Sokolich, Foye seem to [HEART] Bill Baroni!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Very-special Valentine’s Day traffic lane report: An amazing thing happened on cable last night:

Rachel Maddow did an informative segment concerning Governor Christie!

How did this rarest event occur? Maddow interviewed Andrea Bernstein, the WNYC reporter who actually seems to know actual things about the Christie years.

Last Thursday, we cited Bernstein’s informative-seeming appearance with Lawrence O’Donnell. On that occasion, Bernstein explained David Wildstein’s job at the Port Authority—exactly one hour after Maddow announced, for perhaps the ten millionth time, that no one knows how to explain it.

Last night, Bernstein did the impossible. She created a segment on Maddow’s show which wasn’t straight out of clown college.

This was a gigantic surprise—and it truly was time for a change. On Wednesday night, Maddow had staged one of the strangest, dumbest hours in the annals of cable “news.”

Rapidly, Maddow’s becoming a parody. Let’s review the clowning from Wednesday night’s show—a program on which your Daily Howler actually started getting results!

How dumb was Maddow’s program? Yesterday, we discussed one especially pitiful segment, in which Maddow pretended to have exciting new reporting about a claim which had fallen apart on Hardball one night before.

At this point, Maddow can barely sneeze without calling it “an exclusive report.” That said, how clownish was Wednesday night’s program? Let us list the ways:

*Bonus scandal coverage: Maddow’s coverage of “Bridgegate” extended till roughly 9:45. When she returned, she did yet another segment about political scandal, focusing on former Connecticut governor John Rowland, a massively insignificant figure at this point.

Rowland has been charged with no crimes. But Maddow seems to be reinventing herself as the scourge of political scandal, no matter how small, insignificant or unproven such misconduct may be.

*All the ridiculous people: As part of that extra segment on scandal, Maddow spent some time in her favorite pose, mocking average Americans. The segment started with a reference to self, this particular TV star’s favorite type of reference:
MADDOW (2/12/14): If for some reason I do not show up to work tomorrow, I’m telling you now, look for me in Trenton, New Jersey. And not in a bad way, in a good way, because Trenton is a heck of a town.

Look at this! (Plays videotape of senior citizens dancing) Trenton, New Jersey, where for example you get to have an actual really good time at Christmas, courtesy of the town. Even when you have a lot of gray hair, you still get to have a really good time in Trenton, New Jersey. The town throws a Christmas party for you. Come on down, get in there!

This is the mayor’s annual senior gala in Trenton, New Jersey. Soooo awesome!

And do not think I’m kidding here, I’m not kidding. Trenton, New Jersey gets maligned in much of the rest of the world. In New Jersey, you think people make fun of New Jersey? Trenton, New Jersey, they make fun of twice, once for being New Jersey and the other time just for being Trenton.

But anybody making fun of Trenton is wrong. Look at them doing the electric slide with Santa! In Trenton, you get to dance, not only with Santa, but with the mayor, in his bright red tie, for Christmas sake. At the senior gala every year!

He really, really, really enjoys being mayor of Trenton. You see him there in his suit.
Maddow can’t seem to stop herself from doing this sort of thing. On the bright side, she didn’t commission Ana Marie Cox to direct a raft of dick jokes at the seniors as they did the electric slide.

The reason for this all too familiar mockery? The mayor of Trenton has just been convicted of corruption. After 45 minutes of Bridgegate, Maddow started her bonus scandal segment with this topic, which is also amazingly insignificant on the national scale.

*Maddow's favorite topic: In her first two segments, Maddow wallowed in the fact that MSNBC’s Fort Lee coverage was cited in a Republican find-raising letter this week.

Two more chances to talk about herself! “It’s very exciting for us,” Maddow said, making an accurate statement.

*Cursive writing is hard: Maddow continued her granular pseudo-coverage of Fort Lee events. At one point, Bozo the Clown averted his gaze as she offered these remarks about a document which was released more than a month ago:
MADDOW: It’s sort of a mysterious document, looks kind of like a prepared statement but doesn’t have any headers or explanatory information on it. It was found as a partial document, deep inside the 900-page document dump that was provided by David Wildstein following his first subpoena back in January.

