Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kelly: Menendez, Ferriero Cases Colored By Politics

Posted by Thomas on April 30, 2015
Politics / Comments Off on Kelly: Menendez, Ferriero Cases Colored By Politics

Now United States Sen. Bob Menendez, the child of a carpenter, and former Bergen Democratic power broker Joseph Ferriero, the kid of a factory employee, discover themselves at the center of 2 federal corruption cases that open a window into the murky world of politics and money.

The truths in the cases against Menendez and Ferriero are various, but a common narrative thread weaves through them. Each guy stands accused of unlawfully accepting project contributions, gifts or private company contracts in exchange for assisting good friends or partners, either with favors or business deals.

What is most striking about each case is that neither Menendez nor Ferriero denies the standard facts at the center of the federal charges that might send them to jail. They both state they did absolutely nothingnot did anything wrong and vehemently firmly insist that the presents and other benefits they received were not bribes or other prohibited payments, as federal prosecutors assert.

Menendez says he was assisting a close buddy by doing favors; Ferriero states he entered into private business offers with political contacts so he could makemake money and support his family.

Beyond the sense of guilt or innocence of each man, it’s their typical defense that plainly raises profound concerns about access to power and the lengths to which political figures can go to exert their impact, while likewise benefiting economically.

On the exact same afternoon recently, both men discovered themselves in the Martin Luther King federal courthouse in Newark, separated by just one floor.

In a congested fourth-floor courtroom, Menendez’s attorney proclaimed the senator was blameless of the federal bribery and corruption charges originating from his relationship with a rich Florida eye physician. The senator has actually offered a nuanced and stridently individual description for accepting $1 million in presents from the doctor. Responding to the statement of a 14-count indictment versus him, Menendez said he and the doctor have actually been close friends for years, and he implicated federal prosecutors of not knowing the “difference in between friendship and corruption.”

Thirty minutes later, in the fifth-floor courtroom where Ferriero’s six-week bribery and racketeering trial was relaxing, the previous Democratic Celebration chief announced that he would not take the witness stand to affirm in his own defense. In earlier statements on the case, Ferriero’s legal representative, Michael Baldassare, stated his client was merely “makingmaking money based upon relationships.”

“This had not been best,” Baldassare stated. “That does not imply it was a criminal activity. This is how government works.”

Whatever the result, critics and reformers indicate the Menendez and Ferriero cases as examples of a brand-new and troubling political reality where ordinary individuals without monetary means or political connections can feel cut off from their chosen officials or other leaders who wield power.

In an era when voter turnout has actually dropped dramatically and surveys show substantial varieties of Americans as progressively disillusioned and mistrustful of politics, some see the two cases as an alarm about the risks of cash in politics – a trend that is most likely to increase as recent US Supreme Court judgments have opened the door to significantly bigger and entirely legal amounts of cash that can be spent on political projects.

“With the kinds of amounts of cash that are rolling around in our system, it is not surprising that public officials are doing favors for those who pay money and calling them friends,” said Dale Eisman, a spokesperson for the political-reform group Common Cause.

“Constituent service is a virtue. It’s a desire,” included Dave Levinthal of the Washington-based Center for Public Stability, which keeps an eye on the influence of cash in politics. “Where you enter extremely sticky territory is where you offer constituent services in return for something that could benefit you as a politician.”

This is essentially the problem at the center of the Menendez and Ferriero cases.

“Politics in America has always converged in multiple ways with money,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “But these cases involve analysis of the law and the limitations imposedtroubled it and on people in public life. Those limitations are not constantly clear.”

Redefining bribery

Both the Menendez and Ferriero cases are framed by charges of bribery. But the proof barely fits the antique picture of cash passed to political figures in unmarked envelopes by those looking for favors or access to power.

At the heart of the Menendez case is the senator’s friendship with Salomon Melgen.

Menendez, who says he befriended the Florida eye physicianoptometrist two decades20 years back and states the two have attended wedding events, funeral services and other household occasions together, is implicated of exceeding his function as a senator and trying to step in personally in Melgen’s disagreement with federal authorities over some $9 million in Medicare payments.

