[U] Reaffirming Bedrock Constitutional Principles, In The Face Of An Onslaught, By A Despot…

June 8, 2018 - Leave a Response

In Manhattan, the able USDC Judge Kimba Wood just ruled that Trump and his bagman/lawyer Cohen cannot preemptively seal (and file solely ex parte), all their respective objections to the contents of the lawyer’s office, previously seized by validly issued search warrants.

That is plain bedrock black letter law, for over 100 years, and the letter from lawyers for press agencies, is exactly why. Read it all here — but a bit is quoted below:

. . . .The public’s right of access here cannot be overstated. As Your Honor is aware, the President of the United States’ personal lawyer was the subject of a no-knock search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that led to the seizure of numerous documents. The issues in this case are of intense public interest and importance to our nation and have been the subject of headline news. Now that President Trump and Mr. Cohen are challenging whether certain of these documents may be turned over to government investigators, the public has a right to know what they assert are the bounds of the attorney-client privilege. The public has a right to understand the nature of the objections that Cohen and Trump assert to disclosure and why. The public has a right to know the legal arguments being advanced by the parties. And ultimately, the public has a right to know what categories of documents this Court determines should remain privileged and why. Stated simply, maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice in this case is paramount.While the News Organizations do not dispute at this time that preserving the confidentiality of attorney-client communications may amount to a compelling interest that overcomes the public right of access, the Court must still find a narrowly tailored means to serve that interest. Press Enterprise, 464 U.S. at 510. The government’s position as articulated in its June 7, 2018 letter strikes the correct balance between Cohen’s and Trump’s interest in upholding the attorney-client privilege and in the public’s interest in upholding the right of access.

By contrast, Cohen’s and Trump’s request is extraordinary. They claim that the wholesale sealing and ex parte treatment of all objections to the Special Master’s Recommendations or other submissions made pursuant to the Court’s May 31, 2018 Amended Order is necessary to prevent disclosure of allegedly privileged material. They take the needlessly overbroad position that anything revealing “matters pertaining to privilege” – which includes their legal arguments as to why particular documents or categories of documents are entitled to the privilege – must be cloaked in a veil of secrecy. Such a broad sealing order would go far beyond what is necessary to preserve any privilege, and plainly is not consistent with the law. See, e.g., E.E.O.C. v. Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, 2012 WL 691545, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2012) (recognizing that “any request for sealing must be narrowly tailored to achieve its aim of preserving the higher value at issue,” and finding “wholesale sealing of the Judicial Documents is unnecessary”). . . .

Oh — and this afternoon, Mr. Mueller has upped his Trump-related indicted people count to. . . 20. Prodigious!

Onward, then to a glorious weekend — with Dennis Rodman set to attend/chair(?) the North Korea/45 meetings, I have renewed hope — hope that all of 45’s life will be seen for the farce that it is. Be excellent to one another. Time to go pick up those Carolina Blue on White Nike Rodman Shakes (re-issued under the name “Ndestrukt“). Smile. . . .



Merck Eyes Brexit Contingency Planning; 93 Million DNA User Account Credentials In The Wild…

June 6, 2018 - Leave a Response

There has been some chatter in the press about Merck, in spots around the EU, needing to reconfigure some supply lines, and have customers temporarily stock additional inventory, should its life-saving cargo be delayed for additional border crossing documentation, once Britain completes its exit from the EU free trade zone. [Last year’s Brexit backgrounder, may be found here. It links to the year prior as well.]

I don’t expect it to amount to much, but I note it — primarily to keep a complete record. Here’s a bit, from a typical story:

. . . .Merck’s contingency plans, outlined in a May report, include factoring in as much as two extra days of travel on routes between U.K. and EU destinations to allow for delays caused by document checks, according to the person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Merck, based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, is also looking at adding about 30 employees at its Haarlem, Netherlands, facility to cope with regulatory demands, according to the person. . . .

Merck has estimated that some $75 million will be the tab, in added expense, to meet the Brexit shipping/documentary requirements. A pittance to Mother Merck, candidly. And my Dutch friends may see some additional jobs, as a result. Smile.

Separately, it seems a competitor to 23andMe had to confess this week that as many as 92 million account credentials were found in the wild — that’s troubling, but not the same as the sequencing results being made public directly, to be sure. Do diligently guard your genome, folks — use the robustly-protected 23andMe platform — if you use anything at all. Onward, on a glorious June morning!


MRK Crowned Boss Of Immuno-Oncology… 45, OTOH? Nope. “No Crown” Edition.

June 3, 2018 - 2 Responses

Part of the reason I will likely post here less frequently is that Merck’s pembrolizumab is doing so well in a wide array of tumors and cancers (the current ASCO posters in Chicago confirm this conclusion) which means Merck may easily chart its own course (or write its own ticket, with these vast cash flows) for the next three to five years, minimum. Equally important, Kenilworth is in the hands of a world class leader — one Kenneth Frazier. It will thrive.

