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Saturday, November 30, 2013

▶ KOLR10: Senator Blunt Joins David Oliver In-Studio 11/29/13 - YouTube

▶ KOLR10: Senator Blunt Joins David Oliver In-Studio 11/29/13 - YouTube

▶ Helicopter Crash in Glasgow, Scotland - YouTube

▶ Helicopter Crash in Glasgow, Scotland - YouTube

▶ Did Comet ISON Survive? Scientists See Tiny Hope - YouTube

▶ Did Comet ISON Survive? Scientists See Tiny Hope - YouTube

▶ Black Friday Deals Draw Shoppers - YouTube


▶ Black Friday Deals Draw Shoppers - YouTube

▶ Nick Lowe Has Fun With First Holiday Album - YouTube

▶ Nick Lowe Has Fun With First Holiday Album - YouTube

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ukraine Debacle and EU Vilnius Summit Shows Need for New Russia Policy - SPIEGEL ONLINE

The EU wanted to usher in a more modern policy toward Eastern Europe through the proposed association agreement with Ukraine. Instead, in the wake of Kiev's change of heart, it faces a diplomatic shambles. Europe clearly needs a new strategy for Russia.

Ukraine Debacle and EU Vilnius Summit Shows Need for New Russia Policy - SPIEGEL ONLINE

VIDEO: Thanksgiving in Ohio

Blog | John Boehner - 8th District of Ohio

Chinese Investment in Africa Boosts Economies but Worries Many - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Chinese companies have pumped billions into Africa to secure access to natural resources, boosting countries' economies along the way. Ordinary citizens aren't reaping the benefits, though, and have become increasingly wary of the new investors.

Chinese Investment in Africa Boosts Economies but Worries Many - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Marine murders in Afghanistan underscore abhorrent ROE | Allen B. West - AllenBWest.comAllen B. West – AllenBWest.com

Marine murders in Afghanistan underscore abhorrent ROE | Allen B. West - AllenBWest.comAllen B. West – AllenBWest.com

Asia territorial tensions set to get worse before they get better – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

Asia territorial tensions set to get worse before they get better – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

▶ Two blasts outside U.S. base in Japan - YouTube

▶ Two blasts outside U.S. base in Japan - YouTube

▶ China sends warplanes into disputed zone - YouTube

▶ China sends warplanes into disputed zone - YouTube

▶ Driverless car to be reality - YouTube

▶ Driverless car to be reality - YouTube

▶ Cop tasered by his own force - YouTube

An Indiana police chief volunteers to be stunned by members of his own force in order to raise money for a new squad car.

▶ Cop tasered by his own force - YouTube

▶ Singer mistaken for North Korean leader - YouTube

▶ Singer mistaken for North Korean leader - YouTube

▶ Comet ISON could be a record breaker - YouTube

David Dundee from the Teller Science Museum talks about the comet ISON's journey that will bring it close to the sun.

▶ Comet ISON could be a record breaker - YouTube

Inselstreit in Ostasien | DW.DE

Das chinesische Meer ist eine Krisenregion von globaler Bedeutung. China und seine Nachbarn streiten um Ressourcen und Einfluss.

Inselstreit in Ostasien | DW.DE

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Silvio Berlusconi May Go to Jail After Senate Expulsion - SPIEGEL ONLINE

By voting to expel former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Senate has brought a long struggle to an end. The controversial former leader now faces new legal threats -- and maybe even a lengthy jail term.

Silvio Berlusconi May Go to Jail After Senate Expulsion - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Legislative leaders reach agreement on pension-slashing bill - Illinois Education Association

Legislative leaders reach agreement on pension-slashing bill - Illinois Education Association

▶ Today in History for November 28th - YouTube

▶ Today in History for November 28th - YouTube

▶ Brewers' Braun 'Deeply Remorseful' for Drug Use - YouTube

▶ Brewers' Braun 'Deeply Remorseful' for Drug Use - YouTube

▶ Raw: Obamas Visit Food Bank on Thanksgiving Eve - YouTube

▶ Raw: Obamas Visit Food Bank on Thanksgiving Eve - YouTube

▶ Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Kept to a Minimum - YouTube

▶ Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Kept to a Minimum - YouTube

