Here's the flooding of the Battery Tunnel earlier today. Lower New York is flooded. There are three feet of water on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [Added: Reports now say that is false.] There was an explosion at a Con Ed plant in lower Manhattan.
What's happening at MCC New York, on Foley Square, and MDC Brooklyn, New York's federal detention centers? [More...]
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Update: 13 dead, 5 million without power.
The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Sandy from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm. The eye has just made landfall in Southern New Jersey.
Con Ed has cut power to all of lower Manhattan. More than 600,00 are without power in NYC, Westchester, Long Island and CT and will be for days. CNN says 2.2 million are without power in all of the affected states. The flooding is extensive and is expected to get worse.
How big is the storm surge?
"We are looking at the highest storm surges ever recorded" in the Northeast, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for Weather Underground..... "The energy of the storm surge is off the charts, basically."
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Sending good thoughts to all of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Let us know how you are doing, especially if you were asked to evacuate but decided to stay put.
Although I'm safe and dry here in Colorado, TalkLeft's servers are near LaGuardia airport. If they go down, here is TalkLeft's backup site -- you may want to bookmark it now because otherwise it will be hard to find.
Some links: National Hurricane Center Sandy Advisories; The weather channel's Hurricane Sandy page; the Wall St Journal live updating page. On Twitter: The Weather Channel's Hurricane Central; @FEMA @CraigatFEMA @Readydotgov @RedCross @NHC_Atlantic. Or watch the Weather Channel's live streaming coverage on You Tube.
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A Tsunami has hit Hawaii. Evacuations are underway.
[Update 4:50 a.m.] Gerard Fryer, senior geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to reporters:
– "The tsunami is arriving right now. I can't say how big it is because it's coming in as we speak."
"Typically the first wave is not the largest. Having inconvenienced everybody by making them evacuate in the middle of the night, I was hoping it would be bigger. The following waves I am sure will be bigger."
To all our friends on the east coast, and those in in Hawaii please be safe, and let us know how you are doing.
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Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm. It doesn't look bad in New York City, but police are still advising people to stay indoors. Flooding is still a danger.
Anderson Cooper is reporting from Battery Park. It wouldn't be a hurricane without him.
There was a segment with a group of very feisty women in a senior's home in Atlantic City saying they weren't going anywhere. Gov. Christie said they could only get 100 to leave, 500 simply refused. So far they are okay.
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Since I moved to New Orleans about two years ago, I'm constantly reminded of the social critic James Howard Kunstler's notion that our country is "a land full of places that are not worth caring about [and] will soon be a nation and a way of life that is not worth defending.”
Despite its multitude of problems, New Orleans proves itself worth defending nearly every day, no small feat for an American city these days. And I very am proud to live here.
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"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort..."
--Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson, "Bush to Focus on Vision for Reconstruction in Speech," The New York Times.
Is it any surprise that the collapsed house of cards that is our nation after the Bush years was built by this "architect"?
"The government official who is responsible for managing Katrina...is the governor of Louisiana."
--Karl Rove, "Rove Blames Louisiana for Katrina Response," "ABC News: This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
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From Michael Chertoff's press conference today:
CHERTOFF: As you know if you followed the latest weather report, Hurricane Gustav is headed, I’d say at this point likely landfall somewhere between Vermilion Bay and New Orleans in Louisiana. Again, it’s possible this will change, but this is where most of the prediction seems to be centered. The storm is moving a little more quickly than we were seeing late yesterday, which means it will arrive within certainly 24 hours in terms of tropical storm winds. At the same time, that may benefit us a little bit by minimizing the strengthening.
We’re still looking, however, at what may be a low Category 4 or a high Category 3 storm.
This is a thread for hurricane related news and updates.
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CNN, MSNBC, and Fox had the best live coverage, and the public knew more than the government. The best coverage anywhere: The New Orleans Times-Picayue. Even when they couldn't a publish a print edition because their printing press was flooded, they published a massive number of stories online, and they had a depth of coverage and understanding that only a local could have.
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As TalkLeft noted here, Dr. Anna Pou is a skilled physician who performed heroically during Hurricane Katrina, risking her own life to assist patients who were stranded at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center. She was rewarded with an arrest and a murder investigation as prosecutors claimed she had deliberately ended the lives of patients "who could not easily be evacuated from the hospital."
Dr. Pou has always denied the accusation. She had the support of the Louisiana State Medical Society, and apparently of a judge who tired of the seemingly endless investigation. Fortunately for Dr. Pou, the ordeal is over. A grand jury refused to indict her.
The AMA, expressing its pleasure with that decision, said:
"The AMA continues to be very concerned about criminalizing decisions about patient care, especially those made during the chaotic aftermath of a disaster, when medical personnel and supplies are severely compromised."
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In the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, it’s understandable that FEMA would give a higher priority to helping the needy than to assuring that they really were needy. It’s more difficult to excuse wasteful payment of fraudulent claims that came months after the hurricane dissipated.
A GAO audit shows that FEMA has an ineffective oversight process and therefore continues to pay fraudulent claims. FEMA has wasted or been cheated out of at least $1 billion. At the same time, it hasn’t always put the money where it’s really needed, resulting in a recent court order “to resume housing payments for thousands of people displaced by Katrina.”
Not all of the loss resulted from fraudulent claims. FEMA can’t seem to keep track of the equipment that its employees purchased:
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Criminal cases in New Orleans remain backlogged, yet the District Attorney’s office insists on pursuing possible charges against Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses who are suspected of engaging in mercy killings at Memorial Medical Center during the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Pou denies the accusation. The evidence against her is flimsy, and the judge assigned to the case thinks it’s time to file charges or move along to other cases.
"With all due respect, I'm tired of this case," District Judge Calvin Johnson said during a hearing on whether documents in the matter should be made public. "This case needs to either go forward or end." He said he was frustrated by the length of time he has spent dealing with the case, since neither Dr. Anna Pou nor nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo have been indicted. ...
Johnson's frustration comes at a time when criminal cases in New Orleans remain backlogged because of a shortage of public defenders and other problems created when Katrina's floodwaters destroyed evidence and shutdown the court system.
Prosecutors say they might convene a grand jury next year. Or not.
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The Louisiana State Medical Society has come out in support of Dr. Anna Pou, accused of ending the lives of four bedridden patients during the aftermath of Katrina. Meanwhile, Dr. Pou protested her innocence in a 60 Minutes appearance:
"No, I did not murder those patients," said Pou, who's been practicing medicine for more than 15 years. "I've spent my entire life taking care of patients. I have no history of doing anything other than good for my patients."
Here's the TalkLeft background on this ill-advised prosecution.
Ethel Freeman is more than a symbol of the Bush administration's incompetence.
[Ethel Freeman's son] began pushing her toward the Superdome. A passing police officer told them to head instead to the riverfront convention center, where buses were expected to arrive. There were medical supplies, food and water at the Superdome, but people who took refuge at the convention center had none.
"He told me, 'The buses are coming. Wait here so you can get your mom on first,'" Freeman said Friday outside the building where his mother died.
Her last words were a supplication: "She asked me if the buses were coming," Freeman said. "I said 'Yeah, they're coming. And then I said, 'Ma, I'm going to pray to God to help me. And you pray to God to help you," he said.
A few minutes later, he realized she had stopped talking.
At a memorial today, Ethel Freeman's son recalled her death.
A fleet of buses arrived four days after she died - and when they did, Freeman was not allowed to take his mother's body, forced to board the bus at gunpoint. "It was like cutting me open and adding salt in the wound," he said.
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