Bending This Narrative Arc, Back Toward The Infinite… Hubble Finds Ionized Buckyballs [C60+] In Deep Interstellar Space…

June 26, 2019 - Leave a Response

As I write this, we await many important decisions, from the courts, on reining in this near fascist streak in our Executive Branch. That naturally puts me a bit on edge — worrying that it yet could all could go horribly wrong, for the future of our system of ordered liberty. There is plenty already deeply wrong, now — witness the Salvadoran father and baby daughter drowned, simply trying to cross the Rio Grande, to what they hoped would be. . . a better life.

So — let me now draw the focal point of the lens back, out — toward. . . infinity. NASA’s long serving Hubble space telescope has identified a vast store-house of complex carbon molecules, in ionized form, in harsh deep interstellar space. Silently haunting. . . floating “silvery rivers” of them, rippling across hundreds of millions of lightyear expanses. . . of otherwise dark nothingness. This bolsters the hypothesis that our forms of carbon-based life may arise as a pretty common feature, universe-wide. That makes me, for one, smile. Here is the latest:

. . . .[T]his is the first time an electrically charged (ionized) version has been confirmed to be present in the diffuse ISM. The C60 gets ionized when ultraviolet light from stars tears off an electron from the molecule, giving the C60 a positive charge (C60+). “The diffuse ISM was historically considered too harsh and tenuous an environment for appreciable abundances of large molecules to occur,” said Cordiner. “Prior to the detection of C60, the largest known molecules in space were only 12 atoms in size. Our confirmation of C60+ shows just how complex astrochemistry can get, even in the lowest density, most strongly ultraviolet-irradiated environments in the Galaxy. . . .”

Life as we know it is based on carbon-bearing molecules, and this discovery shows complex carbon molecules can form and survive in the harsh environment of interstellar space. “In some ways, life can be thought of as the ultimate in chemical complexity,” said Cordiner. “The presence of C60 unequivocally demonstrates a high level of chemical complexity intrinsic to space environments, and points toward a strong likelihood for other extremely complex, carbon-bearing molecules arising spontaneously in space. . . .”

This is so. . . wonderful: ionized “Buckminsterfullerene“, found in abundance — in deep space. There is hope for us, yet. With Gorsuch now siding more than occasionally with the Notorious RBG in new decisions — I am cautiously hopeful that if Congress cannot, the courts may yet save the unlikely experiment in liberty. . . that is America. Onward.



“No Wall” Funding Litigation Update: In The Oakland (Trial Level) Federal District Court, This Morning…

June 25, 2019 - Leave a Response

The Sierra Club has filed its brief a little early.

It is a very well reasoned 21 pager. The full PDF is available here — but here’s the summary:

. . . .The material facts remain largely unchanged since the Court temporarily enjoined wall construction last month, and Defendants’ position continues to be untenable. Defendants attempt to evade review of their unauthorized transfer and use of Department of Defense (“DoD”) funds by arguing that Sections 284 and 8005 are essentially beyond challenge, as no injured plaintiff may sue to enforce their limits. On the merits, they put forth equally implausible statutory arguments claiming unbounded authority to divert and use military funds for a border wall that Congress specifically denied.

Defendants’ assertion that Congress never “denied” funding for a border wall and that its construction is an “unforeseen military requirement” “runs afoul of the plain language of Section 8005.” PI Order 33. Their reading of Section 284 is similarly strained and, as this Court previously observed, “likely would raise serious questions as to the constitutionality of such an interpretation.” PI Order 39.

Defendants try to sidestep the constitutional concerns that their “massive reallocation of funds” implicates, but their arguments are unavailing “given that Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation” that would have granted the President the funds that he now seeks to unlawfully obtain. . . .

Now you know — and. . . we await an answer [perhaps as early as this evening] on the petition for rehearing in the Ninth Circuit, on the Title X cases.


I Suppose I Should Care [More] About Allergan’s $63 B Bailout This Morning. But. I. Just. Don’t.

June 25, 2019 - 2 Responses

With children living in what amount to filthy Korematsu style [yes, AOC is correct: “concentration“] camps. . . I just want non-patriotic asses — like Brenton Saunders. . . to go away. I’ll likely write nothing new on this $63 billion bailout by Abbvie, of Allergan.

Instead, I will re-run one, from July 2018 — that highlights all that’s wrong with Mr. Saunders’ [an ardent “Fast” Fred Hassan acolyte, he] view of the industry and its public obligations, though — right here:

In a local blog power-alley update — we’ve been covering this case for around two years, and covering Allergan’s CEO for around a decade, since his former role at Schering-Plough, under Fast Fred Hassan. [So this ill-considered evasive move came as no surprise, to us. And now — it has met a bad end — after Allergan spent upwards of $10 million in legal fees, chasing it.]