▶ Two Charged in Imprisonment of 3 Ariz. Girls - YouTube

▶ Two Charged in Imprisonment of 3 Ariz. Girls - YouTube

▶ Paralyzed Patients Flick Tongue to Move - YouTube

▶ Paralyzed Patients Flick Tongue to Move - YouTube

▶ Holiday Lights at Steep Heights in Seattle - YouTube

▶ Holiday Lights at Steep Heights in Seattle - YouTube

▶ Raw: 3 Dead in Brazil World Cup Stadium Collapse - YouTube

▶ Raw: 3 Dead in Brazil World Cup Stadium Collapse - YouTube

▶ Heavy Snowfall Surprises Indiana, Michigan - YouTube

▶ Heavy Snowfall Surprises Indiana, Michigan - YouTube

It's Thanksgiving So We Asked Brits To Label The United States — We're So Sorry, America

It's Thanksgiving So We Asked Brits To Label The United States — We're So Sorry, America

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Illinois Disaster Recovery

FEMA Press Release:

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Illinois Disaster Recovery

Main Content
Release date: 
NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Release Number: 
HQ-13-125FactSheet
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for Illinois.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:
  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.  Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters.  Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.   (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals.  (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.  Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.  (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.  (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.
How to Apply for Assistance:
  • Affected individuals and business owners in designated areas can begin the disaster application process by registering online atwww.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov.  Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Follow FEMA online at http://blog.fema.govwww.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.  The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Last Updated: 
November 26, 2013 - 21:44

President Declares Disaster for Illinois

FEMA Press Release:

President Declares Disaster for Illinois

Main Content
Release date: 
NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Release Number: 
HQ-13-125
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Illinois and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on November 17, 2013.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, La Salle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will, and Woodford counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.     
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Donald L. Keldsen has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Keldsen said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online atwww.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov.  Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. 
Follow FEMA online at blog.fema.govwww.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications. 
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Last Updated: 
November 26, 2013 - 20:25

Small business Obamacare online enrollment delayed a year - Jason Millman - POLITICO.com

Small business Obamacare online enrollment delayed a year - Jason Millman - POLITICO.com

Suspect's family angry at Good Samaritan, police | Fox10tv.com

Suspect's family angry at Good Samaritan, police | Fox10tv.com

Johnson Comments on Latest Sign of Obama Administration Incompetence

Senator Ron Johnson Press Release:

Washington, D.C. – Earlier today Senator Johnson made the following remarks on the new delay in Obamacare.
"The delay of online enrollment for small businesses is yet another example of this administration's ineptitude and the damage Obamacare is inflicting on job-creating small businesses. The sooner we pull the plug on Obamacare, the fewer people will be harmed by this massive governmental overreach. The federal government is not even capable of doing what thousands of large and small businesses do day in and day out -- creating and operating a functioning website. We simply can't allow it to become even more involved in our health care system or our personal medical decisions."
###

Senators McConnell, Paul and Congressman Whitfield Comment on Paducah DOE Site

Press Releases

Nov 27 2013

Senators McConnell, Paul and Congressman Whitfield Comment on Paducah DOE Site

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01) today released the following statement regarding General Electric’s (GE) request for offer (RFO) submittal being selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Paducah DOE Site.  The announcement follows the delegation’s November 14th meeting with DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz in which they pressed for a final decision to be made.
“When it became clear that DOE would ultimately close the Gaseous Diffusion Plant, we aggressively sought out partners with Paducah’s long-term economic interests in mind.  Specifically, we worked to ensure the Paducah community would be the benefactor of any future development using the DOE-owned depleted uranium tails.  GE made a commitment to Paducah early on, and we are pleased that Global Laser Enrichment has been chosen to lead Paducah – our proud Atomic City – into an exciting chapter involving state-of-the-art laser enrichment technology.
“We have been encouraged by GE’s commitment to Paducah.  It is our understanding that GE proposes to invest over $1 billion to create a state-of-the-art laser enrichment facility at the DOE site that will create thousands of construction jobs, and hundreds of permanent jobs at a future GE facility.  From a national perspective, the proposal seeks to save the federal government money in cost reduction and revive the U.S. domestic nuclear supply chain while likely generating billions of dollars in new tax revenues for the local, state, and federal government.
“Paducah is a proud city, and we are thrilled GE has placed its confidence in the people of Paducah to host this new state-of-the-art facility.  Paducah has a bright future ahead, and we are genuinely grateful to be a part of it.”
Timeline of the Kentucky delegation’s efforts for background:
May 15, 2012: The delegation announces a plan to extend the life of the gaseous diffusion plant by one year, extending 1,200 jobs while saving the taxpayers money.
May 13, 2013:  The Kentucky delegation calls on the Department of Energy to develop a long-term solution for the Paducah DOE site.  
May 24, 2013:  Upon learning that United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) would not be continuing operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the delegation requests a meeting with Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to express the urgency of developing a long-term solution for the Paducah DOE site.  They also express their disappointment with the Obama Administration’s inability to come up with an agreement to extend operations at the Paducah Plant.
June 4, 2013:  The delegation meets with Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz and Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman to discuss the long-term future of the DOE site. The delegation, on behalf of the community, which was still reeling from the DOE’s recent announcement not to extend the United States Enrichment Corporation’s (USEC) operation, stressed the importance of DOE's commitment to cleanup and utilizing the tails and other assets located in Paducah to secure a long-term future for the site.
September 12, 2013: Paducah community leaders meet with Secretary Ernest Moniz. The main topics of discussion were finding a long-term solution for private sector development and accelerating cleanup activities at the Paducah Department of Energy (DOE) site.
November 14, 2013: The delegation meets with Secretary Ernest Moniz to obtain an update on DOE’s efforts to utilize the depleted uranium tails for economic development in Paducah. We are encouraged by Secretary Moniz’s comments today that using DOE’s depleted uranium assets for development in Paducah ‘remains a very important criteria’ to the Department of Energy as they finalize their decision on the request for offers process.

