Thursday, January 16, 2020

"And... The Survey Says" The US Government -- Under Trump's Express Direction -- Is Still Violating US And International Law.

It simply must be noted that the Trump agministration is willfully violating federal court orders, and applicable US and international law, to this very morning.

Dr. King -- were he still here today -- would be among those working at these detention facilities -- for change; for the rule of law; and for basic human decency. Here is a bit from the latest [NYC-based] plaintiffs' lawyers [an eight page filing, in the USDC in San Diego], overnight:

. . . .The key facts that lawyers and advocates for the children were able or unable to learn are summarized below.

Fact of Separation: In 91% of cases, the caseworker or FFS knew that the child had been separated; in 9% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did not know about the separation until the LSP or child advocate shared this information.

Identity of Separated Parent: In 68% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did not share the name or A-number of the separated parent with the LSP or child advocate; in 27% of cases, the caseworker or FFS shared both the parent’s name and A-number; in 5% of cases, the caseworker or FFS shared either the parent’s name or A-number. Location of Separated Parent: In 70% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did not share the location of the separated parent; in 30% of cases the caseworker or FFS did share this information.

Contact Information for Separated Parent: In 89% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did not share contact information for the separated parent; in 11% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did share this information.

Lawyers for the Separated Parent: In only one case did the FFS or caseworker share the name and contact information of the federal defender for a separated parent; in only two cases did the caseworker or FFS share the name and contact information of the parent’s immigration lawyer.

Basis for the Separation: In 71% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did not share information about the basis for the separation; in 29% of cases, the caseworker or FFS did share such information. . . .

Reunification: Only 19 survey respondents indicated that reunification planning was under way for the child in question at the time the respondent completed the survey. Only 11 respondents answered the question about whether the FFS or caseworker advised them of the reunification plan in advance, and 6 of the 11 (55%) reported no advance warning. . . .

This. Is. Deplorable. Hearing again scheduled on this, on Friday -- in San Diego. We will cover it.

And separately, the odious Texas Governor -- Abbott -- has been enjoined from making his state the first to "unwelcome" refugees. The Trump order purporting to allow such nonsense. . . is now enjoined, nationwide -- and here's the full published opinion of 31 pages.


Monday, January 13, 2020

The Able USDC Judge Sabraw Orders Some New Enforcement -- Of Arriving Families' Rights -- At Border, Just Now...

A mixed bag, here -- to be sure. . . but there will likely be appeals on both sides, in any event.

Here is the entire 26 page order, and a bit:

. . . .Given the right at issue here, the harm that parents and children suffer when they are separated, and the undisputed speed, accuracy and availability of DNA testing, the Court finds Defendants must conduct DNA testing before separating an adult from a child based on parentage concerns. Such testing, in service to the fundamental right at issue, is clearly warranted. . . .

Plaintiffs also argue that by using any criminal history, Defendants can take a parent out of the class and absolve themselves “of any obligation to immediately reunify the family when the parent is released from an adult detention center [by an immigration judge] (which happens frequently when the government cannot show that the parent is a flight risk or danger [to others]”).” (See Suppl. Br. at 1-2.) Plaintiffs argue that parents who are excluded from FRCs but later released from immigration detention are not being reunified with their children during the pendency of their immigration proceedings. . . .

The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that if a parent who is separated from his or her child due to FRC standards is subsequently released from custody, then Defendants should reunify that parent with his or her child in the same way they are reunifying families with resolved communicable diseases or long-term illnesses. (See ECF No. 489 (Prevost Memo, Tear Sheet) (informing parents that “following the conclusion of any criminal custody or hospitalization” the parent will be transferred to ICE custody and DHS and ICE “will take steps to determine whether you may be reunified with your child or children.”)) This clarification does not interfere with Defendants’ discretion in matters of parole or detention. CBP’s initial determination to detain the parent remains undisturbed until another Executive Branch officer (an immigration judge) decides later based on additional information to release the parent on bond or other appropriate conditions pending their removal proceedings. Should Defendants fail to reunify parents under these circumstances, parents can also now avail themselves of the “Tear Sheet” process, by which they can make application for and be reunified with their children. . . .

