Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00
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.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM, of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Avenue, one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Turnpike.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was
brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education talked finalizing the budget for the 2014-15 school year at its work session meeting on Monday, Feb. 24. The budget will be unveiled at the March 10 meeting.
Talks at the work session centered around what is or isn’t changing next year, and the board announced that they’re dealing with a “maintenance of effort” budget that will retain all current programs and non-mandated activities. Class sizes are expected to average about 21 students.
“Yes, we are status quo for the upcoming year, and this is a great achievement. It’s an amazing feat compared to the rest of the state,” Vice President Patricia Rudd said.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
New Hyde Park Michael Castelli recently participated in the 32nd Black Belt Graduation at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park. He graduated to first-degree black belt.
“Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others,” says Grandmaster Charles Water, owner and director of the school.
Students tested in October, successfully passed their exam recently and received their black belt certificates. “Who says that the youth of America are not committed? A healthy life style at the karate studio, mentally and physically is alive, well and working,” said Water.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
After missing the playoffs two straight years, the Sewanhaka Indians Boys lacrosse team will face tougher odds if it hopes to advance to postseason play in 2014.
The Indians, who start their season March 24 at Oyster Bay, will be playing out of Section 8, Nassau Conference II (Class B) this year; a bump up from their usual spot in Nassau Conference III (Class C). Typically, the schools are divided by enrollment.
“There are no gimmies in this league,” said nine-year coach Peter Burgess. “We were the last team to make this league in terms of population. They kind of drew the line below us. So we’re the smallest school in the league.”
Burgess said another obstacle for the Indians will be facing teams that they have no experience playing before.