Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year New Jersey!

Let's all hope that 2010 being change to New Jersey that's desperately needed. For starters, we can get lobbyists out of the state pension system.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tornoe toon: Sick Time Payouts Sickening

My latest cartoon on the ridiculous 6-figure sick-time payouts NJ gives to some outgoing employees...

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Tornoe toon: Christie's Loan

Republican gubernatorial challenger Chris Christie has gotten into some hot water over a $46,000 loan he gave to Michele Brown, the first assistant U.S. attorney.

According to Jon Corzine, this loan presents "an appearance of a conflict" of interest.

However, there's no word from Corzine about giving a $470,000 loan, and then paying off that loan, to the then head of the state's largest labor union, and what "appearance" of a conflict" that might present.

And let's not forget that Katz’ $1.1 million condo purchase came at the same time negotiators for her union and the Corzine administration were entering intense negotiations over a new contract for state workers. Katz was president of the largest of five Communications Workers of America locals that are about to vote on the four-year deal.

I wonder if Christie has emails from Michele Brown that he's keeping a secret as well...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tornoe toon: Cash for Clunkers in Atlantic City

So Atlantic City passed their $200 million budget, but things look rough for the gambling mecca moving forward.

Here are some numbers from Michael Clark's Press of Atlantic City piece:

• The city has to defer more than $6 million in payments to the state's pension system, leaving a large hole that needs to be filled next year.

• The budget includes an $11 million increase in taxes

• The city had to raid their piggy bank to pay for the budget, depleting their surplus by $9 million, all the way down to $850,000.

But hey, at least the air show was cool.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Obama Comes To Save the Day...

An interesting take on Obama's trip to New Jersey to help rally the troops behind wounded governor Jon Corzine, via In the Lobby:

“This New Jersey thing, by the way. This is one of those boxes he has to check as leader of the Democratic Party. You don’t do a rally with 17,000 people in July unless you don’t want to be doing that rally with 17,000 people in October because you’re worried that guy is not going to win. They’re getting it out of the way," said Chuck Todd, political director of MSNBC, analyzing President Obama's trip to New Jersey.(7/17/09)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

NJ School Districts Face Hike in Health Care Costs. Which Means...

The Star-Ledger has reported that health insurance premiums for more than 250 school districts in New Jersey could increase by as much as 20 percent next year.

So this means that the teachers will just pay a bit more for their health care coverage, right?


According to New Jersey Education Association spokesman Steve Baker, the premium increase probably won't require teachers to pay more because most employee contracts prevent that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Which Republican is Corzine Pulling For?

While the Steve Lonegan/Chris Christie youTube battle rages on, a new Lonegan backer is coming out to support his pick for the GOP nomination for Governor - Jon Corzine.

A Washington-based political organization with ties to democrats is running ads attacking Christie, the Republican they consider more formidable, in an attempt to knock him out in the June primary.

The ad, released by the Mid-Atlantic Leadership Fund, highlights the Wall Street entanglements of Christie’s younger brother and suggests the former U.S. Attorney improperly used his connections to bail him out of trouble.

“This week is a stark reminder of how Jon Corzine operates,” Chris Christie Campaign Consultant Mike DuHaime told “Taxes are up, unemployment is up… The only thing going down are his polls numbers. Clearly this is an effort to influence the Republican Primary. Jon Corzine may have bought the Democrat Party, but he will not buy the Republican Party.”

Here's the ad:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Atlantic City Casinos: It's Only a Flesh Wound

As if the times weren't already tough enough for the casinos in Atlantic City, Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed his controversial sports betting bill into law, paving the way to sports betting and table games to make their way to Delaware's 3 racinos (one of which I pissed off with this cartoon).

Atlantic City’s casinos have been taking a beating, with gaming revenue down 15.7 percent for the first four months of 2009 and headed for a third straight year of declines.

It's estimated that table games in both Pennsylvania and Delaware would cut into Atlantic City’s $4.55 billion annual gaming revenue by about 5 percent, although he has also calculated a worst-case scenario of about 10 percent.

