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“This Sharia Law business is just crap…I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!"
August 4, 2011 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey defends his appointment of Sohail Mohammed to the state bench. Sohail Mohammed is New Jersey's first Indian-born Superior Court Judge. "After Christie nominated Mohammed in January for the judgeship, the former federal prosecutor found himself accused of cozying up to Islamic radicals. Mohammed’s confirmation hearing before the state Senate included two hours of grilling, including inquires about Sharia, jihad and Hamas." posted by spitbull (78 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good for him.

I like Chris Christie as a person, even though I don't like his policies.
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's disgusting that Christie would even have to make this speech, but yeah, good on him for doing the right thing, if doing the right thing deserves a "good on him."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!"

Finally, someone who calls these people what they really are. (Note: we would also have accepted 'bigots' and 'racists' as correct terminology)
posted by dry white toast at 7:03 AM on August 4, 2011 [28 favorites]


The people who are so afraid of "Sharia Law" would have no problem if it made a handful of cosmetic changes and reappeared as "Biblical Law".
posted by Legomancer at 7:03 AM on August 4, 2011 [80 favorites]


If anyone's curious (I was), the Superior Court seems to be the "standard" court of first instance - they do the trials for the criminal, family, civil matters. Not the municipal stuff, and I assume he's not in the appellate division.

Christie sounds like he wants to be anywhere else, because there's no real question here. Which is exactly right - there's no reason for debate here. Mohammed is apparently a good lawyer, done.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:05 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people who are so afraid of "Sharia Law" would have no problem if it made a handful of cosmetic changes and reappeared as "Biblical Law".

So true. Apparently they aren't aware that Sharia Law is synonymous with God's Law, only according to a different group of humans.
posted by odinsdream at 7:09 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poor Christie. He now takes at last the high road because he know the Tea Party wants nothing to do with him as potential candidate for anything. Now take a look at how he feels about unions.
posted by Postroad at 7:13 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gov. Christie isn't running for president do he doesn't have to rule based on the dictates from a bunch of racists and fearmongers. Good for him and the new judge.
posted by Renoroc at 7:14 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people who are so afraid of "Sharia Law" would have no problem if it made a handful of cosmetic changes and reappeared as "Biblical Law".

I would say the hypocrisy is stunning if I was actually still capable of being stunned by hypocrisy of homegrown religious fanatics denouncing all members of other faiths as fanatics themselves.
posted by elizardbits at 7:17 AM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Outstanding. That kind of insight is a rare gem in our politics.

My only quibble with that eloquent and incisive speech is the implication he threw in there that if Sohail Mohammed's clients had been found guilty of a charge of terrorism, then that would somehow reflect poorly on Sohail Mohammed. Even terrorists deserve legal representation.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:17 AM on August 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


"I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!"

Maybe you should stop making multiple YouTube videos then of you screaming at union members and teachers so you can seed Google with rational, totally non crazy and non-inciting titles like "Gov. Christie DESTROYS lib teacher!"

Wow, he called a racist a racist. Give the man a cookie. This totally makes up for smashing unions, ruining a transportation bill that would have given thousands of New Jersey citizens jobs and banning all funding for Planned Parenthood. But hey, glad to hear he's tired of crazy stuff.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:17 AM on August 4, 2011 [66 favorites]


lol racists
posted by Eideteker at 7:20 AM on August 4, 2011


"I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!"

Maybe you should change parties, then, or try to effect some radical change from within. Crazies are all that the GOP has to offer these days. Live with it. And start by looking in the mirror, you self-righteous bullying scumbag.
posted by blucevalo at 7:21 AM on August 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


Look, almost all of our elected officials are scumbags. If we can't praise the good things they do just because they also do other shitty things, then we eliminate that last, precious, tiny amount of selective pressure to do good things.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:24 AM on August 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


Apparently they aren't aware that Sharia Law is synonymous with God's Law, only according to a different group of humans.

I've always assumed Christians hated Sharia Law only because they see it as a threat to supersede their movement to implement Christian Law over Constitutional Law. Christians could care less about religious brutality to women done in the name of Islam, they just want their religious brutality to woman to be done in THEIR name.
posted by any major dude at 7:25 AM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


There's a ton of things that Christie's done that I vehemently disagree with, but I have tons of respect for him on this one. I wish he had made the point that this anti-Muslim fear-mongering over Sharia Law will one day look just as stupid and bigoted as the concerns that JFK would take orders from the Pope as President of the United States.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:33 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I met Chris Christie at of all things, a Bar Mitzvah. He was there with his wife and 2 of his kids. Ended up speaking to him for a good 20 minutes. (Seated at his table and he and I don't dance much.) He is a good guy. I would have a beer with him any day. Actually I had two with him that day. I certainly do not always agree with his politics, but he is the only straight shooting politician out there today. If you separate his political beliefs from his methods, you start to see that he does not like politics. He refuses to play the NJ game.
posted by AugustWest at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Christie's administration has supposedly been one big disaster headed the same direction as Wisconsin's Scott Walker. Ain't sure the old one party system worked too well either though.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:38 AM on August 4, 2011


He refuses to play the NJ game.

