ROGER ALFORD Associated Press Writer
May 21, 2013
Crews search through the night after tornado slams Oklahoma City suburb, killing at least 51
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — Spotlights bore down on massive piles of shredded cinder block, insulation and metal as crews worked through the night early Tuesday lifting bricks and parts of collapsed walls where a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood. At least 51 people were killed, including at least 20 children, and those numbers were expected to climb, officials said.
The storm left scores of blocks in Moore barren and dark. Rescuers walked through neighborhoods where Monday’s powerful twister flattened home after home and stripped leaves off of trees to see if they could hear any voices calling out from the rubble.
As Monday turned into Tuesday, the town of Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of the city, braced for another harrowing, long day.
“As long as we are here … we are going to hold out hope that we will find survivors,” said Trooper Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children. Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office, said Tuesday that there could be as many as 40 more fatalities from Monday’s tornado.
In deadly Okla. tornado’s wake, tearful reunions and worrisome waits for parents, children
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — The parents and guardians stood in the muddy grass outside a suburban Oklahoma City church, listening as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off — survivors of a deadly tornado that barreled through their community.
For many families, the ordeal ended in bear hugs and tears of joy as loved ones reunited. Others were left to wait in the darkness, hoping for good news while fearing the worst.
At least 20 children are among the more than 50 reported dead so far in Moore, the Oklahoma City suburb ravaged by Monday’s tornado that packed winds of up to 200 mph. The twister reduced one elementary school to a heaping mound of rubble and heavily damaged another while also flattening block after block of homes. Officials said early Tuesday the death toll could rise by as many as 40.
At St. Andrews United Methodist Church, parents stared into the distance as they waited, some holding the hands of young children who were missing siblings.
Tonya Sharp and Deanna Wallace sat at a table in the church’s gymnasium waiting for their teenage daughters. As Sharp and Wallace spoke, a line of students walked in.
AP photographer describes rescuers pulling kids out of rubble at Okla. school hit by tornado
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — I left the office as soon as I saw the tornado warnings on TV. I had photographed about a dozen twisters before in the past decade, and knew that if I didn’t get in my car before the funnel cloud hit, it would be too late.
By the time I got to Moore, all I could see was destruction. I walked toward a group of people standing by a heaping mound of rubble too big to be a home. A woman told me it was a school.
I expected chaos as I approached the heaping mounds of bricks and twisted metal where Plaza Towers Elementary once stood. Instead, it was calm and orderly as police and firefighters pulled children out one-by-one from underneath a large chunk of a collapsed wall.
Parents and neighborhood volunteers stood in a line and helped pass the rescued children from one set of arms to another to get them out of harm’s way. Adults carried the children through a field littered with shredded pieces of wood, cinder block and insulation to a triage center in a parking lot.
They worked quickly and quietly so rescuers could try to hear voices of children trapped beneath the rubble.
Lawmakers get first crack at IRS commissioner who was in charge when tea party targeted
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are getting their first chance to question the former head of the Internal Revenue Service, the man who ran the agency when agents were improperly targeting tea party groups.
Some of the questions on Tuesday will be direct: What did you know, and when did you know it?
They also want to know why former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman didn’t tell Congress that agents had been singling out conservative political groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status — even after he was briefed.
Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, left the IRS in November when his five-year term ended. He could prove to be a significant player in a scandal that has driven the Obama administration to distraction. Shulman is testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, which has launched a bipartisan investigation into the matter.
On Monday, the White House revealed that chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior presidential advisers knew in late April that an upcoming inspector general’s report was likely to find that IRS employees had inappropriately targeted conservative political groups.
In absence of federal shield law, discretion guides pursuit of reporters’ records
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a rare moment in relations between the media and the government: In 2008, FBI Director Robert Mueller called the top editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post to apologize because the bureau had improperly obtained reporters’ telephone records four years earlier.
The extraordinary call was an admission that the FBI’s actions violated Justice Department policy about seeking journalists’ phone records. But nothing about what the FBI did in 2004 appeared to run afoul of any law.
The Justice Department’s latest effort to examine whom journalists are talking to — the secret subpoena of Associated Press phone records from April and May of last year — demonstrates how government investigators are guided more by policy and the judgments of high-ranking officials than by specific laws or, in this case, the need to satisfy an independent federal judge.
The AP case involves a criminal investigation into who gave information to the news cooperative’s reporters about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen. The AP’s May 7, 2012, story attributed details of the operation to unnamed government officials.
The government informed the AP 10 days ago that it had secretly obtained records for 21 phone numbers, including those of the reporters on the bomb plot story. The department’s guidelines, first drafted in the wake of Watergate-era government abuses, call for news organizations to be informed before investigators ask phone companies for records unless doing so would compromise the investigation.
When is it OK for wunderkinds to drop out of school? (Hey, it worked for Tumblr’s founder!)
NEW YORK (AP) — Thomas Sohmers, 17, of Hudson, Mass., has been working at a research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since he was 13, developing projects ranging from augmented reality eyewear to laser communications systems. This spring, his mom, Penny Mills, let him drop out of 11th grade. She says she “could see how much of the work he was doing at school wasn’t relevant to what he wanted to learn.”