If Atlantic City wants to survive, it needs to get on the path following Las Vegas to a family destination. Atlantic City still offers something that no casino in the surrounding area can ever compete with - the beach.

Unless the Delaware racinos, protected by a state-run monopoly, get smart and build a casino at Rehoboth Beach.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Stacked Deck for Delaware Racinos

Delaware state senators Thurman Adams and Gary Simpson are unpaid directors and members of the Delaware State Fair executive board and hold non-dividend fair stock from Harrington Raceway & Casino, who alongside Dover Downs and Delaware Park have lobbied strongly against Markell's sports betting bill, saying that increasing the state's share of the gambling monopoly will cause them considerable financial stress.

As the News Journal recently pointed out, Harrington recently went through a $35 million expansion and renovation, hardly indicative of a business in stress.

Harrington has also entered into a long-term contract with its operator that guarantees an accelerating increase in annual payment while the racino moves to become its own operator. According to a News Journal editorial, the management firm will be getting paid to watch itself lose the Harrington contract.

Harrington's stockholder list reads like a who's who of Delaware politics. No wonder they always get what they want.

As an added bonus, here is Delaware Governor Jack Markell appearing on ESPN's E:60 show discussing the issue of sports betting. One thing I found interesting was the NCAA admitting that allowing Montana, which does have a sports lottery, to host NCAA post-season games and events was an “oversight” - and one they will correct. They of course are fighting to prevent any NCAA post-season games from occurring in Delaware due to the legalization of sports betting.

Monday, May 04, 2009

For Jon Corzine, it's 'Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past'

Man, would I have loved to be in Jon Corzine's office when he heard the news that his former girlfriend and labor leader leader Carla Katz is going to be doing spots on 101.5, New Jersey's most popular radio station. She starts Monday with an hour-long spot on the 'Jersey Guys' – Casey Bartholomew and Ray Rossi – one of the periodic appearances she’ll apparently be making on the station.

I wonder if she'll spill the beans on how much money Corzine actually gave her when he became governor. The New York Times estimated it at $6 million, including a $1.1 million condo, $500,000 in renovations to her home, her Lexus SUV and her kids’ tuition at a private school, just to name a few.

Most importantly, will she speak-up about the infamous email exchange she had with Corzine back when he agreed to give back the concession that CWA workers agreed to during their negotiations, which would have required retired state employees to contribute 1.5% of their pension toward their health insurance premium and would have saved taxpayers $2 million?

Monday, April 27, 2009

As Long as Voters Know who Jon Corzine is...

Governor Corzine's approval ratings continue to be upside-down as he struggles to close New Jersey's budget gap, but his Republican opponents for governor, Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan, have their own problems.

According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 56% of respondents haven't heard enough about Christie to rate him favorable or not. That number jumps to 72% for Steve Lonegan.

But as long as more than 50% of New Jerseyans don't approve of the job Corzine is doing, they should just continue to remain "the other guy."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go to Rutgers to Watch Football, Not to Learn

Due to state aid reductions in Gov. Jon Corzine's proposed budget, Rutgers University officials announced they will lay off workers, cut courses and raise tuition to fill a $60 million hole in the university budget.

Two things strike me as weird.

1: The proposed cut is 5 percent of state funding, or $15.5 million. So why cut $60 million?

2: Why cut professors when your plunking millions into both a stadium expansion, and into Greg Schiano 's exorbitant contract, when the football program continues to lose money? (BTW- Schiano is the state's highest paid public employee)

Does Rutgers still want to be an institute for higher learning? It doesn't seem like it. All they're concerned with is profit, and they don't even seem good at that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cartoon: Bruce Springsteen Named as "The Other Man"

He may be The Boss, but according to a Red Bank man's divorce papers, Bruce Springsteen is also a home wrecker.

Businessman Arthur J. Kelly named the Jersey rock 'n' roller as the reason for the breakup of his 17-year marriage to Ann C. Kelly, according to the Star-Ledger.