Making public school teachers and Planned Parenthood your enemies is definitely playing the New Jersey game.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:40 AM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Look, almost all of our elected officials are scumbags. If we can't praise the good things they do just because they also do other shitty things, then we eliminate that last, precious, tiny amount of selective pressure to do good things.

Sorry, and no offense, but I'm sick of the "credit where credit is due" argument. These are the people who voted for Christie and he knows it. He knows damn well his precious tea party is a bunch of angry, hateful, anti-government racists and he knows damn well that for the last two years he's been playing this "look at how inspiring I am screaming at public school teachers" routine with them. He encourages his supporters to scream and yell and go "hah hah take THAT, liberals!" (because the number one rule for the Tea Party, as usual, is "does this piss off liberals?", of course) and now he's upset that one of them has tied him to the racist butthole of the Republican Party that he'd like to hide like Grandpa at Thanksgiving.

I met Chris Christie at of all things, a Bar Mitzvah. He was there with his wife and 2 of his kids. Ended up speaking to him for a good 20 minutes. (Seated at his table and he and I don't dance much.) He is a good guy.

Also no offense, but I used to work in NJ government. I met Jim McGreevy at a private event once as well, and he also was a very nice person to me and whoever he talked to. Turns out high-level elected officials are good at being friendly to people all the time. When I worked in the legislature all the Republicans were very nice to me and cordial during lunch breaks between periods of calling my boss a liberal demon big government soul-sucker from Hell.

As a voter, I'm far more concerned about whatever character Governor Christie wants to play for his video cameras... and that character takes a visible passion in utterly destroying the State of New Jersey and bragging about it for campaign donations.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:41 AM on August 4, 2011 [25 favorites]


So true. Apparently they aren't aware that Sharia Law is synonymous with God's Law, only according to a different group of humans.

A lot of the Sharia Law panic is, I think, attributable to the fact that within a lot of the conservative Evangelical world, there's a deep misunderstanding of how the First Amendment works-- all of that 'Christian nation' founded on biblical principles stuff, all that 'the term "separation of church and state" isn't actually in the Constitution' stuff, etc. There's a subset of Americans who sincerely believe that the US isn't supposed to have a secular government, that that's the vision of the founding fathers, and that therefore non-Christians holding political office is a threat to the vision of the founders and the American way of life. Sharia Law is a threat and real possibility because we already have a religious government.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:48 AM on August 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I dislike Christie's policies, and I am not impressed with him as a person. This is a "a stopped clock is right twice a day" situation.

If Obama had done the same thing under the same circumstances, David Brooks would be running for his fainting couch over how Obama "lost his temper," and Fox News would have headlined with "Obama defends terrorist lawyer." But the media likes Christie's "angry bully" persona, whether it's directed at anti-Muslim jerks or whether it's directed at teachers and public employees, so he gets praise.
posted by deanc at 7:49 AM on August 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


Chris Christie recognizes that property taxes and excessive regulations are driving jobs out of the state. He also recognizes that unfunded public pensions risk bankrupting the state. Asking tenured civil servants to chip in a bit extra to fund their benefits is not unreasonable. Christie has worked with the Democrats in New Jersey's legislature to pass meaningful reforms, despite a union leader jokingly praying for his death. I appreciate his plain-spokenness and bluntness, because that's the only way he's going to get things done. I also credit him for working in a bipartisan manner (as opposed to Governor Walker in Wisconsin, who needlessly provoked a confrontation and made compromise that much more difficult).

Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York understands this too, and is also doing the right thing on these issues.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:50 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I used to be a cameraman for a local cable politics talk show. The host was a hard core republican. This was in upstate NY so all the guests were republican. We used to go out for beers afterwards occasionally. They were all nice to have beers with. None of them excused themselves to go eat babies in the parking lot. But their politics were FUCKING ABHORRENT. All knee jerk, pro-corporate, right wing bullshit empty suits. With one exception. Steve Saland. So, you know, I don't think 'cool to have 2 beers with' is any way to judge a politician.
posted by spicynuts at 7:51 AM on August 4, 2011 [22 favorites]


To be clear, by posting this I am not praising Gov. Christie in any broader context. I'm no fan myself, and generally see him as an agent for corporate interests, primarily. I have no opinion on whether he is corrupt in any legal sense, for which I haven't seen evidence beyond the stupid helicopter business (small ball unbecoming NJ politics). But the corruption in our system is mostly legal anyway, let's face it. You can buy power, and guys like Bloomberg and Christie have done it.

That said, loose cannons are interesting tools for insurgents. The rational defense of class interests is American politics of a familiar type. It is beholden to democratic principles that have been strained but not shattered. The elemental fury on the right is something else. It's religious, cultural, and tribal conflict hidden under a veneer of economic interest. It threatens to upend the rule of law as we have known it since the founding of the republic, to replace basic principles with their mirror opposites, in short, for theocracy. Part of the core strategy is demonizing Muslims and Islam so that there is an enemy to distract the rabble. This pokes a hole in that with some serious armor-piercing force.