Now, switching gears to where my attention has been drawn: with the NYT release of the Trump legal team’s purple comic sans typeset 20 page position statement, I must make one observation about this claim (forgetting for a moment that we fought a bloody war against British rule over just these issues):

Ahem. (Yes — that is the typeface Mr. Dowd uses, at left. Priceless.) The founders of our nation (regardless of their other frailties and all-too-human faults) took great pains to write an impassioned declaration of independence, and then a full constitution. They did so, almost singularly, to evince the shared sense that we (as in “we the people“) would never again be ruled by a. . . KING.

Here Mr. Trump’s plainly be-clowned lawyers argue in essence that the founders and the declaration, and the constitution. . . were. . . simply suggestions (or worse, misguided jokes). Put to one side that these lawyers cite the wrong statute; that they ignore facts pointing to Mr. Trump’s culpability and that they are being paid to lie.

Any sentient American will — without needing to parse any byzantine language — come to the conclusion that only KINGS may pardon themselves for crimes; that only KINGS may claim a power of consent over which criminal investigations into their own conduct may be broached (or prematurely terminated). . . and we, the people summarily and forever banished kingships here, circa 1776.

To call 45’s lawyers’ claims specious is to under-define them. They are breath-taking in the scope of the lies they embed, about our nation — our republic — and our shared sense of ordered liberty. We are a nation of laws, not men.

And here endeth any legitimate claim Mr. Trump had to being a steward of this great nation’s history — direct from the clown-type-font of his own lawyers (i.e., by his own admissions).

Time to swim and bike!


[U] Health Mobilization Teams Are Following Over 900 Contacts In DRC 2018 Ebola Outbreak…

June 1, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED — 06.07.2018 @ 10 AM EDT: Wisely, the Trump Administration has decided to reverse the funding cut of $252 million it earlier ordered, related to Ebola outbreak funding. End, update.

Updating now what we know, so far. . . since about May 20, 2018, no new deaths have been reported, and no new confirmed cases of Ebola in Mbandaka, the riverport city of over one million souls.

That’s all good news — but probably another 1,000 to 2,000 are yet to be vaccinated — as contacts of contacts. From the World Health Organization’s latest situation report, then:

. . . .On 28 May 2018, the Minister of Health launched the ring EVD vaccination exercise in Bikoro and Iboko Health Zones. Since the launch of the vaccination exercise on 21 May 2018, a total of 426 people have been vaccinated. The targets for belt vaccination are front-line health professionals, people who have been exposed to confirmed EVD cases and contacts of these contacts. . . .

Now you know — but this may be my last post here, for a few weeks — I have other priorities now (related to 2018 mid-term politics). See my other properties. Travel well; travel light. . . smile often.


I May Just Close This Blog Off — Right Here. नमस्ते Travel Light.

May 20, 2018 - Leave a Response


[U X2] We Await Word, Now — On Whether WHO Has Declared 2018 DRC Ebola Outbreak “Of International Concern”…

May 18, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED — 06.07.2018 @ 10 AM EDT: Wisely, the Trump Administration has decided to reverse the funding cut of $252 million it earlier ordered, related to Ebola outbreak funding. End, update.

The WHO body responsible for making the determination — as to whether the outbreak should be upgraded from a “regional” concern, to an international one — based on the two cases inside the riverport city of Mbandaka. . . is meeting as I type this.

We should know in a few hours. An upgrade would release additional NGO and EU funding — but the US is largely on the sidelines on this one (either way), due to Mr. Trump’s early 2018 cuts at CDC (for international pandemic responses) and last week’s singularly ill-timed cuts to Ebola aid, generally (eliminated $250 million).

Even so — we will remain hopeful — that the vaccine is now quickly, and widely, deployed — in the riverport city of over a million souls. Onward, on a clear cool Friday. . . let’s be better to one another. . . than our president is. Much better.

UPDATED: at days end, the WHO officials have decided (for now) they will not escalate the 2018 Congo outbreak’s designation, as it hasn’t crossed a geopolitical border as yet.


Nuvaring® MDL Close-Out Mechanics — Status Call In Federal Court In Missouri Underway Now….

May 17, 2018 - Leave a Response

Slowly. . . but surely, this $100 million settlement is winding its way down.

Here is the complete agenda as a three page PDF, and a bit:

. . . .1. Next group of cases for remand.

2. Anticipated motions to dismiss by Defendants for certain pending cases in which Plaintiffs have not provided discovery.

3. Plaintiffs’ request for updated Periodic Adverse Drug Experience Reports submitted to the FDA. . . .

Of these, Item 3 is potentially the most interesting, depending on what might be disclosed, in those subsequent adverse event reports, to date in 2018. Now you know.

Off to the food trucks — under sunny skies: lobster rolls and tomato bisque with cilantro for lunch now! [All with beautiful, twisting copper-torso visions — of exactly four years ago, this week. . . and a “Divergent” Wednesday matinee — complete with changing room antics — pulsing through my mind, and soul. . . smile.]


