Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Flags at Half-Staff for Whitney Houston – What’s Wrong With Chris Christie?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Ruler of New Jersey

The fact that a man is elected to high office does not entitle him to re-order the high standards we set for those who we honor and memorialize by displaying the flag at half-mast.  It’s not a privilege of office to discard what has always been the long-standing tradition of honoring those who have served and died by deciding that a celebrity is due the same respect as those whose service to a grateful nation we thereby honor.  This tradition isn’t intended for every person upon whom we wish to heap recognition, and this act by New Jersey governor Chris Christie reveals more about him than it does about his state or its people.  Whitney Houston was a fine singer, maybe the best, when she had been young and at the height of her singing power, but she died not in service to her nation, but in a bathtub, apparently the victim of her own addictions.

Please don’t misunderstand me:  I admired Houston’s singing long ago when she started out, and as I’ve written, I’d prefer to remember her that way.   How she finished her life is another matter, and while it is sad, it is not worthy of remembrance by lowering the symbol of state to half-staff.   To place her on the same pedestal that we reserve for our deceased leaders and for our national days of remembrance reveals a scandalous disregard for what the gesture means.  It’s not intended to show support, attract attention, or curry favor as a political act.  It’s a sign of respect and in mourning, it is intended to highlight the length of the staff above the flag where nothing is now present, indicating the loss for which the mourning is intended.  As a matter of official mourning, it is proper to display the flag at half-staff:

  • Following the death of the President or a former President, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 30 days.
  • Following the death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice, a retired Chief Justice of the United States or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 10 days.
  • Following the death of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory or possession, the flag should be flown at half-staff from the day of death until interment.
  • Following the death of a Member of Congress, the flag should be flown at half-staff the day of death and the following day.

The President may order the flag flown at half-staff, and so can the Governor order the flag of his own state lowered. Ordinarily, however, other than the list above, it is only flown at half-staff on the following days of remembrance:

  • Memorial Day
  • Patriots’ Day
  • Pearl Harbor Day

That’s it. Now, as for Governor Christie and his decision to lower the flag to half-staff in memory of Whitney Houston, I am unwilling to listen to his buffoonish, irresponsible answers to criticism because he has not bothered to inform himself of any of the foregoing.  It’s not his place to pick and choose which citizens upon whom to bestow such an honor in such a careless fashion.  It’s not his place to decide that he is the arbiter of what is proper.  We already know what is proper, and Whitney Houston, while a great singer, is not a suitable recipient of this honor.  According to USA Today, Christie said the following:

“I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life,” said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. “I just reject that on a human level.”

This jackass of a liberal disguised as a conservative is simply offering bad excuses.  That he rejects it on a “human level,” whatever that means, is irrelevant, because he is not a dictator, and this is not about his person, or his humanity, or any of those things.  Instead, he is the Governor of New Jersey, and his job in this matter is not to act as the official voice of the state.  The State of New Jersey should remain neutral to Whitney Houston’s death as a matter of official conduct.  Christie’s intransigence to this fact is simply stunning, and the fact that he would inflict his personal preferences on this practice is a shocking display of disregard for his office and this tradition.  Last year, he order the same distinguished honor for Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.  What it appears that Christie is doing is to use this as a hat-tip to celebrities of note from his state, or something along those lines, but I think it could be something even more cynical.

USA Today also reports the remarks of an Anna Simpson, who was at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston’s funeral will be held:

After Houston became famous she continued to make regular trips to the public school she attended in East Orange and to which her family has directed donations be sent in lieu of flowers.

Simpson said she admires Christie for honoring Houston because “if it were Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi, nobody would bat an eye.”

“I don’t agree with a lot of things that he does, but I admire him for that,” she said. “Whoever don’t agree, they will get over it.”