Geaux tigers. . .and, onward.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

NASA Intern Finds A Solitary World -- Around A Binary Star System, Over A Thousand Light Years Away...

As our friendly anonymous commenter mentioned on Friday -- the tender age of a STEM contributor will not necessarily limit the size of their contributions, at NASA, at least.

In just his third day on the job, this 17 year old found a likely-unique world, thus:

. . . .The planet TOI 1338 b was found 1,300 light-years away in the Pictor constellation. It's the only planet in the system with two stars. It's between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn and experiences regular eclipses from its stars.

The stars whirl around each other in orbit every 15 days, with one 10% more massive than our sun and the other is more diminutive and cooler.

Scarsdale High School student Wolf Cukier was interning for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center over the summer when he spotted something in TESS' star data.

"I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit," Cukier said. "About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first, I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet". . . .

Indeed. . . this is the first world spotted around a binary system, by equipment on the Tess mission. So... very cool!


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Not Strictly O/T Here -- THIRD Annual "Shkreli Award" Winners Announced: Odious US Health Care Figures...

This morning, we will offer some bitingly acerbic fare [from another of our properties, which is rarely updated any longer].

Personally, I would have put the Sackler family [Purdue Pharma controlling family (now in bankruptcy reorganization) and multi-billion dollar Oxycontin® profiteers] at the head of the list, but they only made the number five slot [to be fair, they were No. 3 in the prior year's list -- the only two time winners]. Full list here.

If you are so inclined, take a look for yourself. I've not covered the prior two years worth of these shame-awards (but Brenton Saunders' Restasis® Mohawk tribe patent transfer / licensing move made the list, previously -- and. . . we'd covered that nonsense).

But here's a link to last year's winners -- and the inaugural year [2017] "winners".

Indeed -- all of these are shameful -- so. . . onward.

And with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex favorably in the news, we will run a retro- masthead, today. . . "good on them", we say! Yep -- grinning -- ever. . . grinning.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A Very Worthy Long Read: How The Ebola Vaccine Almost Didn't Make It -- With Kudos -- For Merck.

I'll not pre-sage (too much of) it. Just go read it all.

Here is just a bit of the STAT story:

. . . .In Winnipeg, Feldmann’s team infected mice with the VSV virus containing the Ebola glycoprotein. If Nabel’s theory was correct, exposure to the protein should have been toxic to the mice.

The rodents were unharmed.

As an afterthought, the group decided to expose the mice to Ebola to see what would happen. All the mice that had been infected with the VSV virus carrying the glycoprotein were fully protected from illness; the mice that had not been exposed to the VSV virus all died.

“I guess that was basically the start of the vaccine project, even though I don’t think we really jumped on it with a lot of priority right away,” said Feldmann. . . .

Here is to the people who made it happen -- all of them, over four decades. . . onward.


Monday, January 6, 2020

In A Sane World... Or, A Saner One...

. . .the Supremes would grant this expedited-timeline petition for cert., and forthwith affirm the Roberts opinion in Sebelius -- from seven terms past, now -- summarily.

In sum, as we've long explained, Congress holds the power to tax, spend, and withold from spending -- as well.

But a judge in Texas -- beholden to Trump, he thinks -- has essentially ignored controlling US S. Ct. precedent, solely to throw a wrench [he hopes] into the ACA of 2010, across most states implementing it. Utterly. . . charming.

It is time to end that charade. Here endeth my sermon.


Friday, January 3, 2020

Will We See “A Second Object, As Bright As A Full Moon”... Soon?

While some are citing the Twelfth Century Jewish mystical text Zohar and its prophesies, to suggest the Messiah is soon to arrive (or alternatively, that we are witnessing the end of days) — based on the below. . . I think it likely only amounts to a fascinating interstellar space science event: to be studied for our edification — and ever-increasing fluency — in the language of astro-physics.

