Category Archives: NJ

Hurricane Sandy

We lost power 8:30 PM on Monday night as a result of Hurricane Sandy and just got it back after 39.5 hours.

We ended up being extremely fortunate when you consider the destruction around us. Two trees fell in our backyard but the only damage was to a shed. One of the trees just narrowly missed the house, had it fell in another direction by a foot it would have ended up in the master bedroom upstairs or the living room downstairs. There are houses in our neighborhood with trees on top of them. There are trees and power lines down all over the place. Even though we were without power all this time we have to be thankful that there wasn’t as much rain as last Irene. That storm had caused flooding despite us not losing power. If the same had happened again mixing with power outages that would have made sump pumps useless the damage from flooding would have been far worse.

All this led me to think how people who live in areas that are regularly struck by hurricanes manage to cope with the the destruction? Sandy was barely a Category One storm by the time it hit us yet the damage is almost unthinkable.

I have to applaud Governor Chris Christie. I was one of many who spoke out when both he and the Lt. Governor went on vacation at the same time during a major snow storm but his handling if Sandy has been fantastic.

I was thinking late Monday night about the deaths Sandy has caused long before it even reached the US. I believe I ready that it had killed 60 people before it reached the US yet in typical American fashion those numbers were largely ignored in our news broadcasts. As I sat in this crazy storm last night with the loud noises coming from outside that kept us awake most of the night I also had to pause and think about the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine who have seen their neighborhoods bombarded for years and have endured so many more sleepless nights.

Take a moment to be grateful for what you have because they are so man people out there who are in situation far worse both in and out of this current storm.

In closing, major kudos to PSE&G. Having power restored to us in under 40 hours after this destruction is very impressive.

This tree barely missed our house.
Neighbor’s tree fell into our yard
That same tree completely crushed the shed in our backyard
Kudos to PSE&G for having our power back in under 40 hours.

See the yellow caution tape? That is how power cables our.

Down tree on Easton Avenue in Somerset completely blocking one side.  
Downed cable a block away from me. 

This is the bottom of a downed tree in my neighborhood. 

Downed tree by New Brunswick Senior Center

Downed tree on a house in Somerset, NJ

Flood images from my area

I’ve been looking since yesterday for images from around my area. I wanted to go out yesterday but our township is still under a State of Emergency until at least today.

Check out this video from NJ.com on flooding in my area.

Here are some photos from around the area. Click on the links in the caption to see more from each of those sources.

This is a median on Route 18 in New Brunswick. (THNT)
Route 18 in New Brunswick (THNT)
Route 18 once again (THNT)
Canoe on Route 18 in New Brunswick (Credit Adam Helfgott)
Donaldson Park in Highland Park (THNT)
Route 27 (NJ.com)

Flooded Minor League Baseball Stadium (Jim Holovacko)
Easton Avenue by JFK Blvd. (Christopher Chipps)

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Earthquake

This might be the first time I’ve felt an earthquake.

I was sitting on my bed when it started shaking. I felt it for a good 5-10 seconds. I went on twitter and saw a  tweet from Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger which confirmed by suspicions. If you felt the earthquake and would like to help the (USGS) fill out this little form. You can find out how strong the earthquake was where you were by entering your zip code here. It was a 4.1 where I live.

From the Washington Post.

The earthquake’s epicenter was nine miles south of Mineral, Va., and 87 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS initially recorded the quake at 5.8 magnitude but later upgraded it to a 5.9. It struck at 1:51 p.m. Eastern time, the USGS said. At 2.8 magnitude aftershock was reported at 2:46 p.m.

Predictably Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers all had trouble making phone calls in the aftermath but I was able to text on my AT&T phone.

Manhattan District Attorney’s press conference regarding Dominique Strauss-Kahn was interrupted by the earthquake and it was caught on video.

XKCD delivered with a great comic.

I’ve seen a lot of tweets and blog posts from the west coast mocking the east for the panic caused by this earthquake. I posted a response to that on Tumblr.

West coasters laughing at the east coast over the earthquake panic….just remember we’ve seen how you react to half an inch of snow.

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Recapping Obama’s brief stop in Edison

Here is the video of Obama’s brief remarks in Edison, NJ today where he stopped at a “Tastee Subs” to promote his small business plan.

If you can’t open that video, here is the official transcript of his remarks. The President did mention Thomas Edison in his speech,

“This town, Edison, was named after somebody who was not only one of history’s greatest inventors but also a pretty savvy small business owner,” said Obama after meeting with the businessmen and women at the tiny but renowned Tastee Sub Shop on Plainfield Avenue for about 25 minutes. “The small business people who are with me here today exemplify that same entrepreneurial spirit.”

Earlier in the day he was greeted at Newark Airport by Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. They were not invited to the Edison event. Mike Memoli of Tribune has a piece up on the Obama/Christie exchange.

The White House did release this “Fact Sheet” about the individuals who were invited to meet President in Edison today.

As I posted earlier, I did not make an effort to get to the venue despite it being just a mile from where I live. I probably would have if I hadn’t been front row at an Obama event last year. I was able to take some good pictures of Marine One as it flew right outside my balcony on the way to its landing spot just outside my apartment complex.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the President ordered a half size “Super Sub with everything”According to the menu it’ll cost him $4.41. He did use his age as an excuse though for only ordering half a sandwich,

“I want everybody to know when I was 20 I could order a 12-inch. I’m turning 49 next week, which means I need just the half,”

The White House did release one photo of President Obama collecting his sub.
Save to foursquare

There was one man arrested at the site for crossing a police/Secret Service barrier. Did this man seriously come all the way from Princeton just to pull a stunt like this?

I’ve been blogging about Obama’s trip to Edison here
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Obama has arrived (Marine One pictures)

Barack Obama has arrived in Edison. Just a little while ago Marine One flew literally outside my balcony.

