We went over the Washington Bridge out of Long Island and headed south on the New Jersey Turnpike. At a Service Plaza, I passed on a campaign card to a man from Massachussetts. He said he would have liked to see the general citizenry in various areas voting for where the government stimulus money would go locally. Good idea… Some of it, for instance, could have gone to our engine. Shortly after leaving the Service Plaza, a loud clanging noise started up in our 1978 camper. The bolt holding the alternator in place had shaken loose and was hitting the fan. With trucks rushing by at 75 mph, the camper noticeably swaying each time, etc., I found myself under the hood working feverishly to get the bolt back in place. I was able to fix it just enough (the threads were partially stripped) to get it to a garage in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where a guy named Tony actually welded the bolt in place, no charge. Just a: “Good luck on your mission.” …We then went to a YMCA in a rough section of Elizabeth. While the kids played basketball upstairs, I found myself in a no frills, basement free-weight room working out with a good number of Hispanics and Blacks. Some were tattoed with what looked like various gang insignias, and the like. I’m sure, just like in the inner city of Cleveland where we come from, that many down here are just trying to survive under extremely tough circumstances… The next morning we stopped in Westfield, New Jersey, where I stumped with a table of eight out on the sidewalk in front of Panera Bread on Broad Street. (They meet there every morning and are part of the town “brain trust.”) The banter was lively and we covered a number of issues. One man, lightening things up a bit, said his main “issue” was two slices of toast at Panera had recently been raised from 69 cents to 99 cents. Shortly after, this same man said he’d like the country to go to a much shorter work week, like just two four hour shifts — every week, that’s all “I can see why you’re concerned about the price of the toast going up,” I smiled. Note: I just read that Charter Schools now make up 4% of the schools in America.