Howdy folks-Clem Lane here. Republican Scott Brown has been declared the winner in the Massachusetts Senate Race. Sources tell ABC NEWS that Coakley called Brown a short time ago to concede. WORLD NEWS updating their 6:30pm Pacific Time feed with fresh reports from John Berman in Massachusetts and Jonathan Karl in Washington. Here's the news...
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE RACE-The voters have spoken. Republican State Senator Scott Brown has won the Massachusetts special election to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat. ABC NEWS has learned that Democratic candidate Martha Coakley has called Brown and conceded. What was at stake in this race? John Berman, filing for WORLD NEWS, notes “a special election that could completely alter the national agenda.” Massachusetts has been reliably Democratic for some time now…how did this state become a battleground? Berman notes “Independents, the biggest voting bloc in Massachusetts, turning to the Republican. Even some who voted for Barack Obama.” In his campaign, Scott Brown aimed to project an image of a “regular guy”…Berman tells us “his truck (was) a centerpiece of his campaign.” But behind the scenes this was not your father’s Republican candidate-Berman reports that “on-line he took a page out of the Obama playbook. He raised more than a million dollars a day every day last week.” And a look at today’s social networking tools shows another advantage-Berman: “5 times as many fans on Facebook as Martha Coakley. Twice as many Twitter followers. Google searches running 2-1 in favor of Brown.” So what would a Brown victory do to “completely alter the national agenda” as Berman put it? Brown would become the 41st Republican in the U.S. Senate which Jon Karl notes “When it comes to health care, a Republican win gives them the ability to block further votes in the Senate, and would leave Democrats with no good options.” More on that in the entry below.
HEALTH CARE, THE DEMOCRATS AND THE FUTURE-With today's Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate Race, it's clear that there is a perception that the Democratic Party is in trouble. Filing a report earlier this evening for the East Coast edition of WORLD NEWS, J on Karl noted that “no matter who wins in Massachusetts, several Democrats today told us the party is in trouble.” Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) talked with Karl and said of a potential loss in Massachusetts “if that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.” Karl: “Senator Bayh worries that independents seem to be leaving the party in droves, not just in Massachusetts but also in New Jersey and Virginia, where Democratic candidates were beaten in November.” Leaving the party’s woes aside, what does this mean for health care reform? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says the country will get "affordable health care for all Americans" no matter what happens in Massachusetts. That’s all well and good but as Karl noted above it would leave Democrats “with no good options”…he expounds: “The leading bad option: convince the House to rubber stamp the bill already passed by the Senate. Bad option number two: If Brown wins, ram a bill through before he is sworn in, but that may further alienate voters and there’s probably not enough time anyway.” In his close Karl noted that “Democratic second-guessing is already going on in full-force.” But Karl also reminds that “even if they lose in Massachusetts, Democrats still have a commanding 59 to 41 majority in the Senate.” .
HAITI: Relief for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake just a week ago still isn’t reaching everyone in need. So for some, says Martha Raddatz, the appearance of U.S. troops in Port Au Prince was a sight to behold: “For the first time today US troops entered downtown Port au Prince in large numbers ..greeted at the crumbling presidential palace with shouts of joy…. If the US takes this country.., this man said…"we will work, we will eat, we will have a new life.”” The troops were dropped off by six Navy helicopters as Haitians watched behind a fence on the palace grounds. Their destination was actually the main hospital but Martha explains: “The soldiers of the 82n'd came to the presidential palace, landing here this morning, simply because there was no other way to get aid to the hospital.” Martha adds: “The head doctor here told us that the troops will help secure the hospital so supplies can move and more patients can get urgent care Our.” Over at the Albert Sweitzer Hospital, our Dr. Richard Besser says the scene there was stunning: “Broken bones, gaping wounds…head injuries. For more than 500 people…just 80 beds.” And Dr. Besser says supplies were - in short supply: :The only pain medication left – a little Motrin. And they are running dangerously low on antibiotics.” Then there’s the matter of water, as David Muir found out on the back of a pickup truck: “As we travel the streets of Port au Prince today.. quite honestly, the biggest commodity is simply the water. In the back of this pickup truck, a huge water tank, that these gentlemen are hoping to fill up. We notice people carrying empty jugs. Where were they finding water? Behind this gate, our answer. Water…for a price.” And the price in this case was $7 a bottle. That said, Kate Snow found out today that many earthquake victims have quickly learned the importance of cash on hand: “In the hardest hit parts of Port Au Prince people are going back into their houses looking to salvage anything they can… we've seen mattresses, huge bed frames, a DVD player… they'll either save it or sell it. Cash is key now. The most striking thing out on the streets today…a makeshift economy. There’s no way to get money here unless you have U-S collards to trade. But for those who were lucky enough to have cash on them when the earthquake hit…CAN find food for sale…fresh fruits and vegetables…boys selling soda on ice. “ In the meantime, the U.S. military now has up to 11,000 troops in Haiti. They’ve take over the main airport, which is now accommodating 120 flights day. Tomorrow, the Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is due to arrive offshore. (thanks to Ed Bailey for this entry)
