Monday, March 31, 2014

Whole Foods executive clarifies stand on GMO labels

Whole Foods executive responds to editorial on labeling food with genetically modified ingredients.

Whole Foods Market’s goal in stating our intent to label products for GMO content by 2018 is to clear up confusion about what is — or isn’t — in the food we buy. Unfortunately, the recent Capital Press editorial “GMO label initiative is backwards,” only continues the confusion.

Whole Foods Market is currently working with suppliers to label products as non-GMO because there are no laws that products containing GMOs must be labeled. Our customers have asked for this level of transparency, and in the absence of federal standards, we have taken the initiative with our suppliers on their behalf.

Non-GMO labeling by a third party confers credibility on claims made by the producer, but in order to be fully transparent, information about GMOs should be easy to find on every product. There must also be labels on products that do contain genetically engineered ingredients.

The Capital Press editorial says, “By 2018, everything in Whole Foods stores will be labeled non-GMO, according to the company’s website.”

Actually, what our website says is “By 2018, we will require our supplier partners to label products containing GMO ingredients.” Our goal is not to eliminate GMOs from our stores, but to have products that may contain GMOs labeled as such. Ultimately, GMO produce, animals that are fed GMO feed, and products that contain GMO ingredients will all be labeled in our stores.

Lastly, we do not believe the argument that “GMO labels would make food cost more in Oregon and reduce the selection” to be true. Manufacturers update product labels on an average of once a year, and adding new language or labels should not increase cost. Many of these manufacturers already sell products in the 64 countries that require them to be labeled. Whole Foods Market does not currently intend to stop selling foods with GMOs, and the inference that a labeling initiative will “reduce the selection” is probably not true for the State of Oregon, either.

This is simple – consumers want to make food choices based on clear information on how their food was produced. Let’s tell them in the easiest way possible: on the labels of their food.

Joe Rogoff is the regional president for Whole Foods Market in the Pacific Northwest.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

SPRING BREAK 2014.... Roll Tide, Roll!

Hi gang!  We just returned from a week in PCB.  Spring Break lasts a couple of months, but I like to go during Alabama Crimson Tide’s week.

The beach was busy, but not nearly as packed as other years when they’d be off on the week before with many other schools.

Plenty of Beer Pong pits.  Plenty of young gals in their bikinis.  Dom enjoyed the view....with binoculars from our balcony when not on the beach.  *smiling*

As usual, the police were in full force.  Beach Cops, City Cops, Sheriff’s Dept and State Boys.  They had mobile jails set up.  ATF agents.... A lot of arrests for DUI and underage drinking.  We, however, had no problems.  We arrive, park the car, then walk everywhere or take a cab.

I’ve got a 7 (?) year old Great Niece in Ohio-  Lauren.  She made me “sandals" using her rubber-band loom.  The college gals went nuts over them.  Lauren, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!  We love you dearly!  (Ignore my hideous feet, please!)

The action near us was at the Holiday Inn, about 1/4 mile away from us.  The weather was very pleasant.  Spent 4 of 6 days in the sun.  I was certain that I was going to take the plunge, but I chickened out.  63 degree water temp is just TOO COLD!

We had a good time as always.  Two great new bartenders across the street.  Handsome Jameson (pictured) and Gorgeous Lauren.  Our Travis, Steve (pictured) and Eric are still there, too.  Love the gang at Beach Bar & Package!

Found a new pizza joint that delivers.... we’re hooked.

Had a fun visit with my handsome Eguardo at Los Rancheros.  What a little doll!

Hit the road to head home yesterday morning.  It was truly a ride from Hell.  Serious rain for about 3 hours.  Cars in the interstate ditches.  Semi Trucks driving with flashers on.  People stopped underneath overpasses.  I didn’t verbalize it, but I thought.... “Great...let’s drive through a couple of tornados like our drive home from Ohio in September”.

Thankfully, we arrived home safe and sound.  And Nanette is planning her next trip to the beach-  SOON!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fortune Names Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Founder and CEO, Kathy Giusti, to List of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”

Giusti Ranks #19, Applauds the MMRF Community and Partners for Helping Develop Model for How Cancer Cures Can Be Found

NORWALK, CONN. — The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is proud to announce that its Founder and CEO, Kathy Giusti, has been included in FORTUNE Magazine’s first-ever “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list. Other leaders include Pope Francis (#1), Warren Buffet (#4), President Bill Clinton (#5) and the Dalai Lama (#9).

“The MMRF congratulates Kathy on this achievement, and joins with her in thanking our outstanding collaborators, our patient community and all supporters for their steadfast partnership in the urgent pursuit of a cure,” said Walter M. Capone, President of the MMRF.

FORTUNE Editors write about the new list: "In an era that feels starved for leadership, we’ve found men and women who will inspire you—some famous, others little known, all of them energizing their followers and making the world better… On six continents—in business, government, the military, philanthropy, religion—we identified men and women, young and old, who are leading the way people want to be led."

“Kathy's contributions to multiple myeloma embody what a leader should stand for in this field as a champion of collaborative research tied to a visionary plan that has produced models to fight all types of cancers,” said William S. Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., Director of The DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute, Moffitt Cancer Center and CEO, M2Gen. “Her ability to apply cutting-edge technology to collect, aggregate, and share big data has become the benchmark on how cancer research should be done now and into the future.”

Note: On how the list was selected, FORTUNE Senior Editor-at-Large Geoff Colvin writes: "We cast our net broadly to include leaders of strictly hierarchical organizations (including the Marines) as well as others whose followers may owe no formal duty to the leader but who look to that person for inspiration and guidance… We have drawn a distinction between leaders and people who are admirable and powerful but who are not transformative leaders. Simply running a large organization or serving in an influential role does not meet the threshold to be on this list. All candidates had to be currently active; thus no retirees or recently deceased great leaders, such as Nelson Mandela. We asked several noted leadership experts to suggest candidates, combined their ideas with others turned up by Fortune reporters, and vetted our nominees with experts in their respective fields. Then we made our final judgments based on the reality that while leadership can’t be measured, we all know it when we see it."

