Monday, September 30, 2013

Senators Angle for Monsanto-Friendly FDA Voluntary GMO Labeling "Guidance"

While consumers battle on for laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products, some lawmakers are taking the GMO labeling debate in a different direction. And it’s a direction that’s anything but consumer friendly.

Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The senators advertised their request as a move intended to benefit consumers. But in fact, a federal voluntary labeling plan plays right into the hands of the biotech and big food industries. 

How? Worst-case scenario, once the FDA finalizes its GMO labeling guidance, industry uses the FDA guidance to preempt state laws requiring mandatory labeling of GMOs. Currently, states have the right to enact GMO labeling laws precisely because the FDA has not formally ruled on GMO labeling.

Second, the FDA’s guidance on voluntary GMO labeling could be used to put an end to existing, legitimate voluntary non-GMO labeling efforts. By allowing the FDA, which has previously (and controversially) ruled that GMO and non-GMO foods are “substantially equivalent,” the FDA could rule against non-GMO or GMO-free labels on the basis that they mislead consumers by implying that there’s a difference between GMO and non-GMO foods.

The operative word: ‘voluntary’

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Me and my new Homegirls!

Can't wait to see my new buddies again!

Agent Orange – Granchildren of Vietnam Veterans Reported Birth Defects Update

We have compiled a list of 159 reported illnesses that the biological Grand-Children of Vietnam Veterans are suffering from to try and find common threads. There have been no official claims that anything on this list has been proven to be caused by Agent Orange/Dioxin unless otherwise noted in the information below. If your child is suffering from any illness not listed, please email us at COVVHA@GMAIL.COM. This list has been updated as of September 22, 2013.
1. 16p deletion in DNA:
2. Abdominal Migraines
3. Abdominal Scar Tissue Growth
4. Alopecia Universalis
5. Allergic Rhinitis AKA Hay Fever
6. Allergies- Food, Milk, Meds, Gluten, Seasonal, Severe, ETC
7. Amblyopia AKA Lazy Eye
8. Anemia
9. Anencephaly
10. Anger Problems
11. Anxiety
12. Apraxia of Limb
13. Apraxia of Speech
14. Arthritis
15. Asperger’s – Autism Spectrum Disorder
16. Asthma
17. Attention Deficit Disorder
18. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
20. Auditory Processing Disorder
21. Autoimmune Problems
22. Beckwith–Weidemann Syndrome
23. Bedwetting
24. Bicuspid Aortic Stenosis
25. Bilateral Retinoblastoma
26. Bipolar Disorder AKA Bipolar Affective Disorder, Manic-Depressive Disorder, or Manic Depression
27. Blood Clotting Issues
28. Borderline Personality Disorder
29. Born with One Kidney
30. Bowel Obstruction
31. Celiac Disease
32. Cellulitis
33. Chest Pain: Undefined
34. (Chronic) Bronchitis
35. Chronic Ear Infections
36. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
37. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease AKA Emphysema
38. Cleft Palate
39. Clubbed Thumb
40. Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV) AKA Club Foot
41. Congenital Hypothyroidism
42. Constipation AKA Costiveness AKA Dyschezia AKA Trouble moving Bowels
43. Crohn’s Disease AKA Crohn’s Syndrome AKA Regional Enteritis
44. Cystic Hygroma
45. Cysts
46. Deafness
47. Deformed Baby Teeth
48. Depression
49. Developmental Delay
50. Dual AV Node In Heart
51. Dyslexia
52. Eczema
53. Edwards Syndrome
54. Ehler’s- Danlos Syndrome AKA Cutis Hyperelastica
55. Emotional Problems
56. Endometriosis
57. Enlarged Adenoids
58. Enlarged Tonsils
59. Failure to Thrive (Difficulty Gaining Weight)
60. Fibromyalgia
61. Fine Motor Aphasia
62. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
63. Gross Motor Aphasia
64. Headaches
65. Hearing Aids (Both Ears)
66. Hearing Loss
67. Heart Murmur
68. High Blood Pressure AKA Hypertension
69. High Cholesterol AKA Hypercholesterolemia
70. Hip Dysplasia
71. Hirsutism AKA Frasonism (Female facial hair)
72. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
73. Hole in Heart
74. Holoprosencephaly (Lobar)
75. Hydrocephalus
76. Hydronephrosis AKA Enlarged Kidney
77. Hyperflexability in the Joints AKA Hypermobility in the Joints
78. Hypospadias
79. Hypovitaminosis D AKA Vitamin D Deficiency
80. Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura (ITP)
81. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
82. Insomnia AKA Trouble Sleeping AKA Sleeplessness
83. Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura (ITP)
84. Keratosis Pilaris (KP) AKA Chicken Skin
85. Kidney Problems
86. Kyphosis
87. Learning Disability, Non Specific
88. Leg and Hip Problems at Birth
89. Low Birth Weight
90. Lupus AKA Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
91. Metabolic Syndrome
92. Migraines
93. Minimal Separation of Left Renal Collecting System
94. Missing Teeth
95. Moody
96. Neural Tube Defects
97. Night Terrors
98. Nosebleeds AKA Epistaxis
99. Obesity
100. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
101. One Testicle That is Smaller Than the Other One
102. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
103. Osteoporosis
104. Overall Weak Immune System
105. Past Urinary Problems
106. Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) (Form of Autism)
107. Peeling Finger/ Toe Nails
108. Pericardial Cyst On Heart
109. Photosensitivity
110. Pica
111. Plagiocephaly
112. Poland Syndrome, Undiagnosed
113. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
114. Poor Hand/Eye Coordination
115. Potty Training Problems
116. Premature Birth
117. Primary Teeth Retention- Causes Crooked and Crowded Teeth
118. Prone to Vericocele/ Hydracele
119. Prune Belly Syndrome
120. Pulmonary Stenosis
121. Pyloric Stenosis
122. Radial Dysphasia of the Wrist
123. Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy
124. Retinoblastoma AKA Cancer of the Retina
125. Ruptured Ear Drums
126. Scoliosis
127. Seizures
128. Sensitive Skin
129. Sensory Processing Disorder/ Dysfunction of Sensory Integration
130. Severe Colic
131. 130.Sickle Cell Anemia
132. Sinusitis
133. Skin Problems
134. Sleep Apnea
135. Snoring
136. Social Anxiety Disorder
137. Speech Disorder, Articulation
138. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
139. Spine is Blunt at the Bottom
140. Stickler Syndrome
141. Stomach Pain: Undefined
142. Teeth Growing in Crooked
143. Thoracic Kyphosis
144. Tibial Torsion
145. Ticks
146. Torticollis AKA Wry Neck
147. Tourette’s Syndrome
148. Two Uteruses
149. Type One Diabetes
150. Umbilical Hernia (At Birth)
151. Urinary Tract Infection AKA Bladder Infections
152. Vacterl Syndrome (Born without an Anus)
153. Ventricular Septial Defect
154. Viral Meningitis
155. Von Willebrand Disease
156. Warts
157. Weak Baby Teeth
158. Weak Enamel In/On Teeth
159. Weird Skin Rashes

