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    A gun shop with a connection to last week's deadly shooting in Newtown has been raided.
     
    No one-- except investigators, is being allowed inside Riverview Gun Sales, after Thursday's raid.
     
    "I went outside, and I saw the police cruisers out here and I didn't know what was going on," said Jean Fuller.
     
    A police source told NBC Connecticut the raid comes after a 26-year-old man from South Windsor tried to steal a rifle from the store. That suspect has been identified as Jordan Marsh, who has been arrested.
     
    However, the exact reason for the raid is unclear.
     
    "There's been some issues over the last week or two that we're investigating," said Chief Edward J. DeMarco, of the East Windsor Police Dept.
     
    The police presence has many on edge, considering one of the weapons that was used in Friday's shooting in Newtown may have been purchased at Riverview Gun Sales.
     
    "I'm still a little shaky, but then I heard one of the police officers say that we're not in any danger," said Fuller.
     
    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is being very tight-lipped, only confirming that there's an ongoing investigation. Riverview Gun Sales is closed for now, and authorities aren't revealing when it will re-open.

     


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    A suspect in a Broward County murder was taken into custody in Fort Myers Thursday, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman said.

    Felipe Alex Torrealba, one of the agency's 15 most wanted fugitives, is being transported to the Broward County Jail Thursday night, spokesman Barry Golden said.

    Earlier this year the Broward Sheriff's Office called Torrealba a suspect in the murder of Kris Smalls, 42, of Weston, who was found dead in his SUV in March one week after he was reported missing.

    Two handguns and about $15,000 in cash as well as a pair of binoculars and a wig were found inside the two-story townhouse where Torrealba was hiding as authorities arrested him, the U.S. Marshals said in a statement.

    A rental vehicle with two different Texas license plates, which was parked outside the townhouse, is believed to be the vehicle that Torrealba used to elude law enforcment, the agency said.

    Torrealba's attorney, Jim Lewis, said he has not heard from him since February.

    “These are some very serious allegations, and when he’s returned here to Broward County I hope to sit down and talk with him, and get to the bottom of them, and find out what the truth is," Lewis said Thursday night.

    Torrealba was also wanted in connection with a January incident in which he was shot in the ear by a Sweetwater Police officer as he fled a traffic stop.

    “Armed” Suspect Says He Wasn’t Armed



    Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office

    Felipe Alex TorrealbaFelipe Alex Torrealba

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    A week after a shooting rampage in a Newtown elementary school left 27 people dead -- including 20 first graders and six teachers -- First Lady Michelle Obama penned an open letter to the residents of Newtown, which ran in the Hartford Courant under the title 'Holding You In Our Hearts.'

    In the letter, Obama said she was inspired by the heroism of first responders, teachers and children in the school, and proud of the support the entire nation has shown over the past week. And she promised that President Obama will 'use the powers of his office' to find ways to prevent such tragedies in the future.

    Here is the full letter:

    6:41 p.m. EST, December 20, 2012

    Over the past week, we as Americans have been united in our grief as Newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams.

    As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something - anything - I could do or say to ease your anguish.

    But I know that I cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. I know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; and many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on - as families and as a community?

    Over the past week, I have been awed and inspired by Newtown's heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment's notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation's darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.

    And I am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America: from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in Cleveland and Charlotte and Juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor Newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of our government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.

    And I want you to know that this is just the beginning. As my husband has said, in the coming weeks, he will use all the powers of his office to engage citizens from across this country to find ways to prevent tragedies like this one. And please know that every minute of every day, we are thinking of you, and praying for you, and holding you and your families in our hearts as you begin the slow and wrenching work of healing and moving forward.

    In the months and years ahead, may the memories of those beautiful children and those heroic adults be a blessing for their families, for your community, and for our country, and may God bless you all.

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington DC

     



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign event at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on September 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign event at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on September 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

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    If there's a silver lining to the Jets being eliminated from playoff contention after Monday night's loss to the Titans, it's that Jets fans can now derive the same amusement from the team that the rest of the league has enjoyed this year. 

    With nothing left to play for, there's no reason to sit up nights worrying about how the Jets are going to make use of Tim Tebow or whether or not this is finally the week when everything clicks for Mark Sanchez. You can now happily fire up the YouTube of Sanchez' buttfumble without caring that the Jets lost that game by 30 points and enjoy the team's verbal diarreha about Tebow as the absurdist theater that it really is. 