There also appears to be a draft of at least a portion of the statement. And it’s all full of cross-outs and markups and rewrites. Somebody’s editing it.

And there’s no explanation offered as to who wrote the statement originally or why they wrote it or why somebody then made all these handwritten changes to it.

Importantly, we do not know whose handwriting is all over this statement, and it doesn’t help that there appears to be at least two different kinds of handwriting on it. Is that one person with a cramp or two different people?
Maddow was reviewing an apparent draft of the opening statement Bill Baroni delivered before a New Jersey legislative committee on November 25. She seemed mystified by the idea that such a document would have been edited. She wasted everyone’s time as she puzzled about the mysteries of the handwriting on the edits—“importantly,” she declared.

Maddow has become an undisguised circus clown. Some moments from Wednesday evening’s gong-show were clownish, but more significant. Consider her appalling flip on the identity of “Nicole.”

At one point, Maddow discussed the text messages in which Baroni sought instant feedback about his November 25 testimony. In one of the texts, Wildstein wrote this to Baroni: “I have only texted Bridget and Nicole and they were very happy.”

Presumably, “Bridget” was Bridget Kelly. But who has Nicole? On Wednesday night, Maddow said this about “Nicole:”
MADDOW: Who’s Nicole? The only person named Nicole who’s previously been subpoenaed in conjunction with this manner is Nicole Davidman Drewniak. She worked on the governor’s re-election campaign.

In terms of tracing the cover-up, if the guy getting high-fives for his cover story performance is getting them from someone on the governor’s re-election campaign, that’s really interesting. Why would the governor’s re-election campaign be in on this?

But maybe there’s an alternate explanation. Now a second person named Nicole has been subpoenaed in conjunction with this matter...
Maddow said she doesn’t know who “Nicole” actually is. Unfortunately, she went on at some length on January 17, strongly suggesting that “Nicole” was Nicole Davidman Drewniak and that she had been part of the crime.

(Maddow on January 17, after a long exposition about Davidman Drewniak: “The documents we have so far indicate that not just Governor Christie’s office, in the form of Bridget Kelly, applauded and said, Oh, we’re really happy with that false testimony, even though Bridget Kelly was in a position to know it was false testimony while she was applauding. But now, we also know that a person who appears to be a staffer from the governor’s re-election campaign, Nicole, said the same thing. Good job! You did great!”)

As of Wednesday night, Maddow finally said she doesn’t know who “Nicole” is. But so what? Back on January 17, she basically had the first Nicole convicted. This is what happens when cable clowns channel Inspector Clouseau, crossed with Joe McCarthy.

Along with the segment we discussed yesterday, all this ridiculous clowning occurred on Wednesday night. That said, your Daily Howler did start getting results that evening! Here’s how it all went down:

Maddow continued the lack of reporting in which she fails to tell viewers about the actual conduct involved in Wildstein’s so-called traffic study. Whatever he actually may have been doing, Wildstein went through all the motions of conducting some sort of study, or test.

Maddow’s viewers have never been told about those very basic events. Here's why that matters:

Because of Wildstein’s actions, the bridge director and the bridge general manager testified that they had believed that Wildstein was conducting some sort of study or test. (Cedrick Fulton, Robert Durando.)

Is it possible that Baroni also believed that Wildstein had conducted some sort of actual study or test? We don’t know how to answer that question. Absent insights from actual journalists (people like Bernstein), we will await results of the ongoing probes.

But good lord! On Wednesday night, for the very first time, Maddow floated the possibility that Baroni may have believed that Wildstein conducted a study or test! In fact, she did so twice.

The first such moment? After puzzling about the two kinds of handwriting seen on Baroni’s statement, Our Own Clouseau said this:
MADDOW: Does this prepared statement and the handwritten notes all over it provide any indication of what took place at that meeting? And who drafted the cover-up story? And who edited it?

And when they edited it, did they know that it was cooked up? Did they know that it was made up? Or did they think it was the truth?

