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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hey Chris Christie -- you fucked up! Admit it!
Posted by Jill | 6:36 AM
As my state of residence reels from the draconian cuts ordered by our Bully-in-Chief, Chris Christie, it seems that a fuckup on the part of the office of former GOP Wonderboy Bret Schundler has cost us $400 million in education funding:
After making a high-profile bid for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education reform money, New Jersey fell three points short of receiving "Race to the Top" funding, in part because of an error by the Christie administration in the state’s application, records obtained by The Star-Ledger show.

One five-point question on the application asked for budget information comparing the 2008 and 2009 school years. However, the state submitted information comparing the current year to 2011.

That mistake cost the state 4.8 points. The state lost points in other areas as well, the records show.

In the end, New Jersey received 437.8 out of a possible 500 points, placing it 11th in the competition, just behind Ohio, which received $400 million and was the last state to receive funding. The winners of the $4.35 billion competition were announced today in Washington, D.C.

"New Jersey did not supply the 2008-2009 data as required and therefore forfeits the points," said the report from one of the federal reviewers scoring the competition.

But is either Chris Christie or Bret Schundler accepting responsibility for the error? Are they acknowledging that "The Buck Stops Here"? Hardly. In true Republican fashion, it's not the fault of those who submitted the application. No, it's Barack Obama's fault:
Gov. Chris Christie this morning acknowledged the state made a clerical error that blew its chance at winning $400 million in federal money for schools, but he blamed Obama administration bureaucrats for not giving New Jersey a chance to correct the mistake.

“This is the stuff, candidly, that drives people crazy about government and crazy about Washington,” Christie said at a news conference after an unrelated bill signing.

Christie slapped two thick three-ringed binders on the podium containing more than 1,000 pages of the state's “Race to the Top” application and appendices, noting that just one piece of paper contained the error.

“The first part of it is the mistake of putting the wrong piece of paper in," Christie said. "It drives people crazy and, believe me, I’m not thrilled about it. But the second part is, does anybody in Washington, D.C. have a lick of common sense? Pick up the phone and ask us for the number.”


“That’s the stuff the Obama administration should answer for. Are you guys just down there checking boxes like mindless drones, or are you thinking?” said Christie. “When the president comes back to New Jersey, he’s going to have to explain to the people of the state of New Jersey why he’s depriving them of $400 million that this application earned.”

Obviously Chris Christie has never had to fill out a job application, or a grant application, or any other paperwork that gets fed into a giant maw of bureaucracy. When dealing with a large number of submissions, both government agencies AND corporations require absolute adherence to instructions. You don't get a pass because the dog peed on your application, or you got a flat tire, or any other lameass excuse. Do clerical mistakes help organizations evaluating funding applications of ANY kind weed out for elimination those that have them? Absolutely. But this is nothing new, and it's no Great Conspiracy by Barack Obama to deprive New Jersey of much-needed funding. It's just how these things work. At one point years ago I helped pack copies of a federal grant application into a cardboard box for shipping, knowing full well that for a variety of reasons having to do with the content, preparation, and finishing of the application, we were not going to get the grant. I turned out to be right, and I'm sure that the problems I saw with it had at least something to do with it.

The Republican Party likes to paint itself as the party of grownups, but let a Republican fuck up, and it's always point-the-finger-elsewhere time. Chris Christie's Education Department fucked up. It may have been an honest mistake. But it's a mistake just the same, and a costly one. An adult would stand up before the citizenry of his state and acknowledge that. But Chris Christie is not an adult. He is a schoolyard bully who just got tripped up by the dweeby kid whose lunch money he steals every day. And he doesn't like it one bit.

Fortunately, a press that has been in love with him since his inauguration isn't buying it.

Meanwhile, a state Senate that's been bullied around by this pantload since the beginning of the year wants to know what happened, whether this fuckup was somehow deliberate -- a way to keep money from flowing into New Jersey's education coffers so that Christie could continue his full-scale assault on the teachers' union:
Questions have been piling up all day, not the least of which is this: Is this incompetence on the part of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler's office - either by an individual or individuals, or as a culture of the way his office works? Or, did Governor Christie's administration treat this program and its opportunities as a political football, punting because they didn't get everything they wanted, throwing the game? Did they give this effort their best, or send in people with poor qualifications in leading public schooling?

Date and time has not yet been set but the hearing will be via the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Christie administration officials who will be called to appear before the panel include Education Commissioner Bret Schundler.

This isn't just conspiracy theorizing. Apparently there was an earlier draft, that Bret Schundler had in his possession, that had the correct information. So the question of whether the Christie Administration deliberately sabotaged the state's chance of obtaining funding that would water down his fatwa against the NJEA is a valid one.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
You give the grantor EXACTLY the information asked. If the dates were printed in the instructions or on the form, that's what you provide. No more, no less... exactly what they say they want. Who reread and reviewed the application packet before submitting it?


Blogger Distributorcap said...
you should have seen him on morning schmoe touting how they just lost out

and MJ was just drooling over him and saying what a great presidential candidate he wojuld make

Anonymous Anonymous said...
He's just being a politician: when things go bad, lie, bullshit,deny, distort and distract, so people don't realize you were the fuck-up.

It ain't called "smoke and mirrors" for nothin'...

Anonymous mandt said...
It's Clinton's fault! or even Jimmy Carter's!