    For example, Thursday saw Rex Ryan praise Tebow's work on the punt team and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano argue vehemently that people were wrong to say that Tebow's addition to the offense "didn't work." Baghdad Bob was more straightforward and honest when he spoke to the press than anyone associated with the Jets has been when it comes to Tebow, something that's no longer painful now that there's nothing left to play for in 2012. 

    Enjoy the freedom of having nothing left to lose over these next two weeks. The die's already been cast, so there's point in getting upset about things all over again. 

    The offseason will bring plenty of time for that and next season might even be worse, but this little holiday respite gives a chance to actually chuckle about the Jets instead of shedding tears about how hideously off track they've gone in the last 24 months. Even while you hope for better days ahead, take a moment to acknowledge the humor of what's gone down this.

    If that's not for you, there are a few other reasons to keep paying attention to the Jets over the next couple of weeks that don't have to do with how miserably the Jets have handled things this year. They start with the guy who has jumped Sanchez and Tebow on the depth chart.

    Greg McElroy: There's absolutely no way that anything McElroy does in the next two weeks should win him any kind of job next season, but his performance will give you some idea about whether or not he even deserves a chance to compete for one. Expectations are low, so McElroy can impress just by not turning the ball over and showing the consistent accuracy that has always eluded Sanchez. 

    Muhammad Wilkerson: The 2011 first-round pick has been the best player on the defense this season and, according to Pro Football Focus, he's the second-best 3-4 defensive end in the league after MVP candidate J.J. Watt of the Texans. That's a terrific building block for a team that doesn't have many of them. 

    Quinton Coples: This year's first rounder hasn't blossomed like Wilkerson, but recent performances have shown clear improvement. Ryan cobbled together decent defensive line play with guys like Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha this season so you're free to imagine something better than decent as long as Wilkerson and Coples continue to improve. 

    Mike Westhoff: The longtime special teams coach is retiring after this season, so the next two weeks are a chance to say goodbye to a guy who always seemed to turn up big plays in the kicking game. This year's been light on them and there have been too many breakdowns by the Jets, but Westhoff's body of work deserves respect and attention as he closes out his final year on the job. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Wilkerson's the rare Jet worth watching without detached irony.Wilkerson's the rare Jet worth watching without detached irony.

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    First Lady Michelle Obama has written a letter to the people of Newtown. The letter was published by the Hartford Courant Thursday evening.

    Over the past week, we as Americans have been united in our grief as Newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams.

    As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something - anything - I could do or say to ease your anguish.
    But I know that I cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. I know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; and many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on - as families and as a community?

    Over the past week, I have been awed and inspired by Newtown's heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment's notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation's darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.

    And I am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America: from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in Cleveland and Charlotte and Juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor Newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of our government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.

    And I want you to know that this is just the beginning. As my husband has said, in the coming weeks, he will use all the powers of his office to engage citizens from across this country to find ways to prevent tragedies like this one. And please know that every minute of every day, we are thinking of you, and praying for you, and holding you and your families in our hearts as you begin the slow and wrenching work of healing and moving forward.

    In the months and years ahead, may the memories of those beautiful children and those heroic adults be a blessing for their families, for your community, and for our country, and may God bless you all.

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington DC


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    The large storm system that dumped heavy snow in the Midwest, brought high winds and heavy rains to Connecticut early Friday.

    High wind warnings and advisories were posted for most of the state Friday morning. Wind gusts reached 45 miles per hour along the shoreline, according to NBC Connecticut meteorologist Bob Maxon.

    There were nearly 12,000 power customers without electricity statewide before noon.  Power had been restored to most Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating customers by around 2 p.m.

    High winds brought down a tree and power lines along Route 66 Friday morning. Route 66 was closed between High Street and Main Street, according to the Department of Transportation.

    The wind and rain should diminish Friday afternoon, Maxon said.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The various scandals that played out in the news over the last 12 months have served as sharp reminders that privacy is a fast-fading realm. 
     
    Again and again, seasoned public figures made the same miscalculation and assumed—rightly or wrongly—that certain spaces and conditions offered the privacy they needed to carry out their dalliances, to frankly opine or let their guards down in a way they may not have, had they known their actions or words would eventually morph into trending topics on Twitter.
     
    While Anthony Weiner-style morality tales are surely nothing new, this year's presidential race heaped added scrutiny on elected officials and those vying for office, as evolving technology made it easier to capture and share any witnessed indiscretions. (Take Politwoops, for example, a product of 2012 that publishes the deleted—deleted!— tweets from politicians.) 
     
