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#202 Feb 03 2014 at 6:36 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Why on earth would you start with the road crew? Unless your contention is that rogue road crews are roaming around, shutting down lanes in some maverick fashion, you're just wasting time there. You already have a record who who told them where to go via the Port Authority and you already have senior people from the Port Authority implicating the governor's office.


Um... Because there are a number of levels of employees between the guys in the orange vests and the senior levels of the Port Authority. You get that they don't directly tell the road crews what to do, right? The senior level involvement probably went no more into detail than "there's some traffic study that these folks over there want. Go find out what they need, and construct a study to get the data that's needed". Seriously. We're talking 100k foot level here. My assumption is that this David Wildstein guy was never more involved in the planning than that, and probably was never actually in a meeting with the people who actually decided what lanes to close and when.

Edited, Feb 3rd 2014 4:37pm by gbaji
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#203 Feb 03 2014 at 7:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Why on earth would you start with the road crew? Unless your contention is that rogue road crews are roaming around, shutting down lanes in some maverick fashion, you're just wasting time there. You already have a record who who told them where to go via the Port Authority and you already have senior people from the Port Authority implicating the governor's office.


Um... Because there are a number of levels of employees between the guys in the orange vests and the senior levels of the Port Authority. You get that they don't directly tell the road crews what to do, right?

As adorable as it would be to listen to you lecture on construction management*, I'll just restate that we already have statements (and likely incoming testimony) from the decision-making levels of the organization.

*I'm reminded of you lecturing me about urban zoning and construction permitting. Which was made even more precious by your temper tantrum when people didn't just accept you as an authority on how ISPs and internet traffic worked.
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#204 Feb 03 2014 at 7:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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So it seems that Bridget Kelly, the charming lady who instructed the Port Authority "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee", has invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and will not be cooperating with the subpoena for documents surrounding the closure.
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#205 Feb 03 2014 at 7:56 PM Rating: Good
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The study that was approved had no mention of lane closures. It was for traffic cameras, which were installed prior to the email Kelley sent to Wildstein.

Edited, Feb 3rd 2014 9:00pm by Catwho
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#206 Feb 03 2014 at 8:10 PM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Why on earth would you start with the road crew? Unless your contention is that rogue road crews are roaming around, shutting down lanes in some maverick fashion, you're just wasting time there. You already have a record who who told them where to go via the Port Authority and you already have senior people from the Port Authority implicating the governor's office.


Um... Because there are a number of levels of employees between the guys in the orange vests and the senior levels of the Port Authority. You get that they don't directly tell the road crews what to do, right? The senior level involvement probably went no more into detail than "there's some traffic study that these folks over there want. Go find out what they need, and construct a study to get the data that's needed". Seriously. We're talking 100k foot level here. My assumption is that this David Wildstein guy was never more involved in the planning than that, and probably was never actually in a meeting with the people who actually decided what lanes to close and when.

Edited, Feb 3rd 2014 4:37pm by gbaji


That is not an unreasonable line of defense. However, it does not really apply here. Christie is, well, known for being hands on kinda guy. I personally use the word micromanager. Many people find it rather hard to believe that, especially, he did not know, and that he was not actively involved.
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#207 Feb 03 2014 at 8:46 PM Rating: Default
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Catwho wrote:
The study that was approved had no mention of lane closures. It was for traffic cameras, which were installed prior to the email Kelley sent to Wildstein.


Then who put folks with orange vests and cones out to close those lanes? You don't actually think that Wildstein personally called up a few work crews and told them to close those lanes do you? So there were other people involved with the decision making process. People who had much greater understanding of traffic flow and whatnot than Wildstein. People who's jobs are to do things like organize freeway work and lane closures of all sorts. People who are not Wildstein.

Get it? This idea that it was him and some staff member working for the Governor is laughable.
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#208 Feb 03 2014 at 9:04 PM Rating: Default
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angrymnk wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Um... Because there are a number of levels of employees between the guys in the orange vests and the senior levels of the Port Authority. You get that they don't directly tell the road crews what to do, right? The senior level involvement probably went no more into detail than "there's some traffic study that these folks over there want. Go find out what they need, and construct a study to get the data that's needed". Seriously. We're talking 100k foot level here. My assumption is that this David Wildstein guy was never more involved in the planning than that, and probably was never actually in a meeting with the people who actually decided what lanes to close and when.


That is not an unreasonable line of defense. However, it does not really apply here. Christie is, well, known for being hands on kinda guy. I personally use the word micromanager. Many people find it rather hard to believe that, especially, he did not know, and that he was not actively involved.


Sure. But "hands on" from a political perspective doesn't really equate to "show up at a traffic/road planning meeting and tell them which roads to close and when". It's just such a strange leap to make. Hands on in that context means sending some mid level person who's in charge of that planning meeting emails saying "we really want to move forward with that traffic study". That guy then goes to the meeting and says "they really want us to move forward with that traffic study". Then he hands it off to the 8 guys in the room who work for him and are experts on traffic management and who's jobs are planning how to schedule closures in order to minimize traffic impact, and they figure out how to conduct the study. Then they go into sub meetings where they meet with the crew chiefs to discuss the proposed work, and go over the details of how, when, why, etc. Then those guys meet with their actual crews, set up assignments, formalize their schedules, etc.

The point is that before a single crew showed up with their cones and orange vests, several levels of "experts" on traffic work were involved with these planned lane closures and signed off on them. Even if we presume that Wildstein personally requested that they close lanes X, Y, and Z on a range of specific days and times (which we still have zero evidence of btw), between him asking for that to be done, and the guys in the vests actually doing it are a whole list of people who should have raised some kind of red flag if they even suspected that there was something unusual about the request, or it didn't match the stated need/purpose of some project, or whatever. Let's not forget that these are public workers in one of the more "static" fields (traffic work) personnel wise. So the odds that you could get a politically motivated "gotcha" through is pretty close to zero. Is anyone seriously trying to suggest that a whole bunch of mid level traffic workers were all on board with a political payback scheme against Democrats? Really?


I just find it far more likely that they just made some jokes in poor taste about the impact of the traffic closures, and their political enemies jumped on it as a way to attack Christie. So far, I just don't see the dots that connect between the closures themselves and the claim of political payback.
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#209 Feb 03 2014 at 9:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
I'm just not seeing it.
[...]
I'm not seeing the dots in between though.
[...]
I really honestly don't see that.
Truly shocking revelations.
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#210 Feb 03 2014 at 9:23 PM Rating: Decent
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gbaji wrote:
angrymnk wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Um... Because there are a number of levels of employees between the guys in the orange vests and the senior levels of the Port Authority. You get that they don't directly tell the road crews what to do, right? The senior level involvement probably went no more into detail than "there's some traffic study that these folks over there want. Go find out what they need, and construct a study to get the data that's needed". Seriously. We're talking 100k foot level here. My assumption is that this David Wildstein guy was never more involved in the planning than that, and probably was never actually in a meeting with the people who actually decided what lanes to close and when.


That is not an unreasonable line of defense. However, it does not really apply here. Christie is, well, known for being hands on kinda guy. I personally use the word micromanager. Many people find it rather hard to believe that, especially, he did not know, and that he was not actively involved.


Sure. But "hands on" from a political perspective doesn't really equate to "show up at a traffic/road planning meeting and tell them which roads to close and when". It's just such a strange leap to make. Hands on in that context means sending some mid level person who's in charge of that planning meeting emails saying "we really want to move forward with that traffic study". That guy then goes to the meeting and says "they really want us to move forward with that traffic study". Then he hands it off to the 8 guys in the room who work for him and are experts on traffic management and who's jobs are planning how to schedule closures in order to minimize traffic impact, and they figure out how to conduct the study. Then they go into sub meetings where they meet with the crew chiefs to discuss the proposed work, and go over the details of how, when, why, etc. Then those guys meet with their actual crews, set up assignments, formalize their schedules, etc.

The point is that before a single crew showed up with their cones and orange vests, several levels of "experts" on traffic work were involved with these planned lane closures and signed off on them. Even if we presume that Wildstein personally requested that they close lanes X, Y, and Z on a range of specific days and times (which we still have zero evidence of btw), between him asking for that to be done, and the guys in the vests actually doing it are a whole list of people who should have raised some kind of red flag if they even suspected that there was something unusual about the request, or it didn't match the stated need/purpose of some project, or whatever. Let's not forget that these are public workers in one of the more "static" fields (traffic work) personnel wise. So the odds that you could get a politically motivated "gotcha" through is pretty close to zero. Is anyone seriously trying to suggest that a whole bunch of mid level traffic workers were all on board with a political payback scheme against Democrats? Really?