The left needs a strategy to separate those interests. The recent debt ceiling nonsense was illustrative of how to create such a wedge by isolating the far right's worst threats and hoping people are appalled by their nihilism. But this little rant by Christie is another.

I think maybe that's why this stood out to me as a tear in the space/time continuum, not for its content, but for its force and articulateness. But "he called a racist a racist" understates what he does here, I think. He's calling a whole bunch of people, including elected officials in his own party and many of his constituents, ignorant, crazy, and bigoted.

It's a "have you no decency?" tone that represents a real fissure on the right, one that I think will be more and more salient leading into 2012, and that will represent a major opportunity for exploitation by the left. Not that they'll manage to take that opportunity with any force, if recent history is any guide. Sigh.
posted by spitbull at 7:52 AM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sorry, and no offense, but I'm sick of the "credit where credit is due" argument.

The appropriate thing to do in this case is to make a counterargument. You have not.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:53 AM on August 4, 2011


The appropriate thing to do in this case is to make a counterargument. You have not.

Yes how silly of me the next 200 words in my comment were me trying to make ASCII images of kitties.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:55 AM on August 4, 2011


Yes how silly of me the next 200 words in my comment were me trying to make ASCII images of kitties.

You didn't do that. You smeared all of his supporters as Tea Party racists and attributed cynical motives to his actions. That's really not arguing in my book (well, it is, but it's kind of in the gutter).

See how this reads to you: "I'm far more concerned about whatever character Governor Christie President Obama wants to play for his video cameras... and that character takes a visible passion in utterly destroying the State of New Jersey United States of America and bragging about it for campaign donations."

Would you spend (waste?) time arguing with this person?
posted by BobbyVan at 8:05 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


That YouTube Closed Captioning is hilarious. HILARIOUS.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:05 AM on August 4, 2011


Fuck Christie. Too little, too late.

Don't get me wrong - he's doing the right thing. But he's supposed to do the right thing. One right thing doesn't magically make him a good guy. He's still a slash-and-burn-put-it-all-on-the-backs-of-the-middle-class-and-oh-yeah-fuck-the-unions Republican.

The Tea Party racists are useful idiots to him 99.999% of the time. They are just having a little spat here.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:06 AM on August 4, 2011


It's a "have you no decency?" tone that represents a real fissure on the right, one that I think will be more and more salient leading into 2012

If Christie is as competent politician as he thinks he is, he currently has a bunch of surrogates meeting with the hard-core right wing members of the party telling them, "The governor recognizes you concerns and is very worried about the threat of Islamofascist terrorism here in NJ and will be keeping a close eye on the judge that he had to appoint for political reasons. The liberal media just wanted to hear that stuff he said at that press conference. You know how they are." The "real fissure" is not real at all. Because, ultimately, both sides of that fissure really, really want tax cuts and really, really hate liberals.
posted by deanc at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a christian, I'm more afraid of what the christians are going to do to the US govt than what muslims could ever do.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you want to know more about the kind of person Chris Christie is, you should go back to his roots in "This American Life" episode. It tells the story of how Christie earned his bones with the Bush administration by entrapping an Indian-born British citizen in a "War on Terror" conspiracy case. Christie was one of the U.S. Attorneys caught up in the Alberto Gonzales justice system distortion case.

The orders came down from D.C. to make some showy terrorism cases. Christie dutifully spent two years setting up this guy, a rice and saki trader, surrounding him with FBI confederates so that the only person in the conspiracy who was not a federal agent was the target himself. He never would have been involved in any of this except at the prodding of Chris Christie. The guy is in jail for 47 years, but Christie got a big boost to his career.
posted by JackFlash at 8:10 AM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


The Superior Court is New Jersey's trial court. It astounds me that this would even be an issue. I imagine he'll be shuffled off to the special civil part, presiding over a docket of claims less than $15,000. He will work dutifully in this less than stimulating role, because at least the pension is good. Then, close to retirement, some troglodyte ideological successor to Christie will rip the pensions out from under the bench, because by then it's the last thing to pillage.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:13 AM on August 4, 2011


any_major_dude: Christians could care less about religious brutality to women done in the name of Islam, they just want their religious brutality to woman to be done in THEIR name.

Knock it off with the overly-broad generalizations about Christians, OK? And stay on topic, please.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:16 AM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't like very much about Chris Christie, but he unquestionably did the right thing here.

Major props to him on this one, and also for being smart enough to know not to jump on the Tea Party Express. Like I said, I still don't like the guy, but he's only got a handful of policy-related positions that actually align with the TP. For one, he's way too liberal on social issues, which you basically need to be in order to be elected in New Jersey.

