CORRUPTION SPREADS: Maddow gone wild!

THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2014

Interlude—Our campus for a transcript: The New York Times can be frustrating, due to its management of its various editions.

On its web site, the Times shows the front-page display for its “New York Edition” and for its “National Edition.”

Here on our sprawling campus, we receive a daily paper which is marked “Washington Edition.”

At Nexis, most Times listings are attributed to something called the “Late Edition.”

Go figure! In the mix of these different editions, a news report may appear in the Times without a subscriber seeing it. That’s what happened this very week with a somewhat shaky news report, “Head of Port Authority Police Union Questioned in Bridge Inquiry.”

According to Nexis and the Times site, this report appeared in Wednesday’s “Late Edition.” It never appeared in the hard-copy papers left on our front steps.

Whatever! Even belatedly, a reader can learn a valuable lesson from this particular news report. Here it is:

Rachel Maddow isn’t the only American “journalist” given to misstatement concerning the Fort Lee mess.

In the news report in question, William Rashbaum discusses the role of Paul Nunziato in the lane closings and their aftermath. In Rashbaum’s description, Nunziato is “a brash police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a 27-year veteran who heads the union that represents his 1,300 colleagues.”

No, West Deptford Township! Nunziato hasn’t been fired from his job as union head (Rachel Maddow, 2/21). Nor has Nunziato stepped down from that post (Rachel Maddow, 2/27).

That said, Rashbaum reports that federal prosecutors “recently questioned [Nunziato] as part of their inquiry into whether any aspect of the September lane closings amounted to a crime, according to people with knowledge of the session.”

For various reasons, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In this passage, Rashbaum starts explaining why Nunziato was questioned and quickly makes a misstatement:
RASHBAUM (3/5/14): [I]n the weeks and months after the lane closings, the union leader made public statements that seem unlikely to have gone unnoticed by the office of the United States attorney in New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, whose prosecutors are overseeing the inquiry.

Bill Baroni, Mr. Wildstein's superior at the Port Authority and another Christie ally, offered testimony to the legislative committee in November that indicated that Mr. Nunziato suggested to Mr. Wildstein in July that he close two bridge access lanes as part of a traffic study.

Given ample opportunity, Mr. Nunziato never disputed that characterization.
Did Baroni’s testimony “indicate that Nunziato suggested to Wildstein in July that he close two bridge access lanes as part of a traffic study?”

Actually, no—it did not. That is a rather plain overstatement of what Baroni said.

You can read the testimony here, if you want to make a comparison (see pages 5-6 and 28-30). But many New York Times reporters have rather weak journalistic skills. One should always keep that in mind at moments like this.

(The Times is the paper whose misreporting invented the Whitewater “scandal.”)

Rashbaum’s report is well worth reading, if you read with caution. According to Rashbaum, Nunziato has now contradicted something Baroni actually did say in his testimony.

If Rashbaum’s account is accurate, you can start trying to imagine whose account of this matter is true. But you have to start by trusting the notion that Rashbaum’s account is accurate.

Investigations take a long time. At some point, we may find out what happened here from a fully reliable source.

If you try to figure this out on your own, there’s one thing we’ll strongly suggest—try to avoid being influenced by Maddow’s representations. Last night, she went on one of her patented tears about Rashbaum’s report.

At some point, we’ll run through last evening’s array of misstatements, overstatements, inventions and omissions. At present, that task would be made too difficult by MSNBC’s latest job action.

The One True Channel has been slacking again in the realm of transcript production. As we type, the last available transcript for Maddow is the transcript from Monday night’s program.

MSNBC does few things well. Try to make sense of this pattern:
Transcripts currently available for programs broadcast this week
Maddow: Monday night only
Hardball: All three nights
Chris Hayes: Monday and Wednesday nights; Tuesday night missing
Last Word: Monday night only
CNN is a mess in many ways, but it manages to produce transcripts in a regular fashion. At MSNBC, job actions sometimes occur. In the present instance, this makes it hard to keep track of Maddow’s misrepresentations.