Please click on News Alerts to become an email subscriber. You will then receive notifications when databases for 2ND GENERATION, 3RD GENERATION, and VETERANS HEALTH have been updated as well as any new articles that are published. Please be sure to check your email after subscribing for your confirmation completion.

We are now collecting 3rd generation (biological grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans) illnesses to add to our databases.

Please contact us at to participate.  Any information you provide will be kept confidential.


Remembering Forgotten Veterans Poisoned by Agent Orange

For this Band of Brothers, the Vietnam War never ended. Forty years after the fighting stopped they continue their struggle to be recognized as part of the unenviable group poisoned by the deadly herbicide Agent Orange.

These men who dedicated years to the U.S. military were stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. In the mid-1960s, it was an important stopover on the way to war zones in Southeast Asia. B-52 bombing missions targeting the Viet Cong — with names like Operation Arc Light and Operation Linebacker II — were launched from Andersen. Two years after the conflict, the base became a way-stop for more than 100,000 Vietnamese refugees seeking a new life in America.

Andersen AFB was a well-oiled machine, thanks to the dedicated soldiers stationed there. Two of those men — Master Sgt. LeRoy Foster and Sgt. Ralph Stanton — found each other late in life and began to compare their multitude of similar health problems.

Foster served at Andersen from 1968 to 1978 as a fuels specialist assigned to the 43rd Supply Squadron. Part of his duties, he told me, was to get rid of the vegetation and weeds on the base. Foster says Agent Orange — which contains deadly TCDD dioxin — was among the herbicides he regularly mixed and loaded into his 750-gallon, trailer-mounted sprayer. Back then, no one knew how deadly it was.

Stanton worked at Andersen's fuels maintenance shop. He says he remembers the skinny little Foster always driving by, spraying herbicides that left him and his fellow soldiers with a stomachache or headache. Stanton also recalls using discarded 55-gallon Agent Orange barrels to burn off excess fuels. He showed me photographs of an old herbicide drum he had fashioned into a barbecue for cookouts.

Today, both these men — and approximately 270 others once based in Guam — have applied with the Veterans Administration for Agent Orange benefits. Many of their diseases are found on the VA's official list of 15 ailments recognized as being tied to Agent Orange exposure. Among them: Hodgkin's disease, Parkinson's disease, prostate or respiratory cancers, soft tissue sarcoma, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), chronic B-cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease and Chloracne, an oily, painful condition of cysts and pustules that erupt on cheeks, arms, chest and groin areas.

Although the VA's rules say the benefit of the doubt should always go to the diagnosed veteran, fewer than a dozen Guam-based vets have been granted benefits. Why?

Here's the rub: The Defense Department has long maintained — and told me again last week — that there are no surviving records to prove that Agent Orange was ever sent to Guam. No proof, no benefits — except in the case of about nine claimants, including Foster. He stands as a modern-day, human Catch-22. The DOD denies he could have been exposed to Agent Orange on Guam, yet the VA has awarded him disability payments specifically tied to the deadly herbicide's effects. Foster never set foot in Vietnam.

Foster told me he thinks his claim was approved because he's been so vocal. He has sent mountains of compelling research and sad testimonials to Congress. He has testified before House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees in 2010 and again in 2012. He has written directly to President Barack Obama, asking that personnel stationed on Guam be given the automatic benefits awarded to soldiers who had boots on the ground in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Foster told me he is motivated by the overwhelming guilt he feels for spraying the poison at Andersen for so many years.