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 24,050 adults (13,500 men and 10,550 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2014 and an estimated 11,090 people are predicted to die from the disease. The five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 43%, versus 28% in 1998.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world's number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised $250 million since its inception and directs 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 11 consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. For more information about the MMRF, please visit:


20 years later, donor and recipient repeat stem cell transplant

This is a real "FEEL GOOD STORY"!!!

DALLAS — Though he feels a little weary, Drew Harrison has a strong story of survival.

“That was probably the hardest thing in the world — to convince me that I was relapsed,” Harrison said.

A bone marrow transplant in 1994 saved Harrison’s life. But the Dallas resident hadn’t counted on needing it saved a second time.

“At one point in time, I had almost given up. She and my other daughters kept trying to convince me that even though I’m older, that I had years left,” he said.
"She" is Michele Tanner of Longview, the donor the first time around. When Tanner heard Harrison needed her again, 20 years later, she had an immediate answer.

“I told him whatever we needed to do, we’d get it done,” Tanner said.
And that’s what they did Wednesday, with drip after drip of the life-saving stem cells from Tanner’s bone marrow feeding into Harrison’s arm.

When Tanner first donated her marrow to Harrison, the procedure required a long hospital stay. Today, it’s done on an outpatient basis.

It’s the only cure, according to Harrison’s doctor, who was involved in both transplants.

“[It's] unusual after all that time doing well [to need another transplant], but sometimes it happens,” said Dr. Luis Pineiro from Baylor Medical Center, where both transplants were performed.

It’s not likely, but if it ever happened again?

Michele Tanner seems the type who’d gladly walk with Harrison down that road again.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Journalist Akre and Monsanto: One Story of Many

A recent report from California refers to a disgraced journalist by the name of Stephen Glass, who in 2007 applied for a license to practice law and was subsequently denied. He was fired from The New Republic magazine in 1998 after being found to have fabricated dozens of high-profile stories. This tale is in stark contrast to other reports re-emerging in the news recently. A well-known case, and lawsuit, was that of journalist Jane Akre and Monsanto and is one of many stories highlighting the moral fortitude of some journalists.

Akre stood up for her personal beliefs, refusing to back down on a story regarding Monsanto and bovine growth hormones (rBGH). Monsanto is a large chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Akre worked for Fox News, at the time, and was allegedly fired for not changing her story following her hard-sought investigation.

Journalist Akre had a show on Fox’s Florida station known as WTVT. The investigation that prompted her to pursue Monsanto was due to her own curiosity and the safety of her daughter’s health. Her child grew a taste for ice cream and Akre wanted to know more about the milk in this food product that she would be often providing her daughter to consume. The investigation uncovered dangers in milk containing rBGH, which is often injected into cows to produce more milk.

The Moral Courage Project is a channel that broadcasts stories similar to Akre’s so that proclaimed injustices can be heard around the world.

Akre said that Monsanto threatened to sue Fox if they ran her story. They requested Fox to take out the word “cancer” and the credibility of the scientists in her report. Allegedly, Monsanto representatives offered to bribe the media outlet, but Akre really wanted this story to be heard.

The Daily Beast reports that Fox News management was feeling the pressure from Monsanto, and buckled–requiring Akre to re-edit the story. 

The editing and revision phase is known to be a standard procedure for any news channel, but as Akre says, a story can be killed, but the news organization cannot manhandle the story so that it becomes untruthful. Reportedly, this manhandling consisted of 83 rewrites to her report. Akre and Monsanto is just one story of many journalists leaving their news stations because of corporate pressure or corruption.


The Legacy of Agent Orange

James Rhodes, 65, grew up in Alabama and went on to play trombone in the Troy University band. He was drafted into the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War in 1969. He went on search and rescue missions, and somewhere during his time in country, was exposed to Agent Orange, the pesticide deployed by the U.S. government, which has in subsequent years been shown by various studies to have caused lingering health problems for service members and civilians. He was honorably discharged from medical complications he traces to his exposure to the toxic chemical.

Agent Orange, manufactured by Monsanto and Dow, was used by American – authorized by President John F. Kennedy as Operation Ranch Hand in 1961 — and South Vietnamese forces to destroy crops and defoliate the trees and bushes of the North Vietnamese enemy.

Rhodes, who now divides his time between Alabaster and Vietnam, has written a book about his experience in the war and in dealing with the after-effects of Agent Orange. The book, Diary of a Former Enemy, is published only in Vietnamese, and proceeds from its sale go to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

Rhodes shared a little history with Weld for this interview.

Weld: What is the book about?  

James Rhodes: My war and Agent Orange experience, written as therapy. … My Veteran’s Administration therapist, years ago, suggested I do this, but I don’t think they ever thought it would actually go to print and be a bestseller. Who knew?

Weld: So, what happened to you in the war? What was the effect of Agent Orange on you?

JR: Have had 14 “growths” cut out of me — none by the US government. … [I became a] participant in the Agent Orange legal action where veterans got shafted by lawyers. … I was at the high end of the scale; I got $6,000 — that is, $1,000 [per] year for six years — while the lawyers got millions.

Weld: How did you come to be in Vietnam?

JR: I went to Vietnam because my name was not George Bush and I could not hide out in the Alabama National Guard; my name was not Bill Clinton and I could not protest; … my name was not Dick Cheney and I could not claim to be 4-F; and I was not skilled enough to flee to Canada and be pardoned by President Carter!

