Humor Impaired? Gov. Christie Demands Firing of Teacher Union Head Over Joke

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is reportedly demanding the firing of Bergen County teachers union head Joe Coppola for a joke.

The controversy surrounds a memo that included a closing joke prayer:

“Dear Lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor.”

The memo was obtained by the media and was not supposed to be made public.

Christie reaction is a bit over the top — almost Canadian judging from a recent story, here.

The Union president declined to fire Coppola. NJEA President Barbara Keshishian went to apologize in person after apologizing in writing — only to have Christie demand Coppola’s termination.

The joke may have been tasteless and certainly impolitic. However, I would think that a written and personal apology should be sufficient.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “Humor Impaired? Gov. Christie Demands Firing of Teacher Union Head Over Joke”

  1. N.J. advocates for poor, disabled question Gov. Chris Christie’s budget cuts
    By Susan K. Livio/Statehouse Bureau
    April 15, 2010, 8:11PM

    “Those cuts include saving $15.3 million by taking the entire monthly disability check provided to developmentally disabled people; eliminating the $200 monthly check to spouses of permanently disabled partners to save $6.7 million; and saving another $1.8 million by halving the $1,000 grant that allows grandparents raising grandchildren one-time expenses like furniture and moving costs.”

    Bergen County teachers union chief seeks to survive after ‘prayer’ memo
    By The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
    April 16, 2010, 7:08AM

    Joseph Coppola told he has already apologized for the memo made public by The Record last week, but he also said that Christie has made teachers a scapegoat for the state’s budget problems and saw the memo discussion as a distraction from the real issues. Five other NJEA field representatives also signed the memo, but as an elected union official, Coppola received the most attention and promptly apologized, according to the report.

    And we are called “the garden state”

  2. Dedicated to Governor Chris Christie and his ‘squire’ jonolan.

    With the dialogue which segues into the song “I just can’t wait to be King”

    Simba: Well when I’m King that would be the first thing to go.

    Zazu: Not so long as I’m around.

    Simba: In that case your FIRED!

    Zazu: Nice try but only the King could do that.

    Nala: Well he is the future King.

    Simba: Yea, so you’ll have to do what I tell you.

    Zazu: Not yet I don’t and with and attitude like that, I’m
    afraid your shaping up to be a pretty pathetic King indeed.

  3. Randy Macon,

    Thank-you for posting more info on Christie. These fun facts need to be known.

  4. Christie is strongly anti-union and pro-charter schools. His kids go to Catholic schools. The whole charter school movement, which demands parental involvement and allows rejection of unsuitable candidates, as well as paying teachers reduced non-union wages, is designed to ‘prove’ that they can get better results than public schools so the Republicans can eventually achieve their goal of ruining the public education system.

    This brouhaha is clearly ginned up by the Gov so he can continue to drive for the extinction of teachers’ unions. School districts are facing a 7% decrease in overall funding this year, which will either result in teacher and librarian firings, or the forcing of municipalities to raise property taxes. At the same time, he let a tax on incomes over 400K$ expire. He is a Republican’s Republican. I’m glad I can sit in Philly and laugh at the buyer’s remorse across the river.

  5. Jonolan,

    I still don’t understand your coming to the defense of the ‘victim’ Gov Chris Christie in this specific instance.

    That you could not excuse my snark – fair enough – at least I did not call him BMI challenged.

    You have argued that I have applied a double standard: “Lovely false argument, if one you Leftists misuse far too often for it to remain interesting or of any worth.”

    Obviously I don’t see it that way and request that you post some concrete examples.

    Jonolan @11:04am: “The same sort of joke about Obama would have resulted in the joker’s termination, a nationwide campaign of vilification against the joker, and a possible visit from the Secret Service. Why should it be any different when it’s a Governor? Or is there a more fundamental difference in the situation since Gov. Christie is a Republican and white?”

