Agendas Acc0rding to the Federal Bar Association


I ran across this tonight, looking for something else, but it caught my eye and so I read it.
Knowing what I know about this country and being “awake”, I find the following pretty fucking interesting. What are your thoughts?:

FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION
2015-16 ISSUES AGENDA
http://www.fedbar.org/Advocacy/Issues-Agendas.aspx

Active Issues | Monitored Issues
ACTIVE LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Independence of the Federal Judiciary

The Federal Bar Association reaffirms the importance of the independence of the judiciary, recognizing that judicial decisions are not immune from scrutiny, but are to be made solely on the basis of the law.

Funding for the Federal Courts

The Federal Bar Association supports adequate funding for the general and continuing operations of the federal courts, including an equitable level of rent and facilities expense consistent with actual costs, budgetary constraints, staffing needs and security considerations, to permit the courts to fulfill their constitutional and statutory responsibilities

Federal Judgeships and Caseloads

The Federal Bar Association supports the authorization and establishment of additional permanent and temporary federal judgeships, including bankruptcy judgeships, along with support personnel, as proposed by the Judicial Conference of the United States, when rising caseloads in the federal courts threaten the prompt delivery of justice. The Federal Bar Association also supports efforts to educate Congress, the legal profession and the general public about how the overwhelming case loads threaten the ability of the Third Branch of the federal government to function.

Federal Judicial Vacancies

The Federal Bar Association calls upon the President and Congress to act promptly and responsibly in nominating and confirming nominees to the federal appellate and district courts. The Federal Bar Association supports the development of strategies to reduce the time required to fill federal judicial vacancies.

Courthouse Security

The Federal Bar Association supports the adoption of adequate security measures to protect the federal judiciary, their families and court personnel in and outside the courthouse, while preserving meaningful public access to judicial proceedings.

Federal Judicial Pay

The Federal Bar Association support equitable compensation and regular periodic adjustments for the federal judiciary, as well as senior officials of the Executive Branch and Members of Congress, to promote the recruitment and retention of the highest quality public servants.

Respect for the Federal Courts

Declining public confidence in our courts undermines public respect for the courts and the legitimacy of their rulings. To counter that influence, the Federal Bar Association supports programming and other efforts to educate the public about the federal courts and the role they serve in assuring a just society.

Professionalism and Stature of Federal Attorneys

The Federal Bar Association supports and promotes efforts to improve the professionalism and stature of attorneys employed by the federal government, including: enhancements to the compensation packages of federal attorneys, including pay and retirement benefits, to assist in recruitment and retention; the expansion, consistent with applicable conflict of interest laws, of policies encouraging full participation of attorneys employed by the federal government in professional organizations and pro bono legal activities, including approval for use of administrative leave; enhanced federal funding for participation in continuing legal education and training programs, including paid tuition and administrative leave; and the establishment of programs for student loan deferral and repayment assistance for all federal attorneys, including federal law clerks, federal defenders and judge advocates of the Armed Forces, in support of recruitment and retention efforts.

Social Security Disability Appeals Backlog

The Federal Bar Association supports adequate funding and resources for the Social Security Administration to remove the significant backlog of disability benefit appeals awaiting adjudication and to assure the fair and timely administration of justice for all appellants.

Authority of Bankruptcy Judges in “Core Proceedings”

The Federal Bar Association supports amendment of bankruptcy law to expressly allow bankruptcy judges to issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in core proceedings in which they are otherwise barred from entering final judgments under Article III of the United States Constitution.

Commission on Nazi-Confiscated Art Claims

The Federal Bar Association supports the Congressional creation of a commission to address identification and ownership issues related to Nazi-confiscated artworks, pursuant to the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, as signed by the United States and the international community.

Article I Immigration Court
The Federal Bar Association supports the transfer of responsibilities for the adjudication of immigration claims from the Executive Office of Immigration Review within the Department of Justice to a specialized Article I court, as established by Congress, for the adjudication of claims under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Federal Criminal Sentencing
The Federal Bar Association supports efforts to advance fairness and consistency in federal sentencing, while preserving judicial independence and discretion to deal with the particular circumstances of individual cases.

