[U] First Ninth Circuit Brief Due Today In Seattle: On 45’s Ill-Starred Muslim Ban 3.0

October 31, 2017 - Leave a Response

UPDATED @ 2 PM EDT 0n 11.01.2017: Here is the first brief (33 pages of “PDF-ey” goodness) from the State of Hawaii. Enjoy. End, update.

We will provide a full PDF version of it, as it arrives — with near live analysis.

Here’s the full schedule, as ordered:

. . . .The parties’ emergency motion to expedite the briefing of the emergency stay motion and the briefing of this preliminary injunction appeal is granted. . . .

The opposition to the emergency motion for stay is due October 31, 2017. The reply in support of the motion is due November 2, 2017. The opening brief is due November 2, 2017; the answering brief is due November 18, 2017; and the optional reply brief is due November 29, 2017. . . .

The briefing schedule for this appeal is amended to reflect that any amicus brief is due November 22, 2017.

Oral argument will take place on December 6, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. PST in Seattle, Washington. Each side will be allocated 30 minutes of time. . . .

Now, in the spirit of the (long since departed) teachings from my youth — as to all souls’ eve: Be better than you really ought to be — to those you who might least expect. . . . you to be so. . . .



“Uh-huh.” Gen. John Kelly Thinks “Lack of Compromise” Caused The Civil War…

October 31, 2017 - Leave a Response

Let us take Gen. Kelly at his word. I might quibble with the premise — but let’s not.

If we agree with his premise — it is childs’ play to prove his reasoning specious.

I would do so by asking the Chief of Staff for 45, a man with an otherwise (up until 2017) distinguished record — what sort of “compromise” would have been appropriate, to stave off that war — on Mr. Lincoln’s side?

What compromise should be made when humans sell other humans into bondage? It seems 3/5ths was a less than sensible answer, right Gen. Kelly?

I am going to rerun an only marginally-relevant graphic here. I’ll not make a new one. Gen. Kelly’s feckless nonsense is self-deflating. [“Verily, the dim employ the dim — a man may be by his chief of staff known.” — Douglas William Jerrold said essentially the opposite of course, of a man and his lawyer — but credit where credit is due, right? Right.]

There can be no “compromise” on slavery. He is thus clueless. So I will invest no more pixel-wrangling in it — or him.

Happy trick-or-treating, to all of good will. Busy day ahead — here at pale gray dawn. Onward.


[U] Let Me Say It Clearly, If In Passing: Merck Is Over-Sold, Here — Down 10% Makes No Sense.

October 30, 2017 - Leave a Response

Several outlets wrote truthfully, but incompletely (in my view, at least) today (whilst I was busily dissecting — and enjoying every bit of — the manifold early Christmas presents embedded in plea agreements and indictments) that Kenilworth has suffered its worst three day decline since February of 2009.

In truth, I was mostly covering Schering-Plough then, and only covering Merck insofar as its co-marketing of Vytorin/Zetia impacted Schering-Plough. Even so, I feel very comfortable saying that Merck will be above $62 per share on the NYSE — before you sit down to carve your turkey. The news (unless something major comes out* between now and then) simply doesn’t warrant a 10 per cent haircut, since Q3 2017 results were announced.

Almost all of Merck’s franchises are fundamentally solid; its immuno oncology franchises are propagating literally a tidal wave of cash, quarter by quarter. In sum, it is a far better company than it was in February 2009, and its US marketplace is more likely to be favorably reimbursed than it has been in a long while — the EU is looking up as well, as Brexit is likely stalled into 2020.

I don’t think I’ve ever — not even once, in a decade — made a buy recommendation on Merck here. But Mr. Frazier is clearly someone to bet on; go buy Merck at $55, tomorrow. It has been banged down largely unfairly. It is undervalued here — so buy some. Mark my words.

I will now hush — but do trust me here. This is not a stock touting site — as anyone who’s been with me for a decade knows — the [updated and improved] graphic at right makes plain why I write. . . what I write, tonight.

