It’s been another banner week for battering common sense, but what else is new? However, there was one bright spot, and that leads off our weekly recap:
Tom Corbett’s NCAA Lawsuit Folly: Honest to God, Corbett acts more like Adam Sandler’s deer-in-the-headlights characters every day – slow, clueless, out-to-lunch. The only differences are that 1) People are laughing at Corbett, not with him, and 2) Sandler always wins at the end of the movie. In Tommy Boy’s case, the final scene is coming quickly, and there will be no contract renewal for a sequel.
The latest scene in The Tom and Jerry (Sandusky) Show was the common sense ruling – a no-brainer to everyone but Corbett – by federal Judge Yvette Kane. By her throwing out Corbett’s baseless lawsuit against the NCAA for its sanctions levied against Penn State, the governor gets the worst of both worlds: his crass political move spectacularly backfired, further tanking his already basement-dwelling approval rating.
Were the sanctions an outrageous over-reach? Absolutely. But remember that Gov. Corbett, as a Penn State trustee, agreed to and approved of the sanctions. In an overtly calculated effort to show he "cared" about Penn State – and to improve his abysmal approval rating – he sued the NCAA over those very same penalties.
And what are the reviews for Corbett now? Well, a Quinnipiac poll conducted right before the court decision found that six of 10 Pennsylvanians think Corbett, as then-attorney general, mishandled the Sandusky investigation – a significant reason why a majority (by a whopping 20 percentage points) do not believe he deserves reelection.
Any guesses as to how his embarrassing NCAA-lawsuit thumping will affect those numbers? Single digits, here he comes!
Chrysler Rejecting Jeep Recall: In some respects, this case has the potential to be just as disconcerting as the IRS and AP phone record scandals. The government, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is threatening a federal lawsuit against Chrysler if it doesn’t recall nearly three million Jeeps, alleging that those vehicles’ gas tanks pose a safety issue in rear-end collisions.
Forget the fact that the government’s data is very sketchy (37 accidents and 51 deaths, for Jeeps going back as far as 1993, which, Chrysler states, is about one fatality every one million miles driven).
The big issue is that the vehicles in question meet federal safety requirements – which the government does not contest! In other words, if you accomplish everything you are mandated to do, meeting or exceeding all requirements, the government can still completely disregard that compliance on the whim of bureaucrats seeking a mega-power trip. And for the record, the NHTSA stated the Jeep’s gas tank design "may", not "does," pose a safety issue. Way to try to spend other people’s money, in this case hundreds of millions. Continued…
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When a government is above the very law that it creates, everyone and everything is at risk. Kudos to Chrysler for having the guts – rare indeed – to shove it right back up the government’s tailpipe.
Major League Baseball’s Insane Lawsuit: Speaking of lawsuits with absolutely no merit, the action of Major League Baseball regarding the latest steroid saga is downright foul.
Don’t forget that baseball, and Commissioner Bud Selig in particular, have been the sporting world’s biggest hypocrites when it comes to banning steroids. For years, they officially condemned such substances while not lifting a finger to outlaw them, (having done so only several years ago), instead cashing in big-time on players clearly using "juice."
Now it wants to appear "tough," but is vastly overstepping its bounds. In an action that should have no legal standing whatsoever, the League filed a lawsuit accusing Anthony Bosch, owner of Biogenesis, a now-closed anti-aging clinic, for "intentional and unjustified tortious interference" with contracts between MLB and its players by providing them with steroids and possibly other banned substances.
There are frivolous lawsuits, and then there is this.
How can Major League Baseball possibly have grounds to sue a private individual for interfering with the contracts of players?
What’s next? Will baseball sue the Netherlands in World Court if players smoke pot in Amsterdam, which, while legal there, would undoubtedly be interfering with player contracts here?
Stay tuned, as this subject will be revisited.
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Chris Christie’s special election: Taxpayer-friendly? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has always fashioned himself an advocate of taxpayers, eliminating wasteful spending. He has done a fantastic job, which makes his latest action somewhat troubling.
Upon the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Christie used his power to schedule a special election. The problem is that he did so for this October, just a month before the November election, in which he is on the ballot for re-election.
Millions in taxpayer money are used to process a statewide election. So the obvious question stands: Why not save that dough and just have the special election on the same date as the general? Common sense, it would seem. And since New Jersey is already being represented in Washington by the new interim senator, it’s not be like there was an urgency to fill a vacancy.
The real reason, obviously, is that Christie does not want to share the ballot with Cory Booker, the popular mayor of Newark who will undoubtedly be the Democratic candidate for Senate. It’s not that Christie himself is in danger of losing, as he is the most popular governor in the country with a stellar track record. (Anyone listening in Pennsylvania? Anyone?) But most observers believe he wants his reelection margin to be as large as possible, since winning big would help him in 2016 infinitely more than edging out a lesser opponent.
Is this a sound move? In most places, it wouldn’t be, as the political motivations are obvious. But Christie is Christie, and New Jerseyans, used to the roughest, most callous politicians in the nation, won’t even bat an eye. So while Christie will get a free pass on this one, it is nonetheless disappointing to see such a blatant compromise of political principles for such an openly political reason.
We can only hope that’s where Christie’s slippery slope ends.
Until next week…
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected]