Friday Reads: #BridgeGhazi Scandal Fallout

Horsey cartoon Christie

Good Morning!!

The #BridgeGhazi scandal is still dominating the news this morning, so I thought I’d surf around and see what the pundits are saying about it. I’ll leave it to you to post links to other stories you’re following in the comment thread.

As you can see, LA Times cartoonist David Horsey focused on Christie today. He also had some editorial comments.

As revealed by a series of email exchanges, three of Christie’s top aides closed down all but one of the traffic lanes at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge to punish the Democratic mayor in the nearby town of Fort Lee, who failed to fall in line behind the Republican governor in his recent reelection campaign. New Jersey commuters spent days stalled at the bottleneck, emergency vehicles were slowed down and one elderly woman died before she could be taken to a hospital.

In a two-hour news conference, Christie claimed he knew nothing about the scheme to exact political retribution by manufacturing a traffic nightmare. The three staffers have been booted, and the governor insists that he is shocked and saddened by their actions. Nevertheless, many people are skeptical. Even if Christie is telling the truth and the aides were not following his direct orders, his combative, in-your-face political style makes plenty of people assume the three were mimicking the bullying ways of their boss.

Though he has played the victim a bit too much, Christie has handled the crisis well so far. Chances are, he will survive this round of revelations (unless, of course, it turns out he is lying, in which case he can probably kiss the GOP nomination goodbye).

Raise your hand if you think Christie was telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in his lengthy press conference yesterday. Anyone? Anyone?

At U.S. News, Ken Walsh writes that It’s Just Beginning for Chris Christie.

What’s ahead for embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won’t be pretty. Investigations. Lawsuits. Ridicule. Doubt. A credibility gap. And quite possibly severe damage to his prospects as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Christie can recover. Consider what Bill Clinton did in overcoming charges of adultery and draft dodging during his 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, which ended successfully. Consider how Republican George W. Bush overcame allegations of youthful drinking and past drug use during the 2000 campaign, which he won. And consider how Democrat Barack Obama dealt successfully with a political crisis arising from the inflammatory and divisive views of his pastor in Chicago in 2008.

Christie’s scandal is different, and worse. It involves an apparent act of political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N. J., because the official didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election bid last year. But the price was paid by everyday people: innumerable motorists who suffered massive delays when Fort Lee traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were shut down for four days last September, apparently at the instigation of Christie aides. The governor says he didn’t know about it at the time, and he has fired two aides whom he is holding responsible….In political terms, “Bridgegate” is devastating to Christie for a simple reason: It undercuts his image as an efficient if abrasive leader, and reinforces the impression that he is a bully.

But who doesn’t think Christie is a bully? A couple of days ago, Beltway Bob Ezra Klein wrote, Chris Christie’s problem is that he’s really, truly a bully.

Christie inhabits a rare space in American politics: He’s a bully. He’s followed around by an aide with a camcorder watching for moments in which Christie, mustering the might and prestige of his office, annihilates some citizen who dares question him.

Almost everywhere Christie goes, he is filmed by an aide whose job is to capture these “moments,” as the governor’s staff has come to call them. When one occurs, Christie’s press shop splices the video and uploads it to YouTube; from there, conservatives throughout the country share Christie clips the way tween girls circulate Justin Bieber videos. “The YouTube stuff is golden,” says Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “I can’t tell you how many people forward them to me.” One video on Christie’s YouTube channel — a drubbing he delivered to another aggrieved public-school teacher at a town hall in September — has racked up over 750,000 views.

Now in Moorestown, Christie was hoping to create another such moment. After some introductory remarks, he opened the floor to questions. “For those of you who have seen some of my appearances on YouTube,” he cautioned, peeling off his suit jacket as he spoke, “this is when it normally happens.”

It’s not an accident that Christie emerged in a period when the Republican Party is out of power. His videos make them feel powerful at a moment when they’re weak.