The USAF [recruiter] promised me I would be in the band. Ended up as a crew chief on a search and rescue team.

Weld: What is your relationship with the country of Vietnam today?

JR: I love Vietnam. The people have been great to us. They actually saved my life, as I could not get treatment for any of my Agent Orange conditions in this country. The Vietnamese had pity and compassion for me. They treated me as a long-lost relative. They are better Christians than any preacher you will meet in this country. Being around poor farmers whose only goal in life is to make Buddha, Jesus, or Baha’u'llah proud puts life in its correct focus, I think. We [he and wife Nina Avina-Rhodes] spend a great deal of time in the Hanoi area.

We attempt to spend three-to-six months a year there. When I am there I teach at the university where the U.S. State Department sent me in 2011 — the National Academy of Journalism and Communication in Hanoi. I spent all of 2009 in Hanoi.

Weld: What is your background?

JR: I was a Fulbright educator at Hoc Vien Bao Chi Va Tuyen Truyen (the National Academy of Journalism and Communication). The students are great; the staff and administration are great; public transportation is cheap and they have socialized medicine because, unlike here, people don’t object to paying taxes as long as it benefits others.

Working with the Vietnamese has been great therapy for me and a tremendous religious experience. I have gotten to know, as serious personal friends, people at Vietnam Television International; Voice of Vietnam; Vietnam News Agency; Bao Dien Tu (the government’s online daily); and Quan Doi Nhan Dan (the Army online daily). I have worked for the Vietnamese government at Vietnam Television International, Bao Dien Tu and Quan Doi Nhan Dan.

Weld: Tell us a little about your family.

JR: Dad “Dusty” Rhodes (Navy WWII vet) of Matthews, Alabama; MVP 1954 World Series. Brother David Ronald Rhodes (Wetumpka), 22 years USAF and Army, misdiagnosed after his military [service], which resulted in his untimely death years ago.

Weld: Can you please elaborate?

JR: He had five cancers that went undetected until they killed him. How in hell does this happen?

Weld: Where is the book being released?

JR: Released last month, only in Vietnam, with all my proceeds going to Vietnamese victims of herbicidal poisons — they’re fourth-generation now.

Do note that New Jersey veteran George Mizo was wounded in combat, sent to Japan for mending and returned to combat. He was then wounded a second time and sent to Japan to mend and also returned to combat. After the third time, he refused to go back to Vietnam and was given a less than honorable discharge — something Bush, Clinton and Cheney did not have to worry about.

He founded, with his German wife, an American 501(c)3 organization to assist the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange after the war ended. That facility still exists today in Hanoi. It is the Friendship Village. Shortly after its completion, Mizo died of an Agent Orange-related illness. He is my hero, as are all the people who look after these unfortunates.

Some funds [from the book] go to the Friendship Village. Some go to other facilities, of which there are many, as there are many victims countrywide.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Truly HAPPY St. Patrick's Day for Us

Blessed St. Patrick's Day! 
From 'St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer': 

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.

Well, gang..... Great news.  Dom had ZERO M-SPIKE.  He's now been in Complete Remission for 56 months!

We got the call yesterday morning.  This made our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration more special than usual!

I baked Oat Farls and Soda Bread.  Green Beer flowed. Had the usual Corned Beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  Dessert was my Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge topped with a layer of Jameson's Irish Whiskey Fudge.  Dessert Drinks were Bailey's and Jameson's on the rocks.

We were joined by DEAR FRIEND Richard.  Much to our delight, he brought an old friend Connie, who we adore!  We had lovely time!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Nightly Friendly Visitors

Now.... if I could only train the deer to eat out of my hand!

Research!America Honors Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Recipient of the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award

Kathy Giusti was presented with Research!America's 2014 Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award by William N. Hait, M.D., PH.D., Global Head of Research and Development at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and a Research!America Board member. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Her passion and drive to find cures has changed the landscape of cancer research for generations to come due to her foundation’s ability to create game changing models that are emulated by other organizations—in tissue banking, genomics, clinical trials and open access to big data.”

NORWALK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), received Research!America's 2014 Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for advancing the research and treatment of multiple myeloma. The award was presented to Giusti at the 2014 Advocacy Awards at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., where more than 400 leaders from government, industry, academia and health advocacy organizations came together to recognize top medical and health research advocates who have made an impact in advancing the nation's commitment toward research.

“Giusti’s personal strength and perseverance have contributed greatly to the field of myeloma research and progress in finding new treatments to increase longevity and improve the quality of life for patients,” said Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America. “Her passion and drive to find cures has changed the landscape of cancer research for generations to come due to her foundation’s ability to create game changing models that are emulated by other organizations—in tissue banking, genomics, clinical trials and open access to big data."

“I am deeply honored to accept on behalf of the entire MMRF team Research!America’s Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the MMRF. “What Research!America and the Gund Foundation do is so critically important and I know firsthand the extraordinary impact scientists, clinicians, industry, the government and patients can all have when they are working together for a common goal. Through the hard work of our amazing partners and donors, myeloma, an uncommon cancer, has seen more progress than perhaps any other cancer.”

Upon learning that she was diagnosed with myeloma and given three years to live, Giusti founded the MMRF in the hopes of pulling together the best scientists, pharmaceutical partners, biotech companies and academic centers in the world to facilitate progress in drug development. At that time, there was very little research on the disease and patient life expectancy was just three years. Under her leadership, there have been rapid technological advancements in genomic sequencing and the ability to store, integrate and share data in an open access world where patients have become more empowered in driving toward a cure.