Military Spouse Attorney Mobility
The Federal Bar Association supports state-level legal licensing accommodations, including bar admission without additional examination, for attorneys who are spouses of service members, i.e., members of the uniformed services of the United States as defined in 10 USC §101(a)(5), when: (1) those “military spouse attorneys” are present in a particular state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States or District of Columbia due to their service members’ military assignment; (2) they are graduates of accredited law schools; and (3) they are licensed attorneys in good standing in the bar of another state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States or District of Columbia.

Patent Litigation Reform
The Federal Bar Association supports legislation that curbs abusive patent litigation practices and other responsible measures to improve the quality and clarity of patents. The FBA opposes legislation that reduces judicial discretion in adjudicating patent actions or circumvents the Rules Enabling Act by mandating changes that depart from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in patent cases.

MONITORED LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Courthouse Construction

The Federal Bar Association supports the full funding of courthouse construction proposed by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Cameras in the Courts

The Federal Bar Association encourages a discussion of the competing considerations vis-a-vis proposed legislation which would authorize federal judges, in their discretion, to permit photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting, and televising of federal court proceedings in appropriate circumstances.

Division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Federal Bar Association opposes the division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, consistent with its capacity to effectively and efficiently render justice.

Continuing Legal Education Funding for the Federal Judiciary

The Federal Bar Association supports the expansion of and enhancement of federal funding for continuing legal education and training programs for the federal judiciary.

Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction Over State and Local-Prosecuted Crimes

The Federal Bar Association advocates strict scrutiny of legislation proposing to grant original jurisdiction to federal authorities over crimes traditionally reserved to state and local prosecution.

Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney Compensation

The Federal Bar Association supports Congressional funding to permit an increase in compensation rates for Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys.

National Security and Civil Liberties

The Federal Bar Association encourages the discussion of the competing considerations in the nation’s war against terror between the protection of civil liberties and the interests of national security.

Prevention of Epidemics and Civil Liberties

The Federal Bar Association encourages and contributes to a discussion of the competing considerations between governmental restrictions to guard against epidemics and pandemics and the preservation of individual rights, as well as the use of technology to ensure the continuance of participatory governance.

Safety of Administrative Judges

The Federal Bar Association supports the efforts by the Social Security Administration and the Executive Office of Immigration Review to take appropriate steps to ensure the security of their administrative law judges and immigration judges, and all others who participate in its proceedings.

Veteran Disability Claims Adjudication

The Federal Bar Association supports legislative and administrative improvements to the veterans disability claims process in the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to assure equitable and expeditious determinations.

Attorney Fee-Based Representation of Veterans

The Federal Bar Association supports proposals to expand the availability of fee-based representation of veterans in the disability claims process and to oppose any efforts to repeal the authority of attorney representation to veterans in the furtherance of such claims.

Frivolous Litigation

The Federal Bar Association opposes legislative proposals to eliminate judicial discretion in the imposition of sanctions for frivolous litigation, including proposals to revise Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by imposing mandatory sanctions and preventing a party from withdrawing challenged pleadings on a voluntary basis within a reasonable time.

Adopted by the Board of Directors
Federal Bar Association
July 10, 2015

The compass of FBA’s government relations program is its Issues Agenda, a roster of policy priorities to which the Association devotes its advocacy resources. The policy priorities embraced by the Issues Agenda are associated with active issues that concern the health and welfare of the federal judicial system and effective federal legal practice. For example, they concern the preservation of judicial independence, adequate funding and facilities for the federal courts, sufficient numbers of federal judgeships, equitable compensation for the federal judiciary, fairness and consistency in federal sentencing and a host of other matters

Interesting Read, Found at Majias Blog on “A Plant In Environmental Health Perspectives?” Not Like a Plant That Grows, But the Other Kind of Plant.

From: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/plant-in-environmental-health.html

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012

A Plant in Environmental Health Perspectives?

I was reading my favorite health journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, which is published by the National Institutes of Health, and I came across a rather strange article: “Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation”

Online 26 Apr 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104294
find it here: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104294

The article looked at DNA damage to mice after exposed to 5 weeks of continuous ionizing radiation at 400X background level.

This was a strange study because it showed no effects at all: “These studies suggest that exposure to continuous radiation at a dose-rate that is orders of magnitude higher than background does not significantly impact several key measures of DNA damage and DNA damage responses.”

I’ve researched the effects of ionizing radiation enough that I know that effects are present even after extremely low levels of exposure.

In fact, a few weeks ago I posted information about the bystander effect, which explains how cell damage and repair can occur as a result of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation. See my relevant posts at the end of this post.