"Patti and I have been together for 18 years -- the best 18 years of my life," Springsteen posted on his website, "We have built a beautiful family we love and want to protect and our commitment to one another remains as strong as the day we were married."

Here a link to the divorce paper.

I just wonder if Obama feels betrayed.

Monday, April 06, 2009

New Jersey Cartoon: Illegal Immigrants at Rutgers?

I know most of you will disagree with me about the recommendations from Corzine's Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigrant Policy report which recommends, among other things, allowing in-state tuition rates for foreign-born New Jersey students.

That's okay. Just think of me as Ned Flanders.

I just think it's a much more complicated issue than simply "send them home."

The Star-Ledger had an excellent editorial on the subject, which drew out the anger of many readers. Among what they said:

"We may call them law-breakers. We may demand they go home and reenter the country "the right way." We rage on internet sites about how much money they're costing us "real Americans." We demand that our politicians -- the same ones without the guts to design an effective immigration policy -- "enforce the laws on the books." Maybe that makes us feel better, but it doesn't solve the problem. Outrage isn't a policy."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is Corzine Hiding on Financial Television?

Jon Corzine is in love with appearing on Financial TV. It seems like every weekend he ends up on one of the talk shows as a former "financial wizard" telling us how to save the economy.

How has that worked in New Jersey?

Maybe appearing on all these shows keeps him in New York and Washington, and out of New Jersey, where former Attorney Chris Christie leads Gov. Jon Corzine, 44% to 38% in the New Jersey Governor’s race.

Anyone need make-up?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Jersey Cartoon: Corzine E-mails With Ex Remain Private

The New Jersey Supreme Court declined to order Gov. Corzine to release e-mail exchanges with his former girlfriend Carla Katz, who lead the largest public employees’ union in New Jersey while the state was negotiating contracts in 2006 and 2007.

The governor and his legal team cited executive privilege in not making the e-mails public. However, now that the supreme court has ruled in his favor, I think Corzine should make the emails public. This would simultaneously allow him to gain back credibility he lost in potentially hiding information from the public, as well as smack back against Republicans who have gained traction with the issue.

That is, if he doesn't have anything to hide.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Delaware Cartoon: Gov. Markell Could Use the Help of Dr. Manhattan

Completely forgot to post this cartoon I did earlier in the week for Delaware newspapers.

Delaware's projected budget deficit for fiscal year 2010 is $600 million. Now, this might not sound like a lot compared to the billions in deficits states like New Jersey have to overcome, but remember that Delaware's entire budget is only $3.4 billion dollars. So $600 million (a number likely to go up in the coming weeks) is a large hurdle to overcome.

Maybe Markell should invest in Powerball tickets. Someone won in Dover a couple of weeks ago. Lighting might strike twice.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Who Watches the New Jersey Labor Unions?

It's always great when I can squeeze a movie reference into my cartoons.

In New Jersey, the state labor unions are fiercely opposing Gov. Jon Corzine's call for a wage freeze and 12 days of furloughs to save $400 million in the next budget.

This despite the fact that Corzine threatens to lay off up to 7,000 state employees the unions reject his plan.

I just think the unions are being greedy, and seem willing to sacrifice jobs so they don't have to give up concessions in their contract negotiation. I mean, bloods running in the streets of New Jersey private enterprise, yet the labor unions are attempting to make the case that it's too painful for state workers to give up a FUTURE increase, even as Corzine attempts to come up with solutions that don't involve massive layoffs.

"State workers understand that everybody has to do their fair share to solve this historic budget crisis," says Bob Master, spokesman for the biggest state employee union, the Communication Workers of America.

So why not act like it?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jon Corzine, Money Man

Chris Christie may currently lead Jon Corzine in the polls for the 2009 Gubernatorial race, but does anyone expect Corzine not to dig into his unlimited pockets of cash to narrow the gap?

Charlie Stile of the Bergen Record says that Corzine "has never tangled toe-to-toe with his opponents on a level playing field."

I tend to agree with him.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Is Chris Christie Prepared to be Governor?

