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Joe Lapointe

Joe Lapointe has worked as a sports reporter with the New York Times and a segment producer for "Countdown With Keith Olbermann'' on Current TV

January 23rd, 2014 7:21 PM

Let the games begin!

NEW YORK -- In that Edward Snowden is spending so much time in Russia, perhaps – in a gesture of world solidarity – Snowden should light the Olympic flame next month when the Winter Games begin in Sochi.

He’s a uniter, not a divider, as a great man once said.  By outing the extensive spy operation of the United States, Snowden’s got both the right-wingers and the Obama administration mad at him.

Who else can do that?  Even his name sounds like the season: “Snow-den.”  Perhaps President Obama would like Snowden to simply be the Olympic flame.  In that case, he could be ignited by hunky Russian President Vladimir Putin, bare-chested against the elements.

That would make better television than all those slow-piano stories about young Olympians who overcome great obstacles to, alas, make the team.  Already, our eyes are welling up for all those sparkly girls and their devoted mothers.  And my, how TV loves wet eyes.

You don’t see so much sentimentality in the Super Bowl, filled with macho men like cornerback Richard Sherman of Seattle.  He celebrated last week’s conference championship by shouting vile bile into a television camera like a man who needed to have his urine tested.

In the backlash against Sherman’s critics, some commentators have insisted it is based on racism because Sherman is African-American.  They say the word “thug” is a euphemism for the “N-Word.”

Not so.  Those of us living in New Jersey know that thugs come in all colors.  One of them is Chris Christie, our Jumbo Governor, as white as the snow..  His Presidential ambitions have diminished since “Bridgegate,” the scandal in which his aides closed three entry lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., last September.

Critics suspect they did it to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to support the Republican governor for re-election.  Christie’s choices of explanation were (a) Yes, I’m a bully who screws innocent citizens to settle a petty grudge, and (b) I didn’t know anything about it and my staff lied to me.

He chose (b).  It’s quite a defense: Total ignorance of high-level staff performance during a crisis brought on by their dirty tricks.  How’d you like this guy around nuclear weapons?  This week’s bad weather, perhaps like that we will see on Super Sunday, gave Jumbo a good excuse to cancel most of his inauguration parties this week.

In reality, tickets were moving slowly and most politicians, even his allies or those cowed by him, don’t want to be in the same camera frame with him at the moment.  Before the bridge affair – and other allegations of bullying – Jumbo was bragging that he had a Super Bowl suite at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands and about all the cronies he would invite.

Al Kelly, the chairman of the host committee, delicately said a few weeks ago that, in truth, Christie didn’t have a suite.  In recent days, however, it has been quietly revealed that somebody did find one for the governor after all.  Who will sit with him, assuming he doesn’t need all the chairs?

His office isn’t saying.  We probably won’t find out without a subpoena.  And if it snows during the first outdoor Super Bowl in a winter climate, perhaps Jumbo can raise his plummeting approval ratings by doing his “Jersey Shore” act that played so well when he rescued his subjects from the horrors of Hurricane Sandy.

Christie can simply grab a shovel and get to work.  He’s had practice.  He’s been shoveling a lot of stuff lately.

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