Over A Million People Turn Out, Nationwide — Women’s March 2.0

January 20, 2018 - Leave a Response

Here in the City of Big Shoulders, the local turnout total was reliably estimated at 50,000 stronger than last year’s march — hitting 300,000. And unsurprisingly, almost all were chanting that 45. . . has to go:

That (above) is reality, in near real time — in stark contrast to Trump’s trolling tweets of this afternoon. Onward.

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This “president” Is Incapable Of Understanding The Factions Of His Own Party…

January 20, 2018 - Leave a Response

#TrumpShutdown — that’s the No. 1 trending hashtag — worldwide, this morning.

45 is either too lazy to spend the time listening, to resolve (or more ominously, is mentally incapable of understanding) the divisions within his own GOP. Thus, a shutdown occurs.

Need more proof? Mr. Trump could not even get all his GOP Senators to vote for the measure the House put forward. It was doomed from the start, as there were defections in the GOP ranks — in the Senate last night. So it will be, until some adult works out the differences inside the GOP’s hard right, and more moderate, wings.

Note: this is the first time in American history that a shutdown has occurred when a single party held all three: the White House, the Senate. . . and the US House.

And any nonsense you read (from Fox, for example) about this being a fault in Democratic Party. . . is just that: nonsense. The Democrats have made reasonable offers of compromise, over and over. The various factions of the GOP have rebuffed them. And DACA has the backing of 65 per cent of registered voters. Trump has effectively said no to DACA, and to CHIP — which enjoys a 70 per cent favorable rating, among similarly registered voters. Trump and his GOP apologists will reap the whirlwind in November 2018. Trust that.

Time to catch a train — to march. Be excellent to one another. Out.

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Please, Let Me Remind You — Of About 17 Days — In Late October of 2013…

January 19, 2018 - 2 Responses

. . .for months and months before, and for some 17 days, post — when the GOP only controlled the House. The Senate and The Presidency were. . . in Democratic hands.

But then Reps. Lee, Rubio and Cruz were hell-bent on forcing yet another ACA (doomed) repeal vote. So those three — unopposed by the GOP House Majority Whip (Boehner) — blocked the Democrat-led federal budget continuation measure.

Charming. The standoff lasted about 18 days, if (unaided) memory serves.

Fast forward — about four and a half years. . . the GOP nominally controls the Senate, the House and the White House. All three.

And here we are again, but this time, the GOP has taken itself hostage. Mr. Trump will allow the party he controls to. . . hold a Senate vote that would say that our wounded war vets shouldn’t get treatment, at VA hospitals, and kids shouldn’t receive their Early Head Start lunches, and federal Marshals should stop chasing bad guys. . . . and NASA should stop scouring space for life. . . um. . . why, exactly?

I. Can’t. Even. Breathe. Dude. . . .

And so, along with a likely few hundred thousand others, in Chicago tomorrow at midday, I’ll once again take to the streets, to march — as I did exactly one year ago — at the Women’s March (forecast to be another bright, sunny morning!) — regardless of whether the federal government shutdown occurs. Mr. Trump has turned out to be worse than a “reality show TV” president. Nope. My prediction there was not even close. . . not nearly depraved enough.

Now he is the pornstar-payoff-president — and DACA denier, and Muslim banner. If that weren’t enough — he’s also a “Call of Duty” (only) fighter jet delivery-boy. . . and as of this week — he’s ALSO the. . . Haitian Hater; and as of this morning: the “I control ALL women’s bodies” president. So take to the streets, peaceably, people — and be seen. . . Smile; you know I will. . . .

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[U] The Jeff Sessions/Donald Trump Cert. Petition Is Fairly-Riddled With Glaring Errors Of Law…

January 18, 2018 - Leave a Response

As expected, this evening, Jeff “Beauregard” Sessions filed his request to have the Supremes immediately review the able District Court Judge Alsup’s preliminary injunction (out of Northern California). That injunction essentially keeps existing DACA-program young people in status quo, and undisturbed, until a final appeal on the merits is decided.