Straight on the heels of the release of polling data suggesting he could beat incumbent Jon Corzine, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie officially kicked off his campaign this week.

The only thing he forgot to pack: specifics.

According to the Star-Ledger:

Christie said he would not raise taxes, but declined to say how he would recoup the lost revenue if he reduces income and business taxes to make New Jersey more competitive. He did not take a position on the state's property tax rebate program, saying he wanted to carefully study it before presenting a comprehensive plan to tackle the entrenched property tax problem.

On other issues, such as town consolidation or state worker concessions, Christie sounded more like Corzine. He said he'd "encourage" New Jersey's 566 towns to consolidate, and that he thought state worker unions had to "step up and contribute" by making concessions. But according to his statements, Christie wouldn't force the issue on either side.

Former Borgata mayor Steve Lonegan, who is running against Christie in a four-man Republican primary that includes Morris County Assemblyman Rick Merkt and Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine, called Christie's refusal to provide specific budget-cutting plans "irresponsible."

"It's clear to me that Mr. Christie is in over his head," Lonegan told The Star-Ledger.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The NJ Schmooze Cruise

A rite of passage among the New Jersey political elite for over 70 years, the annual Chamber of Commerce train ride attracts more than 1,000 lawmakers, lobbyists and corporate officials each year to wine and dine with the New Jersey congressional delegation in Washington.

During the four-hour ride, and at a dinner that took place Thursday night in Washington, New Jersey's business community was once again able to gain extraordinary access to the state's political structure, from legislators to county executives to Governor Corzine.

In a break from the past and tradition, 3 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, Christopher Christie, Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt, all decided to boycott the chartered 14-car Amtrak ride. Sponsored by business leaders usually friendly to Republicans, the candidates criticized the annual "Walk to Washington" as an exclusive "schmooze cruise" of insiders and lobbyists.

"I call it the tax-and-spend express," gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan told the Star-Ledger. "I went once about 10 years ago and I never went again. This is where all the party insiders, the lobbyists come together. I'm not part of that and I'm running to change it."

Chamber President Joan Verplanck criticized the candidates decision to boycott the event, and attempted to defend the elbow-rubbing session to the Star-Ledger.

"Times have changed dramatically," Verplanck said. "It's less fraternity party and more college mixer."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Working On a New Blog

Hey everyone. Just wanted to update you that blogging has been intermittent due to the fact that I'm building myself a new website and blog. It should be up soon.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook or on Twitter. And don't forget to check out my Comics News Blog at the Cagle Cartoons website.

And in the meantime, if you'd like to use one of my cartoons in your publication, or hire me to do a unique illustration or cartoon, feel free to contact me at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Way To Go Star-Ledger

Just opened up Sunday's County News section of the Star-Ledger, and here is the breakdown of ads-to-news in the 12 page section:

Page 1: All News
Page 2: Full-page ad
Page 3: Full-page ad
Page 4: Full-page ad
Page 5: Full-page ad
Page 6: Full-page ad
Page 7: Full-page ad
Page 8: Full-page ad
Page 9: Full-page ad
Page 10: Half news, half ads
Page 11: Half news, half ads
Page 12: Full-page ad

Now I feel informed. I think there is more news in the Best Buy circular.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Corzine Wants To Keep It a Secret

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and former state worker's union president Carla Katz, who dated before he became governor, have been fighting to keep the e-mails they exchanged during budget negotiations private since Tom Wilson, The Republican State Committee Chairman, and several news organizations, including The Associated Press, requested the correspondence.

A three-judge appeals panel reversed a lower court ruling that the e-mails be made public. The appeals court ruled that the release of the e-mails could have "a chilling effect the governor's ability or willingness to solicit advice, or to accept unsolicited advice in the future."

Personally, I think that since appellate court has upheld the principle that Corzine has been fighting for, he should release all the e-mails he exchanged with Katz to prove to the public that none of them influences the state worker contract negotiations last year.

