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The New Year: 2014

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Something under two years ago I, as the only law school graduate in my family and friends circle, was being bombarded with questions about the then-hot "birther issue", and I began composing an in-depth response mostly to silence my inbox. I then began considering where to publish said response to get the most value. I was already (for three years) writing analyses of time travel movies for The Examiner, so I contacted the editors and asked whether I might publish this as a one-time thing. They said no; but they also said I could add to my output the title New Jersey Political Buzz Examiner, through the Newark edition of the publication. I'm tempted to say that they obviously know nothing about New Jersey if they think there's a state-wide political buzz, or that anything I would hear down south on the coast of the Delaware Bay would be of interest to anyone in the New York City metropolitan area, but it gave me the chance to publish those articles, and to continue with articles on the birth certificate. These issues have not ended, incidentally; they just haven't said anything new since then, and so have devolved to people shouting the same things at each other. But I had the title, and was therefore obligated to do some writing, so I expanded my horizons.

I'm not generally much for celebrations, holidays, anniversaries, and such, but given that today (or technically tonight) happens to be New Year's Eve, it seemed appropriate to review some of what was covered. All of these are indexed on my web site (and if you have any suggestions for making the index more user-friendly, feel free to let me know). I attempted to explain coalition government, which is an issue that has come back more than once including this month. We fought about marriage law, in which I attempted to give some historic background and defend the traditional concepts, and we came back to that subject several times. Homeland security came up briefly, and then I started getting bombarded with questions about gun control, and attempted to address the issues in that. We had a bit of New Jersey buzz, related to ballot issues in 2012, and a judge who moonlighted as a comedian, and would come back to the New Jersey stories soon enough--but first, search and seizure stories particularly related to the use of dogs, followed by church and state issues, took the spotlight.

New Jersey's gubernatorial race came to the fore, and then overlapping it with the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg we also had a special senatorial election race, both of which kept the column busy and called for a couple of extra articles. Since then things have been more scattered, but we looked at the privacy issues involved in the online publication of police reports, the Trayvon Martin case, the New Jersey Drug Court, and other miscellaneous matters.

I had thought to recall individual high points, but I find that the work has its ups and downs, some better and some worse, and for myself I would be hard-pressed to choose the best articles (and embarrassed to highlight the worst). I hope, however, that you have found something worth reading in all of this, something occasionally worth passing to friends; and that if there are subjects you think I ought to be addressing you will let me know.

Thank you for your encouragement and support, and (at the risk of offending someone with a specific holy day greeting) a happy New Year to all.

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