January 21st, 2010
04:06 PM ET
January 21st, 2010
04:02 PM ET

Haiti's survival stories no shock to experts

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/01/20/haiti.earthquake.survivors/t1larg.jpg caption="Mendji Bahina Sanon, 11, sleeps at a hospital in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. She survived more than a week under the rubble of her collapsed house." width=416 height=234]

Tom Watkins

The fact that survivors have been unearthed more than a week after being entombed without food or water in quake-stricken Haiti is no surprise and simply underscores the body's resilience in the face of adversity, emergency medicine experts told CNN Wednesday.

"You can go 10, 12, 13 days without really having a problem," said Dr. Eric Weinstein, an emergency physician in Summerville, South Carolina, who is on the Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Particularly if you're healthy to begin with."

Weinstein's comments came hours after a 5-year-old boy, Monley, was pulled alive from rubble nearly eight days after the 7.0-magnitude quake had leveled much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. More than 121 people have been pulled alive from the rubble, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Boy found alive in the rubble

Monley was taken to a hospital to be treated for severe dehydration and doctors attributed his survival to resilience and the strength of his young body.

"They'll have some electrolyte abnormalities; they might have some organ dysfunction like their kidneys might be starting to slow down, their liver, their bowels might have some issues, but with rehydration ... they should have good recovery," Weinstein said.

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Filed under: Haiti
January 21st, 2010
03:48 PM ET

Cindy McCain poses for same-sex marriage campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/21/art.mccain.jpg caption="Cindy McCain, the wife of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has posed for a Web site promoting same-sex marriage."]


Cindy McCain, the wife of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has posed for a Web site promoting same-sex marriage.

McCain, who's married to Arizona Sen. John McCain, appears in a photograph on the site with a piece of silver duct tape over her mouth and the slogan "No H8" written on her cheek.

The site's owners were stunned when Mrs. McCain came to them with the idea of posing for them, they said when posting her photo Wednesday.

"We've often been surprised at some of the different individuals who have approached us showing their support. Few, though, have surprised us more than Cindy McCain," wrote Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley.

"The McCains are one of the most well-known Republican families in recent history, and for Mrs. McCain to have reached out to us to offer her support truly means a lot," they wrote.

"Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn't matter – marriage equality isn't a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue," they argued, saying it was "about human rights."

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Filed under: John McCain
January 21st, 2010
03:39 PM ET

Supreme Court eases restrictions on corporate campaign spending

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Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

The Supreme Court has given big business, unions and nonprofits more power to spend freely in federal elections, a major turnaround that threatens a century of government efforts to regulate the power of corporations to bankroll American politics.

A 5-4 conservative majority crafted a narrow overhaul of federal campaign spending Thursday that could have an immediate effect on this year's congressional midterm elections. The justices eased long-standing restrictions on "independent spending" by corporations and unions in political campaigns.

"When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. "The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."

The opinion radically alters the election calculus, offering greater spending flexibility for a broader range of for-profit and nonprofit groups seeking a voice in the crowded national political debate.

Hours after the ruling, President Obama responded, saying the court has given "the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington - while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."

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Filed under: Supreme Court
January 21st, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Israel's medical operation in Haiti

Program Note: Tune in tonight for live coverage on the situation on the ground in Haiti. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/21/t1.idf.clinic.doc.jpg caption="A medic at the IDF Field Hospital in Port-au-Prince checks on an injured child." width=300 height=169]

Ella Perlis
AC360° Associate Producer

Medical professionals in Haiti are struggling to help critically ill patients with limited resources. We've heard horror stories about doctors forced to substitute vodka for rubbing alcohol, and use hacksaws for amputations. These dramatic and desperate images are described by some as "civil war medicine." However, this is not the situation at an Israeli-run field hospital in the earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Located on a Port-au-Prince soccer field, the facility has operating rooms, an intensive care unit, a pediatric ward, and even a pharmacy. The technology is as sophisticated as most Western hospitals: it has x-ray equipment, respirators, monitors, and incubators that have sustained at least two pre-mature babies born since the earthquake.