As I researched this story I discovered that it is not just the veterans who believe Agent Orange was used on Guam. In 2008, the legislature of Guam passed a resolution asking Congress to include the island on the list of those locations due benefits under the Agent Orange Equity Act saying, "The VA procedures have resulted in an unjustified withholding of benefits for military and civilian workers in staging areas for the Vietnam War such as Guam, through which military personnel, munitions, equipment and supplies — including herbicides containing Agent Orange — were shipped." The resolution has been ignored.

A Public Health Report issued by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in 2002 reported that water and dioxin soil contamination at Andersen AFB was an astronomical 19,000 parts per million. The EPA puts the safe level at below 1 part per billion. Even today, Andersen remains on the EPA's Superfund contamination list. Currently, there is a population of about 8,000 living at Andersen, with another 5,000 Marines set to be transferred in soon.

I found another compelling outside opinion in financial advisory reports for potential investors in Monsanto and Dow Chemical, two manufacturers of Agent Orange. The 2004 report stated, "Soldiers stationed on Guam who handled Agent Orange have become ill, and symptoms of TCCD (dioxin) poisoning are apparent in the general population of the island as well." Indeed, Guam does have a higher than normal cancer rate, especially rare leukemia-type cancers in children.

The saddest part of this story to me has to do with the birth defects reported in children born to these Andersen vets. Foster says his daughter was a victim, and her child, Foster's granddaughter, was born with 12 toes and fingers and is feared to be autistic. These birth defects mirror what has happened to generations of children born in Vietnam.

The latest Institute of Medicine report on veterans and Agent Orange says more study is needed on the question of "paternally transmitted effects to offspring."

It has been 40 years, and these vets wonder how much longer it will it take. Many believe the VA is engaged in a program of "Deny, deny until they die."

I find it hard to argue with that.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

GMO Backlash Is About to Cause a Boom

As consumer awareness grows around the risks associated with genetically modifying the food chain, the rise of foods that have been certified as having not been altered in the lab grows accordingly. The folks at Packaged Facts say non-GMO foods could potentially account for 30% of all U.S. food and beverage sales, or $264 billion worth, by 2017 -- and if package labeling becomes mandatory, it could hit 40%!

GM food proponents say there are no safety concerns as the engineered goods have been studied for decades and there are little to no health risks. Because they allow farmers to grow crops in regions previously inhospitable to farming and can create cheaper and perhaps more nutritious foods, it's a boon to the world's hunger problems.

For those of us on the other side of the issue, we'd point to the fact there's been no long-term testing of GM foods on humans. It unnaturally introduces organisms, bacteria, and viruses into the food chain, creating Frankenfoods that have genetic materials from different species injected into them, that can cause unwanted side effects from overexposure.

Companies like Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN  ) and Smithfield Foods (NYSE: SFD  ) have just agreed to stop injecting their cattle and hogs with weight-gain drugs just before slaughter because of the ill effects they were causing the animals. And the CDC released a report showing the threat to human health posed by overexposing livestock to antibiotics.

It's more than just a casual relationship that we have developed superweeds and superbugs through the overapplication of herbicides and pesticides. As I've pointed out before, there is a growing body of evidence that specific pesticides created by Bayer, Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW  ) , and Syngenta (NYSE: SYT  ) are also causing the collapse of honeybee colonies, which is a grave risk to the food chain because they are the pollinators of the world that ensure our crops grow.

To think that a seed can be genetically altered to withstand the spraying of Monsanto's (NYSE: MON  ) powerful herbicide Round-Up and continue growing, and that it's still OK to eat, is a bridge too far for many.

Which is why GMO labeling is so important for consumers. It allows the individual to decide when, how, or whether she will choose to eat such products. Admittedly, today it's difficult to actually not eat lab-altered foods, so prevalent is the reach of the chemical agri-giants. Virtually all processed and packaged foods have been tainted, but despite the breadth of coverage, it wouldn't cause any increase in food costs as has been suggested. A just-released study called "Why Labels Don't Affect Food Prices," confirms consumer demographics and competitor pricing has more of an effect on prices than changing labels does, which is a regularly occurring process for manufacturers anyway.

With at least 85% of all soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola grown from GMO seeds, and most of them are made by Monsanto. If you're eating something that has those listed as ingredients on the label, there's a good chance it's been modified on a genetic level. It's estimated 60% to 70% of all food on the supermarket shelf is GMO.

The best way to counteract corporate agriculture's grip on the food supply is to grow as much of your own produce as possible, and failing that (or supplementing it), supporting local farmers markets. This isn't some "back to nature" 1960's hippie movement, but rather recognition that the more Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, and others control what is grown, the less choice we have over what we can eat.

But as Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM  ) , Ben & Jerry's, and other companies commit to labeling their own products or ensuring they're GM-free, it will eventually becoming a much broader phenomenon we see take hold. The demand for natural, organic foods will drive their growth as Whole Foods is witnessing, reporting third quarter sales grew 12% from the year ago period, which is down only slightly from the 13% gains it recorded at the time.

Monsanto's not going away, as entrenched as they are, but investors should be on the watch for those companies on the forefront of ensuring the purity of their food as they will be the ones to reap the greatest rewards from the effort down the road.


Friday, September 27, 2013

‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Killed In Senate: Controversial Provision Removed From Spending Bill

The so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” has been removed from a Senate spending bill to the delight of those opposed to the controversial provision.
The provision would have stayed on the books under a continuing resolution passed by the House of Representatives last week, but U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., led a successful charge to have the language removed from the Senate version of the bill.

