Monday, March 24, 2014

Last Call For Detective Christie

Good news everyone!  The hand-picked team of lawyers working for Chris Christie's office have found that Chris Christie is 100%, totally innocent of any wrongdoing in an incident stemming from Chris Christie having less than honest people in his office!

An internal review of the George Washington Bridge lane closures is reportedly set to be released, and the news on its face is good for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The New York Times got advance word of the results of the review, which was conducted by high-priced lawyers at Christie's behest. The final tally: 70 interviews, at least $1 million in legal fees to be paid by taxpayers, and no evidence that the Republican governor was involved in the plotting or orchestrating of the lane closures.

I'm sure New Jersey taxpayers are thrilled!

The Times pointed out two caveats. For one, the firm that conducted the investigation, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, has known ties to the Christie administration. Second, the lawyers that conducted the investigation were unable to interview the three key players at the heart of the scandal: former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien, and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive David Wildstein.

So after not asking the people who would actually know if Christie did anything wrong, Christie spent a million in taxpayer bucks to find out that he didn't do anything wrong.

Gosh, that should put an end to this entire circus, yes?

Even Cap'n Ed at Hot Air doesn't buy this crap (but he takes time to scream about Benghazi like the knee-jerk goon he is.)  Still, Christie seems to be getting increasingly bad at handling this scandal by the week.  How's he supposed to handle this at the White House level?

Meanwhile, In Ukraine...

After getting rolled all last week by Russian troops and losing several military bases, Ukraine announced that it is pulling military forces out of Crimea.

Ukraine announced the evacuation of its troops and their families from Crimea on Monday, effectively acknowledging defeat in the face of Russian forces, who stormed one of the last remaining Ukrainian bases on the peninsula.

Thousands of Ukrainian troops have been besieged on bases in Crimea, offering no armed resistance but refusing to surrender, since President Vladimir Putin declared Moscow's right to intervene at the start of the month.

Moscow formally annexed the region last week and its forces have been seizing the last Ukrainian bases in recent days.

"The National Defence and Security Council has instructed the Defence Ministry to carry out a re-deployment of military units in Crimea and evacuate their families," acting president Oleksander Turchinov told parliament in Kiev.

The move, he said, had been made following threats by Russian forces on the lives and health of Ukrainian service staff and their families.

Russian forces, using stun grenades and machine guns and backed by two helicopters, swept into a marine base in the port of Feodosia early on Monday, overrunning one of Ukraine's last symbols of resistance. Ukrainian officers were taken away for questioning, Ukrainian officials said.

An official withdrawal from the base was due to start at 3 p.m., Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said.

Effectively the military phase of this is now over.  The question is will more military phases come with more captured territory?  Ukraine's forces are routed, and Putin now has Crimea in name as well as in deed.

So what's next, and does anyone think Putin will stop here?

Classless Warfare

Check out this goofy ass NY Times op-ed on why people born in wealthy counties with high median incomes end up being notable.

Why do some parts of the country appear to be so much better at churning out American movers and shakers? I closely examined the top counties. It turns out that nearly all of them fit into one of two categories.

First, and this surprised me, many of these counties consisted largely of a sizable college town. Just about every time I saw a county that I had not heard of near the top of the list, like Washtenaw, Mich., I found out that it was dominated by a classic college town, in this case Ann Arbor, Mich. The counties graced by Madison, Wis.; Athens, Ga.; Columbia, Mo.; Berkeley, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Gainesville, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; and Ithaca, N.Y., are all in the top 3 percent.

Why is this? Some of it is probably the gene pool: Sons and daughters of professors and graduate students tend to be smart. And, indeed, having more college graduates in an area is a strong predictor of the success of the people born there.

But there is most likely something more going on: early exposure to innovation. One of the fields where college towns are most successful in producing top dogs is music. A kid in a college town will be exposed to unique concerts, unusual radio stations and even record stores. College towns also incubate more than their expected share of notable businesspeople.

Could you tell this guy graduated from Harvard?  His name is Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, and apparently his degree is in Missing the Effing Obvious. Over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis takes about 15 seconds to deconstruct this nonsense.

Or, it’s because you are born rich or you are born poor and that fact goes a very long ways in determining your future in this nation. Even his discussion of African-Americans and immigrants shows this–his examples are people born into the elites of these groups. It’s remarkable how obvious this is and how he totally misses this in a 21st century America where class-based analysis is unfashionable.

 It's not remarkable at all, he's a Harvard man!

All college jokes aside, it's still not remarkable for any recent college doctoral graduate to miss the forest for the trees like this, but rather rare for them to get NY Times op-eds while doing it.


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