I just find it far more likely that they just made some jokes in poor taste about the impact of the traffic closures, and their political enemies jumped on it as a way to attack Christie. So far, I just don't see the dots that connect between the closures themselves and the claim of political payback.


Weird, usually you can see the dots where there aren't any. So you think it is impossible, because Christie is way too high up to engage in some petty political payback.

Oh, your face will be so red when it turns out that he wasn't too high for that after all.


Personally, I gave him the benefit of the doubt until mr. W started to talk. As it stands right now, if you don't see it, you are wilfully blind. That is ok though, we all want to believe in something. Why not Christie?
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#211 Feb 03 2014 at 9:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Catwho wrote:
The study that was approved had no mention of lane closures. It was for traffic cameras, which were installed prior to the email Kelley sent to Wildstein.


Then who put folks with orange vests and cones out to close those lanes? You don't actually think that Wildstein personally called up a few work crews and told them to close those lanes do you? So there were other people involved with the decision making process. People who had much greater understanding of traffic flow and whatnot than Wildstein. People who's jobs are to do things like organize freeway work and lane closures of all sorts. People who are not Wildstein.

Get it? This idea that it was him and some staff member working for the Governor is laughable.


Actually, it's pretty much what happened. All the people who are, per the regulations of New Jersey and New York, supposed to be informed about this kind of thing, were not so informed ahead of time. That's why everyone freaked out. That's why people started digging all the way back in September immediately after it happened. It didn't grow legs until the FOAI dug out the emails indicating that people who claimed ignorance of the whole thing actually knew (e.g. people in Christie's office.)

Christie's only line of defense for himself has been, to this point, that his staff didn't tell him about it until after the lanes were re-opened. (I guess he doesn't listen to traffic reports or the news.) No emails directly implicate Christie.

But now that half his staff has resigned and been subpoenaed and he's thrown them under the bus, speculation is whether or not they're going to say he was the instigator or try to protect him til the end.

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#212 Feb 03 2014 at 9:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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Christie's office was served with a federal subpoena.

Quick, someone tell the US Attorney that they should be talking to Traffic Cone Larry instead!
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#213 Feb 03 2014 at 9:47 PM Rating: Default
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angrymnk wrote:
Weird, usually you can see the dots where there aren't any. So you think it is impossible, because Christie is way too high up to engage in some petty political payback.


No. I don't think it's impossible. I just think that the investigation has skipped past the whole "did someone actually do something wrong?" part and right to the "find the person responsible!" part.

Quote:
Oh, your face will be so red when it turns out that he wasn't too high for that after all.


Sure. And if it turns out that those lanes really were closed in some kind of bizarre political revenge scheme, committed by members of the governors staff, I'll freely admit that I was wrong and I apparently have no clue how stupid and petty folks in NJ are. And if the governor himself is involved, I'll also freely admit that he's a heavy handed **** hat, and boy are people stupid and vindictive in Jersey.

But I'm the person who looked at the Plame scandal on day one and predicted that it would turn out that no laws were broken, and no one really outed anyone, but they'd find someone in the white house to nail for perjury or some other such silly charge. And that's exactly what happened.

For the record? That is what a real "phoney scandal" looks like. Now, It's possible that I'm wrong. But if this goes anything like most of the trumped up phoney scandals the left has cooked up go, the "investigation" will mostly involve a couple years of innuendo and cleverly leaked statements designed to be most damaging to the GOP victims involved. They'll keep going over records and testimony until they find someone (or multiple someone's) who lied about something somewhere, even if it's completely unrelated to the original scandal. And then, after enough time has gone by, and most people have forgotten what the original thing was about and are primed to accept a half loaf result, they'll quietly conclude with facts that don't match the original claims, but it wont matter because they'll have trashed several people's careers along the way and gotten a couple years of media cycles where they get to rehash the old "corrupt republicans" meme.

But hey. I could be wrong. Never know.


Quote:
Personally, I gave him the benefit of the doubt until mr. W started to talk. As it stands right now, if you don't see it, you are wilfully blind. That is ok though, we all want to believe in something. Why not Christie?


Who? Seriously. I really don't care that much, nor do I even know who most of these people are. It's just that I've been watching this thing unfold nationally for a month or so now, and every time I read or hear someone talk about it, they skip right from "lanes were closed" to "who knew the lanes were going to be closed" and I've yet to have anyone really explain how merely knowing that some lanes were going to be closed equates to being in on some kind of plot.

I guessing that hundreds of people knew that those lanes were going to be closed. Were they all in on it? Or just the people working for and politically aligned with Christie? Doesn't that seem suspiciously selective? Again, look hard enough at anyone and you'll find something that can be viewed as "suspicious". The issue with a lot of these scandals isn't about what was done by whom, but who the folks investigating decide to focus on. If the Plame scandal had focused on the meeting she had and traced who knew about her from there, they would have arrived at Armitage almost immediately. But instead, they started with the theory that the white house outted her as payback for her husbands Op Eds. Therefore, they focused only on who in the white house knew about her and might have leaked it.

Same deal here. They're starting with the conspiracy theory (they did it to get back at their political enemies) and thus focusing only on looking at people who knew or were involved, and who might be in on such a conspiracy. They should be starting with the work that was done, then looking at who signed off on it. Then looking at who met with those who signed off on it. And then looking at who gave direction to those who were in the meetings with those who signed off on it. I suspect that once you do that, you'll find that there really was a planned traffic study, and someone deep in the bowels of whatever agency in NJ handles traffic issues decided that blocking off selected lanes would give them more/better data, and a bunch of other people, most not involved with the governors office or party in any direct way, all thought it was a good idea as well, and thus it got authorized.

Starting with the top and looking only at people in the governor's circle who knew about it is a really skewed way of doing things if you actually want to find out what happened and why. It's a great way of doing things if your objective is to create a scandal that will damage governor Christie.
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#214 Feb 03 2014 at 9:59 PM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
angrymnk wrote:
Weird, usually you can see the dots where there aren't any. So you think it is impossible, because Christie is way too high up to engage in some petty political payback.


No. I don't think it's impossible. I just think that the investigation has skipped past the whole "did someone actually do something wrong?" part and right to the "find the person responsible!" part.

Quote:
Oh, your face will be so red when it turns out that he wasn't too high for that after all.


Sure. And if it turns out that those lanes really were closed in some kind of bizarre political revenge scheme, committed by members of the governors staff, I'll freely admit that I was wrong and I apparently have no clue how stupid and petty folks in NJ are. And if the governor himself is involved, I'll also freely admit that he's a heavy handed **** hat, and boy are people stupid and vindictive in Jersey.

But I'm the person who looked at the Plame scandal on day one and predicted that it would turn out that no laws were broken, and no one really outed anyone, but they'd find someone in the white house to nail for perjury or some other such silly charge. And that's exactly what happened.

For the record? That is what a real "phoney scandal" looks like. Now, It's possible that I'm wrong. But if this goes anything like most of the trumped up phoney scandals the left has cooked up go, the "investigation" will mostly involve a couple years of innuendo and cleverly leaked statements designed to be most damaging to the GOP victims involved. They'll keep going over records and testimony until they find someone (or multiple someone's) who lied about something somewhere, even if it's completely unrelated to the original scandal. And then, after enough time has gone by, and most people have forgotten what the original thing was about and are primed to accept a half loaf result, they'll quietly conclude with facts that don't match the original claims, but it wont matter because they'll have trashed several people's careers along the way and gotten a couple years of media cycles where they get to rehash the old "corrupt republicans" meme.

But hey. I could be wrong. Never know.


Quote:
Personally, I gave him the benefit of the doubt until mr. W started to talk. As it stands right now, if you don't see it, you are wilfully blind. That is ok though, we all want to believe in something. Why not Christie?


Who? Seriously. I really don't care that much, nor do I even know who most of these people are. It's just that I've been watching this thing unfold nationally for a month or so now, and every time I read or hear someone talk about it, they skip right from "lanes were closed" to "who knew the lanes were going to be closed" and I've yet to have anyone really explain how merely knowing that some lanes were going to be closed equates to being in on some kind of plot.

I guessing that hundreds of people knew that those lanes were going to be closed. Were they all in on it? Or just the people working for and politically aligned with Christie? Doesn't that seem suspiciously selective? Again, look hard enough at anyone and you'll find something that can be viewed as "suspicious". The issue with a lot of these scandals isn't about what was done by whom, but who the folks investigating decide to focus on. If the Plame scandal had focused on the meeting she had and traced who knew about her from there, they would have arrived at Armitage almost immediately. But instead, they started with the theory that the white house outted her as payback for her husbands Op Eds. Therefore, they focused only on who in the white house knew about her and might have leaked it.