###

Cruz: On this Hanukkah, I wish our Jewish friends a happy holiday

Press Release of Senator CruzCruz: On this Hanukkah, I wish our Jewish friends a happy holiday
Contact: press@cruz.senate.gov / (202) 228-7561
Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued the following statement commemorating the start of Hanukkah:

"On this Hanukkah, I wish our Jewish friends a happy holiday.
"The miracle of the oil reminds us of God's provision in times of trouble. The little vessel that kept burning for eight days embodies the hope of a courageous people. Their piety and perseverance through adversity is an inspiration to many. Their steadfastness speaks to their faith in a greater future.

"Last week, I had the honor of attending an event celebrating Emma Lazarus, the poet who wrote the words that welcome all to this land of liberty: 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'

"We are grateful for the rich history the Jewish culture brings to America and to the world, and I hope you have a blessed Hanukkah season."

###

Senator Rubio Wishes You a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving

Fighting for Florida

Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, most Americans set aside their demanding jobs and busy schedules to celebrate their many blessings. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday on which we show our gratitude for family, friends and this great nation.

It was in the midst of a brutal civil war when President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. But more than two centuries before that, the very first Thanksgiving was a momentous gathering that marked a lasting hope for the promise of a better life in the New World. Today, America continues to be a beacon of freedom and opportunity.

We are thankful for this great nation, where our brave troops selflessly defend the God-given rights that have guided this country to prosperity. We are thankful for this great nation, where opportunity rings even more loudly today than it did centuries ago.  And we are thankful for this great nation, where each generation is born into the promise of a better life, a promise as unique to America as this holiday— the promise of the American Dream.

As we gather around the table this year, let us fill not just our plates but also our hearts, with laughter, love and the peaceful reassuring notion of what it means to be truly thankful.

From my family to yours, we wish you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. 

December 3 Conference in Washington to Focus on Federal Debt and Preventing Future Budget Crises | The Concord Coalition

December 3 Conference in Washington to Focus on Federal Debt and Preventing Future Budget Crises | The Concord Coalition

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz with Jay Sekulow by Senator Ted Cruz on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds

Sen. Ted Cruz with Jay Sekulow by Senator Ted Cruz on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds

Thune to Farm Bill Conferees: Long-Term Extension is Not an Option

Senator John Thune Press Release:

Nov 26 2013

Thune to Farm Bill Conferees: Long-Term Extension is Not an Option

Letter Urges Conferees to Drop Most Controversial Provision of Commodity Title

Washington, D.C. - 
Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today sent a letter to Farm Bill conferees strongly urging them to reach an agreement on the controversial Farm Bill provisions rather than consider another long-term extension of the expired 2008 Farm Bill. Thune said in his letter, “An unfinished Farm Bill will continue the highly uncertain future for agriculture producers, ag-related businesses, consumers, rural economies, and the stewardship of our land and water brought about by last year’s extension.”
In his letter, Thune recommended that conferees drop the most controversial Commodity Title provision which authorizes payments based on planted acres and fixed commodity prices. According to Thune, conferees must first reach agreement on basic core program provisions that are not only effective for the agriculture producers, but also are defensible to taxpayers and our global trading partners.
“No one gains by another long-term Farm Bill extension,” said Thune. “Commodity crop producers are facing rapidly dropping prices, livestock producers are waiting on disaster assistance, and conservation programs need to be locked in to help provide land stewardship tools to protect our soil and water.”
The 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report was filed 151 days after the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill. During that time, the 2002 Farm Bill was extended for six short-term intervals in 2007 and 2008 ranging from three months to one week. “Based upon the timeframe established by the 2008 Farm Bill, there is still time for conferees to reach agreement and have a Farm Bill in place for 2014 crops,” said Thune. “I’m hopeful we can enact a new Farm Bill that brings our agriculture policies into the 21st century.”
Although, the Senate-passed Farm Bill includes controversial Commodity Title provisions, the bill also contains several provisions championed by Thune, including livestock disaster programs, first authored by Thune and Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in the 2008 Farm Bill, and his sodsaver provision. 