On social issues, he's a smidge more liberal than some Democrats, and seems to have steered clear of the immigration debate, which though very popular with New Jersey conservatives, would have likely made him unelectable. New Jersey's got large numbers of Catholics, Jews, and Asian/Hispanic immigrants, making it a fairly unique demographic. To be elected in New Jersey, the winning combination seems to be:
  1. Cuddle up with the rich folks, and promise to lower property taxes (despite the fact that property taxes are mostly local taxes, but nevermind that).
  2. Tepid opposition of abortion rights, but no serious threats to change the status quo.
  3. Lukewarm support of gay rights, but no grand pronouncements.
  4. No overt religious themes whatsoever. New Jersey is too much of a religious melting pot to risk this, and even the Protestants and Catholics disagree on a lot of things.
  5. Complete noncommittal on immigration issues.
I also wouldn't quite assess Christie's administration as a "disaster," considering that New Jersey has literally not had a competent governor in my lifetime, and the state government is an absolute mess. (However, comparisons must be drawn to Bob McDonnell, who was elected under very similar circumstances, managed to balance his state's budget, and made good on the promise to restore money to education when there was a surplus. Christie is a whole lot of talk, and not a lot of walk. He hasn't been particularly effective at his goals of actually reducing tax burdens or balancing the budget. Still, I'd pick him over McDonnell, if only because McDonnell comes bundled with Ken Cuccinelli)

The holy war on teacher's unions is a disgusting embarrassment, but also bolstered his approval ratings. For the most part, the people of New Jersey love his antics, and somehow thought that losing *billions* of Federal education and transportation money, as well as their local PBS affiliate (RIP, NJN) was "sticking it to the man."

The difference between Christie and Walker is that Christie enjoys broad popular support. Walker's going to be recalled the moment that the law will allow for it.

Oh, and the guy's a total bully. He's verbally and physically threatened constituents at "town hall" meetings. He gets no points for being bipartisan or reaching across the aisle, because he hasn't. The Democrats simply leaned right in fear of the populist fervor that got Christie elected in the first place. Again, Christie is inexplicably very popular for these bully tactics. I guess that after the meek and ineffective governments run by Corzine and McGreevey, constituents are happy to see their governor make any kind of stand, no matter how batshit insane it is.

Also worth noting that the NJ Democrats have not been very good Democrats, and did an absolute horrible job of running things when they were in power. I can draw parallels to the UK Labour party, or the Marion Barry-era DC democrats. They needed a kick in the pants, and despite the fact that New Jesrsey should by all means be an extremely "Blue" state, I'm not at all surprised that they've been routinely thrown out of office over the past few years. The party should have thrown Corzine under the bus, and found a better candidate. His reelection bid was doomed from the start.

There's also the small issue of Chris Daggett, who was an Independent, and really should have won the 2009 election over Christie, and hands-down beat anybody that the Democrats put forward. Sadly, strategic voting kept his actual numbers in the single-digits, despite polling remarkably well with anybody who was familiar with his campaign, and trouncing both mainstream candidates in the debates. I've never seen an election with more misinformation being thrown around by the media and the public than the 2009 NJ Governor's election. The rhetoric being used in most of the papers (and by the guys on 101.5) almost puts Fox News to shame. It's no stretch of the imagination to say that the voters were deliberately misled and lied to. Nobody new any better, because the local media sucks, and nobody cares about local politics.

Christie clinched the "anger" vote. I can't help but think that the state will eventually look back with shame on his administration, and the broad popular support that it received in spite of the near-suicidal policies implemented under it.
posted by schmod at 8:18 AM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


You can disagree with someone's outlook on government, his method of governing, and everything else while totally respecting them. This guy, no bs just shot that crap down.

The real problem is a lack of guts with a lot of people. They are so scared of losing, that they let these crazies intimidate them and they end up saying and doing things completely the opposite of what they said and did before because of this fear.

I think conservatism has a lot to offer the US intellectually. But the way they've handled themselves, the way they've sold themselves out to any nut job willing to vote and canvas for them has wrecked this country. I do believe it will hurt them severely in the end to everyone's loss.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chris Christie recognizes that property taxes and excessive regulations are driving jobs out of the state. He also recognizes that unfunded public pensions risk bankrupting the state. Asking tenured civil servants to chip in a bit extra to fund their benefits is not unreasonable.

If you want to praise Christie's "plain spokenness" then you should stop using flowerly language yourself. Christie didn't "ask tenured civil servants to chip in a bit." He made all state employees take a 3.5% pay cut, then demanded that their contributions be raised (along with the retirement age.)

If he was so concerned about the state "being bankrupt" then maybe he shouldn't have turned down billions for the ARC tunnel, which he spent over a million dollars of state money to... refuse. Now the government wants the $271 million they already spent on the tunnel back. Christie's plan is, apparently, to steal it. But hey, he's only wasted another $1.5 million trying to do that (so far) so, no big.

