Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Emergency Proselytizing Teams Deployed Onto Homeless And Hungry Storm Victims

Oh brother.

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Manhattan Blackout Time Lapse

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Ellen Degeneres As Sofia Vergara

(Tipped by JMG reader Alana)

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NYC Food Relief Info

Occupy Wall Street activists have established several drop-off points for folks wishing to get food into the blackout zones across New York City.  More information is being posted on the Facebook page Occupy Sandy Relief NYC.  Food and money can also be donated to Food Bank NYC, whose warehouse on Hunt's Point was flooded during the storm. Cash donations can be made by texting FBNYC to 50555. The Red Cross is seeking NYC volunteers and donations.  The NYC Public Advocate's office is seeking volunteers to help with the physical cleanup. All of NYC's public parks remain closed, but cleanup crews will be needed there too. I'll add more links to this post as they come in.

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Some GOOD Subway News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that limited service will resume tomorrow on undamaged subway lines in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs.  Amazing!
Cuomo said 14 of 23 subway lines will have limited service, he said there will be no service in Manhattan below 34th Street because there is no power for that service. He says a "bus bridge" will move passengers from hubs in Brooklyn using the Manhattan and Williamburg bridges. There will be 330 buses. From there, subway lines will terminate at 42nd st. or 34th st. They will not be able to go farther south because of power problems. The MTA says there will be some subways that will run every 10 minutes. The following will have limited service: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, A, D, F, J, L, M, N, R.
You can find a list of lines and stations that will be open on Cuomo's Twitter feed.  (I posted the above tweet because the linked story has the wrong starting time.)

UPDATE: NY1 has a more detailed list.

UPDATE II: The above map is via Gothamist.

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Orthodox Rabbi: Hurricane Sandy Was God's Revenge For New York Gay Marriage

Right Wing Watch has the story:
Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency is blaming Hurricane Sandy on gays and lesbians, calling it “divine justice” for New York’s new marriage equality law. Torah Jews for Decency campaigned against marriage equality in New York and New Jersey, worked with Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn New York’s marriage law, and has joined with various other Religious Right groups on anti-gay campaigns.

RELATED:  Among Rabbi Leiter's allies in working to thwart same-sex marriage was New York Conservative Party chairman Michael Long, who was long known as "the man who is single-handedly blocking gay marriage" in New York state.  Along with Leitner, Long has been working with NOM to "punish renegade Republicans" who supported the ultimately successful 2011 bill.  On Monday night, Michael Long's home burned to the ground along with more than 80 other homes in Breezy Point, Queens.  We presume that Long will not be amused with Rabbi Leitner's claim that God has punished him.

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HomoQuotable - Jeff Whitty

"I spent most of the day with no idea what was happening anywhere beyond a few blocks of my East Village apartment. I had no cellular service or old-fashioned battery-powered radio available. Only late in the day did I find scant wireless Internet access outside a hospital where people were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder. The wireless finally shut down, too, and my phone battery was running low. Rumors abounded on the street -- power would be on in a few hours, in three days, in a week. No clue on water, hot or cold. I peeked into underground parking garages in my complex: the cars appeared to be floating. Alongside many others I scoured shadowy delis with my flashlight, looking for water and food that could keep for unknown amounts of days. All of the battery-powered AM/FM radios had been bought up.

"I had no idea if the power outage was widespread to millions or just in the East Village. Nobody seemed to have a clear idea what was happening anywhere else. But throughout the day I felt a connection that reminded me of 9/11 and the summer night in 2003 when New York City went dark for 24 hours. New Yorkers are awesome. Nobody was an asshole. Nobody was sketchy. People helped each other and shared the misery together. I talked and joked with people in my building I'd only passed before with maybe a 'hello.' In the attached article you'll see a photo of a deli with its awning yanked down by the winds. I passed by it this morning and saw a lot of merchandise available within easy reach through a broken window. I passed by that deli again hours later and nobody had taken anything. New Yorkers." - Avenue Q playwright and Tony winner Jeff Whitty, writing on his Facebook page.

