Big House Red is a popular box wine in the United States.
Big House Red comes in 3L boxes and sells for around $20. Its winemaker says it stays fresh for up to six weeks after opening.
  There are many good reasons to consider alternatives to glass packaging for wines, but a study reviewed by wine blogger Becca Yeamans shows scientific evidence favoring glass: Can Bag-in-Box Plastic Pouches Compete with Glass Bottles for Wine Quality Over Time?

“It’s important that we get more done than buying fast food and tuxedos.” –  Insp. Barry Buzzetti, commander, 34th Precinct, NYPD

At a meeting in Inwood Wednesday, Jan. 22, Insp. Barry Buzzetti reported on a review of spending by George Espinal Jr., who was removed by NYPD as president of the 34th Precinct Community Council last month. Expenses included more than $2,000 on food at places such as Wendy’s and White Castle, gas, movie and museum tickets, and a tuxedo store. The treasurer of the council, Andre Harris, was removed for failing to monitor the finances or file the required reports with NYPD, and Espinal’s successor as president, Luz Bermudez, was removed at the Wednesday meeting by a vote of 20-1.

“It’s important that we get more done than buying fast food and tuxedos,” said Buzzetti, calling for people to consider running for the vacant officer positions in advance of the February meeting, where a special election will be held. 

For more on the antics of former council president Espinal, see the excellent article by Simone Weichselbaum of the Daily News.


George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge is the busiest connector between New Jersey and New York.

Gov. Chris Christie’s claim that he did not know about the September George Washington Bridge access lane closure in Ft. Lee, N.J., seems to be without credibility, based on my review of about 300 pages of the more than 900 pages of documents released by New Jersey lawmakers trying to find out what really was behind the unscheduled and highly unusual bridge lane closure. State lawmakers, top tier national media, and law enforcement officials all were inquiring about the lane closures. Stonewalled by the Port Authority, some directed their queries to the governor’s office and anywhere else they could. The volume of queries alone makes it seem implausible that Christie would not have at least asked about the lane closures once the story became top news.

Most of my trips across the George Washington Bridge are to Fort Lee, N.J., where some of the best Korean-American restaurants are. The bridge is also down the street from my home, so the massive traffic jams last September were quite visible. Now, I have read through enough of the documents that these facts are clear:
  • Reporters from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, WCBS, and throughout New Jersey were asking officials at every level of New Jersey government about the lane closures, and there were many articles at the time describing the odd circumstances and absence of explanations.
  • State and federal lawmakers also filed written requests for explanations.
  • Top officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey repeatedly directed media relations officers to simply ignore calls or emails from reporters asking about the lane closures. In most instances, this direction was given by Christie-appointee Bill Baroni, who was then deputy executive director of the Port Authority.
  • Another Christie appointee, David Wildstein, director of interstate capital projects, personally supervised the closing of the access lanes at the bridge on Sept. 9, the first of four days of traffic nightmares.

Having worked for a state government and being familiar with public ethics rules, the notion that public officials stonewalled legislators and the public is highly offensive. This is on top of the almost definitively improper and childish conduct that prompted Christie’s team to order the lane closures in the first place. Retaliation against the mayor of Ft. Lee seems so petty. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow came up with another possible explanation that makes a little more sense. But the whole thing just stinks, and it’s unquestionably Gov. Christie’s mess that must be cleaned up.

The Newark Star-Ledger has compiled a good timeline of the entire debacle.