This is all, of course, on top of Christie's magnificent coup of fighting with state unions over the application for Race to the Top funding, leading to a last minute altered entry that they screwed up, which led to the state losing $400 million.

Christie all but flushed over a half billion dollars down the toilet in his first two years in office, and responded by telling teachers and state employees that they deserve less money before heading to yet another dinner praising his "fiscal responsibility."

Would you spend (waste?) time arguing with this person?

My objective here is not to "argue." It's to dispel the bullshit romantic image of Chris Christie fueled by whitewashes like "plain-spokenness and bluntness, because that's the only way he's going to get things done." Pretending he is "getting things done" and suggesting I'm supposed to accept that as an argument is an equal waste of my time.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Knock it off with the overly-broad generalizations about Christians, OK? And stay on topic, please.

I absolutely will when the silent Christian majority rise up and speak out against the terrorists who purport to speak for them in politics and the mass media. Until then, silence=consent.
posted by any major dude at 8:31 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Legomancer: "The people who are so afraid of "Sharia Law" would have no problem if it made a handful of cosmetic changes and reappeared as "Biblical Law"."

I think there's a case to be made against allowing any religion to trump a secular court system, and personally, I'm concerned about the real and potential abuses of actual Sharia law, because when it has been used to govern Muslim communities, it has sometimes enforced repression and inequality for women.

I have similar concerns about the Jewish Beit Din system, which has at times promoted vigilantism and been used to protect offenders within the Jewish community from facing secular criminal prosecution.

Distinct separations should exist and be enforced with regard to jurisdiction between religious courts and secular ones. They don't always and that's a problem.

That said, the people who are yelling about Sharia law because of Sohail Mohammed's appointment are racist fearmongerers.
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can anyone from NJ comment on the proportion of people of Indian descent in high-visibliity roles in the NJ government?

Where I grew up (Minnesota in the 1970s/80s), Hmong refugees flooded the state. They have since entered every level of civic life there, including professionals, entrepreneurs, police officers, etc. Are Indians in NJ stayng in "private life" or also joining public life?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:39 AM on August 4, 2011


Didn't think that "asking" was too flowery. But if we're going to get pedantic, Christie isn't powerful enough to "make" state employees take pay and benefit cuts by himself. He needed a Democratic-controlled legislature to go along with the plan, and they did.

I don't know much about the tunnel, and Christie fired his Secretary of Education for the Race to the Top fiasco. It seems kind of lousy that the Feds deprived NJ of $400 million on a technicality, and a reasonable person could make political inferences, but there's no evidence to support the notion that the Obama Administration decided to punish the State of NJ for having a popular Republican governor.

But let's just assume that Christie is wrong about the tunnel and responsible for NJ's failed application for $400 million in education funding. That's all chump change compared to NJ's $53.9 billion unfunded pension liability. Credit goes to Christie for focusing on what really matters here, and NJ is lucky to have a Governor who is not owned by public sector unions.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:40 AM on August 4, 2011


Isn't an Indian Muslim a bit of an oxymoron?

I thought that most Indian Muslims departed for Pakistan after the 1956 partition created an Islamic state. That said, perhaps Christie ought to have padded this appointment with a better PR.
posted by vhsiv at 8:54 AM on August 4, 2011


The difference between Christie and Walker is that Christie enjoys broad popular support.

Not anymore.
posted by lalex at 8:55 AM on August 4, 2011


That's all chump change compared to NJ's $53.9 billion unfunded pension liability.

"Unfunded." It's such a great non-transitive verb. It's like, "this is unfunded!" we can't pay for something that's not funded. Somebody unfunded the pension. It was actively starved of funds to pay for tax cuts, and now the same crowd who unfunded it doesn't want to fund it.
posted by deanc at 8:56 AM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


I thought that most Indian Muslims departed for Pakistan after the 1956 partition created an Islamic state.

India has the third largest Muslim population in the world, behind Indonesia and Pakistan.
posted by deanc at 9:01 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's all chump change compared to NJ's $53.9 billion unfunded pension liability. Credit goes to Christie for focusing on what really matters here, and NJ is lucky to have a Governor who is not owned by public sector unions.

Ahh yes, the unions and the pensions. The nostalgia.

New Jersey's pension liability is the result of multiple governors, Democratic and Republican (Christie included) neglecting to actually provide the appropriate funding for them. In New Jersey the governor has discretionary authority to actually put state money into the pension system. They can also just raid the fund. Not only is Christie not contributing to the fund, he's refusing to until the legislature concedes to his demands to make massive benefit cuts to oh hey that sounds familiar doesn't it.

But whatever. Okay, between this and that other thread, we get it, BobbyVan. You hate unions. It's all the unions' fault. When it comes to New Jersey, though, how very 1990 of you, which was when that lie first started gaining traction.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:02 AM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


"My only quibble with that eloquent and incisive speech is the implication he threw in there that if Sohail Mohammed's clients had been found guilty of a charge of terrorism, then that would somehow reflect poorly on Sohail Mohammed. Even terrorists deserve legal representation.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:17 AM on August 4 [2 favorites +] [!] "

I agree with the sentiment, but I think making that point would have robbed Christie's statement of some of its rhetorical force. It probably worked better to say, correctly, that *everything* the crazies were saying was wrong, than it would have been to say "and even if Mohammed *had* defended terrorists, he'd still be the right guy for the job." Christie would have been absolutely right to add that point - but as rhetorical tactic, it would be questionable.