    A jump in social media membership also ensured that any intriguing private tidbit, leaked, hacked or carelessly volunteered, would make it around the world in an instant. (Twitter alone added 1 million new accounts a day in 2012, according to one report.)
     
    Below, find the top seven news events of 2012 that should inspire even private citizens to be a bit more cautious before they speak, act, write, type, send, do or share.
     
    Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” Remarks: Private Fundraising Dinner
    The former presidential nominee was at a private fundraising event when he decided to share his frank assessment of which voters he’d have to woo to win the White House. A hidden camera that caught Romney telling his donors that nearly half of all voters “are dependent upon government, [and] believe that they are victims,” became an indelible blemish, if not a tipping point, in the candidate’s campaign. It also inspired discussion about whether it was reasonable for politicians to have an expectation of privacy at private fundraising events—a question without a clear-cut answer.
     
    Prince Harry’s Naked Billiards Night: Private Hotel Suite
    Though Prince Harry was in a private hotel suite when he decided to play a game of strip billiards, a secretly snapped photo of the naked prince bear-hugging an equally naked woman made it onto a gossip website and promptly around the world. This incident too was a reminder of the ubiquity of camera phones and the punishing records they may leave.
     
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Topless Photos: Private Villa
    Harry's sister-in-law Kate also became the subject of a 2012 photo scandal, though hers—vigorously beat back by Palace attorneys—was in some ways the more shocking one. Unlike Prince Harry, who invited apparently camera-wielding guests of questionable character to witness his naked escapades, Kate was sunbathing at a private villa far enough from the nearest public road that a powerful zoom lens was needed to take the shots.
     
    Kristen Stewart Cheating Scandal: (Really Not-So-Private Place)
    A few photographs snapped in broad daylight dealt a devastating blow to "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders—not to mention their significant others, who learned of their partners' infidelity at about the same time the rest of the country did.
     
    Obama’s Hot Mic: A Whisper
    In March, President Obama leaned forward and whispered into the ear of Russia’s then-president Dmitry Medvedev, but millions of people heard what he said. Obama's microphone, still recording, caught him assuring Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate issues like missile defense once the election was over. The press published, the GOP pounced and the White House was forced to publicly address a remark never intended to reach so many ears.
     
    Phone Hacking Scandal: Private Phone Calls, Correspondence, Data, Etc.
    Though the phone hacking scandal arguably belongs to 2011 or perhaps the last decade, the Leveson inquiry, which marched to a close in 2012, recounted all the various devices that were hacked, all the data illegally obtained, all the private moments-turned-tabloid fodder, and served as a forceful reminder about the vulnerabilities of technology and limits of law.

    Petraeus, Paula Broadwell Scandal, et al.: Private Emails
    It was reportedly an FBI investigation that led authorities to the email account of Paula Broadwell, where they discovered her affair with former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus. Some reports indicated that the pair took extra caution to cover their tracks, never sending their messages, but instead leaving them in draft form for the other to find. The discovery of the emails prompted Petraues, one of the most decorated and respected military figures of his generation, to step down from his position at the CIA and admit to an affair. It also jammed into the spotlight the ease with which federal authorities can track private email accounts. Chris Soghoian, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union and privacy researcher, told NBC News days after the scandal broke that "the lesson for the rest of us here is you have to go through a lot of steps to maintain anonymity, and you only have to screw up once."

     


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    A woman was critically injured in a pedestrian accident at the Brass Mill Mall in Waterbury Friday.

    The woman, identified as Yaneli Nava, 34, of Waterbury, was walking through the parking lot of the mall at 495 Union Street when she was hit by a car, according to police. Nava was crossing the travel portion of the parking area to enter the mall at the time of the accident, police said.

    A 17-year-old female was driving the 2002 Saturn SL1 that hit Nava. Police did not identify the driver because of her age.

    Nava was taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where she is listed in critical, but stable condition.

    Police have not filed any charges in connection with the accident.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The East Windsor store that sold the gun used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings also sold the guns used in the 2010 mass murder at Hartford Distributors, Inc. in Manchester, the Hartford Courant reported.

    Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Riverview Gun Sales on Prospect Hill Road Thursday evening. Police sources did not say the raid was related to the Newtown shootings.