More ahead with the co-chair of the investigative committee. Stay with us.
The analysts roared. After all these weeks, Maddow had finally brooked the possibility that some of the people she’s been convicting might have believed that Wildstein had actually conducted some sort of study or test.

Fulton and Durando thought that. Why couldn’t somebody else?

After a break to pay the bills, Maddow went there again! When she spoke with co-chair Loretta Weinberg, she explicitly brooked the possibility that Baroni might have thought something that Wildstein conducted a test:
MADDOW: To the extent we know that the cover story exists, and we know it was delivered by Bill Baroni, do you know who was in on cooking it up? Do you know if Bill Baroni knew he was telling an untruth in that testimony? Did he knowingly do it? And could he have been sold something that he believed and he said it not knowing that it was untrue?

WEINBERG: Well, I suppose anything is possible. Mr. Baroni has not testified before us yet, so we can’t—we haven’t had the opportunity to ask him that question.
As usual, Weinberg went on to deliver a speech which wasn’t responsive to Maddow’s question. But good grief! The analysts roared as Maddow voiced a new possibility: Maybe Baroni actually thought that Wildstein had conducted a study or test!

(In his opening statement, Baroni referred to the lane closings at one point as “a traffic study or analysis.”)

Did Baroni think that Wildstein was really conducting a test? Not being Perry Mason, we have no way of knowing; neither does Maddow, of course. But finally, after months of clowning, Maddow brooked the possibility! Truly, anything is possible, just like Weinberg said!

On this Valentine’s Day, we offer one last point. For unknown reasons, two major players in these events seem to [HEART] Bill Baroni.

The first such person is Pat Foye, the New York-based executive director of the Port Authority, the fellow who called a halt to the lane closings. On December 9, Foye testified that he “wasn’t aware of any traffic study”—it isn’t clear what he meant by that—and that he “didn’t know why it [the reduction in access lanes] was done.”

Foye was extremely hard on Wildstein in his testimony. But he was quite complimentary about Baroni, repeatedly saying his failure to inform him about the lane closings was “aberrational.”

Foye spoke quite favorably of Baroni. Somewhat oddly, a second figure took the same tack in a recent interview. Speaking to Bloomberg News last week, Mayor Sokolich said this:
VOREACOS (2/8/14): After the week of traffic jams and unreturned calls, Baroni called Sokolich the next week to set up a meeting. Sokolich agreed at first, then canceled.

“He was a friend,” Sokolich said. “I thought I knew him well. I’m immensely disappointed and betrayed.”

Still, he said, he thought Baroni was “a decent guy. I still do. I truly wish the best for him.”

He is less charitable with Wildstein,
who was at the Port Authority offices in Fort Lee when the traffic jams began...
The mayor still thinks Baroni’s a decent guy? We’re not sure why he would say that if he believed that Baroni engaged in deliberate heinous conduct, as Wildstein seems to have done.

Baroni was still at the Port Authority when Foye spoke favorably of him. By last weekend, Baroni was long gone, but Sokolich still couldn’t quit him.

Voreacos should have asked the mayor if he thought Baroni knew what Wildstein was doing. But on this special Valentine’s Day, we can exclusively report two things for the first time:

At long last, Our Own Inspector Clouseau has acknowledged a possibility: some Christie people, including Baroni, might have believed that Wildstein conducted some type of study, test or review, just as Fulton and Durando did.

Also:

Foye and Sokolich both seem to [HEART] Baroni. As we await results of the ongoing probes, we can’t tell you why they do. We can’t tell you if they should.

We also don't know who “Nicole” is. Maddow should perhaps refrain from stringing folk up until she learns their last names.

61 comments:

  1. Bob Somerby, Feb. 14, 2014: "Whatever he actually may have been doing, Wildstein went through all the motions of conducting some sort of study, or test."

    Patrick Foye, Sept. 13, 2013: "After reading last night's media pendings, I made inquiries and received calls on this matter which is very troubling. Here is what I learned: reversing over 25 years of PA GWB operations, the three lanes in Fort Lee eastbound to the GWB were reduced to one lane on Monday of this week without notifying Fort Lee, the commuting public we serve, the ED [executive director] or Media. A decision of this magnitude should be made only after careful deliberation and upon sign off by the ED. . .

