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In Jam Over Bridge Scandal, Chris Christie Fires Aide, Apologizes: VIDEO

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized earlier today at a press conference regarding the scandal over emails that revealed staffers had engaged in political retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey by ordering the closure of two lanes of the George Washington Bridge which clogged traffic in that city for four smoggy days in September.

In the presser, which lasted almost two hours, Christie attempted to paint himself as a victim of the controversy, and said he fired his aide Bridget Anne Kelly and his two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien.

Some of Christie's choice quotes from the press conference. You can read the full transcript HERE.

"I was blindsided yesterday morning.. . . I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover. This was handled in a callous and indifferent way, and it is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years and not the way it will conduct itself over the next four."

"I'm sad. I'm sad. That's the predominant emotion I feel right now is sadness, sadness that I was betrayed by a member of my staff, sadness that I had people who I entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately, sad that that's led the people of New Jersey to have less confidence in the people that I've selected."

"I feel passionately about issues, and I don't hide my emotions from people. I am not a focus-group tested, blow-dried candidate or governor. Now, that has always made some people, as you know, uneasy. Some people like that style, some people don't. ... But I am not a bully."

Watch the first few minutes of the presser, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "In Jam Over Bridge Scandal, Chris Christie Fires Aide, Apologizes: VIDEO" »


Jon Stewart Mocks the Chris Christie Bridge Retaliation Scandal: VIDEO

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Yesterday, as you may have heard, scandal exploded after the release of an email chain between staffers employed by Chris Christie. The email chain revealed that the closure of two lanes of the George Washington Bridgewhich jammed up traffic for four days last September was retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for endorsing Christie's opponent Barbara Buono in the gubernatorial election.

Stewart notes that the only certainty about the effects of this burgeoning scandal is that "you can probably now see Paul Ryan's boner from space."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Mocks the Chris Christie Bridge Retaliation Scandal: VIDEO" »


New Jersey Senate Withdraws Marriage Equality Bill

Last week we reported that the New Jersey Senate was to take up a marriage equality bill in an attempt to enshrine this year's Supreme Court decision into state law.

WeinbergSenate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said Sunday that the bill will be pulled after objections about religious exemptions from Lambda Legal, the Star-Ledger reports:

Some lawmakers felt the legal precedent for gay marriage was not secure because its justification could be undercut if the federal government grants the same benefits to civil-unionized couples as married ones. But many advocates said the legislation (S3109) would add religious restrictions that are not addressed by the court decision, originally concessions made to win votes for an earlier version of the legislation.

“They don’t want any kind of religious exemption, so out of respect for that, I will (pull the bill),” Weinberg said. “There’s a disparate group of people and it’s hard to follow what they want, so I’m following Lambda Legal.”

...

Weinberg said she favors writing the ruling into law, but that “doing nothing” appears to be what many advocates want. Assembly Democrats also said last week that they were not on board with the state Senate bill.


NJ Legislature to Take Up Marriage Equality Bill, Enshrine Court Decision in State Law

The New Jersey legislature is planning to take up a marriage equality bill on Monday, the Star-Ledger reports:

NjThe Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday is scheduled to hear a new bill called the Marriage Equality Act, (S3109) which is a slightly modified version of a bill (S1) to legalize gay marriage that Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed in 2012.

The measure was posted for a committee vote late today. Sponsors said while they believe this is the best option, the debate isn’t over.

"This is the step we’re taking right now. This is a very fluid situation," said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). "It could change."

Gay marriage has been permitted in New Jersey since October, thanks to a Superior Court decision to legalize it. Hours after the weddings began despite efforts to stay the ruling, Christie dropped his appeal. Some advocates have argued for the need to write it into state law, stating that a higher court could overturn the decision if things change.

Said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak: "We will treat it as we do with all bills in the normal course."

In related news, the AP reports that more than 700 gay couples have married in the first 47 days the state has allowed it:

The state Health Department that as of Dec. 6, town registrars had informed the state of 679 new marriages and 30 couples married legally out-of-state renewing their vows. Of the new marriages, 461 of the couples already had civil unions or domestic partnerships in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, a petition drive is underway on MoveOn.org urging conversion of the more than 16,000 civil unions in New Jersey to full marriages.

Write the petitioners:

16,000+ Same Sex couples completed the process of getting “Married” when New Jersey Civil Unions were promised to provide complete EQUALITY; they followed all the rules, paid the required fees, filed the applications and they have already had their wedding day. These Couples chose the people who would be their best men and maids of honor; they meticulously planned their special events, picked out the locations, the flowers, the Tuxedos and the Dresses. These couples already stood in front of their family members and friends to vow to love, cherish and obey each other for as long as they both shall live. And such as it is with any other Marriage, this experience was meant to be a “Once in a Lifetime” celebration and for that special day to be commemorated with each Anniversary Year on that exact date. These couples entered into New Jersey Civil Unions with the full knowledge, understanding and expectations of the being granted the legal equivalent to every other New Jersey Marriage. It’s time the New Jersey Legislature honor its promise of Full Marriage Equality to these Civil Union Partnerships.


Gay 'Hoax' Waitress Refunds Some Donations Sent To Her

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Dayna Morales, the NJ waitress who has been accused of lying about the anti-gay note she received from two customers, has reportedly started to refund some of the $3,000 in donations that came flooding in from sympathetic supporters.

WNBC reports:

Brittney Stilgenbauer of Tuscon, Ariz. was one of hundreds of supporters across the country who immediately rallied around Morales after reading her story on Facebook. She told NBC 4 New York over Skype Friday, "I felt awful for her, and I thought it would be great if people could come together and donate a dollar each and make up for her tip that she lost."

Over three weeks later, on Friday, Stilgenbauer received another email from PayPal informing her that her $1 donation to Morales' account was refunded.

Two other people told NBC 4 New York in phone interviews they also saw their electronic donations refunded. However, one man who mailed cash to Morales at the restaurant said he has not gotten the money back.

Morales had promised to donate the funds she received to the Wounded Warrior Project but the group has said they have not found any evidence of any such donation.

Earlier this week, New Jersey 101.5 interviewed Morales' boss at Gallop Asian Bistro restaurant:

Restaurant CEO Jack Yang told New Jersey 101.5 earlier this week that Morales set up the PayPal account and he does not know what became of donations submitted to it. Other donations sent to the restaurant are being held pending its investigation into the matter. In the meanwhile, Yang said, Morales remains on the payroll but not on the work schedule because threats have been made against her and he believes she would be in “danger.”

 Watch a WNBC news segment about the refunds Morales has started to issue, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Gay 'Hoax' Waitress Refunds Some Donations Sent To Her" »


Gay 'Hoax' Waitress Who Promised to Donate Sympathy Cash to Veteran's Group, Hasn't

Morales

Dayna Morales, the ex-Marine Bridgewater, NJ waitress who hoaxed the public with her 'no tip, anti-gay note' story while collecting money from strangers sympathetic to that story, promised to donate that cash to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The group can find no sign that she has done so, Bridgewater Patch reports:

But as of Wednesday, the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that supports veterans returning from overseas duty, could not confirm Morales had made any donations.  

A Wounded Warrior representative checking for donations by her name and the ZIP codes for Bridgewater, where the restaurant is located, and Bedminster, where Morales said she lives, was unable to find any matching donations.

The donations may have been made from a different ZIP code, or by a third-party, the representative said.

Morales could not be reached for comment.

She is currently suspended from her job at the restaurant.


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