Research!America’s Award benefactors Gordon and Llura Gund, have supported medical and health research for more than 40 years. They co-founded the Foundation Fighting Blindness, dedicated to driving the research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for an entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. They have been benefactors of the award since 2006, when Gordon Gund received an Advocacy Award for his role in advancing research for retinal degenerative diseases.

Other 2014 Research!America Advocacy Award winners are Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA); Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA); actress Glenn Close and her family for their work to end the stigmas and misunderstandings surrounding mental illness; Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, president of the Institute for Systems Biology; Reed Tuckson, MD, managing director of Tuckson Health Connections; and The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF).

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 24,050 adults (13,500 men and 10,550 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2014 and an estimated 11,090 people are predicted to die from the disease. The five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 43%, versus 28% in 1998.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world's number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised $250 million since its inception and directs 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 11 consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. For more information about the MMRF, please visit:

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The 2014 Advocacy Awards represent Research!America's 18th year of recognizing the accomplishments of leading advocates for medical and health research. For more information, visit

Anne Quinn Young, MPH
203-652-0212 (office)
203-536-8691 (mobile)


Stem Cell Therapy Study in Heart Patients

You've heard of conventional treatments for heart patients, like stents. They're a Band-Aid compared to a cutting-edge research at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Stem cell therapy is an exciting breakthrough in regenerative medicine...  using a patient's own stem cells to treat a weak heart muscle.

This is the kind of medicine that makes you think of medical technology meeting science fiction!

There is no approved stem cell therapy for the heart right now, but a national study going on at the medical college at Georgia Regents University could change all that.

WJBF News Channel 6's Jennie Montgomery has details.

This is a 3-dimensional map of the heart...  and all roads lead to improved blood flow and heart function IF a clinical trial at GR Health System shows positive results.

"And the red zones are all zones that are scarred, and if you take this map and scrunch it up, like an accordion, you generate this map right here, and everything that's in red is densely scarred heart."

Dr. Adam Berman is the director of Cardiac Arrhythmia Ablation Services at GR Health System. He is the principal investigator of the study which is being done at several institutions across the country, taking stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow. The bone marrow is sent to an Aastrom Biosciences research laboratory where the stem cells are significantly expanded.

Berman then injects the stem cells back into multiple weak points in the heart-- using a catheter inserted through an artery at the groin, up into the heart.

"In the study we typically do about 20 injections within the healthier territories of the heart, with that needle, and that's the actual needle."

The difference between stem cell therapy- and conventional therapy, like a stent- is that the idea behind stem cells is "regenerative medicine,"  which is kind of like allowing the body to heal itself.

"When we put a stent in, or a pacemaker in, for instance, we're not really healing your heart-- we're treating it, so to speak, but we're not promoting its own healing. The idea behind stem cell therapy is to try to get the heart to begin to heal itself, and that I think is very exciting!"

The Medical College of Georgia at GRU is the first site in the state to be selected for this study. To be eligible, patients must have explored other existing options and have an internal defibrillator.

62-year old Richard Daggett was the FIRST patient in Georgia to get this therapy.

"I feel, personally, that it is my time to try to help myself and somewhere down the road for what they did to me, they can do it to someone else and help them."

Of 108 patients across the country, half are getting their own stem cells, the other half get placebo. Daggett won't know what he got until the end of the year long study.

Researchers will follow the patients for 12 months, looking at heart failure symptoms and quality of life. If the study results are positive, the placebo participants will be able to get the stem cell therapy.


Clinical Trial Info

Agent Orange to Farm to Table

 With genetically engineered corn and soy, Dow Chemical aims to bring back toxic herbicide use, big time
While my sister-in-law put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to her friend recount the losing battle her husband, a Vietnam veteran, fought with lung cancer. She explained her husband’s illness was caused by his wartime exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, produced primarily by two companies, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Named for the colored band on its transport tanks, Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals, including an herbicide called 2,4-D. Shortly after the spraying — conducted to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover and a food supply — started in 1962, reports began to emerge of serious health effects, from birth defects to other illnesses. To this day, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers an Agent Orange registry health exam for the possible long-term problems caused by exposure, and more than 40,000 veterans have submitted disability claims. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million Vietnamese were affected, including third-generation children born with severe birth defects.

In January the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a public comment period on the environmental and health impacts of a new suite of crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. These corn and soybean plants, produced by Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, would be the first developed to be resistant to the herbicide.

According to experts, the introduction of these new crops could cause 2,4-D use to jump, big time. Chuck Benbrook, a pesticide policy expert with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, has estimated that if it’s approved, the engineered corn could cause applications of 2,4-D to jump 20-fold by 2019.

That’s particularly concerning because experts have long shown that 2,4-D causes serious harm to humans, especially when used over vast swaths of farmland and lawns. Largely because of such concern, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the chemical’s approval, first granted in 1948.

NRDC researchers and other critics of 2,4-D point to studies showing the chemical is a neurotoxin and that exposure to it can cause hormone disruption, certain forms of cancer and genetic mutations. The chemical has also been linked to lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as adverse effects on reproductive and immune systems. What’s further worrisome is that 2,4-D is known to drift, affecting areas near farms, including streams, rivers and wildlife.

In April 2012 the EPA rejected the NRDC’s petition, stating that the group did not prove that the chemical was unsafe in the manner it is used. Despite the EPA’s actions, public health advocates have maintained that there are serious human health impacts, based on compelling evidence from peer-reviewed studies around the world. A University of Minnesota study found a greater frequency of genetic mutations in pesticide applicators who had higher rates of 2,4-D in their urine. A National Cancer Institute study found farmers exposed to 2,4-D upward of 20 days a year had a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than nonfarmers did, by a factor of six. The EPA’s fact sheet notes that the chemical has shown toxic effects on the thyroid and gonads and expresses concern about potential “endocrine-disrupting effects.”