[U X3] Significantly Disconcerting Ebola News, Out Of Mbandaka, DRC: One New Viral Case, Inside A City Of 1.2 Million People

May 17, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED — 06.07.2018 @ 10 AM EDT: Wisely, the Trump Administration has decided to reverse the funding cut of $252 million it earlier ordered, related to Ebola outbreak funding. End, update.

UPDATED 05.15.2018 @ 2 PM EDT — in one rather hopeful sign here over lunch, the NYT is reporting this afternoon that the two cases inside the city are a pair of brothers who earlier attened a funeral in Bikoro — thus making it likely that this is all one transmission chain, out of Bikoro, and not a separate (previously undetected line) originating inside the city of 1.2 million — a city that is a river-port and transportation hub. That is good news. Still, this all could rapidly become an international pandemic, if every contact of every contact is not ring-vaccinated essentially immediately. [End, updated portion.]

This is not intended to unduly alarm people, but thus far — in the main — ebola outbreaks have been confined to remote rural areas, and small villages.

This May 2018 DRC outbreak may be regarded, as we look back some years from now, as a “game changer” — in the words of Dr. Peter Salama, a WHO official presently leading the emergency response efforts.

You see, there is now a confirmed case of Ebola — the highly contagious, ruthlessly lethal virus (more than half of those who contract it will die of it) — inside a Congolese riverport city of over 1.2 million people. From the WHO update, of earlier this morning, local time:

. . . .One new case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo. . . .

“This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus. . . .”

It is true that WHO (thanks in no small part to the efforts of Merck, NewLink and the Public Health Agency of Canada governmental research labs) is in a much better state of preparedness.

Specifically, we do have Merck’s rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine stock available, at the ready for overnight flight shipping — but this could get seriously out of hand — and quite rapidly so. Keep a good thought — that Trump’s karmic deficits don’t cause any more loss of life, or additional suffering inside Mbandaka, Wangata, DRC. Onward, now. . . on, to the morning trains.


Status Update, On Propecia®/ Proscar® Settlement Next Week; Final Dismissal Lists By August 15, 2018

May 16, 2018 - One Response

Our latest copper colored, fleet-of-foot visitor has twisted by — orbit bent, only slightly — and completely harmlessly so, overnight. So. . . it is back to regular fare, here.

By next Tuesday, we should know how much progress has been made on the finasteride MDL/ MCL settlement mechanics, by way of a jointly-filed letter update, from the two sides’ legal teams. [My recent backgrounder on the settlement may be found, here.]

The below is the full text of the able judge’s overnight order:

. . . .The parties are to provide a joint update by 5/22/2018 describing the progress of the Settlement Program and confirming that they will advise the Court by 8/15/2018 which claims can be dismissed.

Ordered by Judge Brian M. Cogan on 5/15/2018. . . .

Now you know. And. . . onward, on an otherwise fine morning — but one that sees Trump for the unsophisticated, primitively-naive rube (ignorant of history) he is — now being easily manipulated for the world to watch, by a North Korean crackpot dictator (and to a lesser extent, by his son-in-law, in carving up the Kushner family spoils, from the move to Jerusalem). Once again, like the ZTE-China-Indonesia Trump Resort deal — clearly, corrupt emoluments are. . . in process. Sad!

More hopefully, though — I might add that after listening to the full audio feed of the Ninth Circuit’s DACA II oral arguments late last night, I am increasingly comfortable that 45’s attempt to pull the rug out from under young people who relied to their detriment on it. . . will fail. Onward, then — as a new day opens, before us — full of possibilities.


[U] Some Lighter Fare: Interstellar Space Science — And… Another “Sorta’ Close Shave”, This Evening?

May 15, 2018 - Leave a Response

At around 6 PM EDT this evening, a football field sized rock will whiz by, at 28,000 miles an hour — passing fairly close, inside the orbital distance between the Earth and her moon. [There is just too much hatred — in the hard news stories, of this day. . . . so we will shift to celestial poetry, and ancient mountain canyons echoing the same, in their running waters.]

It is absolutely no existential threat, and may truthfully only be seen with a mid-range (or better) telescope, and then, only if the skies are clear tonight — and one knows exactly where in the sky to. . . look. Even so, I am already hearing the echoes of silvery words, writ in water. . . . of shepherded moons:

. . . .Like many. . . in [the high Rockies,] where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start [river rafting] until the cool of the evening.

Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the [headwaters of the Arkansas] River and a four-count [oarsmen’s] rhythm and the hope that a trout will rise [not too far ahead of the bow, shimmering in the rose light].

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are [mine, to you]. . . .

—Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It (1976)

This rock, called Asteroid 2010 WC9 — like me — poses no even remotely plausible existential threat to anyone’s family, or life, on Earth. Now you know. And, some of those words are mine, to you. . . . working from home this fine Tuesday. Smile — baby duty early, today. [To burn at a distance, or to freeze. . . nearby?]