Until he does, this issue will remain a cloud over his head, especially compared to the recent shifts for a more transparent government by Barack Obama.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cartooning the Inauguration

For anyone that's going to the inauguration tomorrow to watch Barack Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, keep an eye out for a chubby white guy with a sketchpad roaming around the crowds.

I'll be drawing and taking pictures for various newspapers, attempting to be a modern-day Shel Silverstein while hopefully not freezing to death. I'll be posting all my cartoon on my Cagle cartoons blog on Wednesday, located here.

Long before he became a world-famous children's-book author, Silverstein went to work for fellow Chicago native and cartoonist buddy Hugh Hefner at Playboy magazine.

Silverstein did several brilliant comic travelogues published by Playboy between 1957 and 1968, These pieces took Silverstein all across the world, from Scandinavia to Africa and the Middle East, from Paris and London to Moscow. He even did a two-part epic titled "Silverstein Among the Hippies."

So we'll see what I can do. I'll be in Washington on Monday and Tuesday talking to people and covering the festivities, and I'll return to Delaware on Wednesday to assemble what I was able to produce for various publications.

I'll post what I can when I can. So just check back on Wednesday to see what I came up with, good or bad. You can also follow me on twitter, where I'll be posting brief updates throughout the day. You can follow me here.

And don't worry. I've already been warned about the bathroom situation. In fact, that's where I'll be headed first.

There's lots of comedic potential in millions of people fighting over port-a-potties.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Cartoon News Blog at Cagle Cartoons

It's official. You can now check out my Cartoon News Blog over at Cagle's Cartoons website, where I'll be covering all aspects of art and politics, be it illustrations, animation or political cartoons.

Check it out here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

“Working at the Daily News has been like living with an incompetent, terminally ill relative.”

So says Patrick O'Connor, the former editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Daily News. Patrick was laid off after 8 and a half years with the Daily News along with 9 other employees.

In an interview conducted by Alan Gardner at The Daily Cartoonist, Patrick talks about being let go, severance caps, and facing the bleak future of editorial cartooning.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Ah shoot, I've got a lot of questions."

"Ah shoot. I've got a lot of questions."

And so Joe the Plumber, War Correspondent for PJTV, arrives in Israel to spout non-licensed plumber wisdom on whoever is willing to listen.

Joe says, like Israel, he was a victim of media bias and can't understand why Israel didn't strike back sooner: "I know if I were a citizen here, I'd be damned upset."

He also took time to lecture his fellow reporters about journalism in wartime, saying, " should be abolished to reporting."

Then what are you doing there?

Here's my cartoon for Editor & Publisher about Joe:

H/T - The E&P Pub

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

New cartoon for Editor & Publisher

Here's my latest cartoon, and the first of a new weekly gig doing media-related cartoons for Editor & Publisher called "Tornoe's Corner."

So bookmark their E&P Pub blog, and check back every Thursday for a new cartoon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Japanese 'Watchmen' Trailer

The Corzine Economic Recovery Plan of 2009

Here's today's cartoon for To comment, click here.

Cardinals Quarterback Draws From Divine Inspiration

Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, fresh from the playoff victory over the Atlanta Falcons, sat down for a new documentary called ‘God in the Box’ to draw his version of God.

“So, I was drawing a picture of God, but it came out more like Jesus,” Warner said of his sketch. “So why don’t we stick with that being Jesus.”

If this guy becomes half as good at drawing as he is at throwing the football, artists beware.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bill Richardson resigned, but what about Hillary?

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his name from consideration as commerce secretary for President-elect Barack Obama, citing an ongoing investigation into possible pay-to-play corruption in the awarding of a state contract to a company that contributed to Richardson.

So is Hillary going to be next to resign?

After all, she's involved in her own mini-scandal involving a developer in New York donating $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton's foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Hillary helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman's mall project.

So much for No-drama Obama.

Friday, January 02, 2009's Year in Review released their always excellent Year in Review of New Jersey politics, and featured several of my cartoons throughout the round-up.

If you're a fan on New Jersey politics, check it out here.