RELATED: Whitty's latest show, Bring It On: The Musical, is now playing at the St. James Theater.

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Arizona Attorney General Tom "Sanctity Of Marriage" Horne Exposed As Adulterer

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, one of the state's most vocal opponents of same-sex partner rights, has been exposed (by the FBI, no less) as an adulterer.
Tom Horne caused more than $1,000 worth of damage when he clipped another car in a parking garage and just drove off, in order, according to FBI agents, to conceal an affair he was having with his passenger. Phoenix police records obtained Tuesday include detailed witness accounts by FBI agents who were following Horne, Arizona's attorney general, on March 27 as part of a campaign finance investigation. They said they watched him back his borrowed vehicle into a white Range Rover in the parking garage of a Phoenix residential complex. FBI agents said that after the fender-bender, Horne and the woman, since identified as Carmen Chenal, who works for Horne, walked off and entered the residential area of the complex where Chenal lives.
In August, Horne filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court, demanding that Arizona be allowed to repeal domestic partners insurance for state employees. In his suit, Horne claimed that rescinding benefits for gay employees would be good for Arizona tourism because doing so "furthers the State’s interest in promoting marriage." In addition to the investigation into Horne's campaign finances, there are charges that the employee he's been adulterously fucking was hired despite having no qualifications for the job. (Tipped by JMG reader Homer)

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Brent Bozell: Obama Is Halloween Nightmare On Main Street

This is from Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, who earlier this year appeared on Fox News to call President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead."

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SF's MUNI Vandal Has Been Busted

San Francisco's infamous MUNI vandal has been busted.
A Chronicle photo of the man smashing the front window of the bus during post-World Series celebrations was widely circulated online, and police say tips led to the arrest of Gregory Tyler Graniss, 22, of San Francisco. Graniss was booked Tuesday night on charges of felony vandalism and injuring or destroying a passenger transit vehicle. The latter charge is also a felony. “This was a senseless act of destruction and there is no tolerance for such criminal behavior in San Francisco,” police chief Greg Suhr said in a release. ”With assistance from the public, investigators moved swiftly to identify this suspect and make an arrest. Investigators are also working tirelessly to identify those responsible for setting the bus on fire and to bring them to justice.”
Let's hope those two felony charges come with a massive restitution fine. (Tipped by JMG reader Cuberly)

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Dallas County Approves Domestic Partners

A little bit of good news today out of Texas:
The Dallas County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to approve medical benefits for domestic partnerships. The approval provides the money for couples who aren't married, be they gay or straight. It's an issue guaranteed to divide. “There is simply no place for pernicious partisanship when it comes to equality," argued Rafael McDonnell of the Resource Center Dallas, speaking in favor of the proposed stipend for domestic partners. Others took the podium to argue against it. "This is utterly ridiculous and totally irresponsible position on your part,” said Dallas resident Debbie Morozzo. “This is a waste of taxpayers’ money."
One GOP commissioner denounced the vote, saying, "Are we going to fund obese people? Are we going to start funding smokers? Are we going to fund people who have blue Pontiacs?" (Tipped by JMG reader Bruce)

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Tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney

Four year-old Abby is tired of all this nonstop talk about the election. We hear you, Abby.

(Via Buzzfeed)

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The Big Picture

The Boston Globe has devoted its regular Big Picture feature to numerous photos of what people are facing in the wake of Sandy. The UK's Daily Mail has many photos as well.