It seems the left shoulder super red giant star in the constellation the Greeks called Orion. . .may soon go supernova. And we all may witness up to two years of a night sky with effectively twin moons, aglow. We shall see — but from the fine scientists at, here’s a bit:
. . . . If the star does become a supernova, Betelgeuse would likely be as bright as, or even brighter than the moon for months and months. . . or even more.

At 642.5 light-years from Earth, it would be the closest supernova observed and recorded by humans (closer than the Crab Nebula, which is 6,523 light-years from Earth and is the result of a supernova reported to have taken place in A.D.1054). This also means that, if we see Betelgeuse explode tonight, the supernova really took place over 600 years ago, we're only seeing it now. . . .
Indeed — onward then, as ever. . . here, with a 1921 poem / ode to the star — to boot. Smile. . . .

As I say, I expect just a great bit of interstellar physics learning to come of it — tomorrow, or perhaps 100,000 years from tomorrow. Either way. . . it will be fascinating to keep tabs on. So we. . . will.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

[U] 9:30 EST Tomorrow: Live Stream Audio of Appeal Argument -- Trump Financial Records Subpoena Cases, in DC

As noted here, the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit will hear the above oral arguments, starting at 9:30 AM Eastern.

UPDATED: An archive of the mp3 streaming file will be placed here after 2 PM EST, today. And, the companion case, here. Argument concluded. As you might expect, we will provide a link to that live audio stream of those arguments -- right here, then.

. . . .Live Streaming: The Court live streams audio of all oral arguments, except when classified or sealed matters must be discussed. . . .

Audio Recordings: Audio recordings of the oral arguments will be available by 2:00 P.M. on January 3, 2020. . . .

Well past-time -- for Trump to start paying the piper. Of course, these same issues are also pending now before the Supremes -- so no final answer for a few months yet. Onward.


Sunday, December 29, 2019

NASA's Parker Uses Gravity's Drag -- 1,870 Miles Above Venus -- To Tighten Its Solar Orbital Loop Shape...

The night after Christmas (while all good children were sleeping), Parker executed a second close dip, around Venus, to slow its speed, relatively speaking, as percieved from the surface of the Sun, and thus cause a tighter pass -- as it bends around the Sun, with a closet approach on January 29 -- this time around, at least.

Parker will conduct iterative versions of this Venus dip, five more times -- until it has perfected its closest safe orbit, around our Sun. Here's a bit from NASA, as of Boxing Day evening:

. . . .On Dec. 26, Parker Solar Probe successfully completed its second flyby of Venus. The spacecraft used Venus to slow itself down, approaching the planet at a distance of about 1,870 miles from Venus’s surface during the second gravity assist of the mission. This gravity assist maneuver adjusted Parker Solar Probe’s trajectory to set it up for its fourth orbit around the Sun, or perihelion, which will occur on January 29, 2020.

The flight operations team will use the data collected during the recent flyby to make adjustments for the remaining five Venus gravity assists which will occur over the course of the seven-year mission. . . .

It seems we must veer off-planet, to avoid the odious Trump-led assaults on real space science. His "space force" [no caps] is a sad and expensive joke. Here endeth the lesson. Be excellent -- in every way -- in the new decade. . . . Onward.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Harrowing Ebola Journey, No Doubt. But... Just Imagine Making It... WITHOUT A Private Jet, And Expert NIH Intervention.

This is the long form Wa Po story of the PTSD suffered by a well-educated, relatively wealthy white male Texan, after he recovered from a near-death Ebola infection [not wildly unlike UK Nurse Paula Cafferkey did, during the same outbreak, in my dated graphic at right].

I have deep compasion for his survival story, and none of us can know what tortures such a journey internally inflicts -- on the psyche of the survivor. But I would ask that we all also bear in mind the OTHER 99.999 percent of all Africans' experiences of survival, in Africa, as we read of his.

He was flown home on a private jet -- to arguably the world's premier infectious disease treatment / care facility -- then had support groups, stress treatment centers, AA, and literally the best post-acute care Western Medicine can offer. Even still, nearly five years on, he is still deeply shell-shocked.

