Archive for new jersey

Christie's Bridgegate Costing Taxpayers Millions


Christie Bridgegate

The law firm hired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is billing $7.3 million for handling bridgegate, a tab the taxpayer will pay. Gibson Dunn billed the state $784,459 for May, June and July, said. The firm had already been paid $6.52 million on the legal bills through April. Christie hired Gibson Dunn in January…


Bridge-it Loves Christie


Pulaski Skyway Bridge Pulaski Skyway Bridge

What is it with boys and their toys? They just won't leave them alone sometimes. They have a fascination that they can't give up -- until they break them.

And NJ Governor Chris Christie may just have crossed that bridge too far.

Now comes another bridge scandal. No, really. Another bridge scandal. You just gotta love this guy, Christie. He doubles down when he thinks he can get away with something. He's determined to leave no bridge unturned.

Here's the latest from the Daily Beast:

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Christie's office for lobbying the Port Authority to divert $1.8 billion away from a canceled rail-tunnel project and towards repairing the Pulaski Skyway bridge. Pulaski is a state bridge, outside of the Port Authority's purview. The Christie administration recast the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel (they're not connected) in order to justify using Port Authority funds. The move is under scrutiny for potentially defrauding bond holders. Under the Martin Act, prosecutors could bring felony charges without proving intent to defraud. The SEC could also take civil action.

What's it all mean? Fraud.

Christie, who boasted he could balance the state's budget in his reelection stump speeches, couldn't. So he diverted funds from a public source, the billion dollar rail-tunnel project. Christie cancelled the project which was already underway then took the unspent funds and used them for repairs that were not authorized. He did it by claiming the bridge was an access road.

A bridge became an access road? Okay, that's stretching it, but we'll move on.

He then claimed this "access road" connected to the Lincoln Tunnel. It does NOT  lead or connect in any way, shape or form to the Lincoln Tunnel. That's like saying the Bridge over the River Kwai connected Burma with London.

So, just when you thought it was safe to return to New Jersey, think again. You may be following road signs from Trenton to New York City and end up in Pennsylvania thanks to Gov. Christie and his new road connection designations.

But if you want to speak to him, you better do it quickly. He may be moving his office to the New Jersey State Department of Corrections.

Looks like he's gonna have a bit more 'splainin' to do, Lucy.


Bridgegate Redux? Christie Scandales Resurge with the Pulaski Skyway


shocked shocking

The Pulaski Skyway … whimsical name, and possibly one which will put a period to Guv'nah Chris I Know Nothing Christie and his Sweet Sixteen Ambitions.

It's a crumbling 'skyway bridge' that connects the pitiable state of New Jersey roads to the larger Hudson-crossing network and is also partially under the purview of Port Authority oversight - because Port Authority toll monies were commandeered and used for it's renovation allocation.

Crying shame, too, only yesterday an MSNBC crawl whispered that Gov. Bridgegate was coming up on former Secretary Hillary Clinton in the early Iowa polling.



Thus, the New York Times has another Bridgegate in Jersey scandal for Chris Christie to enjoy, featured on the pages of his morning paper of record.

Can you feel this size of our grins? GottaLaff's reporting on The Big Guy's antics has been superb, read about his 2014 Greatest Bridgegate Hits here, of his latest scandal-deterrant-behavior here, and find a great summation of the scandal history at this Carnival link.

Weekend rumblings about a new scandal - about an entirely different bridge, the Pulaski Skyway - proved not to break over the weekend, but Election Tuesday was another story. From the Times.

Investigations into the Christie administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have zeroed in on possible securities law violations stemming from a $1.8 billion road repair agreement in 2011, according to people briefed on the matter.


While the inquiries were prompted by the apparently politically motivated lane closings at the George Washington Bridge last year, these investigations center on another crossing: the Pulaski Skyway, the crumbling elevated roadway connecting Newark and Jersey City. They are being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Again and again, Port Authority lawyers warned against the move: The Pulaski Skyway, they noted, is owned and operated by the state, putting it outside the agency’s purview, according to dozens of memos and emails reviewed by investigators and obtained by The New York Times.

The Pulaski Skyway, seen from Jersey City, is owned by the State of New Jersey, but the Port Authority is funding repairs. Credit Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

The Pulaski Skyway, seen from Jersey City, is owned by the State of New Jersey, but the Port Authority is funding repairs. Credit Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Kind of sad [read mockable and delightful, he seems such a deeply mean pol it's hard not to find some satisfaction as his web of lies is picked apart] that he only yesterday managed 9 whole innings of a charity softball game, the awkward footage could be used against him.

The New Jersey Record did excellent corruption-led reporting in March, catch it here for background. And juicy emails.

