someone else for it. After all, cap and trade is a Republican idea:

I'm just old enough to remember when policies like cap-and-trade were quintessentially conservative. As an econ undergrad in the 1980s, cap-and-trade was the leading light in a suite of then radical, new, market-based regulatory ideas propounded by right-of-center economists. These new market-based approaches, they argued, would achieve superior amelioration of environmental problems without the heavy-handed inefficiencies of the "command-and-control" limits embraced by liberals in the 1970s. During my undergrad years, and the the years after, there was a decent debate about the policy and economic merits of the competing approaches to regulation. I imagine someone with Lexis Nexis could even find historical documents (Galaxy Quest!) of elected Republicans advocating cap-and-trade approaches as a conservative alternative to old-fashioned, unfair "liberalism."

Fast forward to 2009, and I confess I still find myself amazed that the conservative policy won the argument... Ironically, while their proposals were winning in the marketplace of ideas, the Republican party has abandoned the field of competition and retreated into an extremism that would probably shock even the 1964 edition of Barry Goldwater. Where you might have seen someone like Jack Kemp endorsing cap-and-trade as a sexy new idea 25 years ago, now the very same policy approach is crazy communism to today's Republicans. The policy hasn't changed, but the Republican party sure has. What was once a center-right party looking for innovative new ideas (like cap-and-trade), it is now a right-of-everyone-but-the-lunatics rump, mistrustful of any and all public policy and clinging only to the irrational scraps that feed their hysterical, anti-scientific state of denial. Kind of sad, really.


As LoBiondo has been in Congress since 1994, he really needs to look in the mirror and ask how he let this happen.

too bad

It's not even history, just the past, but I get the impression that LoBiondo could have been Lt. Gov if he had wanted it:

"Chris called me a couple of times, and all I can tell you is I was flattered," LoBiondo says. "My passion is with the federal issues: job security, aviation and armed services and transportation. I don't think you can switch to the state level that easily with the federal focus I have."


I guess my comment at the time wasn't far off: "I can't help but doubt that LoBiondo would give up a safe seat for the opportunity to serve in a minor role for 8 years." Still, it's too bad it's not an open seat election this year. I can always start a new blog after all. :)

State of the District speech

Representative Frank LoBiondo gave his State of the District speech a few weeks ago. News accounts help us understand his point of view, or at least the point of view he expresses to the Chamber of Commerce. Good accounts are at nj.com, Shore News Today, Daily Journal, and the Press of the Atlantic City.

As far as I can tell, he stood by his previous votes against the stimulus and TARP, condemned Democrats, and expressed concern about unemployment. He also pointed to a government project that will create 100 jobs locally as good, which seems bit contradictory to the stimulus-bashing to me, but I wasn't there.

He also said the big banks are too big. I'll be interested if that view ends up in legislation he can support.

Some of what he calls criticisms captures the big issue of the stimulus: much of it simply offset state budget cuts. So he complains that New Jersey would have funded the highway project anyway, but New Jersey and its transportation fund is broke in the real world. Construction and teaching jobs really were saved in my opinion.

He apparently referred to reconciliation, which has been used many times including by him, as the "nuclear option" which is simply an outright lie if he said it.

Anyway, it's too bad LoBiondo doesn't make his speech available online in print or video format as far as I can tell. Very few people in the district want to pay the Chamber of Commerce to hear their own Congressman.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Something to think about: Coast Guard vs. Missile Defense

Frank LoBiondo has been complaining about funding to the Coast Guard. I think I said the money had all been spent in his Iraq adventure, but Think Progress has a better comparison when discussing missile defense:

However, pointing out the factual inadequacies of missile defense hits the right wing at its emotional core. Its support for such a wasteful and strategically na├»ve system has almost become theological in nature. The right does not care about the system’s opportunity costs (we spend more on it than the entire Coast Guard), or the program’s effectiveness (there have been no realistic tests), or the implications of its development (a new arms race). Instead, for the right this is purely a faith-based defense program, making anyone who can effectively challenge it the target of a witch-hunt.


But the right doesn't care about the Coast Guard, which helps actual people, as much as its dreams of winning a fantasy Third World War with a fantasy weapon system. All these billions later and we don't have a system that really works. If LoBiondo were really serious about the Coast Guard, he'd look to this wasteful program. There's more to look at. Writing in the NY Times, Lawrance Korb and Steve Duggan compared the Coast Guard budget to the F-35:

The solution is simple: we need a unified national security budget. That would let lawmakers see that, for example, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a next-generation aircraft that is not needed in the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is projected to consume more money than the entire Coast Guard in 2011. Yet the F-35 program has suffered so many cost and technical problems that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates just fired its manager. Such inefficiencies and disparities are obvious when compared directly, but they get blurred when the Coast Guard and the other services are considered under different budgets and by different sets of Congressional committees.


