- The WaPo is all but calling the election for Obama. This puts them several steps behind Newt Gingrich, who IS calling it for Obama.
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is endorsing Obama, citing his stance on global warming and his response to Sandy. This will help Obama a little with independent voters who are independent and socially moderate. The right-wing joking about Obama lowering sea levels sure rings hollow about now. One can only hope this emboldens Obama on this issue for his second term.
- Chris Christie's all-but endorsement of Obama will have more impact, I think. And no, that wasn't a weight joke.
- Richard Mourdock, the Indiana Teabagger running for Senate, slipped badly in the polls. Rape is rape, Republicans.
- Finally, to the credit of both candidates, neither has made commercials about the Sandy crisis and the federal government response. More credit to Obama for keeping politics completely out of it, less to Romney for being a front-running opportunistic asshole.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It's been interesting reading the national press coverage of Sandy. I haven't had much opportunity to review what you all have been saying about us behind our backs until this morning.
I like that Romney's bullshit about FEMA has come back to haunt him and that the bold and brave words he spoke in the quietude of calculation have become hot button panic topics for his campaign.
I understand the need to pander to your base and to attract leaning voters, but my thinking is, if you say something, have the guts to stick by it when gut check time comes. President Ford told us to drop dead when it mattered most. Yes, he regretted it and yes, ultimately he had to eat them, but you'll notice he still battled Jimmy Carter to a virtual tie, despite pardoning Nixon.
Maybe he had more latitude. Still, it's been an exercise in evolution to watch Romney wriggle like a catepillar on a hot grill.
Similarly, the "turn" in polling towards Romney seems to underestimate the damage that Sandy created in the telephone networks in the east, as well as being premature to Obama's handling of the crisis. When Governor
Sammich Chris Christie, an erstwhile vice president name and likely candidate for the nomination in 2016, praises Obama not once but frequently, that's going to have a lot more import than any six Jeep ads either campaign can run, given Christie's "independent, tell-it-like-it-is" perception.
Finally, a few people have asked me for an assessment as to whether the national news has the coverage underreported, overestimated or just about right. I think it's safe to say that the true damage, the true horror of this event, is only just now being reported. Even this morning, another dozen homes went up in flames, 36 hours after the worst of Sandy had passed, because first responders couldn't get to the site.
Canals that contain enough toxins to qualify for Superfund sites overflowed into residential neighborhoods. The very real threat of typhoid, TB, and other afflictions of neglect (cholera leaps to mind) is now looming over large swaths of the city. The residents of lower Manhattan, poor and rich, have raw sewage drying in their streets and basements. The health effects of this crisis will not unfold in a manner consistent with a 24 hours news cycle.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
This is not to minimize the damage, which is extensive and mortal. However, Sandy sped up so the bulk of the storm was on land by the time of highest tide. It's likely that Zone B would have needed to be evacuated, but where? How?
There could have been hundreds dead. We ducked a bullet.
As I understand it, there are extensive power outages, fifty homes are burning in the Rockaways, all the subway tunnels under the river are flooded, as well as two car tunnels. Power was taken down in lower Manhattan as a precaution, but additional power outages happened when the steam plant at 14th Street blew up, effectively, in an unexpected flood.
The water level peaked at 13 feet above flood stage, unprecedented in NYC.
And it's quiet. Usually by now, I can hear a stream of traffic outside my window as I prepare to go into work but nothing except a constant wind, lighter than the worst last night (the building I'm in shook a few times).
And no planes. Both JFK and LaGuardia flooded, which had never happened before. It's possible they're closed indefinitely. The electronics on the runways may have fritzed. They didn't shut down in time.
In some sections of the city, water mains are gone and storm drains/sewers are backed up into the streets. Water will be an issue and could potentially be the lethal part of all this (I think I read that only one or two people are confirmed dead in the city proper, with four more in the suburbs).
Both the Gowanus Canals and Newtown Creek overflowed their banks. Both are Superfund cleanup sites. In Moonachie, NJ, a levee gave way, and a wall of water has crashed into the town.
The sun is only just coming up bright enough to light the overcast skies. It will be a long day of sorting out trouble. It's a creepy feeling. There's another high tide still to come this morning, not as bad as last night, but water on top of water? Not good.
I think the worst is just to be uncovered.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Up until just a moment ago, the wind hadn't been too bad. In fact, I waked out to to a bag of trash ahead of garbage pickup...yes, the Sanitation Department is on the job today, more on that later...and if I had no radar, no television, no weather service, I'd still know we were in for a spell of bad weather.
The few leaves left on the trees sizzle as the wind whips them around on their stems. The air is wet, a spray of sea and rain water. It hasn't started in full force, the rain, but you can sense there's a lot more to come.
The city has taken a really bizarre approach here: schools are closed, mass transit is shut down, and the bridges will be shut shortly (I think the threshold is sustained winds of 55 mph). Yet, Mayor Bloomberg (skewered so beautifully on Twitter by El Bloombito) has insisted that the city is open for business and the city workers should report to work.
Clearly, he refuses to make the same mistake Mayor Giuliani made when he closed the city for a storm and the workers were all "Hey! Paid day off?" and the mayor was all like, "Oops." I gues he figured he could charge it to their time banks but the unions fought him hard on this and so he backed down.
During the night, I could hear the few remaining freight trains make runs over the Hellgate Bridge. It's hard not to hear them. They sound like moaning wind gusts until they get right to the street I live on, and then I can hear the clickety tracks. When you're lying awake listening to the storm, your mind focuses.
The bridges are still open. I can hear empty trucks flying over them, trying to reposition on the mainland...Jersey or Connecticut...so they can earn a few bucks hauling loads away from the area. Or just trying to get someplace so they can make a quick get-away after the storm leaves.
I've grown up in city hurricanes going all the way back to Hazel, so I'm not scared. I know this won't be the worst storm to hit the city in terms of wind and rain intensity (Gloria in 1985 might get that honor) but the ancillary effects of the storm surge and the prolonged, nearly endless winds is something I've never experienced.
I walked out just at the tail end of Irene last year and took a small camera with me. I hope to do this today at some point. I'll wear a ski mask and helmet and double down on clothes. There's stories to be told in the weather.