Weighing in at 173 pages, it is. . . turgid.

In fairness, only the first 33 pages are new; the rest of it represents appendices containing the decisions below — and collateral materials. I will bet that the Supremes (holding their last in-chambers conference tomorrow, before the court’s winter recess) will deny review, and allow the Ninth Circuit to weigh in — in due course. But I do not expect they will decide that tomorrow. Tomorrow, I expect the Supremes will decide to take the Muslim Ban 3.0 case on appeal from the Ninth Circuit (yet again) — even without the Fourth Circuit’s formal opinion having issued — yet.

Updated — Friday evening: the Supremes just granted cert., again, in Muslim Ban 3.0 — out of Hawaii. See third comment on this post, at the main blog, for more. [End update.]

But that — as they say — is a horse of another color. All of them are, in my opinion though, manifestations of what the editorial page of The Washington Post tonight called the id — “of the angry man-child” now taking his residence, such as it is — at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I am sorry that his intransigence has likely led to a temporary shutdown — tomorrow night. But never before in history has one party controlled both halls of Congress, and the White House — and been unable to pass a budget. Their OWN GOP budget.

That is the ignominious first that the GOP has set here tonight — with this “porn-star-pay-off-president” leading them. [Forget the “alleged“, there. It is a matter of public record, now.] G’night — and may Saturday be better than Friday is likely shaping up to be. I’ll smile, just the same — with a sweet baby sleepover Saturday night — pending. . . .

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[U] Ahem — Of The Fairly Preposterous Patent “Evergreening” Gambit Undertaken By Brent Saunders — An Update.

January 18, 2018 - 6 Responses

It seems Mr. Saunders has been able to convince his fellow pharma interest-holders at PhRMA to weigh in on the Mohawk license of IP “strategy” — now on appeal, from the US District Court in Eastern Texas, to the federal Circuit, sitting in DC — after the very able Judge William C. Bryson all but called it a scam.

I will have more, once PhRMA’s amicus brief is available to the public (it hasn’t been distributed to the appellate panel yet) — but it will likely read a lot like this one, from about a year ago — in another case. And a bit, from the earlier trial level motions — seeking an end to the Mohawk Tribe license gambit:

As I’ve said before, I do favor strong IP protections for true innovators — but I do not favor perpetual monopolies. And that seems to be where Mr. Saunders’ Allergan filings are headed. [More of my background, on this spat, here.]

. . . .This transaction was not a genuine purchase of intellectual property by the Tribe. Rather, Allergan paid for the use of the Tribe’s sovereign immunity to thwart the parallel inter partes reviews (“IPRs”) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). Allergan admitted as much in its October 10 filing with the Court conceding that the alleged “consideration” provided by the Tribe was nothing more than the Tribe’s promise not to waive its sovereign immunity in the IPR proceedings. Thus, there has been no real change in ownership — just a maneuver to derail the PTAB’s ongoing review of Allergan’s patents. . . .

The sham nature of the transaction with the Tribe is further underscored by the fact that the Tribe did not pay Allergan a cent for the patents claiming Restasis, which generated $1.4 billion in 2016 sales, or $4 million dollars a day. Instead, it was Allergan who paid the Tribe $13.75 million up-front to take faux title to the Restasis patents. . . .

Now you know — and we will update when we have PhRMA’s actual brief in this appeal available to us.

UPDATED: the brief remains unavailable to the public, even now — on Thursday evening — after the distribution to the panel. If this persists tomorrow, we will send a New York Times style letter asking after the first amendment right of the people to know the positions of law advocated before the court, by special interest groups like PhRMA. That letter will prevail.

Onward, even as the January ice, of yet another new year presents. . . new opportunities — and new potentials, for renewed. . . friendships, Dante. . . . Smile. . . .