Imagine what it must be like, to be returned to the dirt footpaths of a small village in DRC, widely feared if not loathed by the largely superstitious former neighbors. No support available -- most survivors there become health volunteers for the WHO ebola care teams. Perhaps continuing to offer acute care to others helps their recovery. Who knows? But it is a near certainty the physical conditions they endure are significantly more arduous than this Texas survivor encountered. In any event, do go read it all -- very thought-provoking, from the above perspective. Here's a bit:

. . . .Gorman believes that [a non-profit he worked for in the DRC,] Partners in Health failed its “moral and ethical duty” to aid his recovery. [Ed. contra-note: being brought back from the dead seems quite a bit of "aid".] He said the organization did not offer any help until he and former colleagues contacted officials there to express concern about his condition.

The organization disputes that, saying it stayed in contact with him over the years, occasionally offering to help him find therapy. The nonprofit’s human resources director also worked to help him secure workers’ compensation insurance for his health-care bills after Gorman was initially turned down, officials there said.

In late 2016 Gorman went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, though he wasn’t drinking heavily, on the hunch that it was a place where he could air his problems. Someone there referred him to a therapist who specialized in trauma. Gorman began seeing him in late 2016 and still does. . . .

Gorman might also consider that the NIH didn't try to blame him for his infection, as the British authorities initially did, to Paula Cafferkey, trying to strip her nursing license. So. . . we might all bear in mind that whatever we suffer -- certainly there are people in Butembo, DRC are in fact surviving, under far more arduous, violently war-torn conditions. Some times, we probably just ought "to buck up" -- but I understand that is considered an antiquated notion. With all due respect, I will still adhere to it -- in certain cases. Indeed, perhaps he might benefit from a return to the DRC, for perspective.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Let's See If I Might Sum Up The Decade -- On US Pharma Reform -- In About Four Paragraphs...

Many have capably written -- at this week's end -- about pharma having 'run the table', on avoiding both bad outcomes, and garnering new patent monopoly periods. . . from this Congress, and the administration. They are right.

I've been writing for over a decade here, on efforts to reform US health care deleivery. And arguably, with the exception of the ACA of 2010, pharma lobbying. . . has always won out.

So it is, again -- as the decade ends. With a whimper -- not a bang. . . .

Any talk from 45 about reimportation is. . . impotent. It will never happen. There is universal agreement among those of us who actually know what's going on, in those markets -- about that. Canada's drug market is just too darn small, and Florida's alone. . . is just too darn big. 45's contrary statements are simply. . . lies. And not even remotely his most shocking ones. Here endeth that lesson.

Finally -- almost trivially -- on the ACA's future vitality: just to be clear, Chief Justice Roberts has [as we've copiously blogged] already authored a controlling majority opinion that says Congress has broad power to "tax and spend" -- and not to. . . spend. That's all that is being vainly re-litigated, out of Texas. All. . . simply sound; no fury. In sum, the Fifth Circuit opinon will be overturned, if the matter ever reaches the Supremes again.

Oh. And that Boeing Starliner capsule is now safely on the ground in the high desert of White Sands, New Mexico. . . it has been renamed Calypso -- after Cousteau's vessel. Now you know. Onward.


Friday, December 20, 2019

[U, X3] In The 'Space Is Hard' Department: Boeing Starliner Fuels Out, Before Correct Orbit Achieved...

UPDATED, Late Friday Afternoon, Eastern: For its part, Boeing is officially saying that the Starliner's onboard / internal clock was slower than the actual mission elapsed time's duration. Thus, the thrusters fired too late to lift the spacecraft up to the ISS's assigned orbit. It was already being bent back toward our surface -- being recaptured by Earth's gravity -- and was thus too darn low, when the thrusters finally fired. So it hangs now, in no man's land. Not likely to dock with ISS -- more likely to land safely back at White Sands, in under 48 hours in a week, or so. Touchdown now set for 7:57 AM EST, Sunday morning. End, updated portions.

In addition to the widely notorious 737 Max engineering problems, Boeing and its Starliner commercial near Earth orbital launch program have had a very tough 2019.