With all these risks, why are chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto formulating seeds to be resistant to this decades-old chemical with a terrible health track record? The USDA said these new crops are intended to “help address the problem of weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides.”

The real motivation for introducing new herbicide-resistant seeds is Monsanto’s and Dow’s bottom lines; it is one of the best ways to boost sales of chemicals. 

Jump for More plus Links

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Wet Mardi Gras and a Gorgeous Sunset

Well, Mardi Gras was a complete WASH-OUT.  Alot of rain and some sleet.  I felt bad for the folks in the French Quarter and parade routes.

As for us, we ate Mexican food, drank margaritas and watched the parades on TV in the comfort of our own home. How times have changed!

For many years, we'd be right there in the belly of the beast.....along with my brother Ric and many times with his Ohio buddies.

Bogalusa party on Saturday, thrown by Richard and Jeff McM..... It was THE place to be on that Sat!  The parade passed right in front of Jeff's home.  They had live music, alot of food.  Fun, fun times!

Sunday, we'd wake up at Jeff's hung-over, then head to Madisonville, LA for the annual boat parade.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in the French Quarter.

We're getting too old for that shit!   LOL  (But it sure was fun back in the day!)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why Does Everyone Hate Monsanto?

In recent years, no company has been more associated with evil than Monsanto. But why?

Let the Record Reflect

Before Monsanto became the face of industrial agriculture, it courted controversy in other ways — namely, as a chemical company. Founded in 1901, Monsanto was one of a handful of companies that produced Agent Orange, and its main poison, Dioxin. It sold DDT, PCBs, the controversial dairy cow hormone, rBGH, and the cancer-linked Aspartame sweetener.

Starting in the ‘80s, however, Monsanto shed its chemicals and plastics divisions, bought up seed companies, invested in bio genetics research, and ultimately reincorporated itself as an agricultural company. Its first GMO product, the patented Glyphosate-resistant, “Round-Up Ready” soybean, was approved by the USDA in 1994. But most Americans hadn’t heard of Monsanto until it tried to sell the seeds to Europe. That’s when things turned sour.

In 1996, the U.K. was reeling from the Mad Cow disease epidemic, in which the British Government insisted the highly dangerous disease posed no risk to human health, while people were dying. Brits had gotten a fast education in the modern farm system and were primed to be suspicious of GMOs’ supposed safety. Although the seeds were approved by the European Union, consumers rebelled in England. Grocery store chains pushed back, tabloids printed stories about “Frankenfoods” and environmental groups such as Greenpeace swung into action with high-profile campaigns. Even Prince Charles, a longtime supporter of organic farming, wrote a newspaper editorial opining that genetic engineering “takes mankind into realms that belong to God, and to God alone.”

This reaction caught Monsanto execs off guard. As Dan Charles writes in his book, “Lords of the Harvest,” Philip Angell, the head of Monsanto’s corporate communications at the time, bemoaned that the Brits were the “sad sacks of Europe” for their suspicion of GMOs. But Monsanto believed it could overcome the problem.

“The predominant attitude at the company was,  ‘If they don’t like it, if they try to block it, we can sue them,’” says a former Monsanto employee who asked to remain anonymous when speaking to Modern Farmer.

Monsanto responded with what was supposed to be a cleverly counterintuitive $1.6 million ad campaign that read: “Food biotechnology is a matter of opinions. Monsanto believes you should hear all of them.” The ads included the phone numbers of opposing groups, such as Greenpeace. But the advertisements struck their audience as glib and insincere.

Too little too late, Monsanto tried a different tack, engaging in a dialogue with stakeholders all over Europe. Monsanto’s then-CEO Robert Shapiro even apologized for the company’s condescension and arrogance at a Greenpeace meeting via video uplink in 1999. But the damage had been done. Monsanto emerged from the bungled launch of GMOs in the UK looking like a bully, and the image stuck.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Dark Legacy: Long After The End Of The Vietnam War, New Questions Raised About Agent Orange Exposure -- Including For Soldiers And Civilians In The U.S. And Abroad

When Army veteran Steve House tells people he was exposed to Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant the Department of Defense (DOD) sprayed on trees, vegetation and rice fields during the Vietnam War, the first thing he’s typically asked is where he was stationed in that country. But House has never been to Vietnam. He didn’t join the military until three years after the last American troops evacuated Saigon.

In 1978, House, now 56, was an E-4 specialist and bulldozer operator with D Company 802nd engineers at Camp Carroll, a U.S. Army base in South Korea, where House said he and four fellow soldiers were ordered to dig an enormous trench on the base, then bury 250 barrels of Agent Orange.

In separate, exclusive interviews, former soldiers House, Bob Travis and Richard Kramer each told IBTimes how their postwar exposure to the harmful agent has had a profoundly negative effect on their lives and that the DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continue to call them liars.


Why Monsanto is Pilloried as Most Evil Corporation in the World

US agriculture company Monsanto has been accused of contaminating around 90% of the world's food production with chemicals and uncertified GMO (genetically modified organisms) and has inspired a fresh batch of protests set to take place around the world in May.

Dubbed the "most evil corporation in the world" in 2011, Monsanto has inpsired protests staged in more than 50 countries, all aimed at boycotting Monsanto and raising awareness regarding the company's practices and the altered nature of its products.

According to March Against Monsanto's official webpage, the anti-Monsanto demonstrators have been calling for the permanent boycott of GMOs and "other harmful agro-chemicals".

Who is Monsanto? 

Founded as a chemical company in 1901, Monsanto mainly produced saccharine: a synthetic compound used instead of sugar in food and drinks.

In 1920 Monsanto began manufacturing synthetic chemicals, including pesticides, and also engaged in the production of "Agent Orange", or Herbicide Orange, a chemical used by the US army during the Vietnam War.