The reason Chris Christie is so good at this is that Chris Christie is actually a bully. That doesn’t mean he’s not also a nice guy who cares deeply about his family and his constituents and his country. It doesn’t mean he’s not an unusually honest politician who’s refreshingly free of cant and willing to question his party. There’s a lot about Christie that’s deeply appealing. But there’s one big thing that’s not: He’s someone who uses his office to intimidate people and punish or humiliate perceived enemies.

Watch video examples at Wonkblog.

Other writers are beginning to discuss the legal consequences of the scandal for Christie and his staff. Ben Brumfield at CNN:

It may have seemed like a teenage prank at the time, but the blockage of bridge traffic as a possible act of partisan political revenge has put New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the middle of a serious legal stew.

And the fire underneath it is just beginning to heat up for the Republican presidential hopeful, as the state assembly plans to post online 907 pages of documents related to the case Friday.

State lawmakers questioned one of Christie’s allies on Thursday, a former state official implicated in the scandal. So far, David Wildstein has repeatedly refused to answer, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The legislators charged him with contempt for his lack of cooperation. But the dam could eventually break as lawmakers dig in their heels, analysts say.

As long as Christie was telling the truth at a marathon press conference he held on Thursday, he should be able to step out of the caldron, analysts who spoke with CNN say.

That’s the key question isn’t it? And I think most people assume Christie was lying through his teeth yesterday.

“He was pretty specific about what he knew and when he knew it,” said CNN analyst Gloria Borger on The Lead with Jake Tapper.

But if any of it doesn’t jibe with other peoples’ stories, information provided in documents or clues that pop up, experts say Christie could get dragged into civil and criminal lawsuits.

One thing is certain. The legislative inquiry into the alleged misdeeds that led to the traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge is just getting into gear.

NY daily news front pageHere’s a characteristically frank assessment of Christie’s press conference from the New York Daily News.

Gov. Chris Christie’s load of bull: Fired aide Bridget Kelly merely a patsy in attempt to shelter Port Authority cronies, himself

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s one-hour-and-forty-seven-minute self-serving, self-pitying display of contrition on Thursday was a climactic act in a brazen cover-up that threatens to further unravel his political career.

Ever so thoroughly the governor scoured the thesaurus for words of apology, regret and painless self-flagellation while nervily playing the victim and mercilessly destroying the aide who played only a supporting role for the George Washington Bridge political revenge plot.

Christie needed blood to express his outrage to the public, so he drew it from deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly for the sin, the governor said, of lying to him. Perhaps, Kelly did lie, although it seems incredible that anyone would flat-out attempt to deceive an intense, emergency inquiry.

Regardless, Christie made roadkill of Kelly and his former campaign manager while wholly exempting the close pals who were central to the lane-closure conspiracy that caused four days of gridlock and dangerously slowed emergency response in Fort Lee. Pathetic.

Read the whole thing at the link.

Rachel Maddow offered an alternative theory on the reasons behind #BridgeGhazi. From Huffington Post:

As the story stands, Christie’s deputy chief of staff called for George Washington Bridge access lane closures that created a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee for four days in September — a move that many have written off as political retribution for Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s refusal to endorse the Republican governor’s reelection.

Maddow on Thursday presented an alternate theory, saying Sokolich’s endorsement “wasn’t that important.” Instead, she suggested the political payback was motivated by a tiff between New Jersey state Senate Democrats and the governor.

Maddow took viewers back to 2010, when Christie declined to reappoint a New Jersey Supreme Court justice, John E. Wallace Jr., for another term. The move left state Senate Democrats “absolutely outraged,” Maddow explained, and they refused to confirm any Christie’s nominees for Wallace’s seat.

Could Maddow be onto something?

By last August, Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, a Republican, was up for renomination. When state Senate Democrats signaled they would challenge Christie’s nomination, the governor said he wouldn’t renominate Hoens.

“I simply could not be party to the destruction of Helen Hoens’s professional reputation,” Christie said during an August press conference. “I was not going to let her loose to the animals.”

“That was an angry Chris Christie,” Maddow said. “So angry that he was doing something almost unprecedented in New Jersey: Yanking the tenure of a state Supreme Court justice, who he liked! That was an angry Chris Christie, furious with Senate Dems at a hastily called press conference that took place late in the day on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2013.”

