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Fresh farmed and wild-caught fish fillets in refrigerated cases at Costco Wholesale, 2 Teterboro Landing in Teterboro. -- HACK...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Washington Post: Trump makes 29 false or misleading claims in less than 26 hours

In a reference to President Trump's inappropriate comments to thousands of Boy Scouts, cartoonist Nate Beeler of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio has the overweight Liar-In-Chief  pledging "to do my best to do my duty to me and my presidency."

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include another error on The Record's front page.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The Washington Post's Fact Checker editor posted an update on all of the lying Donald J. Trump has been doing as president and on the campaign trail before the election:

"Lowlights of Trump's 26 hours of misinformation: A super flip-flop + 29 false/misleading claims."
"In a period of less than 26 hours -- from 6:31 p.m. on July 24 to 8:09 p.m. on July 25 -- President Trump made two fired-up speeches, held a news conference and tweeted with abandon, leaving a trail of misinformation in his wake," The Post said on Friday.
"We found at least 29 false or misleading claims during that period."

Black employment

The newspaper dubbed Trump the "king of flip-floppers," especially for his cynical take on black youth employment.
"As a candidate, Trump repeatedly claimed 58 percent of African-American youth was unemployed. The official Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate for black youth at the time was about one-third of that: 19.2 percent.
"However, as president, Trump is now citing the unemployment rate for African Americans, bragging that it's the best since the turn of the century.
"It's all too convenient for Trump to embrace accurate statistics when they look good for him. It was such a cynical flip-flop."
You can read the full analysis here.

The Record

There doesn't appear to be any explanation for why the chaos in Washington bounces on and off the front page of The Record of Woodland Park.

A banner headline led Saturday's paper after Trump replaced White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

But today, Page 1 of the Sunday edition carries a major "investigation" of "neglect" and "poor medical care" in the Hudson County Jail, which is on the fringe of The Record's circulation area.

The front page also carries a Mike Kelly column on "Bergen's barbecue diplomat," and a sports column on "two N.Y. football coaches."

You'd hardly call either column riveting.


Record Food Editor Esther Davidowitz.

Major error

You can still buy ling, tusk and other fresh Icelandic fillets at The Fish Dock in Closter, one of six seafood places recommended by Food Editor Esther Davidowitz in Friday's Better Living section. 

She also raved about The Fish Dock's take-out lunches, including the popular fish and chips, and the seafood bisque, but July 1 was the last day both lunches and dinners were prepared for takeout during the summer.

The shop is closed for vacation until Aug. 24.

Something's fishy

There was another problem with the article on "6 Top Seafood Spots."

A tease on Friday's front page said Davidowitz and Chef Ben Pollinger "take a fishy food crawl through Bergen County."

Of course, "fishy" is absolutely the wrong word to use, because it means "arousing feelings of doubt or suspicion, questionable, dubious, doubtful, suspect."

Saturday screw-up

On Friday, Daniel Rochat was sentenced to life in prison in the horrific murder of Barbara Vernieri, an East Rutherford real estate agent.

But the editor who wrote the line on Saturday's front page, referring readers to the story on the Local front, really screwed up:

"Real-estate agent sentenced to life in prison. 1L [italics added].

Journalism by numbers

So, you have to wonder about the accuracy of other stories and features in the Gannett-owned newspaper:

In Better Living today, readers are offered "Five charming towns that are worth a bit of exploration" [you've been reading about the same towns for decades].

The Travel section reports on "10 THEME PARK FOODS THAT WILL GET YOUR TASTE BUDS IN ON THE ACTION" [whatever that is supposed to mean].

And Saturday's Better Living section raved about "5 home offices so gorgeous you'll look forward to work" [another nonsense headline unless one of those offices is in your home].

Friday, July 28, 2017

In health-care vote, John McCain finally takes revenge for Trump's stupid comment

Award-winning cartoonist Nate Beeler of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio invokes the "dark days" before the Affordable Care Act became law.

The Record delivers old news to readers

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Today's clueless front page is yet another confirmation of second-class citizenship for readers of The Record since Gannett Co. bought the paper a year ago and put most of its resources into digital news.

The big black headline on Page 1 of the print edition this morning was so out of date it's laughable:

"U.S. SENATE CONTINUES
DEBATE LONG INTO NIGHT"

The Woodland Park daily completely missed a vote in the Senate after 2 this morning that effectively handed President Trump and GOP congressional leaders their biggest legislative humiliation so far.

