Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cop Tased Kid During Career Day Presentation

via The Smoking Gun: 

 

Cop Tased Kid During Career Day Presentation

 

OCTOBER 30–A New Mexico cop shot a 10-year-old student in the chest with a 50,000-volt taser gun during a “career day” visit to the boy’s school, an accident that resulted in the officer’s brief suspension and recently triggered a civil lawsuit, records show.

The child was hit with the taser probes during a demonstration earlier this year at Tularosa Elementary School, where Officer Christopher Webb spoke to groups of students in the school playground about gun and taser safety.

While Webb claimed the taser “accidentally discharged,” the victim’s lawyers charge that the cop was recklessly joking around with students when the boy was struck with two electrified barbs.

Webb reportedly asked a group of students who would like to clean his patrol unit. While a group of boys said they would, the victim–identified as “R.D.” by his lawyers–“jokingly said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit,” according to a Santa Fe District Court lawsuit.

In response, Webb allegedly pointed his taser at the boy and said, “Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.” The 44-year-old cop then fired his Taser X26 model.

According to a Department of Public Safety (DPS) report, Webb, a member of the state’s Motor Transportation Police Division, removed his taser from its holster “to display it for attendees.” Once the weapon was “out of the holster, he pulled the trigger and the probes from this less-lethal weapon struck a 10 year old male subject in his chest.”

In a memo to his superiors, Webb contended that he first removed the taser cartridge before showing the weapon to an initial group of students. However, he later “removed it from the holster not realizing I put the cartridge back on. The taser accidentally discharged hitting a boy directly in the chest.”

The five-second jolt from the weapon knocked the boy to the ground, where he blacked out. The child was left with scars resembling cigarette burns on his chest, according to the lawsuit.

Webb recalled first escorting the boy to a school bathroom “to help clean him up.” When a teacher approached them in the bathroom and asked what happened, Webb wrote that, “I explained to him what had happened. Myself and the teacher escorted Ryan to the Nurses office.” Webb added that he waited until the arrival of the student’s mother, who agreed with the cop’s suggestion to take the boy “to the doctor for safety precautions.”

Webb added that the boy’s mother “stated that she wasn’t mad at what had happened.”

The mishap at the May 4 career day (a photo from which can be seen here) resulted in a three-day suspension for Webb, according to a DPS report.

The tasering also has prompted a civil complaint accusing Webb and DPS of battery, negligence, and failure to render medical care (among other claims). The October 26 lawsuit notes that the boy could have suffered “death or serious bodily injury” from the tasering.

The incident “caused the child to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome symptoms,” and the boy “has woken up in the middle of the night holding his chest afraid he is never going to wake up again.” The lawsuit does not specify actual, punitive, and compensatory damages being sought. (9 pages)

UPDATE: FACEBOOK REVERSES, ALLOWS SEALS’ POST CRITICAL OF OBAMA

via Breitbart 

UPDATE: Facebook Manager Andrew Noyes emailed the following to Breitbart News this morning: We wanted to follow up on the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS) article published on Breitbart.com last night. I assure you that removing the image was not an act of censorship on our part. This was an error and we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.

Over the weekend, Facebook took down a message by the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS) which highlighted the fact that Obama denied backup to the forces being overrun in Benghazi.

The message was contained in a meme which demonstrated how Obama had relied on the SEALS when he was ready to let them get Osama bin Laden, and how he had turned around and denied them when they called for backup on Sept 11.

I spoke with Larry Ward, president of Political Media, Inc — the media company that handles SOS postings and media production. Ward was the one who personally put the Navy SEAL meme up, and the one who received the warning from Facebook and an eventual 24 hour suspension from Facebook  because Ward put the meme back up after Facebook told him to take it down.

Here’s what Ward told me:

We created and posted this meme on Saturday after news broke that Obama had known and denied SEALS the backup they requested.

Once the meme was up it garnered 30,000 shares, approx. 24,000 likes, and was read by hundreds of thousands of people — all within 24 hrs. On Sunday, I went into the SOS Facebook page to post something else and found a warning from Facebook that we had violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities with our meme. So I copied the warning, put it on the meme as as caption, and re-posted the meme to the Facebook page.