Frank LoBiondo, though, has attacked any reform of the F-35 program. I think he just doesn't make the connection between the extraordinary waste of these defense projects and the hit to the Coast Guard -- though at least we can hope the F-35 will work, unlike missile defense and the F-22 fighter and the Deepwater cutters.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Will LoBiondo vote to ban all earmarks?

House Democratic leaders have just announced there will be no more earmarks to private contractors (earmakrs to non-profits would be okay).

Republicans including Representative Frank LoBiondo are considering going one further:

House Republicans praised the Democrats for taking this key step but are considering swearing off the practice. "We're going to have to make a decision," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told his colleagues at a closed-door meeting Wednesday, according to one attendee. "Are we really willing to put it all on the line to win this thing?"

They have scheduled a special gathering Thursday to debate whether they are willing, on their own, to not seek any earmarks. Previous efforts by Republicans -- who oversaw the dramatic inflation of the use of earmarks during their 12-year majority -- have failed.


I personally think earmarks can be good or bad, and that certainly John McCain's apparent belief that they are important part of the deficit is simply wrong. After all, LoBiondo is not shy about funds he brings to the district, and he's right. So I'm curious what LoBiondo will do in this situation, though I suppose we will only know what the majority of Republicans decide.

Update (3-13-2010): Apparently House Republicans did vote to ban all earmarks for one year. One year? Until they take control? Well, it is still a significant vote.

Biggest Contributors: Unions

I took a look at Open Secrets contributors data for Frank LoBiondo and it reminded me that he relies heavily on union support. Indeed, certain unions actively discourage any Democratic challenger.

Of course Lockheed-Martin makes an appearance too.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

LoBiondo joins Democrats to Prevent Child Abuse by School Officials

Frank Lobiondo was one of two dozen Republicans who joined most Democrats in voting 262-153 for H.R. 4247. Let me quote Down With Tyranny:

Yesterday's D v R showdown in the House wasn't about healthcare reform or even about the dirty filthy banksters stealing the national wealth. It wasn't about Afghanistan or about taking the ability of corporations to purchase the services of wily politicians. But it was a showdown that went to highlight one of the basic differences in worldview between conservatives and humans...


If God were to strike down all the obstructionists in the Senate and it were to become law, it would provide the first comprehensive protections for children against abusive disciplinary actions by schools.


Here's the NYT summary:

The legislation stems in part from a government report last year that found evidence that hundreds of children — from preschool age to high school — had been traumatized or physically harmed by being held down or locked alone in rooms, some even tied to chairs. Many had developmental problems or were in special needs programs; many others were in regular classes. Some children have died, apparently because of overly aggressive discipline, according to numerous reports over the last decade.

The bill would prohibit, except in cases of imminent danger, any restraint that restricts breathing; any mechanical restraint, like straps; and chemical restraint, by drugs other than those prescribed by a child’s doctor. It allows for “time outs” but not for a child to be locked in a room, away from supervision. It requires states to keep careful records of incidents of restraint and seclusion, and for schools to report incidents promptly to parents.


I'm very proud Frank LoBiondo voted for this legislation. Actually, all the New Jersey Republican House members did, except ultra-right-winger Scott Garrett.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LoBiondo votes against tax cuts for businesses to hire new workers

The House of Representatives voted today on the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. This would provide tax credits to help businesses hire workers during this terrible recession where we are suffering from 10% unemployment. It also nclueds highway money which New Jersey desperately needs. Here's a description of the jobs bill, which is one of many pending:

This $15 billion measure includes: A payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers, to create some 300,000 jobs and an income tax credit of $1,000 for businesses that retain these employees. Tax cuts to spur new investment by small businesses to help them expand and hire more workers. Extension of the Highway Trust Fund allowing for tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment Provisions -- modeled after the Build America Bonds program - to make it easier for states to borrow for infrastructure projects, such as school construction and energy projects. This bipartisan job creation measure passed by a vote of 70-28 in the Senate last week, and is one in a series of measures this Congress will take to restore the American economy.


Sadly, Frank LoBiondo voted against the bill, even though it enjoyed overwhelming support in the Senate. What happened to his concerns about unemployment? What about his love of tax cuts?