The US army spread the chemical on crops in an attempt to deforest the Vietnam jungle to help reveal enemy targets.

Despite US government claims that the chemical was harmless, Agent Orange is believed to have caused cancer in hundreds of people, while several babies were (and still are) born with severe malformations.

Health problems related to the chemical are still evident on a large scale in Vietnam, where the devastating consequences of Agent Orange are passed from a generation to the other.

In 1984 Monsanto agreed to pay $180m (£107m) to US veterans whose health had been permanently damaged.

In 1930s, Monsanto started producing Polychlorinated biphenyls chemicals (PBCs), which were used in electrical equipment. These chemicals were banned in 1979, labelled as dangerous as they caused severe health problems.

Monsanto PBC remains were found in the soil of a town called Times Beach, in Missouri, and the company was blamed for chemical waste mismanagement as a result.

The whole town had to be relocated in 1983 and, at that point, environment protection agencies listed Monsanto as one of the most dangerous company in the US.

Monsanto denied being responsible for the disaster.

The company was re-launched in 2001 with a new focus: agriculture.

Accused of developing "Frankenstein foods" , the company withdrew eight of its nine pending applications with the European Commission, which aimed at securing approval for its products in Europe.

Monsanto's only remaining application sought the renewal of approval for its MON810 corn, which had previously been endorsed at EU level. The product was banned in France in 2012, while Italy asked the EU to suspend its approval in April 2013.

March Against Monsanto website has organised new protests for May 2014.

The protests will be held in Africa, India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, 34 countries in Europe, 49 countries in the US and seven in South America.

Original with Links Here

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Options to Treat Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the bone marrow, an incurable type of the disease that kills about 10,700 people a year. But for the 22,000 diagnosed annually, including recently Tom Brokaw, former NBC news anchor, there are new options for treatment and more kinds of therapies in the works, according to Dr. Gary I. Cohen, medical director of the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He answers questions about the disease.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of immune cell normally responsible for producing disease-fighting antibodies. Primarily occupying bone marrow, plasma cells help protect the body from harmful substances.

Occasionally, one of these cells becomes malignant and grows without the usual checks and balances of other cellular elements within the body. The term multiple myeloma means that multiple bones are affected by the malignant "myeloma" cell. On rare occasions, this same cell can form a tumor in a single bone or other tissue.

What causes it?

Myeloma is caused by a genetic defect in the plasma cell which alters its growth pattern. This disease is seen increasingly with age, making it more common in older people, with occasional occurrences in younger individuals. Changes in DNA might allow the cells to become cancerous, eventually affecting other areas of the body including the bones, kidneys and overall immune system. However, it is not considered a genetic form of malignancy which might be passed to children. Nevertheless, rare families have been observed to have an increased risk of developing myeloma and related disorders.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms result from bone marrow being overrun with abnormal plasma cells, causing bone pain, anemia, fatigue, tiredness or shortness of breath. If blood cells are severely affected, patients may experience unusual bleeding or frequent infections. Very late in the disease, complications may arise from the accumulation of myeloma cells and the secretion of excessive antibodies. The bones may weaken, resulting in risk of fracture and possible liberation of excessive calcium into the bloodstream causing confusion, dehydration and other symptoms. The antibody protein increases in the blood, causing thickening of the blood and possible kidney damage. The resulting kidney failure may cause weakness and swelling and could ultimately result in death.

How is it diagnosed?

Because the antibodies produced by the plasma cells can be easily detected and measured in the bloodstream, myeloma is often diagnosed at a very early stage. However, detection of this protein could also be a benign finding, making it difficult to predict the subsequent clinical course of newly diagnosed patients. Therefore, patients with a myeloma protein are often referred to a hematologist to further evaluate whether the abnormal finding is significant or not. Ultimately, a sample of the bone marrow is required to determine the amount of plasma cells within the marrow itself, which confirms the diagnosis. When myeloma is first diagnosed, it almost always has already spread extensively within the bone marrow itself, so it is rarely limited to one specific bone.

What is meant by "incurable, but treatable?"

Whenever cancer is diagnosed, everyone likes to think about overall prognosis. Cancer staging systems have been carefully devised and tested to predict survival. Several systems exist for multiple myeloma, but the course of treatment is quite variable. Some exhibit a "smoldering" form of the disease, so even though the diagnosis is confirmed, patients may remain in a stable, untreated phase for months or years. Others may have a very slow progression over time. While average survival is measured in years (more than five years for early-stage disease) the assessment of survival is a moving target due to recent new therapies. Our treatment opportunities, fairly effective at keeping patients alive longer, are changing so rapidly that survival for a patient diagnosed in 2014 is likely far better than any report based on studies currently published.

How is it treated?

The treatment of myeloma remained basically unchanged for about 40 years, but has advanced substantially over the past decade. Traditional chemotherapy approaches have included steroids, and other cytotoxic agents that have substantially improved the overall survival and reduced complications from progressive myeloma but often with the risk of toxicity. A major advance in treatment of myeloma occurred with the "rediscovery" of thalidomide, an old drug which became famous for causing birth defects in pregnant women. However, thalidomide and related compounds (lenalidomide, pomalidomide) have resulted in dramatic improvements in the treatment and prognosis of myeloma. New classes of drugs, called proteasome inhibitors, have added further benefits in treating myeloma. Additional agents which specifically target unique mechanisms of the malignant process in myeloma are in late stages of development and should be available in the near future. These exciting new agents are currently available in clinical trials at GBMC and elsewhere and hopefully will again favorably affect the treatment and prognosis of this disease. Because of these remarkable advances in therapeutics, myeloma experts at major academic institutions have begun to question whether bone marrow (or stem cell) transplants will play any role in the treatment of myeloma in the future. As clinicians, we look forward with great optimism to a time when treatment of multiple myeloma may be increasingly targeted, far more effective, and more tolerable than it is today.