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New Yorkers Are Getting Hungry

As hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents go into their third day without electricity, concerns are growing about the lack of food. One of the readers of Gothamist reports on the scene downtown:
Virtually every retailer, restaurant and grocery store south of 38th street is CLOSED. This is in an area covering 8 square miles. I only observed a handful of bodegas in Soho and the East Village, along with Ben’s Pizza on W3rd and MacDougal serving customers. Whole Foods Union Square had a sign reading “because there is no electricity, we cannot open.” There is no food, other than what you have in your refrigerator. To that point, there are close to 400,000 people living below 38th street without power. The mayor earlier said it could be 3 days without power; some Con Ed guys I spoke with in the East Village think it could be longer. Nobody knows.
Most refrigerated or frozen foods are approaching spoilage in the affected areas.  Residents of high-rises have no elevator service and seniors and the disabled are essentially trapped in their darkened apartments. Many taller buildings cannot pump water to the upper floors and toilets cannot flush. 

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OHIO: Romney Campaign Slammed For "Disaster Relief" Donation Stunt

Web wonks are mocking the Romney campaign's transparent attempt to capitalize on the hurricane disaster. Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins reports from Ohio:
The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event, and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman. To complete the project and photo-op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside.

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it "did donate supplies to the relief effort," but would not specify how much it spent.) But even as Romney, clad in blue jeans and rolled-up sleeves, hustled around his area of the gym, shaking hands, thanking supporters, and stacking cases of bottled water on top of each other, signs of stagecraft remained.

As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, "You need a donation to get in line!" Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, "What if we dropped off our donations up front?" The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. "Just grab something," he said. Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."

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That's No Moon

(Via Towleroad)

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Service Status Update From The MTA

The MTA today announced a small resumption of service.
Local, Limited-Stop and Express Bus service will operate as close to a normal weekday schedule as possible today, as NYC Transit and MTA Bus continue efforts to restore service following Hurricane Sandy. As was the case yesterday, bus service will operate on a fare-free basis. Subway service remains suspended on all lines, as clean up and water remediation efforts continue, especially in underwater tunnels linking Brooklyn and Manhattan that were flooded during the storm. All of the bridges operated by the MTA are now open to traffic with the exception of the Cross Bay Bridge. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel remain closed.
Ferry service between New Jersey and Manhattan has also resumed.  The Staten Island Ferry remains suspended.

UPDATE: A packed NYC bus just rolled down Second Avenue to the applause of people on the sidewalks. I got a little choked up, I will confess.

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The Final Maryland Marriage Poll

A commenter at the Baltimore Sun correctly notes: "The response selections given for Question 6 (Same-sex marriage) are completely wrong. The referendum is either FOR or AGAINST. The word ILLEGAL is inappropriate because the law has already passed to make same-sex marriage LEGAL. This particular poll question is very misleading." The Sun breaks down the trends:
A month ago, the same-sex marriage question was ahead by 10 percentage points — 49 percent to 39 percent — in an earlier Sun poll. The contest is now a dead heat in part because some African-Americans who supported the measure or were undecided are now saying no. The numbers have moved amid television and radio commercials from the Maryland Marriage Alliance, which opposes same-sex marriage, and stepped-up efforts by pastors preaching against Question 6. Much of the advertising is focused on African-American voters, a bloc that traditionally opposed same-sex marriage but had been warming to the idea. In late September, the Sun poll showed a majority of blacks in favor of Question 6 — evidently a high-water mark. This time, the poll found 50 percent of black voters oppose the measure and 42 percent support it. Yvonne Johnson, 65, of Prince George's County is among those who have decided to vote against legalization of same-sex marriage. "I'm not against gay people, she said. "I just don't think they should change what is in the Bible."

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WISCONSIN: House GOP Candidate Fires GOProud Hate Crime Hoaxer

U.S. House candidate Chad Lee, who is running for Tammy Baldwin's seat against openly gay state Assemblyman Mark Pocan, has fired GOP campaign worker Kyle Wood, who has recanted his claim of being violently beaten for being gay conservative.
The Lee campaign put out a statement Monday night saying that Wood had been dismissed.  "Today, our campaign unfortunately learned that a deeply troubled volunteer misled police, news outlets, and our own team in regards to an attack at his home that apparently never occured," the statement read. "Our campaign dismissed Mr. Wood immediately and we will fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue with their investigation. As the Madison Police Department is investigating this matter, we cannot comment further at this time."

