NJ Gov Strongly Defends Lowering Flags for Houston

Beth DeFalco, Yahoo! News, February 16, 2012

Gov. Chris Christie has strongly defended his decision to have flags flown at half-staff Saturday for Whitney Houston despite receiving emails and other messages disparaging the singer and criticizing him.

The Republican governor said Wednesday that he rejects complaints that Houston “forfeited the good things that she did” because of her struggles with substance abuse.

“What I would say to everybody is there but for the grace of God go I,” he said.

Christie ordered flags flown at half-staff at state government buildings Saturday, the day funeral services are held for Houston at the Newark church she sang at as a child.


In online postings, there were two main arguments against the honor for the Grammy Award winner who died over the weekend in California at age 48: One was that it should be reserved for members of the military, first responders and elected officials. The other was that it’s wrong to honor a drug addict.

Heather Clause, a Richmond, Va.-based blogger who writes about teen moms and was tweeting critical comments, said in a telephone interview that she was appalled by the planned flag-lowering.

“It’s just such a bad example for people,” said 23-year-old Clause. She said the decision was like saying if someone sings well, drug use doesn’t matter and “you can still be an idol.”


Christie said he was not saying that Houston, who was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange, is a role model. Instead, he said, Houston deserves the honor because of her huge cultural impact and as “a daughter of New Jersey.”

“I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise—and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet—but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life,” said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. “I just reject that on a human level.”


The governor noted he has ordered flags flown at half-staff for all 31 fallen New Jersey soldiers and every fallen police officer during his time in office.

He also ordered flags lowered last year for Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.


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  • Tim

    I went from being an avowed  Elvis hater to an instant  Elvis lover because of  reading “After Elvis”.  It described how the world reacted in the seconds, minutes and hours after his demise.  The geopolitician in me cried when I read that  ” 8 minutes after his death was announced by the Medical Examiner  in Memphis, The Military Junta in Uruguay suspended all national programming, and posted a picture of him and Shelley Fabre waterskiing in Clambake.”  I thought, “Damn!! 80 million people in a country Elvis never even heard of , musch less went to, are honoring the magic of the man”.  Although Whitney was never my singer or even my era, I can`t fault The Governer`s decision.  New Jersey`s actions remind me of that old country saying, “Dance with the one that brung ya!”

  • Anonymous

    How many celebrities get the same honor?  I mean those who ARE NOT black drug addicts, but contribute something worthwhile during their lifetimes?

    She would not have gotten the honor if she were white.

    • Zorro

      I don’t remember flags being lowered for John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, or any of those great Stars that helped this Country sell War Bonds, and did Shows for our Troops during World War II. 

      • Screw the troops. An artist’s real talent is not measured by simply performing lousy concerts for Jarheads. Whitney Houston was one of the best power vocalists and female song writers in modern contemporary music! She made much better music than Jimmy Stewart. And who cares for Bob Hope and some old timer like Bing Crosby…..in any case he will be overshadowed by Bill Cosby!


      • MrGJG

         Like the Founding Fathers, they’re just a bunch of uncool dead white men, and probably racists.
        They’re representative of a time in America that should be forgotten…forever.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    There was a time when our nation reserved this honor only for our heros and Presidents.

  • Anonymous

    Well once again, just as with Herman Cain, people are realizing that whenever they hitch their wagon to some lamestream Republican, they can count on being led off course, embarrassed, and betrayed. At least he didn’t involve the governor’s helicopter in this one, and fire off a couple of missiles in honor the diva.

    I believe tabloid television and print media has turned the public’s brains into melted cheese.

  • Ann Coulter was practically begging for Krispy Christie to run for President.

  • Anon

    Oh, miss bleeding heart. Please stop!  Where did you read the garbage you just spouted on that first paragraph?  Some Psych 1 course?

    I see people break their addictions all the time, so what is Whitney’s excuse to STILL be addicted after all those years?  No, it isn’t because of being “weak”.  She even had the MONEY to get the best of treatment (which most drug addicts don’t have the luxury of) and lived in luxury.  Cry me a river.

    Yeah. let us have her family SUE the government for it. Guess WHERE the money comes from?  WE, THE TAXPAYERS!   YOU pay, not me.

  • Anonymous

    Sports and entertainment celebrities are seldom role models we should teach our children to emulate. Because they were born with rare and valuable talents they are are able to earn plenty of money doing what is intrinsically enjoyable. As a result many get away with bad habits that would ruin most of our lives. Even so many of them, like Whitney Houston, do not get away with it forever.

