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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
June 28, 2019

The discussion of Biden and school desegregation is missing context

What people don't seem to realize about politicians is that their "views" on various topics are more frequently driven by the necessities of maintaining office than any particular principles.

The University of Delaware did not admit black students until 1971. Biden graduated in 1965. Prior to that, despite the "hardscrabble roots" story, by the time his father was running a successful auto dealership in Wilmington, Biden attended what is, for this area, a relatively upscale private school.

After the assassination of MLK Jr., the upheaval in Wilmington led to the longest military occupation of a US city since the civil war. Longstanding redlining practices strictly segregated the neighborhoods of New Castle County generally. For most of white suburban New Castle County, African Americans simply did not exist in their neighborhoods, parks or stores.

(one thing to understand about Delaware is that while it consists of three counties, there northern county of New Castle is by far the most populous, and is essentially a proxy for "greater Wilmington" )

While a 1954 court decision required the desegregation of Delaware's schools, this was easily routed-around by the creation of separate school districts which tracked the boundaries of racially-segregated communities in New Castle County.

Biden was elected in a post-Watergate Democratic wave against a doddering incumbent. Holding that seat, in a state which straddles the Mason Dixon Line, was almost immediately challenged by the law catching up to the area's dodge of effective desegregation in the 1950's and 1960's. Filed in 1971, the case of Evans v. Buchanan, addressing Delaware's continued de-facto segregation, became a piece of civil litigation trench warfare which, after various appeals, remands and protracted attempts to resolve, eventually resulted in virtually direct administration of the New Castle County schools by the US District Court of Delaware.

There was no way that Joe Biden was going to be re-elected in 1978 without his usual attempt to be all things to everyone on the issue of school desegregation in New Castle County.

Whatever Joe Biden may personally believe about de-facto segregation caused by decades of redlining, or of busing as a remedy to that segregation, I can guarantee you that the only person who knows what that might be is Joe Biden. Going by any statements he made in the 1970's in order to fancy dance around taking a definable position for the purpose of being able to get enough Delaware voters he was marginally enough on their side, is an exercise in attempting to nail Jell-O to a wall.

Like his advocacy of an anti flag-desecration law in order to "protect the flag" or to prevent support for a Constitutional amendment gaining credible steam, it is one of those instances - and there are many - of Joe believing he has found some genius compromise position that allows him to wink and smile at people on either side to convey the impression he is on their side.

Joe is a good politician. A philosopher-king he is not.

June 24, 2019

Congratulations, everybody.... we won!

Many of you may not have known how perilously close we all came to losing this case:


The court has adopted the findings set forth in the Magistrate's report, but I'm concerned the Magistrate left an appealable issue on the table:


June 19, 2019

Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model


The goal of this study was to investigate Cannabidiol (CBD) hepatotoxicity in 8-week-old male B6C3F1 mice. Animals were gavaged with either 0, 246, 738, or 2460 mg/kg of CBD (acute toxicity, 24 h) or with daily doses of 0, 61.5, 184.5, or 615 mg/kg for 10 days (sub-acute toxicity). These doses were the allometrically scaled mouse equivalent doses (MED) of the maximum recommended human maintenance dose of CBD in EPIDIOLEX® (20 mg/kg). In the acute study, significant increases in liver-to-body weight (LBW) ratios, plasma ALT, AST, and total bilirubin were observed for the 2460 mg/kg dose. In the sub-acute study, 75% of mice gavaged with 615 mg/kg developed a moribund condition between days three and four. As in the acute phase, 615 mg/kg CBD increased LBW ratios, ALT, AST, and total bilirubin. Hepatotoxicity gene expression arrays revealed that CBD differentially regulated more than 50 genes, many of which were linked to oxidative stress responses, lipid metabolism pathways and drug metabolizing enzymes. In conclusion, CBD exhibited clear signs of hepatotoxicity, possibly of a cholestatic nature. The involvement of numerous pathways associated with lipid and xenobiotic metabolism raises serious concerns about potential drug interactions as well as the safety of CBD.
June 7, 2019

Let's decontextualize another Biden career episode - the Great Flag Desecration Bill of 1989

There's a list of these that we might as well get over and done with now.

