Dammed to extinction, Southern Resident Orcas are starving. Time is running out!
The 74 remaining wild critically endangered salmon-eating Southern Resident Orcas are dying from starvation. ⇒ Leaving an effective breeding population less than 30, near the point of no recovery. Breach the Lower Snake River Dams in 2019 Why are these Orcas starving? More than 50% of their diet comes from salmon produced in the Columbia Basin, half of which were produced in the Snake River System. How is dam breaching possible? Since 2002, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has designated dam breaching as the best solution to recover wild salmon on the Snake River. The Corps of Engineers can implement breaching the dams now by using the existing 2002 EIS's 'Breach Alternative Four.' The Impact and benefits of breaching: • If the lower Snake River dams were breached, it would double or triple survival rates, restoring many millions of fish to the Columbia Basin. • Give the orcas a fighting chance to recover by increasing their food supply. • Breaching costs the state nothing. The first two dams can be breached for the cost of another EIS estimated at $80 million; 5 years to completion. • The four lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington do not provide flood control and produce only low value surplus electricity. • Savings from these dams can be applied to more efficient dams and/or projects. • NOTHING else, not more spill across the dams, not more hatchery fish, not less boat traffic, not more studies and a new EIS can achieve this in time to save wild salmon or Southern Resident Orcas. Congressional Legislation or new appropriations are not needed to start breaching the Snake River dams this year! SENATOR PATTY MURRAY AND GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, Please take action today and urge the Army Corps' General Helmlinger and Bonneville Power Administration's Elliot Mainzer to begin breaching dams in 2019. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands who have petitioned for immediate dam breaching, for those of you who want more information on how to save the salmon and orcas, visit www.damsense.org
Tell the Trump Administration: Don't spend taxpayer money on a military parade!
On February 6, the Washington Post broke the story that Donald Trump has been pressuring military leaders to organize a military parade in Washington, D.C. There are three reasons why this is a serious mistake. 1) The Cost To put on a military parade of the magnitude Trump purports to want would cost the taxpayers millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars in training, maintenance, and transport dollars alone, not to mention the extra fuel required for driving tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue and flying fighter jets over Washington. How does this expense make sense when the government can barely fund itself? How does this expense make sense when there are around 40,000 veterans sleeping on the streets each night? 2) The Logistics Washington streets and bridges cannot support the weight of seventy-ton tanks. Such a parade would do serious damage to D.C.'s already strained infrastructure. Moreover, organizing and orchestrating a parade would snarl D.C. traffic for days, not only day-of, but also in the days prior as manpower and materiel were put into place. This would profoundly affect the lives of D.C. residents, many of whom are trying to get to work to help provide services for veterans in need. 3) The Readiness Implication Every tank and plane used in this parade is a tank and plane a soldier or airman is not using for training purposes. The lost training days damage our military readiness, and the excessive hours added onto the equipment on parade are an unnecessary use of precious resources. America doesn't need to prove its military strength as if it were ruled by a tinpot dictator. But more importantly, neither the Democratic nor the Republican party should support such an egregious waste of tax dollars and manpower. This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue.
