Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I Stridently Disagree With The Court, Here -- But I Do Respect The Decision. It Is Law. For Now.

I trust the ACLU will file appeals on behalf of the two parents I mentioned repeatedly over the last two weeks. [Family / plaintiffs' supplemental supporting declaration here, from September 17, 2018.]

Judge Sabraw (a very level headed and able jurist, he) has decided that the government deserves significant deference (using an "abuse of discretion" standard) for these two individual parent / child cases. I might reply that no US citizen parent could ever lawfully be denied the right to keep their kids based on these long past (and clearly minor) matters. . . .

But here is his terse three page order. And his decision is binding, pending an appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The other terms (which apply nationwide) in the Flores consent decree in LA (these two were under the Ms. L. proceedings, in San Diego) mean that the parents and more importantly, the kids -- cannot be detained indefinitely. The kids are entitled to release into the US, pending a final hearing on asylum. They may be released now, into the interior -- to any other family member, upon a simple motion by the ACLU, under Flores.

I suspect the Ninth Circuit will offer the above cruelty based analysis -- that kids aren't taken in the US from parents who've served their time -- to reverse and remand. But we shall see, in time. That's two down, 27 yet to go. [There are 27 other parental denials of reunification cases like this being reviewed, by the ACLU as we speak.]

Onward. No real custom graphic -- just some profound sadness, now six years on. Another regular hearing Friday -- and another status report, tomorrow.


It Certainly Won't Move The Needle, But Amazon Web Services Is Now Working With Kenilworth...

Forgive me if I read this as just one subtle but multi-paragraph commercial for the ever-pitching med biz consulting folk at old Accenture.

Becker's Hospital Review has a nice story here -- but it is built upon what is the usual breathless boosterism, out of 161 North Clark in Chicago (Accenture's main digs). I doubt it will lead to any revolutionary, or even evolutionary, drug candidates -- for Merck -- but we shall see. Here's a bit, this morning:

. . . .Merck [and Amazon Web Services] are building an informatics research platform on Amazon's cloud computing service Amazon Web Services to support data-driven drug development.

The cloud-based platform will provide pharmaceutical, biotechnology and scientific institutions with access to research data from various applications, available through a single set of interfaces with integrated workflow and reporting capabilities. Through the platform, these organizations will be able to aggregate and analyze this data to support the early stages of drug development.

Merck, as one of the early collaborators, will be the first pharmaceutical company to use the platform.

The informatics research platform is part of an ongoing collaboration between management consulting and professional services firm Accenture and AWS through the Accenture AWS Business Group. . . .

Now you know. It is a morning literally awash in memories for me. Where is that [pocket sized, purple silken] fall-back disk? Smile. . . . onward.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Again, With Natural Science Stunners -- Of Marine Biology...

Just because. . . it was so, so sublime (creating his own "fall-back disk"):


Monday, September 17, 2018

[U] Of Stellar Remnant "Fall-Back Disks": We Will Talk About This, In The Morning... Smile.

There's been a fascinating discovery in deep interstellar space, over the weekend. UPDATED: do go read all about it, at's Hubble page.

. . . .“One theory is that there could be what is known as a ‘fallback disk’ of material that coalesced around the neutron star after the supernova,” said Posselt. “Such a disk would be composed of matter from the progenitor massive star. Its subsequent interaction with the neutron star could have heated the pulsar and slowed its rotation. If confirmed as a supernova fallback disk, this result could change our general understanding of neutron star evolution. . . .” A fallback disk, a warp of space-time proportions. I like that notion, as a metaphor, for various events, from this day in 2012 (could well have averted it all). A time machine of sorts. . . .

. . . .Indeed, it is whirling ever so gracefully, into the night, some nearly six billion years on. . . and anyone who would like to describe what we are seeing above, feel free to chime in (this will all change -- come morning). . . .

". . .This animation depicts a neutron star (RX J0806.4-4123) with a disk of warm dust that produces an infrared signature as detected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The disk wasn’t directly photographed, but one way to explain the data is by hypothesizing a disk structure that could be 18 billion miles across. The disk would be made up of material falling back onto the neutron star after the supernova explosion that created the stellar remnant. . . ."

