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Whitney Houston and New Jersey Flags

Friday, February 17, 2012

David Cruz, reporter for NJTV, talks about Whitney Houston's ties to New Jersey and Gov. Christie's decision to fly flags at half-staff in tribute to her. What do you think? Did the Governor make the right call in flying flags at half-staff? Let us know!

Guests:

David Cruz

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Comments [44]

Tom

2 points
1. all fallen war heros should be given the honor a half mast flag with public announcements
2. My issue is why does the governor get to decide who is a cultural icon?
Whitney? maybe
Clarence Clemmons? Absolutely not
How about Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie?
Classical artists and painters as well...

Christie only recognizes POP culture further dumbing down our society
Who's next, desperate housewives and Jersey Shore people?

Feb. 17 2012 01:05 PM
Connie from nj

I wasn't especially a fan of Whitney Houston, and I'm certainly not a fan of Christie. But someone has died who made a lot of people happy, however flawed she might have been, and what's wrong with a gesture that says 'We're sorry you're gone and we'll miss you'? I don't see it as taking anything away from anyone else.

Feb. 17 2012 12:57 PM

It's not surprising that Chris Christie created this melodrama. That alone is all too familiar. It has no doubt won him some praise among Newarkers, the African-American community, and others.

What's remarkable, though, is that he has alienated many others in doing so: those who claim to be the most patriotic (as they define it); those who consistently express the most support for flag ceremony & related American pomp-and-circumstance; and those who sing aloud the lyrics to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" ("And I’m proud to be an American/ where at least I know I’m free/ And I wont forget the men who died,/ who gave that right to me).

Those groups are often the hard-core Republicans and military families who are the most consistent Republican voters in the past presidential elections. During the Bush administration, these were the groups who were most vocal in both their support of the Republican political apparatus and the non-partisan military administration of the Iraq and Afghan wars.

In truth, neither group is "more" patriotic than everyone else. Some of them may think they are. Some of them - through the military - have made great sacrifices to support their country.

Chris Christie already endorsed Mitt Romney for the 2012 Presidential election. I wonder this half-staff boondoggle would alienate Romney supporters (who are they?) or put the idea of a Romney-Christie ticket to rest.

Whitney Houston is a national figure and her death is, therefore, a national story. But with Christie sticking his nose into flag politics in this way, he's treading onto the turf of military families and the oft-offended patriots. It should be a tempest in a local teapot, but with Chris Christie in an election year... it's anything but.

Feb. 17 2012 12:32 PM
Randi

@Emily Waithe - Many accomplished Americans (of all races) that we call "heroes" had personal problems, including battling addictions. If you are offended by Ms. Houston being called a "hero" because she had a drug problem, then you must have a problem with the following "heroes" of the Black community because they also had drug & alcohol problems:

James Brown
Miles Davis
Billie Holiday
Ray Charles
Richard Pryor

Feb. 17 2012 12:28 PM
Tucker Ranson from Manhattan

I will not try, as some have, to judge the Governor's motives, but I believe the decision to fly the flag at half mast is the right one for the people of NJ (and NY as well), and his stated reasons are right. We cannot demand that our icons be without human weakness. She was both, and we celibrate and mourn the loss of her potential.

The shame is that Christie cannot approach marriage equality with the same humanity. Christie's critics are right that basic human rights should not be subject to a majority vote. Christie might have a point that public acceptance might be greater if there were a vote by the electorate, but what was missing was a promise by Christie that he would strongly campaign to get it passed. Without taking such leadership, his veto is simply a shameful denial of human rights.

Feb. 17 2012 12:23 PM
The Truth from Becky

BS from New York
I think those who are objecting to Christie's decision are unaware of all the charitable and humanitarian work Houston did before she developed her 'problem'. The worthiness of a person's life should not be judged by the last few years of their life.

Here is a partial list (link to the page at http://www.whitney-fan.com/persona/charity.php)
1. The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children
2. The United Negro College Fund
3. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
4. St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
5. South Africa
6. American Red Cross: Whitney Houston donated all of her proceeds from the single and home video sales of her Superbowl XXV rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" to benefit Gulf War troops and their families. Whitney's record company followed suit.
7. New York Firefighters and Police
8. The Children's Defense Fund
9. The National Birth Defects Center
10. UMDNJ University Hospital
11. Hale House
12. Rainbow House
13. Russian Aid Fund
14. T.J. Martell Foundation
15. Harlem Boys Choir, New Jersey State PBA, and The Youth of Atlantic City:
16. Debt Relief

...And many, many, more!

She cared about people and showed it with her financial support of charity.

Feb. 17 2012 12:21 PM
Sophia from Yonkers

Gov. Christy sits in his comfortable office and denies civil rights to gay and lesbian service people who fight and die to defend him.

Feb. 17 2012 12:20 PM
Em

Nadine was heartbreaking. Thank you for giving her time to speak. I think it really crystallized the problem we have with the elevation of celebrity culture, and our lack of prioritizing the problems of the wider population. Houston was born to a relatively privileged background and had more than enough money to deal with her "disease" if she had chosen to do so, unlike Nadine's brother who obviously did not have that option and had to deal with a condition that was not of his own making, and we all have to take responsibility for.