Wood didn't respond to requests for comment Monday but over the weekend he told Schneider, the conservative blogger, that he had received threats and putdowns for being a gay Republican opposing Pocan. “It probably had something to do with the fact that I support a Republican candidate running against an openly gay man,” Wood said of the attack. Wood claimed the attack occured on Wednesday morning when an unidentified man knocked on his door and then brutally attacked him as soon as Wood answered it.

Following that news, Media Trackers printed damaging allegations about "a series of shocking text messages purportedly from Philip Frank," Pocan's husband. Media Trackers printed the whole series of text messages, which were laced with threats, sexual innuendo and racist language and which were supposedly sent to Wood just days before the alleged attack on him.
Pocan and his husband are reportedly considering suing Wood for the allegedly faked text messages given to the police. The right wing site Media Trackers, which printed the messages, has deleted that entry.  Wood has apparently deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts.  GOProud has issued no statement on the scandal after a week of tweeting outraged demands for media coverage and blaming the attack on Dan Savage and myself.

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The Final Ads From Mainers United

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Franklin Graham: Mitt Romney Is America's Last Chance To Please God

"When America’s leaders actively promote and legislate immorality, restrict the religious freedoms that our country was founded on, and are openly hostile to men and women of faith, then I believe we are ripe for God’s judgment. So pray and then vote on Nov. 6, asking God for His mercy and grace upon our land. There’s still time to turn from our wicked ways so that He might spare us from His wrath against sin. Just about one year from now—in November 2013—we will be holding one of the largest evangelistic events ever in this country, My Hope with Billy Graham. My father believes God has allowed him to live this long—he will be 95 then—so that he can participate in this massive undertaking to bring the gospel to our nation using television, Internet, training, and partnership with local churches. This could be America’s last call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who is coming again one day very soon to save His own and to judge those who don’t know and worship Him." - Franklin Graham, writing for Charisma  News.

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Brad Pitt Donates $100K To Marriage

Brad Pitt has donated $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign's marriage equality fund.   They report via press release:
“Brad Pitt’s partnership with HRC in this closing week delivers vital resources into these campaigns and we’re proud to be working with him as we show that fundamental fairness will win at the ballot box,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “With his commitment, Brad joins HRC in a tremendous coalition of religious leaders, business leaders, labor groups, civil rights organizations and everyday, fair-minded Americans supporting marriage for gay and lesbian couples.” “It's unbelievable to me that people's lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days,” said Pitt in an email today to HRC members and supporters. “If you're like me, you don't want to have to ask yourself on the day after the election, what else could I have done?”

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Headline Of The Day


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Romney: I'm Your Leader

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weeks And Tens Of Billions To Return NYC's Subways To Full Service

A dismaying assessment:
New York’s subway system may take weeks of work and tens of billions of dollars to be restored to full service as officials assess the toll from floods, hurricane-force winds and electrical damage that crippled the most populous U.S. city’s transportation hub. “I can say unequivocally that the MTA last night faced a disaster as devastating as it has ever faced in its history,” Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota said at a news conference today. “The first step is getting the water out,” Judy Glave, an MTA spokeswoman, said by telephone. “You can’t even start until the levels go down.” The MTA operates the New York City subway and bus system; the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road commuter lines; and several intrastate bridges and tunnels.

