TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The September lane closings near the George Washington Bridge that caused huge traffic jams and now appear to have been politically orchestrated by a member of Gov. Chris Christie's administration and key allies violated federal law, a chief official said in an email ordering the lanes reopened.
The White House has weighed in on a petition calling for the government to crack down on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," a television talk show that sparked a furor in China in October with a joke about killing Chinese people to avoid paying down U.S. debt to the country. More than 105,000 people signed on to a White House petition calling for an apology after the show, broadcast on ABC, included a segment where Kimmel asked a group of children how the United States should pay back the $1.3 trillion it owes to China, the world's second-largest economy. A 6-year-old said, "Kill everyone in China." Kimmel replied: "That's an interesting idea." Afterwards, Chinese-American groups protested outside the California headquarters of ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry complained. The White House, which accepts petitions and responds to the most popular ones, noted that ABC and Kimmel have "already apologized independently" and said that the comments "do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States." "As the president has stated publicly, the United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China," the White House said in its official response to the petition.
By Jim Christie SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Republican California lawmaker proposed on Friday to put a measure before voters to stop bond sales for the state's planned high-speed rail system, in the latest bid by critics to derail the ambitious project. The rail system, a priority of Governor Jerry Brown, would send passengers hurtling through the state's fertile San Joaquin Valley as they travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles. While it is uncertain if the proposed measure by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell will eventually qualify for a statewide ballot, it seizes on potential voter discontent over the project. "California cannot afford to pay for a high-speed train system that will cost more than $100 billion at a time when prisoners are being released from prisons and taxpayers are being asked to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for basic services," the measure says.
The House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Officials squabbled over media leaks and worried about bad publicity in the days after lane closings near the George Washington Bridge caused huge traffic jams that now appear to have been politically orchestrated by members of Gov. Chris Christie's administration, documents released Friday show.
By Dave Warner TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Documents related to the bridge closure scandal engulfing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie revealed on Friday that authorities were deeply divided about the shutdown, with one warning it was illegal and risking people's lives. More than 1,000 pages of anxiously awaited documents subpoenaed by New Jersey lawmakers investigating the massive, four-day traffic jam on the George Washington bridge were made public after revelations that Christie's staff appeared to have orchestrated the closure as political payback. The documents, many subpoenaed from former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, cast new light on the turmoil within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency overseeing the nation's busiest bridge. On the fourth day of the shutdown, Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, lashed out in an email to executives, including Port Authority Chairman David Samson, and ordered the lanes reopened.