Overall, Maddow’s reporting of Fort Lee has been an unholy mess. Last night, she may have outdone herself. At some point, we will run through the segment for you, if MSNBC ever gets around to posting the transcript.

Why does Maddow do this? What makes Rachel run?

In our view, Maddow’s scandal reporting has always tended toward misstatement and propaganda. We’ve long been puzzled by this part of her work—have wanted to puzzle it out.

Tomorrow, we will simply assume that something is badly amiss in her scandal reporting. We will offer two different thoughts about why she behaves as she does.

In the meantime, watch the tape of last night’s segment about Nunziato. In our view, Maddow’s performance is full of misstatements, built on a firm foundation of omitted key facts.

We’re not suggesting that no misconduct happened in the lane closings. If the lane closings were done for political reasons, we would assume that they constitute criminal conduct.

We’re not suggesting that no misconduct occurred. We’re suggesting that, as Maddow continues to clown and misstate, the misconduct only spreads.

Tomorrow: Two ways to think about this

61 comments:

  1. Surely there's one stenographer on your sprawling campus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob doesn't want to violate MS-NBC's copyright.

      Delete
  2. "We’re not suggesting that no misconduct occurred." today

    "But the closings involved very dangerous, very strange conduct—conduct which may have been criminal." Feb 27

    Once you have asserted as fact (instead of weaselized "anything is possible" locutions) that the closings involved very dangerous conduct - then misconduct has happened by definition.

    A change was made to traffic patterns, normally collected data were put together to evaluate the change - so THERE MOST CERTAINLY WAS A STUDY OF SORTS. This cannot be disputed. Since the entire "study" could have been done by computer simulation, or if real traffic had to be impacted - tried and true procedures should have been used (directly measure ALL traffic and not just EZ pass) with proper notifications etc.

    Why is blogger beating around the bush TO THIS DAY disputing if misconduct has taken place?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lane closures, in and of themselves, do not constitute very dangerous conduct. Sometimes they are made necessary by infrastructure repairs or by accidents. It is closings for no reason that can become dangerous if they interfere with an emergency situation. THIS situation resulted mostly in a lot of inconvenience to people but not much actual danger. So, it is hard to argue that this is prima facie misconduct. It depends on the purposes for the closure. Blogger is not necessarily beating around the bush. He may disagree with your interpretation of the situation, as I do.

      I especially object to the equating of inconvenience with loss. We live in a culture that prioritizes time over other resources but not everyone thinks this was a big deal, even to the residents of Ft. Lee. Slow down and smell some roses so you can tell the difference between real damage and inconvenience. Before you jump up to claim that emergency vehicles were delayed, the amount of the delay was about 5 min (doubling of the normal response time) and no one was shown to have been actually harmed by it in the 4 days of closures.

      Delete
    2. I will jump to claim that you must strongly disagree with the recent multi-part posts of Mr. Somerby which stated for a fact that Chris Matthews "almost got somebody killed" many years ago.

      Delete
    3. I can tell the difference between hyperbole and unsupported accusation.

      Delete
    4. Yes, it's easy for a Bob fan to tell the difference. When one of Bobs bad guys does it, it's "unsupported accusation." When Bob does it, it's merely "hyperbole."

      Such a simple world you live in.

      Delete
    5. When Somerby accuses Maddow or Matthews of mistakenly accusing someone, he includes supporting evidence. They do not.

      Delete
    6. When did Maddow or Matthews accuse Somerby or anyone else of mistakenly accusing someone?

      Taking you a little less literally, perhaps you did not understand the clear inference of your first comment. You seemed to object to the notion that delay of EMS was a "loss" rather a mere "inconvenience."

      Therefore it was assumed you might also object to an attempt to equate a false accusation on television with a brush with death for a the accused person who in both cases was not in town when and where the events involved occurred. Apparently you do not.

      Delete
    7. Figurative language is not intended to be taken literally. That is part of normal conversational pragmatics. Somerby's point was that accusing someone capriciously has consequences, unintended without doubt, but serious nonetheless. Somerby's claims that there is not sufficient support for the accusations Maddow and Matthews have made are always accompanied by both reasoning and quotes. That not made without evidence. So, yes, I object to your false equivalence.