To be clear, this is not intended as "bashing". Having grown up in Delaware, I'm probably more familiar with the details of Joe Biden's career history than many DUers, who are going to be perpetually surprised by de-contextualized episodes going back to the early 1970's.

So, in order to prevent you from being surprised, let's wade into the Great Flag Burning Foofaraw Of 1989.


Biden proposes flag bill amid questions

WASHINGTON -- Senators searching for a way out of the emotional and political quagmire of what to do about flag desecration Tuesday proposed a new bill to ban the act, but legal scholars and some lawmakers quickly differed over whether the plan could do the job.

That's right, Joe Biden was the principal author and sponsor of a bill to make it illegal to desecrate the US flag.

Wrap your head around that, shake your demons out, do your poutrage dance over free speech, but that's the simple fact.

Now, you want to know the context?

In 1989, during the reign of Dear Leader St. Ronnie of Raygun, the Supreme Court decided Texas v. Johnson:


Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag enforced in 48 of the 50 states. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that defendant Gregory Lee Johnson's act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The circumstances of this particular flag burning arose from a disorderly protest held during the 1984 GOP Convention, again nominating Dear Leader St. Ronnie as Supreme Figurehead of All That Is Holy.

And those librul, unelected, dictators in black robes on the Court said it was okay to burn a flag.

Mind you, there are all kinds of laws you can have against illegal burning of "stuff" in general. Heck, in most areas you can't burn leaves anymore. There are also all kinds of laws you can have against disorderly conduct, unsafe use of flammable materials, and so on.

But burning a flag? Heaven forfend. If someone is allowed to burn a flag - even their own flag on their own property or even a crayon drawing of a flag which they just rendered on their own piece of property - the country would crumble.

So, there began one of those idiotic wedge-issue crusades which, like all idiotic wedge-issue crusades, had utterly nothing to do with getting anything of consequence done that would affect people's lives, but would result in a Constitutional Amendment making an exception for flag burning.

So, Joe had this one all figured out. Joe believed that he could de-rail the campaign to amend the Constitution by claiming he'd come up with a "Constitutional" way to ban flag desecration as a form of political expression.

Yeppers, that was what he thought.

Years after the fact, I brought this up with him and told him that it was a surprisingly craven act on his part, and that he knew damn well that providing an equally unconstitutional statutory alternative to derail the amendment drive, instead of opposing the amendment drive head on was simply dishonest. His answer was to the general effect of sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. He explained that his bill provided cover to vulnerable Congresscritters to say that they supported Joe's idiotic bill as an alternative to being soft on flag desecration. The point was, he explained, not to ever get the bill actually passed, but to provide a vehicle by which politicians needing to say "of course I oppose flag desecration" a reason not to get behind a Constitutional Amendment to that effect.

Anyway, it is a reasonable question to consider whether Joe was correct or incorrect in his assessment that pimping a clearly unconstitutional bill in order to provide political cover, instead of simply expecting elected officials to support freedom of speech. Ultimately, neither Joe's flag burning bill, nor the Amendment went anywhere, and I'm sure in Joe's mind that is one in the "win" column. If you win, does it matter how you win?

But, please, get ready for the great "Joe Biden Anti-First-Amendment Flag Desecration Bill" to be unearthed from the catacombs of the political context in which it died.

June 7, 2019

Remember all those posts on DU promoting genetic testing?

A while back, it seemed like every couple of days there was a post on DU pimping those home DNA test kits. My favorite one was the idiot who was claiming that people who don't get them are really cowards, because they are afraid it will show undesired ethnic origins (as if all people didn't have a common ancestry anyway).

Well, how on earth did I manage to miss this, and I apologize if it was posted before, but it turns out that you have all been paying for the privilege of providing data to pharmaceutical companies:


A Major Drug Company Now Has Access to 23andMe’s Genetic Data

Consumer genetic testing company 23andMe announced on Wednesday that GlaxoSmithKline purchased a $300 million stake in the company, allowing the pharmaceutical giant to use 23andMe’s trove of genetic data to develop new drugs — and raising new privacy concerns for consumers.