Morning Joe Schmoe Scarborough and two Republican Cohorts tried to gloss over Bridgegate Deux. Not shocking, shocking - but annoying, annoying.

As Christie heads into Bridgegate Redux, Pulaski Skyway Edition, as Laffy and Maddow are wont to advise, "Watch this space."


Lurching Right, Chris Christie Enlists for the Mythical 'War On Drugs'



Ohhhhh, Chris.

Chris 'I Know Nothing' Christie has taken the ignorance down a notch. This time:  the Evil Weed.

Is he expecting to get into a brawl with libertarian RWNJ Rand Paul, Paul the Younger? It's a Saint Reagan position, and a total throwback to the Nixon years. Clearly, The Big Guy is Running.

New Jersey only legalized medical marijuana under the last Democratic governor John Corzine in 2009, the numbers of grateful enrollees means nada to the New Guv'nah of Joisey … he has already ruled out Evil Legalization. Anything to do with upcoming primaries? You decide.

Declaring that 'low medical marijuana enrollment' by the pitiable people of New Jersey is clearly a window to the gateway of horrors that legalization 'will bring' just earned you some Regressive Asshat points. It's manure logic for starters.

"[What] There's a huge demand for is marijuana. Not medical marijuana," Christie said on his monthly radio broadcast earlier this week. "Because when we run a medically based program, you don't see the demand."


But it is one of the first hard moves toward the hard Right, the Tea-ban Fringe, that of recent decades a clear signal for Primary Participation. Guess Bridgegate was just a blip on his radar.

Alternet covered this  factually and amusingly well, so am excerpting a couple salacious quotes for your enjoyment below. Groan along with if you like.

But patients, medical marijuana advocates and lawmakers say that New Jersey’s laws are to blame for the low enrollment. They point to strict regulations, outrageous costs and few medical professional willing to write prescriptions in the state. They say Christie's lack of involvement in enhancing participation is also partially to blame for low enrollment in the program.


And now watch Christie magically shrink himself into a Teabagger.  Only earlier in 2014 on CNN,  he had told the mother of an epileptic chid that he would be sensitive to her and other parents' and patients medical cannabis needs. In just an April Town Hall in Sayerville, he implied he was open to edible medical marijuana options for those 18 years old and over

How charitable of him.  He's known for his compassion locally, I understand. {Guffaw away.}

Christie said that the medical marijuana program is not being used only to help sick patients, as it was intended, but as a political tool to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. He chided the dispensary owners: "If this was a medical program, what's everybody worried about making money for?”

"This program and all these other programs, in my mind, are a front for legalization,” he insisted.

chris christie bridge is closed

Bridgegate still has you twitchy, doesn't it? The Jimmy Fallon Dance Exhibition was a red flag, catch Laffy's witty reporting on that pitiful display at this link … once you've dragged the host of the Tonight Show through that fun cave underneath your crotch in a Doo Wop move, we assume you're planning on attending The Big Dance in 2016.

Launching a war on sick kids and those with debilitating chronic illnesses sounds about right for a GOP.Tea 2016 launch move.


Scott #Walker part of "criminal scheme;" prosecutor closing in on Chris #Christie


Mr. Toast  criminal investigations

When it rains it pours in GOP ScandalLand! Today's episode includes some ominous news for both criminal (allegedly) Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and everyone's favorite entertainer, criminal (allegedly) Gov. Chris "Who moi?" Christie of New Jersey.

Where to begin? All my salivating is distracting me, but not enough to prevent bringing you the latest.

Let's start with Scott "Who Needs a Recall When We Have a Legal Case?" Walker. Politico has the scoop:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participated in a “criminal scheme” to coordinate fundraising for Republicans trying to beat back efforts to recall him and state senators from office, local prosecutors argue in court documents released Thursday.

Walker, his chief of staff and others were involved in the coordination effort with “a number of national groups and prominent figures,” including Karl Rove, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz alleged.

“[T]he evidence shows an extensive coordination scheme that pervaded nearly every aspect of the campaign activities during the historic 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections,” Schmitz wrote in a December motion, on behalf of five attorneys from some of the state’s most liberal counties, just now unsealed by an appellate court judge.

Ruh roh!

Scotty's in a neck-and-neck race for re-election, so this may very well complicate matters for him. And don't even get me started about his shrinking chances for a 2016 presidential run. Dems are ecstatic.

Moving on to Bridgegate and poor, put-upon Gov. "Heartbroken." This reporting comes via Esquire, where the sub-headline is "Indictments against four cronies are near certain, sources say. Only question is if David Samson, Christie's longtime crony, will flip."

naked nude man covers crotch ouch

Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case. [...]

Fishman’s challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts -- the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA’s Board of Commissioners as Christie’s appointee. [...]