The narrow defeat of a plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act "hobbles the seven-year GOP campaign to dismantle Obamacare, and deals a huge political setback to" the president, The New York Times reported.

McCain revenge

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona cast the deciding vote against repeal -- in a royal F.U. to Trump, who questioned McCain's heroism during the Vietnam War.

"I don't like people who were captured," the presumptive GOP nominee said of McCain during the 2016 presidential campaign, then expressed no remorse for the insult.

McCain's vote early today was fitting revenge.

Early deadlines

Few newspapers have deadlines that would have allowed them to report the Senate vote.

So, you have to wonder why the editors at The Record made themselves look like incompetent fools by printing a huge Page 1 headline that was such old news it stank to high heaven.

Plus, many readers must think Editor Richard A. Green of The Record is deliberately ignoring or downplaying the chaos in Washington since the inauguration on Jan. 20.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bargain lunches are back in Manhattan; Costco cuts price of wild salmon, organics

A moist fillet of Faroe Islands Salmon served on  a cedar plank, above, and a Feta-Stuffed Lamb Burger, below, were our main courses on Tuesday at Blue Fin, a seafood restaurant in Manhattan. Hundreds of restaurants like Blue Fin are offering three-course lunches for $29 during the Summer Restaurant Week promotion in Manhattan.


-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Two people could easily spend more than $100 for a three-course lunch at one of Manhattan's fine-dining restaurants.

But twice a year during the NYC Restaurant Week promotion (actually multiple weeks starting in January and July), price-fixed three-course lunches are only $29, plus tax and tip.

That's often less than the price of an entree at other times. This year, the promotion began on Monday and ends on Aug. 18. 

Three-course dinners are $42, but the choices often are similar to those offered at lunch, so the mid-day meal is a better value.

Typically, Summer Restaurant Week menus offer a minimum of three appetizers, three entrees and two desserts. 

You can view many of the menus online at NYC Restaurant Week.

Filling meal

Me and my wife couldn't have been happier with our delicious lunch on Tuesday at Blue Fin, a seafood restaurant in the W New York Hotel in Times Square.

We felt pleasantly full and because neither of us eat dessert, we took home a Summer Stone Fruit Upside Down Cake and a Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, both served with gelato, and gave them to our son.

My antibiotic-free Atlantic Salmon fillet from the Faroe Islands was cooked medium, as I requested, and the skin was crisped.

I loved the side dish, a warm salad of charred summer corn, grilled scallions and wheat berries.

My wife's Greek-style Lamb Burger came with terrific french fries and a tasty tzatziki or yogurt sauce with shredded cucumber.

Our appetizers were a refreshingly cold Local Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with ricotta and English pea pesto, and a melt-in-the-mouth Shrimp, Basil and Mango Sushi Roll with avocado and yuzu miso.

With tax and a 20% tip, our lunch cost $74.75, but I'll receive a $5 statement credit for charging the meal to a pre-enrolled American Express  card.


At Blue Fin, our starters were Shrimp, Basil and Mango Sushi Roll, above, and Local Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, below.

Blue Fin is at 1567 Broadway (47th Street) in Manhattan; 1-212-918-1400. Just outside the door is the carnival atmosphere of Times Square, below.



An upstairs dining room at Blue Fin. The light bulbs strung on wires, also found in the open staircase and a second dining room, seemed a little tacky, and I was surprised at how many of Blue Fin's employees wore jeans.
The round-trip senior citizen fare on NJ Transit from Hackensack to midtown Manhattan is the biggest bargain in transit, but the two old buses we took are long overdue for replacement.
Fresh wild sockeye salmon fillets were only $9.99 a pound today at the Costco Wholesale in Teterboro -- the same price as farmed Atlantic salmon fillets raised without harmful antibiotics, below.
Artificially colored farmed salmon fillets can't match the deep red-orange color of their wild cousins or the rich taste.

Costco cuts price of wild salmon

For the third time since the first week of June, Costco Wholesale has cut the price of fresh wild sockeye salmon fillets.

At $9.99 a pound, wild salmon is the same price as antibiotic-free farmed salmon and only a dollar more a pound than the lowest-quality farmed Atlantic salmon in the warehouse store.

On June 5, the first shipment of fresh wild salmon went on sale for $16.99 a pound in Teterboro. Then, the price was cut to $15.99 a pound and, a couple of weeks later, to $12.99 a pound.