FDA Accelerated Approval of Genervon's GM604 for Use In ALS
My name is Nick and I am 54-years old. In October 2011, I was diagnosed with ALS. Today, I am in a wheelchair and cannot walk or stand. My arms grow weaker almost every day and my breathing is starting to be affected. I used to be very active but now I can only leave my home when I have someone with me who's strong enough to lift me into my wheelchair once I'm done scooting down to the bottom of the stairs on my butt. It can feel like I'm a 100-year old man who can't do things for himself anymore. At 54, I should still be a vibrant part of my community, but this disease is kicking me where it hurts. Through the enthusiasm generated by the Ice Bucket Challenge, many people now know that ALS is a degenerative neurological disease that currently affects over 30,000 Americans, and as it stands the disease is always fatal. Most people with ALS are given only 2-5 years to live. When I was diagnosed, I was devastated - it took me months to accept it. Although I am now resolved, I have not lost hope. Currently, there is only one drug available to treat ALS (Riluzole) and it is only able to extend life expectancy by a couple months. That's why the recent news about a small company named Genervon Biopharmaceuticals and their trial drug "GM604" has been so exciting for the Global ALS Community. While most trials have a hard time even finding a positive trend, the GM604 trial data supports the view that this drug could very well be is a game changer in the battle against ALS. There are multiple, statistically significant data. Not only in clinical data and results alone, but also correlated biomarkers data and results as well. (Please see "Files" section on the campaign website: https://sites.google.com/site/aap4gm6/) Genervon met with the FDA in February 2015 and made a potentially life-changing request on behalf of the ALS community; they asked the FDA to promote GM604 to the Accelerated Approval Program with Post-Marketing Phase 4 Requirements, so all ALS patients can have legal access to GM604 now. Under the FDA's Accelerated Approval Program, the treatments would be covered by health insurance. Although Genervon knows that this request might complicate their relationship with the FDA, they were willing to take a stand and do everything they can to help the ALS community because it is the right thing to do. If the FDA does not grant Accelerated Approval, it will likely be 3 more years before patients are able to access this drug -- meaning that most people currently living with ALS will not live to see it reach market. While acknowledging the paramount importance of public safety in the FDA’s drug approval process, I believe that ALS presents a compelling case for an exception to the usual process. I am asking you to help me appeal to the FDA through their sense of compassion for those of us with this dreadful illness. People with ALS don't have time to wait for another clinical trial to be completed. By signing this petition, you'll be helping patients like me request that the FDA expidite the way potentially life-saving treatments are made accessible to people with ALS -- starting right now with GM604. Doing so could very likely mean a change in the course of ALS progression not only for myself, but hundreds of thousands of other patients worldwide. After you sign, please follow this link to tweet and/or email the FDA: https://www.change.org/p/lisa-murkowski-fda-accelerated-approval-of-genervon-s-gm604-for-use-in-als/u/9475826 Thank you, Nick Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gm604forals Please go to the Genervon website for a true understanding of the facts and the science behind GM604: http://www.genervon.com/genervon/about_pressreleases.php
Tell the FDA to stop denying ALS patients treatment options
When I became a parent, I knew immediately that I would do anything to protect my daughters from the hardest parts of life. My mission would be to give them as much love and comfort as I possibly could. But now instead of me taking care of them, my daughters are often responsible for taking care of me, because in May of 2014 I was diagnosed with ALS. Now, instead of protecting them, my daughters are forced to watch as my body dies one muscle at a time. ALS is a devastating disease, that currently has no effective FDA approved treatments. However, there are promising therapies in the FDA approval pipeline that might improve my chances and quality of life, but the FDA isn’t willing to expedite the approval of these drugs, even though the average life expectancy of an ALS patient is 3-5 years and the average time it takes for a drug to become FDA approved is over a decade. Please join me and Hope NOW for ALS in petitioning Congress and the FDA to apply Accelerated Approvals (AAP) to promising treatments targeting terminal diseases, and implement faster, smarter, and more humane clinical trials using today’s science. This is not a radical or new idea. In 1992, in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the FDA adopted the Accelerated Approval Program (AAP) – an expedited approval process to treat fatal diseases. This was a process to allow patients fast access to potentially life saving drugs, and has since been used for cancer and heart failure treatments. But the FDA refuses to apply it to ALS and other rapidly fatal diseases. How can it possibly be fair to exclude the most vulnerable and at risk people -- those with fast acting terminal diseases -- from this program? ALS is always fatal, and there are currently over 30,000 patients in the US with no options. We need help. We need options. My diagnosis is the greatest challenge my family has ever faced, and my daughters have amazed me with their grace and strength in taking on this battle with me. I know that even though my life has not turned out like I imagined it, I can still be the dad I always wanted to be, and I can still show my daughters what it means to take a stand for what counts. Please join me and Hope NOW for ALS to help save my life, and the lives of so many others around the country.
Tell Congress not to pass the SEA, Act & SECURE, Act which will harm protected marine life
The SEA Act bill and the SECURE Act bill would give oil industries almost unregulated ability to perform Seismic surveying. The practice involves a ship firing blasts of pressurized air to create powerful sound pulses that penetrate beneath the seafloor. Below the water, the explosions sound like bombs going off every 10 to 15 seconds and can be heard as far as 1,500 miles, audio recordings show. The testing threatens a number of species and is part of a thinly veiled oil industry wish list that would upend established protections and fast-track the permitting process for oil exploration off the Atlantic, much of Alaska and even California. Both bills have passed committee and could head to a full vote any day. The bills follow other undoings that have prioritized oil and gas energy over conservation which is vital to the protection of endangered species. The new bills would target the core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which regulates seismic blasts used to locate oil and gas. The noise, scientists say, can disorient and damage the hearing of whales and dolphins so badly that they lose their ability to navigate and reproduce. We cannot allow further offshore oil and gas exploration and development as it harms our coastal economies in the near term and opens the door to even greater risks from offshore oil and gas production down the road. To read the full story, check out http://seavoicenews.com/2018/04/02/oil-seismic-tests-law-harms-marine-life/
Make Election Day a Federal Holiday. Americans Deserve Time and Equal Opportunity to Vote.