“One week ago, I asked, ‘Who pulls more weight on Capitol Hill? The agrichemical companies like Dow and Monsanto, or the food movement?'” Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director for the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “Thanks to the leadership of Senator Barbara Mikulski we now know the answer: the food movement.”

Mikulski introduced an amendment to have the language of the bill changed to remove the “Monsanto Protection Act” removed. The amendment was approved earlier this week, and the provision will expire at the end of this month.

A massive groundswell of public opposition to the “Monsanto Protection Act” began in March, when news of its existence hit the mainstream.

The provision, officially Section 735 of the HR 933 continuing resolution passed in March, came under fire because food safety advocates warn that it strips federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and propagation of genetically modified seeds and crops if safety tests reveal concerns about their safety.

Links and More HERE


Vietnam veteran and activist Dick Phenneger, founder of a nonprofit called Veterans Services Transparency, is working to help Vietnam veterans and their families cope with the devastating effects of Agent Orange. He's  interviewed more than 200 area Vietnam vets and their families and assembled a chronological table on Agent Orange findings. Included with this update is that chronological table, which Phenneger has made easy to follow and understand.

Agent Orange Timeline HERE

Cancer Insurance Checklist


The Cancer Insurance Checklist is designed to help you compare insurance
plans and consider your health needs when shopping for insurance in your
state’s Health Insurance Marketplace/Exchange.

The Checklist is a useful guide to help you find a plan that will meet your
needs. You may not need all of the treatments in the Checklist, and there may

be other treatments, costs or aspects of your care that you need to consider.


*If you have cancer, a history of cancer, or are at risk for cancer

*When evaluating insurance plans

*When discussing your insurance needs with your navigator or Marketplace/
  Exchange representative

*When discussing your cancer care needs with your health care provider

A GREAT downloadable PDF File HERE

Multiple Myeloma Insurance Questionnaire Ask before you buy—Get the best coverage for you

How do I know if the insurance plan I am buying will cover the care I need to treat my multiple myeloma?

Although there is no cure for multiple myeloma yet, new therapies have made it treatable, helping individuals with the disease live longer and healthier lives. By asking the questions listed below you can determine whether the insurance you are considering will cover your multiple myeloma care.

Prior to choosing your insurance, ask your doctor for a multiple myeloma care plan.

Questions for the insurance plan you are considering: 

 Are both blood and urine serum protein tests (electrophoresis and immunofixation) covered? If so, what will be my share of the costs? Are there annual or life-time limits on the number of tests that are covered?

 Does your plan cover bone marrow aspirations and biopsies? If so, what will be my share of the costs? Are there annual or lifetime limits on the number of services that are covered?

 Does your plan cover the imaging tests used for multiple myeloma care (X-rays, bone density scans, MRIs, PET and CAT scans) that will be used to further diagnose and monitor my disease? Are there any annual or lifetime limits on
the number of imaging tests that are covered? What will be my share of the costs?

 Does your plan cover genetic testing for myeloma risk assessment, including, cytogenetics and FISH? What will be my share of the costs?

 Does your plan provide coverage for Autologous Stem Cell Transplants? If so, how many? Does this include stem cell harvesting and storage of the stem cells? What will be my share of the costs?

 Does your plan cover costs associated with clinical trials? If so, what do you cover and what would be my portion of those costs?

 Are nutritional and lifestyle counseling sessions covered? If so, can you describe what you cover and my share of the costs?

 Does your plan cover serum free light chain assays (Freelite®) to screen and monitor multiple myeloma? If so, what will be my share of the cost?

 Does your plan cover radiation therapy? What is my out of pocket expense? Are there any annual or lifetime limits on the number of radiation therapy treatments that are covered?

 Does your plan provide coverage for intravenously administered and subcutaneously administered drugs including Velcade, Cytoxin and Kyprolis? What is my out-of-pocket expense to obtain these drugs?

 Does your plan cover bisphosphonate therapy such as Aredia or Zometa? What is my out of pocket expense? Will it also cover a pre-treatment dental exam?

 Do you carry Thalomid, Revlimid, and Pomalyst on your formularies? What is my out-of-pocket expense to obtain these drugs?

 Are my health care providers included in network? What is my out-of-pocket expense to see them? Can I access multiple myeloma experts from outside the network? If so, what is my out-of-pocket expense?

Downloadable PDF File HERE

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Novel Drug Prevents Common Viral Disease in Stem-Cell Transplant Patients

A new drug can often prevent a common, sometimes severe viral disease in patients receiving a transplant of donated blood-making stem cells, a clinical trial led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital indicates.

In a paper in the Sept. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers report that patients who took the drug CMX001 shortly after transplant were far less likely to develop cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection than were patients who took a placebo. CMV disease is a common source of illness in transplant patients and can cause pneumonia, diarrhea and digestive tract ulcers, or other problems. Although some antiviral drugs, when administered at the earliest signs of CMV infection, often forestall CMV disease, they often cause kidney dysfunction or impair patients' ability to make new blood cells.

"With current agents, between 3 and 5 percent of allogeneic [donor] transplant patients develop CMV disease within six months of transplantation, and a small number of them may die of it," says study lead author Francisco Marty, MD, of Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women's. "There clearly is a need for better treatments with fewer adverse effects. This clinical trial examined whether the disease can be prevented, rather than waiting for blood tests to show that treatment is needed."

