A crisis is brewing for residents of the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, where we like to think we have the cutting edge in everything.
Even those of us who live in New York had been taking a perverse kind of pride in the revelations about Gov. Christie’s regime in New Jersey where they shut down the George Washington Bridge when they feel like it, and apparently do other nefarious things.
It’s been fun watching Christie dial down his bullying as he nationally turns into what Bill Maher described as “350 pounds of toast.”
But now the dreadful realization is sinking in that the governor of our neighbor to the west may not even be in the top three of wretched governors.
Take for example the governor of Georgia, one Nathan Deal, who recently presided over a snowstorm that paralyzed the Atlanta area, during which he gave the appearance of having the IQ of a snowman. I remember it snowing before a Super Bowl in Atlanta. The governor apparently did not.
However, this guy is more dangerous than we thought. Deal is currently administering the closing of rural hospitals that serve the poor. He may be able to justify this, economically and maybe even theologically: let the poor take care of themselves. For more about this guy, check this video:
Further north, the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, is reaping the results of his efforts to cut back on regulation of coal waste and other ecological malpractice. Oh, yes. McCrory toiled 28 years for Duke Energy.
Nearby, in a similar disaster, poorly-regulated chemical containers leaked into the rivers that flow through Charleston, W. Va., Weeks after the spill, children were still getting sick when they used running water at their local schools, and people were afraid to take baths in their own homes. At press conferences, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was inarticulate, a human shrug. Like just about all West Virginia politicians, he didn’t want to ruffle his friends in the coal industry.
Examples like these put Chris Christie outside the top three. I can’t count Arizona governor Jan Brewer, normally addled and non-verbal, since she vetoed a bill that would have allowed residents to express their religious-based bigotry toward gays on a daily basis. Brewer only did it after Delta and Marriott and the National Football League pointed out the possible loss of considerable income. One cannot really call Brewer courageous, but her enforced practicality does take her out of the top three, for the moment.
And you really can’t count former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell – and his well-dressed wife – who have been separately indicted for taking lucrative favors from a businessman-friend. Back where I’m from, we call people like that schnorrers. But McDonnell is no longer a governor, merely a defendant.
That leaves Christie floating outside the top three, shunned in public by his own Republican governors. And this is not a political issue, not after I covered news and politics in Appalachia back in the day. I remember one election night in Kentucky, when one party or the other swept back into power. The party leader went on statewide television and bragged, “They had their turn at the trough; now it’s our turn.”
Christie is now making the best of a bad situation.
Under scrutiny, Christie comes off as a provincial blowhard who hires people like the former high-school nonentity, Wildstein, and his former assistant, Kelly, who made jokes about a prominent Chabad rabbi. What a pair.
Christie has been exposed as a local, a guy who barely left his home state for college in Delaware, did law school back home, and seems to ooze air, like a dysfunctional parade balloon, when he leaves his comfort zone.
Remember when Tony Soprano would go into New York to shack up or have a meal or meet one of his rivals under a bridge? Tony always seemed to shrink, even if he was packing. Christie has been deflated, living out his second term. People commute to New York and Philadelphia, shrugging him off. Can’t even crack the top three. Loser.
(Note: The Comment/Reply section seems to be malfunctioning for this specific posting. Maybe Wildstein did it. I am trying to reach the site administrator at Weebly. GV.)
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.