This early morning, in what is likely going to turn out to be due to some sub-routine anomaly, the spacecraft software [updated: fired too darn late!] / consumed too much fuel in controlling the orbital burn -- thinking, as it were, far more precision was required [with the wrong software routine invoked(?)]. . . and thus left itself with too little fuel to lift the capsule all the way to the ISS. From CNBC, here -- and, a bit:

. . . .“The Boeing Starliner space vehicle experienced an off nominal insertion. The spacecraft currently is in safe and stable configuration. Flight controllers have completed a successful initial burn and are assessing next steps. Boeing and NASA are working together to review options for the test and mission opportunities available while the Starliner remains in orbit,” a Boeing spokesperson said. . . .

As we've long said, space is indeed unforgiving. On most tasks, you only get one shot to get it right -- when that fails, it is usually game over. We will wait and see if something might be improvised to lift the capsule -- but it may require a new mission, from the Cape. So it goes, in life down here, as well, from time to time. . . grin.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merck's Ebola Vaccine -- Ervebo® -- Clears FDA: Excellent News...

Last month, Kenilworth learned that the European Medicines Agency had approved Ervebo throughout the EU.

Tonight, the company learned that here in the US, the FDA has followed suit. Here's a bit, from Ed Silverman' crew, at STAT:

. . . .The road to approval has been long for this vaccine, which will likely be stockpiled by some countries — the United States among them — as a hedge against a possible bioterrorism attack.

The vaccine is also likely to make up a substantial portion of an emergency stockpile for outbreaks being put together by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for use in outbreaks. Gavi recently announced plans to establish a 500,000-dose stockpile. The Merck vaccine, given in a single dose, generates a quick immune response, with protection occurring within about 10 days. Those two features make it attractive as a tool for battling an outbreak.

Work on the vaccine stretches back to the 1990s, when a Yale University researcher, John “Jack” Rose, turned a virus that infects livestock — vesicular stomatitis virus — into a vector that could be used for vaccines. His work was expanded upon by scientists at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in the early and mid-2000s. . . .

This is indeed excellent news -- for humanity. Be excellent to one another. . . for we are all we have, one another. . . .


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sadly... 43 Reported Murdered, Just Since Sunday -- In DRC Factional Violence

This news is as deeply disheartening, as the immediately prior one was. . . encouraging.

A factional terrorist militia group in Beni, over the weekend, executed 43 civilians -- in an effort to turn the people against the government forces. This all is in addition to the scourge of Ebola, still wending its way through these same communities. This, from Minnesota's CIDRAP reporting:

. . . .Over the weekend at least 43 people, including a pregnant woman, were killed in Beni, one of the epicenters of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's current Ebola outbreak, as officials tallied eight new cases of the deadly disease.

The rebel terrorist organization Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) likely conducted the attacks, according to the Associated Press (AP) and Al Jazeera. . . .

I am simply. . . stunned. Deeply saddened -- and so near the holidays, to boot. Onward. Awful; but onward.


Merck Oncology Pipeline News: The $2.7 Billion Tender For ArQule Is Formally Underway...

The deal, which Merck hopes to close early in the first quarter of 2020, after clearing Hart-Scott waiting periods, would give Kenilworth control of ArQule’s experimental candidate ARQ 531, an oncology agent that it seems, tailors therapy to a patient’s genetic profile -- with a likely first FDA approval for blood cancers.

[The idea, in part, is that it offers some prudent diversification in oncology, from Keytruda's quite-hefty appeal.] Here's a bit:

. . . .[Merck opened] a cash tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of ArQule, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARQL). On Dec. 9, 2019, Merck announced its intent to acquire ArQule.

Upon the successful closing of the tender offer, stockholders of ArQule will receive $20 in cash for each share of ArQule common stock validly tendered and not validly withdrawn in the offer, without interest and less any required withholding taxes. Following the purchase of shares in the tender offer, ArQule will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck.