So, I read the article carefully and I also did a background check on the lead author, Werner Olipitz.

What I found may be indicative of a “plant.”

I am defining a plant as an article that has been written deliberately to inoculate readers, either for, or against, a position.

An article that is a plant structures the research methodology so that results support a preconceived conclusion. The release of the article is timed to inoculate readers.

An experiment that is set up to prove a point may have internal validity, but not have ecological validity; that is, the experiment results may not be generalizable to the real world environment it purports to represent, even if the internal experimental conditions are valid.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of Ecological Validity: “Ecological validity is a form of validity in a research study. For a research study to possess ecological validity, the methods, materials and setting of the study must approximate the real-life situation that is under investigation.[1] Unlike internal and external validity, ecological validity is not necessary to the overall validity of a study” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_validity

Majia here: Drug research paid for by pharmaceutical companies is notoriously problematic in this regard.

ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY

Examination of ecological validity for “Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~400-fold Natural Background Radiation”

The study on irradiation of mice explicitly claims to have relevance for humans, but does not have ecological validity for our current conditions (i.e., Fukushima fallout) because the exposure pathway was purely external and only examined photons (i.e., gamma radiation).

The mice did not eat or drink radionuclides.

Furthermore, the research did not follow the mice across time beyond the experimental condition.

AN IMPORTANT EXPOSURE PATHWAY FOR RADIONUCLIDES IS INGESTION: THE HUMAN BODY ABSORBS RADIATION in food and water
“the human body absorbs iodine and caesium readily. “Essentially all the iodine or caesium inhaled or swallowed crosses into the blood,” says Keith Baverstock, former head of radiation protection for the World Health Organization’s European office, who has studied Chernobyl’s health effects.” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20285-fukushima-radioactive-fallout-nears-chernobyl-levels.html)

THIS STUDY ALSO DID NOT INVESTIGATE LONG-TERM EFFECTS
The exposed mice were killed immediately after the 5 week exposure period. Consequently, there was no follow-up investigation of long-term effects.

The effects of exposure to ionizing radiation include both acute and long-term effects (Elgazzar & Elsaid 2001).

Past research has documented delayed effects on genomic instability from exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation (see Huang, Nickoloff, & Morgan, 2007; Sahina et al, 2009).

This study did not address long-term effects, only acute effects.

SO, THE STUDY HAD 2 LIMITATIONS FOR ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY.

Studies that have examined actual people exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation have documented effects at low-levels of exposure (see Little, Wakeford & Kendall, 2007; Sermage-Faure et al.,)

NEXT I INVESTIGATED THE LEAD AUTHOR AND THE FUNDING

FUNDING
“This work was supported primarily by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FG02-05ER64053). This work was partially supported by R33-CA112151 and 1U19AI68021-06)…”

See http://science.energy.gov/ber/

LEAD AUTHOR
This is where things get very strange.

The lead author identifies his institutional affiliation as the Dept of Biological Engineering at MIT; HOWEVER, he is not listed as a faculty member or research assistant of this department and his name does not come up when searched at the MIT “people search” function at the university of home page.
http://web.mit.edu/be/people/

I called MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering and he is not on staff or faculty. The assistant I spoke to says he may have been a graduate student in the program.

According to this site he was a post-doc at MIT in 2009
http://www.ostina.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4665:olipitz-werner&catid=253:o&Itemid=1281

His profile here does not give any locations, nor contact info.
http://network.nature.com/profile/U35EC4480

According to google scholar he has had only 2 articles plus the one above published since 2009 (which is not very many).
In 2011 he had a study published in final edited form as:
Development and characterization of a novel variable low-dose rate irradiator for in vivo mouse studies. Health Phys. 2010 May; 98(5): 727–734.
doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181d26dc5 PMCID: PMC3020895
NIHMSID: NIHMS198669 Linked here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020895/

He puts MIT’s Dept of Biological Engineering as his address and also acknowledges grant funding from the DoE (http://www.federalgrants.com/Low-Dose-Radiation-Research-Program-Molecular-Mechanisms-and-Pathways-2582.html).

He had one other article published in 2010 and it also refers to MIT’s Dept of Biological Engineering as his address

Yet, he isn’t there! A google search finds no current institutional affiliation. Institutional affiliation is everything in the world of academe.