CMV is a herpes-like virus that infects the majority of Americans by adulthood. Most often, it is held in check by the immune system and produces no symptoms. Most people are unaware they are infected, Marty explains.

In stem-cell transplant patients, however, the immune system -- based in the blood-making tissue of the bone marrow -- is replaced with donor blood-making cells after patients receive high doses of chemotherapy. During this transition period, long-dormant viruses like CMV may have an opportunity to become active. The result can be CMV disease.

Jump For More With Links Here

AGENT ORANGE- Fighting for the Next Generation

Vietnam vets push for help, recognition of Agent Orange's effect on their children

After Al and Sharon Martinelli had their first son who was born with short limbs, they thought they had the assurance they needed before having their second child.

"One of the questions that we asked a team of doctors is, if we have more children, what are the chances (of having another child with a disorder)," Al said. "They looked at me in the eye and said the chances would be a million to one."

The Cocolalla couple also had family history on their side. Neither Al nor Sharon had a history of any disorders in their families.

But, three years later, their second son was born with Down syndrome.
"We saw one of the doctors we had seen three years before, and you should have seen the expression on that man's face," Al said. "He was devastated when he saw Chris. That poor guy didn't know what to say."

Martinelli said having two sons with conditions was devastating for the young couple starting out after he had served in the Navy Reserve during the Vietnam War.
It was a tough situation," he said, fighting back tears. "Having children with completely different maladies - one with a bone disorder and one with a chromosome disorder - was pretty amazing according to the doctors. But we came to the conclusion that it is what it is, and we'll make the best of it."

The situation of the Martinellis and some other Vietnam veterans is at the core of fellow Vietnam vet Dick Phenneger's research and findings on Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the war.

Phenneger, of Post Falls and founder of a nonprofit called Veterans Services Transparency, has interviewed more than 200 area Vietnam vets and their families, assembled a chronological table on Agent Orange findings and has mingled with several lawmakers, scientists and foundations in pursuit of finding more help for those affected by the herbicide.

Agent Orange was intended to defoliate forest, depriving guerrillas of cover. The herbicide was later discovered to be contaminated with a toxic dioxin compound that resulted in deaths, illnesses and birth defects.

When Martinelli participated last year Phenneger's survey of Vietnam veterans, a light came on.

Several of the questions about exposure to the herbicide and medical conditions that resulted afterward to both himself and his children were relevant.
"I'm convinced, after doing a lot of research, that some of my problems and those of my children are the result of my exposure to Agent Orange," Martinelli said.
The duty of the ship Martinelli served on was to offload and retrieve Marines and keep them supplied.

"During the course of our action in that area, they were spraying Agent Orange along the river banks and any roadways they used to transport supplies that we offloaded," he said. "I saw aircrafts spraying it as they'd come off the river. Materials we handled had been exposed. It was everywhere.

"During that time, not knowing it then, but knowing it now, we were exposed to large amounts of Agent Orange both in the water and air."

Martinelli isn't eligible for benefits associated with exposure to the herbicide because he was not "boots on the ground" in Vietnam. He said he has had both physical and psychological effects from the war, but declined to discuss the details.

While Martinelli said he realizes the government won't likely recognize his conditions and those of some fellow Vietnam veterans as being eligible to receive benefits associated with herbicide exposure during his lifetime, he's hoping there will be breakthroughs with studies and research for his children's generation and future generations.

The Martinellis have insurance to help with their children's conditions, but "the monetary strain on the family has still been tremendous," Martinelli said.

Phenneger plans to submit his findings and research to federal lawmakers in hopes of sparking an independent national epidemiological study on the effects of Agent Orange on veterans and their children.

Phenneger said 20 percent of the Vietnam veterans he interviewed had children with birth defects or related illnesses.

Phenneger, who has made trips to Washington, D.C., to discuss his efforts with key players, said the study would cost an estimated $19 million. His talks lead him to believe that amount is reachable.

"This is a drop in the bucket for Congress," Phenneger said.

He said the study can't be completed without the assistance of government agencies that have the records needed.
"So congressional approval of the study with independent scientists is a must," he said.

Phenneger said he hopes the study will result in a national Children of Agent Orange Trust Fund to assist those who were affected by the herbicide.

"The veterans who I have spoken with during the past year have said, 'Dick, what has happened to us, has happened, but we've got to take care of our kids,'" Phenneger said. "That's why I'm shifting focus to getting action to address that Agent Orange causes birth deformities."

Phenneger said the government has fallen short of taking care of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, more needs to be done and previous government-funded efforts on the subject have fizzled.

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Spokane directed questions seeking comment to the federal office in Washington, D.C.

Randy Noller, a spokesman for the V.A. in Washington, said children of Vietnam veterans may receive benefits if they are born with spina bifida, a developmental disorder, or with certain other birth defects born to a female veteran. He said such benefits could be expanded to others.

"V.A. makes these decisions relying on our scientific advisers from the independent Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences," Noller wrote in an e-mail. "IOM has ongoing analysis of the scientific literature looking at questions of health effects from exposure to Agent Orange, including birth defects."

Martinelli said Phenneger's efforts to assist veterans and their families is a "noble cause." He said while the time is ticking to help Vietnam veterans, there's hope to help their children and younger generations of veterans.

"The biggest reward for us would be that the folks coming up the line are treated with more respect and get more help," Martinelli said. "It's not going to be a perfect world - we realize that - but when you come back from the combat zone you should be taken care of in a manner that shows respect for these people."