* I will candidly confirm that for Merck, Pfizer, Apple and Microsoft (among many other similar companies domiciled in the US) — as Mr. Trump’s chances of staying in office decline, so too do the chances of an immense windfall for these multinationals, in the form of a repatriation tax holiday. [Merck has some $70 billion parked overseas — while Apple has triple that — what could Merck invest in, with $70 billion, nearly tax free? But that is all simply a one time tax gimmick.] All boats will be equally lifted if meaningful corporate level tax rate change occurs, but I think that increasingly unlikely, if (as I see it, at least) the presidency is now engulfed in a legal and moral crisis (not unlike Nixon in 1973). But the absence of a windfall at the tax line in no manner cuts against the fundamentally solid cash flow Merck is throwing off — at more than a billion and change per quarter now, from Keytruda alone. That will almost certainly continue for at least ten more quarters.


[U] It Is, As Ever [Now Not So] Dicey Predicting — But Feels Increasingly Like Christmas Morning…

October 29, 2017 - Leave a Response

Updated: 10.30.2017 @ 9 AM EDT — Yep. Against former Trump for President ’16 Campaign Chief Paul Manafort — and his associate, Mr. Gates — a 12 count felony indictment, just unsealed this morning (as a 31-page PDF file). They’ve surrendered to authorities. Now the pressure cooking begins, in earnest.

[It turns out that another Trump campaign official entered a guilty plea, to making felony false statements (in a nine-page PDF letter agreement, signed in Chicago) on October 5, 2017 (just unsealed) — and is now cooperating (and the related charging statement). Very bad news for 45, despite what he has tweeted here at mid-morning.] Slightly revised masthead (on main site only), since Mr. Flynn is not (yet) indicted. End update.

This year — for those of us who believe in the rule of law, not men — Christmas may come just a little early. Recall that my long-standing (since May 2017), and ongoing guess here, has been that Mr. Mueller III would hand down meaningful indictments by Christmas 2017.

It seems he is working a little bit more quickly than I had expected — or, perhaps, given the sudden resignation of Dana Boente on this past Wednesday — Mr. Mueller felt the need to move quite quickly and get one large indictment out before too long, lest 45 decide to order Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller.

Either way (while it is always dicey to play such guessing games), it is likely bad news for 45. After Monday, he will face a scenario far darker than Nixon did, when he tried to fire the special counsel, prior to any indictments. It will be painfully clear that 45 is obstructing justice if he tries to have Mueller fired, with an unsealed indictment of Manafort (or Flynn) already on the table. [Beyond Nixonian, these moments, now — after Monday night. . .]

And so, the pressure cooking will begin in earnest: Manafort in particular is likely to give up Donnie Jr., and perhaps even Jared as well, in return for a deal of no jail — and then the question becomes how long before the President’s two most loyal crime family operatives (putting his own daughter to one side for a moment — though she too may see an indictment by year end). . . buckle, in the face of jail time and indictments — and accurately testify to Mr. Trump’s directives on the Russia matter, among others?

That could now easily all unfold — by Christmas Day 2017. Does it reach — and drown — Mike Pence as well? We shall see. Will HRC also be tarnished? Perhaps — but she is a private citizen now. A much less meaningful target.

So now we wait for the morning — to see what happens tomorrow — Monday. It seems my “Devil in the White City” night of sleuthing was — in some manner. . . a foretelling, or at least nicely-coincidentally timed. Smile. . . . onward.

Separately, we were quite gratified and well-pleased with Nashville’s response to the white supremacists over Saturday. . . and into today. Well done, all you Americans of good will!


Sixty One Years Ago Tonight, Elvis Presley Was Vaccinated On National TV…

October 28, 2017 - Leave a Response

Earlier in the week, we were marking milestones in the sciences of vaccines — including the eradication of human-borne smallpox, forty years ago the past week.