Everything, including the electrified third rail, will have to be cleaned before power can be restored. Anything damaged will have to be replaced. “Salt water is corrosive,” Glave said. “Every bit has to be cleaned off. It’s a massive job.” The task will involve inspecting each of thousands of connections for the signal system that detects where trains are on its lines, Downey said. A similar system failed on Washington’s subway system in 2009, causing the deadliest crash in its history. “It’s an enormous amount of wiring and an enormous amount of connections that go to what’s called relay rooms,” Downey said. “They’ve got to turn the system on and if it seems to be working I think they’ve got to go to every component and check it and get rid of all the salt. What you don’t want is a short circuit that causes the system to fail.”
RELATED: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says it may be seven to ten days before PATH train service to Manhattan can resume. Amtrak will begin limited service on the northeast corridor tomorrow.

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GOProud Is Thrilled That Rush Limbaugh Took A Call From A Fellow Homocon

I guess Kyle Wood was busy today. Hear that dog whistle?

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FEMA To Assist NYC Subway Recovery

From the New York Times:
The flooding in subways and tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so severe that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked a team of specialists skilled at draining flooded areas from the Army Corps of Engineers to help New York City officials. The team plans to first assess the severity of the flooding, and over the next few days more personnel would most likely be sent to New York, said Rodney Delp, the chief of the team, which is based in Rock Island, Ill. The deployment of the team marks the first time it has been asked to help clear water outside of New Orleans since it was was created after Hurricane Katrina. “They are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the flooding,” Mr. Delp said of the officials in New York. He said the State of New York had asked the federal agency for assistance and that the agency had then reached out to his team. “What they typically do is look at engineering drawings to look at the natural low points and what the natural drainage may be, and how long it will take to drain,” Mr. Delp said of his team. “They then look for areas to breach, figure out what size of pumps to use for the water,” and begin the process of removing the water.
Aside from electricity itself, nothing is more vital to NYC commerce than the subway system.

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New Polls From Nate Silver


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Perkins: Lena Dunham Ad Is Disgusting

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Disney To Buy Lucasfilm

The Walt Disney Co. will pay George Lucas $4 billion for the company that brought us Star Wars.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that the acquisition is a great fit and will help preserve and grow the "Star Wars" franchise. "The last 'Star Wars' movie release was 2005's 'Revenge of the Sith' — and we believe there's substantial pent-up demand," Iger said. Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the division's president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Lucas will be creative consultant on new "Star Wars" films. Lucas said in a statement, "It's now time for me to pass 'Star Wars' on to a new generation of filmmakers." The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, all companies that Disney has acquired over the years.
The seventh Star Wars film is due in three years. (Tipped by JMG reader Paul)

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Two Minutes On Minnesota Hate, Vol. 44

This is their final hate-filled clip.

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Canceled For The First Time In 39 Years

It won't be rescheduled. Details.

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Romney Refuses FEMA Questions

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Al Gore On Hurricane Sandy

"This week, our nation has anxiously watched as Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast and caused widespread damage--affecting millions. Now more than ever, our neighbors need our help. Please consider donating or volunteering for your local aid organizations.  The images of Sandy’s flooding brought back memories of a similar--albeit smaller scale-- event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis—which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality. Sandy was also affected by other symptoms of the climate crisis. As the hurricane approached the East Coast, it gathered strength from abnormally warm coastal waters. At the same time, Sandy's storm surge was worsened by a century of sea level rise. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse. Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather." - Al Gore, writing on his personal blog.

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NYC Travel Update: Buses To Resume, JFK & Newark To Open Tomorrow

We've some good news and some not so great news.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he expects JFK and Newark will reopen Wednesday, but that LaGuardia will remain closed because of storm-related damages. Rail service on AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark has been suspended until further notice. All East River Bridges are once again open to traffic. Additionally, all Port Authority bridges and tunnels will be open at noon Tuesday, with the exception of Rockaway bridges, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and Holland Tunnel. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel remains closed. All MTA bridges are also expected to reopen Tuesday. The crossings include the Robert F. Kennedy, Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Verrazano-Narrows, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges. All PATH train service and bus service out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal is suspended until further notice, according to the Port Authority. During the storm, storm surge levels peaked at 13.88 feet at the Battery, which was a new record. North shore flooding levels were at 13.4 feet at 11:20 p.m. Monday. Governor Cuomo says bus service will resume at 5 p.m. Tuesday on a Sunday schedule with no fare.
Crews are scheduled to begin pumping flooded subway tunnels after tonight's high tide. Mayor Bloomberg estimates that it will be at least Saturday before full service may be restored. City businesses will have to decide if they want to try to open with limited staffing, many of whom live in the outer boroughs.

