New Jersey

One of the Most Extraordinary Developments in the Christie Scandals Happened Sunday

By now, it is so well established that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a corrupt bully, that futher reporting on his scandals ought to be suspended until the seopenas for the investigations are in. MSNBC was covering Christie so much last month, I thought it was embarassing. This nation is still at war in Afghnistan, we have a catestrophic, global envionmental crisis, the US job market is still dismal, the US has an ongoing gun violence problem, reproductive and women's rights are under fierce attack, Guantanemo is still open, the wealth gap is the biggest it has been in nearly a century, and the US Congress is intent on destroying what's left of the nation - and I mean both sides of the aisle.

The Chistie marathon, thankfully, has subsided a bit. 

Now I'm not denying that Christie's quests for political vengence, which have cost his state quite a lot in terms of money and image, is not significant. It is. He's the most prominant politician to engage in this sort of behavior since President Richard Nixon. Not that Christie is similar to the late Richard Nixon himself. Nixon was a vicious, paranoid, seeing enemies and conspiracies everywhere. Christie is a vicious bully, a classic coward who attacks and demeans those weaker than he is. I leave it to the pundits and historians like myself to argue which is worse.

Here's what I think will be the big story until all the supenas are carried out. The editorial board of the Star-Ledger, led by Tom Moran, has issued what is essentially a retraction of their endorsement for Chris Christie in his 2013 reelection bid. He won, of course. It is too late, of course. 

There is a fitting cliche: sin in haste, and repent at leisure. At least Moran is admitting the mistake, unlike, for example, the New York Times which allowed the Bush gang to push their invasion of Iraq on their pages, backed the criminal war and published a quiet, partial retraction over a year later.

This is not a perfect story of journalistic excellence, however. Iif one goes to the link and reads Moran's retraction, he basically says that the Star-Ledger knew all about Christie's scandals and his bad character, and endorsed him anyway. So what else do they know? We'll find out as the investigation proceeds this spring.

The Fascinating Splits Between Clinton And Obama

Photos ripped from the New York Times.

Many many articles have been written about this. Here is just my brief rundown, with some references.

Obama does much better with young voters, aged 18-35. Now I don't know if they know him any better than I do, but they have taken to him much faster than I did. Was it Facebook? Was it his rock star appeal? I don't know. But his energy resonates with the young.

Clinton does very well with Asian and Hispanic voters. Why? Her campaign establishes relationships the old fashioned way - by meeting with local Asian and Hispanic politicians and community boards and answering their questions straight. Obama's camp didn't do this. Also, as Jeff Chang writes, it is a fact that Asian and Hispanic Democrats tend to be more conservative than white and black democrats. It could be a variety of factors, including religion (Hispanics tend to be active Catholics, many Korean-Americans are active Protestants, etc.). Chang calls more conservative Democratic candidates (like Clinton) "emergents," while more liberal, progressive candidates (like Obama) are labelled "insurgents."

Clinton also dominates among female voters over 40 years old. While Obama does exceptionally well among white males, many of whom consider themselves independents.

Clinton has shown an ability to lock-down union endorsements early and swiftly. She has built mainstream support the old fashioned way. She also likes small discussion groups a lot. While they don't create excitement like Obama's rallies, they seem to have made her a more sincere candidate. She still hasn't given me a reason to vote for her, but for others, she has answered their questions and has won their support.

Obama does extremely well in more rural ('red') states. He has won Alaska, Kansas, Utah, and Alabama, among others. His next big test is Texas. If he wins that, he is looking good for the nomination. But there is a large amount of Mexican-Americans in Texas. So it is a real test.

But at the same time, Obama does very well among white, college educated progressive voters. It's quite a feat - to appeal to both the rural working class and the wealthy voters with master's degrees. The Connecticut victory is a huge breakthrough. We knew that Obama would do well in cities like New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport, where there are large black populations. But he also got scores of votes in Old Saybrook, Darien, Norwalk, and Stratford. Back in August, when my aunt and uncle in Stratford told me they were voting for Obama, I knew he would win Connecticut. The near-defeat of Lieberman by Ned Lamont in 2006 was also a hint that Connecticut had more progressives than it did in decades past. David Chen of the NY Times writes about this today.

Compare Obama's win in Connecticut to Clinton's sound victory in New Jersey. You would think that Obama would also win New Jersey because of its large black population and diverse working-class towns. But no. The wealthy classes in Hoboken (which includes Governor Corzine) went for Hillary. While Princeton, Trenton, Atlantic City, and Newark were wins for Obama, Hillary carried the solid New Jersey middle class, i.e. two income families, espcially whites, Hispanics, and Asians.

But get this - Obama won three rather different counties in New Jersey. He won Hunterdon, a very rural area of villages in the northwest corner of the state. He won Atlantic county, which includes Atlantic City. And he won Essex county, which includes Newark, Orange, and the wealthy suburb of Montclair, where 60% of the inhabitants are white and earn more than $40K each. (It's also the home of Yogi Berra...had to mention that). Even if we assume Clinton won Montclair, Obama was showing signs of winning New Jersey over. But Connecticut opened-up to him much faster and with more enthusiasm. Interesting differences for two wealthy states that have large populations of older Democrats, young college students, working class families, and black and latino urban residents. The NY Times has an excellent story today adressing the differences in the New Jersey and Connecticut results.