What Anna Simpson is implying is that any who complain are motivated by race.  Leave it to USA Today to dig up such an opinion.  The truth is, Governor Christie shouldn’t be doing this for any celebrity, whatever their race, sex, age, or state of addiction.  That’s not the meaning of this tradition.    One New Jersey woman whose son died recently in Afghanistan is offended over this, and for good reason.  It’s not the role of the state to worship at the altar of pop culture, and I don’t care if it is Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi(whoever he is,) so perhaps rather than leading his state like a cheer-leading section for celebrities, perhaps he could impart to his own service in office a bit of the dignity expected of our leaders.  We should expect our leaders to remember with solemn reverence the actual meaning of such official gestures by the state, and one would think Christie would have known better.

Then again, perhaps not.


New Jersey Teacher Bullies Student

Friday, November 18th, 2011


It’s a sad statement on the direction education has gone in this country.  It’s also the reason the schools don’t want your children armed with smart phones and other devices capable of recording audio or video.  This incident happened at Bankbridge Regional School in Gloucester County, N.J.  While I am sure that this guy is an aberration, you can bet that there are others like him out there.  Most of the bullying that happens in schools is from students directed at other students, but there is also intellectual bullying by teachers and administrators, and there are too many instances in which teachers simply believe they are all-powerful and have the authority to do or say anything. The school has put this teacher on administrative leave while they investigate.  My question is:  “What’s to investigate?”  I think it’s fairly clear-cut.  This New Jersey teacher should lose his job, and be forbidden from working around children for the remainder of his life:

There’s no way to excuse this behavior.  I don’t know or care what this teacher will claim what his motives had been.  This behavior needs to be followed up with a dismissal.  Frankly, the family should be filing a nice fat lawsuit.  Yes, that means the tax-payers get shafted again, but let’s be honest:  This isn’t this teacher’s first rodeo with this kind of behavior.  The administration must have known something.  There must have been other complaints.  There’s almost certain to have been some sort of official dereliction of duty in this case. Let’s not pretend otherwise.  How does a teacher remain on staff behaving like this for any period of time?

Parents and tax-payers must begin to ask questions about their local public school systems.  Many systems are very good, but some are awful, and this cannot be glossed-over.  Teachers have a special trust afforded them by parents, and by communities.  The schools that violate that trust should be dealt with accordingly.

Here’s Some Hot Political Advice: Don’t Advise Women to Be Whores

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Lunatic of the Week?

This numb-skull politician from Camden County New Jersey just guaranteed that not only will he not win the race he has entered, but also that he probably won’t be welcome among the female populace, or frankly, anywhere in the civilized world.  Even the average Neanderthal who believes something like this ought to be smart enough never to say it publicly while also seeking election to public office.  The NYDaily News website is reporting that Phil Mitsch, Republican candidate for New Jersey State Senate tweeted a bit of advice to women who wish to hold on to their men.   This genius tweeted the following:

“Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom.”

No word as to whether he will now move to New York to seek the former Weiner seat in 2012.  I guess we can be glad he didn’t tweet pictures of his junk, right?  The State’s GOP has withdrawn its support, so we can assume that Chris Christie won’t be joining him on the campaign trail anytime soon.  Democrats are naturally making hay of this one, and you can expect this to lead the nightly news tomorrow.  After all, Mitsch is a Republican, and we all know their scandals are elevated much higher than any Democrat’s.

In a stunning development, this goofball actually tried to defend his remark, and more, claimed to have had it his words somehow edited, or something… It’s only going to be a moment or two before he claims he was “hacked.”  I’ve got some news for this guy, but I doubt he was “hacked” any more than Weiner had been (until Huma got her hands on him, I’m sure,) but he does share one other thing with Anthony Weiner: He is a hack.  I expect this incident will cut his political career short, but let’s assume the blow won’t be lethal.  New Jersey politics surely won’t miss him.

So here’s some really important advice to politicians:  If you think it’s cute and clever, shut the hell up, and keep it to yourself, particularly if it’s advice to women suggesting that at any point, or for any reason, they should behave like whores.  It’s probably not a prudent electoral strategy.