It falls into the realm of self parody when The Governor of a state that produces such cultural classics like "Jersey Shore" makes a decision like this. The same arguments the Governor made for Houston could be made for Madonna - could you really imagine her state doing the same for her?? Why not Donald Trump when he goes?? "Lowering standards" has taken on a whole new dimension. Restricting it to politicians and the military is a no-brainer, otherwise it is just turned into a popularity contest and a media circus.

Feb. 17 2012 12:06 PM
BS from New York

I think those who are objecting to Christie's decision are unaware of all the charitable and humanitarian work Houston did before she developed her 'problem'. The worthiness of a person's life should not be judged by the last few years of their life.

Here is a partial list (link to the page at http://www.whitney-fan.com/persona/charity.php)
1. The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children
2. The United Negro College Fund
3. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
4. St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
5. South Africa
6. American Red Cross: Whitney Houston donated all of her proceeds from the single and home video sales of her Superbowl XXV rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" to benefit Gulf War troops and their families. Whitney's record company followed suit.
7. New York Firefighters and Police
8. The Children's Defense Fund
9. The National Birth Defects Center
10. UMDNJ University Hospital
11. Hale House
12. Rainbow House
13. Russian Aid Fund
14. T.J. Martell Foundation
15. Harlem Boys Choir, New Jersey State PBA, and The Youth of Atlantic City:
16. Debt Relief

...And many, many, more!

She cared about people and showed it with her financial support of charity.

Feb. 17 2012 12:03 PM

I wonder about the motive for the flag flying 1/2 mast. That being said, Whitney Houston was a victim of domestic violence which was part of her demise in addition to addiction (they frequently go hand in hand). I wonder if Governor Christie would restore funding in this area that he previously cut in her memory? THAT would certainly something I would applaud (I don't usually use the word applause and the Governor in the same sentence). jane

Feb. 17 2012 11:57 AM

can u do a show about all the rich and famous people who killed themselves?
and about the doctors who they got the drugs from
and the culture of fame-drugs-doctorsfordollars?

Feb. 17 2012 11:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

@Claire B - FYI The Black Community is NOT that gullible, it is what it is, a gesture of memoriam and respect. Your spelling of "fellow" tells me all I need to know about your position concerning the Black Community.

Feb. 17 2012 11:49 AM
Zuwena from Manhattan

I don't understand the vitriol over the flag lowering. Whether she is a cultural icon or not, Whitney also gave money for a school and for a medical unit at the children's hospital. She didn't do those things expecting the flag to be lower, she did those things out of compassion and love for the City where she was born. We lower flags for corrupt politicians and others who do evil and now there is a question of the rightness of the Governor's actions in this instance. Of course, the Governor failed to mention these things and he should have. We should always honor those who use their wealth and power in the service of others. How many of the naysayers have done anything for others?

Feb. 17 2012 11:48 AM
Clair B.

Forgive my cynicism, but lowering flag was a pure and simple political ploy to encourage black support AND the support of 18 to 25 voters who bother to vote. His defense statement was frightenly deft. He one slick feller!

Feb. 17 2012 11:46 AM
DianaG from NYC

It seems most people calling in are misdirectly there ire. There is room to honor a diverse group of people. And I don't believe Christie is sending a message that drug use is acceptable by honoring Whitney Houston. If anything, it provokes a discussion to have with your children.
I just don't see why she shouldn't be honored: from NJ and contributed greatly to our pop culture.

Feb. 17 2012 11:45 AM
Thomas from Manhattan

Much sympathy goes out to the fallen and it's a decision, by Gov. Christie, that is worth examination. However, the vitriol over a cultural icon over her addiction is far too angry and misconceived. Why is addiction the one disease in our culture that gathers shame and condemnation? Does anyone blame someone for Lupus or cervical cancer?

Feb. 17 2012 11:44 AM
bernie from bklyn

@JT- yes, exactly. tony bennet, sinatra etc don't deserve to have the state's flag lowered for them either. and on a purely artistic note, you can't compare opera singers to whitney houston. kinda like comparing justin beiber to max roach

Feb. 17 2012 11:43 AM

Cory Booker is great!!! Christie will never agree to gay marriage, not because he disagrees with it (which I don't think he does) but because it would be comitting political suicide. He may be a 'rational' republican, but he's no bloomberg.

Feb. 17 2012 11:42 AM
Lucy from New Jersey

I'm not really sure where I stand on this but would we be having this conversation if it were about Bruce Springstein or Bon Jovi? Who really deserves such an honor?

Feb. 17 2012 11:41 AM
Claudia from Queens

Christie is like one of those nasty Roman emperors - just loading people up w/distractions to get everyone arguing these idiotic issues instead of the real issues (like civil rights re: same-gender marriage). He's more interested in representing himself instead of the people, who elected him.