PHOTO: Above is the entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel below the State Island Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan.  As you can see, the tunnel (at the time of this photo this morning) was flooded to its roof.

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Today In Vulture Capitalism

RELATED: I'm being told that dollar store flashlights are being hawked in Union Square for $30 each. USA! USA!

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Bullying Vs Freedom Of Speech

Comedian John Fugelsang says we should stop using the word "bullying" and he has some suggested replacements to get people to take it more seriously.

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Today At LaGuardia

Your flight at Gate C-34 will be somewhat delayed.  (Via JetBlue)

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NJ Gov. Chris Christie Gives High Praise To Obama For Disaster Response

And watch how he responds when the Fox team asks him about Mitt Romney. Bam!

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Metro-North Suspended Due To Boats

Boats and probably a whole lot of other debris.

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TODAY: SiriusXM At 2:30PM

Today at 2:30pm I'll be on Michelangelo Signorile's SiriusXM show to talk about the latest storm and recovery news in New York City. The gays are on channel 108 and you can listen live online if you sign up for a freebie account.

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FDR Drive: Before & After

The top photo was taken around 8pm last night. I took the bottom photo at 11:15am today.

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Con Ed Posts Outage Update

From the storm update on Con Edison's site:
More than 650,000 customers in New York City and Westchester County lost electrical power due to Hurricane Sandy, Con Edison said early today. "This is the largest storm-related outage in our history," said Con Edison Senior Vice President for Electric Operations John Miksad. The previous record was more than 200,000 customers affected by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Miksad cautioned crews must assess damage prior making to repairs, but early today low-lying areas of New York City and Westchester County remained under water. Challenges include, for example, more than 200 wires down on Staten Island. In Westchester County, more than 180 roads are closed. Restoring electrical service to underground equipment demands cleaning all components of sea water, drying and testing to make it safe to restore power.
A spokesman from Con Ed spoke to local television by phone this morning, advising those currently without power that it may be several days before repairs can commence in some areas. Last night's transformer explosion in the East Village may take over a week to repair and lower Manhattan residents should plan accordingly. Those who can take temporary refuge with friends or family should consider doing so.

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Live Superstorm Coverage

If your power or cable (or both) is still out, the Weather Channel is continuing to stream live storm coverage on their YouTube channel.

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Quote Of The Day - Bill McKibben

"New York is the city I love best, and I'm trying to imagine it from a distance tonight. The lurid, flash-lit instagram images of floating cars in Alphabet City or water pouring out of the East River into Dumbo, the reports of bridges to the Howard Beach submerging and facades falling off apartment houses – it all stings. It's as horrible in its very different way as watching 9/11. [snip] The subways were kind of dangerous, but also deeply democratic. Writing about homelessness, I slept with hundreds of other men on the endless A train to the Rockaways. I convinced motormen to let me ride as they turned trains around through the City Hall station abandoned decades earlier. I hung out in the control room under Grand Central with its Hollywood array of levers and lights. Imagining all that filled with cold salt water is too much. I'm an environmentalist: New York is as beautiful and diverse and glorious as an old-growth forest. It's as grand, in its unplanned tumble, as anything ever devised by man or nature. And now, I fear its roots are being severed." - Climate change journalist Bill McKibben, writing for the Guardian.