Merck will file today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a tender offer statement on Schedule TO, which provides the terms of the tender offer. Additionally, ArQule will file with the SEC a solicitation/recommendation statement on Schedule 14D-9 that includes the recommendation of the ArQule board of directors that their stockholders accept the tender offer and tender their shares.

The tender offer will expire at one minute past 11:59 pm Eastern Time on January 15, 2020, unless extended in accordance with the merger agreement and the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC. . . .

Oh. And the news more than doubled ArQule's stock price instantly. Okay -- now you know. . . Onward, with lots of arrivals. . . grinning; Handel's Messiah tonight.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Good News: Today, The Supremes Effectively Re-Confirmed That Homelessness, Without More, Is No Crime.

I suppose, in the age of Trump [now mercifully drawing to a close], what was long obvious, from the face of the Bill of Rights. . . more than occasionally needs to be re-stated, since Trump seems largely unable or unwilling to grapple with the Constitution's commands.

During 2019,Trump has repeatedly advocated razing homeless encampments, and arresting occupants for "vagrancy" [i.e., not a crime since the mid-1960s] primarily in California -- a state whose policies he generally disfavors. He has asserted [alternatively] that homelessness is -- and/or should be -- a crime. Both of these opinions of his are wildly ignorant. The Supremes have long protected the 'status' of poverty, without more, from being converted into the "conduct" of some ill-defined crime. . . like vagrancy, disorderly conduct, or trespass.

It was against this backdrop, that the city of Boise, Idaho attempted to arrest Mr. Martin, an individual sleeping in the city, on public property, when no other shelter was available to him. That the city may not constitutionally do. Both the federal trial court and the Ninth Circuit so held, entirely unsurprisingly. Boise asked the Supremes to weigh in. The high court has declined to do so, without any opinion. So a right to be poor exists -- and no state or city may criminalize sleeping outside, on public land, without more. Here's a bit from the homeless peoples' legal briefs:

. . . .The Eighth Amendment prohibits the criminalization of engaging in “innocent,” “life-sustaining” conduct -- such as sleeping -- as applied to homeless individuals who otherwise “do not have a single place they can lawfully be.” Pet. App. 63a. At a minimum, however, petitioner [Boise, Idaho] points to no conflict between the decision below and any majority holding of this Court.

Petitioner’s asserted conflicts with the California Supreme Court and other courts of appeals, meanwhile, are so tenuous and unconvincing that even petitioner presses them only half-heartedly. . . . That appeal is particularly remarkable because the Ninth Circuit’s holding does no more than command what petitioner’s own current ordinances already ostensibly require. . . .

Martin v. City of Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2019)

Onward -- and so it goes. we must burn electrons, into the night, to keep Trump's odious lies, which seek to curtail all civil liberties. . . from taking root. Strive mightily to be be excellent to all humans [and pets] you meet, on the street, in the woods, or on the beach. Out.


Friday, December 13, 2019

VIDEO: The "First Five" Big Solar Science Discoveries -- From The Parker Solar Probe's Trips Around Our Sun...

Do watch, and listen -- this is a video about the pinnacle of US space science, laid out -- and in action.

This is our "collective return" -- on the investment made in the mind of U. of C. Professor Eugene Parker, in rigorous, steady and careful study of our Sun -- for well-over a half century:

. . . .NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission has returned unprecedented data from near the Sun, culminating in new discoveries published on Dec. 4, 2019, in the journal Nature. Among the findings are new understandings of how the Sun's constant outflow of material, the solar wind, behaves.

Seen near Earth -- where it can interact with our planet's natural magnetic field and cause space weather effects that interfere with technology -- the solar wind appears to be a relatively uniform flow of plasma. But Parker Solar Probe's observations reveal a complicated, active system not seen from Earth. . . .

Be excellent to one another, as the small light flakes begin to fall here, tonight. . . . calling to me of Christmases Past. . . smiling. Ever, smiling. . . .


The Supremes Will Rule On -- And Announce The Validity Of The Subpoenas For Trump's Financial Records... During The Summer Of 2020 -- Election Season.