    "There's been some issues over the last week or two that we're investigating," said Chief Edward DeMarco, of the East Windsor Police Department.

    Riverview Gun Sales owner, David LaGuercia, said the ATF agents executed a search and seizure warrant for his firearms records. He said he believes the raid had to do with a former employee or the arrest of a man accused of stealing weapons from the store.

    "I can only surmise that this warrant is either directly related to a corrupt employee that I fired in August of this year after being notified of his activity by ATF, or Jordan Marsh, who we caught stealing firearms from us and turned into the police twice this year," LaGuercia said.

    Marsh, 26, was arrested this week and charged after police said he walked out of the store with an automatic weapon.

    Police sources told the Hartford Courant that the store sold Nancy Lanza the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle that was used by her son, Adam Lanza, in last Friday's Sandy Hook School shooting.

    According to the Courant, the store also sold the guns used by Omar Thornton to kill eight of his co-workers at HDI in Manchester, Aug. 3, 2010.

    State Police said Lanza's guns were legally purchased. Thornton's guns were also purchased legally, according to the paper.


    Riverview Guns Sales in East Windsor was raided by ATF agents Thursday night.Riverview Guns Sales in East Windsor was raided by ATF agents Thursday night.

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    Three students and a driver escaped a fire on their school bus in Bristol Friday.

    According to police, the driver heard popping noises coming from the engine as the bus was on Mines Road around 8:30 a.m. The driver then spotted sparks and realized there was a fire.

    The driver helped the three students, ages 7 to 10, out of the bus. No one was injured.

    Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    The students were moved to another bus and taken to school, police said. It was not clear what school the children attend.



    Photo Credit: @Tucket1

    Firefighters put out a fire on a school bus on Mines Road in Bristol on Friday.Firefighters put out a fire on a school bus on Mines Road in Bristol on Friday.

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    Southern California -- home of the high-speed freeway chase -- was the scene of a different kind of pursuit Friday afternoon: one that reached speeds of 0 mph.

    Thanks to "some type of tracking device" hidden in a bag of stolen money, authorities were able to locate bank robbers on the northbound 110 Freeway, halt traffic and conduct a car-to-car search, said Deputy Albert Martinez of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

    "The trackers out there are pretty accurate," said Martinez.

    Hundreds of cars were backed up in the Hawthorne area around 1 p.m. as police officers on foot waded through a sea of vehicles.

    Aerial video showed at least two people being taken into custody (pictured, below), and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed a third person was also arrested.

    By 1:20 p.m., the freeway was reopened and traffic was returning to normal levels.

    The search was believed to be linked to an armed bank robbery in Moreno Valley earlier in the day, Martinez said. At least three masked men robbed the Altura Credit Union around 9:20 a.m., according to police.


    Police swarm a car on the northbound 110 Freeway as part of a checkpoint believed to be linked to a bank robbery in Moreno Valley.Police swarm a car on the northbound 110 Freeway as part of a checkpoint believed to be linked to a bank robbery in Moreno Valley.

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    Waterford police are investigating after a man was found shot to death outside of a bowling alley Friday night.

    According to authorities, the body was found in the parking lot of the Family Bowl located at 120 Boston Post Road.

    Police have not released any more details. We will have more information as soon as it becomes available.



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

    Stock ImageStock Image

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    The 70-year-old woman who was arrested -- then cleared -- in her husband’s death said on Friday that she can’t wait to resume her previous life as an umpire with the United States Tennis Association.

    Lois Goodman reacted to the news that the USTA, of which she has officiated some of the greatest players in her more than 35 years in the job, was reinstating her in 2013.

    “It’s a great holiday gift,” said Goodman as she stood alongside her attorney, Robert Sheahen, in Sherman Oaks on Friday. “I’m thankful.

    “I get my old life back. I appreciate my life so much more now seeing what I went through.”

    Goodman drew national headlines when she was arrested in the death of her husband, Alan, in August during the U.S. Open in New York where she was set to begin officiating. Authorities accused her of using a coffee mug to bludgeon her husband to death in their San Fernando Valley home. Upon her arrest, she was suspended from her job.

    Alan Goodman's bloodied body was found in the couple's Woodland Hills home on April 17. Officers initially ruled the death suspicious because they couldn’t determine if foul play was involved, according to an LAPD press release.

    But after launching a full homicide investigation and working closely with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, detectives said on Aug. 2 that the case was a homicide and named Lois Goodman the prime suspect, the LAPD said.