  • Anonymous

    The governor did the right thing.

    • Are you going to move to New Jersey and develop a crack habit so that Krispy Christie will lower the flags to half-staff when you deprive us of your company?

  • Anonymous

    Question Diversity

    Two things.
    I don’t do drugs.
    No. I do not plan to move to New Jersey

    • Should be the title of your autobio, I don’t do drugs and I do not plan to move to New Jersey.  It will be widely read and enjoyed among third graders everywhere.

  • Anonymous

    Question Diversity:

    I prefer to write for the college crowd. People whose reading skills are slightly above your 9-12 range.

  •  New Jersey never lowers it flag to our dead soldiers and Marines.  New York City had the time for a parade for the football players but no time for a welcoming parade for our Iraqi Troops. 

  •  New Jersey never lowers it flag to our dead soldiers and Marines.  New York City had the time for a parade for the football players but no time for a welcoming parade for our Iraqi Troops. 

    • anonymous_amren

      That’s because football players don’t pointlessly kill as many people (although they sometimes come close).

      I don’t like it when the soldiers are enduring great hardship and dying, but that is what those soldiers are trying to inflict on the opposing soldiers for no good reason, which makes me less sympathetic.

      • Well said. Also unlike the Afghanistan war – which was a just act of retaliation against 9/11. The war on Iraq which was celebrated and endorsed by right wing conservative white christians was an act of unjustified aggression – an immoral, illegal and stupid war against an innocent nation ( Iraq). Apart from the completely false pretense ( supposed WMDs) of going for that idiotic & unjust war ( much like Vietnam, where America lost), the news of American soldiers ( yes, mostly whites) abusing and slaughtering defenceless innocent Iraqi men, women and children is contemptuous.
        Those soldiers need to be spat upon NOT welcomed! Besides, in what way are those soldiers even remotely “heroes” ? No one forced them to join the army, these lowlife cretins went there on their own accord.

      • MrGJG

         Wow, what a strange thing to say.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Blacks become “heroes” by overcoming (non-existent) racism or sticking it to the man. That’s it.

  • Anonymous

    The taxpayers are protesting on Martin Luther King Boulevard because they can’t get into Whitneys’ funeral:

    Tempers Flare As Whitney Houston Fans Cry Foul Over Being Left Out Of Star’s Viewing

    As Who’s Who Of Hollywood Arrives, The Taxpayer Wonders Why Not Us, Too?

  • I’m surprised that the government doesn’t always fly the flag half staff for every ‘black’ death.  They are sacred to white liberals esp those who don’t live anywhere near blacks.

    • Zorro

      Never mind flags at half staff for the blacks. Where they are concerned, the Government  already raised the white flag.

  • What did we really “lose” when she died?  We still have her music, if that’s they’re only interest in her.  If a Navy SEAL dies in a firefight in the attempt to knock off a wanted OBL-style terrorist, and he leaves behind a wife and young children in the process, the wife is a widow and the children are fatherless.  Half flag.  But Whitney Houston’s music will be around forever.

    Believe me, the whole world isn’t mourning Whitney Houston.  My mother:  “What the hell should I care that some crack addict screaming (insert a certain word) did herself in?”

  • So Whitney gets this honor (according to Christie) because she was famous and from NJ. Let’s see if Bruce Springsteen gets the same honor upon his death.

    • Zorro

      And Bon Jovi? Not that I care, because these last two sacks of stuff campaigned for Barry in 2008.

      • Oh please don’t say that – Bon Jovi is awesome and so is Springsteen. I used to worship these guys back when I was a teen.

    • MrGJG

       Springsteen and Bon Jovi are hardcore leftists. It’s the next best thing to being black.
      Kind of like honorary blacks.

  • Quite frankly, I don’t understand how anyone can be paid astronomically high amounts of money and become famous for singing. Singing well, or even singing very well, is not a rarity in humans. Millions of humans can sing well, and millions more can sing very well, and these people are everywhere. They are in churches, on street corners, in local barbershop quartets, local bands, at night clubs, and choirs in every state, town, and city in every country in the the US, if not in the world.
    Just what was so special about what Houston did for the state of NJ, other than singing well for a few years, getting high on drugs and alcohol, then dying naked in a bath tub? Seems to me a number of people could do that very easily.
    I know a lot of people who are just every day people and they would consider such behavior absurd, if not criminal, and a big waste of life. They go to work everyday, don’t drink or use drugs, and take care of their families on a lot less money than the millions that Houston squandered. I doubt if any schools will be name after them nor will any flags be lowered and the only people who  will show up at their funerals will be family and friends. Do people like the governor of NJ know these people exist? I guess not as he is incensed that anyone could question his judgement on who should be honored by  his state. It figures.  