I will say little about what I really think this means -- but I do not think it portends a political outcome.

I do not read this as a good sign for Team Trump.

. . . .19-635 TRUMP, DONALD J. V. VANCE, CYRUS R., ET AL. [TRUMP, DONALD J., ET AL. V. MAZARS USA, LLP, ET AL.; and TRUMP, DONALD J., ET AL. V. DEUTSCHE BANK AG, ET AL.] The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The case will be set for argument in the March 2020 argument session.

The petition for a writ of certiorari in No. 19-715 is granted. The application (19A640) for stay presented to Justice Ginsburg and by her referred to the Court is granted, and it is ordered that the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, case No. 19-1540, is hereby stayed pending further order of the Court.

In addition, the application is treated as a petition for a writ of certiorari, and the petition is granted. The cases are consolidated, and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument. The cases will be set for argument in the March 2020 argument session. . . .

Now you know. Onward.


Brexit Update: Boris Should Have "More Been" Careful -- In What He Wished For, For Christmas...

As the below Wa Po reporting indicates, most EU trade ministers are actually. . . ever so slyly. . . grinning, now that Boris must try to deliver on all his "pandering to the xenophobic base" promises. [And it is just what he wished for, for Christmas, too. Very droll.]

In truth, nothing much will change before late 2020, if then. If Boris does mollify the Brexiteers' wilder demands, the EU trading bloc will be able to deftly impose its will, on Boris. And if he does bow to the crazies at home, the EU trade ministers will simply hammer the UK with ruinous tariffs. Either way, Boris is likely to lose -- but in one scenario, he takes all of the UK down with him, unless Northern Ireland and Scotland decide to... remain. Then he only ruins... Merry Old England. Here's a bit:

. . . .Over the next year, negotiators are somehow supposed to hammer out a major trade deal, as well as agreements about how Britain and Europe cooperate on security, foreign policy and a range of other issues. Virtually no one on the European side believes it possible to agree to a meaningful trade deal that fast — meaning either that Johnson will have to break a campaign promise by asking to extend the transition, or that Britain and the E.U. could wind up with the same type of sudden break at the end of 2020 that Parliament until now refused to allow. . . .

Brussels is delighted to say adieu to what it regards as obstructionist rabble. . . .

My long-standing predictions therefore still hold -- nothing before 2021 -- and most likely more delay after that. Nope. No hard Brexit, not until trade talks are complete -- and mutual military defense is secured. [That is a mess that Trump injected to all of this, by criticizing NATO. As irony would have it, over the last two years, Trump made Johnson's job well-nigh. . . impossible, now. Hilarious.]


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Worrisome "Uptick" In Ebola Cases -- After Relief Efforts Suspended Due To Intensifying Factional Violence In DRC...

The graphic tells essentially the entire story [worth "a thousand words, indeed"] -- of the effect of renewed violence against health workers in the DRC: more people will die -- of Ebola. Probably for a few months now.

But the second, deeper worry, now is that seventeen of the new cases are from a person who had -- it was thought -- survived the viral infection once already. As such, it would be expected that the recovering person had acquired immunity [they were never vaccinated, however]. Certainly more study is needed, tout de suite -- if people with purely natural "acquired" immunity are, in fact, re-infection risks.

Here's a link to the whole WHO update report as published tonight, and a bit:

. . . .The majority of these new cases are linked to a single chain of transmission, in which one individual was a potential source of infection for 17 people. This is the second documentation of EVD illness in this individual within a 6-month period. An investigation is ongoing to understand the circumstances around this case. Among the possibilities being investigated are reinfection and relapse. Reinfection would mean a person who has recovered from EVD is infected with EVD from another person; there has never been a documented case of this. Rare cases of relapse have been documented, in which a person who has recovered from EVD gets disease symptoms again.

In the past week, there were six new cases among health workers; five of which were traditional practitioners, bringing the total number of health workers infected in this outbreak to 169 (5% of all reported cases). . . .

As ever, we are keeping a very close watch on this viral storm, at the horizon line. . . be excellent to one another.