Our Two Day Drive From HELL

After a wonderful few days in Ohio, we hit the road around noon on Monday.  As neither of us has driven around the area for years, we got terribly lost trying to get to the interstate.  Ended up WAY out of our way, stuck in little towns until we finally got headed in the right direction.

With a sigh of relief, we continued on.

Suddenly, a little old man came flying out of a parking lot and almost hit Dom’s Corvette.  This was a freak-out.

OK….finally on I-271.  Three lanes.  We’re in the far left lane moving around 70 mph.  We start into a right hand curve and suddenly there’s a line of traffic barrels in our lane.  No sign.  No warning.  Just went around the curve and there they were… slowly shutting down our lane.

Meanwhile, two semis are next to us in the middle and right hand lane.
The truck next to us couldn’t move over.

We had MAYBE 4” on either side of the car…. Barrels on the left, big-ass truck on the right.  70 mph.  This was like a nightmare.

We finally got to Bowling Green, KY after an 8 ½ hour drive.  Tried to relax, and then talked about our adventure.  We like to think that as we had stopped at All Souls Cemetery to visit Dom’s folks, they were watching out for us.

We arose early on Tuesday morning and hit the road.  After I commented that we were so fortunate not to hit any rain, Dom told me “don’t say that….we’re not home yet”.

Miles went by.  During the course of our conversation, I told him that after what we’d been through on Monday, I no longer expected him to drive up to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with my family every year.  I told him that he was off the hook.
(Since our maw passed away, I’ve been flying up to brother Ric’s for Christmas and New Year’s…. Dom would drive up for a few days.)  He was relieved, as was contemplating a bus-trip.  Since 9/11, he won’t set foot on a plane.

So, we’re barreling through Kentucky and Tennessee without incident.  When we finally get into our home state of Mississippi, I started fiddling with the radio.

We’re listening to a good oldie-rock station and notice a very threatening sky ahead.  Dom shot me a glance about my bragging about the weather…ha ha).

Suddenly, the radio starts beeping and the National Weather Service cuts in.  “A tornado has been spotted in Jasper County, moving East towards Quitman."

Quitman?  Jasper County?  Never heard of ‘em.

BEEP BEEP BEEP….. “Tornado is approaching I-59.  Take cover”.
We look out the window to see a “Welcome to Jasper County” sign.  With a Quitman exit a couple of miles away!

Dom pulled underneath an overpass.  Rain was coming down in sheets.  Then leaves.  High winds.  (Didn’t seem to bother the trucks who were blasting down the interstate).  Lightning was striking all around us.  The car shook a bit.
By this time, both of us are practically shaking.  We took a deep breath and headed South.

Maybe 60 miles later, on a different radio station, “BEEP BEEP BEEP”.  Yep.  Another tornado.  Found an overpass and parked.

Finally moved on a few miles when the rains became so bad that Dom pulled off of the interstate for 15 minutes.

Things finally cleared up.  For awhile.

We got off of the interstate at our exit and started heading West.  Skies were BLACK.  Yep…. 10 minutes later, we’re sitting in a church parking lot with zero visibility and lightning striking all around us.

FINALLY arrived home, safe and sound.  Were greeted by two sassy kitties and a standing house.

We did absolutely NOTHING when we got home on Tuesday afternoon.

Yesterday morning, Dom walked out to empty the car.  He came in to announce that someone had hit us in the rear right end either in Bowling Green or at a gas station.  No note.  Hit and Run.  What a fun ending, huh?

This was the worst road-trip either of us had ever been on.  We used to look forward to them.  When our Christine got married years ago, we gladly hopped in the car and drove to Colorado for a few weeks of sightseeing and exploring.  NOT NO MO!  

So, I’ll be flying to Cincinnati over the holidays this year….had already booked the flight.  Dom will amuse himself or be with friends.  Then, I’ll be staying home with my husband over the future holidays.  I’ll probably just fly to Ric’s in Jan. or Feb. each year.

And that’s our story!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Breakfast at the Radisson, then off to my Hometown of Newbury for a Night at Amy and Kirk's

We met his buddies on Sunday morning for a nice breakfast, then hit the road again.  Stopped at the cemetery to visit his mom and dad, then headed over to spend the night with oldest and dearest friend, Amy. (maybe an hour total drive)

Amy and Kirk filled up the house with family and friends for the festivities.

After the house cleared out, Kirk cooked us some delightful steaks with all of the fixin's.

A wonderful day/evening.  Geez, I miss my Amy!

(As expected, there was much talk about a "girl's trip" to Panama City Beach next summer.  I can only hope!)

First Stop Overnight in Bowling Green, KY.... Then Brother Ric's for the Night in Cincinnati, OH

This trip was a WHIRLWIND.  We left on Thursday morning, drove a very pleasant 8 1/2 hours to Bowling Green for the night, sprung out of bed and headed to Cincinnati ... maybe a 4 hour drive.

Dom picked up KFC for Ric, he and I for lunch.  Had a pleasant visit, then the gang arrived.

My nieces Jill and Jennifer, Jill's husband Tony and their 2 kids Ryan and Brooke arrived.  Rick had pizzas delivered.  The beer flowed.  A great time was had by all!  (Although, Jenna's husband and both kids were sick and didn't make it)

Check out my Ryan's MOWHAWK!  Jilly home-schools the kids, thus no problem with his hairstyle.  Aunt Nan thinks it's HOT!