    On Nov. 30, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped charges, saying they had received additional information and were unable to proceed because of insufficient evidence.

    The announcement came after Goodman’s attorneys said that her DNA was not found on the coffee mug and that she had passed a lie detector test.

    Shortly after the charges were dropped, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that detectives would continue to investigate the case.

    On Friday, Goodman said she didn’t know she had the strength to withstand being arrested, and temporarily housed at Riker’s Island, before being charged with killing her husband who she was married to for over 50 years.

    “I knew one day that I’d be cleared,” she said.

    When asked by a reporter what she’d tell her husband if he were alive, she said, “He knew I loved him very much.

    “He’d be very proud to know that everything turned out all right.”


    Lois Goodman, cleared in the death of her husband, Alan, reacts to the news that she's been reinstated as an umpire with the United States Tennis Association during a press conference on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.Lois Goodman, cleared in the death of her husband, Alan, reacts to the news that she's been reinstated as an umpire with the United States Tennis Association during a press conference on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

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    A Bridgeport man died after being shot at a housing project late Friday night.

    Police responded to a call of a person shot inside a building at the Charles F. Greene Homes at around 11:43 p.m.

    When officers arrived they found the victim, Taurus Williams, 37, on the floor of apartment 336.  He had been shot multiple times. 

    Williams was taken to Saint Vincent’s Hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead. 

    Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Bridgeport Police at 203-581-5219.



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

    Stock ImageStock Image

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  • 12/23/12--08:25: Cashmere Know-How
  • Looking for a special gift? Cashmere sweaters are heavily marketed around the holidays. But how can you find good quality?  If you're picking up a $59.99 cashmere sweater from the bargain bin, Consumer Reports ShopSmart says you'd better believe it's not 100 percent cashmere, even though the label may say so.
     
    A couple of quick checks in the store can tell you a lot. Run your hand over the sweater. If little balls start forming, that's called pilling. That's a sign it's a cheaper sweater, and it's probably not going to hold up. Another check-whether the sweater holds its shape. Stretch it side to side. High-quality cashmere won't stretch out of shape. 
     
    ShopSmart found that the cheapest you can go in cashmere is about $100. That's how much some Lands' End cashmere costs. It's a good choice with its simple design and basic color.
     
    With more styling and richer colors, ShopSmart says expect to pay much more, such as a Magaschoni sweater for $320. It's a big splurge, but in the long run it can pay off. You're going to have that sweater for years and years and years.
     
    ShopSmart says a cashmere sweater needs some TLC. Always follow the care instructions and be sure to clean your sweater before storing it. That's because dirt attracts moths. And be sure to store it flat, not on a hanger, which can stretch it out.  
     
    Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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    We now know the identity of the best quarterback on the Jets. 

    Unfortunately, it isn't any of the players listed as a quarterback on the team's roster. Jeremy Kerley completed two passes (one wiped out by penalty) while taking snaps in a gimmicky formation, leaving him with a record that the three nominal Jets quarterbacks can envy while they absorb a 27-17 loss to the Chargers. 

    Greg McElroy got the start and bettered Mark Sanchez in only one noticable way. In the first half, guard Brandon Moore got pushed directly back into McElroy on a pass attempt and provided a flashback to the Sanchez buttfumble when his rear end collided with the quarterback. 

    McElroy didn't fumble, though, and Jets nation breathed a sigh of relief that they would not be the first team with two buttfumbles in one season. Other than that, though, there wasn't much to like.

    McElroy was sacked 11 times, some of which were offensive line errors and some of which were moments when McElroy failed to pull the trigger on time. Given how weak his arm looked on an interception by Chargers safety Corey Lynch in the third quarter, McElroy had good reason not to feel confident about letting the ball fly.

    Seriously, though, the Jets offense is a trainwreck above and beyond their miserable group of quarterbacks. Sunday also wound up proving that the defense isn't all that good either. 

    The Jets were able to jump out to a 14-7 lead thanks to a 42-yard pass by Kerley and a pass interference on a pass to Braylon Edwards in the end zone that set up a pair of Shonn Greene one-yard touchdown runs. The Chargers offense had no life in the first two quarters, finishing with just 75 yards, and it looked like the Jets might back their way into another win. 

    Philip Rivers hit a couple of long passes to Danario Alexander and Antonio Gates for touchdowns in the third quarter, though, and the defense seemed to tire under the weight of being put in bad positions by the offense. Even with that caveat, the Jets defense is average this season and average isn't enough to matter when you have an offense like this. 

