Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 5:27 pm
By Franklyn Cater
Doug Smith and his girlfriend Trenor Bender thought the worst of Hurricane Sandy had passed them by when they looked out the windows in the wee hours today. At their rental home, three rows back from the beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, there was no water in the yard at all at 3:30 this morning. But that didn't last.
"When I woke up, I couldn't believe it," says Smith of the view just a few hours later, "I saw this sheet of water on the ground."
Economists will need many days — maybe weeks or months — to assess the financial harm being done by Hurricane Sandy. But whatever the final figure, it will be huge, well into the tens of billions of dollars.
More than 60 million Americans are feeling the impact of the weather monster slamming New York, New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and many other states. The howling mix of wind, rain and snow is causing massive direct losses, i.e., the destruction of private homes, stores, boats and cars.
I'm holed up in my Brooklyn apartment right now with my wife and our two young daughters. Even if we lose power and get stuck inside for a few days, we'll be OK; like millions of other people up and down the East Coast, we stocked up this weekend on peanut butter and crackers and powdered milk and bottled water and cans of beans and tomatoes and tuna.
The rest of the government may have been shut down for the hurricane, but not the U.S. Supreme Court.
The justices were in court Monday to consider a challenge to the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. The new law broadly expanded the government's ability to conduct large-scale monitoring of international phone calls and emails to and from people in the United States.