And Timothy Egan in the NY Times made a similar observation in examining the Colorado reslts, where Obma won big:

Overall, Obama won some big, general election swing states: Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota, and a tie in New Mexico, where they may still be counting votes from the 2004 election. All will be crucial in deciding the next president.

His victory in Colorado, by a 2-1 margin, defied most predictions. Four times as many Democrats turned out as were expected, typical of the passion level elsewhere. In Anchorage, Alaska, for example, traffic was backed for nearly a mile from people trying to get into a middle school to become part of an Obama avalanche.

But back to Colorado. Obama won the liberal enclaves, as expected, but then he nearly ran the table in the western part of the state – ranch and mining country — and he did it with more than Ralph Lauren Democrats. In booming, energy-rich Garfield County, for instance, Obama beat Clinton 72 percent to 27 percent...

...Now broaden the picture and look at the vote among white males, traditionally the hardest sell for a Democrat. While losing California, Obama won white men in the Golden State, 55 to 35, according to exit polls, and white men in New Mexico, 59-38.
Looking ahead to Saturday, when Washington State, Nebraska, and Louisiana hold contests, Obama should add another three states to the 13 he won on Tuesday. They’re all caucus states, each with distinct advantages for Obama.

So back to my neck of the woods. Connecticut's population is less than half of New Jersey's, and it is more white-collar. New Jersy is more working class overall, but has a bigger, more diverse middle class, and has bigger cities. It was a fascinating vote split.

Expect Obama to sweep the three caucuses on Saturday. And then he and his people can focus on Ohio while at the same time try to be competitive in Texas.

Congratulations To The New Jersey Giants!

The evil Patriots were taken down in the second half of their 19th game of the 2007 season. The Giants deserve a lot of credit, especially their young players, who seemed to want it more, and fought harder for the victory. And we saw an escape and pass completion for the ages - Eli Manning to David Tyree. Eli Manning escaped a sack Doug Flutie style, and David Tyree caught a ball using one hand and his helmet - something we may never see again. It was incredible.

Expect the Patriots to be in Super Bowl 43. The Colts have nothing on them. And Belichick and the Pats are going to be hungry. But on Sunday, the Giants stopped them. They beat Tom Brady.

I will say one thing - it put a smile on my face to hear Giants fans chanting "Red Sox Suck" and "Boston Sucks" on my subway ride home from Noho. The fact that the Sox stick on their minds is very sweet. They are in for more pain this spring when the Sox take the AL lead again.

The New Jersey Jets: Responsible For The Rise Of Tom Brady. Responsible For The Rage Of Belichick. And Now, Exposed For What They Are: Rednecks.

I will always love the 1968/69 Jets. They had a swaggering franchise quarterback, who stuck it to the NFL, raised the trophy, and kissed the girls. It was a glorious moment and historical milestone. Think about it. The Colts were 22-point favorites. And the Jets came, saw, and conquered. It never gets old.

But it absolutely sucks to be a Jets fan right now. As a son of Massachusetts, I'm thrilled. Good. Let the Jets' depression continue for years and years. It has been ongoing almost all my life.

And you know it can get worse. And last week, it did.

In the New York Times, a long-overdue story emerged. Sometime earlier this decade, the Meadowlands became Houston, Texas. Chants of "Show us your tits," now echo through the concrete ramps of Gate D.

What's next? Quaaludes and crystal meth? Shotguns? Confederate flags? It wouldn't surprise me. Nothing from the disgusting bunch of classless fans in green and white surprises me anymore.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that this happens at Reliant Stadium in Houston. I am saying that it has happened quite a lot in Texas. There is a quote from a band member of Styx on VH1's Behind the Music that went something like, "Performing Kilroy was not going to go over well at the Texas Jam. I mean, this was Dallas and Houston in 1983. It was all about Quaaludes and 'show us your tits.'

On another note -

The Jets will never understand that every time they throw big punches against the Patriots, they only make the Patriots stronger. It's like shooting yourself in the foot multiple times. First Bill Belichick wrote, "I resign as HC of the NYJ." Not exactly the Jets' fault, but maube they should have seen that coming. Later, when Moe Lewis injured Drew Bledsoe in the fall of 2001, it opened the door for Tom Brady to become the greatest quarterback of the decade. When Eric Mangini reported the Patriots for videotaping Jets coaching signals from the sideline, all he did was awaken a slumbering titan named Bill Belichick, who has since decided to employ a scorched earth policy while advancing through the schedule and breaking the will of every single opponent.

And on December 16th, there is going to be a lot of pain and suffering for the poor Jets. It could be a pain of epic proportions. The Patriots might be favored with a 28-point spread.

And even then, I don't think the Jets or their fans will learn their lesson. There will be no moment when a hooded, evil Belichick mutters, "Only now, at the end, do you understand!" Oh no. The evil emperor knows that for the Jets, it never ends.

Never-ending suffering. That's the definition of hell.