How did a country that has never experienced a major earthquake respond so quickly and efficiently? To find out more about Israel's response in Haiti, I spoke with an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer. The man on the other end of the phone sounded familiar – a New York accent, distinctly from Queens – and the voice of my old friend from summer camp years ago.


Filed under: Ella Perlis • Haiti Earthquake • Opinion
January 21st, 2010
10:17 AM ET

Dear President Obama #367: Shhh ... I think I hear something

Reporter's Note: President Obama is facing a new year and a new challenge: A no longer filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Well, I’ve got my own problems; such as being on day two of another year of writing every single day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Watching the coverage of the fallout from Massachusetts, (or as your fellow Dems are no doubt calling it, “The Boston Massacre – 2010”) I am told you are going to take to the road again, to meet with normal Americans, and try to better explain your ideas for the country. I can’t take any issue with that. If all presidents spent more time with the people they represent, and less time with the DC crowd, the whole nation would undoubtedly be better off.

But if I were you, I don’t think I’d go out there to talk at this point. I’d go to listen.

One of the problems that smart people have, (and I’ve met some, so I know about this) is that they often assume when people don’t agree with them, that is because those folks don’t understand. Heck, I’m guilty of this, and I’m not even particularly bright; as evidenced by writing an entire year’s worth of letters to a person who never responds. Ahem.


January 21st, 2010
10:15 AM ET
January 21st, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The aid bottleneck

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

How is aid getting to the people in Haiti? After criticism that relief hasn’t made its way to victims of the earthquake-ravaged Haiti quickly enough, U.S. officials say they are taking steps to rectify the problem. About 100 aid flights are arriving daily at the Port-au-Prince airport, up from 25 a day just after the earthquake hit January 12, a senior administration official says.

Our team is on the ground in Haiti where the lines of thirsty and hungry survivors paint a different story. The lack of medical supplies is also straining overstretched doctors and makeshift field hospitals. We’re reporting live on whether or not the access to aid has improved and how relief organizations in Haiti are coordinating efforts.

We’re also hearing that 4,000 marines and sailors from Campe Lejeune, N.C. will go to Haiti to support humanitarian relief operations rather than go to Afghanistan as originally planned. How long will U.S. troops remain in the country?

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Pakistan today. He said his talks with Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders intended to explain the U.S. war strategy in neighboring Afghanistan. Gates says Pakistan must know the U.S. is in it for the “long haul” and that it wants Pakistan to broaden its offensive to border areas where members of the Afghan Taliban have been seeking refuge.


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
January 21st, 2010
10:14 AM ET

How Obama can get back on track

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Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst

President Truman made popular the phrase, "The buck stops here." In his first year, President Obama has invoked that on several occasions, stepping up to take responsibility when his staff or party has messed up.

Now, in the wake of Democrats losing what was seen arguably as the safest Democratic U.S. Senate seat in America, that of the liberal lion Ted Kennedy, there is a significant amount of sniping, backbiting and finger-pointing going on between Democrats, progressives and independents that lean their way.

The loss is fresh and it stings. With the party being so close to passing the one issue that it has fought for for years, only to possibly see the issue die with the election of a Republican in the seat occupied by the greatest champion of national health care. It clearly hurts like hell for Democrats.

And it should.

When you get your butt summarily kicked, you should lick your wounds and step back and figure out what went wrong and how you failed.

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January 21st, 2010
10:12 AM ET

Obama team too busy spinning to listen

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Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

If the Obama White House was as good at listening to voters' concerns and adjusting their policy goals accordingly as they are at spinning Democratic losses in an attempt to contain the damage, they would probably have fewer losses to spin.

Martha Coakley's hopes of representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate weren't even cold before the administration's surrogates were saying how Coakley was a weak candidate, how the election was really about local issues with no bearing on the national political landscape, how this defeat was really part of national anti-incumbency tsunami and how this was most certainly not a referendum on either President Obama's policies in general or health care reform in particular.

Don't believe a word of it - although some of it does sound familiar.

We heard the same thing about weak candidates and elections turning on local issues last year when Republicans won gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Just how many Democrats fit under the bus?

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