We the people believe that voting is the heart and soul of democracy. Nearly 60% of voting-eligible Americans did not vote in the last midterm elections, citing work or school-related conflicts as the primary cause. Americans deserve time and equal opportunity to vote. Blue Point Brewing Company, along with other forward-thinking companies, has committed to giving our employees the day off to vote. But we need implement this change on a bigger scale. Join us in creating the change and protecting democracy. Convince Congress to establish Election Day as a Federal holiday. Blue Point Brewing Company is committed to this initiative and will be making Voters' Day Off beer cans available for supporters to sign and further inspire change.
Hold Military Moving Companies Accountable
An Open Letter To Our Elected Officials - UPDATE 1 to the petition: https://militaryspousechronicles.com/2018/10/02/pcs-petition-brings-change/ Every year thousands of military service members and their families pack up and move on military orders. All of their memories, heirlooms, worldly processions, keepsakes, pro-gear, kids toys, and some useless stuff, otherwise known as household goods (HHGs) gets packed up by contracted strangers, loaded onto a truck and driven across country. If you are on the lucky side of things, your HHGs will arrive with a few scratches and maybe a broken bowl. However, most everyone ends up on the other side. Boxes will be unloaded smashed and torn, furniture will come off broken in multiple pieces, and other items will just go missing. It will be brushed off as “don’t worry, you can just file a claim”, and while that might be true, there are things that money just can’t fix. Money can’t replace the broken hutch inherited from my grandmother. Money can’t fix the missing foot board from the custom made bed. Money can’t fix my discontinued, now smashed in to pieces wedding china. And money can’t fix the box of my children’s baby memories box that never arrived. I know, we should just leave these things with family! While that is a good thought, it’s not always possible. Some service members just don’t have the family available to leave these things! Every year, thousands of service members file claims with moving companies. Within the last 2 years the average claim has been around $10,000, with an average of only 50-60% of that being paid out. Over the last 5 years, the PCS season has become more and more horrendous to deal with. The major moving companies being awarded the contracts, often sub contract out to smaller, local companies. Many of these companies do not understand how military bases work- usually sending drivers or crews who have a felony background, can’t access post, or a truck that has expired registration. These companies also do a poor job in packing and handling of the HHGs. Many times the crew will pack as quickly as possible to get to the next job to make more money. In doing so, things are usually packed improperly, allowing for damage to occur. When loaded into the truck or unloaded at the storage facility or destination, everything is usually just thrown around without a care. When Service members and families speak up about how things are being handled, we are usually scolded, degraded, and told to just let them do their job. In one of our recent moves we had a mattress come off the truck soaking wet. When I questioned it and ask what my son was suppose to sleep on, the driver took a furniture pad off the dresser and said he could sleep on that. When we moved to our current location, I questioned the driver about my high value list, and the markings on the inventory about the furniture. The response I received was “this is just how we do it.” Then when we arrived, our range bags complete with range equipment were missing. Our military service members and their families already sacrifice so much for this country. The deployments, holidays missed, birthdays not celebrated, their children’s firsts moments, training time, and sometimes even their life. Is it so much to ask that moving companies take a little more care in handling our memories? Is it so much to ask our elected officials to step in and protect our service members from the headache and heartache during a PCS? I challenge you to start holding these companies accountable. I challenge you to step up your game and ease the worry burden on our military families. MilitarySpouseChronicles #PCSChronicles #MemoriesSmashed
Citizens Against Contaminated Water for Service Members and their Families
Residents of JBLM are experiencing brown water and have for years. Within the last year, the brown water issue has greatly affected residence’s abilities to bathe, complete simple daily tasks such as laundry, running a dish washer or simply washing their hands. This brown water has been deemed “safe” to drink and bathe in, despite multiple residences experiencing serious skin allergic reactions, and even hospitalization. Though it has been recognized by Department of Public Works, Joint Base Lewis McChord Communities, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, it continues to be a daily struggle for residents to believe and trust that their water is safe. They have been told the water is "safe to drink" despite the color and foul smell. Joint Base Lewis-McChord Communities takes no responsibility regarding the water quality issue and directs all residents to Department of Public Works, who claims the routine hydrant flushes “do nothing” about the water quality. A recent report was released from the Department of Defense that states the water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds. These contaminants have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants. These chemicals are man-made and found in firefighting foam used by the DoD. This has residents at JBLM and several other military bases in the CONUS very concerned. Despite the closure of 3 wells on JBLM, the problem is still on-going. Residents have been urged to contact the proper channels when experiencing these issues and nothing continues to be done. Water that reeks of chlorine, has sediment and an orange tinge is NOT safe to consume and residents deserve clean drinking water and a safe living environment. Meanwhile, houses on base are being renovated and updated, and age old pipes that cause these water issues are ignored. Join us to fight this cause.
