Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clinton alludes to Christie on "This Week"

from blogs.abcnews: Clinton added, “I worry about these threats against the president and the Congress. And I worry about more careless language even against -- some of which we've seen against the Republican governor in New Jersey, Governor Christie.” A recently leaked memo from a New Jersey teachers union contained a joke suggesting that Governor Christie should die.

One might ask Clinton: if you really want to change the climate, why aren't there consequences to these remarks? Looking at the details of the Christie matter, it might seem that the biggest concern of the NJEA was "getting caught," not with the problematic statement itself.

The Newark Star Ledger on April 16, 2010 said in a page one article "For an NJEA leader, his 'joke' gets old"

After it was made public by the Record a week ago, union officials apologized for the inappropriate 'joke" that was meant to stay private.

The "meant to stay private" comment evokes the emails of ClimateGate. The problem with the emails was the actions that were revealed, including fiddling with the refereeing process, not that the emails were meant to stay private.

Returning to the Christie matter, NJEA President Barbara Keshishian has been quoted: “I really think this is being blown totally out of proportion. It’s a very unfortunate incident. … I don’t believe that NJEA members will consider it anything to be ashamed of, especially when they know their state organization has issued a formal apology.”

Kevin Ferris in the Philly Inquirer wrote:

And it turns out he [Christie] was serious when he said he'd take on special interests and unions.

This last, inadvertently, has brought prayer back into the schools - even if it is just a teachers union official praying for the governor's demise. I know it was just a joke, and, yes, the apology was swift and unequivocal. But Christie is right to call the jest "beyond the pale," and to wonder what the punishment would be for a third-grader who made a similar remark.

IPBiz notes the dichotomy in punishment has parallels in the plagiarism area. Students who commit plagiarism generally face stern punishment (ask Allison who literally walked the plank at Semester at Sea) but "adult" academics who plagiarize get wrist slaps (Laurence Tribe at Harvard).


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