Welcome! "What's Happenin'?" is a casual community diary (a daily series, 8:30 AM Eastern on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends and holidays) where we hang out and talk about the goings on here and everywhere.  

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Pumpkin patch. (Photo by joanneleon. August, 2012)
Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming.

~ AL GORE, speech at National Sierra Club Convention, Sept. 9, 2005

Maybe not the best thing to use for climate change week, but...irresistable andI hope it's LED
Halloween Light Show 2010 HD - Monster Mash

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News and Opinion

Sandy leaves behind a deluge of repair needs

Hurricane deductibles apply solely to damage caused by hurricanes, and typically vary from 1 percent to 5 percent of the insured value of a home. For example, a policyholder whose home is insured for $200,000 with a 2 percent hurricane deductible would have to pay the first $4,000 of repairs if a hurricane caused the loss, according to the New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association.

In some coastal areas with high wind risk, insurers may incorporate hurricane deductibles even higher than 5 percent. In fact, some areas of the Shore may not be eligible for standard policies, so homeowners must turn for coverage to insurers that are part of the Windstorm Market Assistance Program, which operates under a plan approved by the state Department of Banking and Insurance.

Under standard homeowners' policies, if a tree falls on your house, the insurer pays for repairs to the structure and damaged contents inside, said Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute. If it falls on your car, the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance pays.

Both situations are subject to the policies' deductibles.

J.D. Power Associates, in a survey of consumers just before Hurricane Irene in August 2011, found that fewer than 10 percent of homeowners residing in Middle Atlantic states carry flood insurance, despite frequent hurricanes and tropical storms. As a result, many who file claims after these disasters find their requests denied.

As storm clears, Atlantic City finds mixture of consequences

Those who decided to stay in Atlantic City against stringent warnings from Gov. Christie as Sandy lashed the Jersey Shore awoke Tuesday to find that Monday night's extensive flooding had mostly receded - and that many neighborhoods on higher ground had suffered minimal damage.

But in the city's low-lying areas, the water that had crept up curbs, flooded basements, and forced evacuees out of emergency shelters left extensive damage.

Near the inlet at the north side of the city, an older, damaged section of the Boardwalk - already slated for demolition - collapsed amid heavy rain and high winds Monday, blocking streets and, in one instance, slamming straight into a woman's garage. On Tuesday morning near the inlet, garage doors lay in the streets. Broken windows gaped. Firefighters cordoned off a downed electric pole and checked a nearby building for gas leaks.


At a news conference Tuesday, city officials shrugged off criticism from Christie, who berated Mayor Lorenzo Langford before the storm, saying he hadn't done enough to persuade residents to leave the city. Langford fired back at a news conference Tuesday, saying that 30,000 of the city's 39,500 residents had evacuated on their own, and that an additional 2,600 were bused to emergency shelters outside the city. He called Christie's comments "reprehensible."

Chris Christie and Mayor Lanford of Atlantic City have been sparring publicly (via press conferences and interviews) since Monday night.  David Axelrod just revealed the location of Pres. Obama's visit/tour today in New Jersey.  He will be in the Atlantic City area.  This is not the hardest hit region of the Jersey coast but it is in the Philadelphia news media market and people from eastern Pennsylvania generally consider the southern Jersey shore to be their summer spot along with the Delaware beaches.  Much of the property from Atlantic City and southward is owned by residents of Pennsylvania.  This area is probably the easiest for him to access as well, given that things are in better shape than areas north of it and the AC International airport is nearby, plus a small landing field on the island.
Sandy's Death Toll Rises as Blackouts, Transit Problems Linger

The megastorm that swept through New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Monday is being blamed for at least 30 lives, including people found under debris on Staten Island where rescue workers say some homes were flattened by a wall of water during the storm surge.

Officials warned it could be five days before the subway and commuter rail system is up and running, and a week before power is restored. In Manhattan, where a large swath of residents below 39th Street were in the dark for a second night, Con Ed said homes and businesses could count on a slightly shorter timeline of four days. In parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, new transmission problems knocked power out to another 160,000 customers late Tuesday, potentially adding more delays to full restoration.

The White House announced President Barack Obama would tour the devastation in New Jersey on Wednesday, after his chief of staff, Jack Lew, was told by Mayor Bloomberg that the city would "love to have him, but we've got things to do."

Bloomberg said that he wasn't trying to "dis" the president and that his trip to New Jersey on Wednesday would represent the whole region.

Superstorm Sandy: New York, Northeast Reeling As Death Toll Climbs (LIVE UPDATES)

A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome superstorm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn't finished. It inched inland across Pennsylvania, ready to bank toward western New York to dump more of its water and likely cause more havoc Tuesday night. Behind it: a dazed, inundated New York City, a waterlogged Atlantic Coast and a moonscape of disarray and debris — from unmoored shore-town boardwalks to submerged mass-transit systems to delicate presidential politics.