Stop Forcing Mail Order Pharmacy as Only Choice of Coverage & Monitor Package Temperature
My son, received a life saving liver transplant at the age of 2. His life depends on the potency and effectiveness of chemotherapy/immune suppression medications to prevent his body's immune system from fighting off his transplanted liver. In the past mail order delivered his liquid oral medications in nothing but a plastic envelope on a 102 degree day on a hot enclosed not temperature controlled UPS truck. Shortly after, he went into liver rejection which could have resulted in complete liver failure or death. I speculated that the medication could have been too weak after the delivery of medications in high heat. I vowed to never again risk his life with mail order pharmacy. Recently, we were mandated/forced to only use mail order pharmacy in order to receive coverage for his life-saving medications. Hesitant, I begged for an ice pack. The package arrived in only a bag on an about 90 degree day again without an ice pack. The hot non-temperature controlled enclosed delivery truck can reach temperatures up to 170 degrees. His labs elevated again afterward. My son wants to know, "Why would they do that?" I contacted the manufacturer, who does all of the testings for my son drugs who stated that both of my son's medications should be discarded and considered less potent once stored above 86 degrees as higher temperatures and freezing could result in lower potency. I also found out that liquid medication is the most harmed by the mishandling of medications outside of the manufactures temperature storage guidelines. I contacted the mail order pharmacy who refused to replace or take back the medication. They said the law & USP Pharmacopoeia allows them to ship up to 104 degrees, although the manufacturer states it is not proven safe at these temperatures. However, I have received communication from USP Pharmacopoeia who writes the guidelines for storage and they also said that the mail order pharmacy should follow the manufacturer's guidelines of 59-86 degrees for storage. I contacted the FDA, who states that the mail order pharmacy should be using the manufacturer's guidelines that have been proven safe.. However, since the mail order pharmacies are regulated loosely by the State Board of Pharmacy, not the FDA there was nothing that the FDA could do. Since starting this petition, I connected with another petitioner for air conditioning of the back of UPS trucks as the trucks are not temperature controlled. Her husband went into renal failure, because the UPS trucks are hot and enclosed and temperatures reach up to 170 degrees. It's like walking into a low temp oven. When the temperatures of the outside are colder than your freezer, I'm not sure how cold the trucks are but I'm certain mailboxes and doorsteps can get in negative temperatures. I made over 30 calls to the insurance company begging for them to please let us pick my son's medications up at the local pharmacy at which they are filled. My son's physician wrote a note/appeal as his transplant team has stated that they have tried to voice their concerns about this issue with their pediatric/child patients and no one is listening! The insurance company still denied the doctor's appeal for us to pick up my son's medications in the safest way. It was not until the Media became evolved that the insurance company budged. I felt helpless and have united with many other pharmacists, physicians, patients, mothers and fathers, and caregivers who feel the same way. Helpless. Mail order of prescription drugs should be a choice not the only option of coverage. Mandatory mail order programs from all plan types (INCLUDING the plans that are regulated by ERISA) needs to cease until mail order pharmacies are forced to store and monitor medications during their deliveries at the temperatures tested and proven safe by the manufacturer. I would never put my son's medications in a hot non-temperature controlled environment, and shouldn't be forced to only use this option in order to get coverage for his life-saving medications. Mail order pharmacies may appear to save money, but when my son ended up in the hospital after taking medications that could have been compromised by having lower potency, the cost of the rejection was thousands of dollars. If his liver would have fully failed, the cost of his liver transplant for just 5 days (he was in the hospital for 5 weeks) was over $1,000,000. The lax regulation and oversight may save money on prescription drug plans but may come at an increased cost to the health plan itself. Also, keep in mind the endless waste of medications that automatically are sent regardless of whether or not patients need them. Also, people