In addition, the federal indictment likewise implicates Menendez of using his position to pressure United States authorities to encourage the Dominican Republic to work with a port security company in which Melgen had actually invested. Finally, the indictment declares that Menendez asked the State Department to supply visas to Melgen’s sweethearts who resided in Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Ukraine.

In return for such favors, the indictment claims that Melgen provided a range of rewards to Menendez in the form of $1 million in gifts that consisted of various free journeys on the physician’s personal jet and trips in Paris and at a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. Likewise, the indictment declares that Melgen also contributed some $800,000 to a variety of campaign funds regulated by Menendez, sometimes around the time the senator did a favor for him.

The Ferriero case is also focused on allegations of illegal impact peddling. And while Ferriero is not a chosen authorities, federal authorities allege he nevertheless traded on his relationships with various chosen officials to organize profitable agreements for his law firm and consulting company.

In among the supposed schemes, Ferriero is implicated of participatingtaking part in a plan to extort $1.7 million from the developer of the previous Xanadu retail and home entertainment complex in the Meadowlands, now being repurposed by another developer as American Dream Meadowlands. In return, Ferriero presumably promised to assist pave the method for approval of the task.

Ferriero does not deny he got the cashthe cash. He declares he was functioning as a private consultant, not as a political celebration chief.

An executive for the Xanadu developer, James Dausch of the Mills Corp., said he was likewise approached for a project contribution for Menendez quicklyright after the legislator interceded on behalf of the task, helping to protect federal approvals. Dausch said he was asked by either by Menendez or someone speaking on his behalf– Dausch could not keep in mind– to raise $50,000 for Menendez’s project fund.

In Dausch’s grand jury testimony, which was launched in court filings in the Ferriero trial, the retired executive stated he was not shocked to be asked to make a donation after a political leader helped him.

“It was not a big offer,” Dausch informed the grand jury. “You just had the corporation write a check.”

Ferriero is also accused of not informing different municipal authorities that he had a stake in a computerized public-safety-alert company that was being marketed to towns, other government firms, and private firms and institutions. Ferriero stood to make 25 percent of each municipal agreement.

Once again, Ferriero did not reject his participation in the firm. But he stated he was under no legal commitment to disclose his financial connections.

In a 3rd supposed racketeering plan, dating to 2002, federal prosecutors say Ferriero provided Dennis Oury, then the Bergenfield municipal attorney, a secret monetary stake in a grant-writing business if Oury would encourage the Bergenfield District Council to employ the company.

Similarly, Ferriero did not deny the hidden financial relate to himself or with Oury. But he said the arrangement was totally legal and certainly not a bribe.

The Bergenfield allegation was the center of Ferriero’s very first corruption trial where he was convicted on a number of counts. However the verdict was reversed when the US Supreme Court revised its interpretation of the federal honest-services statute that was the basis of the case.

For this present trial of Ferriero, federal district attorneys have presented an abridged version of the supposed Bergenfield plan. And similarly, Ferriero’s defense is comparable– namely, that he was doing nothing incorrect by hiding his interest in the grant-writing company.

In her opening arguments in the Ferriero trial, Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Llanes called Ferriero’s transactions an “abuse of his power and impact.”

“This case has to do with relationships– knowing people,” responded to Baldassare, Ferriero’s lawyer. “What Joe was doing was makingearning money based on relationships. Joe Ferriero has a right to make a living.”

Secret differences

Viewers say 2 questions loom heavily over both cases: Just how much of a friendship or a personal business deal should a public figure reveal? And in the end, what is the distinction in between a bribe, a present, a genuine business deal and a contribution to a political action committee or project fund?

Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, a Washington-based election reform group, said in an interview that it is now more difficult to specify what a bribe is.

“Among the problems is that the courts have actually weakened the bribery statutes and honest-services statutes,” Wertheimer stated. “They have actually made it more difficult to hold public officials accountable for utilizing their offices for individual gain.”

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Teaneck Democrat who knows both Menendez and Ferriero, said the problem ares more fundamental for public officials.

“Yes, you are allowed to have relationships and, yes, you are allowed to earn a living,” she stated. “But you have to reveal.”