LoBiondo: THIS IS NOT ACCURATE

Jason Springer observes Frank LoBiondo is worried about Cape May County:

Frank LoBiondo is doing his best to avoid a primary challenge from the teabaggers and probably spit out his coffee when he read in the Atlantic City Press that he had taken sides in who the Cape May Republican committee should support for Freeholder.


Here is the LoBiondo e-mail obtained by Shore News Today:

March 3, 2010

To The Cape May County Regular Republican Party,

The Press of Atlantic City reported that Freeholder Director Beyel said I endorsed John McCann ("Beyel said U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, also endorses the slate”). THIS IS NOT ACCURATE.

I was not part of the decision making process by the Cape May County Republican organization. I was not asked for my opinion nor consulted with in any discussions concerning the party's decision not to endorse Jerry at any time.

Once I found out about it as the rest of you did, I made it clear I would not be involved in the committee preference vote process.

But now it is being reported that I am. I AM NOT. My position has not changed--it is an internal county organization issue

I have been in contact with Chairman Von Savage, Freeholder Thornton and Leader McCann.

If you have any questions, please call or email me at lobiondoforcongress@comcast.net.

Sincerely,

Frank LoBiondo


Nice to see LoBiondo is in touch with modern culture and knows how to SHOUT USING ALL CAPS!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Frank LoBiondo on proposed Coast Guard budget

The Cape May County Herald has a good article on Representative Frank LoBiondo's reaction to the Obama Administration proposed Coast Guard budget. The budget calls for spending $10.08 billion, but this is a $75 million dollar reduction. The Coast Guard has brief post which includes a link to "All Hands" email by Commandant Allen which discusses the choices that were made in this difficult fiscal environment.

It will be interesting to see if LoBiondo ever backs tax increases to pay for all the government operations he says it would be a "disaster"to cut. In my opinion, these cuts are a direct consequence of the disaster Republican deregulation of Wall Street, waste of a trillion dollars in Iraq, and the rest of the extravagant spending over the last decade. Still, he expresses his concerns about these particular cuts very well, and I was convinced they are serious concerns.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LoBiondo votes to end health insurance anti-trust exemption

Frank LoBiondo was one of 406 Representatives who voted to end the anti-trust exemption for the health care industry, or as the bill's sponsor put it, To restore the application of the Federal antitrust laws to the business of health insurance to protect competition and consumers. The overwhelming bipartisan majority on such a sensible measure is good to see.

Scott Garrett was the only New Jersey Representative to vote no, cementing his extreme status.

(Of course, earlier in the day LoBiondo voted to "recommit with instructions" which would have effectively killed the bill, but apparently he believes that such party-line votes don't really count in terms of supporting the bill. No doubt he knew the motion to recommitt would fail so maybe it's really true. You can decide for yourself.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LoBiondo on Lautenberg's cancer

I certainly agree with Rep. LoBiondo's sentiments on Frank Lautenberg's fight with cancer:

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, said in a statement: “I join with countless others in South Jersey and across the state who look forward to his full recovery,” while state Sen. James Whelan, D-Atlantic, stressed that “I know that he will overcome this difficult situation, just as he has overcome other challenges.”

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Frank LoBiondo on aviation industry and South Jersey

The Daily Journal has a new piece by Frank LoBiondo:

One year ago, I discussed how it was imperative our region look for opportunities to strengthen and expand new and emerging industries that could provide significant revenues and create local high-paying jobs.

While tourism, gaming, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and small businesses will always have a measurable role to play, there needs to be more diversification of our work force to ensure South Jersey's short-term recovery and long-term economic growth. Back then, I singled out the aviation industry as having deep roots already in the region. There have been significant advancements that will make the aviation sector a key part of our local economy for decades to come.

In the past 12 months, we have seen considerable investment made at the Atlantic City International Airport...

Likewise, we have seen tangible progress in establishing the premier location for aviation research and development in conjunction with the FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township...

In the first weeks of 2010, we have already heard that Boeing -- a leader in aviation -- will be locating some of its post-production work to upgrade Chinook helicopters for the U.S. Army at the Millville Airport.


Good stuff, and it's worth reading the full story. Work like this to bring jobs to the district certainly is a reason why LoBiondo is pretty safe even though this is a district that can vote Democratic.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Our district gets emergency aid for snowstorm disaster

Today, President Barack Obama signed a New Jersey disaster declaration:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of New Jersey and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a snowstorm during the period of December 19-20, 2009.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the snowstorm in the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem.

In addition, assistance is available to State and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including snow assistance, for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.