Same deal here. They're starting with the conspiracy theory (they did it to get back at their political enemies) and thus focusing only on looking at people who knew or were involved, and who might be in on such a conspiracy. They should be starting with the work that was done, then looking at who signed off on it. Then looking at who met with those who signed off on it. And then looking at who gave direction to those who were in the meetings with those who signed off on it. I suspect that once you do that, you'll find that there really was a planned traffic study, and someone deep in the bowels of whatever agency in NJ handles traffic issues decided that blocking off selected lanes would give them more/better data, and a bunch of other people, most not involved with the governors office or party in any direct way, all thought it was a good idea as well, and thus it got authorized.

Starting with the top and looking only at people in the governor's circle who knew about it is a really skewed way of doing things if you actually want to find out what happened and why. It's a great way of doing things if your objective is to create a scandal that will damage governor Christie.


It is not completely outside the realm of possibility; I can give you that much. Calling it a fake scandal is a reach. Calling it a conspiracy theory is amusing.

I guess the question is, do you believe in the traffic study explanation?
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#215 Feb 03 2014 at 10:01 PM Rating: Default
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Catwho wrote:
Actually, it's pretty much what happened. All the people who are, per the regulations of New Jersey and New York, supposed to be informed about this kind of thing, were not so informed ahead of time. That's why everyone freaked out. That's why people started digging all the way back in September immediately after it happened. It didn't grow legs until the FOAI dug out the emails indicating that people who claimed ignorance of the whole thing actually knew (e.g. people in Christie's office.)


A FOIA request by a left leaning media outlet that looked only at emails of people connected with Christie. You don't see the problem with that?


And you're believing the whole "normal channels weren't followed" bit? Look. Someone (multiple someone's) screwed up. Big time. And that someone is unlikely to step forward and say "Yeah. We were complete idiots who didn't realize how much problem this would cause". And if the media folks scrutinize the governors staff instead of the folks who were actually involved, you think they're not just going to stay quiet and thank their lucky stars that politics is more important than the truth? Yeah. Sure.

People freaked out. Then the people who should have been on top of this sort of thing, but screwed up, looked for someone to take the fall.

I'll point out again that Wildstein can't order a crew to shut down a lane. Someone else, several someone elses, at several organizational levels between him and the crews had to both known and agreed to do it. If the correct signs off processes were not followed, then the question should be "why the **** did a road crew close those lanes without proper authorization?". And you trace the issue upwards from there. Saying "normal regulations weren't followed' is a cop out. Someone told the crews to do that. Someone told that person to tell them. Someone else told that person. Etc... Skipping all those steps and blaming Wildstein is insane.

Quote:
Christie's only line of defense for himself has been, to this point, that his staff didn't tell him about it until after the lanes were re-opened. (I guess he doesn't listen to traffic reports or the news.) No emails directly implicate Christie.

But now that half his staff has resigned and been subpoenaed and he's thrown them under the bus, speculation is whether or not they're going to say he was the instigator or try to protect him til the end.


You're operating under the assumption that the conspiracy theory is true. Consider that it's not, and this whole thing is an exercise in constructed scandal. Who gains? It's strange that you have no problem accepting the idea that people would engage in what has to be the stupidest political payback scheme in the history of the universe, yet managed to pull it off despite having no direct authority to do so, and apparently with no record of them actually giving any orders to anyone involved in the lane closures at all, but you can't muster up the imagination to think that maybe someone just decided to take advantage of a traffic **** up to go on a fishing expedition against the governors office?

Examine any group of people close enough and long enough, and you'll find someone who did or said something that can be made to look suspicious. The first rule of a scandal is to point the investigation at the people you want to hurt. Hence my suspicion at a scandal that seems to have been created in the news media by choosing to look only at the governors people rather than tracking the people who actually did the work.
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#216 Feb 03 2014 at 10:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
But I'm the person who looked at the Plame scandal on day one and predicted that it would turn out that no laws were broken, and no one really outed anyone, but they'd find someone in the white house to nail for perjury or some other such silly charge. And that's exactly what happened.

It's true. The Bush-led CIA asked the Bush-led Department of Justice to have Bush cabinet member Attorney General John Ashcroft push the case to the Bush-led U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel and have the Republican nominated Patrick Fitzgerald investigate and convene a Grand Jury because... desire to pin the White House for perjury! And Gbaji knew it first!

Smiley: tinfoilhat
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#217 Feb 03 2014 at 10:26 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Sure. And if it turns out that those lanes really were closed in some kind of bizarre political revenge scheme, committed by members of the governors staff, I'll freely admit that I was wrong and I apparently have no clue how stupid and petty folks in NJ are. And if the governor himself is involved, I'll also freely admit that he's a heavy handed **** hat, and boy are people stupid and vindictive in Jersey.

Considering you're from the Wrong Coast I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but New Jersey in general is stupid, petty and vindictive.
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#218 Feb 03 2014 at 10:28 PM Rating: Default
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angrymnk wrote:
It is not completely outside the realm of possibility; I can give you that much. Calling it a fake scandal is a reach. Calling it a conspiracy theory is amusing.


The theory that the traffic was shut down as a means of enacting some kind of political payback or punishment does kinda meet the criteria, doesn't it? I mean, there's zero evidence of it. None at all. Yet, despite the utter lack of any evidence of that as a motivation, the entire investigation is moving forward based on the assumption that it is true. Think about that.

I'll say again that if this was really about figuring out how the lane closures happened, they should start with the actual lane closures and follow the approval trail. It's impossible that crews just showed up and closed off lanes without someone authorized to instruct them to do that doing so. And if that person did so without proper authorization, then he's to blame. If he had authorization, then you look at who authorized that person and if he followed the proper processes. Repeat this process and at some point you'll either conclude that the lane closures were properly authorized and that the whole thing, while stupid, was not the result of any sort of evil plot *or* you'll find someone at some level who didn't follow the proper procedures and authorized something he wasn't supposed to.

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I guess the question is, do you believe in the traffic study explanation?


Given that I have yet to find any actual solid direct facts refuting it, then why not? I guess what really bugs me about this, is that I keep finding people "out there" who repeat the claim that the study wasn't supposed to close lanes and that <some magic happened> which caused lanes to be closed anyway, but I can't actually find any source confirming this or explaining how it did come to be that those lanes were closed. It's like that one really critical piece of data is just missing and we jump instead to "OMG! A couple people who know Christie sent emails talking about the lane closures!". Um... Ok. Who ordered them? Who approved them? What chain of people were involved in those lanes being closed? Those are kinda important questions, right?


I guess also what I find really strange is that even if we assume that Wildstein did order the lane closures (whether for political payback or because he's just an idiot), it does not explain how his idea to close those lanes traveled from him to the crews and apparently bypassed every other person in between who presumably should have been both knowledgeable and empowered to say "that's a really dumb idea, how about we not?". So even if he came up with a really stupid idea to punish people by closing down traffic lanes (hey. Some people tweet out pictures of their junk, so who knows?), how the **** did it get through all the layers of people who should have known better? They can't all have been in on it, right? So if a bunch of people, who presumably were not "in on it", thought it was an ok idea, then how can we assume that he can't have thought it was ok too.

Remember that the entire "conspiracy" basically rests on the assumption that this lane closure was such an incredibly stupid, useless, and unnecessary thing, that no one could possibly have thought of doing it (or oking it) for legitimate reasons. Thus, it *must* have been done deliberately for some nefarious reason. Cause that's the only logical explanation, right? Frankly, I think people are grossly overestimating the cleverness of people who engage in political payback and grossly underestimating the ability of people (especially organizations) to make really really stupid decisions.


I think that this was just another example of a terrible idea that should not have happened, but did, and some folks taking advantage of that to point the finger of blame at some convenient political targets. There's just way too much smoke, and a suspicious lack of fire here. Sure. We know the lanes were closed, but why so little actual information about the closures themselves, but so much focus on what the governors staff knew about it? I just think we should follow the authorization trail first instead of just looking at selective people.
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#219 Feb 04 2014 at 3:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
I mean, there's zero evidence of it. None at all. Yet, despite the utter lack of any evidence of that as a motivation, the entire investigation is moving forward based on the assumption that it is true.
Besides all of the evidence you've hand waved away as your "just not seeing it," you mean.
gbaji wrote:
Think about that.
Republican. gbaji to the rescue by repeating what he heard on the news. Not nearly as much to think about as you would hope. Kind of pedestrian, really.
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Gbaji wrote:
Highly unlikely that he would have even come close to being the nominee. I've never been a huge fan of Christie, but I get why people like him. He's got a strong "tell it like it is" persona, that people tend to like in a politician (in theory anyway). In reality, that sort of politics ends out getting you bounced out of national level runs because it's something that sounds great in principle, but makes it terrifically easy for the opposition to turn against you. There are far too many different groups that can be **** off by that sort of political approach.