Should The Church Be A Radical Voice In Politics?

Posted by Thomas on April 29, 2015
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Individualized Cancer Vaccines Might Battle Tumors

Posted by Thomas on April 29, 2015
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Cancer treatments that harness the body’s immune system to wipeeliminate growths have begun paying off for some patients for whom all other treatments have actually failed. Now, a little medical study has actually found support for a newcomer on the cancer immunotherapy front. Infused with a vaccine developed to match particular mutations in their tumors, three clients with sophisticated melanoma had a strong immune response and in 2 their tumors shrunk or stabilized, at least momentarily. Although the study was mostly implied to test security, the results recommend it holds pledge for stopping tumors from growing.

“There’s a great deal of excitement about this technique,” says oncologist and cancer immunologist Craig Slingluff of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who was not included with the research study.

Vaccines for infectious conditions usually provide into the body littles protein or other product from a virus or bacterium that set off the immune system to protect versus the attacking pathogen. With cancer, the comparable concept is to vaccinate a patient with immune-stimulating molecules, understoodreferred to as antigens, discovered just on tumor cells, so that the individual’s body immune system ends up attacking the tumor. But cancer vaccines have a poor record of success. That’s because manythe majority of the tumor antigens checked also appear in small quantities on healthy cells, and the body immune system has systems that make it tolerate, or ignore, these familiar antigens.

Scientists have their eye on a more promising type of tumor antigen: those that result from the mutations that riddle a growth’s DNA, thanks to the turmoil cancer triggers to a genome. Some of these mutations do not appear in genetics that drive cancer growth, however instead code for novel peptides– short proteins– that may act as antigens on the surface area of growth cells. Because these so-called neoantigens are totally international to the body, they could in theory make a cancer vaccine.

Creating a neoantigen cancer vaccine requires sequencing a lot of tumor DNA, which had not been practical or affordable up until just recently. HoweverNow that DNA sequencing expenses have dropped and speeds enhanced, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have actually begun checking out neoantigen cancer vaccines for melanoma, a tumor in which the sun’s ultraviolet light that stimulates cancer-causing mutations likewise produces hundreds of extra mutations that are likely to include lots of coding for neoantigens.

Human immunologist Beatriz Carreno, trial leader Gerald Linette, and partners recently studied three melanoma clients who had surgery to eliminate their growths, but who had cancer cells that had actually spread to their lymph nodes, making growths most likely to repeat. The scientists sequenced the exome, or protein-coding DNA, of each client’s original melanoma growth and compared it with the exome of their other cells to determine lots of mutations coding for newly produced peptides that might act as neoantigens. (Not all peptides made by a cell get displayed on its surface.) They evaluated the possible neoantigens’ structures and did lab tests to anticipate which are in fact made by the cell and get displayed on its surface, then focused those more than likely to trigger an immune response. For each melanoma client they selected seven neoantigens unique to that person’s tumor.

After taking blood from each client and harvesting from it immune guards called dendritic cells, the researchers then mixed each patient’s set of neoantigens with these leukocyte so that they would show the peptides to other immune cells. The team used the neoantigen-coated dendritic cells to make personalized neoantigen vaccines that were instilled into the patients three times over about 4 months.

Carreno and collaborators discovered that a key procedure of vaccine response, the number of immune system T cells particular to the neoantigens in each client, rose in the patients’ blood, along with a boost in the diversity of these T cells. These neoantigen-specific T cells might also eliminate cultured melanoma cells revealing the very same neoantigens, the group reports online today in Science.

In one patient, metastatic tumors in the female’s lungs reduced, then regrew, but are now stable after 8 months; the second individual’s tumor remnants have actually also been steady for 9 months. A 3rd client who had actually gotten an immunotherapy drug after surgery that put his cancer in remission remains cancer-free. However, the trial was designed mostly to validate the safety of the vaccine and immune response, not to check its efficiency, and because the clients received other treatments, it is not possible to state whether the vaccine assisted: “I would be guessing if I said that the vaccine had any benefit to the patients,” Linette states.

However the factthat the research found “a very high magnitude of immune response,” combined with recent reports that a various neoantigen vaccine can fight cancer in mice, claims the concept is “promising,” Slingluff says.

