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herding cats

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Member since: Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:56 PM
Number of posts: 18,472

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Poll: Unfavorable views of Christie double in mid-January

A Pew Research Center/USA Today Poll conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults finds that 38% have a favorable impression of Gov. Chris Christie while 34% have an unfavorable view, and 28% offer no opinion.

Read more at http://www.politickernj.com/back_room/poll-unfavorable-views-christie-double-mid-january#ixzz2r3KtyKhp

Christie’s Image Turns More Negative

Most Don’t Believe His Assertions on Highway Controversy

Chris Christie’s public image today is starkly different than it was a year ago. Last January, following Christie’s visible role in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, favorable opinions outnumbered unfavorable ones by more than two-to-one. Today, in the wake of a scandal involving highway lane closures that led to massive traffic jams in northern New Jersey, nearly as many offer an unfavorable assessment of Christie as a favorable one.

Christie’s explanation of his role in the highway lane closure is drawing skepticism. Most of those who have heard about the controversy do not believe Christie’s assertion that he was not aware of his aides’ involvement in the lane closure.


Lawmakers say Obama surveillance idea won't work

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A chief element of President Barack Obama's attempt to overhaul U.S. surveillance will not work, leaders of Congress' intelligence committees said Sunday, pushing back against the idea that the government should cede control of how Americans' phone records are stored.

Obama, under pressure to calm the controversy over government spying, said Friday he wants bulk phone data stored outside the government to reduce the risk that the records will be abused. The president said he will require a special judge's advance approval before intelligence agencies can examine someone's data and will force analysts to keep their searches closer to suspected terrorists or organizations.

"And I think that's a very difficult thing," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday. "Because the whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place."

Under the surveillance program, the NSA gathers phone numbers called and the length of conversations, but not the content of the calls. Obama said the NSA sometimes needs to tap those records to find people linked to suspected terrorists. But he said eventually the bulk data should be stored somewhere out of the government's hands. That could mean finding a way for phone companies to store the records, though some companies have balked at the idea, or it could mean creating a third-party entity to hold the records.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/

GOP no longer going long on Christie?

The GOP support of Christie's bid to be their presidential nominee in 2016 has become tepid at best.

Inside the Republican Party, the once constant talk of Mr. Christie’s path to the White House has quieted. “I think anything about a 2016 deal, at this point, is on the back burner,” said Ray Washburne, the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

“He’s going into battle with armor that’s now a little bit dented,” said Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. Potential backers for a presidential run, he added, “now have pause.”

Whatever the lasting damage to Mr. Christie’s political brand, Republicans said, the puzzling traffic imbroglio has laid bare his weaknesses: a stubborn insularity, the absence of a national infrastructure and a tendency to be flip and glib, which haunted him at the start of the bridge scandal.

Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, told an audience at a Palm Beach luncheon on Friday that the governor should have stayed home to “focus on the people of New Jersey.”

“I probably would have canceled that if I were in his position only because, guess what happened yesterday?” he said. “They dropped 20 subpoenas on him, and so now that’s baggage that’s going to come into the conversation he’s having here.”


Now Christie also has the new scandal with the Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and the withholding of the Sandy relief funds to further tarnish his brand. It's looking increasingly less likely Christie will regain his status as the GOP's Golden Boy for 2016.

With more than 700 days until the Iowa caucuses anything is possible, but there's no denying the fall Christie has taken since his reelection in November as Governor of New Jersey until now.

The hush-hush FL fundraisers of Chris Christie; Scott donor calls secrecy "stupid"

If Christie was a liability yesterday to Rick Scott, I can only imagine how he must be feeling about him today.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is coming to Florida to help fundraiser for FL Gov. Rick Scott in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. The venues are like a state-held secret now that Christie is taking fire over "Bridgegate."

But word of the locations is leaking out anyway (see below). And Scott supporters are shaking their heads in the meantime about the secrecy that, they say, is being insisted upon by Christie's political handlers.

"This is ridiculous. It's stupid, amateur hour," said one major Scott donor, who plans to attend at least one of the events. "They took a little story and made it into a bigger one than was necessary. Trust me, this isn't Rick making this a state secret."

So the somewhat-run-of-the-mill fundraising story could now become a spectacle, replete with Weston Rep. and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announcing that she'll hold press availabilities to highlight how Christie is hiding.

What we know of the closed-press events:

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/01/what-we-know-about-the-ultra-secret-fl-fundraisers-of-chris-christie.html#storylink=cpy

Something tells me Christie isn't going to enjoy his night rubbing elbows with the big money donors like the thought. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for the plane ride back to New Jersey.

Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges

Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc.

The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.

In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported.

“It’s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the city of Hoboken” because he wants support for one private developer, she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki.

I don't know if this has legs, but if it does it's pretty damning.

Christie bridge scandal: Lawyers may have conflict of interest, Port Authority says

Source: The Record (NorthJersey.com)

The Port Authority is raising concerns that the law firm chosen to represent the Christie administration amid several investigations into the George Washington Bridge scandal has a conflict of interest.

Officials at the bi-state agency plan to send a letter to the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP expressing the concerns, which stem from the firm's work on a separate but potentially related case, said a knowledgeable source.

The firm is representing the Port Authority in a lawsuit lodged by the motorist group AAA over the agency's controversial toll hikes in 2011. Christie jointly steers the Port Authority.

