What Wonders Will The Final Month — And Four Orbits — Reveal? [With A Side Of “Resist”]

August 16, 2017 - 3 Responses

Let’s listen in on NASA’s coverage — via an overnight ScienceCast:

And, as a bonus — see last evening’s peaceful, easy resistance in Chicago — at bottom, as 45 doubled down on his support of white supremacists. It all came together in about an hour; and with them, I marched — at least insofar as it led me to my evening movie in the park. Smile. As we await the Southern Baptists’ leadership — for a truly Christian condemnation of white supremacist domestic terrorism and murder — I will offer this, penned from the jail-cell, on scraps of paper — in Birmingham, Alabama in April of 1963 — by Dr. King:

. . . .I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace [and candidate Donald Trump] gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?”

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists. . . .

And here’s a bit, from last evening’s spontaneous, peaceful and upbeat marchers, along Washington Boulevard. . . and turning north, onto State Street — at 6 PM CDT:

[UPDATE: The SBC issued this statement last evening.] Where indeed are the Southern Baptists in denouncing these domestic terrorists? I have given up on our man-child-president. His words are without meaning — as he proves daily that he means none of them, with any permanence.

Onward, just the same — beaming toward an eclipse road trip, later this weekend. . . grin!


I’m Tardy With This: Merck Has Appealed The Gilead Legal Fees Award To The Federal Circuit…

August 15, 2017 - Leave a Response

Just as we said it might (back in December 2016), Kenilworth has now appealed to the Federal Circuit in DC — on the issue of the amount of legal fees awarded to Gilead, as a result of Merck’s former counsel’s “unclean hands“. It happened while I was busy on Friday, past. Here is the notice of appeal, as a three page PDF file.

In addition, recall that Merck has appealed to the Ninth Circuit as to the overall disallowance of the $200 million patent damages award, in California’s Northern District — by the able Judge Labson-Freeman. Finally, these same parties are on appeal in Delaware, from Merck’s $2.54 billion award, against Gilead. Here’s the bit:

. . . .Merck. . . hereby appeal[s] to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from the Order Regarding the Amount of Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees entered in this action on July 14, 2017 (D.I. 489); and any and all adverse rulings (whether oral or written) incorporated in, antecedent to, or ancillary to the Order; and any and all adverse interlocutory orders, judgments, decrees, decisions, rulings, and opinions (whether oral or written) that merged into and became part of the Order, that shaped the Order, that are related to the Order, and upon which the Order is based; including, but not limited to, the Court’s Order Regarding Gilead’s Entitlement to Attorneys’ Fees Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 (D.I. 457), entered on August 11, 2016, and the Court’s Order Awarding Total Amount of Attorney Fees and Staying Enforcement of Orders on Fees and Costs (D.I. 492), entered August 2, 2017. . . .

Now you know. And in truth, I am beaming this morning, and not just because sweet Cassini has survived another ring plunge, skimming the cloud tops of mighty Saturn. . . .

I am beaming, because I think the tide has turned. I think the leaders of some big powerful businesses are finally calling Mr. Trump out for who he is — and what he does (and fails to do). And that will be good for our democracy in the longer, and shorter runs. Though there is sure to be more disruption in that near term — and some of that may be. . . violent. It all starts with Mr. Trump’s abject failure — to lead.

For my part, I am at ease with the notion that Mr. Trump’s manifold failures to lead have now led to protesters pulling down Confederate memorial statues around the nation, of their own volition — when and where they can safely do so. As with civil rights marchers in the 1960s, they will be subject to arrest — and must accept the consequences of taking an unlawful course of action.

All the while, American history is now marching right past this “lost boy” of a non-popularly elected president. He is increasingly. . . irrelevant. And I am smiling about that as well.


KUDOS! The Courage Of Standing For Civil Rights — This Bears Repeating… Well Done, Mr. Frazier!

August 14, 2017 - 9 Responses

UPDATED @ 3 PM EDT — Because Mr. Trump often likes to take credit for the rise in the Dow — I will simply note that after 45’s threats to act against Merck, in retaliation for Mr. Frazier’s courageous stand, this morning. . . Merck’s stock is actually up almost a dollar on the day, on the NYSE. 45’s tweets are increasingly. . . irrelevant. [End, updated portion.]

Small world, that. I have long reported on Mr. Frazier’s charitable work — in freeing an actual innocent, from death row, in Alabama, some years ago (yep — this is a bro-crush!). So it would come as no surprise that he has resigned from 45’s goofy council on manufacturing. [In truth, I have admired him for over 20 years, but blogged on him — for around ten.]

I give him “big ups” for telling Mr. Trump and — directly so — that the primitive in chief’s response to the events in Charlottesville was. . . disgusting. [Click each image to enlarge.]