Hoeven: Tribes Can Share in State's Opportunities

Senator John Hoeven Press Release:

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today told a gathering of the Three Affiliated Tribes that the best way to help create jobs on reservations is to make sure that they share in opportunities created by North Dakota’s growing economy. The senator spoke before the Tribal Employment Rights Office staff and tribal leaders.
To illustrate his point, Hoeven cited a historic oil and gas agreement he helped forge with the Three Affiliated Tribes and how that approach might work on a national level.
North Dakota had been working very hard to attract and retain energy companies to western North Dakota, and that work was beginning to pay off in 2007. Wells were being permitted and sunk, and people were finally making a good living in that part of the state – including many families that owned the mineral rights under their land and the many service companies that mushroomed to serve the burgeoning oil industry.
The case was different on the Fort Berthold Reservations for the Three Affiliated Tribes, which was blessed with mineral resources. There was duplicated regulation and the tribe was not receiving taxes for production on non-tribal land within the reservation boundaries. Further, the tax rate on tribal land within the reservation was double because both the tribe and state taxed it. Therefore there was just one rig on the reservation, and that one was on fee land - non-tribal land. No rigs were drilling on the Indian land.
To remedy that, working with the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Hoeven administration, working with the state Legislature, crafted a first-in-the-nation oil and gas bill that comprehensively reformed taxation and regulations of oil production on the reservation. The agreement, which was signed in 2008, created a competitive environment that respected tribal sovereignty and also made the playing field equal on and off the reservation for companies looking to explore. Prior to the 2008 agreement, there had not been a well drilled on Fort Berthold trust lands in 27 years because of the unstable and unpredictable tax and regulatory structure.
Under the agreement, the state and tribes agreed to have one tax structure, with oil companies paying a 6.5 percent extraction tax and a 5 percent production tax on trust land, the same taxes that companies pay in the rest of the state. For wells drilled on trust lands, that revenue was divided equally between the state and the tribe. To date, the agreement has yielded about half a billion dollars for Fort Berthold in tax revenue and royalties.
“TERO was a big part of the original agreement because it also provided for workforce training,” Hoeven said. “It recognized and funded the Tribal Employment Rights Office, which has been training and helping Native Americans find employment in the oil industry.”
The senator said the agreement is opening up entrepreneurial opportunities for tribe members on the reservation, as well. For example, a member of the tribe started driving a truck for an oil company doing business on the reservation. He quickly discovered that he could operate his own truck and work for himself. In a few short years, he owned several trucks and employed dozens of his own employees.
“The point is this,” Hoeven said. “If we improve the economic situation on reservations, if we encourage the building of business enterprises, industry, retail stores, and other economic ventures, we build jobs and opportunities. And that makes families stronger, schools better, and tribal communities a better place to live and work.”

▶ Ayotte, Casey Discuss Bipartisan Effort to Protect Rights, Security of Afghan Women - YouTube

▶ Ayotte, Casey Discuss Bipartisan Effort to Protect Rights, Security of Afghan Women - YouTube

Ayotte Urges FDA to Consider Compassionate Use Request for 12-Year Old New Hampshire Girl Fighting Brain Cancer

Senator Kelly Ayotte News Release:

Ayotte Urges FDA to Consider Compassionate Use Request for 12-Year Old New Hampshire Girl Fighting Brain Cancer

Hudson family seeks permission to pursue experimental treatment for daughter's rare and aggressive form of brain cancer

Nov 26, 2013


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow a 12-year-old girl from Hudson who is suffering from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer to pursue an experimental treatment under the FDA's compassionate use program.  Last Thanksgiving, McKenzie Lowe was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and was given a zero percent chance of survival, but she has fought the disease for a year.  Her family is now seeking permission from the FDA to pursue an experimental drug that may help treat McKenzie's disease but that has not yet been approved by the agency.  The Lowes recently started a petition, which has been signed by Senator Ayotte and more than 34,000 people across the world, asking the FDA to grant McKenzie a compassionate use exemption. 

