Posted: Nov 2, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Nov 3, 2012 4:01 AM
With marathon flap, NYC mayor tries for inspiration but ends up offending storm-stricken city
NEW YORK (AP) Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to sell the New York City Marathon as a symbolic victory for the city after a devastating storm, invoking two of the biggest symbols of them all Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.
The former mayor, Bloomberg said, made the right decision by holding the marathon less than two months after the 2001 terror attacks: "It pulled people together, and we have to find some ways to express ourselves and show our solidarity with each other."
Then, he kept talking.
"You have to keep going and doing things, and you can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time," he said.
And once again, the city cringed, hearing another false note that renewed familiar criticism that New York's billionaire businessman mayor is tone-deaf to suffering in a crisis. By the time the mayor changed course three hours later Friday and called off the world's largest marathon, he had already offended a passel of flood-weary New Yorkers.
Superstorm Sandy was cruel to NYC's elderly; most drowned alone after refusing to evacuate
NEW YORK (AP) Even with her Coney Island apartment squarely in the path of Superstorm Sandy, Loraine Gore was staying put. At age 90, she said, she had her reasons.
"I'm tired," she told a friend who urged her to evacuate. "I don't want to go."
After floodwaters subsided, Gore's body was found face-down in her home one of nearly a dozen New Yorkers over the age of 65 who perished in the storm.
While Sandy claimed victims as young as toddlers, it was crueler to the city's elderly.
Some were vulnerable because of poor health. The power failure cut off the oxygen supply for an ailing 75-year woman living in Manhattan's East Village. Her grandson rushed to a nearby hospital to get a manual tank, but by the time he returned, she had died from an apparent heart attack.
Obama, Romney enter last weekend of their contest looking for a final edge
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) Three days. Nine states give or take. A magic 270 electoral votes. For President Barack Obama and rival Mitt Romney, the final touch-and-go stretch of campaigning is down to the numbers.
New hiring reports or a new jobless rate. Spending totals or early vote totals. Percentage points and rhetorical points. Frequency of stops or size of crowds. In a game of metrics, each camp is looking for that last measure that will separate them at the finish line.
After holding mostly small and mid-size rallies for much of the campaign, Obama's team is planning a series of larger events this weekend aimed at drawing big crowds in battleground states. Still, the campaign isn't expecting to draw the massive audiences Obama had in the closing days of the 2008 race, when his rallies drew more than 50,000.
Obama's closing weekend also includes two joint events with former President Bill Clinton: a rally Saturday night in Virginia and an event Sunday in New Hampshire. The two presidents had planned to campaign together across three states earlier this week, but that trip was called off because of Superstorm Sandy. And, of course, there is always Ohio, the top battleground of them all.
In a whiff of 2008 nostalgia, some of Obama's traveling companions from his campaign four years ago were planning to join him on the road for the final days of his last campaign. Among them are Robert Gibbs, who served as Obama's first White House press secretary, and Reggie Love, Obama's former personal aide who left the White House earlier this year.
Obama's non-secret weapon: Bill Clinton, still talking policy and wowing the crowds
PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) Republican Mitt Romney has millionaire backers, a huge staff and years of campaign experience, which may be enough to win the White House. President Barack Obama has one asset Romney can't match, however: Bill Clinton.
The former president is sprinting through battleground states, delivering more speeches than Obama himself and, arguably, carrying much of the president's re-election hopes on his 66-year-old shoulders.
There's nothing secret about this campaign weapon. If it's a competitive state, Clinton is there and there and there picking apart Romney's proposals in the folksy yet detailed style he unleashed at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C. Many party activists left there wondering why Obama can't make his own case as compellingly.
Friday was typical for Clinton. He made five stops in Florida, stretching from Palm Beach in the southeast to Fort Myers on the Gulf Coast to Tallahassee in the panhandle.
Romney had hoped to lock down the mega-swing state long ago. But he will return Monday because of its uncertainty.
Report: Border agents in radio contact before deadly shooting
PHOENIX (AP) A new report into a shooting that left a U.S. Border Patrol agent dead says three agents responding to an alarm were apparently in radio contact as they approached from opposite directions before opening fire on each other in the Arizona desert.
A sheriff's report released Friday says it was a clear night and the agents were on patrol separately when the call came in at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 2 that an underground sensor aimed at detecting smugglers and illegal immigrants had been tripped.
Agent Nicholas Ivie, 30, approached on foot from the north. The two other agents walked in from the south when Ivie apparently opened fire, eliciting a deadly barrage of return fire from his colleagues.
Ivie was killed. Another agent was wounded. The third wasn't injured.
Questions had swirled as to whether the agents were in radio contact with each other in the rugged, hilly terrain where signals can be spotty. A communication breakdown could have led to the confusion and ensuing shootout.