      If every traffic delay were an act of misconduct because of the consequences to those delayed, it would be impossible to do any roadwork. So, yes, I object to that mischaracterization. This hysteria over traffic is ridiculous. Many of us endure these kinds of commuting situations routinely without blowing it up into a national crisis requiring endless discussion on Maddow's show. If this does turn out to be politically motivated, it is still small potatoes unless and until it can be tied back to Christie. Until then, it is just the left's version of crying Benghazi, trying to blow up something trivial (but wrong if politically motivated) into a major scandal. It cannot be such a scandal without that connection to Christie. Maddow should let it be and wait until we know the facts. Instead, she announces that she doesn't care about the facts, she will just go on putting Christie and bridgegate into the same sentence hoping that the slur will stick come election time. It is ugly, no matter which side she is purportedly working for. And it bears no resemblance at all to real journalism.

      Delete
    8. An Exercise in Normal Conversational Pragmatics

      "Figurative language is not intended to be taken literally." Anon. @ 11:57

      Back in May 1999, one of our most prominent “cable news” pseudo-journalists almost got somebody killed. BOB 2/18/14

      two years of Matthews’ appalling conduct sent George W. Bush to the White House. People are dead all over the world because of the things Matthews did. BOB 2/18/14

      As “journalism,” the conduct shown here is well beyond crazy—and it almost got someone killed.
      BOB 2/19/14

      We’ll look at what he did the next week, after his appalling conduct almost got somebody killed....Chris Matthews loved one accuser so much, he almost got somebody killed.
      BOB 2/20/14

      We do know that Lawrence has misbehaved. That fact is perfectly clear....Chris almost got somebody killed this way. Lawrence seems eager to top him. BOB 2/20/14

      In a remarkably casual way, Matthews had made a heinous false accusation. As it turned out, he could have gotten somebody killed...Throughout the next two years, Matthews would make wild, inaccurate accusations against Candidate Gore.... Given the narrow way the 2000 election was decided, it’s hard to doubt that Matthews’ misconduct, all by itself, sent George W. Bush to the White House. BOB 2/21/14

      she will just go on putting Christie and bridgegate into the same sentence hoping that the slur will stick come election time. Anon. @ 11:57

      Figurative language is not intended to be taken literally. That is part of normal conversational pragmatics. Anon. @ 11:57

      KZ

      Delete
  3. "If the lane closings were done for political reasons, we would assume that they constitute criminal conduct." You assume wrong. Many activities, whether politically or otherwise motivated, that are unethical are nonetheless legal, or very difficult to prove to be in violation of any existing statute.

    Since Fishman may in the end (investigations take time!) bring no charges before a grand jury, it is important that we, as citizens, not be set up by statements like Bob's here to confuse "technically probably legal, or at least not provably illegal" with "ethical" and "worthy of a democratic polity." mch (checking in as I occasionally still do -- always hoping to see something change)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I print you verbosity of drama and use it as toilet paper.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of the best ever. Most deceptive to date.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was a good post. Problem is it proves Lawrence O'Donnell was right on track about Nunciato.,

    ReplyDelete
  7. On a night when TRMS begins with the devastation Republican policies have had on women's reproductive health in Texas, TDH chooses to use a word play on a soft core porn video series for a headline attacking Maddow. What's next Somerby? Rachel Does Dallas?

    ReplyDelete
  8. TDH: "Did Baroni’s testimony 'indicate that Nunziato suggested to Wildstein in July that he close two bridge access lanes as part of a traffic study?'

    Actually, no—it did not. That is a rather plain overstatement of what Baroni said."

    You can read the testimony here, if you want to make a comparison (see pages 5-6 and 28-30)

    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: So who were these police officers who raised the issue that, “We ought to look at this?”
    MR. BARONI: The leadership of the Port Authority Police.
    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Names?
    MR. BARONI: Paul Nunziato, the President of the Port Authority PBA; Mike DeFilippis, the delegate who worked at the George Washington Bridge.
    ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: So the head of the Port Authority PBA raised this as an issue?
    MR. BARONI: That’s correct, that’s correct.