Um... And at the risk of injecting something which maybe shouldn't matter. He's fat. Not "a little on the heavy side", but actually medically obese. We can all stand here and say it shouldn't affect his chances, but if we're honest we all know that alone costs him like 10 points in any national election (at least). People like their leaders healthy and strong. Fair or not, an obese person is assumed to have a lack of self control. And if he can't be trusted to keep his sweaty mitts off the dessert tray, how can we trust him with the nuclear **** of the worlds largest military?
The key word is "reluctantly". If he is the only person leading HRC in the polls, taking votes from groups that others can't imagine, it would be silly not to nominate him.

Gbaji wrote:
Having said all of that, I have to admit that I'm honestly still confused about what the **** this whole scandal is actually about. I get that there were lanes closed that caused a big massive traffic jam. And I get that there were people who "knew about it" (which seems kinda "duh", since someone had to actually authorize it and send crews to do it). What I don't get, and haven't yet really heard a satisfactory explanation to is how we go from those facts to "The governors staff deliberately closed the lanes to create a traffic jam to <insert fuzzy logic here> harm some Mayor from the other party".

It just seems like a strange leap to make, yet, all the coverage and "investigation" seems to be focusing on whether various people in the governors staff knew about the closures, and not into the motivation and reasoning behind the closures themselves. I mean, I'm assuming the governor's staff weren't actually standing on the freeway with cones and orange vests themselves, right? So there had to be coordination with a whole set of different organizations which actually have direct control over things like freeway lane closures. So shouldn't we be looking at that process instead of going on a witch hunt through the governors office?


It would seem like minutes of meetings with whatever groups actually did the closures might yield more information as to why they happened and whether those reasons were legitimate, right? I mean, do we actually have anything other than wild speculation to suggest that this was actually some kind of political payback thing?
Given that I'm late, I wont reiterate what has already been said. However, I will say that a bunch of people don't resign and plead the 5th if they are innocent of any wrong doing.
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#221 Feb 04 2014 at 7:19 AM Rating: Default
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gbaji wrote:
angrymnk wrote:
It is not completely outside the realm of possibility; I can give you that much. Calling it a fake scandal is a reach. Calling it a conspiracy theory is amusing.


The theory that the traffic was shut down as a means of enacting some kind of political payback or punishment does kinda meet the criteria, doesn't it? I mean, there's zero evidence of it. None at all. Yet, despite the utter lack of any evidence of that as a motivation, the entire investigation is moving forward based on the assumption that it is true. Think about that.

I'll say again that if this was really about figuring out how the lane closures happened, they should start with the actual lane closures and follow the approval trail. It's impossible that crews just showed up and closed off lanes without someone authorized to instruct them to do that doing so. And if that person did so without proper authorization, then he's to blame. If he had authorization, then you look at who authorized that person and if he followed the proper processes. Repeat this process and at some point you'll either conclude that the lane closures were properly authorized and that the whole thing, while stupid, was not the result of any sort of evil plot *or* you'll find someone at some level who didn't follow the proper procedures and authorized something he wasn't supposed to.

Quote:
I guess the question is, do you believe in the traffic study explanation?


Given that I have yet to find any actual solid direct facts refuting it, then why not? I guess what really bugs me about this, is that I keep finding people "out there" who repeat the claim that the study wasn't supposed to close lanes and that <some magic happened> which caused lanes to be closed anyway, but I can't actually find any source confirming this or explaining how it did come to be that those lanes were closed. It's like that one really critical piece of data is just missing and we jump instead to "OMG! A couple people who know Christie sent emails talking about the lane closures!". Um... Ok. Who ordered them? Who approved them? What chain of people were involved in those lanes being closed? Those are kinda important questions, right?


I guess also what I find really strange is that even if we assume that Wildstein did order the lane closures (whether for political payback or because he's just an idiot), it does not explain how his idea to close those lanes traveled from him to the crews and apparently bypassed every other person in between who presumably should have been both knowledgeable and empowered to say "that's a really dumb idea, how about we not?". So even if he came up with a really stupid idea to punish people by closing down traffic lanes (hey. Some people tweet out pictures of their junk, so who knows?), how the **** did it get through all the layers of people who should have known better? They can't all have been in on it, right? So if a bunch of people, who presumably were not "in on it", thought it was an ok idea, then how can we assume that he can't have thought it was ok too.

Remember that the entire "conspiracy" basically rests on the assumption that this lane closure was such an incredibly stupid, useless, and unnecessary thing, that no one could possibly have thought of doing it (or oking it) for legitimate reasons. Thus, it *must* have been done deliberately for some nefarious reason. Cause that's the only logical explanation, right? Frankly, I think people are grossly overestimating the cleverness of people who engage in political payback and grossly underestimating the ability of people (especially organizations) to make really really stupid decisions.


I think that this was just another example of a terrible idea that should not have happened, but did, and some folks taking advantage of that to point the finger of blame at some convenient political targets. There's just way too much smoke, and a suspicious lack of fire here. Sure. We know the lanes were closed, but why so little actual information about the closures themselves, but so much focus on what the governors staff knew about it? I just think we should follow the authorization trail first instead of just looking at selective people.


Hmm, ok, funny that we didn't see the proposed project documentation for the study; related study documents were, apparently, not even recovered by the right leaning media. I will mention that it would appear that few studies are done by actually blocking stuff ( and done without heads up ).

Food for thought,
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#222 Feb 04 2014 at 7:37 AM Rating: Good
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But I'm the person who looked at the Plame scandal on day one and predicted that it would turn out that no laws were broken, and no one really outed anyone, but they'd find someone in the white house to nail for perjury or some other such silly charge. And that's exactly what happened.

Nope. Exciting retcon, not at all what you claimed at the time.
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#223 Feb 04 2014 at 8:11 PM Rating: Default
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I mean, there's zero evidence of it. None at all. Yet, despite the utter lack of any evidence of that as a motivation, the entire investigation is moving forward based on the assumption that it is true.
Besides all of the evidence you've hand waved away as your "just not seeing it," you mean.


What evidence? The quotes from the emails do not even show that either Wildstein or Kelly was responsible for making the lane closures happen, much less give us any reason to make any assumption about the motivation behind said lane closures. They only show that they knew they were going to happen. Great. So they and presumably several hundred other people all knew that these lane closures were going to happen. That means nothing.


You're starting with what you want to believe happened and then looking only at things that are consistent with that starting point. So what? Lots of things are consistent with that assumption. But they're also consistent with any of a dozen other more likely explanations.

When you hear hoofbeats behind you, you don't assume it's a zebra.

Quote:
Republican. gbaji to the rescue by repeating what he heard on the news.


You know, the whole "you're just parroting what you heard" bit is really old and tired. Doubly so in this case, where the issue is that I'm not hearing anything on the news about this. I'm specifically commenting on what I see as big gaping holes in the information about this case in the media. I've been trying to find that information, but it's just not there. And that makes me think that there's something bogus about the scandal. There's just too many people saying "This was done for political payback", but aside from people saying that over and over, I can't find anything that actually supports that idea.

If I just wrote down all the facts we have about this, and presented it to someone who hadn't heard anything about this before, they would never in a million years conclude that there was a plot by the governors office/staff/whatever to block lanes to punish their political enemies. You only think that because a bunch of people in the media keep speculating that that happened. Take away their speculative editorializing and there's no reason to think that. We're talking cart before the horse, big time.
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#224 Feb 04 2014 at 8:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't know how many times I have to say this but NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

Aside from the foreman of the road crew and the road crew itself, who was ordered to do it by Wildstein.
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#225 Feb 04 2014 at 8:22 PM Rating: Decent
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Catwho wrote:
I don't know how many times I have to say this but NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

Aside from the foreman of the road crew and the road crew itself, who was ordered to do it by Wildstein.


Don't yell at him. It will only scare him. What I found helpful is to slowly nudge him towards the answer.