Yes do tune in -- in the morning as six years on, there is so much to say -- but silence is once again, the rule of the day. . . .for the story. Smile.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Honoring “The Mother” Of Our National Early Childhood Health Programs: Dr. Gertrude Hunter

 In the first years after President Kennedy's assassination, the Great Society programs he envisioned were implemented by LBJ.

And heading the effort -- as part of what was then called "Project Head Start" -- in health care for children, was Gertrude Hunter, MD. She was instrumental in seeing that US children would get basic dental care, nutrition assistance, immunizations and at least some routine health care screenings, for pre-schoolers of limited means. Mr. Trump threatens this legacy, but women in medicine -- and men -- will stand firm, against the cutting of kids of limited means' health care, to fund more billionaires' tax breaks and an insane border wall.

Here is the AMA's tweet honoring her work, today:

. . . .Today we celebrate Dr. Gertrude Hunter and her work to keep America’s children happy and healthy. During her time as national director of health services for Project Head Start, she helped implement the first national preschool health program. . .

Be sure to vote in November -- for health care champions, and between now and then -- do all you can to preserve the caring, compassionate and open society we call America.


Friday, September 14, 2018

[U] Merck's Supremes Brief On "Fosamax® Femur Style" Preemption: "Clear And Convincing" Or Just "Clear"?

We have followed this. . . literally from the jump. A decade's worth, in fact. Merck now asks the Supremes to hold that Wyeth style preemption dismissals require only "clear" evidence that the label change/warning would not have been accepted -- not the tougher standard of "clear and convincing" evidence.

Merck's brief seeking just such a ruling from the Supremes -- related to the now decade-long Fosamax® femur fracture cases -- was filed yesterday (as a decidely hefty 117 page PDF file). Here's a bit (but in all candor, with the court's current "rightward shifting" make-up, I think Merck may well prevail here):

. . . .The Third Circuit nonetheless held that a jury could find that petitioner had not shown by “clear and convincing evidence” that the FDA would have rejected a warning label of the type that respondents claim state law required. . . .

Merck told the FDA what it knew about the link between its drug Fosamax and the risk of atypical femoral fractures; Merck filed a formal request seeking FDA approval to add a warning to Fosamax’s label addressing this risk; and the FDA rejected that request. In Wyeth v. Levine, this Court recognized that a pharmaceutical manufacturer cannot be held liable under state law for failure to warn about a health risk if the FDA would not have permitted the manufacturer to add that warning to its federally regulated label. 555 U.S. 555, 572–73 (2009). But unlike in Levine, here there is no need to guess what would have happened in a counterfactual world. It is clear that the FDA would not have allowed Merck to warn about the risk at issue because the FDA did not allow Merck to warn about it.

The Third Circuit nonetheless concluded that the preemption defense must be put to a jury -- to decide as a counterfactual matter, while applying a unique, heightened standard of proof, whether the FDA might have approved a warning had Merck phrased it differently. That is misguided. The FDA’s final agency action controls the preemption inquiry here as a matter of law. There is no room under either the Supremacy Clause or the federal drug labeling laws to speculate about why the agency blocked compliance with the alleged state-law duty. . . .

It is often said that the party that wins the argument on standard of proof / burden of carrying it -- wins the lawsuit. That adage seems like it will hold, in this one, before the Supremes.

Of course, we will post the plaintiffs' reply brief in late October, when it is filed. Onward -- to federal court asylum seekers' hearings -- on a flawless crystal clear 70 degree end of summer Friday. . . off-grid, through mid-, to end- of day.

[Oh. And just for fun -- here is the Bobby Three Sticks "Crossfire Hurricane" Superseding Information, to which Manafort is copping a plea deal (including complete, and ongoing cooperation), today -- right now, in fact, in DC. The depth and breadth of it means. . . 45 is going "bye-bye" (IMHO). It seems Mr. Mueller is bit-by-bit releasing his Trump Impeachable Offenses / Russian "Report(s)" as a series of sworn federal court filings. Ones to which various Trumpians are pleading. . . guilty. Delicious.]


Thursday, September 13, 2018

I Ask You To Read This, As Mr. Trump Is Violating The Due Process Clause, Daily.

One week ago, I mentioned the two cases of parents denied reunification with their very young children, on entirely specious grounds (in one case AFTER a judge told the government to reunify).