The question that truly matters is whether Fishman’s pursuit leads to the governor himself. Christie’s Port appointees -- not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein -- all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna... Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing.

On source said that Samson "is toast." "They’ve got him cold... He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal."

GIF happy DancingSnoopy

Both articles are must-reads, and they're relatively short, so have at it.

What was that again about 2016? Methinks we may have a twofer here. With any luck, we can show both lying, arrogant, slimeball Republican governors the door.

buh bye by Kelly Kincaid


Priests To Be Equipped With "Off Duty" Lights On Collars



Sexual abuse is no laughing matter. It's serious and it's tragic. Yet... of course there's a yet-- the legal defense of an accused offender can be somewhat laughable simply because the crime itself is inexcusable.

As an attorney, you're often charged with defending the indefensible, because the laws of this land provide that all defendants deserve the right to capable defensive representatives. (the Sixth Amendment & the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case).  And counsel is only limited by their imaginations, at least if the lawyers for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey are to be taken seriously.

They attempted to get a sex abuse case dropped against the church because, as they claim, they should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Personally, I wasn't aware that being a man of the cloth, working for God, was a part time job. Evidently, these holy men are officially on the job only when their "on duty" light is illuminated. From The Raw Story:

Lawyers claim the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Chris Naples claimed Rev. Terence McAlinden, who once headed the diocese’s youth group, sexually abused him during church-sponsored trips to Delaware in the 1980s.

Just as an aside, that means the the good Reverend escorted a minor across state lines for the purposes of having sex with him. Ever hear of the Mann Act a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose?" I guess Chris Naples being an underage boy and not a girl meant that law didn't apply here. Or maybe it's because no money changed hands here, huh?

But diocese lawyers told the Delaware Supreme Court that [Rev. Terence] McAlinden was not officially on duty when the abuse took place.

“You can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example,” the attorney argued. “A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

And guess what? This defense seems to have worked.

Delaware courts ruled Naples did not have jurisdiction to sue the diocese in that state because he couldn’t prove the trips were church sanctioned, but he did win a $3 million judgment in that state against McAlinden.

Ask yourself this: If these trips weren't church sanctioned, what was Rev. McAlinden doing  as a chaperon on them?

The argument here indicates that if a priest does something wrong, even if it's on a church sponsored trip, the church is not responsible.

Delaware has now coined the phrase, "A priest ain't on the clock if he's playing with an little boy's c***."

During that time, because he's doing something wrong, he's not a priest or part of the diocese. He's just an average Joe. Ergo, the church isn't responsible. So says the Delaware Supreme Court.

This seems a bit specious to me.

priests collar

Is it time for Pope Francis to mandate new collars for Catholic priests? The new one's must come equipped with more than just a white block in the front. They need to  have "good bookend" lights on them, one green and one red, indicating when they're on duty and when their off. Though I thought that when you took your vows to become a priest, you were tied to God on a full-time basis, but I guess I was mistaken.

Once the warning lights are installed, we'll all know who we can rely upon in time of spiritual need.


Another sweetheart deal: Donor "has complete access to #Christie, gets whatever he wants”


sweetheart deal

Another day, another sweetheart deal between New Jersey Governor Chris "Who Moi?" Christie and one of his wealthy BFFs. This time it appears that the rules were changed only a couple of months before a land deal could be deemed eligible for funding. Guess who benefited? If you said a Christie crony, you would be correct.

Via The Guardian:

Chris Christie’s New Jersey administration awarded a $105.6m public subsidy to a property venture involving a close friend and financial backer of the governor, after state law was amended to enable the project to qualify for the money.

The venture, in one of the state’s poorest cities, appears potentially lucrative for the friend, Jon Hanson, a wealthy real estate tycoon who headed the fundraising operations for Christie's election campaigns, chairs a policy commission for the governor, and is a longstanding Republican donor. [...]

The site is located outside a city zone in which businesses were originally eligible for the state funding program. It did not appear to meet the usual requirements for creating jobs and future tax revenues that were placed on other projects that were seeking the funding. Yet a series of amendments were made to New Jersey law that made funding easier to obtain... Paterson’s mayor, Jeffery Jones, said he was concerned that Hanson’s firm, The Hampshire Companies, may have received a “special sweetheart deal”. He said: “Somebody wanted this thing done, and they got it done.”[...]

He has complete access to the governor,” another property mogul told the publication. “He just gets whatever he wants.

Per the Guardian, one of the EDA’s (economic development authority) board members is Hanson’s son-in-law and a senior executive at The Hampshire Companies. So is his wife, Deborah. She's Hanson’s daughter.

One hand washes the other, yet none are clean. Funny that.

More here. The last line is amusing.