Read more and see video at the link.

More links in case you haven’t gotten your fill yet:

MSNBC’s First Read: A Bridge Too Far?

Bloomberg News: Christie Flunks Crisis Management With I Am Not a Bully

The Wire: The Four Key Questions Chris Christie Didn’t Answer at His Press Conference

Reuters: New Jersey braces for new disclosures in Christie bridge scandal

Chicago Tribune: Chris Christie for president? Fuggedaboutit.

NewJersey.com: Giuliani, Rove, Maddow: See what they’re saying about Christie bridge scandal now

ABC News: The Christie Cold War Begins

So . . . What do you think? I look forward to your comments on #BridgeGhazi (and other stories, of course)

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53 Comments on “Friday Reads: #BridgeGhazi Scandal Fallout”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great Friday, everyone!!

    A little personal update:

    My mom got her phone and cable back on Wed. night. My brother-in-law called Comcast and spoke sternly to them, and they suddenly decided they could do the job earlier. It must have been a line problem, because they didn’t even knock on mom’s door.

    Unfortunately she is still trapped in the house by the huge snowfall they had. I guess Muncie doesn’t have a good snow-moving equipment as we do out here. Her roof is covered with snow and ice and this morning it started leaking into her bedroom. So my 88-year-old mom had to go out and knock down icicles. Now she’s trying to find someone to come out and help her. The guy who replaced their roof a few years ago says he’s overwhelmed with calls.

    It’s just one thing after another. I should go out there, but how can I leave my house with the weather like this? I could end up with 3 feet of ice in the driveway and no way to get back inside.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Your poor Mom. And not easy for you when you are so far away.

    • janicen says:

      You must feel helpless and frustrated. As I’m sure you know, as parents age, more and more things come up to make us feel torn between our own lives and helping our parents. I’m glad she got her cable back and if she is even able to go out and knock down icicles, she’s doing okay. You are a wonderful and supportive daughter and she knows that.

      • bostonboomer says:

        She’s very physically fit. She has been lifting weights for years and we ride our stationary bicycles while talking on the phone together every day for 30 mins. My sister is two hours away in Bloomington, and her husband could come up to Muncie in an emergency. She doesn’t like to ask for help though.

        • janicen says:

          Good for her! I’m a staunch advocate for strength training especially for people over 50. If one good thing happened as a result of my summer of pain because of myriad joint problems, it’s that I found a 50-something personal trainer who has arthritis in both knees. She has changed my life. And now my husband and daughter are both her clients and both of them thank me regularly for talking them into strength training. I’m not exaggerating, within a month, you feel ten years younger. My trainer said that elderly people fall down because their muscles are weak and they lose their balance more easily. Strengthen up those muscles and life is just better.

          I realize that personal training is a luxury many people cannot afford and the truth is, I can’t afford to continue with the pace I was doing over the summer but even though it has been expensive, I am able to walk for extended periods without pain, I’ve learned what exercises I can do to reduce my discomfort rather than having to resort to pills, and I’ve avoided joint replacement surgery. In my case, it has been worth the price.

        • At least your sister is closer and can get there faster if need be…but that is a worrying situation with your mom…

        • NW Luna says:

          Strength training is so important! Especially as we get older. That’s great that you all are as active as you are.

          I hope the weather turns better soon.

    • Fannie says:

      I hope happier news keeps coming, dealing with a leaking roof and all. Glad is close you family should she need to be rescued from it all. I cringe when I see snow and ice, am fearful of falling.

      You have really done a great job shaking Christie’s tree down this morning. It’s now like doing a jigsaw puzzle where the picture comes through.

  2. Well, I was watching the shit hit the fan with this Christie bridge blockage…this morning I read this:

    Shakesville: Rachel Maddow: An Alternate Theory of the Christie Scandal

    The Republican judge who came up for renomination was just not any judge. She was married to a key member of Christie’s administration. It wasn’t just political; it was personal.

    I hope some enterprising journalists in New Jersey will ask the governor about this today.