Read more:,0,945162.story#ixzz2vDoGTHDG

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Company says no more GMO ingredients in Smart Balance spreads

Smart Balance is removing GMO ingredients from its butter-like spreads. (Smart Balance)

Smart Balance says it will change the ingredients in its butter-like spreads to make sure they include no genetically modified organisms.

“I’ve been in the food industry for 35 years. I have never seen a consumer issue come on this fast,” said Stephen Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Boulder Brands, the parent company of Smart Balance. “Forty-three percent of our consumers want to see a non-GMO Smart Balance.”

Some of the newly formulated products will be on store shelves in March, with the process completed in early summer. The price won’t go up, the company said.
Smart Balance’s move follows the announcement in January by General Mills that it would no longer use genetically modified corn starch and sugar cane in its Cheerios.

Hughes said consumers are looking for ingredients lists that are easy to understand, less processed products. “They think what we put in our food matters, and frankly, the same applies to what we leave out."

Non-GMO Smart Balance is made from expeller-pressed oils from non-GMO seeds.

Genetically modified food -- the result of genetic engineering of plant genes in a laboratory -- has become a divisive issue, over their use and over whether products that contain them should be labeled that way. Nearly all the corn and soy grown in the United States are genetically modified varietals, the federal government says. And the Grocery Manufacturers Assn. says up to 80% of processed foods in this country contain GMO ingredients.

Ballot measures in California and Washington state that failed to require labeling of GMO products were among the catalysts for Smart Balance's change, Hughes said. “A lot of consumers just didn’t appreciate that GMOs were so pervasive in the foods chain. They were shocked.”

Hughes said his company was not reacting to safety concerns, but to consumer concerns. He said 93% of all consumers want GMO labeling, as is done in more than 60 other countries.

Smart Balance Natural Peanut Butter is already made using only non-GMO ingredients. The company is considering converting other products, including its mayonnaise dressing and cooking spray oils.

There is no definitive science showing such foods are harmful to human health when consumed. But critics say more time and testing are required to ensure safety, and that the process is unnatural and makes farmers beholden to a handful of seed manufacturers.


Veteran NBC broadcaster Tom Brokaw recently made news instead of reporting the day’s events when he announced he was diagnosed with cancer.

According to NBC News’ website, Brokaw learned at the Mayo Clinic in August that he has multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects blood cells in the bone marrow.

NBC News reports Brokaw’s doctors are “optimistic about the outcome of the treatment.” And despite his diagnosis, Brokaw said he’s still “the luckiest guy I know.”

As a hematologist and oncologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Dr. Reema Batra tends to agree that Brokaw’s treatment will have a positive outcome.

“I feel optimistic for him,” she said. “It’s very much a disease you can control.”

However, Batra said that same good prognosis didn’t necessarily exist a decade ago. She said a diagnosis of multiple myeloma in the past was “essentially a death sentence.” Now, however, recent advances in medicine are allowing those with the disease to live longer.

Among cancers, Batra said multiple myeloma has had “one of the biggest advances in treatment,” in the last 10 years.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, which produce antibodies that fight disease and protect the body from multiple substances. Batra said when multiple myeloma manifests itself, something goes wrong in the DNA — a mutation happens, the disease “clones itself” and starts disrupting other parts of the body.

For instance, Batra said the disease can affect the bones, kidneys and immune system. Those who have the disease may experience bone pain and could suffer from fractures following even minor traumas. Patients may also have anemia, frequent infections and symptoms of kidney problems, such as dehydration.

Among cancers, multiple myeloma is much less common than other forms of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 24,050 new cases will be diagnosed this year in the U.S., and that about 11,090 deaths are expected to happen in 2014 from the disease.

Batra said the cause of the disease is yet unknown, but if someone has a close relative, such as a parent with multiple myeloma, their chances of contracting it are higher than that of the average person. Other risk factors include being over 65 years old and male.

When it comes to treating the disease, Batra said past protocol involved chemotherapy to eliminate cancer cells in the body, followed by a transplant to replenish bone marrow cells destroyed by chemo. It was a procedure, Batra said, that’s “just as harsh as it sounds.”

But in recent years, she said treatments have advanced to the point where medicines target and kill myeloma cells while leaving normal, healthy cells alone, which allows patients to continue living normally without the side effects of chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, she said there’s now a long list of treatments doctors can offer patients, so if one medication stops working or isn’t effective, there are others that can be tried in a “stepladder approach.”

“There are different options out there,” she said. “The patients are treated more like they have a chronic disease.”


Avoid Eating Genetically Engineered Foods

Why are thousands of physicians advising patients to avoid eating GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) [1] and how did these high-risk foods get onto the market in the first place? The answers are disturbing, even shocking, but may help you get healthy and stay healthy.

Foods with added bacterial or viral genes were quietly slipped into your diet two decades ago. Using the excuse that GMOs weren't that much different, the FDA didn't require labels or even a single safety study from GMO makers like Monsanto. But a lawsuit forced the agency to release their files and the truth finally came out.

FDA scientists repeatedly warned that GMOs could create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems, and that rigorous safety testing was needed. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, was put in charge of FDA policy. (Taylor later became Monsanto's chief lobbyist, and has returned to FDA as US Food Czar.)

Can you trust Monsanto with your family's health? That company that told us that Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs were safe.