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Following Apple, Do Expect More Of This — From Most Life Science Behemoths…

January 17, 2018 - Leave a Response

We have followed this particular narrative for a solid decade, here. So — I mention it only briefly, not because it is minor — it is major — but I have other commitments tonight. . . .

I will return to it soon, as pharmaceuticals, bio-science and technology companies, among others, make similar moves — because one thing the otherwise awful “tax package” may do. . . is spur the return of parked overseas cash, by the largest public US companies, by market cap.

I will have more, and soon — as I expect Merck, Pfizer, Amgen and others will make a similar series of moves — though not remotely on this scale. Apple holds some $320 billion in overseas cash — while Merck and Pfizer are each under $100 billion. Overall, it is reliably estimated that some $3.1 TRILLION is parked outside the US — in similar fashion.

That’s some pretty pennies, there Corporate America. Still — I am ambivalent about whether we have priced the return tax too cheaply — too favorably, to big international businesses, given all the other rate cuts for them in that package. Here’s Bloomberg, on it all, tonight:

. . . .Apple said it will bring hundreds of billions of overseas dollars back to the U.S., pay about $38 billion in taxes on the money and spend tens of billions on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centers in the coming years.

The iPhone maker plans capital expenditures of $30 billion in the U.S. over five years and will create 20,000 new jobs at existing sites and a new campus it intends to open, the Cupertino, California-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Apple’s shares rose 1.7 percent to a record closing price of $179.10 in New York.

“We are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in the statement, which alluded to unspecified plans by the company to accelerate education programs.

Apple also told employees Wednesday that it’s issuing stock-based bonuses worth $2,500 each following the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter. . . .

And for Apple’s relatively high-earning general rank and file, the $2,500 each isn’t really much scratch — though it will be taxed as capital gain on sale of the stock — saving them a bit at the IRS 1040 window.

That said, getting $38 billion into the US Treasury general fund — “without a shot fired” — is always a good thing.

As I say, expect much more of this in the coming weeks. But this is no credit to 45 — it is a credit to tax lobbyists, in the halls of Congress. Now you know — it is highly likely that 45 doesn’t even understand it (but he certain to crow that it was ALL his doing). Keep it spinning in good karma. . . as it is black tie season here. I’m out!

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The “Tide Pod Challenge”: And Of “Off-Target” Effects — In Teenagers’ Throats…

January 17, 2018 - Leave a Response

39 “poison incidents” handled in the first 15 days of 2018, here in the US. I feel a bit silly even typing this. And, in truth, a bit like a grumpy old guy for making an entire post of this — but I gather it needs to be repeated. The so-called “Tide Pod Challenge” is stupid — and dangerous.

Stupid kids do. . . stupid things. This one could get them killed, so I’ll not link to any YouTube video purporting to show the stunt. The meme is to snapchat oneself whilst chewing up a Tide-Pod (or similar). Foaming at the mouth is (I gather) the hoped-for visual effect. Seizures, respiratory distress, loss of consciousness, and burns to the esophagus are among the more common ACTUAL “off-target” effects. [1,4 Dioxane is great for getting your clothes bright and clean, diluted in about three gallons of water — but is potentially lethal when ingested in concentrated doses.]

Of course, there is no reason to ingest concentrated laundry detergent — so all effects are “off-target“. The molecule at right, an acid called 1,4 Dioxane is in the pods in significant concentrations, and will burn the throat lining, the esophagus and the lungs, if aspirated. [Martin Shkreli recently endorsed the meme (from his Brooklyn jail cell) through a surrogate — on Facebook. He has given an acolyte access to his FB account, apparently. Charming.]

Also of course, Tide Pods are completely safe in your washing machine — just not. . . your mouth.