Does it take long. Good God yes, but I did not see anything else work.
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#226 Feb 04 2014 at 9:29 PM Rating: Decent
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Smasharoo wrote:
But I'm the person who looked at the Plame scandal on day one and predicted that it would turn out that no laws were broken, and no one really outed anyone, but they'd find someone in the white house to nail for perjury or some other such silly charge. And that's exactly what happened.

Nope. Exciting retcon, not at all what you claimed at the time.


Sigh... It's like you forgot that we have a record of past posts

Quote:
Which is why my original statement was that I think most people will be surprised by the result. I really do think that the end of this investigation will be that Plame and the CIA did not take the correct steps to ensure her employment was protected, and ultimately that resulted in multiple "leaks" of her identity.

I don't think they'll ever find any evidence that Rove, Libby, or any other White House staffer, or State Department employee knowingly revealed a "secret" agent (since apparently no one knew her status was that "secret" to begin with). I think that they will find some bogus obstruction charges to file against a few people just to make it look like they got some value out of the investigation though.


It's like I'm freaking Nostradamus!
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#227 Feb 04 2014 at 9:31 PM Rating: Default
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Catwho wrote:
I don't know how many times I have to say this but NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

Aside from the foreman of the road crew and the road crew itself, who was ordered to do it by Wildstein.


Source for this?
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#228 Feb 04 2014 at 9:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
You know, the whole "you're just parroting what you heard" bit is really old and tired.
Yet you refuse to stop doing it.
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#229 Feb 04 2014 at 10:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Quote:
I think that they will find some bogus obstruction charges
It's like I'm freaking Nostradamus!

So "bogus" that a grand jury indicted Libby on five felony counts and another jury convicted him on four of those counts. And even Bush only commuted the prison sentence and left Libby with the felony record.

Edited, Feb 4th 2014 10:01pm by Jophiel
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gbaji wrote:
Catwho wrote:
I don't know how many times I have to say this but NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

Aside from the foreman of the road crew and the road crew itself, who was ordered to do it by Wildstein.


Source for this?


It was in the timeline link I posted a few threads up.

USA Today wrote:

Aug. 13: Bridget Anne Kelly, deputy chief of staff to Republican Gov. Christie, e-mails David Wildstein, director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein e-mails back: "Got it."

Sept. 6: Wildstein orders the George Washington Bridge's general manager, Robert Durando, to close two of the three access lanes connecting Fort Lee, N.J., to the bridge.

Sept 9: The access lanes are closed, creating hours-long traffic jams on the first day of the school year. Matthew Bell, a special assistant to Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, e-mails his boss at 9:29 a.m. Subject line refers to "Phone call: Mayor (Mark) Sokolich ... urgent matter of public safety in Fort Lee." Baroni forwards if to Wildstein, who forwards to Kelly, who responds: "Did he call him back?" Wildstein writes back: "Radio silence."

Sept 10: Sokolich texts Baroni: "Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into only one toll booth. ... The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help please. It's maddening." Wildstein passes that message along to an unidentified recipient, who responds: "Is it wrong that I am smiling? I feel badly about the kids I guess." Wildstein writes back: "They are the children of Buono voters." (Barbara Buono, a Democrat, challenged Christie in 2013.)

Sept. 12: Mayor Sokolich writes to Baroni, questioning if the closures are punitive. Baroni passes along the message to Wildstein: "From Serbia: My frustration is now trying to figure out who is mad at me." Serbia is the nickname the group uses for Sokolich, who is of Croatian descent.

Sept 13: Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority and an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, directs general manager Durando to end the lane closures. Durando e-mails Wildstein: "He asked about the test. He asked why he wasn't told." Later that morning, Wildstein wrote to Kelly: "The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate." The last line refers to David Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority board. Kelly wrote back: "What??" Wildstein responded: "Yes, unreal. Fixed now."

Sept 16: The Port Authority says the lanes were closed for a traffic study.

Sept 18: Wildstein e-mails a Wall Street Journal story on the closures to Bill Stepien, Christie's campaign manager. Stepien writes back: "It's fine. The mayor is an idiot, though. When (sic) some, lose some." Wildstein writes back: "I had empty boxes ready to take to work today, just in case. It will be a tough November for this little Serbian."


By October, they were holding hearings once it became clear that no one besides Wildstein had actually authorized lane closures. The traffic study he pointed to had no instructions to close lanes.

As for "why does it have to mean it was retaliation?" - They openly discuss the pleasure they're feeling at the pain of the mayor.
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#231 Feb 05 2014 at 3:40 AM Rating: Decent
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Gbaji wrote:
What evidence?


Why exactly are you defending him? Even Christie backpedaled his own words about when he learned about the traffic jam.
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#232 Feb 13 2014 at 7:59 PM Rating: Decent
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Normally don't bump older threads, but I'm not going to allow this to be the "final word" on this topic:

Catwho wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Catwho wrote:
I don't know how many times I have to say this but NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW.

Aside from the foreman of the road crew and the road crew itself, who was ordered to do it by Wildstein.


Source for this?


It was in the timeline link I posted a few threads up.

USA Today wrote:

Aug. 13: Bridget Anne Kelly, deputy chief of staff to Republican Gov. Christie, e-mails David Wildstein, director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein e-mails back: "Got it."

Sept. 6: Wildstein orders the George Washington Bridge's general manager, Robert Durando, to close two of the three access lanes connecting Fort Lee, N.J., to the bridge.


Yup. So Wildstein didn't order the road crew to do it. He "ordered" Durando to do it. What's missing? Three weeks of presumed meetings on the planned closure between Aug 13th and Sep 6th. All the other people involved. All the people between Durando and the road crew who were involved in planning this during the 3 days between the presumed finalization of the decision/approval of the closures and them actually being closed by road crews.

See where that's a massive gaping hole? This does not prove at all that "NO ONE KNEW THE LANE CLOSURES WERE HAPPENING WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW", which is what you claimed. Unless you're now going to say that Durando personally gathered the road crews and gave them their assignments? How many more layers are involved here that you're conveniently dismissing?

Why are we focusing on Wildstein and not Durando? Seems like he's the guy in charge of the bridge, right? And you're saying that you know for absolute fact that Durando was never in a meeting in the preceding weeks in which this was discussed? Just seems incredibly unlikely that Wildstein would just out of the blue tell Durando "hey. I want you to close down lanes X, Y, and Z on the GW bridge", and Durando didn't question this, but just blindly did it? And none of the people he tasked with getting it done questioned it?

That seems pretty unlikely. I'll ask again: Where's your evidence that none of the people who should have been involved in a closure like this were aware of or involved in the planning or operation of the closures? Cause all I see is a bunch of people pointing to unrelated data and proclaiming that this is true, but no one's actually saying "we spoke to everyone who'd normally be involved in this sort of thing and no one knew about it".

Quote:
Sept 9: The access lanes are closed, creating hours-long traffic jams on the first day of the school year. Matthew Bell, a special assistant to Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, e-mails his boss at 9:29 a.m. Subject line refers to "Phone call: Mayor (Mark) Sokolich ... urgent matter of public safety in Fort Lee." Baroni forwards if to Wildstein, who forwards to Kelly, who responds: "Did he call him back?" Wildstein writes back: "Radio silence."

Sept 10: Sokolich texts Baroni: "Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into only one toll booth. ... The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help please. It's maddening." Wildstein passes that message along to an unidentified recipient, who responds: "Is it wrong that I am smiling? I feel badly about the kids I guess." Wildstein writes back: "They are the children of Buono voters." (Barbara Buono, a Democrat, challenged Christie in 2013.)

Sept. 12: Mayor Sokolich writes to Baroni, questioning if the closures are punitive. Baroni passes along the message to Wildstein: "From Serbia: My frustration is now trying to figure out who is mad at me." Serbia is the nickname the group uses for Sokolich, who is of Croatian descent.


Yup. So we have the Mayor of Fort Lee speculating that he might have been targeted, but that's not proof that he was. I'm still waiting for more than speculation about the motives of the lane closures and some actual proof.

Quote:
Sept 13: Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority and an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, directs general manager Durando to end the lane closures. Durando e-mails Wildstein: "He asked about the test. He asked why he wasn't told."


Yeah. The guy from New York was asking why he wasn't told. And while I'm sure in the interest of politeness and whatnot, he presumably should have been, him not being told isn't the same as "no one" being told. The lane closures were in New Jersey. One assumes that the folks involved in the decision and approval process were all in New Jersey. Show me that no one in the NJ org chart who would normally be involved and informed of such a lane closure were and you'll have a point.