    You be the judge whether "suggested" is different from "raised the issue." Note: that is not the head of the Port Authority police making the suggestion, it's the president of their union. Huh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember this, too: reducing it from three lanes to one -- two EZ Pass, one cash to one handling both -- meant eliminating 99% of the value of the EZ Pass for those motorists. Would anyone propose a "study" that would do that?

      Delete
    2. Bit wait, u.l. There's more:

      ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: So why September? I
      mean, this has existed for years. Why now, why September, what transpired to have somebody say, “You know, we ought to look at having less lanes for Fort Lee”?

      MR. BARONI: Well, as I said in my opening remarks,
      at some point in late July members of the Port Authority Police spoke to David Wildstein. So it was triggered by a conversation in late July.

      Delete
    3. And more....

      "MR. BARONI: In August 2013, following multiple conversations with members of the Port Authority Police regarding traffic conditions at the George Washington Bridge, Port Authority Director of Interstate Capital
      Projects David Wildstein met with Port Authority staff in Engineering,Traffic Engineering, and the Department of Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals to review the situation. Following those meetings, Mr. Wildstein asked the Office of the Chief Engineer to formulate options to determine
      whether the Fort Lee lanes were causing a clear and marked increase in Bridge traffic for the 95 percent of drivers who live in other areas of Bergen and Passaic counties, and across the state. Based on the options presented by the Port Authority’s Chief Engineer, on September 5, Mr. Wildstein requested that a one-week study be conducted beginning on Monday, September 9."

      Funny, but in the documents Wildstein turned over to the Committee there is no record of those meetings. There is no record of any requests. There are only designs to cut traffic lanes dedicated to Ft. Lee.

      Delete
    4. All of these excerpts from the testimony of Mr. Baroni do not contradict Bob's point. Nowhere did Baroni say that Nunziato specifically suggested "that he close two bridge access lanes as part of a traffic study".

      Of course to me this is a very small nit to pick. Maddow stated it that way as a shorthand description of the implication of what Baroni testified to. It is clear in the context from the questioning that they were asking Baroni to explain where the idea for this traffic study came from. Baroni is clearly laying it at the feet of the "The leadership of the Port Authority Police". This is undeniable and now "The leadership of the Port Authority Police" is contradicting what Baroni. This is important I think.

      Delete
    5. Now, now mm, the size of the nit is in the eye of the blog-holder.

      BOB tells you beforehand this is "a somewhat shaky news report." Shaky is a favorite BOBjective in describing news articles with nits he is about to pick. "Somewhat shaky" means an article is unquantifiably less than fully shaky on the scales with which we measure "journalistic" stability.

      We'll repeat the somewhat shaky nit filled passage:

      "Bill Baroni, Mr. Wildstein’s superior at the Port Authority and another Christie ally, offered testimony to the legislative committee in November that indicated that Mr. Nunziato suggested to Mr. Wildstein in July that he close two bridge access lanes as part of a traffic study.

      Given ample opportunity, Mr. Nunziato never disputed that characterization."

      Notice BOB did not highlight the final sentence. Now, we know from many examples given by BOB in the past, that silence is not golden. In fact the OTB often "suggests/implies" silence is a form of assent, at least when practiced by pundits. Here BOB uses it to quitely reinforce the picking of this particular nit. Nunziato's silence is appropriate, perhaps, because Baroni never said Nunziato called for closing any specific number of lanes.

      BUT WAIT, what does BOB leave out? Or to use BOBspeak, what does BOB disappear? Why the very next paragraph in this somewhat shaky news report!

      "In a statement released after Mr. Baroni’s testimony on Nov. 25, Mr. Nunziato endorsed the lane closing, saying that “the Port Authority’s attempt to be fair to all New Jersey commuters rather than a select few was admirable.” "

      Nunziato was not silent. Guess who KZ thinks wrote that statement for Mr. Nunziato? We'll give you a hint. He's nobody's childhood friend.