From the American Association of Poison Control Centers — a presser, dated yesterday:

. . . .According to AAPCC data, in 2016 and 2017, poison control centers handled thirty-nine and fifty-three cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among thirteen to nineteen year olds. In the first fifteen days of 2018 alone, centers have already handled thirty-nine such intentional cases among the same age demographic. Ingestion accounted for ninety-one percent of these reported exposures.

“The ‘laundry packet challenge’ is neither funny nor without serious health implications,” said Stephen Kaminski, JD, AAPCC’s CEO and Executive Director. “The intentional misuse of these products poses a real threat to the health of individuals. We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded.”

The resulting health implications from misuse can be serious. Known potential effects include seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death. . . .

Now, maybe this is a good extra-credit lesson, for the regular track and AP level chem classes in our public high schools: a lesson delving into what these acids do to mucous lined internal tissues. All that would be needed would be any mammalian cadaver (throat parts, and lungs, essentially). . . as I’ve long held that nothing teaches like. . . seeing it, live. Here endeth my sermon. Do get out and enjoy the clear cold weather outdoors — I know I will!!

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[U] Yawn. Any Final Decision Will Be Months Away — But Trump Is Taking Appeals On Two Fronts, On DACA Injunction…

January 16, 2018 - Leave a Response

I promised yesterday, early in the morning (actually, very late on Sunday night, truth told) to keep an eye on the DACA advice I’ve given.

Mr. Trump’s moves today. . . do not change that advice. If you are due to renew — go renew.

45’s lawyers said this afternoon, that in addition to the appeal they’ve made to the Ninth Circuit (good luck with that, boys!), Mr. Trump will also take a so-called interlocutory direct appeal/petition to the US Supreme Court.

Y A W N. . . .

My recommendation stands. [Significantly, the administration’s lawyers did not seek a stay of the injunction from either reviewing court, so the current iteration of DACA will be the law, for at least three more months, minimum.]

Get in and renew — prevent any lapse from occurring, and you will have a continuing (arguable) property-, and absolutely clear liberty- interest, by timely preserving your status, on your deferral papers.

In sum — march onward, dreamers — free of fear. At the moment, it is “snowy, dark and deep” out there, but in the courtroom (Supreme or otherwise) it is not the loudest voice that matters — it is the Constitution. And you will be in good stead. The deferral was shored up in 2012 and 2014, by an excellent (if former) Constitutional Law professor from the University of Chicago. His name? Barack Obama. 45 — meet your betters — in every imaginable way — meet. . . 44.

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Kenilworth Continues To Post Nice Keytruda® Clinical Data: This Time In Lung Cancers…

January 16, 2018 - Leave a Response

Along with the new Keynote-189 top line details, I’ve re-published my own guess at Q4 2017 sales for pembrolizumab.

This is very good news for Merck, and consequently, the stock is up nicely, in the NASDAQ pre-market trading. Here’s the presser:

. . . .Merck today announced that the pivotal Phase 3 KEYNOTE-189 trial investigating KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta®) and cisplatin or carboplatin, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), met its dual primary endpoints of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Based on an interim analysis conducted by the independent Data Monitoring Committee, treatment with KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy resulted in significantly longer OS and PFS than pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy alone. The safety profile of KEYTRUDA in this combination was consistent with that previously observed.

Results from KEYNOTE-189 will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and submitted to regulatory authorities. . . .

Oh. And I cannot resist: Riot Blockchain is off another 12 percent early this morning, on the NASDAQ. Hilarious.

Oddly, I was all done shoveling an hour ago — but suddenly — a solid white-out with sideways blasts is blowing through. . . should be a new few inches. So it goes. And we feature an ice-shelf on the main site’s masthead this early morning, in keeping with how much of the middle of the nation is feeling. Smile. Onward.

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“Somewhere, I Read…” [and he was shot dead — the next morning…] Yet His Dream Lives On, In Each Of Us…

January 15, 2018 - Leave a Response

Nothing else need be said. Go — be of service to your fellow humans this day — and every day, hence.

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