The correspondence is supposed to be directed to the article’s last author, B.P. Engelward, at the Dept. of Biological Engineering at MIT. She was probably the faculty advisor http://web.mit.edu/be/people/engelward.shtml

Even stranger, Engelward’s latest research study “Methyltransferases Mediate Cell Memory of a Genotoxic Insult” in Oncogene demonstrates precisely the type of effects that Olipiitz’s study is refuting. Here is an excerpt from her study:

“that a single exposure can lead to long-term genome-destabilizing effects that spread from cell to cell, and we provide a specific molecular mechanism for these persistent bystander effects” (p. 751)…

“It is becoming increasingly clear that indirect mechanisms of mutation induction that involve
changes in cellular behaviour, in addition to the directly induced DNA lesions, can lead to an increased risk of disease-causing mutations for months or even years after exposure (Pant and Kamada, 1977; Mothersill and Seymour, 2001; Lorimore et al., 2003; Morgan, 2003; Maxwell et al., 2008). Furthermore, at least one study suggests that the extent of bystander-induced DNA damage can be as great as that of the original exposure (Dickey et al., 2009)….” (p. 754).
http://web.mit.edu/engelward-lab/publications/2011_Engelward_Oncogene.pdf

THIS IS ALL VERY STRANGE.

I strongly suspect that this article (“Integrated Moleculary Analysis” by Olipitz et al) is a plant that is aimed at debunking concerns about our exposure to Fukushima fallout.

Although the study may have impeccable internal validity, its ecological validity is highly suspect.

However, the article can be cited later by authorities wishing to trivialize Fukushima fallout as non-important.

There is of course considerable research that directly CONTRADICTS the findings of Olipitz’s study of irradiated mice (apparently including research by his adviser).

I’ll include some in my list of references and link some of my previous posts on the subject.

I am very unhappy because Environmental Health Perspectives is one of the leading, if not the leading, outlet for research on environmental effects.

The idea that this journal may have been hijacked in order to spread dis-information about radiation’s effects on human health is TREMENDOUSLY DISTURBING on many levels.

It would indicate that scientific inquiry and publishing are far more compromised than I ever knew.

The external reviewers should have called into question the study’s assertions about the generalizability of findings to human exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation.

It is possible that this study is indicative of a CONCERTED AND DELIBERATE PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO SPREAD DIS-INFORMATION ABOUT FUKUSHIMA.

Let us hope that my analysis and concerns are inaccurate or misdirected.

References

Averbeck, D, Towards a New Paradigm for Evaluating the Effects of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis Volume 687, Issues 1-2, 1 May 2010 pages 7-12.

Elgazzar, A. H., & M. Elsaid (2001). The pathophysiologic basis of nuclear medicinein Biological effects of ionizing radiation A.H. Elgazzar (Ed.), pp. 369–370

Huang L, Kim PM, Nickoloff JA, Morgan WF. 2007. Targeted and nontargeted effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on delayed genomic instability in human cells. Cancer Research 67:1099–1104

Little, Mark, Richard Wakeford and Gerald M Kendall. Updated estimates of the proportion of childhood leukaemia incidence in Great Britain that may be caused by natural background ionising radiation Journal of Radiological Protection Volume 29 Number 4 467 10.1088/0952-4746/29/4/001
Sahina, A., Abdulgani Tatarb, Sıtkı Oztasb, Bedri Sevena, Erhan Varoglua, Ahmet Yesilyurtb, Arif Kursad A. (2009) Evaluation of the genotoxic effects of chronic low-dose ionizing radiation exposure on nuclear medicine workers. Nuclear Medicine and Biology, 36(5), 575–578
Sermage-Faure, D. Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hemon and J. Clavel. Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants – the Geocap study, 2002 – 2007,” International Journal of Cancer study by C document is online in English at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.27425/pdf.

SEVERAL MY PREVIOUS POSTS ON RESEARCH ON EFFECTS OF LOW-DOSE IONIZING RADIATION

Research Demonstrating Significant Effects at Low Dose Rates of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. April 18, 2012
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/research-demonstrating-significant.html

Propaganda Alert April 2012
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/propaganda-alert.html

Estimating Dose and the History of Radiation Research
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/estimating-dose-and-history-of.html

Is Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation from Fukushima a Risk to Health?
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-low-dose-ionizing-radiation-from.html