The “collaboration” is a way to make “novel treatments and cures a reality,” 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki said in a company blog post. But, though it isn’t 23andMe’s first foray into drug discovery, the deal doesn’t seem quite so simple to some medical experts — or some of the roughly 5 million 23andMe customers who have sent off tubes of their spit in exchange for ancestry and health insights.

That was, incidentally, the play all along. Charge consumers money to fund your establishment of a huge DNA database, and then sell it off to interested purchasers. It pays at both ends.


23andMe's Pharma Deals Have Been the Plan All Along

But 23andMe, with its hybrid model, has been commodifying health and genetic data for years as it wades further into the field of drug discovery. In 2015, Forbes reported that the company had inked its first pharmaceutical company deal with Genentech, for $10 million up front, and up to $50 million if its data turned out to be useful for developing Parkinson’s treatments. Pfizer signed a data-sharing agreement of its own shortly after. That was back when 23andMe had data from only 650,000 consented individuals in its proprietary database. Its critics were unsure of the value of that information, self-reported as it was (and still is). But as the database has grown to the millions, differences in how customers interpret survey questions matter less and less to the company’s potential research partners, according to Spector-Bagdady.

“The hypothesis of this company was to circumvent medical records and just self-report,” Wojcicki told a room full researchers at an event on 23andMe’s campus in May. “Anyone can go get genomes. What’s really hard is phenotypic data.”

To get that kind of health and behavioral information, 23andMe is continually pushing surveys out to its customers. A few questions here, a few questions there; it’s kind of like going on a first date every time you log on. And people love talking about themselves. “We specialize in capturing phenotypic data on people longitudinally—on average 300 data points on each customer,” Wojcicki said. “That’s the most valuable by far.

And, please, don't even bother to say "But I sent mine to Ancestry.com" and try convince me that giving your DNA to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a better idea.


Ancestry.Com Is Quietly Transforming Itself Into A Medical Research Juggernaut

June 7, 2019

So, the only thing worse than Joe Biden supporting the Hyde Amendment

...is Joe Biden deciding not to after listening to criticism.

Well, geez, I want someone who is unyielding, stubborn and impervious to criticism.

June 6, 2019

Executive Order 13535

Remember the outrage here over this.....


Executive Order 13535 is an executive order announced by President Barack Obama on March 21, 2010, and signed on March 24. It reinforces a commitment to preservation of the Hyde Amendment's policy restricting federal funds for abortion within the context of recent health care legislation. The order was signed after an agreement with pro-life Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, who had said he and several other pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives would not support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unless the Bill's language prohibiting federal funding of abortions was strengthened.
June 4, 2019

State Bar of California Proceeding To Place Avenatti On Involuntary Inactive Status


Today the State Bar filed a petition with the State Bar Court to place Los Angeles attorney Michael J. Avenatti on involuntary inactive status, pursuant to California Business and Professions Code 6007(c)(1)-(3).

This section of statute, amended by the Legislature on January 1, 2019, authorizes the Office of Chief Trial Counsel to file a petition for involuntary inactive enrollment of an attorney when there is sufficient evidence to show that the attorney caused or is causing substantial harm to the attorney’s clients or the public and there is a reasonable probability both that the Chief Trial Counsel will prevail on a related disciplinary matter and that the attorney will be disbarred.

The licensee has 10 days from the service of the petition to file a verified response and request a hearing. If the licensee does not do so within that time frame, he waives the right to a hearing.

If no hearing is held, the State Bar Court must file its decision within 30 days of submission. If a hearing is requested, the Court will set a hearing date.


The full complaint is here:


Attached to the complaint are all of the records and communications between Avenatti and the client Gregory Barela from whom Avenatti outright stole more than $700,000 and has ignored inquiries from the State Bar of California about why Barela never received his payment, and why Avenatti provided Barela a falsified version of the settlement agreement and lied about receiving the money.

Whenever you wonder, "How could people fall for an obvious fraudulent con man like Trump?", take a look at the people who deliberately ignored every red flag about Michael Avenatti, took him for some kind of hero, and intentionally misdirected others to minimize facts that were known about him early on.

June 3, 2019

"The New Girl" (1960)

This film depicts the often-overlooked struggles that white men had to go through in the 1960's in order to advance racial equality among the office girls....

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Delaware
Member since: Fri Jan 20, 2006, 07:14 PM
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