We woke up and headed to the Class Reunion on Saturday.  (Another 4 hours).

Home from Dom's 50 Year Class Reunion

We just returned home yesterday from a trip up to Cleveland.  We had BIG FUN.  (Horrid drive home, but more on that later).

After being with Dom for 30 years and hearing outrageous stories about these friends, it was so nice to meet them.  What a great group of guys.  (And I loved their wives!)

The reunion was held at The Radisson in Eastlake, Ohio.  There were 300-400 people in attendance.  OUR TABLE was the place to be!  (like that's a surprise, right?).  Best looking gang at the place, and also the youngest both in looks and attitude. (We gals were the hottest in attendance, as well.... Dom's friends haven't changed, and neither has he!  LOVE IT!)

Plans were made for visits from a few of them.  Can't wait to spend some beach time with my new pals!

In closing this post, let me say that Dom was grinning from ear to ear all night.  It tickled me to see him so happy!  Oh, the stories of the "glory days" came non-stop.  And it was great to finally be able to place faces to these stories and names!  (Wish I had pics of some of the other fellas... which is a good reason for them to come down for a visit.... NEW MEMORIES!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GMO’s – 23 Reasons To Avoid Them

Let’s Face It, There will always be someone who looks at you like a deer in headlights when you try to explain why GMO’s are not safe.  Maybe this will help.

1. GMOs are grown with toxic chemicals and resulting pesticide residues are known to be harmful to human health.

2. Research has shown that laboratory mammals fed GMOs suffer adverse effects that include damage to kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, spleen, and heart. Additionally, their immune systems were compromised and in some cases brain size was reduced.

Environmental harms.

3. GMO crops require huge amounts of chemicals that are harmful to soil, water, the atmosphere, and creatures. Although they are promoted as a technology to reduce pesticide usage, GM crops in the U.S. used greater than 26 percent more pesticides per acre in 2008 than non-GMO crops, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.

4. GMOs are actually increasing the need for stronger and more poisonous pesticides. For example, one agrochemical company is awaiting USDA approval of corn and soybeans resistant to 2, 4-D, a chemical related to Agent Orange.

5. GMOs are causing a growing epidemic of “superweeds.” These massive weeds have evolved a resistance to glyphosate, a chemical used on GM crops. Stronger toxic chemicals and soil-eroding tillage operations are required in order to eliminate superweeds.

6. GMOs contribute to global warming: GM crops require synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which are responsible for approximately 60 percent of total emissions of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than CO2). GM crops use high amounts of fossil fuels through the production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

7. GMO practices contaminate our organic and local food systems. A report titled, Gone to Seed, found that 50 percent or more of non-GMO corn, canola, and soybean seed have been contaminated with GM genes.

8. Beneficial insects can be harmed. A Cornell University study showed that monarch butterflies suffered higher mortality rates when consuming milkweed leaves dusted with the Bt toxin associated with GM crops. And recently, pesticides called neonicotinoids have been blamed for the collapsing bee populations.

Harms to social and human rights.

9. GMOs are promoted as way to feed the world and mitigate hunger; however, numerous studies demonstrate that the GM crops do not produce higher yields as claimed. As one example, a USDA publication reports that “GM crops do not increase the yield potential.”

10. GMOs lead to corporate control over seed and food: Today only one company controls about 95 percent of GM seeds. This limits access to seeds, which are the center of food and life.

11. These large agri-corporations do not let farmers save seeds, a basic practice that has continued for centuries to ensure food security.

12. GMO agriculture is an extension of current industrial-farming practices that have resulted in the loss of family farms and farmer livelihoods around the globe.

Read Full Article by guest blogger Alberto Gonzalez, founder and CEO of GustOrganics

Updated September 16, 2013

Scientific Reasons to Avoid GMOs at All Costs

1)  A study reported in the June 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic Systems involved research conducted over 22.7 weeks using 168 newly weaned pigs in a commercial U.S. piggery. One group of 84 pigs ate a diet that incorporated genetically modified (GM) soy and corn, and the other group of 84 pigs ate an equivalent non-GM diet.  The pigs that ate the GM diet had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation – 32 percent of GM-fed pigs compared to 12 percent of non-GM-fed pigs (see photo above). The inflammation was worse in GM-fed males compared to non-GM fed males by a factor of 4.0, and GM-fed females compared to non-GM-fed females by a factor of 2.2. (Source)

2)  In 2012, researchers found that female rats fed Roundup Ready-tolerant GM corn developed large tumors and dysfunction of the pituitary gland; males also developed tumors and exhibited pathologies of the liver and kidney (Séralini, GE and others. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maiz. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2012).

3)  Scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences reported between 2005 and 2006 that female rats fed Roundup Ready-tolerant GM soy produced excessive numbers of severely stunted pups with more than half of the litter dying within three weeks, and the surviving pups completely sterile.  (Source)

4)  In 2005, scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia reported that a harmless protein in beans (alpha-amylase inhibitor 1) transferred to peas via genetic engineering caused inflammation in the lungs of mice and provoked sensitivities to other proteins in the diet (Ho MW. Transgenic pea that made mice ill. Science in Society 29, 28-29, 2006).

5)  From 2002 to 2005, scientists at the Universities of Urbino, Perugia and Pavia in Italy published reports indicating that GM soy affected cells in the pancreas, liver and testes of young mice (Science in Society 29, 26-27, 2006).