    • Quite frankly, I don’t understand how anyone can be paid astronomically high amounts of money and become famous for singing.

      That’s what I’ve been complaining for aeons. Entertainers have been treated in all societies up to Hollywood – with a few exceptions like Lola Montez, but this was, essentially, a highest level prostitution-  as fiddlers, clowns, ..a group of people not very worthy, socially & financially.
      Jenny Lind in the 19th cent. was a remarkable singer, but hers was also a truly memorable life, and comparison with Houston is almost sacrilegious.

      When Ed Feigenbaum – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Feigenbaum -dies, no one will notice.

  • anonymous_amren

    “Not everyone is so gung-ho about it.” – Amren

    Interestingly (but off-topically), the term Gung-Ho was coined by an extreme white liberal New Zealander, Rewi Alley. (He was named after a Maori warrior). He was a soldier in WW1, and in 1927 he moved to China and then joined the Chinese Communist Party.

    When WW2 broke out, he and a bunch of other white people set up and organised Chinese industry for the Chinese, and started the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, so that China could be successful in the war.

    Gung Ho is a term derived from the Chinese for “Chinese Industrial Cooperatives” and was used to refer to North East Asian work ethic. It came to be used by Major Evans Carlson in the US military to try and get white soldiers to have this North East Asian work ethic.

    A random bit of race realism that I found interesting.

    • Zorro

      Captain John Birch did far more to help the Chinese people during the War against Japan. Captain John Birch spoke fluent Chinese, as well.

      While on a mission for the US Army, and in uniform, he contacted the Chinese Communists, to have a meeting with their leadership after the War, which in turn ordered his brutal death, by bayoneting him over 80 times.

      The US State Department covered up the murder of Captain John Birch by the Chinese Communists.

  • Well, they’ve been laughing anyway. 


    What was the last thing that Whitney heard before she died?

    “Houston, we have a problem!”

    Whats ironic is that Whitney was found dead in her bath tub, obviously she was trying to get clean.

    Kevin Costner has announced the planned filming of “Bodyguard II”. It’s about guy who stands around all day with nothing to do.

    What’s the difference between Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse?

    Not quite seven months.

  • anonymous_amren

    No, she’s done a lot less than Whitney Houston. Because Whitney Houston’s work can be copied and distributed millions of times at minimal cost (thanks to the wonders of white technology), and therefore helps millions of people rather than just a few. And those millions of people really like listening to singing.

    The fact that the woman you know only helps a few people rather than millions, is why she has to live on a very modest amount, rather than the millions Whitney Houston could live on.

    I don’t listen to music much, so the woman you speak of is more impressive to me. But the rest of the world got more from Whitney Houston.

    • The fact that the woman you know only helps a few people rather than
      millions, is why she has to live on a very modest amount, rather than
      the millions Whitney Houston could live on.

      There are people who belong to entirely different category. say, John Bardeen:
      Near the end of this decade, when they begin enumerating the names of
      the people who had the greatest impact on the 20th century, the name of
      John Bardeen, who died last week, has to be near, or perhaps even
      arguably at, the top of the list… Mr. [sic] Bardeen shared two Nobel
      Prizes and won numerous other honors. But what greater honor can there
      be when each of us can look all around us and everywhere see the
      reminders of a man whose genius has made our lives longer, healthier and

      Bardeen got 2 Nobel prizes, but:

      a) who actually knows about him ?

      b) he certainly was not as wealthy as Houston, ever

      In short, people don’t know true heroes. They know & respect clowns.

      • MikeofAges

        How’d the old song go?

        “He don’ plant taters, he don’t plant cotton
        An’ dem dat plants’ em is soon forgotten.”

        Always like that with the people who do the real work, taters or physics. Isn’t it?

  • sylvie

    Yeah, ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ and every other degenerate drunk-junkie entertainer.
    Let’s give Kurt Cobain a posthumous award and don’t forget to lower that flag when Kourtney Love finally drops dead!

  • Zorro

    How about giving a few hundred Hoods a one way Bus ticket to Hyannisport this summer?

  • Varina

    Well, that’s funny. I was born in Newark and raised in East Orange, too.  Anyone born after the Black riots in 60’s probably doesn’t have a clue that they used to be nice White cities.  

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Lowering the flag for a known drug addict cheapens our flag, heritage and nation’s honor.  Christie is an Establishment Liberal pandering to blacks.