"The Lowes are fighting for their terminally-ill little girl and they deserve the right to explore treatment options that may help her continue to fight her cancer," Ayotte wrote in a letter today to the FDA Commissioner.  "Whether or not a terminally-ill child is able to receive certain types of care should be a decision made by the family.  I would hope the FDA would not stand in the way when no other treatment options are available for an already terminally-ill child."

AYOTTE LETTER TO FDA COMMISSIONER:

November 26, 2013 
The Honorable Margaret Hamburg
Commissioner
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD  20993

Dear Commissioner Hamburg:

I am writing to you on behalf of McKenzie Lowe, a 12-year-old girl from Hudson, New Hampshire.  McKenzie is just like many typical sixth graders in New Hampshire-she loves basketball, soccer, and horseback riding.  What sets McKenzie apart from her classmates, however, is her battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). 

Approximately one year ago, McKenzie began complaining of double vision and frequent headaches.  By Thanksgiving of last year, her doctors had diagnosed her with DIPG, a rare form of brain cancer that is especially aggressive.  Doctors told McKenzie's family that the brain tumor was inoperable and that she had 9 months to live.  McKenzie fought through several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and her tumor initially responded to treatment, shrinking nearly in half.  However, her doctors worried that a relapse was possible and in this instance they were right-sadly, recent exams have shown that her tumor is in fact growing yet again. 

This Thanksgiving, McKenzie will mark 12 months post-diagnosis, continuing to fight her cancer and defher doctors' prognosis.  However, given how aggressive this particular type of cancer is, her health condition can change in an instant.  McKenzie's family is hopeful that an experimental drug not yet approved by the FDA may be able to help her in her fight against DIPG.  The family recognizes and acknowledges that there have been disputes about the efficacy of this drug, as well as prior FDA action taken against the doctor administering it.  However, they also note that for some patients, there have been positive results after receiving this drug.  The family points to smaller studies that have found some patients who received this particular treatment saw their tumors diminish in size over time.  For a family who has been told that there is a zero percent survival rate for the type of cancer their daughter has, understandably, even some positive results from a drug are enough for them to want to take action.

Recently, the Lowes and their extended family and friends started a petition asking the FDA to consider granting McKenzie a compassionate use exemption in order for her to be treated with an investigational drug not yet approved by the agency.  A link to the petition can be found here:  http://www.change.org/petitions/fda-save-12-year-old-mckenzie-lowe-grant-her-compassionate-use-of-antineoplastonsTo date, the petition has garnered over 34,000 signatures from individuals around the world. 

It is my understanding that the FDA has the ability to grant expanded access, or "compassionate use," for certain individuals to use an unapproved drug when no comparable treatment is available.  According to the agency's website, these compassionate use designations may be made when a patient has a serious or "immediately life-threatening" disease or medical condition.  According to an October 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, about 1,200 people received treatment with experimental drugs thanks to the compassionate use program.  The same article states that in 2010, 1,000 patients were able to receive treatment thanks to the compassionate use program.  Given that the agency has a history of granting these compassionate use designations and that McKenzie's situation appears to fit the criteria for receiving such a designation, I urge you to grant the Lowe family's request to allow McKenzie to receive treatment through the FDA's compassionate use program.

The Lowes are fighting for their terminally-ill little girl and they deserve the right to explore treatment options that may help her continue to fight her cancer.  Whether or not a terminally-ill child is able to receive certain types of care should be a decision made by the family.  I would hope the FDA would not stand in the way when no other treatment options are available for an already terminally-ill child.

Thank you for your attention to this critically important issue.  McKenzie does not have much time to wait.  I respectfully request that you provide a response as soon as possible and I welcome the opportunity to further discuss this issue.

                                                                                                                      
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President Declares Disaster for Nebraska

FEMA Press Release:

President Declares Disaster for Nebraska

Main Content
Release date: 
NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Release Number: 
HQ-13-124
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Nebraska to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, winter storms, tornadoes, and flooding during the period of October 2-6, 2013.
The President's action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe storms, winter storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Adams, Dawes, Dixon, Howard, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thurston, and Wayne counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Elizabeth Turner has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Turner said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Follow FEMA online at blog.fema.govwww.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications. 
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
November 26, 2013 - 13:16