Archive for the ‘new jersey’ category

Christie – Chutzpah or Gall

July 25, 2015

All’s fair in love and war. Hmmm. So goes the old saying. One wonders whether Governor Chris Christie’s desperate efforts to make the cut for the first GOP televised debate was the inspiration of this phrase, or whether he was inspired himself by these well known words?

Christie’s problem is actually quite simple. In a field of 16 candidates, how can the Governor gain the name recognition necessary to garner a top 10 rating. With Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio already sucking most of the oxygen from the room, the remaining field all appear lackluster and undifferentiated. Why Christie and not Kasich or Santorum or Carson or etc?

Christie has elected to show us his “chutzpah” (or was it his gall). He has launched an ad in Iowa calling President Obama a liar. Hmmm. The lie, Christie says relates to how the President described the nuclear deal with Iran. Hmmm.

The bad taste Christie has displayed is jaw dropping. President Obama is, of course, President and even if someone disagrees strongly with the President’s actions, there are civil ways to express those feeling without debasing the office. For those who disagree with everything the President does or says, Christie’s words flow like honey.

Ironically Christie has some baggage of his own. He embraced the President after super storm Sandy racked the New Jersey coast. President Obama and Federal aid could not come in big enough quantities. Governor Christie was effusive over the President’s help. Oh yes, earlier in Christie’s term the Governor withdrew New Jersey’s support for a new rail tunnel to New York City. Christie said the tunnel was too expensive and wasn’t needed. Here’s another, The Governor also made a deal with the Democrat controlled legislature over fixing the Pension Fund deficit. I wonder how these decisions have turned out?

Three years after Hurricane Sandy, many communities have still not recovered. Federal money has been spent for all sorts of other pet projects while many residents who suffered Sandy losses wait. Hmmm.

The Northeast rail corridor which runs from Washington to Boston is creaking. Delays getting into and out of New York City have become routine events. Oh, it would be nice to have a new tunnel. Christie’s decision, however, has pushed this project back and when inevitably it is restarted, the price tag will be much larger for tax payers… the bill, however, will also come due on someone else’s shift.

Like many States, New Jersey has underfunded its State employees pension. Hmmm. Christie struck a deal with the legislature which involved changes to future obligations in exchange for Governors promise to make specific yearly contributions. This year when the bill came due, Christie reneged on his promise and short changed the State pension payment. Hmmm.

Christie is not alone in his Iran nuclear arms deal opposition. Being for a better deal is the popular view of most GOP Congressional members. And that was Christie’s problem. How could he campaign on “me too”?

It just seems a bit short sighted on Christie’s part. New Jersey residents have no problem confusing “Honest Abe Lincoln” with their Chris Christie. My guess is soon so will the entire country and they will see most of the GOP Presidential hopefuls in the same light.

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Getting Ahead Of The Curve

October 26, 2014

Recently in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two different school districts shut down their highly successful high school football programs for at least the remainder of this year. These decisions followed revelations that there had been “hazing” incidents involving new football team members conducted by veteran players. As described, the incidents were nothing to be proud about.  Ending the practiced seemed appropriate. But shutting the program down? Was that necessary?

Both school districts emphasized their zero tolerance for this type of behavior and the need to send a clear message that such behavior would not be tolerated. In business terms, the school district’s actions were an attempt to get ahead of the curve of public opinion.  The school districts worried “wha if” these hazing incidents were to have become public knowledge or to have lead to even more unacceptable behavior.

The need to punish the entire team when only a part of the team were instigators, seems excessive. School officials point out, however, that football is an extracurricular event and not the main purpose of schools. Further, officials emphasize that hazing was entirely unnecessary and this behavior to is too close to “bullying” to allow to continue. Ending the season for some students who did not participate is a small price for teaching what is right.

The New Jersey and New York Governors together have taken somewhat similar preemptive action. Governors Christie and Cuomo announced a mandatory 21 day quarantine for all persons entering the US through Newark or JFK airports who had visited Ebola infected areas. A Democrat and a Republican gave their announcement the appearance of bipartisan politics. Hmmm.

On one hand, the idea that someone could enter the country carrying Ebola, only later to develop full blown symptoms is pretty ominous. In such densely populated areas as Northern New Jersey and especially New York City, “getting ahead of the curve” has an obvious popular appeal. No one will later claim that either Governor is not a leader and willing to take action.

On the other hand, health organizations have repeatedly said that the best defense against an Ebola outbreak in the US is to eradicate it in West Africa. Americans who volunteer for this work (as well as any other visitors) will face a mandatory 21 day quarantine on their return. Where would these people stay? Who would pay for this quarantine period’s expenses?

There are two consequences one should expect. First, returning volunteers will get creative on their return routing. Newark and JFK are not likely to be their choice of entry point. And full disclosure is even less likely to occur.

Second, the prospect of an additional 21 days away from their primary occupation will likely discourage potential volunteers from volunteering in the first place. Hmmm.

Unlike the football story, messing with medical advice, is not a wise long term position for politicians. Canceling a football season is small potatoes compared with controlling an infections disease. And what will these good Governors do when an airborne pandemic influenza breaks out in Europe and arrives in the US with ship and air travelers?