Now Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" crops are engineered to withstand their Roundup herbicide, which gets absorbed into the food and can't be washed off. A 2014 study found Roundup the most toxic of all herbicides and insecticides they tested. According to MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff, Roundup may be "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions." She co-authored a seminal paper linking it to including obesity, heart disease, inflammatory bowel, IBS, autism, allergies, MS, Parkinson's, depression, infertility, Alzheimer's and cancer.

Some GMOs, e.g. corn, have built-in pesticides that break open holes in the stomach of insects. A 2012 laboratory study confirmed that the toxin opens holes in human cells. And a Canadian study found both the toxin and Roundup in the blood of most pregnant women and their fetuses.

If you don't trust GMOs, you're not alone. According to a 2013 survey by Hartman Group, over 120 million Americans say they try to avoid them. That number has more than doubled since 2007. [2]

When people eliminate GMOs, they (and their physicians) often report more energy, weight loss, better digestion, reduced allergies and skin conditions, and relief from numerous chronic conditions. [3] Veterinarians, farmers and pet owners describe similar improvements with animals taken off GMOs. According to a research review by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, many of these disorders also afflict lab animals fed GMOs. We believe it is not a coincidence that the rise of these types of health issues in the US population parallels the use of GMOs and Roundup.

In addition to the health dangers, independent studies also show that GMOs don't increase yields, don't solve world hunger and massively increase herbicide use.

GMO advocates aggressively deny any evidence against them. According to Nature, a "large block of scientists [...] denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way." Tactics include threats, gag orders and termination.

The industry's own research, on the other hand, is widely criticized as "tobacco science," carefully designed to cover up problems. And just as a Monsanto man guided FDA policy, GMO review committees worldwide are often stacked with industry representatives who rubber stamp approvals or declare GMOs safe by ignoring data to the contrary.

Now FDA is considering approval of GMO salmon, as well as allowing GMO mosquitoes loose in the Florida Keys. In fact, countless GMO plants, animals, fish, insects and bacteria are being developed in labs around the world. Each could irreversibly contaminate the gene pool.

Before we replace nature, let's demand independent, comprehensive long-term safety studies. Until then, stop feeding us the products produced by this immature science.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It Turns Out Monsanto Actually DID Buy The BLACKWATER Mercenary Group

A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (later called Xe Services and more recently “Academi”) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State “security services,” that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.

Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.

One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.

Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater.”

However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become “Monsanto’s intelligence arm,” spying on activists and other actions, including “our people to legally integrate these groups.” Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009.

No wonder that a company engaged in the “science of death” as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.
More Here

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Roundup Weedkiller Found In 75% of Air and Rain Samples, Gov. Study Finds

The GM farming system has made exposure to Roundup herbicide a daily fact of our existence, and according to the latest US Geological Survey study its probably in the air you are breathing...

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, accepted for publication online ahead of print in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, titled, "Pesticides in Mississippi air and rain: A comparison between 1995 and 2007,"[i] reveals that Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its still-toxic degradation byproduct AMPA were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007.


Agent Orange: Vets need help with this scourge

The Salisbury Post published this editorial Wednesday.

Although the nation’s Vietnam veterans have received some belated apologies for the shameful treatment many of them received when they came home from war, there’s still some unfinished business — including the scourge of Agent Orange.

The U.S. military used the dioxin-laced herbicide as a defoliant in Southeast Asia, dumping it by the millions of gallons. It’s estimated that 2.5 million U.S. veterans may have been exposed to the chemical, which has now been linked to various cancers, Type 2 diabetes and other physical problems.

Although the conflict ended decades ago, veterans continue trying to get answers to how that exposure may have affected their health — and get help coping with the consequences. Now, veterans also have concerns that the harmful effects of Agent Orange may be showing up in birth defects and other health problems affecting their children and grandchildren.

To help raise awareness about Agent Orange and share information about available resources, veterans have been holding town-hall meetings around the nation, with sponsorship from local VA groups as well as the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Associates of Vietnam Veterans, which supports veterans’ family members. A meeting last week in Mooresville at Richard’s Coffee Shop and Military Museum drew about 150 participants, many traveling from around the state or farther to listen to speakers and share their experiences with other vets.

(You can find more information about upcoming meetings at

Many vets are worried that the toxic effects of their decades-old exposure to Agent Orange may extend even to their offspring’s offspring. Legislation was introduced in Congress last year to fund research into such “legacy problems,” but the issue has not yet gained the groundswell of support needed to push through passage.
Millions of service members were exposed to Agent Orange, and a growing body of research points to its link with many health problems. Veterans deserve stronger support and more assurance their government won’t shirk its responsibilities to support veterans and their families still dealing with this toxic legacy of war. These veterans have suffered enough in body as well as spirit. They shouldn’t have to refight the Agent Orange battle on behalf of their children or their children’s children.

Editorial Here

Monsanto Develops Hardier Strain Of Corn That Yields 4 Times Normal Litigation

ST. LOUIS—Agricultural biotech giant Monsanto unveiled its latest strain of genetically modified corn Wednesday, claiming that the new, hardier seed yields 400 percent more litigation against small independent farms than the company’s previous GMO products.

“We are excited to introduce our newest variety of corn, which is capable of producing up to 1,000 patent infringement cases per growing season,” said Monsanto spokesman Richard Gringell, explaining that this proprietary strain of the large cereal grain had been carefully engineered to withstand even the harshest countersuits.

“Moreover, our new variety can cross-pollinate with nearby farmers’ crops three times faster, generating new targets for legal action much more efficiently than before. In fact, just one acre of our new corn is able to bankrupt as many family farmers as 10 acres of our previous formula. It’s a huge leap forward for our company.”

Gringell added that the particularly robust and litigious variety of corn only requires three lawyers to prosecute, saving on average $1,500 per hour the company can then allocate toward developing new pesticides whose resulting birth defects can’t be traced.