Such a vaccine, which must be less poisonous than radiation treatment, might be made use of to avoid cancer from repeating after surgical treatment. It may also be integrated with other immunotherapy drugs understood as checkpoint inhibitors that appear to work best for cancers such as lung and melanoma in which growths have numerous mutations. “The high expectancy is whether the one-two punch with checkpoint restraint would work,” says Roger Lo, a melanoma scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Stauffer Middle School PickedDecided To Pilot New Computer System Science Curriculum

Posted by Thomas on April 28, 2015
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Stauffer Middle School chosen to pilot new computercomputer technology curriculum


Restaurant Finance Watch: Is There A Fast-casual Bubble?

Posted by Thomas on April 27, 2015
Finance / Comments Off on Restaurant Finance Watch: Is There A Fast-casual Bubble?

NRN editor and dining establishment finance professional Jonathan Maze breaks down what you should be seeing in the market today. ConnectGet in touch with him on the most current finance trends and news at@jonathanmaze and

bull; Shake Shack IPO could be biggest in dining establishment history
bull; Romanos Macaroni Grill buyer banks on quick casual
bull; More restaurant finance news


Weekly Planet: Politics Threaten Energy Effectiveness

Posted by Thomas on April 26, 2015
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All of us know them. Every family and workplace has at least one. That quiet and hardworking member of the group that day in and day out gets the task done.No fanfare required. Simply consistently providing results.In the world of energy, that peaceful and

industrious team member is energy effectiveness. Every day, it cuts expenses and cuts pollution, both for electricity and for heating. In doing this, it makes us much better prepared for the future when climate change needs that we move away from nonrenewable fuel sources and depend on cleaner and lower-cost electricity.If we didn t cut electrical energy use with energy performance, we would pay two times as much to buy that power from a power plant.For more than a years, Vermont has actually been a leader in relying on cleaner and low-cost energy

efficiency. In useful terms, our effectiveness financial investments have prevented constructing brand-new, costly and contaminating nuclear power plant and have reduced the fossil fuels needed to heat our houses. Our reliance on effectiveness also freesliberates energy for new uses such as heat pumps and transportation.Energy effectiveness is simply part of any sensible long-lasting energy strategy.Here are some numbers: In the previous 13 years, electrical effectiveness in Vermont has actually produced savings of more than

12.7 million megawatt hours. That is equal to the power required to supply every home in Vermont
for five years. For 2014,

energy performance fulfilled 13.3 percent of Vermont s electrical supply requirements, a boost over 2013. At the exact same time, electric energy performance in Vermont cut polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 8.7 million metric heaps considering that 2000. That is equivalent to reducing pollution by taking 1.8 million automobiles off the roadway each year.But that is only part of the story. The local New England grid operator acknowledges the clear value of energy efficiency and holds it to high requirements. Vermont is paid about $4 million every year for its electric energy effectiveness contribution to satisfying the region s power real needs. Not only is that money re-invested in Vermont, and reduces fossil fuel use for heating, it lowers electrical power costs for everybody in the region.And in regards to electric transmission, Vermont s investments in energy performance will certainly defer structure over $279 countless new electric transmission lines over the next decade.From ski areas to grocery shopssupermarket, homes and manufacturing, our energy efficiency efforts produce genuine results.

Vermont s companies are not just cleaner businesses, however likewise more competitive. For instance, 75 percent of Vermont ski locations have switched to more efficient snowmaking devices, installing 2,700

new snow weapons that make use of up to 85 percent less energy to operate. That is a savings for all of us.For such a quiet and hardworking resource, it is troubling that it has been captured in a political buzz saw this year. Energy efficiency was taken political captive and cut as part of a new energy expense. All of us understand politics is not pretty. However it is sad when such shenanigans defeat common sense, great policy and sound economics.Rather than benefit this peaceful and hardworking team member, its capability to carry out and deliver cost savings is being cut. Going forward, this means we will certainly all pay more and pollute more.It is time to make sure we rely on the cleanest and lowest expense resources. We need to not leave real savings on the table and need to not let politics elbow out the commongood sense options that benefit all Vermonters.Sandra Levine is a senior attorney with the Conservation Law Structure in Montpelier.