And of course, surprising no one, the small minded Mr. Trump almost immediately lashed out — by tweet. 45 has thus renewed his threats about pricing on pharmaceuticals. As my lower graphic implies — Mr. Trump is nothing, if not a ham handed opportunist. Perhaps now Mr. Read will take Mr. Frazier’s seat on the administration’s council — though soon enough, he too will be savaged by the primitive in chief.

But let us return to singing full-throated praise — for Mr. Frazier. I had almost held my breath in anticipation this morning, hoping against hope — that he would pull the trigger, and tell 45. . . “enough is enough“. And he just did.

In history’s longer lens, it will almost certainly be a badge of honor, to have been singled out for criticism in a 45 tweet.

I stand with Mr. Frazier — I hope you will too: I hope we will all call the thing by its name: 45 is a white supremacist enabler, by his refusal to specifically repudiate murders occurring in his name.

Well done, Mr. Frazier — this is deep purple hero stuff. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.


Hawaii v. Trump: Ninth Circuit Oral Argument On August 28, 2017 At 5 PM EDT

August 14, 2017 - Leave a Response

This will be a watershed argument — even as it promises to retrace ground already covered. It will also seem like a precursor to the US Supreme Court arguments, on the morning of October 10, 2017.

More of the back-story is here, and some collateral background here — but this is the full order entered on August 9, 2017:

. . . .Before: HAWKINS, GOULD, and PAEZ, Circuit Judges.

This case shall be set for oral argument on Monday, August 28, 2017, at 2:00 pm in Seattle, Washington. . . .

Now you know — this cool, cloudy Monday morning finds me trying to shake off the remark of the organizer of the white supremacy rally (that it seems, by his design, devolved into mayhem) over the weekend — when he claimed a “moral victory” had occurred (who is this monster?), in a press appearance last night.

No sentient, breathing human would call a “car crowd-plowing” domestic terrorism incident, and murder, by one of your own attendees/followers. . . a moral victory.

To the extent Mr. Trump does not denounce this man by his name — a name I won’t ever utter again — he is both complicit in, and responsible for the mayhem these primitives wreak in his name.


Scheduling Order Update — Federal MDL In New Jersey — On Fosamax®

August 14, 2017 - Leave a Response

I am tardy in getting this up. I guess I’m just. . . not feeling it, in truth. Hauntings from the weekend’s hatred and murder do weigh me down, this early morning. [Back- grounders from June 2016, here, and a prior April 2014 one, here.]

Here is the full scheduling order, as a PDF.

It really only affects cases joined to the decade old MDL after July 14, 2017.

Now you know — as a profound sadness dawns here, on Monday. This divisive primitive will never be my president.


Other Than The Prior Update, To Friday’s Post…

August 13, 2017 - Leave a Response

. . .I do not intend to say any more about 45 — and the white supremacy “winks and nods“. When a prominent white supremacy group publicly claims they are (with violence) acting to fulfill Mr. Trump’s “promises” — 45 has a clear duty. . . to disavow these lost souls clearly, and forcefully.

He did no such thing. He is not my President.


As The “Final Five” Saturnian Ring Crossings Get Underway…

August 12, 2017 - Leave a Response

The “Final Five” ring plunges have begun, on this luminous but clear[ing] dawn. . . .

And while we wait for Tuesday, and word that the One Bar of atmosphere above Saturn’s cloud tops — into which Cassini soon dips — hasn’t ripped the antennae off of this twistily-literate, copper hued, unwastedly-graceful and long legged shepherded moon-lette. . . feel free to watch this three minute NASA video — on one of the central goals of the mission:

Now you know. Be excellent to one another — workouts and mountain bike rides — on this clear, cool and breezy Chicago Saturday, now. . .


The Primitive In Chief — Finds Me (Gasp!) Nostalgic For (A Senile) Ronald Reagan…?

August 11, 2017 - Leave a Response

As I hopped on a train, headed to the church to be married, 33 years ago this morning, I heard tell of Mr. Reagan’s “hot mic” NPR moment — which was in the middle of the 1984 presidential election cycle. It was — he later said, at least — a joke. A very poor joke. But one that dominated weeks of news cycles, about whether he was fit to be President.

I could point to the “pussy grab” remark of the analogous time last summer, but really — why bother?

What 45 just said by tweet, on the 33rd anniversary of of Mr. Reagan’s awful gaffe — and what he said, in all seriousness — should be bone-chilling — at least to anyone who thinks he was ever fit for office. North Korea is in no way strategic to US interests, but he wants to blow it up — primarily to distract the public from, and generate cover for, his disaster of a presidency, unfolding day by sad day.

I cannot say that I long for Mr. Reagan — but I can say this man is orders of magnitude more malevolent, and inept.

Just the same, I am buoyed by optimism. . . personally. And, 11 years earlier — do go see the google doodle this morning — for a 1973 milestone, on this day in history — and do watch the sharp animation. I’m out, on a sunny Friday!