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QUEENS: 80 Homes Destroyed By Fire

Last night at least 80 homes in the Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point were destroyed in a six-alarm blaze. Firefighters faced chest-deep flood waters and rescued dozens of residents by boat.  Breezy Point and all of the Rockaways are in Zone A and those rescued had defied the mandatory evacuation order.  Over 200 firefighters responded and there were no fatalities.

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Live Wind Speed Map

I don't know how accurate this is, but it's interesting to look at. (Tipped by JMG reader Ray)

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Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of the Karpel Group, today's Swag Tuesday prizes are the two holiday releases from Everything But The Girl vocalist Tracy Horn and the popular indie duo, She & Him.
A Very She & Him Christmas is a wonderful collection of holiday tunes from two of music's most impressive artists Zooey Deschanel (She) & M. Ward (Him). Inspired by seminal holiday albums by the likes of The Carpenters, Vince Guaraldi, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and more, She & Him have set out to create an intimate holiday recording of Christmas classics that helps bring new emotions out of old songs. With each purchase, a portion of proceeds from this album will be donated to 826National.

Following her acclaimed 2010 album, Love and Its Opposite Tracey Thorn presents a Christmas album, Tinsel and Lights, featuring ten seasonal cover versions, two new original tracks, and "Green" from Scritti Politti.  Produced by Ewan Pearson, Tinsel and Lights features Tracey s famously rich vocals and contributions on guitar and piano. Her longtime partner, Ben Watt guests on guitar and piano on several tracks. Leo Taylor (Adele, Hot Chip) plays drums, Steve Pearce - who played on Everything But The Girl's feted album, Idlewild - is on bass, while Pearson adds signature synths and electronics. 
We have five copies of each release to give away. Enter to win both CDs by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave an email address you check frequently.  Entries close at midnight on Thursday, west coast time. Publicists: If you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

NOTE: The She & Him album is a 2011 release being reissued for this year.

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Sicily Elects Gay Governor

The Italian island state of Sicily has elected a gay governor.
Rosario Crocetta, an openly gay politician from the Italian Partito Democratico party, has become the first openly gay governor of Sicily. He won last Sunday’s election on the Italian island with more than 30% of the votes, winning over the right-wing PDL (Popolo delle Libertà), which has governed in Sicily for last decade. Crocetta is Italy's second openly gay governor, after Puglia’s Nichi Vendola, who now is running for the leadership of the entire left parties. Once in power, Crocetta may not be able to do much for LGBT rights however. He won the election leading a coalition with the Union of Christian Democrats, a centrist party very close to the Catholic Church. And during the electoral campaign, Crocetta reassured his allies, saying: "In case of victory, I will say goodbye to sex and sexuality, I’ll be married only to Sicily and to Sicilians."
The Guardian reports that Crocetta has had death threats from the mafia.
A gay man who shrugged off three mafia plots to kill him is poised to become Sicily's first homosexual governor in elections that show the centre left advancing at the expense of Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing party. As mayor of Gela, Crocetta persuaded local businesses not to pay protection money to the mafia and claimed that coming out gave him a sense of liberation that allowed him to understand how suffocated Sicily had become under the mafia's yoke. One mob boss who hired a Lithuanian assassin for a failed bid to kill Crocetta was less than tolerant of his sexuality than voters, describing him in a wiretapped call as "this queer communist". A local magistrate said at the time: "The clans may ridicule Crocetta's sexuality, but it's the backing he gave businesses that refuse to pay the pizzo [protection payment] that really drove them mad." Crocetta has suggested that a surprising number of members of Cosa Nostra are themselves gay, claiming, "The idea that the mafia is all church, home and shotguns makes me laugh."

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MTA Chairman Reacts To Sandy

From MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota:
The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.
Note that there's no timetable there.

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Mike Huckabee: Vote As Jesus Would

Or something.