GE Healthcare To Employ 500 In Marlborough

Posted by Thomas on April 25, 2015
Healthcare / Comments Off on GE Healthcare To Employ 500 In Marlborough

The paying for spree is one of the biggest of any life sciences business in the state. The move by GE Health care, a department of commercial corporation General Electric Co., follows those by drug-makers Shire plc, which is moving more than 500 tasks to its Lexington campus, and Baxter International Inc., which is staffing a new biopharmaceutical research center in Cambridge with a minimum of 400 people.

GE Healthcares life sciences business, which offers bioreactors, diagnostic devices, and other equipment made use of in biotech drug manufacturing, is preparing to hire a minimum of 115 more scientists and commercial managers this year. It will likewise move 120 workers to its new structure from 2 existing area operations and 50 to 70 workers from a pair of websites being shut in New Jersey.Were being extremely proactive, stated Eric Roman, the GE Health care Life Sciences site leader who just recently transferred to Massachusetts from the business worldwide life sciences head office in the Uk. We put a plan in location, and we perform on that plan. You work with the finest you can find. And if they don’t meet your requirements, you do not hire them. In addition to the employing

that GE Healthcare had promised in August, Roman said in an interview that it now plans to work with an added 100 employees in between completion of this year and the time the Marlborough site is running at full capacity in 2017.

GE Healthcare plans to start moving its very first workers into the new site this summer.Roman, an American

who has worked for GE outside London for the past three and a half years, is returning to Massachusetts, where he went to Harvard Business School in the late 1990s.

When the business decided to set up its US life sciences center in Massachusetts, a center for biopharmaceutical research study and business, executives looked around Cambridge, the Interstate 495 beltway, and farther west prior to picking Marlborough. The company selected to locate there partially due to the fact that the leasing cost was more affordable and partly since numerous of those from the worker market that GE looked for live between Path 128 and Interstate 495, said Roman.GE Health care

Life Sciences prepares to inhabit about 210,000 square feet, including 40,000 square feet of lab area, in a structure at Marlborough Hills that it will certainly share with Mission Diagnostics, a business that provides clinical lab services.The workplace and

lab complex is one of two structures being refurbished on the 110-acre Marlborough Hills site, which is being gotten by Atlantic Management of Framingham.That mixed-use development will certainly consist of 350 houses and townhouse systems, a Hilton Garden Inn hotel and dining establishment, and retail outlets such as a coffee shopa cafe, a dry cleaner, and a grocery market. Staff members in GEs building, which was developed

by the architectural company Symmes Maini amp; McKee Associates, will certainly also have access to their own cafe and daycare and physical fitness centers.Developer Joe Zink, president of Atlantic Management, stated he expects many of the real estate devices to be leased to young staff members at GE, Quest, or nearby Boston Scientific Corp.The style is live, work, play, and remain, Zink stated. Its among the more quiet big projects going on. The days of being in a workplace building by itself

, without any features and no services, are over. Mixed-use tasks help business draw in and maintain employees.Robert Weisman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.


Steven Weinberg: The 13 Finest Science Books For The General Reader

Posted by Thomas on April 24, 2015
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If you had a chance to ask Aristotle exactly what he believedthought about the concept of composing about physical science for general readers, he would not have actually comprehended exactly what you indicated. All his own writing, on physics and astronomy along with on politics and looks, was easily accessible to any informed Greek of his time. This is not proof so much of Aristotle’s skills as a writer, or of the excellence of Greek education, as it is of the primitive state of Hellenic physical science, which made no efficient use of mathematics. It is mathematics above all that provides a barrier to communication in between professional researchers and the basic informed public. The development of pure mathematics was currently well under way in Aristotle’s day, but its use in science by Plato and the Pythagoreans had actually been childish, and Aristotle himself had little interest in the use of mathematics in science. He perceptively concluded from the appearance of the night sky at different latitudes that the Earth is a sphere, but he did not trouble to use these observations (as could have been done) to calculate the size of our world.