Tonight, the ACLU has fully briefed their pleas. The facts are. . . appalling. 45 and his goons are trampling our Constitution's "Due Process" Clause, with every passing day here -- and likely in hundreds of other cases, not yet known to the plaintiffs' lawyers. Read the whole 52 page brief (as a PDF) here -- and I'll post a bit, tonight -- before tomorrow's hearing in San Diego:

. . . .As set forth below, there has been no finding that Ms. Q. and Mr. C. are unfit, neglectful, or dangerous to their children. In fact, the evidence shows that both children are suffering greatly without the care of their loving parents, and even regressing in their development as a result of their lengthy custody. J was toilet trained when he came to the United States with his mother, but now he needs diapers after having several accidents. D., for his part, is a toddler confused about being in a shelter and is struggling to make sense of life without his father. This Court has explained that the Due Process Clause does not permit the government to separate parents from their children without “a determination that the parent was unfit or presented a danger to the child.”

[An earlier Immigration Court Judge's opinion and order:] My understanding is that in 2010, Mr. C was convicted of misdemeanor aggravated assault under Louisiana law, for which he received a sentence of 48 days in jail. My understanding is that the government has refused to reunify Mr. C with his son on the sole basis of this criminal conviction, and that he has no other criminal history. . . . In Ms. Q.’s case. . . . the warrant [conclusions only about some dubious gang activity long ago] does not come close to supporting a reasonable suspicion that she would endanger her son or is unfit to care for him. . . .

In my opinion, neither Mr. Q nor Mr. C’s criminal histories justifies separating them from their children. Considerably more would have to be alleged to deny parents their constitutionally protected right to the care and custody of their children. In the United States, under both federal and state law in all jurisdictions, there is no lawful basis to deny parents custody of their children based on the parents’ alleged criminal activities without a particularized showing that keeping or reuniting a child with her parent would place the child at imminent risk of serious harm. In these two instances, neither parent’s criminal histories, standing alone, would even permit a finding that reunification with the parent is not in the child’s best interests, much less justify their removal from their parents in the first instance. . . .

Hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in the United States have the constitutional right to the care and custody of their children once they served their sentences and are released from custody. To deny a father the same right for behavior that warranted a 48 day jail sentence would be manifestly unsupportable under the law governing this context. . . .

I (would like to still) believe Mr. Trump will certainly answer in Eternity, for these, his crimes against humanity -- even if we, the people, aren't able to have him answer directly, in a court of law, for them -- in this lifetime.

But based on life-changing experiences, I have surrendered my belief in much of that covenant: no, in fact, I think all that we have -- all that we are -- all that we will be -- is right here and now. This lifetime. This moment. And Mr. Trump must be brought to justice -- for these ongoing crimes.


September 11 Update: From WHO, On DRC Mid 2018 Ebola Outbreak In Beni...

The outlook for an end, in Beni, Democratic Republic of The Congo remains. . . fairly dicey -- no clear path to an arrest of the latest outbreak, yet. Beni is a city with over a million people living in very close proximity to one another. That makes the whole situation. . . hard to control.

Even so, 36 people infected with the virus have now recovered. That is better news than was seen in any prior outbreak, on a percentage basis.

However, now a total of 17 health workers (16 confirmed and 1 probable) have been affected, three of whom have died. Here is the latest full WHO situation report, and a bit:

. . . .[Since the last report] an additional 10 new confirmed or probable EVD cases have been reported from Butembo (2), Beni (5) Mabalako (1), Mandima (1), and Masereka (1) and nine new deaths. Currently there are nine suspected cases under investigation. . . .

As of 9 September 2018, a total of 132 confirmed and probable EVD cases, including 91 deaths and 36 cases who have recovered, have been reported. . . .

Keep the good ju ju flowing for these folks -- and for all threatened by Florence, starting tonight.

[Separately, what are we to make of Pugsley, overnight? He tells us (by tweet) that 3,000 did not die in Puerto Rico? What to do with a guy who will lie to you -- about what time it is -- just for the practice? His first instinct, it seems, is to lie. Horrifying.]


There Is Apparently An Agreed (Albeit Partial) Settlement, In The Ms. L Class Action Case -- Out Of San Diego...

The proposed overnight agreement (seven pages) is here. I expect the able Judge Sabraw will enter it.