When the wild-salmon season ends in early October, Costco "typically will have sold some 7 million pounds of fresh, wild salmon" in its U.S. warehouses, according to the Costco Connection magazine.

The Teterboro Costco also is offering instant savings on nearly 40 organic products through Aug. 6, including extra-virgin olive oil, juices, snacks, salsa, pasta sauce and chicken sausage.


For dinner tonight, I grilled six serving pieces of fresh wild salmon and topped them with Costco's Basil Pesto, roughly chopped fresh herbs from my garden and ground Aleppo pepper. I served mine over a homemade tzatziki sauce.
A sale on organic snacks includes an instant coupon on Kale Chips, right.
A 2-liter jug of Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is on sale for $12.99 with an instant coupon. This EVOO was top rated on The People's Pharmacy radio program.
A 59-ounce jug of Suja Organic fruit-and-vegetable juice was on sale for $6.49.
A 2-pound, 10-ounce jar of Organic Strawberry Spread wasn't on sale, but cost only $6.99.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why my bosses on The Record copy desk frowned on headlines with plays on words

A comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act fell far short of the votes it needed in the Senate on Tuesday night. But the defeat for Majority Leader Mitch Mconnell, shown above in a cartoon from R.J. Matson of Roll Call, and President Trump isn't reflected in The Record's upbeat story on Page 1 today. 
In a second cartoon from Matson, Trump imagines himself back on TV, issuing pardons to everyone implicated in Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including himself.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Writing headlines that are accurate, catchy and informative has become a lost art at The Record of Woodland Park.

A prime example of a bad, inaccurate headline appeared on Page 1 on Monday over a story reporting that Temple Emeth in Teaneck "scrapped annual dues" this month, joining a growing list of synagogues nationwide.

The Gannett Co. headline writer, who labors in  a design studio far from New Jersey, couldn't resist writing a headline with a play on the word "dues," and that was his or her undoing, as well as a disservice to readers:

"DUE FOR A CHANGE"

The play on words is obvious, but saying something is "due" means it will happen in the near future, and the headline contradicts the sub-headline and story, both of which report the change has already occurred.

Copy desk woes

The headline is an example of why my bosses on The Record copy desk in Hackensack frowned on plays on words.

In truth, headline quality and accuracy have been declining since 2008, a year before The Record abandoned Hackensack for Woodland Park.

That's when then-Publisher Stephen A. Borg ordered a major newsroom downsizing that saw the departure of several copy editors (and headline writers), including yours truly, and the co-supervisor and conscience of the copy desk, Nancy Cherry.

Cherry enforced good writing and grammar, the style of the newspaper and catchy but accurate headlines, and she didn't like plays on words. 

Several months after Gannett Co. bought the paper in July 2016, headline writing and other aspects of production were moved from Woodland Park to a Gannett design center at the Asbury Park Press in Neptune.

In June, Gannett closed that operation with the loss of 85 jobs, and moved production of The Record to a design studio in Des Moines, Nashville or Phoenix.

See the "How to Write Headlines" blog from Aaron Elson, another former Record copy editor:


Christie vetoes

A Page 1 story on Saturday reported Governor Christie signed a bill raising the smoking age in New Jersey to 21.

The headline said Christie signed a "law," which is incorrect, but another problem is that a companion story on Saturday's Page 6A fails to report the GOP bully has set a record for vetoing bills, not signing them.

Saturday's story says Christie signed "dozens of new laws, including one that protects transgender students' privacy rights."

Only one sentence in the story mentions Christie vetoed 14 bills, adding to a total of nearly 600 vetoes since he took office in January 2010.

The Record stopped counting Christie's vetoes after they passed the 300-mark.

Rail safety

On Monday, The Record's Local news section reported NJ Transit will begin installing "long-awaited safety improvements" at the Main Street station in Ramsey in hopes of cutting injuries and deaths at the crossing.

"Since 2010, four people have been killed at the grade-level crossing, which is considered one of the most dangerous in the state," Staff Writer Tom Nobile reported.

It's refreshing to see NJ Transit acknowledging safety problems in Ramsey instead of labeling pedestrians killed by trains as "trespassers," a term The Record adopted and used in news stories for far too many years.

By the numbers

Today's Better Living section continues the feature coverage by the numbers that has become a fixture under Gannett, which has trimmed more than 350 staffers at the North Jersey Media Group division that publishes The Record.