    "To be clear, I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision which violates everything this agency stands for; I intend to learn how PA process was wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged to say nothing of the credibility of this agency."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Foye sure was mad that they conducted a study and didn't even tell him about it.

      Delete
    2. Yep. Just one of the "motions" Wildstein apparently didn't "went through."

      Delete
  2. This makes complete sense now. Bernstein is excellent.

    Thanks so much, Bob.

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  3. And yet, the loved-by-all Bill Baroni saw fit to tender his resignation. Go figure.

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    Replies
    1. At the time, Christie said that Baroni had been planning to resign and that his resignation was unrelated to the bridge incident.

      Delete
    2. Uh huh. Just a coincidence.

      Delete
  4. We should also not forget, though Somerby would prefer that we do, the testimony of both Durando and Fulton who described in detail "all the motions of conducting some sort of study, or test" particularly ones involving lane closures.

    Of course, that would tend to directly contradict the fable Somerby continues to sell to his Fan Club as he merely supplies "additional details."

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  5. Somerby seems to be saying that a second subpoena has been issued to someone named Nicole. Who is that second person? Did I misread that?

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  6. Baroni is a very decent guy. What he really cared about was to rebuild the WTC which is a symbol of resilience of this country. Those people who have worked with him and have been knowing him for years speak highly of him. He didn't have any self-interest invested in this lane closure. It is so sad to see that he was dragged into this controversy!

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    1. This makes it all the more wrong for Maddow to characterize him as someone who deliberately told lies and concocted a cover story.

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    2. Unless of course, evidence continues to accumulate on top of the mountain Maddow had at her disposal to show that Baroni actually did tell deliberate lies and concoct a cover story.

      If one were to listen to that evidence instead of to Bob disappearing key parts of it, one might conclude that Chris Christie himself had good reason to abandon the "traffic study" story.

      Delete
  7. OMB ( BOB Seems to Seam, Pattern, Thread and Most Everything)

    BOB may believe many things in this post are factual. But he uses some "fuzzy" facts to create shaky inferences.

    We'll skip Maddow the Clown coverage. We tend to share his view of some of her flaws which were blatantly on display this week. BOB already described this as scandal culture filler even though he devotes much attention to the fluff.

    Lets go to fun facts BOB asserts:

    "we cited Bernstein’s informative-seeming appearance with Lawrence O’Donnell... Bernstein explained David Wildstein’s job at the Port Authority—exactly one hour after Maddow announced, for perhaps the ten millionth time, that no one knows how to explain it.

    No, Bernstein described vaguely and partially incorrectly, Wildstein's function at the PA. Maddow described, partially correctly, that Wildstein's job was ill defined by any standard of how one describes a paid position in an organization. We noted at length in commentary where Bernstein erred. BOB linked the post. Go there if you like.

    "Because of Wildstein’s actions, the bridge director and the bridge general manager testified that they had believed that Wildstein was conducting some sort of study or test..... Fulton and Durando thought that. ...Did Baroni think that Wildstein was really conducting a test?"

    We will never know everything that Baroni knew. But we do know Baroni knew whatever Wildstein was doing it was causing gridlock in Ft. Lee and he was no longer responsive to the mayor's calls during the "test." The documents tell us that. Documents also tell us he approved a press statement immediately following the closure calling the "test" a "traffic safety pattern study," a term which shifted to a "fairness" allocation by the time he testified in November using data Wildstein gathered after the fact.

    Fulton and Durando did not testify they "believed" Wildstein was conducting some sort of study or test. They "knew" he ordered the lanes closed and had the authority to issue such an order and said it was for a study or test.

    From Fulton's testimony:

    ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Okay. And you were --...when you were directed, or you were advised, I guess, that the Bridge was going to be closed, you were told that was for a study?

    MR. FULTON: An understanding of what would happen if Fort Lee didn’t have those three lanes.

    ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: And that was for a study?

    MR. FULTON: I’m not sure he used the word study with me; but it was clearly a desire to understand what would happen if Fort Lee did not have those three lanes.