Even so, I'll just say (for now) that the Flores case (in LA) will continue -- as an ongoing check against renewed lawlessness, on ICE's part. I will also note that this does not end the ACLU's efforts on the likely coming TRO in the new hearings in DC (in the Carmen case), on "credible fear" standards -- now unlawfully being used by ICE. It also doesn't alleviate the need for a special master. Here's a bit:

. . . .In accordance with the Court’s orders and directions, the parties met and conferred, both on the issues directed by the Court and additional issues raised in these and related cases. Those conferrals included counsel for the plaintiffs in M.M.M., counsel for the plaintiffs in Ms. L, counsel for the plaintiffs in Dora v. Sessions, No. 18-1938 (D.D.C.), and counsel for the Defendants in each of those cases. The parties’ efforts have produced the attached agreement, which reflects their agreed resolution of the issues identified by the Court as well as other matters. . . .

Do go read it all. And here is the related settlement motion. But it is -- to be sure -- a good start. Onward, with renewed hope.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Opposing An Attempted Subversion Of Existing Law In DC: Grace [Carmen] -- On Asylum Seeking, And "Credible Fear"

Here is an exceptionally well-reasoned rebuke of the Trump administration attempt to make "credible fear" a high hurdle that asylum seekers must clear, in order to stay in the US long enough to get to a meaningful hearing on their claims, for protection here in America.

It was filed late today (54 pages worth!) in DC federal District Court, in the Carmen case. Here is a bit:

. . . .As an initial matter, [Donald Trump's] unlawful attempt to change, through Executive policy, the statutory credible fear standard must be understood against the backdrop of the system Congress enacted. The credible fear standard is intended to be a low, threshold standard, and to satisfy it the individual need not establish her ultimate eligibility for asylum. To prevail at a credible fear interview, the applicant need only show a “significant possibility” of asylum eligibility – i.e., a “significant possibility” of a 1 in 10 chance of persecution, or a fraction of 10%. See 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(B)(v) (defining “credible fear” as “a significant possibility, taking into account the credibility of the statements made by the alien in support of the alien’s claim and such other facts as are known to the officer, that the alien could establish eligibility for asylum”) (emphasis added); Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. at 440. . . .

Thus, the low credible fear standard that Congress enacted is intended to ensure that “there should be no danger that an alien with a genuine asylum claim will be returned to persecution.” H.R. REP. NO. 104-469, pt. 1, at 158 (1996). Yet, as explained below, the new credible fear policies seek to ratchet up the standards in credible fear proceedings in multiple interrelated ways -- leading to the denial of many potentially meritorious claims, especially those like Plaintiffs’ that are related to domestic violence or gangs. . . .

The new policies instead essentially require asylum applicants to show an absolute certainty that the [foreign] government will not protect them from feared harm. . . .

I sincerely urge you to read the memorandum of law, all 54 pages. I will not tonight lay out all the ways that 45 has (yet again) demeaned humanity, by unlawfully trampling the will of the peoples' Congress, and with it, decades of settled court precedents -- pretending to do so by simple executive rule. This particular attempt will inure to Jeff Sessions' eternal shame as well, when the definitive history of 2017 and 2018 in America is written.

But rest well-assured: this cruel purported "rule" will be stricken by the courts. Count on it. People arriving at our door are immediately invested with certain rights. Ones 45 cannot (by simple silly order) take away. Only an act of Congress can do that.


Chad Readler And Sarah Fabian Object To A RETIRED US Judge Acting As Special Master In Flores... Preposterous!

Well, I know Trump's highly political appointees at the office of Assistant Attorney General level (Immigration Section) are pedantic, but this is beyond the pale, even for these hyper-partisan knuckleheads. Exactly one week ago, I mentioned that a very able special master would likely be appointed, in the ongoing Flores reunification efforts (in both LA and San Diego) -- and I still think the able retired Judge Carol King will be so appointed.

You see, her role will be to find factual matters, and resolve
documentary disputes. Of course, Mr. Readler and Ms. Fabian (the Trump lawyer who tried unsuccessfully to use dog-sitting as an excuse -- rather than work to resolve little children being held in cages over a recent Summer weekend) well know the government documents paint them, and Mr. Trump in a very poor light. From a legal point of view, the facts are damning -- that is true. But to now object to the special master because she is likely to call a "lie" a lie. . . is ridiculous. [And she may immediately tour (with assistance from the US Marshals) any facility she needs to, if the conditions inside a detention facility are in question.] And I get why that might be frightening to Ms. Fabian.