God's Stimulus? It'll Take More Than Just Money to Recover From Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was the stimulus nobody wanted. It took a terrible toll in lives, homes, and dreams. For the families who lost loved ones the tragedy will never end. And yet, in a bitter irony, this terrible storm will spur the kind of spending we should have been seeing all along. There will be jobs, at least for a while -- in construction, road work, repair, and other lines of work.

his "accidental stimulus" won't make up for the loss of life, treasure, and property. But it's a reminder that the things which nurture us as human beings - the bonds of community, a sense of social responsibility, caring for one another - are also surprisingly sound economic principles.

The economic history of our last century illustrates something important: Our nation's always prospered when we care for one another. We do best economically when we use our government as an expression of our best selves.

A Sense of Purpose

Arianna Huffington wrote that the hurricane "downgraded the election and upgraded our barn-raising spirit," adding: "Suddenly it's much easier to see the purpose of government -- to make our collective power more effective."

I hope that's true. I believe it is. But why does it always seem to take a tragedy to make us see the common good -- and the common sense -- so that we'll fix what's broken? Why must some people pay such a high price for bringing us together as a community, when we should have been a community all along?

Name Storms After Oil Companies (The Ones Most Responsible for Climate Change)

As gutsy New Yorkers begin the task of drying out the city, here’s one thought that occurred to me last night watching the horrifying pictures from a distance. It’s obviously not crucial right now — but in the long run it might make a difference. Why don’t we stop naming these storms for people, and start naming them after oil companies?
The fossil fuel companies have played the biggest role in making sure we don’t slow global warming down. They’ve funded climate denial propagandists and helped pack Congress with anti-environmental extremists, making sure that common sense steps to move toward renewable energy never happen. So maybe it’s only right that we should honor their efforts by naming storms for them from now on.  At the very least it’s fun to imagine the newscasters: “Exxon is coming ashore across New Jersey, leaving havoc in her wake.” “Chevron forces evacuation of 375,000.”

At 350.org, the climate change campaign that I helped found, we’re sending out an appeal to our worldwide mailing list today. It asks two things: that people send money to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts along the Atlantic seaboard, and that they send a message to the oil companies asking them to stop funding election campaigns and use the money for recovery efforts instead.

Man in Afghan police uniform shoots two British soldiers dead
Two Gurkhas shot at Helmand checkpoint, bringing to 11 the number of UK troops killed in 'green-on-blue' attacks this year

Two British soldiers were killed when a man wearing an Afghan police uniform opened fire on them in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers, from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were shot dead at a checkpoint in Nahr-e Saraj on Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence said. Their families had been informed.
The latest British deaths come less than a week after army medic Corporal Channing Day and Royal Marine Corporal David O'Connor were killed. Day, who served with 3 Medical Regiment, and O'Connor, of 40 Commando, were injured on patrol with C Company in Nahr-e Saraj.

An initial review into Day and O'Connor's deaths has revealed they were not caused by friendly fire. The MoD said an Afghan man, believed to have been a member of the Afghan uniformed police but who was not wearing uniform at the time, also died during the incident, leading to speculation the incident was a green-on-blue attack.

The strains caused by such attacks on Nato's partnership with Afghan authorities are growing, with coalition leaders being increasingly outspoken on the issue.

Protesters storm Libya’s assembly session on new Cabinet

A dozen men stormed Libya’s national assembly late on Tuesday prompting a postponement to a key vote on the Cabinet line-up proposed by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
Libya’s new Prime Minister Ali Zeidan presented on Tuesday his 30-member Cabinet to the national assembly for approval in the hope of forming a coalition government after his predecessor failed.

Zeidan was elected on Oct. 14 after Mustafa Abu Shagur was dismissed in a vote of no confidence when the assembly rejected his Cabinet line-up as unrepresentative of Libya’s numerous factions.

Rebel fighters, civilian protesters storm Libya's parliament

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Protesters stormed Libya's national assembly on Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of a vote on a proposed coalition government named by the country's new prime minister just hours earlier.
Fewer than 100 people, made up of civilians and former rebel fighters, charged into the meeting hall of the General National Congress as it voted on Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's cabinet line-up, which was drawn from liberal and Islamist parties.
In chaotic televised scenes, congress members negotiated with the protesters, who were unhappy with some of the nominations, to leave. Voting then briefly resumed before being interrupted a second time, leading congress president Mohammed Magarief to announce the session was postponed to Wednesday.
"No region has been favored over any other," he told congress earlier on Tuesday. "We don't want to repeat mistakes or provoke the street."
Congress elected Zeidan as prime minister this month after his predecessor, Mustafa Abushagur, lost a confidence vote on his choice of ministers, criticized inside and outside the assembly.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues - 10-30-12

"it's virtually impossible to be a citizen"</a>

Sandy’s Teachable Moment on Infrastructure

Why Should We Believe Solicitors General about Warrantless Wiretapping

Under “Stimulus Now, Austerity Later” Plans, We’d Already Be in Austerity

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Spooky


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