An erstwhile commenter led me to this, with her mention of the US polio vaccination successes. So it is that I marvel here — almost miraculously — what an adroit use of a relatively new medium, and a new star’s endorsement did — they took US vaccination rates from below one per cent to over 80 per cent, in the space of six months, in 1956. The power of ubiquitous modern visual media was just beginning to be seen and understood, by most Americans. . .

So — thank you, Tee-Vee and thank you, Elvis — but most of all. . . sincere thanks go to the tireless health care workers who vaccinated all of our children over this more than half-century. . . mostly due to your good work, America simply will never again experience the scourge of polio.

And for that, once again, we may thank. . . real life science — and really brilliant immigrants (as Anon. reminds us!), like Dr. Albert Sabin.

Spooky fun playing the late 19th/early 20th Century Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, at a dress-up night ahead — part of a museum-organized dinner mystery. Should be a hoot!


Merck’s Overall Sales Light; Keytruda Sales Shine — Material One Time Charge On AZ Collaboration: A Solid Q3 2017

October 27, 2017 - Leave a Response

Generating over a billion dollars per quarter now in sales (or well over $4 billion a year), Kenilworth is surfing atop an amazing cash flow tsunami, for the foreseeable future, from its immuno-oncology franchises. Truly amazing — and this tidal wave of cash flow will afford Merck new flexibility — to invest in its future. This is a luxury that many other branded pharma concerns no longer enjoy — so it is a continuing competitive advantage.

Perhaps opportunistically timed, we did see a material charge, at $2.35 billion — mostly non-cash, near term — in the restructuring for (i) the AZ collaboration, and (ii) in Puerto Rico, and (iii) to a much smaller degree, related to the “NotPetya” cyber-attack (now being partially quantified). Here’s a bit, from Reuters:

. . . .Sales of Keytruda, which were helped by approval across various indications this year, were $1.05 billion for the third quarter, in line with Leerink consensus estimates.

Merck had a $2.35 billion charge related to its collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L), which it had announced in the second quarter.

Excluding items, Merck earned $1.11 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.03. . . .

However, sales fell to $10.33 billion from $10.54 billion, hurt by the NotPetya cyber attack in the second quarter, which had disrupted its manufacturing operations. . . .

Merck was an early-riser, at almost three per cent but now off about one per cent, in the NASDAQ pre-market. . . . nope, no spooks in evidence there. Nicely done! And. . . ever onward — after a moment of inexplicable and transitory weakness, at a local pay phone yesterday at 3:30 p.m., on the nose. My apologies for that. Truly.


“Thanks, Life Science!” Today We Celebrate 40 Years — Of The End Of Smallpox, In Humans…

October 26, 2017 - Leave a Response

It is time for some good news. And I mean scientific good news. [I am mildly-nauseated this morning, that our sitting President traffics in 54 year old tabloid-stlye conspiracy fare — about the assassination of another President, no less — all to draw attention away from his manifold lapses.] So instead — I will celebrate exactly forty years of another sort of death — one we may all agree is a decidedly “good death“:

The eradication of the debilitating virus called smallpox, in the human species.

For a poignant sub-narrative, here — consider how being the last person infected in the wild changed the life purpose of Ali Maollin — as he became an advocate and volunteer for eradicating polio (by public health vaccinations, led by WHO), but sadly died of malaria during his efforts at vaccinating people against polio:

. . . .Ali Maow Maalin. . . (1954 – 22 July 2013) was a Somali hospital cook and health worker from Merca who is the last person known to be infected with naturally occurring Variola minor smallpox in the world. He was diagnosed with the disease in October 1977 and made a full recovery. Although he had many contacts, none of them developed the disease and an aggressive containment campaign was successful in preventing an outbreak. Smallpox was declared to have been eradicated globally by the World Health Organization (WHO) two years later. . . .

Maalin was subsequently involved in the successful poliomyelitis eradication campaign in Somalia, and he died of malaria while carrying out polio vaccinations after the reintroduction of the virus in 2013. . . .