"7 DELICIOUS ROYAL-COVERED
 DISHES IN NORTH JERSEY"

On Tuesday, Better Living readers were told to "Work It."

"The 5 summer fitness activities
 in Bergen County everyone should try"

And on Monday, Better Living endorsed:

"28 places to shop at the shore" 

APP is 'a rag'

When NJ.com reported the closing of Gannett's Neptune design studio, the website received several comments from readers of the Asbury Park Press or APP, another Gannett newspaper:

Chriss03 said:
"One cannot call the APP a newspaper. It is a collection of obits, sports news, and fill. Long long ago, Gannett gave up on issuing a newspaper. There is no Monmouth County news. No local news. No news period.
"I subscribed to the APP for 50+ years, but cancelled when they added Ann Coulter as a columnist. That was the last straw. 
"When they do fold, no doubt Gannett will blame the internet and not face up to their own incompetence."
Smok44 said:
"APP is a rag, their website is garbage, they took a once great newspaper and ran it into the ground.  The writing is on the wall. Gannett is getting what they deserve."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

With 6,000+ unsold, new Chevy Bolt EV is shaping up to bomb like first Volt hybrid

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first mass-market all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles, was shown at the New York International Auto Show in 2015.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

General Motors once claimed the Chevy Bolt -- the first "affordable" all-electric car with a range of more than 200 miles -- would pose a significant threat to upstart Tesla.

But as Tesla ramps up production of its Model 3 sedan -- holding $1,000 deposits from more than 400,000 eager buyers -- GM has shuttered the plant that makes the Bolt. 

According to Reuters, there are now more than 6,000 unsold Bolts on hand in the United States -- or a 111-day supply (70 days is considered ideal).

"One dealer is reported to have more than 200 Bolts on its lot," the Gas2 blog reported last week.

The Achilles heel in the new EV is GM's refusal to build a dedicated nationwide network of fast electric chargers like the one owners of the Tesla Model S and Model X use for free when they are on road trips.

Free Tesla Superchargers at the Colonie Center, a mall near Albany, N.Y., with a Whole Foods Market. I can recommend the delicious Asparagus Meyer Lemon Soup.


Urban vehicle

The Bolt is being marketed as an urban or suburban vehicle that you charge overnight at home.

The EV would be ideal for seniors, whose driving is limited to grocery shopping, visits to the doctor and volunteering, but it isn't being marketed to that forgotten segment of the population.

The first-generation Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid that uses gasoline, also proved to be unpopular during its production run.

The 2011 Volt went on sale in the United States in mid-December 2010, and in the next six years, GM delivered about 113,500 -- that's less than 20,000 on average each year. 

The first-generation Volt operates as a pure electric vehicle for up to 38 miles, but then an internal-combustion engine powers an electric generator to extend the car's range.

The second-generation Volt's all-electric range was extended to 53 miles, but the sedan also needs gasoline beyond that.

Now, GM may drop the Volt in the 2020 model year and replace it with a plug-in hybrid crossover.

The automaker wants to build more high-profit SUVs and pickup trucks, which guzzle gas and say to hell with the environment.


Tesla Model 3 in blue.


Bolt appraisal

I drove a production model of the Bolt through the streets of the nation's capital during the Washington Auto Show in late January.

As a Tesla Model S owner, I was underwhelmed, and the new EV from GM didn't have anywhere near the refinement buyers can expect in the Model 3, which has an MSRP of $35,000 and will probably cost about $50,000 with options.

Click on the following link:



A condensed version appears on the Gas2 blog.

Update: Trump team scrambles, targets special counsel as impeachment looms

This cartoon is from Rick McKee of The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. Millions of votes for Donald J. Trump -- racist, serial liar and tax dodger -- were motivated by complete hatred for Barack Obama, our first black president.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with additional material from NewYorker.com, which called Donald J. Trump "a president who considers himself above the law." And son-in-law Jared Kushner faced the media and asserted, "I did not collude with Russia."

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

As he begins his seventh month in the Oval Office, President Trump cannot legitimately claim to have signed a single major piece of legislation.

Instead, the Trump campaign team, his son and son-in-law, and his attorney general have been under scrutiny in the probe of Russian meddling in the Nov. 8 election.

Last week, Congress reached a deal on sweeping sanctions to punish Russia for election interference and aggression toward its neighbors, "creating a stark choice" for Trump, as The New York Times reported: 
"The new legislation sharply limits the president's ability to suspend or terminate the sanctions, which his administration abhors.
"With the investigation deepening into whether associates of Mr. Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia," the president "claimed he has the 'complete power to pardon' relatives, aides and possibly himself.
"But it is not clear whether a U.S. president can pardon himself. None has ever tried."