    From Durando's testimony:

    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: How many times in the past have you or someone instructed you to divert lanes in order to do a traffic study on the George Washington Bridge?

    MR. DURANDO: This was the first time.
    -----
    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: My question is: Was there careful deliberation prior to this decision being implemented?

    MR. DURANDO: With regard to this study?

    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Yes.

    MR. DURANDO: No, sir, there was not.

    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Did you know that at the time you made the decision to go ahead and accede to Mr. Wildstein’s demands?

    MR. DURANDO: I knew that we had not been involved in any discussion to plan a traffic study involving the Fort Lee lanes.

    When Foye, Durando, and Fulton testified, Baroni was still Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority. Sokolich is still perhaps under the spell of Malala's recent visit. Comments about Baroni bear no relevance to whether, in response to a message that it was "time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee", Baroni's right hand man Wildstein really did drive a project, but one that only involved some employees rearranging some cones.

    KZ

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    1. If one were to apply Bob's Rules fully, one might suspect that Bernstein was speculating without proper evidence about the nature of Wildstein's Port Authority employment.

      One might ask why there was never anything resembling a job description in PA files for "director if interstate capital projects."

      One might also why, since this job was so critical, how extensively advertised this $150K per year position to attract candidates with expertise and experience in the critical oversight of "interstate capital improvements projects" before settling on the floormat heir and political blogger.

      And one might also wonder why this position is no more after being held by exactly one person.

      Perhaps the curious might delve into the Bergen Record and find out what they suspected a full 18 months before the "traffic problems in Fort Lee."

      Delete
  8. Bill can only tell what he was told, and what he was told is a traffic study. He had no reason not to believe it first as it was impossible for him to doubt people first or to micro-manage everything at PA. It seemed that he was far away in Atlantic City for a ceremony on the first day of the lane closure as I remember he was giving a speech on that day. Then he was busy with another ceremony with Lt. Governor and with the 9/11 anniversary with many people later that week. I guess that was why he wasn't able to return the Mayor's call immediately. But he did reach out to the Mayor as soon as his work went back to routine the following week. What happened subsequently was very understandable and natural: just trying to minimize the negative impact of the lane closure, by setting up appointment with the Mayor, seeking guidance from Trenton, and meanwhile, discussing about it with Foye. It is very natural for any organizations to think about doing damage control internally, rather than speaking to reporters. I think the most important fact here is that Bill didn't order the lane closure himself.
    CW

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    1. Right. The deputy director of the Port Authority was out of town, completely incommunicado, and there was absolutely no way for him to find out that the Mayor of Fort Lee was frantically call him.

      Until the next week, when he returned to his office.

      You think I just fell off a turnip truck?

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    2. You probably did so, but I am not used to guessing people. He needed evidence and time to find out what was really going on in person.

      Delete
    3. We don't know who CW is since we don't recall seeing those initals here before. But his/her comment about Baroni is countered by the simplest documents obtained by the committee.

      At 9:06 am on Monday, the day of the first lane closures, Baroni received an e-mail from PA staff about Sokolich calling regarding the closures and public safety issues. He did not call the Mayor. He e-mailed Wildstein at 9:41 am. forwarding the earlier e-mail. At 9:48 am he got an e-mail back from Wildstein with a sinple message: "Radio Silence."

      There are there are other documents showing the failure to respond was deliberate all the way through mid-day on Thursday.

      On Friday morning, after Foye sent his e-mail ordering the lanes re-opened at 7:44 am, Baroni's first documented response was to e-mail Sampson at 7:51 am asking for a telephone conference on the matter. By that afternoon Baroni was personally approving the two line response to press inquiries calling the action a study of "traffic safety patterns." The next Monday he approved using the same response to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reporter responded by making a FOIA request for documents on the study. "Traffic safety pattern" study was never mentioned again. By the time Baroni got to the Legislature in November the excuse, false from the very beginning, was replaced with a new rationale for the "study" that never was.

      Poor Bill Baroni was so out of the loop he took only 35 minutes to forward the first distress call from Sokolich to Wildstein. He was so out of the loop that it took him 7 minutes to respond to Foye by going directly to Foye's superior asking for a conversation that could be undocumented by doing it over the phone.