Just as we predicted — pre-, and post-trial — Brenton Saunders has been shown the gate, on an illogical attempt to transfer Allergan IP to a native peoples’ tribe, in the now vain hope of invoking the doctrine of sovereign immunity generally applicable to that nation, to avoid USPTO inter partes review (and a likely loss of patent rights). That has now occurred anyway.

PhRMA had also written a brief back in January, but it traversed largely unremarkable ground. Now the Federal Circuit panel has found against the nutty Saunders gambit. His transaction had no legitimate commercial purpose, other than to circumvent the US patent laws. It’s a well-reasoned 25 page PDF of an apellate decision — and here’s a bit:

. . . .The Director’s important role as a gatekeeper and the Board’s authority to proceed in the absence of the parties convinces us that the USPTO is acting as the United States in its role as a superior sovereign to reconsider a prior administrative grant and protect the public interest in keeping patent monopolies “within their legitimate scope.” See Cuozzo, 136 S. Ct. at 2144. The United States, through the Director, does “exercise. . . political responsibility” over the decision to proceed with IPR. FMC, 535 U.S. at 764 (quoting Alden, 527 U.S. at 756).

The Tribe may not rely on its immunity to bar such an action. See Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. United States, 698 F.3d 1326, 1331 (11th Cir. 2012) (“Indian tribes may not rely on tribal sovereign immunity to bar a suit by a superior sovereign.”). Because we conclude that tribal sovereign immunity cannot be asserted in IPR, we need not reach the parties’ other arguments. . . .

Longer term readers will recall that Mr. Saunders felt it was “un-American” to expect that US companies should pay. . . wait for it. . . US taxes (even as they purported to invert — as he and Ian Read of Pfizer attempted — and failed, three years ago now).

Travel light — and travel well. I’m out. . . .

“Сделаем Америку снова великой!” Or, if you need a translation from the Russian: “Makз дмзяicа Gязaт дgaiй, Coмяadз.” Thanks Cheetolini.


Of The California Title X Cases: I’ve Neglected Them, With Kids In Cages… No Toothpaste; No Bedding; And No Soap…

June 24, 2019 - Leave a Response

I really don’t have time to fully explain where we stand, on the family planning for people of limited means cases — called Title X cases, in the various west coast federal courts [but on appeal in California], other than to say Trump is trying to end access to family planning for people of limited means.

HHS Secretary Azar is currently enjoined from implementing those changes, but the Ninth Circuit panel has said it may dissolve the injunction if this request for rehearing en banc is not granted — it was filed this afternoon in San Francisco. So we wait likely only until tomorrow or Wednesday, to find out whether the rehearing will occur.

Busy, busy time in the Ninth Circuit, indeed:

. . . .Lastly, with respect to Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success in showing that the Rule violates the purpose of Title X, the motions panel erred in holding that the argument is “foreclosed . . . by the Supreme Court’s contrary finding in Rust.” Add.A24 n.5. In so concluding, the motions panel ignored the fact that Plaintiffs’ claims were not litigated in Rust. Plaintiffs here argue — and the district court found them likely to show — that the Rule would “so rip apart the Title X program, drive away its providers, and reduce low-income patients’ access to quality family planning care that it cannot be squared with” Congress’s purpose in establishing and annually funding Title X. . . .

Now you know. And over 300 children were transferred out of the private prison in Texas today, because of the attention these arguments, and attorneys’ visits are bringing to bear. We must now be certain these children are placed in clean, licensed and appropriate facilities pending release. Tracking them will be the job of the Flores case team. So much moving in so many directions, at once.

Also tonight, the new Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, announced that if Trump tries to restart his ICE “family” raids, next weekend, or over the Fourth (more likely), all public libraries here will be kept open as sanctuary shelters, 24/7 — all weekend, and will not allow ICE entrance to the libraries — backed by local Chicago Police guarding the doors. As I say. . . things are moving pretty quickly now. G’night. . . .


Trying A New Tact, On PSAs — For Arresting Ebola In the Congo… With Dikembe Mutombo — NBA Roundball Great

June 24, 2019 - Leave a Response

Let us return to some real substance, then — and forget the nonsense out of 1600 Penn, of the morning. . . .

Smartly (I think), the CDC [and WHO] have enlisted perhaps the world’s most famous athlete from the Congo, in order to try to garner the trust of urban locals — in working together to arrest the current Ebola outbreak. See below — and I applaud his pro bono efforts here:

There are audio only spots running in country on the radio, as well as these TV and internet video spots — in French — the local language, too. Well-played, big man — well-played.


In Which Ivanka Tweets [Inadvertent] Truths…

June 24, 2019 - Leave a Response

Perhaps it is. . . trivial. But it gave me a moment — to smile. The irony. . . is delicious, just the same.

She is truly. . . a lost soul.

Claims a focus on children’s rights — and on protecting the rights of the incarcerated.