Trump made those comments in a Times interview, prompting The New Yorker magazine to say "the Times transcript shows a president who considers himself above the law, and who believes himself to be besieged by internal and external enemies."

And on Monday, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner -- whose father, Charles, is a convicted felon -- testified in secret, then faced the media to declare, "I did not collude with Russia" at a June 2016 meeting a Kremlin-connected attorney set up with hopes of getting "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

That reminded many observers of Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook" speech.

Middle name is 'Liar'
  
Meanwhile, the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer led The New Yorker to pen this headline:

"SEAN SPICER WILL BE
 REMEMBERED FOR HIS LIES"


"His tantrums, ill-fitting suits and mispronunciations turned him into a pop-culture sensation," the magazine said about Spicer in an apparent reference to Melissa McCarthy's impersonations on "Saturday Night Live."

"His lies and defense of lies will be his legacy," The New Yorker concluded.

Trump's lies

That would likely be what many reporters will say about Trump, if he carries out a threat to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and faces impeachment proceedings.

Last week, both The Times and Washington Post published articles cataloging all of Trump's lies.

In TRUMP'S LIES, The Times said:
"Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have cataloged nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office. Updated July 21: The president is still lying, so we've added to this list, and provided links to the facts in each case."

Business deals

Mueller, a registered Republican and former FBI director, has defied Trump by starting to investigate business transactions by family and friends -- a new direction for the Russia probe the president considers improper.

Finally, the president also is upset with Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation shortly after he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In tweets this morning, @realDonaldTrump questioned why Sessions hasn't done more to investigate alleged "crimes" committed by Clinton, and those who have leaked information to the media.

Sunday's Record

Shame on The Record's John Cichowski and the paper's Editorial Page editor for resuscitating the old lie about mass transit -- that it's "too expensive" (Sunday's 1A and 2O).

Expanding train service into Manhattan will cut pollution, slow climate change, ease traffic congestion, reduce premature deaths from auto emissions and boost workers' productivity.

When you figure in all the benefits, as well as the money that will be saved, expanding mass transit isn't "too expensive" -- it's essential -- and it's bewildering to read these veteran journalists' excuses for a Page 1 column and an editorial in the Woodland Park daily.

At one point, the demented Cichowski refered to residents of the "New York-New Jersey region" as "Northeasterners" (1A).

Then, the Road Warrior columnist really blew it when he asserted the $235 million Amtrak project to double passenger rail capacity is "the kind of heart-stopping government expense" that prompts people to move out of pricey New York and New Jersey.

But that's nonsense. For ages, higher taxes -- not expensive projects -- have been blamed for the alleged exodus.

Menendez brief

Also on Sunday, Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson had yet another story on Sen. Bob Menendez's defense strategy more than two years after he was indicted on federal corruption charges (1A).

Jackson should ask Menendez how many tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees he's spent so far to delay his trial.

And readers should ask Editor Richard A. Green why he has run so many stories and wasted so much space in the downsized paper, putting the senator in the best light possible.

That's a job for his defense attorneys, not a supposedly objective newspaper.

Major error

The Record also commited a major error on Sunday's Page 4A by running a dated caption under a photo of Dr. Salomen Melgen, the senator's longtime friend, and not reporting the eye doctor was found guilty on April 28 of defrauding Medicare of more than $90 million. 

Melgen is scheduled to be tried a second time with Menendez -- unless he agrees to testify against the senator in a bid for leniency.

The senator is accused of trading political favors for free trips on the doctor's private jet, lavish vacations to his resort in the Dominican Republic and a stay at a 5-star hotel in Paris.

Road kill

On Saturday, The Record finally ran a story identifying the man killed 12 days earlier by a pickup truck in a shopping center on South River Street in Hackensack (Local front).

The awkward headline:


"Killed pedestrian is identified"

Staff Writer Rodrigo Torrejon cited all of the obstacles the paper faced in identifying Percy Rengifo, 63, a native of Peru who was run down on July 10 after purchasing a six-pack of beer.

In the lead paragraph, Torrejon says the victim "was a cook who loved to talk to people about food."

Later in the story, the reporter said that as a cook, Rengifo would wear "Crocs designed for food service," but he never reports where Rengifo worked.