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Phil-osophically Speaking

Road Rage

There was a study done some years back on the psychological impact that daily bumper to bumper traffic has on motorists. Its upshot was that daily traffic jams would have the effect of driving commuters stark raving mad. However, the human psyche has proven remarkably resilient to all sorts of stresses and as it turns out we are more likely to adapt than fall to pieces.

Still, traffic snarls are never joyous. When gridlock involves police, fire departments and school buses it’s a problem that affects everyone. So when a traffic jam is manipulated by some vengeful government types as payback for a lack of political support, it’s grist for controversy.    

 

In fact, it’s landed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the proverbial doghouse. His defenders have angrily noted how much greater the reaction has been to the crime of closing a lane on the George Washington Bridge when compared to other political transgressions: Look at Benghazi, they cry, four people including a U.S. Ambassador were brutally killed; what about the roll out of Obamacare, not only was it an appalling mess but the president lied to us. They see that the media is exploiting this so-called Bridgegate in order to destroy the GOP’s strongest presidential contender in 2016. 

 

It’s true that network television and the print media are more zealous in accounting for the sins of Republicans than Democrats. But it’s more than that. Value judgments tend to get skewed in the hurly burly of partisan politics and even life’s big issues. We prize our health over most things yet we pay entertainers and athletes the big bucks. We remember more about what Michael Jordan did with a basketball than what Jonas Salk did with a vaccine. An old political hand once told me you can fool around with their wives; you can fool around with their daughters but don’t, he said, theatrically pointing to his wallet, fool around with this. Well, fooling around with people’s transportation is another of those unforgivable sins.

 

New Jersey’s Democratic mayors are gleefully piling on this scandal after Christie, always rough in the clinches, won a bruising historic victory in a blue state. Implacably resilient to diplomatic niceties, his brusque, elbows-up style had its appeal to those who had become sick and tired of business as usual. Christie was their patron saint, a kind of no nonsense, straight talking Bill O’Reilly type in public office. America can and has turned its hopes to the firm and hard man in tough times. Richard Nixon was elected president not because he was a coddling, I-feel-your-pain figure, but because Americans saw him as a tough and savvy politician who could deal with the escalating violence in the jungles of Vietnam and in the streets of America’s cities. 

 

But petulantly shutting down traffic lanes is not the act of a strong-willed public official. Creating a dangerous and chaotic situation for thousands of innocent commuters was seen as maliciously petty. So Christie was right to fire those in his Administration who were culpable, to take personal responsibility and to issue heartfelt mea culpas. While there are those who will see this public apology as nothing more than contrite insolence, it’s also true that among Christie’s critics there are the ulterior political motives afoot. The

Democrats have got their long-awaited whiff of blood, but their olfactory sense may prove overly imaginative and malignly ambitious assuming, as I do, that Christie is telling the truth. 

 

Assemblyman John Wisniewsky, a Democrat leading the state’s investigation (or is it a head-long charge), is already looking as if he is on a Salem witch hunt. Not that an investigation is uncalled for; the powers of recollection are hardly eidetic amid the world of scandal, so an investigation is proper to assemble the facts but not to prematurely indict political foes. That the media willingly conspires in this parade of obloquy is easily evidenced in the unflattering photographs of Christie looking grossly dyspeptic and wretched over his ordeal. So the Democrats and their epigones may well be overplaying their hand but the Christie Administration also stupidly and callously dealt that hand out. 

 

What’s clear is that the Democrats intend to hamstring the Governor with ongoing charges of bullying and harassment. It will be time-consuming and politically damaging because bullying, even prior to this story, was the single most potent charge leveled against Christie. While handicapping the 2016 presidential race is premature, I had believed that before this story broke that the strongest ticket facing either Hillary Clinton or another Democratic nominee would have been a Chris Christie/Marco Rubio teaming. The

Democrats had undoubtedly seen the same thing as their vigorous and concerted prosecution over a lane closing makes abundantly clear. 


News

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.

At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth discussed the recent investigation of students who have been illegally attending school in the Herricks School District, despite living in outer areas. Bierwirth said that 14 prospective cases were investigated and eight students were forced to leave the district.

 

Board of Education President James Gounaris said weeding out students who are attending school in Herricks under false pretenses is boiled down to one fact: it takes away valuable resources from the children of tax-paying members of the community.


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 

Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week. 

 

“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said. 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 22

International Night - October 23

Halloween Dance - October 24


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com