Morning Digest: Sept. 2, 2013

Birdsall to pay $1M penalty

Engineering firm Birdsall Services Group was ordered today to pay $1 million in penalties for its role in a pay to play scheme in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions were illegally funneled through firm employees to evade state pay to play laws. PolitickerNJ



Latest from State Street Wire

Holt: Immigration reform would be major economic boost

TRENTON – Immigration reform could create 7,245 new jobs annually in New Jersey, and increase accumulated earnings by $25 billion over 10 years for immigrant workers who would pay $2.6 billion into the state coffers in the form of taxes. State Street Wire

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Uphill battle for Obama on Syria

President Barack Obama faces a clear uphill battle in swaying skeptical lawmakers of the merits of military action in Syria, as top officials were dispatched to Capitol Hill Sunday to make the administration’s case. Politico



Bushes fear Obama weakening presidency

President Barack Obama just turned decades of debate over presidential war powers on its head. Politico



Congress evenly divided on Obama’s next move

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his top aides launched a full-scale political offensive on Sunday to persuade a skeptical Congress to approve a military strike against Syria, but faced an uphill struggle to win over many lawmakers and a war-weary American public. Reuters



DEA uses vast phone trove, eclipsing NSA

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than theNational Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs. NY Times



White House launches lobbying blitz

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration began a full-press campaign on Sunday for Congressional approval of its plan to carry out a punitive strike against the Syrian government. NY Times



Buono looks to raise profiles

Hudson County and southern Bergen County. Middlesex County and Camden County. Those are Democratic areas in New Jersey that Republican candidates for statewide office don’t typically venture into much. Record



Private schools set own rules on bullying

A Teaneck couple are suing an upscale private school in Saddle River, saying it didn’t do enough to protect their daughter from being bullied and failed to live up to its advertised promise of providing a safe and nurturing environment for students. Record



Obamacare challenge: Enrolling 1M New Jerseyans

If implementing the Affordable Care Act were a race, September would be the home stretch. Star-Ledger



Lance not convinced U.S. should strike

A joint U.S. House and Senate briefing today by the Obama Administration was convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that Syrian government forces were responsible for a chemical weapons attack last month that killed more than 1,400 people, a Republican member of New Jersey’s House delegation said. Star-Ledger



Christie vs. ‘the idiots’

It’s hard to imagine a president of the United States publicly denouncing someone as a “dope” and an “idiot.” Inquirer



Long tenure nears end for Camden judge

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stanley Brotman settled himself in front of a video camera in preparation for something that seemed nearly impossible to imagine in Camden’s federal court. Inquirer



Oprah visits Wildwood

Oprah Winfrey spent some of her Labor Day Weekend in south Jersey. 101.5FM



Lobbyists earn public pensions despite reforms

Two years after GOP Gov. Chris Christie signed a law requiring public workers to contribute significantly more toward their benefits, 151 lobbyists and insurers remain in the state pension system, their pensions and lifetime health care being subsidized by state taxpayers. Associated Press



Burlco freeholders vote along party lines in trustee controversy

MOUNT HOLLY — The Burlington County Board of Freeholders in a split vote along party lines appointed a selection committee to find a new member of the board of trustees for Burlington County College after its first effort appeared to violate state law. Burlington County Times



Atlantic City unions optimistic as casino workers boost roles

A national atmosphere that has often been hostile to unions and the union movement has also eroded the membership of local unions, whose numbers dropped as unemployment rose during the recession. Atlantic City Press




King says Obama abdicating responsibility on Syria

Rep. Pete King says President Barack Obama made a serious mistake today when he announced he’d seek congressional approval to attack Syria, which is accused of slaughtering its own people with chemical weapons. PolitickerNY






That giant sucking sound on Labor Day

MY DAD was a union man, Local 6 of the International Typographical Union, otherwise known as the Big Six. He was a typographer at the Daily News and he was proud of the News and proud of his union.  Doblin, Record



For Booker, pedicure and a big lead

I confess that I know the joys of a pedicure, just as Cory Booker does. He has professionals do it right, while I have a teenage daughter and a posse of nieces who paint my toenails every August on vacation. Moran, Star-Ledger



Manning’s sex change up to doctor, not Army

For those who can’t stand the fact that people in prison get better health care than many on the outside, this will not go over well: the idea that a convicted lawbreaker such as Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who now goes by Chelsea, could have the right to a fully funded sex change behind bars. Star-Ledger

Morning Digest: Sept. 2, 2013