Day: January 19, 2010

Massachusetts Senate Race For Kennedy Seat

There is a school of thought that says: “Out with the old, in with the new…”  That is the school of thought to which Scott Brown and his supporters espouse. 

On the other hand there are those who believe that the Massachusetts senate seat, held for 47 years by Ted Kennedy should stay a Democratic seat in honor of the late Senator.  Democrat Martha Coakley appears to have a tough battle ahead of her this election day.

 In answer to a  reporter’s question about the seat being “Ted Kennedy’s seat”, Brown retorted, “…with all due respect this seat is the “people’s seat”.    That seems to be the catalyst  for  the Scott Brown momentum. 

Huffington Post: 

BOSTON — Voters thronged to the polls in Massachusetts Tuesday in a special election Republicans hope will be a national game-changer, slowing down President Barack Obama’s agenda and loosening the Democratic grip on the U.S. Senate.

[...]

In contrast to the light turnout for the party primaries last month, both candidates expected a heavy turnout following the national attention thrust upon their race. There was a clear sign at one polling place: A line of cars stretched for nearly a half-mile from the gymnasium at North Andover High School, the polling place for a community of about 30,000 about a half-hour north of Boston. Some drivers turned around in exasperation.

Speaking to reporters after she voted early Tuesday at an elementary school near her home, Coakley voiced confidence that she would win, saying “we’ve been working every day.”

She said “we’re paying attention to the ground game. … Every game has its own dynamics. … We’ll know tonight what the results are.” The polls close at 8 p.m. EST.    More…

Words cannot express my dismay…

WSJ:

ABOARD THE U.S.S. CARL VINSON–Seven earthquake victims from Haiti, including a newborn baby, were being treated Saturday evening in a state-of-the-art, 50-bed medical clinic aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson–the first non-American victims believed to be treated since the carrier’s arrival Friday morning.

Lack of medical facilities and doctors for tens of thousands of injured people in the decimated Haitian capital is one of the major problems facing aid efforts in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. U.S. Naval officials said earlier Saturday that the Vinson nevertheless didn’t plan to take on care of earthquake victims, and was awaiting arrival of a ship with more operating rooms to arrive Sunday or Monday and a hospital ship to arrive a few days later on Thursday.

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy 4th Fleet, the headquarters responsible for naval actions in Haiti, said Saturday afternoon that the Vinson’s primary mission is using its 19 helicopters to ferry supplies onshore. Using the carrier as a floating hospital, he said, “would completely change the mission of the carrier. That could potentially impact the [carrier's current] mission.”

Until Saturday evening, the carrier had made an exception for two victims, one a U.S. citizen and the other presumed to be so, Naval officials said. When the clinic was observed by a Wall Street Journal reporter Saturday afternoon, all the beds were empty. Lt. Cmdr. Jim Krohne, a spokesman for the aircraft carrier and its captain, responding to a reporter’s queries, said the vessel’s mission was “sea-based” and the primary focus of the clinic was to treat American citizens. Others, including Haitians, would be treated if they were sent by military commanders in Port-au-Prince, he said.

The seven Haitian residents were accepted on board later in the day when a Coast Guard helicopter pilot had to abandon plans to ferry them to onshore medical facilities outside the city. Poor weather and then darkness forced a mid-flight correction, said Naval officials and the pilot, Lt. Tim Williams. So Lt. Williams, normally stationed in Clearwater, Fla., diverted to the Vinson for its facilities.

The situation aboard the Vinson highlights a dilemma being faced by the U.S. military and other organizations bringing medical aid to Haiti, as residents of its capital face the threat of a continuing wave of deaths from disease and lack of treatment. In some cases, life-saving supplies and expertise stand tantalizingly close to the devastated capital but still out of reach of those in need, and the enormity of the emergency has caused some rescuers to re-examine their procedures.

Cmdr. Alfred Shwayhat, the senior medical officer who is an endocrinologist, said he had a plan to “treat 1,000 Haitians if necessary,” when interviewed aboard the ship on Saturday. But he had received no orders to do so. “If the captain authorizes it, I will take anyone,” he said. The Vinson’s facility, he said, “exceeds anything in the civilian sector, bar none.”

The Carl Vinson’s clinic is staffed by 52 workers altogether, including an anesthesiologist, surgeon, critical-care nurse and radiation technician. It has laboratories to test for infectious disease, three intensive-care beds and gets blood donations from the ship’s personnel when needed. The pharmacy offers medicines including special stocks for treating diseases common in the developing world, such as anti-malaria medicine and drugs that attack parasitic worms.

On Saturday afternoon, the Vinson sent two doctors, including the ship’s flight surgeon, and three other medical personnel to a beach clinic set up by the Coast Guard, Lt. Cmdr. Flanders said, even though doing so left the ship short of its normal medical staffing for its own crew of 3,600 people: “You’re down to just a few doctors” on board, he said.

The U.S. has deployed the hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort to Haiti, but it won’t arrive until Thursday, according to a military announcement. Another ship with three operating rooms, the U.S.S. Bataan, is scheduled to arrive Sunday or Monday.

“There’s a unified medical response,” Lt. Cmdr. Flanders said. The Bataan has more of the “hard-core casualty” facilities to take on wounded Haitians, he said, adding the Carl Vinson is “really not equipped for…a sustained large amount of people coming in.”