      KZ

      And CW, welcome to ClubBob. We have had a void in Jersey commenters since Lionel left. Soon you will be able to tell us why BOB has never mentioned these documents as he explores the possibility Baroni was telling the truth, or thought he was doing so.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for your invitation. I can tell you now that, based upon my reading of the documents, what you wrote above is inaccurate, at least partially. You sounded a storyteller. Although you were apparently trying to draw a line that you had predetermined between the dots, you couldn't say you knew what was really going on. In fact, there was a legitimate traffic study. "Michael Cassidy, a University of California-Berkeley engineering professor who occasionally works with the California Department of Transportation, told The Associated Press that the preliminary study appears to be a legitimate internal report of the sort transportation officials often circulate among themselves."
      Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20140110_ap_2922bfbba5a64d0ba782fe384e9203a8.html#1qxHyIqQ8y88dBiw.99

      Delete
    5. Kelly: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee"

      Wildstein: "Got it."

      Delete
    6. " In fact, there was a legitimate traffic study. "Michael Cassidy, a University of California-Berkeley engineering professor who occasionally works with the California Department of Transportation, told The Associated Press that the preliminary study appears to be a legitimate internal report of the sort transportation officials often circulate among themselves."

      Well, there you go. I guess they can call off the multiple state and federal investigations now. After all, that is the primary question everyone's been trying to get the Christie administration to answer for half a year. All this time and expense and subpoenas and resignations and firings and invocations of 5th amendment privileges and abject apologies could have been avoided if only they had asked an engineering professor from UC Berkeley.

      Delete
    7. How interesting that the Associated Press had to go all the way across the country to find a professor who noted that, yes, they did write something that sort of looks like it went with a study, though that was his highest praise for the documents, which he wouldn't publish in an academic journal.

      If you have the curiosity to examine these purported study documents, you will find that the professionals who wrote them used the only data available to them -- tolls plaza data that they collect every day -- to measure the impact of the lane closures.

      These documents, once read, concluded that the closures created massive traffic jams in Fort Lee and minimal gains in travel time on the bridge itself. It also included the words "as expected."

      These are very important words. The professionals at the Port Authority knew without the lane closures what would happen. And apparently, so did Bridget Kelly, without engineering expertise, sitting in her office miles away in Trenton.

      But Baroni stuck to the story in his testimony nearly two months later. In fact, he claimed that shutting down the lanes was the ONLY way to learn what impact closing the lanes would have.

      This became comical when one of the lawmakers, with actual expertise in engineering, asked him directly why the Port Authority didn't simply run a computer simulation first? Such a simulation would have almost certainly shown the degree of "traffic problems in Fort Lee" without actually jamming up real cars containing real people.

      Baroni merely continued his Henry Hill impression -- he didn't say nuttin'.

      Then he received a spate of e-mails congratulating him on his fine job of sayin' nuttin'.

      Meanwhile, here we have the Governor of New Jersey, a former U.S. attorney famous for rooting out corruption, working so feverishly to uncover the truth that he dispatched not one, but his two top aides on Oct. 1 to get to the bottom of this.

      And stymied all the way by a staff that refused to tell him the truth.

      Right.


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    8. Odd construction on your part of a set of facts that could be described somewhat differently. But that is what bias produces.

      Delete
    9. Yes indeed, and in Bob's World, it is only "bias" when those who disagree with us do it.

      Delete
    10. My friends who study Transportation often go to field trips to gather data, rather than sitting in front of computers to do simulation. For example, they counted how many drivers passing at a certain time in a certain place wore their seat belts. They must do field work of this kind to receive and retain grants for their study. And if anybody really knows what research/study means, he/she would definitely looks at data first. Without data, any study is just simply an opinion. Of course, the data you collected could either confirm or disapprove your hypotheses. I think what really matters here is not whether there was a traffic study, but the likelihood that Bill could also have believed there was a legitimate traffic study if transportation experts and traffic professors can believe so.