Sounds like the NJ2 congressional district will be helped a lot by this declaration.

Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez put out a joint statement welcoming this:

U.S. Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez today
applauded President Obama for declaring a major disaster and making
federal funds available to help New Jersey communities recover from
the December snowstorms. Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez supported the
state’s request for a disaster declaration in a letter to President
Obama on January 20, 2010.



“With more snowstorms hammering New Jersey, this emergency funding
will help the communities that were hit in December defray mounting
costs,” the Senators stated. “This federal funding commitment will be
an important boost to the state and many of the local agencies tasked
with responding to the weekend snowstorms.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Debt vote, but it's hypocrisy all around

Along with every other Republican, Frank LoBiondo voted against increasing the national debt ceiling and "pay-as-you-go" rules today. Of course, you're not foolish enough to think that his vote against debt means anythihg. Back when Republicans controlled the House and the Presidency, they were the ones who voted for debt ceiling increases and Democrats voted against them. For example, here's LoBiondo's 2004 vote to increase the debt ceiling. So now it's the other way around, but it doesn't mean anything sincere.

The second vote may be a little more sincere. Republicans like to give tax cuts without cutting spending, which would be illegal under the "pay-as-you-go" rules. Of course, it's the opposite of being a "fiscal conservative."

Frank LoBiondo gets an F from the NAACP (but it's a high F)

The NAACP has released its grades of the 111th Congress and Frank LoBiondo got a 56% percent, which, although more than half, gets an F using the NAACP's traditional high-school style grading system. I have posted all NAACP New Jersey grades at Blue Jersey, where you'll see LoBiondo is beat out by only Chris Smith amongst Republicans. Certainly he's no Scott Garrett (8%).

The Republican Plan: Cut Social Security, Cut Medicare, Balance Budget in 2060

To my knowledge, Frank LoBiondo has not put out his own plan to deal with the long-term deficit, so we'll have to assume he probably supports more or less the new House Republican plan, though it's not officially endorsed, and some Republicans realize it is a political loser as it privatizes Social Security and Medicare. An analysis of the plan is very revealing:

In all the Ryan budget plan dubbed the "Roadmap for America's Future" would take the deficit from 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 4.8 percent in 2030 and 2.6 percent in 2050. The Congressional Budget Office shows the GOP plan would end the deficit around 2060 and they would produce a surplus of 6 percent of gross domestic product by 2083.


Well, I certainly hope to live to see 2060, though statistics say I probably won't, but why I or anyone would want to lose Social Security and Medicare benefits and still run a huge deficit is beyond me. Privatizing Social Security is doubly foolish after the recent crash, we already have plenty of exposure to the stock market and real estate.

Also, for those Republicans complaining about the Democrats' proposed taxes on "Cadillac" health insurance plans, we have this: The Ryan plan "also eliminates income and payroll tax exclusions for employment-based health insurance starting next year."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

President Obama and House Republicans together

Here is the video of the Q&A session between President Barack Obama and House Republicans. Unfortunately Frank LoBiondo did not get to ask a question.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nuclear education

As we all wait in the district to see if the plans for a 4th nuclear reactor in Salem really go forward, here's a tidbit in an AP story on the new PSEG education center for nuclear power:

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat; U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a New Jersey Republican; and NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko were on hand to praise the prospects of nuclear power and the energy center for explaining it.


Well, we already knew LoBiondo is pro-nuclear. I feel I should include the quote from Unplug Salem for balance:

An activist who opposes nuclear power sees it another way: "They for years have gone out to the schools in the area on propaganda missions," said Norm Cohen, the coordinator of the Unplug Salem campaign, who expects local opposition to PSEG adding a fourth reactor. "This way, they can have the schools come to them."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Van Drew won't take on LoBiondo in 2010

State Senator Jeff Van Drew of Cape May County is widely thought to be the strongest possible challenger to Representative Frank LoBiondo, but once again he has decided not to challenge LoBiondo this year. The Coastal Broadcasting News of Cape May County reports:

If a Democrat beats Congressman Frank LoBiondo in this November's election, it won't be State Senator Jeff Van Drew doing it. Van Drew has confirmed to Coastal Broadcasting that he will not be running against LoBiondo in this November's election.


Dan Walsh of the Press of Atlantic City has the unambiguous quote:

"I'm not going to be running in this cycle"


Jason Spring of Blue Jersey notes this leaves the door open, yet again, for 2012 or later.

Walsh also describes a longshot candidate, Gerald Sakura, but I think he deserves a post of his own.