      KZ

      Delete
    6. KZ,

      I can't argue with you.

      I particularly enjoyed this statement by the reporter from the Newark Star Ledger that Maddow had on that night.

      STRUNSKY: It`s important. It does, as you say, it seems to undercut the whole premise of a traffic study, but I think it`s quite a while since anybody thought there was any traffic study to begin with, particularly Mr. Wisniewski or Senator Weinberg who co-chair the investigative committee.
      *****

      let's rewind that.

      "...I think it`s quite a while since anybody thought there was any traffic study to begin with,...."

      Mr. Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This"traffic study" is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

      Delete
    7. Norwegian Blue.

      We have taken a fair number to Doom. You will be happy to know they can be revived and resold in our atmosphere.
      Much like the tales of BOB here on your planet

      KZ

      Delete
  9. OMB (Maddow Wild? BOB Mad!)

    "According to Rashbaum, Nunziato has now contradicted something Baroni actually did say in his testimony."

    How nice of BOB to understate the impact of what Nunziato's "contradiction" is, cast doubt on its accuracy, then avoid altogether stating what that contradiction might be.

    According to Rashbaum, he and the Times possess Nunziato's statement as part of a letter from Nunziato's lawyer to the Times.

    If Nunziato said he never had a conversation with Wildstein later than 2012 about the Ft. Lee lanes, and that conversation was not about I-95 congestion, Rachel was right and Bob wrong about Baroni lying. The testimony was a cover up. The "study" was a cover up and a cover story.

    Say BOB, how did you like "Rachel's" documentary tonight? Did you think she "journalistically established" that Bush's motive for war was something other than the WMD you are surprised the US never found?

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, quoting the letter, Rashbaum writes:

      “Paul Nunziato had nothing to do with nor knowledge of the planning, implementation or execution” of the closing of the access lanes, the lawyer, Charles J. Sciarra, said in a statement offered in response to questions from The New York Times about his client’s role and his public comments. Mr. Nunziato, the statement said, first learned “that there was an obvious improper motive regarding this issue” when the committee released documents suggesting the action may have been politically motivated.

      In the four-page statement, Mr. Sciarra said his client had talked to Mr. Wildstein in the middle of 2012 about an unrelated traffic problem near the Fort Lee access lanes at that time. That problem arose after tolls were raised, when car-pooling motorists were stopping to pick up passengers to go through a discounted high-occupancy-vehicle lane, he said, citing published reports about the practice at the time.

      Delete
    2. KZ, look also at the lengths Somerby will go to further "understate" the impact of the four-page statement to the Times from Nunziato's attorney:

      -----

      "But many New York Times reporters have rather weak journalistic skills. One should always keep that in mind at moments like this.

      "(The Times is the paper whose misreporting invented the Whitewater “scandal.”)"

      ----

      The Times was wrong about Whitewater 20 years ago, so naturally they are wrong about this as well.

      Nice dogwhistle to Bob fans, isn't it?

      Delete
    3. We must admit we would rather see the actual letter than
      Rashbaum's version of it. When Wildstein's lawyer wrote the PA begging for toll money to cover his fees, we felt many things in that letter were the assertions of the attorney, not necesarily Wildstein but were attributed to Wildstein by the press.

      That said (quite BOBlike we think, applauding ourselves on the back for tushy covering) we do think BOB's mild admonition of the reportorial skills of NY Times scribes is unlikely to almost get anyone killed.

      KZ

      Delete
  10. What happened to the nice mental health post from yesterday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be under the shrinking cap. I know I left that shrinking cap somewhere and I've been looking for it all week.

      Delete
  11. I don't know how to put it more simply: The message exchange between Kelly and Wildstein (Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. Got it) cannot and does not exist in the same universe as a traffic study. Is that really so hard to understand?

    Our correspondent is playing as dumb as the Guv, and that's embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is just closed minded. You have emails out of context and cannot know exactly what they mean and yet you are so certain.

      Delete
    2. But he does this for free.