"Isn't an Indian Muslim a bit of an oxymoron?

I thought that most Indian Muslims departed for Pakistan after the 1956 partition created an Islamic state. That said, perhaps Christie ought to have padded this appointment with a better PR.
posted by vhsiv at 8:54 AM on August 4 [+] [!] "

Muslims are well over 10% of the population of India. Since the country's population totals over a billion, that's a lot of Indian Muslims.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:05 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: "This is all, of course, on top of Christie's magnificent coup of fighting with state unions over the application for Race to the Top funding, leading to a last minute altered entry that they screwed up, which led to the state losing $400 million. "

The NJ department of ed definitely bit the big one on their RTTT application, but it strikes me as a tad inconsistent to argue both that Christie shouldn't have antagonized teachers' unions in pursuit of RTTT money and should be held responsible for "losing" that money when NJ didn't win. Either you want the federal money bad enough to reform teacher policies, or you don't. All that being said, Christie did fire the education commissioner over it and replaced him with Chris Cerf, a former Klein deputy with a good reputation.

There's no doubt Chris Christie's no friend of public employee unions, particularly teachers' unions. It's hard for me to read his speech at Harvard GSE last April, though, and come away with the impression that this is all about the money for him. Yeah, I know, it's easy to be suspicious of a Republican talking about the sorry state of Newark's schools. But think about how cozy he's gotten with Cory Booker over schools, even though one can easily imagine the two of them running against each other for governor the next time around.

There's lots of people who'd fit my political preferences better, and the things he did under Gonzales at DOJ are downright distasteful, but people are complicated, Christie's one of them, and to suggest all a person's good deeds are accidents strikes me as tragically cynical.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:11 AM on August 4, 2011


Isn't an Indian Muslim a bit of an oxymoron?

I thought that most Indian Muslims departed for Pakistan after the 1956 partition created an Islamic state. That said, perhaps Christie ought to have padded this appointment with a better PR.


1947
Here's an FPP on The Partition.
posted by infini at 9:14 AM on August 4, 2011


The NJ department of ed definitely bit the big one on their RTTT application, but it strikes me as a tad inconsistent to argue both that Christie shouldn't have antagonized teachers' unions in pursuit of RTTT money and should be held responsible for "losing" that money when NJ didn't win. Either you want the federal money bad enough to reform teacher policies, or you don't. All that being said, Christie did fire the education commissioner over it and replaced him with Chris Cerf, a former Klein deputy with a good reputation.

1. Why multiple people have mentioned that Christie fired people over it escapes me. The issue is how royally he personally screwed up over it.

2. The screwup in detail: NJ had ample time to appropriately and correctly submit their application, but Christie didn't want to work with the NJEA because bullying them looked better for the Tea Party. The applications were judged on a point system- the clerical error in the rushed, resubmitted application cost NJ five points and knocked them down to 11th place. The state would have earned fourteen points if Christie accepted a plan with the NJEA's endorsement.

To quote BobbyVan, in his obsession to make us all look "lucky to have a Governor who is not owned by public sector unions," Christie lost the state and its schoolchildren $400 million. This happened because Christie hates unions, and sacrificed an astronomical sum of money to continue his tantrum about them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:20 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


How can a Muslim work for Christie? He's 75% ham!
The other 25% is bile and grift
posted by wcfields at 9:30 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm no fan, but credit where it's due: Way to be, Governor. Way to be.
posted by whuppy at 9:31 AM on August 4, 2011


In case you can't view the video, courtesy of google's CC service:

http://pastebin.com/mVPG2mm1
posted by ~ at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2011


I absolutely will when the silent Christian majority rise up and speak out against the terrorists who purport to speak for them in politics and the mass media. Until then, silence=consent.

We do that all the time. I certainly do, here and elsewhere. But you want to hear it again? Fine. These people are jackholes, they are bigots, they are dangerous, they are using every channel both overt and covert in an attempt to subvert the first amendment and suborn the Democratic process. I do not share their values, I feel that those values are inimical to the teachings our religion purports to be based on, and I stand and work against them in every way I can.

There. Sorry for the derail. And I actually totally agree with your initial statement; the only difference between the Dominionist wet dream and Sharia law is that the Dominionists think they follow a different god. Good for Gov. Christie for accurately describing these people as lunatics and crazies; whether he's a good man or a good politician or what, the American political landscape needs more people willing to point fingers and say "No, I'm sorry. You're insane."
posted by KathrynT at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


New Jersey's pension liability is the result of multiple governors, Democratic and Republican (Christie included) neglecting to actually provide the appropriate funding for them. In New Jersey the governor has discretionary authority to actually put state money into the pension system. They can also just raid the fund. Not only is Christie not contributing to the fund, he's refusing to until the legislature concedes to his demands to make massive benefit cuts to oh hey that sounds familiar doesn't it.

