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Live by the Dow…

… die by the Dow.

Today, the market as defined by the Dow Jones IA plunged over 1100 points. That’s after it ended on a down note last Friday. And from the way it looks, it may do it again tomorrow.

Causes are said to be related to the Fed raising interest rates, which are expected to slow the economy. But there are other reasons as well, like maybe the tax cut plan is not going to stimulate growth or the fact that Americans are over stretched and aren’t saving enough. That seems pretty accurate from my standpoint. It’s difficult to save when every rent seeking industry out there assumes you’ll pay whatever they charge because you HAVE to. Pretty soon, no one has any disposable income. Just saying.

Anyway, I’m not too worried yet. Sure, I wish I had more money in the bank but oh well, whatchagonna do? At least I’m not losing my shirt right now.

I’m guessing that Trump’s popularity is going to plunge. His policies were marvelous to the Trump supporters as long as they were making money. I have no expectation that Trump could handle a 2008 level of crisis. No indeedy. We’d all be well and good screwed, even the callous opportunists who were willing to turn a blind eye to everything Trump was doing to the immigrants and women and gay people and children and poor people and sick people.

A shock like today hits pretty close to home. He is supposed to take care of his people making money. You know, the clean living, virtuous, pious, hard working people who had the power to look down on everyone less fortunate than themselves. If the market doesn’t continue going up, how will they define themselves? They won’t be special anymore.

Awwww.

🙄

******************************

So, the state of Pennsylvania has been ordered by its state Supreme Court to redraw the US Congressional district maps because Democrats were outvoting Republicans but for some strange reason weren’t ending up with more Congressional delegates.

The new map must be complete this week. Republicans haven’t cooperated with the court. They took their case to the US Supreme Court for a stay of their execution. Today, SCOTUS declined their request. The maps must be redrawn. So the Republicans can be in contempt or cooperate.

We’ll see what they choose to do but I found this little blurb interesting from the CNN story on it:

So, according to this Michael Turzai guy, it’s more important that the legislature, which is Republican, gets its way. It’s more important than Free Speech and equal protection.

Isn’t that kind of like admitting that the maps were drawn in such a way so as to deny free speech and equal protection to Pennsylvanians?

I’d say that at least they’re honest but you know, they’re Republicans.

Let’s just chalk it up to Turzai et al stupidly letting us read their thought bubbles.

Looks like the new map is ON. Woooot!!

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What’s WRONG with these people?

Jimmy Kimmel thought that if he introduced Trump voters to a real life DACA recipient who had been here in this country since she was 2, has her own baby (a US citizen) and us engaged to a guy in the National Guard, that maybe their compassion for another human being would soften their position to deport the Dreamers. Watch what happens:

Perhaps the best psychological experiments of the 20th century, The Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison experiment can explain much of what is going on here. There’s a mindlessness about adhering to a law so rigorously that you are willing to separate a mother from her child and partner for 10 years. And there’s a bit of lecturing going on by people who have NO idea what it’s like to deal with the US INS. I’ve had colleagues who have tried to get green cards, had US citizen children, were from France and Canada and STILL spent thousands of dollars, waited patiently while INS lost their paperwork and sat on the edge of their seats for months after their final interviews waiting for their green card. The humiliating questions we ask of regular people just trying to live with their families and keep their jobs (one was an astronomer teaching at a college in PA, the other was a structural biologist, soooo, hardly sucking off the public) was just ridiculous.

So, imagine how much worse it is for someone who had no choice in the matter and can’t really go back to a country she doesn’t know.

A nursing student engaged to a US soldier. Why are we making their lives so difficult? What purpose does it serve?

It serves only the purpose of making these Americans of little thought and self reflection look like losers who finally have a chance to self righteously lord their puny powers over desperate people who are asking for their help.

They have the choice to be mean or merciful. They choose to be mean.

The quality of mercy is not strained;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.

– Portia, The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare.

Exodus 22:21-22 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.”

********************************

I heard this interview between Maria Schriver and Bill Gates yesterday about Alzheimer’s disease and Gates $100 million donation to find a cure.

This is well intentioned but a couple of things jumped out at me:

1.) $100 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what has already been spent. Pharma R&D spent billions working on gamma secretase and beta secretase inhibitors, gene therapy, immunotherapy. Some of these therapies actually killed people. That’s not to say there isn’t a cure waiting around the next corner. There well may be. But up to this point, all researchers have been able to do is document what doesn’t seem to work.

2.) Bill Gates says the biggest problem is none of these companies share data. That’s true to some extent. Lawyers have a lot to do with this. The companies don’t want to give away their SAR (structure activity relationship). If they have a series of compounds that have activity that is increased/decreased by some subtle tweaks, then someone who does medicinal chemistry or computational chemistry like yours truly, could look for patterns and create a model of activity for that series, piggybacking off the knowledge and research dollars of another group. And I have actually done that by reading patents and publications, and reconstructing models. But Gates does not understand the nature of the Alzheimer’s beast as far as research goes. It’s not as simple as inhibiting gamma secretase, my own personal bugaboo for several years. There is a complex interaction going on in the brain between many proteins, the immune system and just the nature of the blood brain barrier makes solving this problem very very difficult.

Not saying it’s not worthy. But biomedical research is not as easy as writing the next version of Windows. I know Silicon Valley types think all they need to do is introduce a few new ways of doing things and all that non-productive activity will suddenly bear fruit. And I’m all for new methods of doing things. It’s just that this kind of science really is different and requires slow, methodical, analytical trial and error. It’s not going to be a trial and success endeavor.

Gates should spend some time really listening to the experts who don’t need a software engineer to tell them how to do drug design. If he’s going to donate that kind of money, he needs to be in it for the long haul. And a couple of extra billions wouldn’t hurt.

And he should think about getting the companies who have the data to join a consortium where they agree to share whatever patent comes out of it. Good luck getting the lawyers to agree to that.