Along with the re-posted meme, Ward put a link to the Facebook “feedback comment” inbox so visitors to the SOS page could send a message to Facebook if they were as outraged over the meme being jerked down as he was.

Ward said Facebook pulled the re-posted meme down within 7 or 8 hours and suspended the SOS account for 24 hours.

In other words, Facebook put the Navy SEALS in timeout in order to shield Obama.

How low can you go?

 

Oklahomans Prepare for New Law That Will Make Guns a Common Sight

via NYTimes: 

OKLAHOMA CITY — Bryan Hull will soon strap his Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver to his hip and meet his armed friends at Beverly’s Pancake House here. They have no interest in the cash register. They just want a late-night breakfast.

A new law takes effect on Thursday in Oklahoma — anyone licensed to carry a concealed firearm can choose to carry a weapon out in the open, in a belt or shoulder holster, loaded or unloaded. Five minutes after midnight Thursday, Mr. Hull and his friends — supporters of the Oklahoma Open Carry Association, a gun rights group — will mark the occasion by wearing their unconcealed handguns while dining at Beverly’s, a 24-hour restaurant.

“It’s just a peaceful assembly,” said Mr. Hull, 44, the association’s co-director. “We’re all licensed by the state to carry. We’ve all been trained and vetted. Why wouldn’t somebody want to have that kind of a group do business with them in their establishment?”

In a state with 142,000 men and women licensed to carry concealed weapons, the scene at Beverly’s will most likely become commonplace as Oklahomans take advantage of the law by displaying their handguns while they shop for groceries, eat at restaurants and walk into banks.

Advocates for gun rights said the ability to “open carry” would deter crime and eliminate the risks of a wardrobe mishap, such as when someone carrying a concealed weapon breaks the law by accidentally exposing the firearm. But the new law is a symbolic as well as practical victory. Supporters said there was no better advertisement for the Second Amendment than to have thousands of responsible adults openly carrying their weapons in a highly visible fashion.

“This enhances Oklahomans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said the Republican state senator who wrote Senate Bill 1733, Anthony Sykes. “I think the evidence is clear that gun owners are some of the most responsible people, and they’ve shown that in not just Oklahoma, where we’ve had conceal carry for quite some time and there’s never been an incident, but in these other states as well.”

When the law takes effect, Oklahoma will become the 15th state to allow people to openly carry firearms with a license. Those 15 states include Utah, Iowa, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several other states, including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, have even more permissive laws that allow the carrying of unconcealed firearms without a license. All but six states and the District of Columbia allow some form of open carry, said John Pierce, founder of OpenCarry.org.

Though common around the country, these laws in several states have posed legal and logistical problems for municipalities and law enforcement agencies seeking to balance gun owners’ constitutional rights with maintaining order.

Even in Western and Midwestern states where support for gun rights is strong, the laws have often passed after lobbying efforts lasting years, and have led to confusion and debate about where it is appropriate, let alone legal, for people to openly display their handguns.

In Mason City, Iowa, officials debated seeking an ordinance making it illegal to open-carry in city parks after two people displaying their firearms showed up at a children’s playground. To avoid potential litigation, officials decided to not pursue an ordinance. They instead started a marketing campaign last month asking residents to keep their weapons concealed in public parks.

On the East Coast, open-carry laws generate little controversy because several states make it hard for average citizens to acquire the permits necessary to display unconcealed firearms.

Oklahoma is considered a “shall-issue” state, meaning that once a resident meets the legal requirements, officials must issue a license. Others states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, are known as “may-issue” states, meaning that even if a resident satisfies the requirements, officials may or may not issue the license because they have the discretion to consider other factors.

Last year, Iowa expanded its gun rights and switched from a “may-issue” state to a “shall-issue” one, over the objections of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association.

In Oklahoma, some police officials, merchants and residents have expressed varying levels of concern and unease with the law. In 2010, a similar bill was vetoed by the governor at the time, Brad Henry, a Democrat, in part based on law enforcement concerns that such a law would make it difficult for officers to sort out the good guys from the bad guys at a crime scene. This year, the bill was signed into law in May by Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican and a gun owner.