    Susie Madrak » Blog Archive » Why Christie didn’t question the people he fired

    If you’ll recall, yesterday I talked about the most likely scenario about how and why the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge came about. Now, while we don’t know for certain exactly who the Christie team was trying to screw (Rachel Maddow wondered last night if it wasn’t actually state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee), we do know they were trying to screw somebody.

    Remember what I said about plausible deniability? At this point, with the feds involved, Christie’s not just looking for political deniability. The former U.S. attorney is looking to avoid criminal charges, and that requires him to distance himself. He knows how the feds work — and he knows how things look to a grand jury. He must be sweating bullets. From the things he’s said and done, I imagine he’s already retained a criminal attorney.

    (It’s a neat trick that he already nominated Kevin O’Dowd, his chief of staff and chief counsel, as NJ’s attorney general. O’Dowd’s confirmation hearing today will probably be a lot more adversarial than anyone expected.)

    Why didn’t Christie talk to Bridget Anne Kelly? Because he couldn’t have her tell him who ordered her to close the bridge. That would put him in a bad legal position, because if he had to follow that trail, where would it lead?

    Why didn’t he talk to his pals David Wildstein or Bob Baroni? Same thing.

    Christie already knows who told them. He knows because whoever it was was carrying out his wishes. During a campaign, the highest ranking staffer is still outranked by the campaign manager. That leaves Bill Stepien as the logical set-up man.

    Campaign culture is traumatic. It’s like being at war. By the time you’re within spitting distance of Election Day, you’re frothing at the mouth over the opposition, and a lot of the ideas that get kicked around the higher levels are childish, mean, and yes, even criminal. You’re stuck in the inner circle of hell with a bunch of frat boys drunk on their own power.

    But things like this, with the opportunity for real blowback? That’s not initiated by staffers. They would lose everything if it came out. No, these plots are launched in private conversations, with no one in the room but the candidate and the campaign manager.

    Stepien was the man who put Christie in the governor’s mansion — twice. He helped Christie strategize his way to serious consideration as Mitt Romney’s running mate, and then as a presidential candidate. He was just named as head of the New Jersey GOP — and also as consultant to the Republican Governors Association, where Christie is now serving as president. Imagine the fun he would have had there!

    Suddenly, he’s gone. Kaput.

    Me, I don’t have any questions. I think the answers are clear: Chris Christie is trying to keep himself out of jail.

    That is their two takes on chris christie…mine? I can only think of one scene that explains the situation here perfectly:

    From Goodfellas…

    “if there was a union problem
    or a beef with the numbers…
    only the top guys spoke
    with Paulie about the problem.

    Everything was one-on-one.
    Paulie hated conferences.

    He didn’t want anyone
    hearing what he said…

    …or anyone listening to
    what he was being told.”

    Paulie didn’t want people listening to what he had to say…but he was the one who gave the order…bottom line. Christie is Paulie, with the sausage sandwich, the rest of the players in his administration acted out their parts accordingly.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, JJ.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Without question.

    • Fannie says:

      I think you found his twin…………….It’s not over, a ton of emails are coming out today.

    • janicen says:

      That’s an excellent point made by Madrak, that Christie didn’t need to question his staffers because he already knew the answers. If he was in fact unaware of who ordered the action he would immediately question staffers and find out. An innocent person would not care that knowing who did it would mean being required to tell what he knows. Only a person trying to cover something up would worry about that.

    • janicen says:

      I finally got to the Maddow link. I think her theory about it being an act of revenge against the head of the State Senate makes a lot more sense and the timing is perfect.

    • Mary Luke says:

      Madrak’s theory that Christy has already retained a criminal attorney is a good explanation for why he did not take the obvious step of apologizing publicly to the people who were harmed. He can’t admit anyone was harmed.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Chris Christie is a big, fat liar! Period.

    How “convenient” that a member of his inner circle saw fit to issue a directive to another insider who never questioned the directive from the outset. Both are now swinging in the wind in an attempt to hide the truth on behalf of Big Boy who has cast himself as the “victim” of this corruption which illustrates how “power” in the wrong hands can be deadly.

