quasi in rem

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Ricin Update

Senator Frist starts his press conference. Turns out it was his personal staff that found the mail with ricin, and perhaps not the main mail room. Everyone is doing fine, never-the-less. It is not entirely clear how far the letter made it through the system.

He loves to talk about medicine boy. he's been saving all this stuff up from the anthrax attacks. it's been two years that he has been waitng to use the word "patho-physiology" and mean it, and he just used it. Way to go Bill.

It seems strange to me that the mail room terrorists who have sent anthrax and ricin have both known who the Senate Majority leader is. What percentage of people in the country could name the Senate Majority leader. Doesn't that exonerate about 95% of the population?

Frist let's Daschle speak. He is always giving the Democrats equal time. They are not big fans of his over there, but not a one will disparage his willingness to share time with the Dems.

They are going through all of the offices to reclaim unopened mail, and check the floors and desk. So far they have found no ricin on the any of the air filters in any building.

Bill Pickle, he of Senate Judiciary Memo fame, is up next. It looks like he just got a haircut for his prime time performance. He says they will be opening up the offices fairly soon and willl keep the Capitol open.

They are calling for anyone who may have recieved an inhalation dose, which may be experienced as an inhalation problem, to come in to get examined. Despite the fact that there is no antidote, they are saying that if peoplecome in quickly they will be o.k.

By the way CNN is reporting that this has "crippled" the Senate. That is flat false. The anthrax scare crippled the Senate, people were forced out of the buildings on a moments notice and were forced to leave their keys/PDA's and important papers at their desks. This time, most people had already gone home when the offices were closed, and the Capitol is still open. The Senate is working fine.

Frist says that to his knowledge no human has ever died from inhalation. By the way the mail room is isolated from the rest of the building's airs sytem with HEPA filters.

Also of note is that the mail to the Senate is radiated, or irradiated, so it is possible that if this ricin came through the mail, then the negative tests may have been the result of radiated powder leading to active and inactive ricin in the same envelope. Perhaps the current decontamination techniques, which are believed to be ineffective against ricin, are in fact partially effective against ricin.

Frist throws out "PCR, Polymerase chain reaction," as if it was nothing. Sixteen people were immediately decontaminated. Everyone at risk is believed to have been decontaminated.

It looks like Senate staffers will be working at home for the rest of the week.

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