The governor and the bill’s supporters say those who will be openly carrying are law-abiding citizens, all of whom received their concealed-carry license after taking a firearms training course and passing a criminal background check by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The average age of a license holder is 51.

The new law has illustrated the ways in which the state’s image as a bastion of rugged outdoorsmen and gun-toting cowboys is as much fact as it is fiction.

Beverly’s Pancake House is not exactly located in the Oklahoma prairie, where firearms turn few heads. The diner is in a strip mall off a busy expressway, behind a Starbucks and across the street from a Marriott hotel. Michael Rodriguez, the general manager, said he supported Mr. Hull and his other armed guests, but he planned on asking them Thursday to show their handgun licenses. Downtown, managers at the Bricktown Brewery plan on posting a “no weapons allowed” sign.

“I see our city with an opportunity to continue to be a modern, upscale city,” said Charles Stout, the brewery’s managing partner. “I think we have to be careful of the message we’re sending.”

In recent weeks throughout Oklahoma, there has been a flurry of activity and debate as the date has approached. Businesses and property owners have been figuring out their policies, and law enforcement agencies have been conducting trainings on the law for officers and dispatchers. Police officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and other cities said they anticipated receiving an increased number of “man with a gun” calls, but they did not expect widespread problems.

In Stillwater, about 65 miles north of Oklahoma City, the owner of the Stillwater Armory gun shop said the new law has brought about a subtle change in buying habits. Customers with small handguns that are easy to conceal have been buying larger weapons, with longer barrels that hold additional rounds, as they prepare to wear their guns unconcealed.

“The old saying within the community is, ‘It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,’” said the owner, Tom Smith, 42, who openly carries a Springfield XD-S pistol while in his shop.

The law prohibits concealed or unconcealed firearms in a handful of places, including government buildings, schools and bars. Most businesses, however, must decide on their own how to handle those openly carrying.

People entering one of Bank of Oklahoma’s 85 branches in the state need not leave their weapon in the car. They can bring it inside. Similarly, customers of American Eagle Towing in Oklahoma City will find that they and their holstered handguns are welcome. Mr. Hull is the general manager, and he openly wears a Ruger LC9 pistol while at the office. Last year, he said, a group of would-be robbers whose car had been impounded saw his pistol and quickly left.

“I never saw a weapon,” Mr. Hull said. “I never drew my weapon. There was no need to. My openly carried firearm deterred whatever it was they had in mind, and I’m sure it wasn’t to bring me a thank-you card.”

2 Investigators: Chicago Schools Flunk Food Inspections

via CBS:

 

(Photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Public Schools are constantly being scrutinized for improving test scores and academic standards.

But who’s watching to make sure the school’s kitchens and lunchrooms are being kept up to safety standards?

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports.

Since 2011, 244 of Chicago’s 681 schools failed at least one inspection, according to a review of city health department inspections by the 2 Investigators. That’s 35 percent with at least one failed inspection.

The Anton Dvorak Elementary School had the worst record. Since 2011, Dvorak has failed city health inspections six times for reasons such as no hot water in bathroom sinks, food kept at unsafe temperatures and more than 200 rodent droppings found in food service areas.

Food safety expert Kantha Shelke reviewed the city health inspection reports.

“Rodent infestation, in addition to soiling and destroying property, also spreads disease, some of which can be painful and fatal,” she says.

At Cameron Elementary, inspectors found a mice dropping infestation in the main kitchen, with “more than 600 scattered” droppings.

“You could get sick here and end up in the hospital,” says Johnny Olivo, the father of a Cameron student. “That’s crazy.”

And that’s what just happened at Hirsch Metro High School. Mice got into some nachos and several students actually got sick eating rodent droppings.

“They said it was rat droppings, mouse droppings in the nachos,” says Johnese James, a Hirsch student. “My stomach was hurting, I threw up and I had diarrhea.”

Hirsch was cited just last year for its rodent problem.

After kids got sick this month, workers were hired to patch holes around the outside of the building that vermin used to access the school. The kitchen was shut down and six kitchen workers were sent home and may face disciplinary action.

But Leslie Fowler, who was appointed executive director of Nutritional Support Services for CPS two months ago, is not happy about what happened.