      Delete
    3. We don't know that the trolls here are working for free.

      Delete
    4. "...cannot know..."

      You mean journalistically or commonsensically?

      Delete
    5. "You have emails out of context and cannot know exactly what they mean and yet you are so certain."

      Thank you. A more succinct description of the Somerby Method can't be written -- cherry-pick through voluminous testimony and documents that which advances your hatred of Rachel Maddow, and shove everything else down the memory hole.

      And in particular:

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

      Wildestein: "Got it."

      When was the last time you heard Somerby even mention this smoking gun?


      Delete
    6. Common sense suggests that you don't jump to conclusions when you don't know what is going on.

      That email just isn't a smoking gun. It is banter, consistent with the content of other emails released along with it. (Presenting it out of context makes it appear more meaningful.) We just don't know what it suggests. We know the lane closures were deliberate. We don't know why they were done. This email fits the situation where the lanes were closed as reprisal or for some improper purpose, but it also fits a situation where they were closed for a study or for some more innocent purpose. The problem is that both a real study and a fake one would cause traffic problems, so a reference to traffic problems, even by someone not in the PA, is not necessarily incriminating or suggestive of any wrongdoing.

      If you assume wrongdoing, then this looks guilty. If you assume there was some real purpose to the study, then this look kind of callous and stupid, but not guilty of anything except stupidity. So, this is NOT a smoking gun unless you assume there is guilt and look at it in that context.

      Coming to this website and repeating over and over that this is proof of something nefarious doesn't make it any more true. Repeating this just annoys regular readers who are tired of rehashing this. When someone does this, it suggests a motive to further attacks on these people ahead of the evidence (which awaits further investigation). That makes me think you are a paid political operative working here to influence people against Christie. If you are instead just some very determined person with too much time on your hands, my advice is to get another hobby.

      Delete
    7. "The problem is that both a real study and a fake one would cause traffic problems.."

      BUZZZZZZZ!!! Wrong answer Einstein.

      This "study" could have been done on a computer.

      Delete
    8. Let's rephrhase and repunctuate, shall we?

      The problem is that both a real study and a fake "study" could cause traffic problems.

      Panties untwisted now?

      Delete
    9. No, that doesn't make any more sense than the original ignorant statement.

      You're changing the meaning of what Anonymous12:53 PM asserted.

      If what you're trying to say is that in some highly theoretical "all things are possible" sense that it is possible to imagine a traffic study that had an incidental side effect of causing traffic problems, then who could dispute such a vague assertion? The problem is, you cannot look at what specifically happened here in this vague, theoretical, all things are possible sense. The "essence" of a traffic study is the engineering that goes into its design. That is not present here. You cannot hide behind this vague, theoretical proposition that the "traffic study" could have unfortunately and unintentionally resulted in traffic problems until you can demonstrate and show that the necessary elements of a traffic were present.

      And at this point, THAT PARROT IS DEAD.

      Let me help you out here.

      Some "thing" designed to cause traffic problems caused traffic problems.

      Delete
    10. mm, I am changing the meaning of @12:553's assertion to something that makes sense. I've pretty much given up with your own assertions. You're still trying to define yourself into being right the way you've defined yourself into being self-righteous.

      The only things that I'm looking at in a "theoretical" sense are the actual motivation for the lane closures and the involvement of Christie. I'm perfectly willing to believe that Christie, Wildstein, and Bridge T Kelly met to deliberately concoct a plan to close the access lanes to punish Fort Lee residents because their mayor didn't endorse Christie and because they were likely Buono voters anyway. These seems an odd thing to do, given that Fort Lee eventually voted for Christie by ten points. Did Christie and his deputy chief of staff not know that was the likely outcome?

      I don't have to demonstrate (let alone demonstrate and show) that the necessary elements of a traffic study were present, because it's clear that there was no actual, engineered traffic study. But the clowns claimed they were looking into something. Wildstein claims that tying Fort Lee into knots saved express traffic 45 minutes, and he made the argument to officials of cities further west of the Hudson that Fort Lee was getting favored treatment at their expense.