California grandmother steps forward just in time to claim $23 million lottery jackpot
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) For more than five months while Julie Cervera struggled to pay a $600 electrical bill, feed her family and keep the cable company from shutting off her service because she couldn't pay she was a millionaire without knowing it.
Meanwhile, her $23 million lottery ticket languished forgotten in the glove compartment of her car.
On Thursday, someone texted her a photo of her daughter, Charliena Marquez, buying the winning ticket for her at a Palmdale Liquor store. The photo had been released by lottery officials searching for the mysterious winner of the May drawing.
"I put my 99-cent glasses on, and I had to put two pairs on to see it," said Cervera, 69, of Victorville. She recognized her daughter in the grainy photo, but she still couldn't read the caption.
"I thought she robbed a bank because I couldn't see the words on top," Cervera said with a laugh. "So I put on a third pair (of glasses) and it said she won. I was like, 'No way!'"
4 on Japan nuclear plant safety government team took utility and industry money
TOKYO (AP) Members of a Japanese government team assigned to set reactor safety measures received funding from utility companies or atomic industry manufacturers, raising questions about the experts' neutrality in the wake of last year's tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Friday that Nagoya University Professor Akio Yamamoto received 27.14 million yen ($339,000) over the past three years for research on reactors. That includes 6.28 million yen ($79,000) from a subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant sent into meltdowns last year.
The authority said Friday that three others on the six-member standards team received industry funding. Getting such money is not illegal, but it could call the neutrality of the team into question, since the industry would benefit from laxer standards.
The commission had asked the team members to voluntarily disclose such funding, including grants and donations, in an effort to boost transparency.
Akira Yamaguchi, a professor at Osaka University, got 10 million yen ($125,000) in such money, including 3 million yen from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which makes nuclear plants.
NYC Marathon is canceled for 2012 as New Yorkers recoil and region recovers from Sandy's blow
NEW YORK (AP) Gisela Clausen delivered the news to her fellow runners from Germany as they walked into the New Yorker Hotel.
"We spend a year on this. We don't eat what we want. We don't drink what we want. And we're on the streets for hours. We live for this marathon," she said, "but we understand."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg reversed himself Friday and yielded to mounting criticism that this was no time to run the New York City Marathon: runners were ready but weary residents were still recovering from a monster storm named Sandy.
And just like that, the race was scrapped.
Bloomberg, who as late as Friday afternoon insisted the world's largest marathon should go on as scheduled Sunday, changed course shortly afterward amid intensifying opposition from the city comptroller, the Manhattan borough president and sanitation workers unhappy they had volunteered to help storm victims but were assigned to the race instead. The mayor said he would not want "a cloud to hang over the race or its participants."
Songs offer messages of hope at NBC's star-studded benefit concert for Sandy's victims
NEW YORK (AP) From "Livin' on a Prayer" to "The Living Proof," every song Friday at NBC's benefit concert for superstorm Sandy victims became a message song.
New Jersey's Jon Bon Jovi gave extra meaning to "Who Says You Can't Go Home." Billy Joel worked in a reference to Staten Island, the decimated New York City borough. The hourlong event, hosted by Matt Lauer, was heavy on stars and lyrics identified with New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area, which took the brunt of this week's deadly storm. The telethon was a mix of music, storm footage and calls for donations from Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg and others.
The mood was somber but hopeful, from Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" to Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and a tearful Mary J. Blige's "The Living Proof," her ballad of resilience with the timely declaration that "the worst is over/I can start living now." Joel rocked out with "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)," a song born from crisis, New York City's near bankruptcy in the 1970s, while Jimmy Fallon endured a faulty microphone and gamely led an all-star performance of the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk" that featured Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Tyler. The Aerosmith frontman then sat behind a piano and gave his all on a strained but deeply emotional "Dream On." Sting was equally passionate during an acoustic, muscular version of The Police hit "Message In a Bottle" and its promise to "send an SOS to the world."
The show ended, as it only could, with Springsteen and the E Street Band, tearing into "Land Of Hope and Dreams."
"God bless New York," Springsteen, New Jersey's ageless native son, said in conclusion. "God bless the Jersey shore."
AP PHOTOS: Stars come out for Sandy victims' show
NEW YORK (AP) For the victims of Superstorm Sandy, it was a sorely needed message delivered.
From "Livin' on a Prayer" to "The Living Proof," every song Friday at NBC's benefit concert became a message song.
New Jersey's Jon Bon Jovi gave extra meaning to "Who Says You Can't Go Home." Billy Joel worked in a reference to Staten Island, the decimated New York City borough.
The hourlong event, hosted by Matt Lauer, was heavy on stars and lyrics identified with New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area, which took the brunt of this week's deadly storm. The telethon was a mix of music, storm footage and calls for donations from Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg and others.
The show ended, as it only could, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, tearing into "Land Of Hope and Dreams."