In any evnet, here is the nonsense -- and a bit:

. . . .Defendants respectfully object to the appointment of former immigration judge (“IJ”) Carol King as the Flores independent monitor. As an initial matter, while Defendants agree that former IJ King has significant experience with immigration law, Defendants object because former IJ King appears to have little or no direct experience with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) holding and detention facilities. . . .

In sum, they know they are cooked -- and they are simply stalling. The able Judge Gee (I predict) will shortly appoint Judge (Ret.) King. Onward. And spare us the dramatics, Ms. Fabian and Mr. Readler. Facts are not partisan. Doing bad things, as a matter of fact -- results in legal consequences.


Still Mixed Progress, In Latest Ebola Outbreak in Africa's DRC

As last night's YouTube installment suggested, I don't intend to go in for a maudlin 9/11 post today.

Was it an important turning point in America? Yes. And I think the dead should now be remembered privately, 17 years on.

So -- let us focus on a "right now" emergency: the deaths and confirmed cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to inch northward -- into major urban centers. That is a cause for grave concern -- yet the vaccine rings (when contacts may be reached) are working well. So here is the latest, from WHO:

. . . .In recent weeks, we observed a slight increase in case incidence (see at right). The focus of transmission has shifted from in and around Mangina in Mabalako Health Zone to the city of Beni; 15 of the 22 confirmed and probable cases in Beni, and at least 3 confirmed cases in other health zones, have been linked to a single transmission chain. Since the last Disease Outbreak News on 31 August (data as of 29 August), 13 new EVD cases (12 confirmed and one probable) were reported, including eight confirmed and one probable from Beni, two from Mabalako, and one each from Mandima, Butembo and Masereka health zones. While the situation has significantly improved in Mangina and Mandima health zones, sporadic cases are still being observed. The risk of spread was heightened by the movement of two, subsequently confirmed, cases from Beni to the city of Butembo and a nearby village in Masereka Health Zone (Figure 2). Given the mobility of populations in the affected areas, these two cases were expected, rapidly detected and additional response measures swiftly activated to interrupt further spread of the virus.. . .

The city of Beni is home to nearly a million people. We need to be aggressive and vigilant, right now. Onward. And keep a good thought for the nearly one million under Florence evacuation orders, on the Carolina seaboard. Ever. . . onward.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Off-Topic -- But Uplifting! If You Don't Know What This Is About, Go Find Out....

Hugh Jackman -- ought to be "enough said", but it is on demand on HBO and Netflix, I believe.

Revel in the twisting of a time now long gone, into an anthem for tonight -- against forces of intolerance marching across several countries (at the moment):

Do go watch it -- my currently operative theory. . . is that this is only a few months away from. . . Broadway.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Latest Overnight Status Report On Families Seeking Reunification: Hearing In Ms. L Case In San Diego Up Later Today.

The full 20 page report is a PDF linked here, as filed overnight.

But I will highlight the below, to suggest these are ongoing crimes against humanity by Donald Trump, personally. He has ordered every bit of this unspeakable cruelty.

Here we see the government's lack of genuine concern for children -- with shifting explanations for why a three and two year old, respectively -- are being denied reunification with their parent. This is appalling (at page 16, et seq.). A judge specifically previously ruled against the government's assessment, yet it persists in keeping a mother away from her child (while the child has aged -- from three to four). This is (in my experienced opinion) the stuff of prompt and jail-laden orders for contempt of court (against the government actors), were it a domestic state level family court case:

. . . .Plaintiffs’ understanding that the parties have already reached impasse on two cases involving parents, on which Plaintiffs may seek expedited resolution. Plaintiffs are particularly concerned about one family’s case involving a four-year-old child (who was three when he was first detained). The child’s mother was denied reunification based on an outstanding warrant from abroad, which alleges that she is a gang member. The mother denies this allegation, and at her immigration bond hearing, the immigration judge expressly found that this warrant was not sufficient evidence that the mother was a danger to the community. Defendants have nevertheless refused to reunify this family based on the parent’s alleged criminal history. This child is suffering greatly in detention and is at particular risk of grievous and irreparable harm. . . .