Feb. 17 2012 11:40 AM
Wow from nyc

Yes, the YOUNG CHILDREN will do drugs b/c of WH's drug disease. We will all do drugs. Where were these objection for Clearance?

Are ppl angry with the VA or Christie?!

Feb. 17 2012 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

The lady with the brother that died needs to contact the Army Navy or VA to find out why he was not acknowledged, has nothing to do with Whitney.

Feb. 17 2012 11:40 AM
JT from LI

@bernie from bklyn
FYI, a lot of singers don't write their own songs (i.e Sinatra, Tony Bennett, a lot of jazz singers, opera singers, etc) and a lot of great song writers write for others (Cole Porter, Steven Sondheim, etc.)

Feb. 17 2012 11:37 AM
Yosif from Manhattan

How can you fly the flags at half mast for Whitney (cool) and then veto gay marraige (uncool)

Feb. 17 2012 11:37 AM
The Truth from Becky

I don't want to talk about gay rights today.

Feb. 17 2012 11:36 AM
Mickey S. from Newark

Was OCCUPY-NEWARK evicted because of Whitney's funeral?
I guess if it was going to be televise...

Feb. 17 2012 11:36 AM
Dylan from New Jersey

Who besides Whitney was affected by her drug abuse? Who is victimized by the Governor's decision to officially recognize her contributions? I cannot find a satisfactory answer to either question.

Feb. 17 2012 11:36 AM
Jennifer from Central CT

Perhaps Gov. Christy may recognize Ms. Houston's life by setting aside some more public funding to help treat others battling the disease of substance abuse. That would be a win all-around.

Feb. 17 2012 11:36 AM
oscar from ny

Governor christie is part of the cuban crime wave

Feb. 17 2012 11:35 AM
Emily Waithe

As a Black person, I am extremely offended. Governor Christie is basicly saying Houston is one of our Black heroes. A drug addicted singer

Feb. 17 2012 11:35 AM
Jeff from New York, NY

What if it had been Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen? Would anyone complain then?

Feb. 17 2012 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Beautiful woman with a fantastically strong voice! What else is there to say? Too bad so many celebrities abuse themselves and end up killing themselves.Goes back to Elvis Presley and many before that. But I don't think flags were lowered to half staff when Presley was found dead from drug overdoses, or many others since. Why for Whitney, as beloved as she may have been?

Feb. 17 2012 11:34 AM
swukiny from NYC

This is an absolute insult. She was a drug addict!!!

Feb. 17 2012 11:34 AM
Edward from NJ

If dying young due to substance abuse is disqualifying, I guess Elvis isn't a cultural icon.

Feb. 17 2012 11:33 AM
The Truth from Becky

If you don't get it, you don't get it. A good decision. For all of you who feel inconvenienced by this jesture and the week long coverage...take heart, it's almost over you can only die once. (sarcasm here for the unaware.)

Feb. 17 2012 11:32 AM

If they flew at half mast for Clarence (why? and I'm a big Bruce fan) then they have to for Whitney.

Feb. 17 2012 11:32 AM
Daniel from Chelsea

Anytime an artist is recognized by society at large is okay with me.

Feb. 17 2012 11:31 AM
pina

I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, she was talented and had beautiful voice but that's about it. How can you compare a soldier who dies for this country to Whitnes' cultural contribution? Come on! Oh yeah, she did scarified herself- drank to death!

Feb. 17 2012 11:31 AM
Mark (another one) from nyc

@Mark from Mount Vernon
Really? "Blacks" are going to tilt christie for the half mast thing?
voters are that fickle? i had no idea...
BTW: I think the flags flew half mast at the Clarence Clemons (Bruce Springsteen)guy.

Feb. 17 2012 11:23 AM
Bamba from Fashion Ave Baby

I never liked the Gov of NJ, but for once, FOR ONCE (!!!!) he got it right, on the mourning of this iconic woman.

Now if only he'd scrape this veto rubbish and get back to giving ppl their civil rights...a right Whitney Houston would have supported, no doubt, since she was supportive of gay ppl in her lifetime.

Feb. 17 2012 11:08 AM
Harry

What is this . . . day 5 of non-stop Whitney Houston coverage? It's been one of the lead stories on ABC's local and national news coverage *every* day this week. Give me a break. She died young. She had great talent. It's a loss. But lighten the hell up. She wasn't killed. She drank and drugged herself to death. If this was some poor wretch down on her luck in a rundown neighborhood, people like Christie would be saying, "She had it coming."

Feb. 17 2012 10:17 AM
bernie from bklyn

ms. houston had a fantasitc gift and could sing like no one else. that said, she didn't write any of her songs and became a fame-induced insane person who fell into the trap of drug/alcohol abuse and displayed that in public and was known to be a burden on her young daughter.
the media has overdone it once again.....

Feb. 17 2012 10:07 AM
Mark from Mount Vernon

Christie's decision was for one reason - black votes.

Feb. 17 2012 07:00 AM
christine from bolton

R.I.P whithey you will be sadly miss by me ,your song i will allways love you,back at you love.christine gary and my son lee xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Feb. 17 2012 06:00 AM

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