      Now you'd have to be dumber than a ball-peen hammer to think that either of these arguments hold even a drop of Hudson River water. Not to mention leaving a paper trail joking about the effects of their little experiment. Maybe they're just dumb or maybe they're dumb and corrupt. There doesn't seem to be a third possibility, and I'm willing to believe either. If it's dumb and corrupt, then their claims to be doing anything legitimate are lies, either cooked up ahead of time as a cover story or after the fact as an act of desperation. I don't have the evidence to choose between dumb and dumb/corrupt.

      And neither do you, no matter how much you misapply Monty Python tag lines.

      Delete
    11. deadrat,

      Your re-worded statement only makes sense in some abstract hypothetical situation totally absent of any other information. It does not make sense in this specific case when you take into account all the other information we have. You keep including Kelly in your scenarios as though it makes perfect sense for a glorified secretary to the Governor to be the one to pull the trigger on the hypothetical dumb plan. I'm not sure what her position was at the Port Authority. Perhaps you can clarify?

      Delete
  12. Under no circumstances whatsoever would anyone remotely familiar with toll roads or bridges carry through with, much less suggest, a study that would force EZ Pass users into the same lane with cash payers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Capt. Obvious. What do you conclude about Wildstein's knowledge of traffic engineering?

      Delete
    2. That he mostly blogged about politics. With a pseudonym.

      Delete
  13. deadrat, I conclude that Wildstein had an EZ Pass so he wouldn't have to wait in a cash lane and has driven on a toll road or across a toll bridge. That's the level of traffic engineering knowledge needed -- as you know, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, so Wildstein and I have approximately the same level of expertise in traffic engineering. I'm pretty sure that if I asked the PA to close access lanes, they wouldn't do it, which leaves the interesting question of why didn't someone tell Wildstein, "Hop on back to your office and take care of capital projects" or "Sure, thing. Here's the proper form. Fill it out, attach the engineers' proposals, get it approved up the line, and file it in triplicate"?

      Delete
    2. You really find that question so mysterious, deadrat? Or are you just verbally masturbating for your own pleasure as usual?

      Let me help you out, again. If some jerkoff like you, with no training or experience, had applied for a position at the PA with a title that didn't exist and had never existed, how far do you think you would have gotten?

      Delete
    3. That's right, mm, it's all about me. Or more accurately, about your masturbatory fantasies about me.

      Did I say I found the question "mysterious"? No, that's all you. I said the question is interesting. Likely, the bigger story is the way the PA is played by politicians on both banks of the Hudson like a loose slot machine that pays off in patronage, influence, and money. Of course, this gets ignored as jerkoffs (but not like you, certainly) obsess about the malfeasance of lane closings.

      I'd like to return the favor and help you out. Which I'll do just as soon as I figure out how you got in here.

      Delete
    4. You asked a rhetorical question which you already knew the answer to. Your question was meant to distract, something you're very good at doing. The cesspool of corruption at the NJPA is part of the story. It doesn't address urban legend's point and adds nothing to our understanding of whether there really was a traffic study, albeit a dumb one. We know why "someone" didn't tell Wildstein to go take a hike. It would have been nice if such a hero had stepped up and stuck his neck out. But that kind of courage in that kind of cesspool of corruption is understandably a rare thing. But you know all this.

      I've been reading TDH for almost as long as he has had this forum. He was always a must read every day. It really upsets me to see him going off the rails so badly and it is hard to criticize him. But I have to call um as I see um.

      Delete
    5. urban legend's point was that there couldn't have been a "real" study because no one would conduct a "real" study by simply shutting down access lanes. Which, as he points out, would have muddled things by forcing EZ-Pass and cash payers into the same lanes.

      But, of course, no one believes in an a "real" engineered traffic study, so his point is meaningless. The question is whether Wildstein acted out of ignorance and malice or ignorance and just arrogance.

      The "cesspool of corruption at the NJPA" isn't a part of the story for Darlin' Rachel, except inasmuch as she can get a teaser out of it. $899,999 missing from parking lot rent!