This is kinda what I've been talking about all along. The whole thing smacks of half truths and partial bits of information scattered around and then presented in a way that if you don't actually stop and think about what's actually being said will make you come to a given conclusion. But it's all the stuff that's missing that keeps me questioning this. Where's the list of NJ folks who were cut out of the decision and approval process? Assuming that normally a lane closure like this would require many people in many different layers of the organization to be involved that if they weren't, there would be no problem finding a dozen or so people to give your paper a quote about what happened (or didn't happen).

The lack of such information is incredibly suspicious. Don't you agree?


Quote:
By October, they were holding hearings once it became clear that no one besides Wildstein had actually authorized lane closures. The traffic study he pointed to had no instructions to close lanes.


My understanding is that in October, no one thought this was anything other than a politically motivated smear attack on the Christie administration by the media and a few disgruntled political pundits who thought they could make hay out of the lane closures. Again, if there were actual hearings and actual findings of those hearings, where's the information from them? Where's the proof that they bypassed the normal procedures? Because I would think that if they had that, they'd be printing that in the papers instead of what amounts to nothing more than half truths and innuendo.

Quote:
As for "why does it have to mean it was retaliation?" - They openly discuss the pleasure they're feeling at the pain of the mayor.


Which doesn't mean that the decision to close the lanes was punitive at all. All it means is that they viewed him as a political enemy and when he raised a stink about this and went over their heads, they were annoyed by him. Again though, what's lost in all of this is where the decision to close the lanes was actually made. That it was a bad idea in hindsight doesn't prove that they knew it was a bad idea ahead of time, much less that they deliberately intended such harm. They obviously knew that it would cause a traffic jam, but I don't think we can assume they knew how bad it would be. And the retaliation angle doesn't make sense once one steps outside of the selectively quoted emails and text messages since the closures affected a lot more people than just those living in Fort Lee.


The context of what you're quoting is too narrow. Are you suggesting that no one other than the Mayor of Fort Lee asked about and/or complained about the lane closures? That would seem unlikely, right? So we must assume that the reason your timeline doesn't include the dozen or so other officials and politicians who inquired about what the heck was going on is specifically because they weren't political opponents and thus wouldn't fit well into the "this was political payback" theory. But by excluding all the other information, it presents a very skewed view of events. Don't just look at what's there. Look at what's missing.


Almalieque wrote:
Gbaji wrote:
What evidence?


Why exactly are you defending him? Even Christie backpedaled his own words about when he learned about the traffic jam.


No. He backpedaled on his claim that no one on his staff knew about the lane closures ahead of time. That's not the same as any admission by anyone that the lane closures were done for punitive or retaliatory reasons.

Also, as I pointed out earlier, Christie didn't fire her because she closed the lanes for punitive reasons, but because when this was a growing news story she lied to him about knowing about it, allowing him to declare that no one on his staff knew about the closures ahead of time, and thus embarrassing him when evidence emerged that this wasn't true. Again though, her knowing about it is not the same as proof that she and Wildstein were involved in a plot to close those lanes to punish anyone.

For all we know this was a legitimate lane closure, for legitimate reasons, and it was discussed and signed off on by all a whole list of people from the NJ Port Authority and the GW bridge management groups, but it's a more spicy story to talk about all the other people who weren't told and allow the public to draw false conclusions from that.

I'll again point to the Plame scandal, which was entirely about media speculation and the reporting of half truths leading to false public perception of what happened, which in turn was used as fuel by political enemies to launch all sorts of investigations. This looks a **** of a lot like the same sort of created scandal to me. As I've said all along though, that doesn't preclude the possibility that someone really did something they shouldn't have done and abused the **** out of their power for stupid and vindictive purposes. And if that is true, they should be held accountable and nailed to the wall. My problem is that it just seems like I've seen too many of these types of things where it turns into "how can we use this to hurt our political enemies" rather than a "let's find out the truth of what actually happened".

And this absolutely looks like it's turned into a "throw dirt on Christie" thing to me. I'm not saying we don't look into this. I'm just saying that we should look into it objectively and at all the facts, not just the ones that might help affect public opinion in a given direction. Cause we have far too much of that sort of thing as it is.

Edited, Feb 13th 2014 6:11pm by gbaji
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#233 Feb 13 2014 at 8:28 PM Rating: Decent
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For all we know this was a legitimate lane closure, for legitimate reasons, and it was discussed and signed off on by all a whole list of people from the NJ Port Authority and the GW bridge management groups, but it's a more spicy story to talk about all the other people who weren't told and allow the public to draw false conclusions from that.

For all we know, Christie is really an English actor named Sir Reginald Fatbottom only *masquerading* as the Governor of New Jersey, who is actually a quadriplegic midget scat fetishist. Obviously, the lane closure story is more interesting to the media than that mundane garbage, though. Shouldn't you be off looking for a new moderate candidate who can killed in a general election after the circular firing squad you idiots call your primary? Jeb, I'd think. Right? Jeb. Yeah.
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#234 Feb 13 2014 at 8:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Cause we have far too much of that sort of thing as it is.
Yet you keep doing it.
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#235 Feb 13 2014 at 9:53 PM Rating: Default
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And yet... none of this changes the fact that Cat's linked source doesn't actually support the claim she was making. Isn't that kinda the point here? I don't have to prove what happened. The folks who are making the claim that this all happened as part of some sort of political revenge plot have to. And so far? I haven't seen anything that comes close.

Give me the list of New Jersey Port Authority and/or GW bridge managers and workers who would normally be involved in the decision making and/or approval process for work that involves lane closures on the GW bridge who were not involved or informed of these lane closures. Shouldn't be too hard to do if these lane closures really did bypass the normal approval process.


But if you can't, then it suggests strongly that this whole thing is a big pile of BS.

Edited, Feb 13th 2014 7:54pm by gbaji
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#236 Feb 13 2014 at 10:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
And yet... none of this changes the fact that Cat's linked source doesn't actually support the claim she was making.
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#237 Feb 14 2014 at 12:07 AM Rating: Default
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Gbaji wrote:
No. He backpedaled on his claim that no one on his staff knew about the lane closures ahead of time. That's not the same as any admission by anyone that the lane closures were done for punitive or retaliatory reasons.

Also, as I pointed out earlier, Christie didn't fire her because she closed the lanes for punitive reasons, but because when this was a growing news story she lied to him about knowing about it, allowing him to declare that no one on his staff knew about the closures ahead of time, and thus embarrassing him when evidence emerged that this wasn't true. Again though, her knowing about it is not the same as proof that she and Wildstein were involved in a plot to close those lanes to punish anyone.

For all we know this was a legitimate lane closure, for legitimate reasons, and it was discussed and signed off on by all a whole list of people from the NJ Port Authority and the GW bridge management groups, but it's a more spicy story to talk about all the other people who weren't told and allow the public to draw false conclusions from that.

I'll again point to the Plame scandal, which was entirely about media speculation and the reporting of half truths leading to false public perception of what happened, which in turn was used as fuel by political enemies to launch all sorts of investigations. This looks a **** of a lot like the same sort of created scandal to me. As I've said all along though, that doesn't preclude the possibility that someone really did something they shouldn't have done and abused the **** out of their power for stupid and vindictive purposes. And if that is true, they should be held accountable and nailed to the wall. My problem is that it just seems like I've seen too many of these types of things where it turns into "how can we use this to hurt our political enemies" rather than a "let's find out the truth of what actually happened".

And this absolutely looks like it's turned into a "throw dirt on Christie" thing to me. I'm not saying we don't look into this. I'm just saying that we should look into it objectively and at all the facts, not just the ones that might help affect public opinion in a given direction. Cause we have far too much of that sort of thing as it is.


False. He changed to say that he might have heard something on it, but the bigger point was that he had nothing to do with the plan. This was after Wildstein claimed to have evidence of Christie lying about the bridge closures. By admitting that he might have heard something, that takes away power from that "evidence".

That is important because the average person can accept the fact that Christie possibly didn't know anything about the plan prior to execution. However, the average person finds it incredibly difficult to believe that he never found out until the day it was released in the media. So, if he can convince people to forget the latter and focus on the former, then he is safe.



Edited, Feb 14th 2014 8:09am by Almalieque
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#238 Feb 14 2014 at 7:33 PM Rating: Default
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Almalieque wrote:
Gbaji wrote:
No. He backpedaled on his claim that no one on his staff knew about the lane closures ahead of time. That's not the same as any admission by anyone that the lane closures were done for punitive or retaliatory reasons.


False. He changed to say that he might have heard something on it, but the bigger point was that he had nothing to do with the plan.