The second case involves a father who was denied reunification with his two-year-old son. The father was initially denied reunification based on questions concerning parentage, but Defendants’ more recent position is that the father is ineligible for reunification because of his criminal history. The only criminal history of which Plaintiffs are aware is the father’s guilty plea for assault from 2010, which has no bearing on his current dangerousness or ability to care for his child.

Because of the youth of the children involved, and the fact that the parties are already at impasse on them, Plaintiffs request that this Court set an expedited briefing schedule to resolve whether they are entitled to reunification under the standards set forth in this Court’s orders. . . .

In a normal family court case in Cook County, Illinois. . . the government lawyers might be risking jail for contempt, had they taken these disingenuous positions as to toddlers -- the harm is almost always incalculable, and irreparable here. I'm thus in a decidedly dark mood, on this dull gray Friday morning. You've been warned.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

[U] How This Whole Ball O' "Federal Regulation" Stuff Works: Primer For Primitive-In-Chief Edition -- H/T To Anon.

UPDATED @ 9 PM EDT: When I wrote the below this afternoon, I didn't have access to the Troglodyte in Chief's proposed rule text. It remains only a draft -- and may change -- but has now been uploaded to the drafts section of the Federal Register. Presumably tomorrow, the final version (ostensibly to take effect in 60 days) will be uploaded. In any event, it changes my analysis only slightly: I'd make the paragraph presently labeled as (4). . . paragraph (1). [I added the numbers just now -- for easy reference.]

After reading the rule text, and reaffirming the notion that this will immediately be litigated, and likely enjoined -- I am more than convinced that Mr. Trump here attempts to use a simple rule-making process to thwart a United States Constitutional imperative. That imperative vests all residual power not expressly delegated to the federal government, firmly in the hands of. . . yup, you guessed it! -- the individual states (do read the Tenth Amendment, dotard). The states, in turn, have ALREADY acted in this arena (i.e., filled the constitutional void) to require specified standards of licensure of facilities that will house children. It is thus manifestly "too late" under principles of federalism and comity for the Trump actors to now try to rewrite the existing landscape -- one that granted property rights to all children, even asylum-seeking children -- over two decades ago.

Make no mistake: this is not an immigration question, per se -- this is a "welfare of human children" question where the states have acted. The feds do not have the power to take away these property and due process rights, inside any state -- the same way the feds cannot force Colorado or Washington to repeal their green laws. So Trump is simply appealing to the Neanderthals in his base -- this is all for show. It will never be enforced -- not even for a single day. SO. . . the Condor predicts.

[End, updated portion.]

(1) Thanks to my erstwhile regular anonymous commenter, we are alerted to the Thursday attempt by 45 to (in his oddly misshapen view) issue regulations which would "withdraw" the government (his word -- but one cannot treat it as a treaty, with a foreign nation -- they is. . . us!), from the 1997 Flores decree.

(2) Um. No. See, dotard -- how this works is. . . a very capable federal judge (USDC Judge Gee, CD CA) has specifically rejected your motion to modify Flores, on these same parameters. [She called the government's motion "procedurally improper and wholly without merit."]

(3) No. The executive branch cannot simply nullify an existing federal court order (and the executive doesn't possess anything like plenary power related to already extant state licensing measures governing child care, day care, or child detention facilities) -- and that is exactly what the Flores decree (as reaffirmed July 30 of this very summer). . . is. At most, 45 might add or supplement to state level requirements, but he cannot remove state level requirements, without a full Congressional legislative act, that declared child detention/care the exclusive province of the federal government -- and even that (assuming this broken Congress could legislate such a feat!) would meet wildly justifiable hostility.

(4) Even putting that to one side, there is a pretty strong (almost iron-clad) argument that the federal government, acting alone, cannot override STATE childcare licensing facilities requirements (on federalism / state police power grounds), under our Constitution. And it is crystal clear that a judge has already determined that the aim of 45 here is to WEAKEN the existing state level protections. That he cannot do, under any sensible reading of 100 years' worth of US Supreme Court precedents.

So -- this proposed rule-making is DOA. It will of course be litigated to death, but it is simply more "bread and circuses" theatre -- for his MAGAts. That's like under 20 per cent of the actual American voters. The other 80 per cent think kidnapping, coupled to endless prison, is an. . . unacceptable way to treat brown children (especially asylum seeking families' children) at the border.