Unfortunate Adult Hep B Vaccine News Update: GSK Now Out Of Commission, Too…

August 10, 2017 - Leave a Response

A bit ago, we mentioned that Merck would be stocked out on adult Hep B vaccine, for quite a while. We even speculated that the “Not Petya” hack (locking out critical systems for monitoring batch integrity, entirely) may have been part of the problem, for Merck. But at the time, US CDC was advising that Glaxo could cover the shortfall.

No more. This is disconcerting — but to be expected, in biologics — as I’ve often said, producing a vaccine in quantity — is not unlike baking a perfect souffle — light and airy — but the size of. . . Wyoming. In sum it is very difficult bio-chemistry. That is why CDC always wants two independent sources. But at the moment (per FiercePharma‘s Manufacturing beat), both are unable to deliver viable, good vaccine stock out of the end of the pipe. GSK’s operation is in Belguim; Merck’s is in Durham, North Carolina and Westpoint, if memory serves. Continents apart, but both are stocked out.

Here’s a bit, but do go read it all:

. . . .While GSK has been able to cover for shortages in the past, a spokeswoman said the company is currently dealing with manufacturing issues of its own.

“GSK has a global shortage of hepatitis A, hepatitis B and combination hepatitis A and B vaccines. This is due to reduced manufacturing capacity for hepatitis A and B antigens, which we are working hard to return to normal supply,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The drugmaker said vaccines are produced at a plant in Belgium but wouldn’t say specifically what has caused the manufacturing bottleneck. . . .

This is, in truth, an unfortunate piece of news. And not likely to be fully resolved, before mid-2018. But as ever, onward, just the same. . . we have much for which to be thankful. Now. . . you know.


Okay — So This May Take A Minute… Smile.

August 9, 2017 - 2 Responses

I still think a settlement is in the offing, if for no reason other than it is costing German Merck over $2 million every six months, or over $4 million a year, just to comply with document production requests, in the US.

But as this contentious 11 page letter (jointly filed yesterday, at the New Jersey District Court’s PACER window) — outlining both sides’ positions — indicates, the document delivery portion of the discovery process alone may drag into next year. And US Merck rightly, I think, argues that this gives the German Merck an unfair advantage in other courts, around the globe. Courts where the US Merck is being sued, and must itself turn over all its responsive documents.

In any event, this is a nice long period, well into 2018 — during which the two sides’ lawyers will be in nearly daily contact, and settlement discussions, and agreement drafting could be occurring (in secret) on a parallel time-track. We shall see — but now I don’t expect a Q4 2017 agreed settlement, in light of this turgid letter:

. . . .Defendant has gone to extraordinary lengths to complete its production of documents, but has been unable to meet the current deadline given (1) the hundreds of thousands of documents that Defendant must review to respond to Plaintiffs’ very broad document requests, and (2) the onerous special procedures and requirements which Defendant must observe to comply with its obligations under EU data protection laws. Defendant has engaged over one hundred document reviewers in Europe (plus additional project managers) to complete the review and, as required by EU data protection laws, to redact all personally identifiable information. Unlike reviewing only for responsiveness and potential privilege issues, each reviewer must carefully review every word of every document to identify personal data and then apply the redactions. The process is so timeconsuming that, on average, a single reviewer redacts only 6-8 documents per hour (which was confirmed by a member of the U.S. legal team who flew to Germany to personally perform redactions to better understand the process and the reasons it moves so slowly). Defendant has already expended over $2 million in costs on the review and redactions, a figure likely to double — if not triple — before production is complete. . . .

EU data protection laws require that all of these documents be painstakingly reviewed and redacted to remove all personally identifiable information. There is a limited exception for the personal data of certain individuals, such as the custodians, but even in those cases the documents generally contain names or other personally identifiable information of other individuals that must be redacted. This procedure is set out in the Protective Order, negotiated by the parties and entered by the Court on March 6, 2017. See dkt. entry no. 66. Counsel has met and conferred extensively about the challenges imposed by the EU data protection laws and possible solutions. For example, Defendant has offered to produce the documents in un-redacted form for review in Europe by lawyers in Plaintiffs’ counsel’s European offices. Such a solution would save Defendant millions of dollars and would shave several months off the requested extension. But, unfortunately, the parties have been unable to agree on mutually acceptable parameters for this proposal or others that have been explored. . . .

Now you know — and I can only imagine how exacting. . . those (cough!) German reviewers are being in the faithful discharge of their duties. [That is intended as a cultural compliment, not an insult, BTW.]

And, I am smiling just the same — onward, as an eclipse celebration with my now-grown young ones, and their significant others, along with a road trip gets well organized, here. . . beaming, toward the 21st, in fact, and points southerly. . . .