    It was hardly an impressive overall performance by San Diego, but it was enough to make the Chargers the better of the two offenses on Sunday afternoon.That's about as faint as praise gets, but that's all anyone involved in this meaningless matchup of terrible football teams deserves.

    The Jets' problems go far beyond Sanchez, something that no one can deny after watching them guarantee themselves a losing season on Sunday afternoon.  

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Seven sacks left McElroy looking a lot like Sanchez.Seven sacks left McElroy looking a lot like Sanchez.

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    Every time the Giants struggled this year, some member of the team would smile and explain that it was just a matter of time before the Giants flipped a switch and morphed back into last year's title team.

    That switch was not flipped on Sunday. A week after getting pasted 34-0 by the Falcons, the Giants were dreadful again in Baltimore and lost control of their own playoff destiny in a 33-14 loss to the Ravens.

    Figuring out whether the offense or the defense was worse on Sunday would be the kind of problem that the smartest minds of our country would struggle with for decades. We'll make the case for the defense first. 

    They allowed Joe Flacco, whose has basically been a rich man's Mark Sanchez this season, to tear them apart from the start of the game all the way through the point that it became garbage time. Flacco was never pressured and he tore the Giants secondary apart as a result of having so much time to throw the ball. 

    Corey Webster was his most frequent victim and it was another bad day in a season overstuffed with them for a guy who was once the best cornerback on the team. Torrey Smith went over, around and by Webster all day as the Ravens moved down the field pretty much at will. 

    Ray Rice had 158 total yards, Bernard Pierce ran for 123 yards, the Ravens converted 11-of-17 third downs and Baltimore held the ball for nearly 15 minutes on two second half field goal drives that sucked away what little life remained in the Giants. Perry Fewell has failed to produce a defense with any teeth this season, something the Giants can only survive if their offense is clicking. 

    Their offense is not clicking. Eli Manning was harried by the pass rush all day -- Ahmad Bradshaw's pass protection was so awful that it is hard to imagine rookie David Wilson could be as bad -- and turned in another dismal day (14-of-28 for 150 yards, one touchdown) when the Giants needed him to be at his very best. 

    Running plays went nowhere, third downs were left unconverted and the Giants gained just 109 yards outside of a 77-yard scoring drive that made the score 14-7 in the first quarter and represented the last moment it looked like the Giants had a shot in this game. No matter how much the Giants argued otherwise, something went very wrong for this Giants offense around midseason and they were never able to correct the flaws in the second half of the season. 

    There's still playoff hope for the Giants. They can't win the division, but they can gain a Wild Card by beating the Eagles and getting some help with losses by other teams. 

    Right now, though, this isn't a team that deserves a playoff spot any more than the Jets. This is a team that looks totally lost in every part of their game. 

    It's going to take quite a bit of work from Tom Coughlin to get them right by next week. He should start by making it clear that the Giants need to start working harder and stop waiting for some mythical switch to flip into position. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Another horrid day for Manning and the Giants.Another horrid day for Manning and the Giants.

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    Retailers remained busy through the Saturday before Christmas, as last-minute shoppers took advantage of extended store hours.

    Even late through Saturday evening, Westfarms Mall in West Hartford was bustling; people inside were scoring deals and getting gifts for their loved ones.

    "[I got]..a purse for my girlfriend...It cost a lot of money, so I hope she likes it," said Tim Pearson.

    "My parents just bought me a Christmas present, which is a Mac book...yay!," said Natalia Tymkiv.

    Some also scored good deals while they shopped.

    "30 percent off at J. Crew...40 percent off at Banana Republic, so that's pretty good," said Patricia Queen.

    Over in Meriden, last-minute shoppers also took stores by storm.

    "My wife always says, 'oh, right down to the wire.' But, maybe, it's exciting that way," said Gill Masler.

    "I procrastinated on buying gifts for people, so now I'm going out with my friends and seeing wht I can get," said Marissa Holder.

    Procrastination can be a good thing if you ask retailers. The retail tracking firm, Shoppertrak, expects Saturday and Sunday to be among the busiest shopping days of the year. The only question is whether stores will have some of the items you're looking for.

    Some stores are going the extra mile, catering to the last-minute rush. Macy's and Toys "R" Us will remain open around the clock through the weekend. Some retailers believe this weekend could beat out Black Friday sales.
     