with chronic, complex conditions, should always have the option of face to face interaction with a pharmacist who knows their complex needs and medical history. The pharmacist and patient relationship is crucial to the successful outcome of the patient's overall health. Taking this away is harmful to patients and be more costly to our already stressed healthcare system. Since starting the petition, many have also stated that they experience life-threatening delays in receiving their prescriptions. Medications get lost, stolen, people are going days without medications that their life depends on. Only allowing mail-order pharmacy for coverage is unethical and irresponsible. Another important fact. Mandatory mail order programs are discriminatory. It is estimated that 40% of our homeless are disabled. How is mandatory mail order fair and working for them as they may not have an address and not even know where they will be from day to day? It is crucial that All plans should include true fair coverage and reimbursements of our pharmacist. Please help! We need legislation to protect all patients by ending the mandatory mail order pharmacy coverage in every type of plan offered in the nation. We need your help to make mandatory mail order an option, not a mandate. YOUR URGENT SUPPORT WILL SAVE LIVES! THANK YOU!!
Urge FDA to approve new treatment for Carcinoid Tumors
Hi. My name is Kerry and I’m a zebra. Now, before you think I'm crazy, I hope you'll please let me have a minute of your time to explain. In medical school, doctors-to-be are often taught the adage “If you hear hoof beats, think horse”. In other words, the most obvious answer is usually the right answer. But sometimes the hoof beats come from something rarer: a zebra perhaps. For nearly 5 years, doctors heard hoof beats as they looked at scans of my liver and saw some small “things” taking up residence. And, for nearly 5 years, they thought horse. They did blood tests, colonoscopies, upper endoscopies; all of the tests you would do looking for the “normal” cancers such as colon cancer, but the tests were negative. So they concluded that my liver had some benign growths on it. Nothing to worry about. In January of 2016 a biopsy of my liver resolved the mystery. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Carcinoid or Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET). The disease is so rare it is referred to as the zebra of cancers and represents only about 2% of cancers treated each year. In honor of its rarity, the zebra has been adopted as the official mascot of those who suffer from it and we, the patients, are called zebras. In my desperate quest for solutions to my problem, I read about a treatment called Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy, or PRRT for short. It has been available in Europe for more than a decade and clinical trials here in the United States have recently concluded. The results have been very promising. According to one of the doctors who participated in the phase 3 clinical trial, “The findings were, in my opinion, extraordinarily impressive, the median progression-free survival improved by nearly 80%, which is fairly unprecedented in oncologic studies. The finding is important because limited therapeutic options exist for such patients, who comprise 20% to 45% of neuroendocrine tumor cases.” (1) As you can imagine, I have been following these trials with great interest as I am their target patient: my tumors are inoperable and are known to respond to the drug being used in the treatment. Earlier this year, there was hope the treatment would be approved by mid-year 2016. Then it was sometime in the fourth quarter of 2016. The latest timeframe for approval is now early 2017. I understand and appreciate the fact that the FDA has to perform their due diligence to insure that new drugs are safe and effective. None of us want unsafe drugs to be hurried to market. In the case of PRRT, it appears to have proven its worth, both in US clinical trials as well as in more than 10 years of use in Europe. I don’t profess to know or understand what the holdup is in obtaining approval. I’m certainly not a doctor. What I do know is that every day that passes without this treatment being approved thousands of us zebras get sicker and closer to the point where treatments won’t matter any longer. Will you please join me in urging the FDA to keep the approval of PRRT at the top of their priority list? I’m only 55 years old and I’m not ready to leave this world yet. I and my fellow zebras thank you. Kerry (1) Full article discussing PRRT can be found online at http://www.carcinoid.org/2016/05/03/one-step-closer-us-peptide-receptor-radionuclide-therapy-prrt-neuroendocrine-cancers/