Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

Happy (belated) Peacock Day! On Friday, March 25th, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks became the first 15th seed to make it to March Madness’s Elite Eight after beating Purdue 67-64. This win represents the lowest seed to ever make it this far. March 25th also happens to be National Peacock Day, a little-known holiday that was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. Unfortunately, the Peacocks lost their next match to the Tar Heels, but had an incredible, and coincidental, run while it lasted.

What is happening in China? The country is facing what may be the largest wave of COVID-19 since the original Wuhan outbreak, but little information is filtering out from the People’s Republic. While any numbers reported by the perfidious CCP should be taken with a grain of salt, their reports of 37 million people being under lockdown is shocking at a time when the rest of the world is seemingly moving past the pandemic. The CCP is reporting several-thousand new COVID cases a day. In response to this outbreak, China has continued its strategy of harsh lockdowns and widespread quarantines.

One potential reason for this most recent spike is the questionable efficacy of Chinese vaccines. The Chinese market does not have access to mRNA vaccines. Like Cuba and Russia, China has opted to produce their own vaccine, and have actively blocked effective Western vaccines. While Americans have had access to Pfizer and Moderna, the Chinese have had CoronaVac and Sinopharm. These alternate vaccines are a testament to the mistrust the CCP has displayed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After two years of Zoom calls and social distancing, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics has fully returned to large in-person events with outside attendees. This past week, former New Jersey Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie headlined a “Politics and Eggs” event at the Institute. That Wednesday, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig gave a “State of the City” address in the same auditorium. While this is only a taste of the events the Institute holds during the New Hampshire primaries, it is a welcome change for current student ambassadors. Even faculty working in the NHIOP could feel a change in energy.

While speaking at “Politics and Eggs” Chris Christie struck a balancing act of lambasting Democrats’ spending while promising infrastructure pork to potential backers. He also walked that thin line between condemning former President Trump and trying not to offend the millions of Republicans who voted for him. The former NJ Governor and current ABC commentator had three goals for his address. He wanted to assure New Hampshire movers and shakers that he intended a serious substantive run, he tried to boost his image as a pragmatic deal-maker, and he worked to position himself as the anti-Trump Republican candidate. If you think that sounds like a lot to accomplish in a single speech, you would be correct.

Governor Christie finished 6th in the New Hampshire primaries in 2016. This dismal performance is despite his having made more campaign stops in the state than any other Republican candidate. He campaigned on straight talk (think Joe Biden’s “no malarkey” promise), but voters were more likely to associate him with the “Bridgegate” scandal. It is not clear why he expects his performance to be any greater in 2024 than it was in 2016. His spotlight as an anti-Trump candidate will likely be stolen by some quixotic run from Hogan or Kasich. His reputation as an effective governor (however tarnished) is far outstripped by that of DeSantis. Christie’s moment has long passed.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig is fighting hard for a Manchester to Boston commuter rail line. The line would certainly be a convenience for Saint Anselm students, staff, and faculty, but I doubt the project’s viability. NH Governor Sununu spoke on the potential project during his “State of the State” address held here on campus, and he threw cold water on the idea that the state would provide the massive amounts of funding the project would need. Manchester is certainly unable to foot the bill, and while federal funding is available, that money would partially cover construction, not upkeep. I wouldn’t hold my breath for the project.