      Of course, I know "all this." That's part of the trope of a rhetorical question. And, yes, it indirectly indicates the worthlessness of urban legend's point. You seem to have missed that in your anguish over TDH.

      As easy as it appears for you to reel off the criticism, I don't believe the exercise is that hard for you. And no, you don't really have to call 'em as you see 'em, as your eyesight on this topic is so myopic.

      But maybe this question will distract you from your pain: What if there were no rhetorical questions?

      Delete
    6. You see, deadrat, you don't get to re-define what "traffic study" means or might possibly we just don't know might mean, which is precisely what you're doing.

      the deadrat, dumb non-engineered traffic study which need not consist of any of the elements state of the art traffic engineers use to talk about traffic studies. A traffic study which resulted in disastrous disruption to commuter traffic and apparently nothing more. A dumb non-engineered traffic study apparently designed by a secretary and two political hacks with no training in the field. A traffic study which in the known universe of traffic studies there is only one possible example, this one. A traffic study with an ever evolving announced purpose. That's what you're holding out for?

      Delete
    7. I once briefly considered that you and the rest of the trollery think that by refusing to climb aboard your scandal train, I'm supporting the view that nothing corrupt was going on. I then dismissed that thought on the grounds that no native speaker of English could possibly misconstrue what I've written. I may have to reconsider this.

      I'll try again. I'm not trying to redefine what a real traffic study is. That has a solid definition, grounded in the recommendations of professional traffic engineers and following the official approval procedures of the PA. I expect there are few people "holding out" for the discovery of such a traffic study. If one were extant, someone would have pulled it from the files of the PA. So, whatever "dumb non-engineered" stunt Wildstein pulled, it certainly wasn't a real traffic study. In fact the claims that anything was actually studied are dubious, and the proclaimed results, e.g., the alleged 45-minute improvement in the morning bridge rush at the cost of 2800 extra vehicle hours for local traffic in Fort Lee give some idea of how incompetent the responsible parties must have been. So incompetent, in fact, that the alternate "hoax or ruse" theory is a viable one. Which is to say that nobody is that dumb, so the study is just a cover story for something else like political retribution.

      Some people think they know right now. Buffoons like you, for instance. Other people actually do know, but they're taking the Fifth Amendment. Other people, like me, are willing to believe the worst about Christie and his appointees but realize that we don't know all the facts. Certainly it's a dysfunctional organization that lets political hacks in charge of capital programs mess around with traffic patterns. Certainly it's a corrupt, ignorant, and arrogant official who trades on his association with a governor to circumvent the reasonable and necessary procedures of the organization. Such a person needs to be gone, and guess what? He is.

      Possibly the corruption wasn't the fruit of just ignorance and arrogance. Possibly it was born of retribution, and possibly it involved the governor directly. But that's not known at this point. I understand that you think you know.

      But you don't.

      Delete
    8. deadrat,

      There's no cause to get snippy with me. I'm only trying to understand your position. And you should really stop putting words in my mouth.

      The only thing I've claimed is that the "traffic study" story was a cover up. Therefore it follows that the deliberate acts ordered by Wildstein were done for some reason that he was trying to hide. What that reason is I don't know and I never said I did. Personally, I don't think retribution because the Mayor didn't endorse Christie just doesn't sound convincing.

      Almost every time I've tried to make that simple point, you have interjected to insult me for jumping to conclusions without proof.

      But now it almost seems like you're pretty much saying the same thing I've been saying. I'm glad we are now on the same page.

      Delete
    9. mm,

      I'm afraid you don't like my manner.

      "Yeah, I've had complaints about it, but it keeps getting worse."

      The traffic study story may well be a cover up. Or Wildstein actually thought what he was doing yielded the excellent result that the express traffic jam in the morning cleared 45 minutes early. Hard to believe he was that dumb. Almost as hard to believe as the retribution story.

      It's not an insult to accuse you of jumping to conclusions. It's a criticism of your arguments. And I'm pretty sure we're not on the same page. On my page, the dots haven't been connected yet.

      Delete