6)  In 2004, Monsanto’s secret research dossier showed that rats fed MON863 GM corn developed serious kidney and blood abnormalities (GMWatch, 23 April 2004.)

7)  In 1998, Dr. Arpad Pusztai and colleagues formerly of the Rowett Institute in Scotland reported damage in every organ system of young rats fed GM potatoes containing snowdrop lectin, including a stomach lining twice as thick as controls (Contaminants and Toxins, (J P F D’Mello ed.), Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, CAB International, 2003).

8)  Also in 1998, scientists in Egypt found similar effects in the guts of mice fed Bt potato (Fares NH and El-Sayed AK. Fine structural changes in the ileum of mice fed on dendotoxin-treated potatotes and transgenic potatoes. Natural Toxins, 1998, 6, 219-33; also “Bt is toxic” by Joe Cummins and Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS News 7/8, February 2001, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online) Agricultural Biotechnology 2006,

9)  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had data dating back to early 1990s showing that rats fed GM tomatoes with antisense gene to delay ripening had developed small holes in their stomachs (Pusztai A, Bardocz S and Ewen SWB. Genetically modified foods: Potential human health effects. In Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins, (J P F D’Mello ed.), Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, CAB International, 2003).

10)  In 2002, Aventis company (later Bayer Cropscience) submitted data to UK regulators showing that chickens fed glufosinate-tolerant GM corn Chardon LL were twice as likely to die compared with controls (Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins (CABI Publishing 2003 also Novotny E. Animals avoid GM food, for good reasons. Science in Society 21, 9-11, 2004).

11)  Testing by Monsanto itself has found that rats eating GM maize (MON863) develop smaller kidneys and show startling changes in blood chemistry.  One blood change included an increase in white blood cell count which demonstrates that the GM food elicited an immune reaction by the body.


The Weston A. Price Foundation

The Non-GMO Verified Project


U.S. use of Agent Orange was chemical warfare

Sept. 10 — To the Editor:

I am responding to a recent letter to the editor from David Wickham on Sept. 7 that criticized a letter I had previously written on our government's chemical warfare with Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Wickham said the resultant health effects that happened to Vietnamese and our veterans were "unintended consequences" and "certainly not the result of some deliberate attempt to injure or kill humans." I suggest Wickham research further about the tragic history of Agent Orange.

Admiral E.R. Zumwalt submitted a classified report to the Veterans Administration in 1990 concerning associated health effects from Agent Orange exposure. The classified report is now available online at In this report, it is disclosed the military "dispensed Agent Orange in concentrations six to 25 times the manufacturer's suggested rate." Furthermore, Zumwalt quotes Dr. David Clary, a government scientist who worked with Agent Orange, as saying, "When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide. We were even aware that the 'military' formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the 'civilian' version due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture. However, because the material was to be used on the 'enemy,' none of us were overly concerned."

Wickham also said "the sole purpose" of Agent Orange was "to destroy foliage that provided cover" in jungles. The U.S. military also purposely targeted food crops with Agent Orange. What should we call using chemicals to destroy innocent impoverished people's food crops during war that could lead to mass starvation? I contend (as I wrote in my original letter) that it is a despicable, heinous crime against humanity.

I found estimates of hundreds of thousands to millions killed by Agent Orange in Vietnam and also hundreds of thousands maimed by birth defects. Wickham said the difference between Agent Orange in Vietnam and sarin gas used in Syria is "striking."

Whether you die a quick tortuous death from sarin gas or a slow, painful, cancerous death from Agent Orange, the end result is no different.

John Meinhold


Well Stated, Mr. Meinhold!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breakthrough stem cell find in Madrid

It’s a scientific breakthrough.

Researchers in Madrid have successfully reprogrammed adult cells in living animals, creating stem cells that have the ability to grow into any tissue found in the body. Until now, these stem cells – known as pluripotent stem cells – have only ever been created in a lab after being removed from the animal. However, researchers at the National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid were able to create them in the bodies of living mice. They found that they could reprogram adult cells from the mice using a cocktail of so-called “reprogramming factors”.

“It’s something we never expected, it was a surprise and it opens up the chance to create more efficient cells than those generated in vitro,” says head team researcher Manuel Serrano.


Pomalidomide With Low-Dose Dexamethasone New Treatment Option for Multiple Myeloma

Pomalidomide, an immunomodulatory drug, combined with low-dose dexamethasone improved progression-free survival in patients with refractory or relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma compared with standard of care high-dose dexamethasone, according to the results of a multicenter, open-label, phase III trial.

Although prior research has shown that pomalidomide has efficacy in patients refractory to lenalidomide and bortezomib, it had not yet been compared with existing standard of care treatments in relapsed or refractory myeloma


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fun in the Sun with Vickie

Over Labor Day, Vickie and I spent a week at the condo.  We had great fun, as always.

Vickie and Butch live in Breaux Bridge, LA.  Crawfish Capital of the World.  (Cajun Country).  They're both avid, hunting, camping.  As usual, she loaded up my freezer with Speckled Trout and Teal Duck.

She's a wonderful roomate, and has been a dear friend for 25 years.

We ate out alot.  She took us to my favorite joint, The Firefly on one of her last nights.

It's so nice to have an old friend who stays in contact.  I'm blessed to have her in my life.