What is the solution, other than higher contributions and lower benefits? The State of New Jersey is now in the hole for over $100 billion in pension and benefit payouts. Should New Jersey, a state with the highest state and local tax burden in the country, try to tax its way out of the problem?

To continue to harp on $400 million in bonus federal education money is to miss the point spectacularly.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2011


I'm kind of looking forward to primary season here in NH: I plan to tell all of the people who come to the door that I am a single issue voter interested only in their candidate's position on Sharia Law. And then explain I am in favor of it because we've been too soft on criminals for too long and I want it implemented ASAP. Wonder if I can get on CNN doing that.
posted by yerfatma at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: "NJ had ample time to appropriately and correctly submit their application, but Christie didn't want to work with the NJEA because bullying them looked better for the Tea Party. The applications were judged on a point system- the clerical error in the rushed, resubmitted application cost NJ five points and knocked them down to 11th place. The state would have earned fourteen points if Christie accepted a plan with the NJEA's endorsement."

Lots of people in the ed reform community were surprised by how much local union buy in counted for on RTTT - I was too. It's unclear to me what tacit support from group X says about your ability to affect change one way or the other. Both the NEA and the AFT had pretty strongly come out against RTTT, so NJEA had not positive incentive to play ball.

Still, your original construction - that NJ "lost" the money - doesn't really square with RTTT's intent. RTTT was (to the extent it still exists, is) a competition for federal education funds in addition to the baseline appropriation. A handful of states chose not to compete at all, the majority did and, of those, only some of them were ever going to win. We don't talk about people who don't win Jeopardy as though they were mishandling their resources.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]




You can disagree with someone's outlook on government, his method of governing, and everything else while totally respecting them.
You can also say that someone did the right thing in some certain case without totally respecting them.
posted by Flunkie at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


A Republican governor did something half-way decent that would have been completely unremarkable coming from a Democratic or Independent governor? That is news. Sadly.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we can't praise the good things they do just because they also do other shitty things, then we eliminate that last, precious, tiny amount of selective pressure to do good things.

Your seeming minimization of all the "other shitty things" he's done is inapposite. Just because Christie does a few good things once in a while makes me no less inclined to view him as a self-serving shithead. And my point is not so much that he's done shitty things, although he has, but that he laments the "crazies" in his party while at the same time feeding the frenzy that rewards the crazy and elevates it to the status of standard Republican operating procedure.

I have no respect or admiration for that.
posted by blucevalo at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


would have been completely unremarkable coming from a Democratic or Independent governor

Would it have? The thing that frustrates me is no politician seems to be calling the crazies crazy any more and so both sides are being controlled by their nuttiest members.
posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2011


I absolutely will when the silent Christian majority rise up and speak out against the terrorists who purport to speak for them in politics and the mass media. Until then, silence=consent.

You are, I assume, aware that this ridiculous requirement is the exact same stripe of "logic" that the brain trust at Fox News uses to slander all Muslims for the acts of a violent few, yes?
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


When presented as the story of a governor standing up for his nominee against dissociated and bigoted attacks, Christie of course looks great.

This ignores the constant and near rabid baiting of the electorate that has been Christie's hallmark in office. This ignores the fact that he is turning here to chide the very people that he has used to secure and expand his personal power, who are behaving exactly as he has constantly encouraged them to do.

It ignores examples, some cited in this thread, of his own exploitation of race when doing so might advance his own political power.

And that's before you even get into the question of whether the policies he has been using steamroller tactics and backroom dealings to enact are good ones or not.
posted by fartron at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It ignores examples, some cited in this thread, of his own exploitation of race when doing so might advance his own political power.

Cite please.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:02 PM on August 4, 2011


Until then, silence=consent.

I encourage you not to propagate this as an idea or to build your opinions upon it, because it is flatly untrue and an incredibly harmful proposition.

Elevating an Indian-American to jurist a couple decades after the Dotbusters seems like progress. The bullshit that he has had to put up with doesn't, so much.
posted by Errant at 12:22 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Still, your original construction - that NJ "lost" the money - doesn't really square with RTTT's intent. RTTT was (to the extent it still exists, is) a competition for federal education funds in addition to the baseline appropriation. A handful of states chose not to compete at all, the majority did and, of those, only some of them were ever going to win. We don't talk about people who don't win Jeopardy as though they were mishandling their resources.

If you lost on Jeopardy because you were winning the game by $100 and decided to bet everything you had and because you hated Alex Trebek's mustache, instead of putting down an answer you put down "I hate your mustache, Alex Trebek," I would also qualify that as mishandling resources and pissing away money you could have had by not being an idiot.