Now you know — Mr. Maalin’s was truly a life well-spent. Ahem. Mr. Trump — you should do better — much better. Just because 30 per cent of America will watch tabloid TV, doesn’t mean you need to pander. . . but I know this effort of mine (spewing electrons of good will, and science) will be lost on you. . . so I’ll fall silent, and celebrate the real and life saving achievements of the life sciences, this day — on my own, in private. Onward.


“I Will Not Be Complicit” — GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ)

October 24, 2017 - Leave a Response

The full 17 plus minutes appears below — at bottom. Do listen in — while you are washing the dishes, tonight (or folding laundry, or bathing — you need not look at the screen); it is excellent.

I was never going to go along quietly — not with 45’s openly contemptuous stance against the rule of law and liberty in the US — but I am gratified to see Sen. Corker, Sen. McCain and now Sen. Flake. . . members of his own party, all of them — say “not in my name.”

Jeff Flake will not be complicit — and (as he pretty regularly does) he quoted Teddy Roosevelt (Teddy was speaking during WW I, at a time shortly before one of his own sons was killed in battle), there (the pull quote is from Time magazine and the video hosted by YouTube and courtesy of the Washington Examiner):

“. . .The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile,” Flake quoted Roosevelt as saying. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. . . .”

That speech should be shown to every middle school child in America. It is an object lesson — and a warning, all in one. Good night, to all of good will. . . .


Lil’ Juno’s Radiometer Now Peering 250 Miles Beneath Jupiter’s Cloud-tops… Sweet Science-y Goodness!

October 24, 2017 - Leave a Response

As I write this, Juno is only a few thousand miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops — speeding by at nearly 100,000 miles an hour.

Follow along in near real time, on Juno’s Twitter-feed:

. . . .NASA’s Juno Mission‏Verified account @NASAJuno 18 minutes ago

Replying to @NASAJuno @nasa_eyes
Because this flyby occurs during solar conjunction we may not get confirmation of success until a week or so after the event.

2 replies 17 retweets 71 likes

Reply 2 Retweet 17 Like 71. . . .

We will have to wait a tick now, until November 4, 2017 — in all likelihood to see whether “the package” has arrived safely. The package generated by gazing deeply RIGHT NOW, at 12:34 — beneath the cloud-covered kimono of this particular Jovian night.

Between now and then, as most sublime poetry would have it, the fierce brightness (and radio emissions) of our own Sun — around which we orient our lives — will be blotting out lil’ Juno. Preventing transmission of data, in all likelihood. Now you know. Onward.

Run smoothly silent, twisting all the while, in the dark — but do run deep, beautiful one. . . . that is an effort of unwasted grace, to be sure.


UPDATE: The Refugees In Maryland File A Cross-Appeal… On Muslim Ban 3.0

October 24, 2017 - Leave a Response

Overnight, several of the Maryland plaintiffs who already hold a preliminary, but slightly more limited, injunction — against 45’s Muslim Ban 3.0 taking effect — have cross-appealed to the Fourth Circuit, presumably to remove the various minor strictures, in the injunction, carefully imposed by the able Judge Theodore Chuang, in Maryland’s US District Courts. [He tracked the language of the Supremes’ summary orders on procedural matters, from this past summer — on failed Bans 1.0 and 2.0.]

It matters only a little as a practical matter at the moment, since Judge Derrick Watson’s preliminary injunction out of Hawaii’s US District Court is broader (and so controls nationwide), and covers the waterfront (until appeals are completed) — but eventually the Supremes will decide whether to make their own summary admonitions part of an “on the merits” opinion.

So to be safe, IRAP in Maryland is appealing that limited portion of the order and memorandum opinion, to preserve the question, before, and in, an ultimate (2018?) Supreme Court argument day. Now you know — and baby girl in Vietnam is having a ball — so I am grinning. . . ear to ear!