I don't really care about that. Even if that's true, it still is not the same as any admission by anyone that the lane closures were done for punitive or retaliatory reasons.

Quote:
That is important because the average person can accept the fact that Christie possibly didn't know anything about the plan prior to execution. However, the average person finds it incredibly difficult to believe that he never found out until the day it was released in the media. So, if he can convince people to forget the latter and focus on the former, then he is safe.


Yeah. And this is just more word manipulation and interpretation. Christie says something like "If someone closed these lanes for punitive reasons, I was not involved in it, and didn't know anything about it". That gets repeated in the media as "Christie claims he didn't know about lane closures". This is then followed by pundits speculating that "If Christie or anyone on his staff knew about the land closures, it's curtains for them!". Of course, the original statement didn't claim he didn't know that the lanes were closed. I mean, that's stupid. We can assume he turned on the news that day and saw the coverage about the traffic jams caused by the lane closures, right?

It's word manipulation designed to create the perception in the public of a scandal. I'd rather not get caught up in that sort of BS, but instead focus on the facts: Why were those lanes closed? Who approved the lane closures? And is there actual evidence that they were closed as some sort of political payback scheme?

I'm still waiting for *anyone* to show me who in the normal New Jersey planning/approval process for a lane closure like this was cut out of this one. Because if you don't have that, then you don't have anything. The entire scandal rests on the assumption that these lane closures could only have happened for the purpose of political payback, and would never have been approved for some other reason. So if the normal approval process was not bypassed then we're stuck with one of two possibilities:

1. They were all in on it. Every single layer of bureaucracy from top to bottom in the Port Authority and the GW bridge approval process was knowingly involved in a plot to close down lanes to punish the Governor's political enemies. So basically, you're making a "911 was planned by the Bush administration" level accusation, with the same absurdity associated with it.

2. The lanes were actually closed for legitimate (if foolish) reasons, and there was no political payback motivation behind them.


Silly me, I'm leaning towards explanation number 2.
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#239 Feb 14 2014 at 10:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Gbaji wrote:
I don't really care about that. Even if that's true, it still is not the same as any admission by anyone that the lane closures were done for punitive or retaliatory reasons.
I never said that it was. The argument against Christie is that he took no initiative to figure out what was going on until emails were released, ignoring and mimicking the fact that people were being negatively affected. Even with your denial that something wrong happened, he still took no action when top people resigned for apparently no reason and then fired personnel without any discussion. Even if Christie's actions were completely legal, it bolstered his negative image, which is part of the reason why people are interested in this case.

Gbaji wrote:
Yeah. And this is just more word manipulation and interpretation. Christie says something like "If someone closed these lanes for punitive reasons, I was not involved in it, and didn't know anything about it". That gets repeated in the media as "Christie claims he didn't know about lane closures". This is then followed by pundits speculating that "If Christie or anyone on his staff knew about the land closures, it's curtains for them!". Of course, the original statement didn't claim he didn't know that the lanes were closed. I mean, that's stupid. We can assume he turned on the news that day and saw the coverage about the traffic jams caused by the lane closures, right?

It's word manipulation designed to create the perception in the public of a scandal. I'd rather not get caught up in that sort of BS, but instead focus on the facts: Why were those lanes closed? Who approved the lane closures? And is there actual evidence that they were closed as some sort of political payback scheme?


Christie Originally wrote:
"Well, let me tell you, everybody, I was blindsided yesterday morning. I was done with my workout yesterday morning and got a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:55, informing me of this story that had just broken on the Bergen Record website. That was the first time I knew about this."
...
"I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it's execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here."


Christie after Wildstein says that there is proof that Christie was lying wrote:
"The fact of the matter is I've been very clear about this. Before these lanes were closed, I knew nothing about them. I didn't plan it. I didn't authorize it. I didn't approve it. I knew nothing about it"

"No knowledge, no authority, no planning– nothing to do with this before this decision was made to close these lanes by the Port Authority."...

"I know prior to (the Foye email) there were press accounts about traffic issues up there, and if I read that or someone said something ... it wouldn't have been meaningful to me because I didn't know there was any problem up there because I didn't know we had actually closed lanes up there before that."

"Nobody has said I knew about this before it happened, and I think that's the most important question," ...

The only word manipulation that is being done here is by Christie and his supporters. He originally argued that he knew nothing before, during or after, only until it was released to the press. After threats of evidence stating that he was lying, he says that he might have been told something, but the question is if he knew anything before it happened.

The issue is, people aren't as concerned if he knew anything prior to the closure as they are if he knew anything during or after. It is possible to have a rogue staff, but if he found out and did nothing about it, then that demonstrates that type of behavior is acceptable as long as you don't get caught.
Gbaji wrote:
I'm still waiting for *anyone* to show me who in the normal New Jersey planning/approval process for a lane closure like this was cut out of this one. Because if you don't have that, then you don't have anything. The entire scandal rests on the assumption that these lane closures could only have happened for the purpose of political payback, and would never have been approved for some other reason. So if the normal approval process was not bypassed then we're stuck with one of two possibilities:

1. They were all in on it. Every single layer of bureaucracy from top to bottom in the Port Authority and the GW bridge approval process was knowingly involved in a plot to close down lanes to punish the Governor's political enemies. So basically, you're making a "911 was planned by the Bush administration" level accusation, with the same absurdity associated with it.

2. The lanes were actually closed for legitimate (if foolish) reasons, and there was no political payback motivation behind them.


Silly me, I'm leaning towards explanation number 2.


It's neither. Just because people of the process weren't left out doesn't mean that they were in on it or the closing was legitimate. Do you think the guys moving the cones knew and/or cared if it were a lane study or not? That's what their boss said, the paper is legit, so that's what they are doing. That can hold true all the way up to the person who actually approved the "study". As long as the top convinces the approving authority to conduct a fake study, everyone else will assume legitimacy on downward. There is no other reason to think otherwise.

Just like at work. I can submit a request to shutdown power, Internet and or voice to work on something routine. As long as I convince the actual technicians to go along with it, nobody else would know whether or not my actions were vindictive or legit. If I did the paperwork but I didn't warn the users that their Internet would be out and it was out for several days, people would complain. If I mimicked it and did nothing to address the problem and then my technicians resigned after it was revealed that there was no actual routine testing, people would start to wonder why it was done in the first place. If emails were released that said "Time for some Internet problems for section A", people would assume that the action was vindictive. Don't let this political fodder blind reality. Just because Democrats and Republicans alike want Christie to fall, doesn't mean that there isn't any legitimacy involved.



Edited, Feb 15th 2014 6:47am by Almalieque
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#240 Feb 15 2014 at 2:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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Even Christie's camp isn't arguing at that closures were legitimate, hence people in his immediate circle losing their jobs over the released emails and Christie's repeated conferences where he's said how upset he was that people close to him had betrayed his trust like that. Now they are just trying to put distance between him and the chuckleheads from his upper administration who were involved with it. So, frankly, Gbaji's demands that we present him with a Port Authority org chart are ridiculous beyond the obvious fact that he has no qualifications to review it anyway.

But if he wants to pin his hopes on "No one told me the name of the assistant site supervisor!" then that's fine.
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#241 Feb 15 2014 at 9:49 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Even Christie's camp isn't arguing at that closures were legitimate, ....
Apparently they should have been as there is no evidence to the contrary. Smiley: tongue
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#242 Feb 18 2014 at 10:45 AM Rating: Good
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The problem is that "three weeks of meetings" for a legitimate lane closure would have left a legitimate paper trail. One does not exist.

I can go onto the company intranet and dig out at least 50 documents related to any project my company has done, past or present (and a few documents for future ones), in which all the Ts are crossed and Is are dotted, print it out, and stick a several hundred page stack of them on someone's desk within a few hours, if they asked for it. The fact that no such documents for the "traffic study" exist that call out the need for lane closures is a huge sign that, during those three weeks, none of the standard project process was followed.
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#243 Feb 19 2014 at 8:11 PM Rating: Default
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The problem is that "three weeks of meetings" for a legitimate lane closure would have left a legitimate paper trail. One does not exist.


Are you sure? Cause I haven't found one news article stating that no legitimate paper trail about the planned closures exist, or that there were any irregularities about the process. What I have seen is a whole bunch of news articles about who in the Christie administration knew X, Y, or Z though.

The whole thing screams of focusing on the targets you want to attack rather than actually following the trail and seeing where it leads.

Quote:
The fact that no such documents for the "traffic study" exist that call out the need for lane closures is a huge sign that, during those three weeks, none of the standard project process was followed.