Christie's actions deprived the state of $400 million. Had he done a very simple thing differently, the state would have had it. It's not a hypothetical. It's explained in multiple links I've already posted here, in black and white and exact numbers why New Jersey got zero extra dollars instead of four hundred million of them. This is a matter of factual record, not my personal opinion. I'm confused why you seem so perturbed about this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people who are so afraid of "Sharia Law" would have no problem if it made a handful of cosmetic changes and reappeared as "Biblical Law".

Excuse please? Count me firmly among those who prefer neither have force of law in my country.

(Though I do find Shariah law on investments interesting....)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:17 PM on August 4, 2011


If you lost on Jeopardy because you were winning the game by $100 and decided to bet everything you had and because you hated Alex Trebek's mustache, instead of putting down an answer you put down "I hate your mustache, Alex Trebek," I would also qualify that as mishandling resources and pissing away money you could have had by not being an idiot.

Is this all you've got? A Jeopardy analogy and the fact that New Jersey came in 11th place instead of 10th place in the RTTP competition due to bureaucratic bungling? Is the solution to more than $100 billion in pension and benefit deficits to do better at federally administered competitions?
posted by BobbyVan at 2:32 PM on August 4, 2011


I encourage you not to propagate this as an idea or to build your opinions upon it, because it is flatly untrue and an incredibly harmful proposition.

replace the word "this" with "religion" and you might have something there.
posted by any major dude at 2:56 PM on August 4, 2011


Is this all you've got? A Jeopardy analogy and the fact that New Jersey came in 11th place instead of 10th place in the RTTP competition due to bureaucratic bungling?

1. I was responding to the metaphor, so if you don't like it perhaps direct the snot toward its original author.

2. "Is that all I've got?" Excuse me? No, it's not all I've got, you prat, as evidenced by the multiple comments I already wrote and provided evidence in, some of which you personally already responded to. I have already proven, repeatedly, that Christie's loss of the $400 million was beyond "bureaucratic bungling," i.e. shattering your entire original argument that Christie is some brilliant savior of the new Jersey economy, a concept you are now avoiding by whining that I am now somehow obligated to solve twenty-one years of fiscal irresponsibility because I proved that your only proposed solution so far of blaming the unions for it is bullshit.

"Is that all I've got?" The fuck is your problem or for that matter your attitude? Petty sniveling? You claimed he's "solving problems." He's not. You admitted you "don't know much about the ARC tunnel" but want to complain that losing hundreds of millions of dollars isn't a big issue. In the immortal words of Pope Guilty, You are either not sufficiently informed to participate in this discussion in a productive and useful way, or you are deliberately and vexatiously participating in bad faith. Please desist.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:19 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


replace the word "this" with "religion" and you might have something there.

Ok, let me spell it out. "silence=consent" is a notion that enables rape and abuse. If, in fact, you believe that religion is the torturous harm that you claim, "silence=consent" is the very last thing you should be promoting, because "silence=consent" is exactly how an abusive authority justifies its atrocities. I understand you want to take your shots at religion; maybe you can do so in a way that doesn't sacrifice the sufferers of the world to your clever quips. Until then, you're not just not helping, you're actively hurting, and precisely in the ways that your pet enemy hurts others.
posted by Errant at 3:28 PM on August 4, 2011


Errant, my eponymous friend, this phrase goes back to Thomas More where he actually argued the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent" in regards to his refusal to take an Oath of Supremacy declaring the King the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church in England. A Google search bring up nothing about rape, perhaps you are confusing it with the Silence=Death AIDS campaigns of the 80's?
posted by any major dude at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2011


XQUZYPHYR, you're embarrassing yourself with the personal insults.

You admit that New Jersey has suffered from "twenty-one years of fiscal irresponsibility," and "its pension liability is the result of multiple governors, Democratic and Republican." Yet you offer no alternatives to Christie's efforts to reform the state's pension and benefits system, which is running a deficit of over $100 billion. Instead, you seek to distract and derail this debate by focusing on two issues, Race to the Top and the ARC tunnel, that together would add up to less than 1% of the state's long-term deficit. If "an astronomical sum of money" is $400 million, what would you call $100 billion? Is that problem just too big to deal with? Or would you rather sit on the sidelines and call someone a union-hater rather than offer constructive solutions?
posted by BobbyVan at 5:16 PM on August 4, 2011


Isn't an Indian Muslim a bit of an oxymoron?

That's like asking if an American Jew (or Muslim, for that matter) is an oxymoron. You're mixing up ethnicity and nationality. Muslims are a definitely a minority in India, but they still exist.
posted by dry white toast at 8:34 AM on August 5, 2011


Muslims are a definitely a minority in India, but they still exist.

Not only that but India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, after Indonesia and Pakistan. And only a hair behind Pakistan at that -- according to Wikipedia, there are ~174 million Muslims in Pakistan and ~161 million Muslims in India. Hardly an insignificant population.
posted by peacheater at 7:40 PM on August 9, 2011




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