For those too young to remember, allow me to explain. It wasn’t until Ryan White that Ronald Reagan even knew what AIDS was. The sick kid from Indiana prompted President Reagan to, in one of his famous fireside chats, declare war on the disease. That war was won two years later with an armistice signed in Paris by emissaries from both warring nations. Anyway, that’s why we have parades all the time now.
Fast forward, like, 70 years, and we arrive at last week. A larcenous little leukemia survivor stole our collective hearts with a day of make-believe so unbelievably rich, the Muppet Babies have considered filing a copyright lawsuit. The child, with a real name no one cares about and the fake name “Batkid,” was allowed to run around the entire city of San Francisco while denizens of that city (mostly homeless bums) pretended that he was a superhero. He rescued a damsel in distress, helped to arrest the Riddler, and finished the day off by murdering the Penguin in cold blood. JKJKJK. The Penguin plot line had something to do with the San Francisco Giants mascot.
Anyway, the sickly little scamp had a helluva day and made everyone feel like a million bucks. All because of pretend.
And no one pretended harder than the U.S. Attorney’s Office….
There’s some big news this week in top law school land: Boalt Hall’s Dean Christopher Edley Jr. will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2013, and as of yesterday, has taken a medical leave from his duties due to some serious health problems. Edley leaves behind one of the best law schools in the nation — one which he helped guide into the top 10 in the U.S. News law school rankings.
Edley has served as dean for nearly a decade, and he’s navigated Berkeley Law through the legal profession’s boom and bust years. Dean Daniel Rodriguez of Northwestern had this to say of Boalt’s outgoing dean: “In a period of real challenge for that great public law school — with declining state support, a creaky physical plant, some key faculty loses, and, later, myriad problems stemming from the tough job market in California and nationally — Edley provided steady, creative leadership.”
Despite its overall success, Chris Edley’s tenure as dean was not without controversy. We’ll review some of the highlights of his career at the school in a bit. But first, why is he leaving so suddenly?
Here’s a bit of good news: the Supreme Court has effectively said you can’t patent genes, though in typical Supreme Court fashion, it hedged a bit. Basically, they found that merely separating out naturally occurring DNA is not patentable, but that synthetically made “complementary DNA” or (cDNA) can be patentable. This case has been going on for quite some time, involving a company called Myriad Genetics, which isolated two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, where mutations indicate a high likelihood of developing breast cancer. Myriad then set up a very lucrative, extremely high priced set of tests to find those mutations and argued that others testing for those genes violated its patents — because stopping breast cancer should be prohibitively expensive, apparently.
The actress decided to take the preventative measure after genetic testing determined that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Now, Jolie is a movie star married to another movie star, so the decision to undergo an expensive procedure did not deter her like it will many women in the United States.
Not the mastectomy. Insurance usually covers that if the patient presents such risks. No, the expensive procedure is the initial genetic testing. And the Supreme Court might be able to do something about that in the next couple of months…
* Only amateur fibbers simply pretend they have cancer. If you want to be the real deal, you gotta tell all your friends you also don’t have health insurance and get them to raise three grand to pay for your imaginary chemo. [Legal Juice]
* So, I would never fake an injury to get to use a wheelchair, because of the serious karma issues it would probably create in my life (e.g., above blurb). But I will say I went to Disneyland once with a physically disabled friend, and it was freaking amazing. I’ve never waited in so few lines in my life. [Consumerist]
* I think the lesson here is that it’s generally poor parenting to name your child after the sound a bomb makes. [CBS Cleveland via Legal Blog Watch]
Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. And millions of people across the planet learned of the news on devices he invented.
You’ve probably already heard the details. The 56-year-old chairman and co-founder of Apple had been fighting pancreatic cancer since 2004. He ran one of the most successful companies in the world, a company he founded in a suburban garage. He invented the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad; at one point he owned Pixar; and he personally had more than 300 patents to his name, according to The Atlantic.
I am having a hard time thinking of any other human in recent memory who has so widely, tangibly, and positively changed the face of the world.
As Alexis Madrigal wrote, it’s strange to mourn the head of an international corporation as we would a beloved actor, musician, or head of state. But we can’t help it….
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