      Delete
    11. Anon @ 3:03 You are new. BOB tried a whole post
      using that one quote from the AP article some time ago. It was destroyed in comments when he did.
      You left out the part where the Cal Berkely professor says "It could well be a good-faith effort, if not the finest in the annals. I cannot say this is not a study"

      Based on what he was shown, he couldn't say it wasn't. Neither could he say it was. But it wasn't
      a "traffic safety pattern study" which is what your friend "Bill" told PA staff to tell the press it was after the fact. And it wasn't the "fairness of lane allocation"
      study around which the friend you call "Bill" centered his testimony. That data based on EZ pass addresses was not requested by Wildstein until a week after the study.

      You said earlier based on your readings of the documents we cited what we wrote was inaccurate.
      What was inaccurate?

      KZ

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    12. Yes, the "friends who study transportation" make a sudden and convenient appearance.

      You might ask these friends how they would go about studying "traffic safety patterns" that involve closing two of three access lanes to a very busy bridge. Then ask them if it would be any different if they were studying "fairness of lane allocation."

      Would they come up with an idea on Friday to move traffic cones on Monday? Or would there be just a wee bit more planning and preparation involved? As well as clarity of primary purpose to make certain that the right answers are obtained to the right questions.

      The planning and preparation for such real, legitimate studies were carefully explained by Durando and Fulton, who further explained the steps necessary before the Port Authority closes lanes.

      But Bob assures us that "Wildstein went through all the motions of conducting some sort of study, or test".

      And the AP found a professor in California who couldn't say it wasn't a study.

      That in your mind translates into all manners of unnamed "transportation experts and traffic professors" believing that this was a "legitimate study."




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    13. "For example, they counted how many drivers passing at a certain time in a certain place wore their seat belts."

      Gotta call BS on this one. Try standing by a roadway sometime and see if you can tell if passing motorists are wearing their seat belts.

      I also question the value of the information about such drivers only "at a certain time in a certain place," but hey, if they can get grants to study that, more power to them.

      Delete
    14. There are quite a few areas of inaccuracy in your comments. I would feel exhausted to correct your points one by one. Anyway, fact speaks for itself. But I think the following is more important: Whatever you call it: a traffic study or a traffic safety pattern study, the difference between the two only lies in the term that you pick. The difference is not big enough to be political.

      Delete
    15. AnonymousFebruary 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM:

      You sound very ignorant and rude! Call NJIT transportation department and see what they will say about the field trips in terms of seat belts counting.

      Delete
    16. Let us stick to the terms that came out of the Port Authority, shall we?

      When the Road Warrior columnist of the Bergen County Record first inquired, while the traffic jams were piling up, he was told officially that it was a study of "traffic safety patterns."

      When Baroni, the deputy executive director of the Port Authority, appeared some six weeks later before the assembly committee, it turned into a "fairness" study to see if all those access lanes were necessary. (Turns out, they were.)

      This is not just semantics. A study of traffic safety patterns is very different and would require a different assembly of data from a study of "fairness."

      And both would require months of planning, as testified by Durando, Fulton and Foye, to make sure that data were being collected to answer the questions being asked.

      Beyond the few pages that our esteemed professor from California read (and didn't like very much), there has yet to be a final, definitive report answering either question, nor apparently is there one in the works.

      Now of course, the question before us is NOT whether this was a "traffic safety study" or a "traffic study". The question is whether it was any kind of "traffic study" at all.

      Even Chris Christie knows better than to continue to sell that lie, realizing that the only people left in the known universe who will buy that are Somerby and his fans.



      Delete
    17. Yes, it was the beginning of a traffic study, resulting in four-day's data. And there was nothing wrong if they thought it was necessary to include the variable of "fairness" in this study.

      Christie didn't say traffic study is a lie. What he said is the following: "I don’t know whether this was some type of rogue political operation that morphed into a traffic study or a traffic study that morphed into an additional rogue political — I don’t know.” For Bill Baroni, I am sure that he is wondering the same question.

      Delete
    18. Then Bill Baroni is the dumbest rube who ever fell off the hay wagon.