    Christie, a “darling” of the press for his supposed “truth telling”, has been cosseted up until now with little of his shenanigans being reported outside of NJ. But that is about to change.

    He “got even” with Mittens when he threw himself into the arms of Obama after being passed over for the second spot on the GOP ticket. He managed to dominate his nominating speech on behalf of Mitt by offering up his own biography for 22 minutes before mentioning the nominee.

    Everything he does is calculated to “appeal” to those who believe they are in the presence of a man who “tells it like it is” no matter how disgusting, belligerent, and rude it may appear. Cross Chris Christie at your own risk. A bully is a bully is a bully!

    Christie was already measuring the drapes in the Oval Office when he tossed his future into the hands of both the Koch Bros. and Roger Ailes. He “courted” the press in a way that characterized him as another “maverick” while using them to further his reputation as one who was his “own man”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Christie was well aware of the “Bridgegate” debacle because he was sending out another signal that he was not to be “messed with”. He did it because he could. He may have given himself “plausible deniability” but that staff carried out his wishes, no questions asked.

    Thank goodness for the intrepid investigator who sought out the truth behind this massive corruption of power or we may very well be watching Big Boy being sworn into office on another “myth of character” that does not exist.

    He’s toast!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think he’s toast also. If he had maintained close relations with other Republicans, they might have helped him; but they are enjoying his downfall.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        This scandal must bring smiles to the likes of Ted Cruz , Rand Paul and Marco Rubio who will fight it out for the Tea Party votes in the primaries.

        Morons all but at least they will have gotten ridden of the lone candidate described to appeal to the “moderates” of the party who would find these three lacking.

        Just as the media “ginned up” Obama’s appeal, Christie was also given a false narrative that will easily turn to dust since this event will have taken on “legs” of its own.

        Let’s see how many victims of his tactics feel free to come out of the woodwork now that his “power and luster” has been tarnished.

        • janicen says:

          Christie thought he could outsmart everyone by building a huge center coalition either by appeal or force but he underestimated the far right. They still have power enough to bring those who buck them down and I agree with you that the Tea Party faithful are popping just as much if not more champagne about this than even the Clintons must be.

    • dakinikat says:

      http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/01/chris-christie-fort-lee-charlie-mckenna-text-message

      Immediately after his testimony, according to documents released this week, Baroni texted David Wildstein asking how Christie administration officials in Trenton, the state capital, had reacted to his testimony:

      [11/25/2013 11:58 AM] David Wildstein: You did great
      [11/25/2013 11:58 AM] Bill Baroni: Trenton feedback
      [11/25/2013 11:59 AM] Bill Baroni: ?
      [11/25/2013 11:59 AM] David Wildstein: Good
      [REDACTED MESSAGE]
      [11/25/2013 11:59 AM] Bill Baroni: Just good? Shit
      [11/25/2013 12:00 PM] David Wildstein: No i have only texted brudget [Bridget Anne Kelly] and Nicole they were VERY happy
      [11/25/2013 12:00 PM] Bill Baroni: Ok
      [11/25/2013 12:00 PM] David Wildstein: Both said you are doing great
      [11/25/2013 12:06 PM] David Wildstein: Charlie said you did GREAT

      Note the two names in that exchange we have placed in bold type: Nicole and Charlie. According to public records and news stories, the only Nicole politically close to Christie at the time was Nicole Davidman, who was the governor’s campaign finance director in 2013 and the wife of Christie’s press secretary. The only Charlie in Christie’s inner circle was Charles McKenna, Christie’s chief counsel and the aide now leading the internal investigation of the bridge mess. State investigators assume that the Charlie mentioned in this text is McKenna, according to a legislative source, but they are not yet certain about Nicole (though they have not yet identified other possibilities).

  4. janicen says:

    This scandal hurts Christie badly because everyone can relate to it. Whether you are Dem, Rep, Ind, or never vote at all the idea that some government official can disrupt your life to such an enormous extent as happened to the people of Fort Lee, just for the purpose of political retribution is enough to motivate everyone to want that guy out of office. He should not be in power. Period.

