Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You (still) couldn't make this stuff up.*

I can't really think of a way to lay the blame for what follows on self-help, but certainly these items are worthy of comment. If nothing else they represent a beat of comic relief after yesterday's heavy sledding, and before we confront more self-help horror stories later in the week.

We'll start with the most obvious one; though you've probably heard something about this, it's a good table-setter, if you will. Jon Corzine is the governor of New Jersey, a state that's locally famous (if you live in the east) for the stringency of its seatbelt laws and the aggressiveness of its enforcement of same. Back on April 12, Corzine was almost fatally injured in a highway accident. It was later determined that not only was Corzine not wearing his seatbelt, but the vehicle in which the accident took place had been humming along at 90+ mph. Driven by a New Jersey state trooper.

On the heels of the primaries, Democrat Willie F. Singletary was considered the frontrunner to become Traffic Court Judge for the City of Philadelphia in the November general election. Monday an investigation by Philly's ABC affiliate disclosed that Singletary has dodged $11,412 worth of traffic-related tickets and fines, and that his own personal driver's license is under suspension until 2011. Among his miscellaneous infractions were nine separate tickets for driving with an invalid/revoked license. Further, a bench warrant for Singletary's arrest, pursuant to his failure to answer such charges, had been pending before yesterday, when he hurriedly settled his fines. He now declares through a spokesperson that he doesn't see why any of this should render him unfit to take the bench in the fall, should voters elect him. Can you say "Marion Barry"?

John Acerra was the well-liked principal of a Bethlehem, PA, middle school, until officials brought forth evidence in early March that he was dealing crystal meth and had a fondness for watching porn in his school office. Naked. In its official report on the episode, the school district says it can find no indication that anyone saw Acerra (shown left, fully clothed) as a threat to students.**

Kinda makes you wonder...what's next? Pretty soon we'll start hearing about priests molesting kids or some foolishness...!

* I think I might've used that title, or that opening line, once before.
** In the first version of this post, this line contained a link to a hilarious blurb about Acerra on the site ratemyteachers.com. The site has now taken down that rating.


Cal said...


I thought you were also going to add Randall Tobias. He was a big wig at the State Dept. who was involved in granting aid to foreign organizations to combat AIDS. These organizations had to take as one of their pledges to try to help stop prostitution. He was outed as one of the customers of the DC Madam. Of course, he says that he only went to these women for massages and nothing else. That may be true, but it just looks bad.

Steve Salerno said...

Yes, Cal, in fact I specifically chose to avoid the Tobias story--and almost passed on Corzine, at first--b/c I felt the blips were too big on the national radar screen. I was trying to pick smaller, less visible local stories that had a big payoff. But you're right, the Tobias saga is a "good" one.

The funny thing about Corzine is that they came out with these revelations in stages: first they told us about the seatbelt, then a week or so later they announced the speed at which he was traveling. I was pretty sure that the next week, they were going to tell us that both he and the trooper were drunk and getting vehicular lap dances from Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie when the crash occurred.

Two Write Hands said...

It's debatable, at least in my mind, whether this post actually embodies comic relief. I laughed, but I don't feel better.

Steve Salerno said...

Tragic relief, then? Comic...upset?

Two Write Hands said...

Comic upset, yeah. That's it. What the world really needs is a few more lame knock-knock jokes. :)

Rodger said...


Tobias might have sought out massages from DC Madam -- the ones that have happy endings -- if you know what I mean ;-)

Rodger said...

I agree with 2writehands. Let's just put it this way -- if I disagree, and she ain't happy -- no one in the Johnson house is happy! :-)

Seriously, what a shame that we have those types in our gene pole.

a/good/lysstener said...

At some point you start to wonder if anything is as it seems in life. My philosophy class this past semester was based on that theme. And though we usually discussed things on a more "theoretical plane" than what you've blogged here, the theme still applies. You start to wonder, if you were able to peel back the curtains on anyone's life, would you find these contradictions and hypocrisies. Do all politicians scheme and lie? Do all men cheat? Is every marriage unhappy? Do all business executives try to rip customers off as best they can and defraud the IRS in every tax return? (Sorry, Dad.) Does every parent abuse their kids in some way? Are all members of the clergy off somewhere looking at gay porn? Are we all just being holier than thou when in truth we cut every corner and get away with everything we possibly can until we get caught?

Too much to think about on hump day!

Cal said...

Here is well-known skeptic Michael Shermer's take on The Secret. I do like his last point about how it is curious that Oprah would endorse it considering her heritage.


Anonymous said...

I am still scarred by spending at least an hour in Willie F. Singletary's courtroom. A social worker, I was hoping that I could pay $100 in collateral, and that the judge would waive the $75 administrative fee. He only waived the fee for one individual, and generally he displayed little of the understanding and friendliness that he promised he would have on the bench. It was only when I was standing in line at the Parking Authority at 9th and Filbert that I realized the indignity of it all, that the judge himself is not allowed to drive, because of infractions far worse than my own (driving without proof of insurance, though I was insured). After $275 in fines and fees, I wonder how the judge would feel if he had had to pay his fines himself, instead of getting his father to pay them.