“Quite frankly, it was a failure at all levels,” she says.

Hirsh now has a new principal and new kitchen staff.

Other schools that failed inspections include Farragut Academy, where inspectors said there were too many droppings too count; Songhai Learning Academy, where a live snake was found stuck to glue paper in the kitchen; and Ariel Academy, where inspectors heard “gnawing sounds” in the wall.

“Makes you wonder if you are talking about a Chicago public school or a Chicago public zoo,” Shelke says.

Fowler, the new school-lunch boss for CPS, met CBS 2 at Brian Piccolo Elementary School, which had failed two previous inspections. It was spotless for the visit.

Like other schools, Zekman pointed out, health inspectors had found rodent droppings all over the kitchen area, many in plain sight on the ledge of a steam table and inside a food warmer which kitchen staff must have seen.

Fowler says she will improve school lunches system-wide by making sure proper procedures are followed, implementing changes that will prevent future lapses and increasing oversight.

Her message to staff: “Don’t let me find out that a student is harmed at your hands. This is unacceptable. Not on my watch.”

All of the schools in this report eventually passed inspections, including most recently Hirsh, where the kitchen is now open and the staff replaced.

People Are Outraged By American Apparel’s Hurricane Sandy Sale

via Business Insider: 

 

American Apparel is getting backlash after it offered 20 percent off merchandise in the name of Hurricane Sandy.

The retailer, which has had its share of controversies, emailed customers yesterday to notify them to enter “SANDYSALE” at check-out online to get the discount. The offer only applied to people in states affected by the hurricane.

It didn’t take long for people on Twitter to react to the insensitive promotion.

One woman said “I will forever boycott their stores.” Another man called the sale “the lowest of the low.”

So far, the sale is still happening. American Apparel hasn’t commented on the controversy.

Here’s what the email from American Apparel looks like :

 

american apparel sandy

Twitter/American Apparel

Video Shows Romney’s 2005 Disdain For Same Sex Parenting

via Talking Points Memo: 

 

Mitt Romney speaks at CPAC on February 10, 2012.

 

In his current bid for the presidency, Mitt Romney has said he supports the right of same sex couples to adopt, but not marry. It’s certainly not how he’d prefer things, but Romney said in May that he accepts that it does happen.

“I know many gay couples are able to adopt children. That is fine,” Romney told Fox. “But my preference is we encourage the marriage of a man and a woman and we continue to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.”

He wasn’t always so accommodating in his language. (Neither were most other national politicians in the not too distant past.) Back in 2005, as he prepared his first run for the White House, Romney openly mocked same sex couples seeking parental rights even as he made it very difficult for couples to obtain those rights.

Last week, the Boston Globe reported that while governor of Massachusetts, Romney stepped in to prevent a state agency from creating new birth certificate forms that allowed same-sex couples to be listed as the parents of their children. The decision to create the new forms came in the wake of the state Supreme Court granting same sex couples the right to marry, a ruling Romney adamantly opposed and fought as governor.

Romney “rejected” the state agency plan for new forms “and insisted that his top legal staff individually review the circumstances of every birth to same-sex parents,” the Globe reported. “Only after winning approval from Romney’s lawyers could hospital officials and town clerks across the state be permitted to cross out by hand the word ‘father’ on individual birth certificates, and then write in ‘second parent,’ in ink.”

Romney’s interventions mostly resulted in delays awarding birth certificates for women married to same-sex partners who gave birth. Gay men seeking parental rights were required to take a different route, by obtaining a court order. By law, birth certificates must be issued within 10 days of birth, and in some instances, those deadlines were not met.

The birth certificate dispute became an anecdote in a 2005 speech Romney gave to the Spartanburg, South Carolina Republican Party ahead of his first bid for the White House. At the time the Globe reported Romney “struck a pose of amused indignation” as he discussed the issue of gay marriage and parenting.

“We’ve been asked to change their birth certificates to remove the phrase ‘mother and father’ and replace it with ‘parent A and parent B,’” Romney said. “It’s not right on paper, it’s not right in fact. Every child has the right to have a mother and a father.”

Here’s video, clipped by Murray Waas, the reporter on the story for the Globe:

(Watch the whole event here.)