On Monday, Thomas and his mom learned that he is in esteemed company as a high-school dropout with a knack for computers: David Karp, 26, sold Tumblr, the online blogging forum he created, to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.
Examples of tech geniuses who lack college degrees are well-known — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg among them. But Karp left high school after his freshman year, with his mother’s blessing, at the tender age of 14.
Critics say dropping out of school to pursue a dream is a terrible idea. Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School who teaches and advises startup companies, says it’s like “buying a lottery ticket — that’s how good your odds are here. More likely than not, you will become unemployed. For every success, there are 100,000 failures.”
But what about kids who are so good at computer programming that schools can’t teach them what they need to know? “That’s what internships are for; that’s what extracurricular activities are for,” says Wadhwa, who has founded two companies.
After days on pins and needles, chilled Mass. sea turtles recovering with help of acupuncture
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — Two endangered sea turtles that are shells of their former selves after getting stranded on Cape Cod during a cold spell are getting some help easing back into the wild — from an acupuncturist.
Dexter and Fletcher Moon, juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, remained calm as acupuncturist Claire McManus gently tapped more than a dozen needles into their grayish-green, leathery skin during a therapy session intended to decrease inflammation and swelling on their front flippers, restore a full range of motion on those limbs and help the animals regain their appetites.
“There aren’t a lot of people doing sea turtle acupuncture,” said McManus, who works alongside a vet to find parts of the marine mammals’ bodies corresponding to locations where acupuncturists put needles to treat front limbs. “There is not a whole lot of literature out there on turtle acupuncture, so I’m basing it on how we treat other animals and humans.”
McManus uses particularly thin needles for sea turtle acupuncture.
“The needles, they are tiny, no bigger, like having a mosquito bite. You notice there’s no blood,” McManus said. “You can probably fit four or five of these inside the type of a needle you’d use to draw blood, so they didn’t really feel it.”
Syria says it destroys Israeli vehicle that crossed ceasefire line in Golan Heights
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian military says it has destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.
A statement issued by the Syrian Armed Forces says its troops destroyed the vehicle “with those in it.” It did not elaborate, but said any attempt to infiltrate Syria’s sovereignty will face “immediate and firm retaliation. “
The Israeli military said earlier Tuesday that gunfire from Syria hit an Israeli patrol on the Golan Heights overnight, damaging a vehicle and prompting the troops to fire back.
The military said on Tuesday that the Israeli troops reported a “direct hit” from the return fire but provided no further details.
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of rock group The Doors, dies at 74 from cancer
Ray Manzarek, a founding member of the 1960s rock group The Doors whose versatile and often haunting keyboards complemented Jim Morrison’s gloomy baritone and helped set the mood for some of rock’s most enduring songs, has died. He was 74.
Manzarek died Monday in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family, said publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. She said the musician’s manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed Manzarek died after being stricken with bile duct cancer.
The Doors’ original lineup, which also included drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger, was only together for a few years and they only made six studio albums. But the band has retained a large and obsessive following decades after Morrison’s 1971 death. The Doors have sold more than 100 million records and songs such as “Light My Fire” and “Riders On the Storm” are still “classic” rock favorites. For Doors admirers, the band symbolized the darker side of the Los Angeles lifestyle, what happened to the city after the sun went down and the Beach Boys fans headed home.
The Doors’ vibe “has more to do with Charles Bukowski than it does with Farrah Fawcett,” said John Doe of punk band X, a friend of Manzarek’s for more than 30 years, referring to the poet and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ star, respectively. “It has more to do with Raymond Chandler and Nathaniel West, and ‘Sunset Boulevard’ the movie, than it does with ‘Beach Blanket Bingo,’ right? … It’s a real dark place out in LA.”
Next to Morrison, Manzarek was the most distinctive-looking band member, his glasses and wavy blond hair making him resemble a young English professor more than a rock star, a contrast to Morrison’s Dionysian glamour — his sensuous mouth and long, dark hair. Musically, Manzarek’s spidery organ on “Light My Fire” is one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in rock history.
Datsyuk, Miller, Nyquist score to help Red Wings beat Blackhawks 3-1 to take 2-1 series lead
DETROIT (AP) — The young Detroit Red Wings have made the mighty Chicago Blackhawks look vulnerable, beating them two straight times to gain an advantage in their last playoff matchup as Western Conference rivals.
Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored 31 seconds apart midway through the second period and Pavel Datsyuk restored a two-goal lead in the third to help Detroit beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 Monday night and take a 2-1 lead in the second round series.
As good as the Red Wings have looked — scoring six straight goals to earn momentum in the matchup — their hard-driving coach isn’t ready to celebrate.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Mike Babcock said.
That’s an understatement. If the seventh-seeded Red Wings keep playing like they are, the top-seeded Blackhawks will have a long offseason to wonder what went wrong in a season that looked like it was going to be special.