    At 12:15 A Patriot Acting wrote directly to you: “jonolan, do you have any examples or evidence to back up your silly statement? NY Gov candidate and tea-bagger darling Carl Paladino sent many ruder emails degrading our President, blacks, women. He is still running. No secret service visit, no arrest, just a blip in the media which he is using to play the consummate victim.”

    You gave no examples…and at 9:49am jonolan wrote: “The standards aren’t being applied equally though…in the White, GOP Governor’s case, he is the one being attacked.”

    Let me recall this “White GOP Governor’s case” a ‘joke’ was written, shock and outrage were expressed, a public and personal apology was made and then the ‘victim’ Gov. Chris Christie demands that the ‘joker’ be fired.

    Please show me an example of this ‘new’ double standard being applied where a ‘victim’ (as alleged by you)such as President Obama, Senator Byrd, or any other ‘victim’ with the same stature called for someone’s termination and was taken seriously.

    Sorry you don’t like it, but IMHO Gov Christie appears petty, thin-skinned and ridiculous!

  6. Jonolan:

    “Leftists are perfectly OK with such prayers for harm or death as long as the hoped for victim is white, rich, male, and GOP. Indeed, you all attack the victim when he complains.”


    The problem is that for every one leftist loon, the right proposes a hundred more. Do we really need to list each and every Glenn Beck wanna’be, or every Ann Coulter clone. It’s akin to one tossing a toothpick onto the bonfire pile and then being accused of arson when it gets out of hand.

  7. CEJ,

    Lovely false argument, if one you Leftists misuse far too often for it to remain interesting or of any worth.

    I never mentioned freedom of speech at all, or defended or attacked such calls for imprecatoy prayer. I merely pointed – and your rhetoric and chosen argument confirms the rightness of my point – that the standard of behavior isn’t being fairly applied.

    Leftists are perfectly OK with such prayers for harm or death as long as the hoped for victim is white, rich, male, and GOP. Indeed, you all attack the victim when he complains.

    But let it be Obama, or some other minority – or any Liberal – as the victim, and you’re quick to become outraged.

  8. Jonolan,

    Please excuse my snark, but really aren’t you wonderful – let’s hear it for the boy – sticking up for the thin-skinned, white, rich, male, victims of the new double standard!

    Please enlighten me on what qualifies certain “speech” that is used as a lam joke as in “ha ha” versus “speech” used to joke as in “repugnant and offensive”; which may require more than an apology.

    Please clarify your free speech norms for me; here is an example from the Senate floor of Dr. Coburn the Republican Senator from Oklahoma calling for people to pray that a Senator should become unable to cast a vote on HCR. Note that no apology was given to anyone.

    Please post your examples, with an explanation that is if at all possible free of false equivalency!

  9. If I could get as stoned as some people get, could I still consider myself a tea-bagger or right-winger?

  10. Mike,

    I don’t remember any of the Right-Wing talking heads ever “joking” about praying for Obama’s death. Perhaps I missed that though since I don’t listen to them that often.

    But, you’re right in a sense; pundits, commentators, and such would likely not be fired over such a “joke.” On the other hand, people whose lives are not wrapped in celebrity have been fired or forced to resign over jokes about Obama, including calls – joking or not – for imprecatory prayer against him.

    So why then is the outraged reversed when it’s Christie?

  11. “The same sort of joke about Obama would have resulted in the joker’s termination”

    There are so many instances of this not being true (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh…etc.)that I don’t have to cite them. Knowing you are intelligent I’m sure you are aware of what I speak and are merely being disingenuous in service to your own views.

  12. Carlylw,

    Probably nothing is wrong with it at all. The standards of acceptance aren’t being applied equally though.

    Any calls or mentioning of imprecatory prayers against Obama – say, Psalms 109:8 – was cause for national outrage. But in the White, GOP Governor’s case, he is the one being attacked.

  13. What’s wrong with praying to one’s deity of choice that a politician one dislikes be removed to the afterlife?

Comments are closed.