Again, is that a fact? Or something you just believe to be true because the media is focusing on everything *except* that part of the story.

Honestly, the reason phony scandals work is because far far too many people subscribe to the idea that "if there was evidence proving otherwise, my trusty news source would certainly tell me about it". Um... No, they wont. They will sell a **** of a lot more papers/clicks to an audience that thinks there's a big scandal than they will telling the public that nothing untoward happened after all. The media has literally every single reason in the world to, not lie, but just not tell you the whole truth and let you arrive at a false conclusion, than it does to tell you a truth that will defuse your anger/outrage.

Show me an actual news article from a reputable source (so not just some blogger's speculation and/or editorializing), detailing the normal steps which would be involved in such a lane closure that weren't followed in this case. I ask because if this was actually true, you'd find dozens of news articles writing about every single detail of who was left out, what steps were skipped, etc. Because that would be absolute proof, right?

The absence of those sorts of facts in the news coverage about this speaks volumes.
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#244 Feb 19 2014 at 8:24 PM Rating: Excellent
So when Christie breaks down & cries on live TV, admitting he did it, you're still gonna argue that he really didn't do it, right?
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#245 Feb 19 2014 at 8:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
They will sell a **** of a lot more papers/clicks to an audience that thinks there's a big scandal than they will telling the public that nothing untoward happened after all. The media has literally every single reason in the world to, not lie, but just not tell you the whole truth and let you arrive at a false conclusion, than it does to tell you a truth that will defuse your anger/outrage.

This is the FOX News mission statement. There's still people out there outraged about the "scandals" of Benghazi, Fast & Furious, IRS-Gate, etc. Can you believe it?
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#246 Feb 19 2014 at 8:40 PM Rating: Default
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Tell you what. Instead of speculating, or blindly trusting in the absence of data. Why not read some documents yourself?

Just browsing through the first bits from Exhibit A, I see email on Aug 28th to a guy named Jose Rivera, identified with the title "Chief Traffic Engineer" asking him to work out the details of the planned closure. Jose, then responds with a series of plans, and includes 4 other people in the email thread. So just in the first few pages of documents, we see that there was a **** of a lot more to this than Wildstein personally ordering some guys with cones to block some lanes.

Can we please maybe acknowledge that there's a massive political reason to make this into a scandal and that maybe, just maybe, the media is focusing on the tiny little bits that look bad after the fact (like a handful of off color comments made in email) while refusing to report on the much bigger story, which it appears is that this maybe was an actual legitimate traffic study. I mean, how many people have to be involved and informed in what was being done before we stop assuming this was all just cover for some unexplained political payback (seriously? How does that benefit them even if it's true?), and maybe consider that it really was a legitimate (if foolish) traffic study?

I visit a friend of mine for our table top game night once a week. On the drive back, there's a street where half of the lanes are coned off. One of the two turn lanes onto that street has cones blocking it, the lane itself has cones all over the place, and the onramp onto the freeway involves having to drive around them This has been in place for easily a year. I've yet to see any indication of any actual street work being done. They've just blocked off a lane. For a year.

This kind of stupid stuff happens. Forgive me if I don't automatically leap to the absolutely bizarre assumption that it must always be about some kind of bond villanesque plot. Usually, it's just incompetence.


Reading a bit further, even this document dump seems selective. There's almost nothing from prior to the event itself. Almost the whole thing focuses on emails and conversations after the closure. That's nice and all, but not one's really doubting the facts that some people were upset about the lane closures and were angry with the folks who did it. But that's not really the question we need answered, and unfortunately there's very little data about what happened prior to Sep 9th. I'll again point out that there had to have been a large number of people informed and involved, even if the folks in NY were upset that they didn't know about it ahead of time (and why would they, it didn't actually affect them directly).

Edited, Feb 19th 2014 6:51pm by gbaji
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#247 Feb 19 2014 at 8:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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Honestly, the reason phony scandals work is because far far too many people subscribe to the idea that "if there was evidence proving otherwise, my trusty news source would certainly tell me about it".
Exhibit A1, your honor.
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#248 Feb 19 2014 at 9:12 PM Rating: Default
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Reading even more, I'm finding that one Allison DeCerreno was apparently involved in the study as well (Her title is Toll Systems and Revenue Operations Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals) , and it certainly did appear to include the lane closures. She responds to Foye's questions with data from the study, which apparently ran for a month prior to the lane closures, and tracked the percentage of traffic flow from the Fort Lee lanes on the GW bridge as a percentage of the whole (27% as it turns out, which is "more than their quarter share" according to her). With the lanes conned down to 1, the percentage only dropped to 26.8% in the morning rush, and 26.9% during the evening rush.

It looks a lot like Foye was called out on a decision made below his level that he didn't know about, panicked and claimed that no one knew anything about it, and this has been repeated in the media ever since, despite later discovery that in fact, all the people who were supposed to have been informed and involved in the study were. The organization which DeCerreno worked for is one of the very ones that Foye claimed knew nothing about the planned lane closures in his email sent out Sep 13th. So basically, he was wrong. But the media has continued to repeat his incorrect assumptions over and over.

It's actually some interesting reading, once you get over the fact that the same stuff gets repeated like 18 times due to email nesting.
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#249 Feb 19 2014 at 9:44 PM Rating: Default
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More of the documents (near the end of Exhibit B), show that there was discussion between Jose Rivera and Peter Zipf about the proposals on Aug 28/29th. The final decision to go with the 1 lane plan was made on Sep 6th. It's not clear who made that decision, but is clear that there were many people involved, and can be assumed to have occurred in meetings rather than via email, since there's no emails I could find between those dates.

On the 6th though, I count at least 8 people included in various emails about going ahead with the planned lane closure: Cedrick Fulton is informed with an email in which Zipf seems to assume that "GWB staff have already informed you", suggesting that there were other means of communication that aren't in the document dump. Fulton responds and CCs 3 other people, and mentions including a fourth. One of those is an assistant director of the Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals department (the same one that Foye insisted didn't know anything about this, in case you forgot) and he responds and includes 2 additional people. There's additional back and forth which indicates that questions were raised about traffic impact. There's talk about discussions with "Traffic Engineering" (presumably yet another group that should have known and actually did know, but whatever), and their questions. While a couple people question whether fewer lanes could be closed for the study, it's clear that they all seem to be on board with the need to close lanes as part of the study, so it appears as though, just as I predicted prior to digging into these documents, tons of people who's jobs are to know how to do this sort of thing were actually involved and knew, not just about a traffic counting study, but that this study involved lane closures.

Amazing, isn't it? Facts. They're not just a good idea. But don't let that get in the way of good hysteria.
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#250 Feb 19 2014 at 9:57 PM Rating: Default
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Oh. And somewhere buried in there is a whole back and forth discussion about whether or not to provide the Fort Lee police department with a copy of the video of the study. Which is interesting since it tells us that the Fort Lee police knew about the study ahead of time, knew what it was about, and wanted video of it. It appears as though people sometimes cut the little tubes that count cars, and they wanted video so they could see if that happened here.

Point being that while that discussion didn't explicitly say that the Fort Lee police knew about the lane closures, they knew about the study. And given how openly everyone was discussing the lane closures in the days leading up to them, it seems hard to imagine that an organization which clearly knew that the study was going to happen was never informed in any way at all? I mean, I suppose it's possible that they were told that video cameras would be installed on Sep 9th to record the study in action but not the details about what else would be involved, but if it happened it had to have been because of an oversight, not some nefarious plot. Otherwise, we're back to the whole "way too many people had to be involved" scenario.


It really does look far more like a whole bunch of people underestimated the impact of the lane closures and when people started screaming, it went past them to their boss (Foye) who panicked and wrote a CYA email explaining that this wasn't normal PA procedure and that heads would roll for failing to do things right, and this in turn fed the idea that corners were cut, which in turn fed the idea that this was done for some nefarious reason. The problem is that it looks like what happened *is* the normal procedure. Maybe it shouldn't be, but no one involved seemed surprised at the process, nor the decisions that were made. I didn't see one single email from anyone involved asking "Hey! Shouldn't we be informing/involving <some other group>?". Not one.


And yeah, the fact that the resulting perception can be used to attack a prominent Republican likely adds to the reason why cooler heads haven't prevailed on this. I fully acknowledge that there's a possibility that this really was a plot for political revenge. But everything I've seen so far screams phony scandal.

Edited, Feb 19th 2014 7:59pm by gbaji
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#251 Feb 19 2014 at 10:22 PM Rating: Good
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Amazing, isn't it? Facts.
Conjecture actually, but don't let it get you down.
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