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Avenue C On The Lower East Side

Avenue C at 8th Street. Source.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tonight In Manhattan

Gothamist reports:
There are multiple reports of flooding across the city due to the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy that is now upon the city. There have been reports of people trapped and cars floating in the middle of the streets. We've also received reports that many subway lines throughout the city have been flooded as well. The city has now issued a warning to all New Yorkers to go indoors immediately, stay away from windows, and remain indoors until further notice.
Earlier tonight came the report that the storm surge has broken the all-time record of nearly 12 feet that was set in 1821. And it appears to be growing. The MTA's site is down but local television reports that subway service will not likely be restored for several days at the earliest. First floor shops at the South Street Seaport are reportedly completely underwater.  The bridge connecting the A train line to the Rockaways is also submerged.

UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg has just ordered taxis to cease operation.

UPDATE II: The above tweet from the Weather Channel is being debunked by the NYSE itself.

VIDEO: The Con Edison station in the East Village has apparently exploded. Video was taken from the far side of the East River.

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Yet Another Faked Homocon "Hate Crime"

Last week the wingnut blogosphere exploded on the claims of a gay Wisconsin GOP campaign worker who claimed that he'd been brutally beaten for being a gay conservative.  From the right wing Daily Caller:
Kyle Wood, a full-time volunteer working for GOP House candidate Chad Lee, was hospitalized for injuries suffered during what he said was an assault at his home.  Wood told The Daily Caller that vandalism preceding the assault, along with his attacker’s statements during the incident, suggested his sexual orientation and his politics each played a role. “I was getting ready for work and there was a knock at the door,” Wood emailed The Daily Caller late Wednesday. “I opened it, and a guy wrapped a ligature around my neck, slammed my head into the doorway, and smashed my face into a mirror, telling me ‘You should have kept your [f*******] mouth shut.’”

“He then kidney-punched me, while at the same time saying I was ‘warned,’ and continued to beat me,” he added. Wood said his attacker’s reference to a warning likely pointed to graffiti he found painted on his car last week. The vandalism included the phrases “house trained republican faggot,” “traitor,” and “ur like a jew 4 hitler.” Those slurs, he explained, were references to him being a gay Republican working to help Lee, a straight GOP candidate, defeat the openly gay Democrat Mark Pocan.  After he discovered the graffiti, Wood wrote an open letter on Facebook to the unknown vandal. “If you understand either freedom or me at all,” he wrote, “you would that this will only make me work harder. … You can think whatever you like about me, but I will not be bullied into voting for a gay man simply because I am gay.”
There were so many holes in Wood's story, not the least of which were the "injuries" that were clearly inconsistent with his claims, that most LGBT news sites, including this one, did not report the story.  My "silence" on the "attack" spurred GOProud president Jimmy LaSalvia to taunt me on Twitter, ultimately telling me to "rot in hell" for my disbelief.
Today came the inevitable truth.
Kyle Wood, a campaign worker for the Republican congressional candidate Chad Lee, today recanted his statements about being assaulted and choked at his home on Oct. 24, according to Madison police. The department updated its incident report late Monday afternoon after Wood met with detectives. Captain Joe Balles, commander of the South District, confirms that Wood recanted his allegations of the beating. Although he would not go into detail about the case, Balles said, "I updated that press release because I felt it was imperative we get something out there because of the politically charged background this was happening in." He said that the department will do its "due diligence" and discuss with the district attorney's office whether any charges will be filed against Wood. "We're in the victims business," he says. "We really need victims to come forward. We don't take matters like this lightly." Earlier Monday afternoon, a spokesman for Rep. Mark Pocan and an attorney representing his partner, Philip Frank, said they were considering suing for libel over claims that Frank threatened Wood. Pocan is running against Lee for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Tammy Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate.
This latest bit of outrageous homocon fakery makes claims of being pushed off a bike or having a brick thrown through a window pale in repulsive comparison.  THIS time, the husband of a U.S. House candidate was smeared. Kyle Wood will surely get what is coming to him. But the worst part of his despicable crime is that now our enemies have yet another reason to suspect all future anti-gay violence.

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