Stupid for-show politics only -- strictly for. . . the suckers. But that's the Cheeto's endless MO.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Amendment 25: 45's WH Folks -- SHUT UP, Already. And... DO IT!

To the currently serving, senior 45 White House cabinet level official who penned this afternoon's opinion piece (Cough! Mnuchin): just shut up, already. . . and do it.

Do your constitutional duty. Frankly "that it would be messy" is ZERO excuse. These are times that require. . . some messiness.

As of this moment, you are still an enabler -- and ultimately, a coward -- for trying to have it both ways. Want your name and reputation back? Move in public, before the full cabinet, for a vote on the 25th Amendment proceedings.

You are in -- or you are out.

These are unprecedented times. More broadly: do your duty GOP leaders -- Amendment 25; or impeach; or vote an indictment in the Senate. But stop whining to me, that you are getting exactly the psychopath you elected.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

UPDATE On Flores: Asylum Border Families Case, In LA -- Judge King (Ret.) Likely To Be Named The Special Master

Today, the able Judge Dolly Gee in the Central District of California litigation called Flores v. Edwin Meese (open since 1985!), has suggested a retired federal immigration judge as the Special Master, in this matter, to close out the reunifications.

That retired judge is Carol King, and her resume is attached to this six page order form (a PDF file). This would be a special kind of stupid if the Trump appointed US Atty. staffers object to her appointment -- she is clearly exceptionally qualified, and well-versed on this case -- and has the available time to devote to it. Here's the central bit of the order, entered late this afternoon, Eastern time:


By no later than September 10, 2018, the parties shall file a joint status report indicating whether they stipulate to the appointment of Retired Immigration Judge King as the Special Master/Independent Monitor or, if not, they shall state any objections they may have to her appointment.


Now you know -- and keep these families on the front page, nationwide. This is an ongoing crime against humanity, by Donald Trump. Onward.


Monday, September 3, 2018

This Is A Precarious Time, For Labor Rights In America...

First (almost trivially), and as I've alluded to in commentary on Twitter, 45 does not possess the Constitutional (or statutory) power to freeze raises for federal workers, unless he issues an order that there is an economic emergency nationwide requiring that he do so. That would sort of undercut his largely false boasts about creating a great economic engine in under two years. So his supposed freeze won't. . . hold.

But more broadly, using his appointed sycophants in agency seats, he seeks to take away the bargaining power of American labor.

We must resist.

America is great largely because of (forced, slave labor, and then, much later) immigrants' efforts -- and organized, collectively bargained-for. . . labor. Anyone who says otherwise simply ignores a color-blind and accurate history. We must preserve that history's accuracy and vitality.

America is only as great as her lowest paid honest, hard-working laborer. And the balance is tipping away from protecting them.

Fight to keep living wages a central topic of the 2018 midterms, right alongside me.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Good News, For Merck, On Moderately Priced New HIV-1 Med Approvals Last Week

Not cheap by any means, but generally less expensive than the older alternatives (multiple drug cocktails and combos).

Kenilworth has indicated a price of $46 a day for Pifeltro®; Delstrigo® at $70 a day. [After rebates, in the goofy US non-system of delivery, those final numbers could actually be cut in half.] And true enough, the newly approved pair may yet cannibalize some of Merck's earlier HIV med franchises (primarily Isentress®) but it's always better to "eat your own lunch" than to let others do so. Here's the bit -- I am highly overdue in getting this out:

. . . .[Last] Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two new HIV-1 medicines, Delstrigo and Pifeltro.

The company said Delstrigo is a once-daily fixed-dose combination tablet of doravirine, lamivudine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, and Pifeltro is a new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor which is to be administered in combination with other antiretroviral medicines.

“As part of Merck’s 30-year commitment to the care of people with HIV, we are pleased to now bring forward these two new antiretroviral treatment options, Delstrigo and Pifeltro, which we believe offer a compelling clinical profile for clinicians and people living with HIV,” said Dr. George Hanna, vice president and therapeutic area head of infectious diseases, Global Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. . . .

So, onward, yet again. . . this is the hardest part of the year for me, in truth. But onward.