I’ve been blogging about Obama’s trip to Edison here. You can also tune in for the live stream of Obama’s remarks from Edison here.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the President ordered a half size “Super Sub with everything”. According to the menu it’ll cost him $4.41
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Obama’s speech from Edison will be streamed live

The audio of Barack Obama’s remarks from Edison, NJ will be streamed live by the White House. It will probably be closer to 3 by the time he actually speaks. You can listen to it here.

By the way you can check out my blog posts on Obama’s Edison trip here.

EDIT: Here is his speech.

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Obama’s Edison Trip Schedule

The White House has released its schedule for tomorrow‘s trip to Edison. If you missed it yesterday, the White House now lets you subscribe to Obama and Biden’s schedule. Some of my questions were answered here. Looks like at least part of it will be streamed on the White House website.

11:45 AM
The President departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base
South Lawn
Open Press
12:00 PM
The President departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Newark, New Jersey
Andrews Air Force Base
Travel Pool Coverage
(Call Time 10:45AM – Virginia Gate, Andrews Air Force Base)
12:50 PM
The President arrives in Newark, New Jersey
Newark Liberty International Airport
Open Press
1:30 PM
The President meets with a group of small business owners to discuss the economy and urge Congress to pass support for small businesses
Edison, New Jersey, Tastee Sub Shop
Travel Pool Coverage
2:20 PM
The President delivers a statement to the press
Edison, New Jersey, Tastee Sub Shop
Travel Pool Coverage
5:40 PM
The President attends a DNC finance event
Four Seasons Hotel, New York City
Closed Press
7:20 PM
The President attends a DNC finance event
New York City, Private Residence
Closed Press
8:50 PM
The President departs Newark, New Jersey en route Andrews Air Force Base
Newark Liberty International Airport
Open Press
9:40 PM
The President arrives at Andrews Air Force Base
Andrews Air Force Base
Travel Pool Coverage
9:55 PM
The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn
Open Press

I’ve been blogging about this trip the last two days. You can find those posts here.

By the way, you can follow tweets related to Obama’s trip to Edison below.

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Some thoughts on Obama’s trip to Edison, NJ (and pretty much anywhere else)

If you have been following my twitter feed since yesterday you’ve seen me talk about Barack Obama’s trip to Edison, NJ that is scheduled for tomorrow. As I mentioned right here on the blog yesterday, the venue he’s visiting is just 1.3 miles from where I live.

Here is the place on Google Street View. The building is the first one on the right.

View Larger Map

What it led me to wonder is, how much does a trip like this cost the tax payers? Now, anyone who knows me, reads this blog regularly or follows me on twitter knows that I am far from one of those ridiculous right wing fanatic who claims that Obama should never leave Washington for anything. But how much does a trip like this cost the tax payers?

According to 2002 article for the Washington Post by Mike Allen “taxpayers pay the full $57,000-an-hour cost of flying Air Force One regardless of the trip’s purpose.” According to NBC4 in Columbus, Ohio that number has jumped to $69,000 per hour in 2010. That same article mentions that the costs of the Secret Service amount to $45,000 per day. Earlier today I drove by the venue that President Obama is going to be at tomorrow and saw new security cameras set up everywhere. The Burger King across the street saw part of its parking lot covered by a tent (for the press pool?).  Verizon trucks were doing work around the building and across the street. The intersection I mentioned yesterday has new “traffic cams”.

Friends of mine in Edison received automated phone calls warning of road closures in and around the area tomorrow.

The store he will be speaking from will be closed to the public until 3 PM. Obviously they don’t need to be compensated because the boost they will get from the “Obama effect”. I’m sure a lot of people will make their way there over the next few weeks and months just because Obama has been there. But what about the pizzeria across the street that will lose business because of the street being closed all day? Do they get reimbursed in some fashion? I doubt it, but can’t seem to find anything on it online. What about the Burger King across the street? Is taxpayer money going to a company that big? If you find articles, videos or anything else on it please send them my way. I’d be interested to know.

Is this event meeting going to be aired on the White House website? For a couple of thousand Dollars shouldn’t he at least be doing a larger public event giving more people the opportunity to see the President in person?

Edit: Just found this article addressing concerns of nearby businesses.

By the way, you can follow tweets related to Obama’s trip to Edison below.

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President Obama expected for lunch at Tastee Sub in Edison

Just came across the following article in reference to Obama’s trip to Edison this Wednesday.

UPDATE: President Obama expected for lunch at Tastee Sub in Edison

I sent a tweet about this earlier today. Tastee Subs is a popular dining spot here in Edison. It is however located on arguably the worst intersection in town. The parking lot is really small. On an average day the waiting period at the traffic light is well over 5 minutes so I’m going to assume that the intersection will be closed all day on Wednesday. You can find their menu here.

Anyone care to guess what he’ll order?

This place is 1.5 miles from where I live (Edit: I just Google the place and it is actually 1.3 miles). I have never  been to this place but a good friend of mine just told me that the place is as small form inside as it looks from outside.

Here is the place on Google Street View. The building is the first one on the right.

View Larger Map

From the Star Ledger:

Obama will head to Tastee Sub Shop on Plainfield Avenue in Edison once he arrives in the Garden State in the afternoon, according to a White House official and a congressional source. Once there, he’ll host a roundtable discussion about the economy with local small business owners.

Obama is expected to promote a bill expanding loan programs and tax breaks for small businesses that Democrats hope will pass the Senate this week.

So no public events this time around.  Maybe next time around? I want to add another event to my list.

Governor Christie has not yet received an invitation but according to that same Star Ledger article he would attend if invited. I wouldn’t mind if he shut out the Mayor though.

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