On the substance of it, Romney was wrong in the 2005 speech. The proposed forms never called for “parent A and parent B” as he described it in the 2005 speech. (“The box for ‘father’ would be relabeled ‘father or second parent,’” in the revised forms, according to the Globe.) The “parent A and parent B” line cast the proposed new forms in way that played to conservative opponents of same sex marriage (and adoption for that matter), who argue that LGBT rights advocates are opposed to the traditional family setup.

In 2004 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the subject of same sex marriage, Romney laid out that line of reasoning.

The children of america have the right to have a mother and a father. Of course today, circumstances can take a parent from the home. But the child still has a mother and a father. If the parents are unmarried or divorced, the child can visit each of them. If a mother or a a father is deceased, the child can learn about the qualities of their departed parent. His or her psychological development can still be influenced by the contrasting features of both genders. Are we ready to usher in a society indifferent about having mothers and fathers? Will our children be indifferent about having a mother and a father?

(Video of the testimony is here, beginning at the 6:11 mark.)

Politically, the South Carolina speech was part of Romney’s hard shift to the right in advance of his 2008 presidential bid. A few years earlier he had run as the gay rights candidate in the Senate race against Ted Kennedy. By the time of his 2012 presidential bid he had evolved into a politician who touted his fight to end same sex marriage in Massachusetts as part of his “severely conservative” record.

Romney has been consistent in that he has made clear his preference is that children not be raised in same-sex households. But his language on the topic has changed from that 2005 speech, where he spoke disdainfully about the push for same sex parental rights to the Fox interview in May where his begrudging acceptance of same sex couple adoption rights was touted a moderate stance.

Yasser Arafat’s body to be exhumed after eight years as his wife calls for murder investigation

via Daily Mail

:

 

  • Operation on Arafat, who died in 2004, will take place on November 24
  • Pressure from his widow Suha who believes he was poisoned has forced the issue

French officials will exhume former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s remains next month in a bid to discover if he was murdered.

A team of medical and forensic experts will arrive in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 24 to carry out the gruesome operation.

The exhumation comes after Arafat’s widow Suha asked judges in France this summer to launch a murder probe into her husband’s death.

Investigation: Yasser Arafat (right) in 2004 with his wife Suha who alleges he was poisonedInvestigation: Yasser Arafat (right) in 2004 with his wife Suha who alleges he was poisoned

Mrs Arafat, 48, believes her husband’s death at a Paris hospital eight years ago was caused by the radioactive toxin polonium.

She claims he was poisoned because he was an ‘obstacle to peace’.

 

Mrs Arafat launched her legal action after Swiss scientists who analysed her husband’s belongings said in June that they found ‘surprisingly high’ levels of the lethal substance on his clothes.

Palestinian authorities have now given final approval for Arafat’s body to be exhumed so further tests can be carried out.

Polonium-210 was also used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Poisoned: Alexander Litvinenko was killed by polonium-210 in 2006Poisoned: Alexander Litvinenko was killed by polonium-210 in 2006

Mrs Arafat’s lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sud told the French media: ‘Suha Arafat hopes that the authorities will be able to establish the exact circumstances of her husband’s death and uncover the truth, so that justice can be done.

‘She and her family want the truth and nothing but the truth. There is no question of any ideological or political exploitation.’

Mrs Arafat also told arabic TV channel Al Jazeera in July that both the US and Israel had regarded her husband as ‘an obstacle to peace’.

She added: ‘I want the world to know the truth about the assassination of Yasser Arafat.’

Scene of the crime? Percy military hospital, where Mr Arafat diedScene of the crime? Percy military hospital, where Mr Arafat died

Arafat had been confined by Israel to his headquarters in Ramallah when he fell ill in October 2004.

He was jetted to the Percy military hospital near Paris, telling aides before he left: ‘God willing, I will be back.’

But less than a month after arriving, he slipped into a coma and died on November 11th, 2004.

Doctors who treated him said at the time he may have died of a blood clotting disorder and ruled out poisoning.

French daily Le Monde reported at the time that it had ‘very good sources’ who had revealed he died of a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

In mourning: Suha Arafat with then French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin (right) at the funeralIn mourning: Suha Arafat with then French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin (right) at the funeral

It described the condition as ‘the complete disruption of the mechanisms which normally assure proper blood clotting and can lead to major internal bleeding and possible death’.