      Six weeks after the lane closures, with plenty of time to ask Wildstein why he did it -- as if Baroni didn't know -- he came to the committee with a giant aerial photo, and spent hours talking about a real traffic study.

      And if Chris Christie four months later, still "doesn't know" he must have fallen off the same hay wagon.

      Or . . . they both think that the whole nation is full of hay wagon victims such as yourself, willing to believe what ever they are pitching.

      Somerby can't see that his own personal vendetta against MSNBC and the NY Times -- and particularly the females who work there -- is ruining his once bright blog.

      Delete
    19. "For Bill Baroni, I am sure that he is wondering the same question."

      That's highly doubtful since he is refusing to comply with the subpoenas.

      Delete
    20. In my view, he is a victim of this political drama given that he didn't have any self-interest invested in the lane closure. If the order came from Bridget, then Baroni could have had little authority about the whole incidence, including Wildstein.




      Delete
    21. If the investigations go too far, then anybody could exercise constitutional rights to refuse to comply with subpoenas.

      Nobody died or injured because of the lane closure, but NJ's dirty politics and some irresponsible people including a couple of you in this blog directly contributed to Harrison Mayor's death -- he was much bothered by the calls flooding in his office last month after the GW bridge controversy had taken place. It is a time for us to feel ashamed of being New Jerseyans!

      Delete
    22. "If the investigations go too far, then anybody could exercise constitutional rights to refuse to comply with subpoenas."

      First of all, refusing to turn over work product is not a "constitutional right". Are you referring to the 5th amendment?

      **... nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself...**

      He has a right to refuse to testify. He doesn't have a right to without emails and other work product that he had already distributed to other people. And he will be held in contempt if he doesn't produce the documents.

      Also, who gets to decide that the investigation has gone too far? Oh, that's right, that would be the person being investigated. Ha! We're six months into it, and we still don't know the answers to the two fundamental questions. Why was this done and who approved it.

      Delete
    23. "If the order came from Bridget, then Baroni could have had little authority about the whole incidence, including Wildstein."

      Excuse me. Bill Baroni takes orders from Bridget? How's that? Does her job description include authority over PA officials?

      Delete
    24. You sound an insane person who actually examined/explained my comments in an illogical way. Are you one of the "we" that you wrote? Then it is highly likely that these investigations go too far! And you must be one of the criminals who helped kill the beloved Harrison Mayor!

      Delete
  9. Condemning Maddow's show on Wednesday so harshly tells me that the Republicans in NJ are running scared while attempting to cover Christie's ass. Maddow didn't order the lane closures, you dimwits. Get your heads out of your butts and start reporting facts, not opinions. Oh that's right... Reagan didn't know anything about Iran-Contra, right?????

    ReplyDelete
  10. As an independent, I don't even understand Maddow's show. If a show irresponsibly fabricates rumors and conspiracy, we should be really scared of its existence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am far more frightened by nuclear arms proliferation, global climate change, and the fact that another jury in Florida has deliberated for 22 hours and counting about another guy who shot another unarmed teenager, this time over the crime of loud music.

      But you go ahead and be frightened by the mere existence of a cable TV news host exercising the First Amendment.

      How will the Republic ever survive?

      Delete
    2. You would care more about falsely accused people if it were you being accused on TV of doing something you didn't do.

      Delete
    3. Again, I am far more fearful of a mindset that turns the shooters of unarmed teens into victims of runaway prosecutors than I am by a cable TV news host exercising the First Amendment.

      After all, we should be able to shoot any teen we want for any reason then claim self-defense against loud music.

      Delete
    4. "You would care more about falsely accused people if it were you being accused on TV of doing something you didn't do."

      Who are these people that are being falsely accused? Be specific.
      Bridget Kelly, who was thrown under the bus by Gov. Fat Man and repeatedly called a liar?
      David Wildstein who was unceremoniously dismissed from his post by Gov. Fat Man?
      Baroni, who was also relieved of his high paying position by Gov. Fat Man and is now refusing to cooperate with the investigation?

      Who please?

      Delete
    5. Please. Gov. Fat Man is working on his weight issues. He has had some lanes closed or something.

      Delete
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