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS AND LIVING LONGER-Much has been made of the health benefits of fish and especially the “Omega 3 Fatty Acids” in fish. John McKenzie reported for WORLD NEWS on a study out this evening in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” that appears to bolster that assertion. McKenzie: “Researchers followed more than 600 men with heart disease and found those taking the most Omega 3 appeared ‘biologically younger’, that the ends of their chromosomes, things called ‘telomeres’ looked longer and healthier.” Dr. Stephen Kopecky from the Mayo Clinic explains the importance of “telomeres”: “Telomeres do help the body repair damage. The longer they are, the more damage repair that can occur.” Which leads to a longer life, McKenzie notes adding “researchers used to think that only regular exercise and managing stress could keep telomeres healthy. Bit taking an Omega 3 supplement, may be another, simpler approach.” The benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids (specifically those called EPA and DHA) go beyond “heart disease patients”. McKenzie notes they’ve been linked to “easing joint inflammation, slowing memory decline and reducing macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.” Well I’m sold-how much should I take? McKenzie: “Many doctors we spoke with today recommend one to two capsules of fish oil a day and that you should check the label to ensure you’re getting 1000 mgs of DHA and EPA combined.”
APPOMATOX SHOOTING-Virginia State Police say a lone shooter was responsible for multiple deaths and injuries Tuesday and more than 100 law enforcement officials had him circled in woods where they believe he is hiding. A 7pm press conference by police shed no light on numbers or why the shootings occurred. NOTE:The Associated Press is just reporting from an unnamed source that 8 people were killed. David Kerley travels from DC for coverage this evening.
CALIFORNIA WEATHER-The second in a series of powerful storms moved thru Southern California today, bringing heavy rains and winds…and maybe a tornado. No major damage or injuries reported, but the storm led to flooded highways as well as more localized flooding to beach communities south of LA. The words “tornado” and “Southern California” sure aren’t used very often together. From the Associated Press: “Radar showed the thunderstorm had rotating winds like a tornado, said Philip Gonsalves, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego. Unlike twisters in the Midwest that can run for miles on the ground, Southern California tornadoes tend to start as waterspouts and dissipate quickly when they come ashore, Gonsalves said.” As of this writing, flash flood warnings remain in effect for Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, where wildfires the past two years have stripped bare areas of hillsides. And authorities are looking ahead to the next band of storms-Los Angeles County fire officials said they would issue mandatory evacuation orders in some flood-prone areas beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday during the next expected storm in the region. Things in Northern California were also less than ideal. Rains and winds there closed roads and played havoc with the morning commute. The wet weather is expected to continue to batter the Golden State through at least Thursday.
REPORT ON AMERICAN EX-CONS IN YEMEN TO BE RELEASED TOMORROW-From Rich Esposito/Rehab El-Buri and Brian Ross: “As many as three dozen criminals who converted to Islam in American prisons have moved to Yemen where they could pose a ‘significant threat’ to attack the U.S., according to a report on al Qaeda from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be released Wednesday. ‘The group seeks to recruit American citizens to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States,’ said Sen. John Kerry, D.-Mass., the committee chairman. The Senate report said that while the ex-convicts ‘ostensibly’ moved to Yemen to study Arabic, U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials in Yemen ‘feared that these Americans were radicalized in prison and traveled to Yemen for training.’ An American official said the prison converts were believed to be primarily from the New York state prison system. Members of the Senate staff were told by U.S. law enforcement officials that FBI agents in Yemen did not have the resources to track the ex-cons and that several ‘have dropped off the radar’ for weeks at a time. For details on hearing, please see Wednesday coverage below. You can read the full story at http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/muslim-american-convicts-yemen-pose-threat/story?id=9602228
OTHER STUFF- -- FOREIGN BRIBES- The Justice Department has announced the indictment of 22 individuals for attempting to bribe foreign governments to use their services for specific law enforcement and military products and equipment. One of the individuals Amaro Goncalves is the vice president of sales for Smith & Wesson. Other companies involved include ArmorShield USA and the Heavy Metal Armory in Bradenton, FL. Also charged is R. Patrick Caldwell who was with Protective Products of America, prior to his position at the company Caldwell had been with the US Secret Service where he was Special Agent in charge of the Vice Presidential Protective Division. (Jason Ryan)