Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Last Call For Meanwhile In Bevinstan...

With the candidate filing deadline today, Joe Sonka at Insider Louisville goes over the 2019 Governor's race here in Kentucky and what and who we can expect on the ballot for the May 21 primaries, but who you won't be seeing is Bevin's current Lt. Governor, Jenean Hampton.

Gov. Matt Bevin finally made his re-election bid official on Friday, but this time he will not be running with his current Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton. Instead, the governor chose state Sen.Ralph Alvarado of Winchester, a physician who has sponsored legislation to limit medical malpractice lawsuits and create tax credits for K-12 students to attend private schools.

Republican Congressman James Comer considered a primary challenge against Bevin but issued a statement Sunday night explaining his decision not to make such a run – though not without adding a searing criticism of the governor’s behavior during his first term.

Instead, Bevin will face a trio of political newcomers in the Republican primary, including state Rep. Robert Goforth, William Woods of Corinth and Ike Lawrence of Lexington.

Goforth, a veteran and pharmacist, won a special election last February to the state House and won that seat again in November. He chose Lawrence County attorney Michael Hogan as his running mate, who lost a close primary race for attorney general in 2015.

Goforth has criticized Bevin for his harsh words toward teachers who protested his public pension reform proposal, support for charter schools, and the expansion of gambling with instant racing facilities that resemble slot machines.

Woods has a platform of opposition to Bevin’s pension bill, support for abortion rights and support for medical marijuana, with that tax revenue steered toward providing every public school with armed guards. Justin Miller of Florence is his running mate.

Lawrence, who filed for office just hours before Tuesday’s deadline, ran for mayor of Lexington last year, winning less than 2 percent of the vote in the primary. James Anthony Rose, also from Lexington, is his running mate.

On the Democratic side, the primary has shaped up as a three-way fight of big-name candidates, including Attorney General Andy Beshear, House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins and the former state Auditor Adam Edelen

Beshear chose Jacqueline Coleman as his running mate, a teacher, basketball coach and current assistant principal at Nelson County High School. The other two gubernatorial candidates both looked to Louisville for their running mates, with Adkins choosing the former Jefferson County Board of Education member Steph Horne, and Edelen tapping the prominent businessman Gill Holland.

Perennial candidate Geoff Young — who has lost by wide margins in five races over the last seven years — is also running as a Democrat on a ticket with Josh French. Young, from Lexington, received less than 2 percent of the vote last year in the Democratic primary for the Sixth Congressional District.

Back last November, the state's Tea Party leaders told Bevin in no uncertain terms to keep Hampton on the ticket, because dumping the state's only elected black statewide officeholder would make Bevin look like more of an asshole than he already is.  For her part, Hampton all but admitted she was going to be dropped from the ticket last week before Bevin made his decision official last Friday.

Bevin remains one of the country's least popular governors, and thankfully Alison Lundergan Grimes passed on the Democratic side, where her baggage plus the weight of her father's long history in the state would have almost certainly spelled doom.

As it is, state AG Andy Beshear and Matt Bevin have been fighting for three years straight anyhow, so at least he has the practice in facing off.  We'll see how the primaries go, but at this point I'd vote for an empty barrel of Woodford Reserve over Matt Bevin.

Besides, it's the coldest day of the year and Matt Bevin is bitching about why many Kentucky schools are closed Wednesday because it hasn't occurred to him that some kids in the state have to walk to school after Bevin gutted already slim school transportation budgets last year and wind chills of -20 below might be bad for students.

The guy deserves to lose.

Picking A Circular Firing Squad Fight

I still have some issue with the specifics (or general lack thereof) when it comes to Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, but even I know this is The Hill carrying water for the right.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has infuriated colleagues by aligning with a progressive outside group that’s threatening to primary entrenched Democrats. Now some of those lawmakers are turning the tables on her and are discussing recruiting a primary challenger to run against the social media sensation.

At least one House Democrat has been privately urging members of the New York delegation to recruit a local politician from the Bronx or Queens to challenge Ocasio-Cortez.
“What I have recommended to the New York delegation is that you find her a primary opponent and make her a one-term congressperson,” the Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told The Hill. “You’ve got numerous council people and state legislators who’ve been waiting 20 years for that seat. I’m sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district.”

The New York delegation has eyed Ocasio-Cortez with skepticism ever since last summer when the 29-year-old self-described democratic socialist shocked the political world and defeated then-Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in what many thought would be a sleepy primary race. Crowley, a Queens powerbroker and affable House Democratic Caucus chairman, had been considered a possible future Speaker.

Many New York and Congressional Black Caucus lawmakers were also furious with Ocasio-Cortez after a recent Politico report stated she and the grass-roots group aligned with her, Justice Democrats, were considering backing a primary challenge to fellow New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, a Black Caucus member and establishment insider who succeeded Crowley as caucus chairman.

Both Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats have denied the report, but the group of insurgent progressives has vowed to target centrist Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and is eyeing other potential 2020 targets.

For now, New York Democratic lawmakers are playing nice with Ocasio-Cortez and her 2.6 million Twitter followers and say no one in the Empire State’s delegation is currently contemplating backing a primary challenger against her.

The reason I know this is all rope-a-dope for dopes is that the right, as usual, gave the game away earlier this week by Stephen Hayward over at Power Line.

And lo and behold, Hayward is all gosh darn surprised to see an article 24 hours later "proving" his hunch.

This is being manufactured like the mystical widget, to the point where I'm looking for an economics textbook.  Don't buy this narrative, it's completely bonkers, and the only thing it proves is how absolutely terrified of Ocasio-Cortez the right is, in the era of star power politicians.

The Biggest Of Pharmas

A group of Israeli scientists at a biotech startup say they are ready to have a cure for cancer by 2020.

A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer
,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

It sounds fantastical, especially considering that an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year, according to reports by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Further, every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death (second only to cardiovascular disease).

Aridor, chairman of the board of AEBi and CEO Dr. Ilan Morad, say their treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.

The potentially game-changing anti-cancer drug is based on SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. It involves the introduction of DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria. That protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.

In 2018, a team of scientists won the Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics.

AEBi is doing something similar but with peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain. According to Morad, peptides have several advantages over antibodies, including that they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to produce and regulate.

When the company first started, Morad said, “We were doing what everyone else was doing, trying to discover individual novel peptides for specific cancers.” But shortly thereafter, Morad and his colleague, Dr. Hanan Itzhaki, decided they wanted to do something bigger.

To get started, Morad said they had to identify why other cancer-killing drugs and treatments don’t work or eventually fail. Then, they found a way to counter that effect.

Search and destroy phages that eat cancer cells, the stuff of medical sci-fi and Michael Crighton thrillers, but if this stuff is true, if these scientists have cracked the problem, they go down in history along with Salk, Curie, Crick (not so much Watson these days), Pasteur, Darwin, the big ones.  It's a big if, of course, the major concern.

My second concern is how available is this, because cancer kills one in six, and charging a million bucks for a treatment regimen, well, if this were an American company, you can bet that you wouldn't be able to afford it.  This kind of becomes a nuclear blast in the Big Pharma industry.  Not quite curing cancer is extraordinarily lucrative.  Actually curing it without chemo or radiation is a money loser, and the big pharma companies damn well know it.

Again, if this pans out, it's a world-changer.  The change may not be better for everyone.


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