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    Waterford Police have identified the victim of a deadly shooting outside a bowling alley on Boston Post Road.
     
    Kyle Seidel, 34, of Waterford was shot in the parking lot of the Family Bowl on Friday night.
     
    Police said the cause and manner of the death is pending the results of an autopsy.
     
    The New London Day spoke to a relative of Seidel and reported the married father of three had left his home around 7:50 p.m. to pick up Chinese food at a restaurant about a mile from the bowling alley but never returned.
     
    Police are seeking information in the investigation.
     
    Anyone who may have seen Seidel or his vehicle, a black Ford Focus, traveling on Boston Post Road is urged to call the Waterford Police Department at 860-442-9451.
     

     



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    It seems difficult to imagine that anything could be more infuriating than the way the Giants played in their 33-14 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, but that's only true if you didn't hear or read any comments from the postgame media scrum. 

    Tom Coughlin claimed there was "no explanation for why we’re in the position we’re in" and defensive tackle Chris Canty said he had "no idea how we got here." Those are ludicrous things to say during a two-game losing streak during which the Giants have been outscored 67-14, but at least they were big enough men to speak to the media while Osi Umenyiora, Corey Webster and Justin Tuck refused to talk. 

    It's ludicrous to say that because the problems that have led to the hideous performances the last two weeks have been obvious for almost the entire season. With the exception of a few games, the defense has been a joke since the opening weekend and the offense has been sputtering for more than two months. 

    The only way you could be surprised by the results is if you chose willful ignorance over the reams of evidence that things were going wrong. The only way to have no idea how you got to this place is to sleepwalk through the season and assume that all would be fine when you woke up. 

    There's been almost no changes to either unit despite the obvious struggles as Coughlin has decided, explicitly or tacitly, to endorse the philopsophy that the Giants could stink all they want because they would simply decide to start winning at the last minute and see the season turn out exactly as they hoped. It doesn't make much sense that a coach revered for his ability to make a mountain out of every molehill would just sit by and claim shock at another week of the same old thing, but there you have it. 

    All year long, every attempt to point out that the Giants were not playing at peak levels and that injuries were sapping key players of their ability to help the team was met with scoffing that anyone would dream of worrying about the Giants after the way last year turned out. There was no empirical evidence to support the scoffers, just blind faith that last year's 99-yard touchdown passes and butterfingered punt returners would come in the nick of time. 

    That's not how it works, as the 2008-2010 seasons should have made abundantly clear. No one bothered to consider the down side of the Giants playing like garbage until now and they've now run out of time to do anything about it themselves. 

    It's a bad way to end the season. Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly of Sunday's loss. 

    BAD: Eli Manning didn't have much of a chance on Sunday thanks to an offensive line that couldn't have blocked newborns -- another long-standing problem Coughlin's chosen to ignore in favor of being gobsmacked by another loss -- but he wasn't doing much with his throws when he did have time. Something totally disconnected in the passing game over the last 10 or so weeks of the season and the Giants need to figure out how to get things back on track for their offense to be as potent as it was in 2011. 

    UGLY: Ahmad Bradshaw has been hurting and his pride helps keep him on the field, but someone with the Giants medical staff might want to assert themselves in the best interests of the team. Bradshaw didn't run well and his pass blocking made it seem like he wanted Manning to get planted into the turf, leaving you to wonder why the Giants put him on the field in the first place. 

    UGLY: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell can't rush the passer, tackle or cover receivers all by himself. Judging from the work he's done this season, he also can't devise a scheme that makes his players do it either. 

    UGLY: Corey Webster got beat early this season, he got beat in the middle of the season and he spent Sunday being picked apart by Joe Flacco, whose status as a rich man's Mark Sanchez was confirmed over the first 14 games of the season. Webster's decline makes cornerback a huge need for the Giants heading into the offseason. 

    BAD: None of the calls wound up having any impact on the final result, but the officials on Sunday were bad enough to make one long for the days of replacement officials who didn't even pretend to know the rules. Lengthy replay reviews of calls that were badly blown on the field, confusing explanations of why calls were made and a general sense that your cousins from Holland could have done just as good a job even though they think that football is soccer. 

    GOOD: The Giants actually still have a chance to make the playoffs. They'll need a ton of things to break their way, including winning a game themselves, but the light hasn't been extinguished even though things look dark as night right now. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    No surprise, but lots of disappointment.No surprise, but lots of disappointment.

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