Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Someone at the Vatican is a fan of James Bond. We can relate, since this program did an entire Bond week this year. But we would have trouble matching the coverage in the Vatican newspaper. On Tuesday, it ran not one, but five articles about the new Bond movie "Skyfall." The five articles include a review calling it one of the best Bond movies ever. Just try to think of it not as entertainment, but as an allegory of good versus evil. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The fury of the great storm Sandy shocked a lot of people, like John Miksad, vice president of the New York electric utility Consolidated Edison. "We hit 14-foot tides — that was the biggest surprise," he told a press conference this week. "The water just kept rising and rising and rising."
That rising water flooded streets, buildings and parts of the city's underground electricity grid. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power. But it might have been worse if the power lines had not been underground.
Alabama's Constitution still includes language referring to poll taxes and segregated schools. Voters are poised to decide on an amendment to excise the outdated lines, but some African-American leaders in the state are opposing the change.
State-mandated segregation is a thing of the past in Alabama, but the state's antiquated 1901 constitution paints a different picture. On Tuesday, Alabama voters will decide whether to strip language from the state's governing document that calls for poll taxes and separate schools for "white and colored."
In 2004, voters rejected an amendment to purge those remnants of Jim Crow from the constitution by fewer than 2,000 votes.
Boyd Applegate has been a poll worker for nearly every election over the past 20 years, taking Election Day off from his work as a truck driver. "I'm there as a representative of what's right in America, and I enjoy it," he tells his sister, Rhonda Dixon.
When voters go to the polls in San Diego on Tuesday, many of them will be greeted by Boyd Applegate. The 56-year-old truck driver has worked nearly every election — primaries and general elections — for the past 20 years.
Election Day starts early for Applegate. Around 4 a.m., he piles ballots and election materials into his car and drives the 25 miles to the precinct. Throughout the day, he is greeted by people who recognize him as the guy at the polls, year after year.
Some people like to relieve their stress by running their brains out. People in New York have that opportunity on Sunday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the New York City marathon will go on. It turns out, though, the race itself is causing stress. Some New Yorkers complain about pulling police and other responders away from recovery efforts to work on the race, especially in hard-hit areas like Staten Island, where the marathon begins.
There are people in New Jersey and New York who are beginning to get back to work. And they're facing another problem: how to get gas for their vehicles to make that commute. Because of widespread power outages, most of the gas stations in the region fall into one of two categories: They have power, but no gasoline, or they have gasoline, but no power to pump it into cars.
As NPR's Greg Allen reports, that leaves a small number of gas stations with very, very long lines.
And a week that features Halloween is a good time to take a look at all the scary things that could happen when Election Day finally rolls around next Tuesday. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson has been asking what else we could witness in this unpredictable campaign.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The Romney campaign is predicting it will win. So is the Obama team. But what it both of them turn out to be wrong?
We've been giving you the number of dead from Hurricane Sandy. More than 90 people have been killed by the storm. Over 40 of those deaths were in New York and many on Staten Island, across the harbor from Manhattan.
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Here are a couple of the stories behind the numbers. Glenda Moore(ph) tried to escape the water with her two sons, age two and four. The car stalled. She left her car with her boys, carrying a toddler, holding the older one's hand. Surging flood waters swept the boys away. The mother survived.
Along with other post-Hurricane Sandy reconstruction, New York and New Jersey are trying to reassemble their election preparations. The storm affected hundreds of polling stations. Neither of these reliably Democratic states was poised to decide the presidential election, but public officials are still scrambling to make voting possible for millions of people in the evacuation zones. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
President Obama is on the road, too, after spending time to focus on helping the Northeast recover from the massive storm called Sandy. A politician at the center of that storm is now backing the president. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed the president for reelection, saying he has the values and the vision to guide the country into the future, even though Bloomberg added he was disappointed with the past four years under President Obama.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The recovery from Hurricane Sandy has more than one level to it. There's a long-term question: How to rebuild the region to make it more resilient in the next disaster? But before that comes a short-term crisis: millions of people still without electricity, some people who've been trapped in their homes for days, and a death toll of more than 90 people up and down the East Coast, mostly in New York and New Jersey.
On Election Day next week, Michigan voters will face a question about international bridges and tunnels. It's really a question about one bridge in particularly - a long-planned and highly-contested connection between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports, it's an electoral twist in a bitter struggle with Michigan's governor and Canada on one side, and a billionaire bridge owner on the other.
There's little doubt that President Obama will win a large majority of the minority vote. Polls this year show the Latino voters supporting him by large margins, and that could make the difference in some swing states. Of course, back in 2008, 95 percent of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama. The key in this election is to get those voters to actually cast their ballots, which is why the president is spending these last days of the campaign reaching out to African-Americans. Here's NPR's Cheryl Corley.