    Would Christie have lowered the flag for a White singer? Was the flag lowered for New Jersey Native Son, Frank Sinatra?

    According to the Courier-Post online: 

    When Sinatra died in 1998, flags were not lowered by then-Gov. Christie Whitman.

    Hopefully, the media circus is over.  Two weeks of accolades and praise for a dead junky is enough.  She did this to herself, no one did this to her.


    • JohnEngelman

      Will the flags be lowered when Mike Tyson is killed trying to mug someone? 

  • Also Whitney Houston is one of America’s all time greatest singers/ song writers and probably a far more superior power vocalist than any white female artist: be it Madonna, Britney Spears or Karen Carpenter. She deserves the honor.

    RIP Whitney Houston, you will always be remembered for your positive contributions to American music!


    • MissBonnie123

      This is your opinion. I believe that Karen Carpenter had a more beautiful voice even at the end when she was sick with anorexia.

      •  Which brings me to an OT question: how do we always- I do, always- recognize a “Black voice”, not even knowing the person ? How can this be explained (glottis etc.) ?

        • Don’t know precisely, but I do know that for the longest time, I thought that Rick Astley (where the “Rickroller” meme came from, the song, not Perry or Santorum) was black.  So did a lot of other people.

          •  I went to youtube. To me, he sounds impeccably “white”. I would never mistake him for a Negro, even in Black hole.

  • “Did you read what you just wrote: Sports and Entertainment. What else do Blacks have?”

    President of the United States.

    Attorney general of the United States.

    The Head of the NASA.

    The Greatest Entertainer/ Musician in recorded Human history – MJ – King of Pop!

  • MissBonnie123

    I wasn’t going to mention this, and I could be wrong, but didn’t Whitney Houston make derogatory remarks against Whites in the late 80’s or 90’s? I thought that she gave an interview with a magazine and vehemently cursed White America. Does anyone know?

    Whether she did or did not demean White America, I do NOT believe the flag should have been lowered for her. It should not be lowered for any celebrity. It should be for our soldiers and others who served our country. To lower it for a celebrity seems to cheapen the meaning of it.

  • MrGJG

     “I want to know if they will lower the flags to half staff for Baseball Hall of Fame Player, Gary Carter”?

    You beat me to it. Here’s a guy who was a positive influence on everyone who knew him.
    Who lived a exemplary life and played by the rules, yet in death, plays 2nd fiddle to a black crackhead who burned through a kings ransom and died broke. 
    Black appeasement belies the charges of rampant partisanship.

  • MrGJG

    ” I’m surprised she’s not lying in state at the Capitol, like Rosa Parks”.

    I always thought they should have had her propped-up on a bus seat.

  • MikeofAges

    Or have every baseball club retire the number 4, for Lou Gehrig.

  • Christopher_Nelson

    I heard a rumor, but it could be wrong. I heard that New Jersey is thinking about making it illegal to sell bathtubs ,every year, on the same date  as the flag lowering. 

    I could also be wrong about this. But , supposedly they are thinking about imposing heavy fines against the hotel where Houston died.  Apparently, it was racist that a black woman died in a white bathtub.  This violates a new diversity safety code that all buildings are required to follow.

  • Anon

    Oh, yes Rosa Parks lying in state…That was the most asinine example of black worship  and what this country has come to.  That made me ill to my stomach. I hope I am not alive when obama dies. Can you just imagine all the “he was the best POTUS this country ever had and we owe him more than we can ever repay”….oh, the gnashing of teeth and the wails will be heard around the world.

  • Anon

    That fool caved in and later kissed their you know what,and said how wrong he had been and to please forgive him for his ignorance and hatred. Just another White apologist.

  • Chris Christie must be a fool.  It’s not like Mother Theresa died again.   Whitney Houston was a crack addict who could belt out a great tune fifteen years ago.   She’s a perfect example of a wasted life due to lack of discipline and imagination.  She deserves no more honors than Len Bias or Nick Nolte.   Some people piss away their talent to get wasted.  There’s no honor in it; only shame.  

  • MrGJG

     Yep, same here.  The idolatry of those two here in NJ is nauseating.

  • MikeofAges

    Some of you people here have to learn when to take your hands off. Whitney Houston was their (New Jersey’s) daughter. No one asked the entire country to fly the flag at half staff . It was just one state for one day, for someone who had a great talent and used it well up to a point. Being in pop music, any branch of it, can be a dangerous life for all of the opportunities for self-destruction it offers, in case you haven’t noticed. In that matter, no one has a monopoly.