The paper quoted one doctor as saying: ‘We also worked on the question of poisoning, using sophisticated techniques, before concluding with a negative.’

 

“Star Wars” Episode 7 coming in 2015, Walt Disney Co. announces after purchasing Lucasfilm

via NY Daily News: 

 


	STAR WARS, (aka STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE), Chewbacca, Harrison Ford, 1977

 

George Lucas, the franchise’s creator, had long said he originally envisioned having nine “Star Wars” movies.

The Force is strong with Disney.

In a development that even Yoda couldn’t have foreseen, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to purchase Lucasfilm, the production studio behind the “Star Wars,” movies for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.

The studio immediately announced that it would release a “Star Wars” Episode 7 in 2015, the first of what is expected to be a new trilogy.

George Lucas, the franchise’s creator, had long said he originally envisioned having nine “Star Wars” movies – but recently announced his retirement from big budget movie making after only two trilogies. (Including his much maligned prequel trilogy that started with 1999’s “The Phantom Menace.”)

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” Lucas said in a statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”

That  transition will be supervised by Kathleen Kennedy, the long time producer of Lucas pal Steven Spielberg, who was recently tapped to head up Lucasfilm before the announcement of the sale. Kennedy got the job with an eye towards shepherding three new “Star Wars” movies, a source close to the negotiations told the Hollywood Reporter.

The blockbuster acquisition of Lucasfilm is just the latest front on Disney’s all out conquest of geek culture, having already bought Pixar in 2006 and Marvel Studios – which gave them the No. 3 grossing film of all time with “The Avengers” earlier this year – in 2009.

“This is another jewel in the crown of the Disney empire,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, who added that the studio could have a stranglehold on the multiplex in 2015 with a new “Star Wars” movie and an “Avengers” sequel both scheduled. “It seems like they own all the toys in the toybox.”

Earlier this year, Lucas sparked ire among his former disciples after he vowed to never make another “Star Wars” movie — and put the blame squarely on fanboys who complained about his newer movies and his regularly tweaking of the original trilogy.(There was a time when Han Solo shot first and when Sebastian Shaw played the ghost of Annakin Skywalker.)

“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie,” Lucas told The New York Times magazine, “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’

“Why would I make any when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

 

Christie: Jersey Shore Icons Destroyed

via The Daily Beast: 

 

Christie: Jersey Shore Icons Destroyed

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a little nostalgic at a Tuesday press conference describing the devastation that took place along the Garden State’s coast. He talked about the roller coaster and log flume he used to ride as a child vacationing at the shore and the piers and boardwalks where he took his children. “For those of us who are my age, it will not be the same. Many of the iconic things are gone, washed into the ocean,” Christie said. Taking stock of the disaster, Christie said he was grateful that the loss of life had been minimized—the latest count stands at six dead—and roughly 1,000 had been rescued from the flooding.

The New York Times:

 

Aerial View of New Jersey Devastation

Visibly exhausted and somewhat breathless from a tour of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey took a few minutes on Tuesday evening to take stock of what was lost and mourn what he said could not be replaced.

The vacation spots and haunts of his youth along the Jersey Shore were gone, he said. The roller-coaster and the log flume and the little kiosk that sold sausage and peppers were washed away. The piers and boardwalks where he took his children on vacation and where he was recorded shouting down a critic, ice cream cone in hand, were now buried in muck.

“We’ll rebuild it,” he said in an evening news conference. “But for those of us who are my age, it will not be the same. Many of the iconic things are gone, washed into the ocean.”

Thankfully, Mr. Christie said, the loss of life was minimal. At least six people died in the storm, he said, killed primarily by falling trees. About 1,000 people had been rescued from flooded regions, and 4,500 people remained in shelters, he said.

Thousands remained without potable water, and as many as 2.6 million people had no power, he said. But by Tuesday evening electricity had been restored at Newark Liberty International Airport, and the Garden State Parkway had reopened — with tolls reinstated.

