By Stephen C. Webster on January 13, 2014

Federal investigators are looking into whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used Hurricane Sandy relief funds to help get himself reelected.

CNN reported Monday that investigators are looking into the governor's use of Sandy relief funds for a series of commercials that cost $25 million, designed to promote tourism and the rebuilding of Jersey Shore. Christie starred in the ads just before he was up for reelection, and faced significant criticism because of it.

Watch one of those commercials:

"This was money that could have directly been used for Sandy recovery," Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, who requested the investigation in August, told CNN. "And, as you know, many of my constituents still haven't gotten the money that is owed them to rebuild their homes or raise their homes or to help."

The expenditures are being examined by the inspector general of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Word of the investigation could not come at a worse time for Christie, who has spent the better part of the last two weeks fending off allegations that he and his aides caused a massive traffic jam on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution.

Although Christie has fired a top aide and personally apologized to Fort Lee's mayor, a question still remains as to what really motivated his administration's behavior. A leading theory is that someone in the administration was upset that the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, refused to endorse Christie.

However, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow posed an alternate theory recently, explaining that the traffic jam may have been created in response to the actions of New Jersey Senate Democrats, who've infuriated the governor by refusing all of his judicial nominees.

Senator Loretta Weinberg is the leader of New Jersey's Senate Democrats, and she also happens to represent Fort Lee. An email giving the order for the traffic jam was also sent one day after Christie called New Jersey's Senate Democrats "animals," and refused to allow a conservative New Jersey Supreme Court Justice to go before them for renomination.

"Until someone who knows the actual truth about this speaks, it remains a wide open question," Maddow said last Thursday.

Perhaps now the better term would be "questions."

Photo: L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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