    If I lived in Fort Lee, I’d be marching on the state house with a torch in one hand and a pitchfork in the other.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      So true.

      Think of the impact on a recall vote. How many people signed online petitions to get those bigoted fools of “Duck Dynasty” back on the air?

      If that stupid show could bring out viewers in protest the people of NJ could demand the same.

      Christie has shown repeatedly that he should never be trusted with the reins of power and I have a feeling more is about to be revealed.

      Threats and intimidation have a way of producing silence but the door has been opened to allow the sunlight to shine.

    • janicen says:

      On a personal aside, my former mother in-law used to live in Fort Lee in a co-op that overlooked the GW bridge. On the best of days, the traffic there is insane. I’ve always prided myself on being a capable, experienced driver, and I refused to drive around there, much to my ex’s frustration because he thought I would immediately step into the role of her personal chauffeur, but that’s a tale for another day ;-). Seriously, to call what happens there “traffic” seems somehow to be an understatement. It’s more like combat.

  5. janicen says:

    Eugene Robinson does a good job describing Christie’s narcissistic “apology”. As well, he provides an interesting explanation as to why Christie was even seeking an endorsement from a Democrat:

    A bit of background is needed: During his successful reelection campaign last fall, Christie — shown by polls to be a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, should he decide to seek it — tried to run up the score by winning endorsements from elected officials across the state, Democrats as well as Republicans.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-chris-christie-is-not-the-victim/2014/01/09/6f31404a-7976-11e3-af7f-13bf0e9965f6_story.html?hpid=z2

    • janicen says:

      Actually, I’ve been wondering about why such overkill because he didn’t get an endorsement from the opposing party. Does he think the Dems owe him something for all of his hugging and mugging with President Obama last fall? I would not be surprised to learn that Christie thinks he delivered the 2012 election to the Dems, and now he is owed. I can’t help but wonder what the reaction of the right would be if this scandal were happening in Chicago.

  6. janicen says:

    The Chicago Tribune link at the bottom of the post will not let you read the article linked unless you are a digital subscriber, but there are a few free ones there.

    • dakinikat says:

      Just saw this on TV. Nine counties involved and they can’t bathe or wash with it either.

      • Oh, it is going to get worse…looks like the assholes knew about it for a while.

        West Virginians Can’t Drink Their Water | BobCesca.com | News and Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World

        A significant portion of West Virginia has been advised not to drink tap water, brush their teeth, or shower because their water is probably contaminated with 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM).

        Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency as more than 100,000 customers, or 300,000 people, are without safe drinking water.

        “Don’t make baby formula,” said West Virginia American Water Company president Jeff McIntyre. “Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t shower. Toilet flushing only.”[…]

        According to Laura Jordan, a spokesperson with the water company, they believe the chemical is leaking at ground level and “there is a possibility this leak has been going on for sometime before it was discovered Thursday,” WSAZ reported.

        Oh. Well, that’s helpful.

        While the side effects of ingesting MCHM include, but are not limited to, non-stop vomiting and blistering, residents weren’t immediately informed after the spill was discovered.

        Though the spill occurred Thursday morning, West Virginia American Water didn’t provide its customers with a warning until evening and, as Al Jazeera reported, several were angered by the lack of information, particularly regarding what should be done if they had already used or ingested the water.

        According to ThinkProgress, schools in five counties as well as hospitals and nursing homes are also unable to use their water.

        While there’s nothing really funny about this, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t amused that the name of the company responsible for the spill is Freedom Industries.

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    Federal Government Will Recognize Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Eric Holder Announces

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/utah-same-sex-marriage_n_4576033.html

  8. RalphB says:

    From the Tar Sands Blockade…

    Texas Supreme Court Favors Landowner Over TransCanada in Eminent Domain Case

    AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, ordering TransCanada to submit information by Feb. 6 as the justices weigh arguments to hear the case regarding eminent domain abuse.