The governor would not venture to guess what the cost of recovery would be: “We’ll be talking about numbers with a ‘B,’ ” he said. But he said federal money and private insurance would ensure that the burdens on the state budget would be minimal.

“Today was a day of sorrow, and we need to feel that,” Mr. Christie said. “But as long as sorrow does not replace resilience, we’ll be fine.”

 

Sandy’s death toll hits 62, as tales of tragedy and heroism emerge from devastation

via Fox News: 

 

little ferry nj sandy rescue.jpg

The death toll from superstorm Sandy is up to 62 and expected to keep climbing as workers comb through floodwaters, rubble and fallen trees in the more than a dozen states affected by the 900-mile-wide weather system.

As the cleanup began, stories of tragedy and heroism emerged. An 8-year-old Pennsylvania boy was crushed by a falling tree when he went out to check on the family’s newborn calves. A New York police officer saved seven members of his family before drowning in raging floodwaters invading the family’s basement. A Brooklyn couple died together when a tree fell on them as they walked their dog – which survived.

 

“We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times — by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet.”

– New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

 

“We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times — by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Perhaps no story captured the drama and tragedy of Sandy better than that of NYPD police officer Artur Kasprzak. The 28-year-old drowned Monday night after rescuing seven members of his family, including his 15-month-old son, from the flood waters filling the basement of his Staten Island home. After getting them to safety by ushering them into the attic, Kasprzak went to the basement one more time but never returned, according to an NYPD news release.

Police responded to his family’s desperate 911 call, but scuba divers who arrived in inflatable Zodiac boats and jet skis couldn’t reach the home because of downed power lines snaking through the water.

“He was really a great guy, well-liked, very professional and hard working,” Kasprzak’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Edward Winski, told the Daily News. “It was very difficult this morning when I had to tell everyone. It’s heart-breaking, to be honest with you.”

A majority of deaths were caused by falling trees, surging floodwaters and downed electrical wires, especially in New York City, where at least 24 people have been found dead since Monday.

– Couple Jacob Vogelman, and Jessie Streich-Kest were walking their dog in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn on Monday evening when a tree fell on them.

– In Queens, a 70-year-old woman was found floating inside her home early Tuesday morning by police after relatives were unable to reach her. Also in Queens, Lauren Abraham, a 23-year-old makeup artist went to the end of her driveway to take pictures during the height of the storm on Monday and stepped into a puddle electrified by a downed wire.

– On Staten Island, officials were checking homes Tuesday afternoon when they found the bodies of John Filipowicz Sr., 50, and his 20-year-old son, John Filipowicz Jr. Both men were crushed by debris in their basement.

– Thirteen-year-old Angela Dresch was found dead after a massive wave slammed into her family’s home on the south shore of Staten Island. her father, George is still missing, and her mother Patricia is clinging to life at Staten Island University Hospital.

– A 54-year-old man from Yonkers, N.Y., was killed instantly when his car struck a tree that had fallen on the Sprain Brook Highway in Westchester County. The impact caused his car to careen into the center embankment, knocking down several other trees.

Sandy took the lives of many in other states as well.

In the town of Pasadena, Md., near Annapolis, a man was killed after a tree fell on his house late Monday evening, just as the monster storm was making landfall.

Near Boston, in Peabody, Mass., a passenger in an SUV was killed after he was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over and slammed into a guardrail. Two other passengers were ejected, but they and the driver survived.

In Franklin Township, Pa., 8-year-old Matthew Stahl went outside onto his family’s farm to check on the calves. His father told him to run inside, but a falling tree killed the boy before he could reach safety.

In Hawthorne, N.J., a 77-year-old man was killed instantly when a tree crashed into his house.

Sandy’s lethal reach even extended to Canada, where a woman was struck and killed by a sign that fell from a Staples store amid 40 mph winds.

The earliest casualties of superstorm Sandy were crew members of the “HMS Bounty” tall ship off the coast of North Carolina. Claudine Christian, 42, was knocked off the replica ship, which had been featured in several movies, and was found in the turbulent waters of the Atlantic four hours later. Search crews are still hunting for the ship’s captain, Robin Walbridge, who is believed to be wearing a survival suit that can keep him afloat.

The 14 other members of the crew were safely rescued as the ship san