The interests of the Port Authority and the Christie administration in both the toll hike lawsuit and the George Washington Bridge probes could diverge, presenting potential complications if the same law firm is representing both simultaneously, some within the Port Authority believe.

Read more: http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/Port_Authority_Lawyers_for_Christie_admin_in_GWB_scandal_have_conflict_of_interest.html?page=all

Have you ever purchased online from Target, or signed up for their loyalty program?

I'm spreading this PSA around after being notified today. If for any reason Target has ever obtained your name, phone number, address or email you're now one of the people involved in the second wave of their security breach. When I say ever, I mean ever in the history of the store. That's what they told me when I called. They don't know how far back this could go. I made an online purchase more than a year ago which gave them my information and led to the email today notifying me I was involved in the breach. They're offering a year of free credit monitoring via Experian's ProtectMyID for all those whose data was taken. Which is nice, I guess.

I'm honestly not sure what all a person can do with your name, address, phone number and email, but they must have some uses in mind since they've went to all the trouble to steal them. My best guess would be phishing scams. So, if you fall into this group, even if you have not yet gotten the email, be extra careful going through your emails and go the extra mile to verify everything.

Some information on what exactly what phishing scams are.

Chris Christie hires Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to review administration's role in 'Bridgegate'

TRENTON — A former federal prosecutor will head up an internal review by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie of his staff’s involvement with the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.

The administration this morning announced the hiring of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and specifically Randy Mastro to assist both with the review and an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the closings, which snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee.

Mastro, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, specialized in organized crime and racketeering cases.

He's hired some famous "fixers", Ken Starr and Ted Olson are some of their heavy hitters.

I knew of the firm before this but wasn't familiar with who Mastro was. He appears to be a heavy hitter in the "fixer" world.

From Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's website.

Mr. Mastro has represented such clients as Amazon.com, Bank of New York Mellon, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield/Well Point, Daimler, Chevron, Wynn, JPMorgan, GE Capital, Estee Lauder, Park Place/Caesar’s/Harrah’s, Madison Square Garden, Cablevision, Dow Jones, Verizon, Home Depot, Quest Diagnostics, IAC/Home Shopping Network, Bear Stearns, Empire Merchants, Edison Schools, Edison Properties, Forest City Ratner, Georgetown, Peter Kalikow, Saks, Ziff Davis, UBS Financial Services, Hewlett Packard, Prudential Securities, Lehman Brothers, Xerox, Octagon, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, and Steffi Graf.

Before returning to Gibson Dunn in 1998, Mr. Mastro served as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Chief of Staff and then as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Operations. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing all of the City’s operating agencies and budget, and served as the Mayor’s chief liaison with elected officials. In the Mayor’s absence, he was authorized to act on the Mayor’s behalf. During his years in the Giuliani administration from 1994 to 1998, Mr. Mastro spearheaded the City’s initiatives to remove organized crime from the Fulton Fish Market, the private carting industry, and the San Gennaro Festival. He also oversaw the successful turnaround of New York City’s Off-Track Betting Corporation. For two consecutive years, NY1-TV named Mr. Mastro one of City government’s “Winners of the Year,” and Manhattan File magazine featured him as one of the “45 Most Powerful New Yorkers 45 and Under.”


Lesniak, Buono call for federal investigation into GWB lane closures

Two Democratic state senators are calling for a federal investigation into the Christie administration's closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, said there is “reasonable suspicion that there were serious violations of criminal law here, using governmental authority to injure the public for political purposes.”

State law enforcement shouldn’t be investigating because of the possibility of interference by the administration, he said in an interview.

In a post on Facebook this morning, Lesniak called for a “federal grand jury.”

“This smells of corrupt use of government authority at the highest levels,” he wrote.
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Lesniak_Buono_call_for_federal_investigation_into_GWB_lane_closures.html#sthash.MCGFVseG.dpuf

Posted by herding cats | Wed Jan 8, 2014, 01:31 PM (2 replies)

DA tries again to put drunken teen behind bars

Source: Seattle PI - Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — North Texas prosecutors are trying again to put a teen behind bars who was sentenced last week to 10 years' probation after acknowledging he killed four pedestrians while driving drunk.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://bit.ly/JEXZpn ) reports Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon is asking a juvenile judge to put 16-year-old Ethan Couch behind bars on two cases of intoxication assault that he says are still pending before the court.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/texas/article/DA-tries-again-to-put-drunken-teen-behind-bars-5072957.php

Tarrant prosecutors try again to put drunken teen driver behind bars

FORT WORTH — A 16-year-old sentenced last week to 10 years’ probation after acknowledging that he killed four people while driving drunk could still serve time if a last-ditch effort by prosecutors is successful.

Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon is asking a juvenile judge to put the driver, Ethan Couch, behind bars on two counts of intoxication assault that he says are still pending before the court.

Two teens riding in the back of Couch’s pickup on the night of the fatal crash suffered critical injuries. One, Sergio Molina, is paralyzed and can communicate only by blinking, according to testimony in last week’s trial.

“During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault,” Shannon said in an email to the Star-Telegram. “There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict.

“The district attorney’s office is asking the court to incarcerate the teen on the two intoxication assault cases.”

Link - http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/12/17/v-print/5426823/tarrant-prosecutors-try-again.html?rh=1
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