Unless of course they are brown children, who’ve traveled thousands of miles for a better life. Those children should “sleep” on cold concrete, have no soap or toothpaste, and be malnourished. Charming. See image at right; click to enlarge. I’ll switch up my masthead now.

Seriously. Be better, Ivanka-stan and Melania-oma.



[U] In Other News… Merck’s Investor Day: A Resounding Success

June 20, 2019 - One Response

It has been about ten years since Merck hosted an “Investor Day”. And it probably really doesn’t need to, any longer — it is very highly regarded, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, again. In any event, this one went very well.

There are three perfectly good internal candidates to succeed Mr. Frazier when he decides to retire [2022 or beyond]. More importantly, outside the company, there are perhaps two thousand [of the brightest people in the world] who would give their right arm, for a chance at the seat. That’s an enviable position, for this board of directors to be in. I think the board ought to look for someone with as diverse a skill-set, as Mr. Frazier — it certainly will be able to choose anyone it wishes, and get an acceptance. It is my thesis that Mr. Frazier’s diverse experiences. . . in many ways, led Merck to its. . . now legendary resurgence.

I could go on, but Kenilworth is steady state, and well-positioned to lead into the 2030s. . . so I will hush, on that topic now.

Updated — at about 45 minutes into the oral argument, it seems there are two votes (out of three!) to hold Trump cannot ignore Congressional appropriations commands. Trump loses. The Trump lawyer is… getting buried.

As promised, immediately below this will be the live link, for the oral arguments at 5 PM EDT, on the no wall funding case — as it is actually the more newsworthy — and under-covered story of the day:

Onward to tonight.


While We Wait: Yesterday Sarah Fabian Told The Ninth Circuit That “Sanitary and Safe” Means No Toothpaste, Soap, Blankets Or Bed. On Concrete Floors — With Bright 24 Hour Overhead Lighting. No Sleep.

June 20, 2019 - Leave a Response

In the appeal on the most recent Flores settlement, yesterday — on behalf of Donald Trump and William Barr, Sarah Fabian tried to say that the government did not regard it to be a lack of bedding, when forced to spend endless nights on meat locker cold concrete floors with only a foil wrapper — and the bright lights left on 24/7. . . or, in fact, as anything worthy of the courts’ attention.

I have cued up the video, at 24:20 in, so you may hear it for yourself as she argues “sanitary” does not require the provision of soap or toothpaste, either.

Yes — for Ms. Fabian, Mr. Barr and Trump — the cruelty is, in fact, the point:

Later in the argument, the panel suggested she should go back and rethink whether she shouldn’t just drop her appeal. They are going to rule her clients have willfully violated the settlement.

And we the taxpayers [correctly, as a matter of law] are [eventually] highly likely to end up paying all these victims substantial damages, for that willful violation.

Thanks, Donald. Onward, to the wall funding argument, tonight at 5 PM EDT.


The Ninth Circuit Intends To “Get VERY Granular” Tomorrow, At Oral Argument — On Trump’s Adderwall® [No] Funding…

June 19, 2019 - Leave a Response

I think this last minute order suggests an exceedingly favorable omen, toward preserving the injunction against Trump’s attempted Adderwall®slush fund spending” — in direct derogation of two separate Congressional commands, on the subject. [See the suggestion of a “Constitutional” question, below.]

But we shall — as ever — see. I’ll likely link [in a video-window fashion] to the Ninth Circuit’s live-feed of oral argument; watch for it here, tomorrow — late in the day on the East Coast [5 PM EDT; 4 PM CST; 2 PM PDT]:

. . . .At oral argument [tomorrow] on Thursday, June 20, the parties shall be prepared to discuss whether, if the reprogramming of funds did not comport with section 8005, Plaintiffs’ cause of action is properly understood as an equitable cause of action to enjoin a constitutional violation (e.g., a violation of the Appropriations Clause of Article I or an executive action that exceeds powers granted in Article II), a statutory cause of action, or both. Additionally, the parties shall be prepared to discuss whether there is a zone of interests requirement for the proper cause or causes of action. Finally, the parties should be prepared to discuss whether this is a political question of a sort that is not justiciable. . . .

Pop the popcorn — me? I foresee some tangerine-hued hind-parts, of a wanna-be Mussolini — completely charred, to a crisp — tomorrow. Onward.


With All The Ugly Divisive Hate Being Spewed In Orlando, Tonight — Let’s Offer… A Counter-Measure.

June 18, 2019 - Leave a Response

Sometimes — just a lil’ positive energy… changes things. The whole nine minute segment explains what is still best, about America. [It never needed to be made “great, again.”]

This is the America I love — not the place Trump imagines — not a place where kids are held in cages.

Please — just watch as Terry Crews shows us what happens. . . when we BELIEVE in our children [get the Kleenex — you’ll need it]:

G’night to all, all who still believe America is better than his politics — his politics of. . . division.