    Texas’s highest court delivered a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights. At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state’s “common carrier” clause since their pipeline transports 90% Canadian tar sands and 10% North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.

    “We’re thrilled, because the Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of us – the little guys – and against a foreign oil giant,” Julia Trigg Crawford continued. “Basically, TransCanada said that it wanted a waiver from responding to our petition, and the Supreme Court said, ‘No, you must respond’.”

    Crawford says her case has broad implications, because if she wins, TransCanada and other foreign oil companies will no longer be able to use eminent domain to seize land for their private profit without direct proof their pipeline is carrying Texan oil.

    This case would not only effect the XL pipeline from Canada down, it may kill the one currently being built from Cushing, OK to Beaumont, TX. The property rights wingnuts on the court seem to have gotten one right. I posted this late last night but thought it was big enough to put up again.

  9. RalphB says:

    This could get expensive.

    New Jersey Residents File Lawsuit Against Christie Over Traffic Jam

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Six New Jersey residents have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Chris Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others over traffic jams in September.

    The suit filed in federal court Thursday appears to be the first civil claim over traffic jams that appear to have been caused as political punishment for the Fort Lee mayor.

    The plaintiffs want it certified as a class action….

  10. dakinikat says:

    This is so sad:

    Thanks to a heatwave, dead animals are literally falling from the sky in Australia http://thewi.re/1c0uXGR

  11. RalphB says:

    Hilarious. From Dave Weigel:

    I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, “For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe, you be my witness.” I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters.

    Gates wrote that in his memoir.

  12. RalphB says:

    Why people call themselves “independent” even when they aren’t

    This just a portion of our findings regarding the extent to which people prefer “independence” – but equally important is what we don’t find. What we don’t find is any change in people’s actual political views. Even while reporting that they are independent, respondents repeatedly clung to the partisan issue positions they had held all along. Indeed, when we asked people to place themselves on either the Republican or Democratic side of a series of issues, they were not only consistent in which side they picked across all the issues, but reminding them of partisan disagreement had no effect.

    We, of course, cannot speak for every individual who identifies as independent. Certainly, there are many people who may be truly independent from either party and who may behave in the ways we might expect true independents to behave. But our work points to the idea that “independent” has become a socially desirable label – one that conveys a sense of rising above the political pettiness in American politics. And even as more and more people call themselves “independent,” it is difficult to argue that they are actually moving away from their underlying partisan identities.

    An actual study bears out what is pretty obvious for a change.

  13. mablue2 says:

    I find hashtag “Bridgeghazi” really funny, but I think Roy Edroso goes FTW with “Chris Christie Is An Asshole-gate“. That’s impossible to beat.

  14. Hey, check it out…George Washington Bridge Davos Study – Business Insider

    The Port Authority engineers who carried out this “study” on the orders of Christie’s political appointees seem to have realized it wasn’t much of a study. In one email, traffic engineer Jose Rivera put scare quotes around “test” when describing the operation.


    jose rivera email

  15. Oh what a fucking asshole!!!!

    Rep. Steve King Thinks The High Cost of Abortion For Low-Income Women Is Hilarious | Right Wing Watch

    “While it may not seem like a big expense to a Member of Congress, in these tough financial times, for many people, abortion care costs more than their monthly rent, putting it out of reach for their family’s pocketbook,” Wood said.

    When it came time to ask questions, Rep. King mocked Wood’s comparison of the cost of abortion to a month’s rent, wondering, “I wonder how many abortions a month does she need to keep up with the monthly rent check.”
    – See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rep-steve-king-thinks-high-cost-abortion-low-income-women-hilarious#sthash.Z4KEajR0.dpuf

    • RalphB says:

      I heard that Republicans on the House judiciary cmte held a hearing on a bill to get the IRS to audit survivors of rape or incest who used their contraceptive healthcare coverage,

      These assholes are really, truly insane!

  16. dakinikat says:

    Hey BB: Did you see this?

    Revealed: The Glenn Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar Money-Making Scheme http://thedailybanter.com/2014/01/revealed-the-glenn-greenwald-and-pierre-omidyar-money-making-scheme/