Coronalogic in Palm Beach County

Mostly-Democrat Palm Beach County was one of the local governments ready to fight the governor’s “no mask orders in schools” order (a.k.a. “parental choice order”) with every last dollar of residents’ money. See “Palm Beach County public schools set to hire elite law firm to defend mask mandate” (Palm Beach Post, August 31, 2021), for example:

With the legal battle over masks in schools heating up, Palm Beach County public schools are hiring a high-profile law firm to advise them on their mask mandate and, if needed, defend it in court.

School board members are expected Wednesday to approve spending up to $50,000 for advice and legal representation from the national law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

The vote comes five days a Tallahassee judge ruled Gov. Ron DeSantis exceeded his authority by ordering school boards last month not to impose mask mandates on campus. DeSantis said he will appeal the decision.

Where else on this blog might you have seen mention of Boies Schiller Flexner? They were the law firm that enabled Elizabeth Holmes to silence potential whistleblowers. From Evaluating trustworthiness; lessons from Theranos (based on reading the fascinating book Bad Blood):

Background: Roger Parloff, legal affairs reporter for Fortune, was intrigued by a story about Theranos hiring David Boies to sue a guy who had a patent that they would have needed to license if the blood testing machines had actually worked. Boies was given a fat slice of Theranos equity and a board seat in exchange for doing the company’s legal bidding. The author describes the lawsuit as entirely meritless, alleging that the inventor had somehow gotten hold of proprietary Theranos info because his son was a partner at the same huge law firm that had filed some patents for Theranos. The inventor spent $2 million on legal defense before caving in. (The big multi-office law firm’s records manager investigated the allegation and couldn’t find anything to suggest that the son/partner had ever accessed any Theranos-related information or even knew at the relevant time that the company was a client.)

So… the county is prepared to lose state funding (but they’ll get it all back from Uncle Joe: “Biden Administration Says Federal Funds Can Cover Florida School Board Salaries If DeSantis Defunds Them Over Mask Mandates” (Forbes); how are Presidents Biden and Harris able to write checks for this without Congressional funding?). And the county will happily hire a law firm that enabled one of of America’s most prominent criminal defendants, with its lead name partner actually serving on her corporate board and the firm hoping to benefit from the fraud by holding shares. All of this to ensure that when children sit together in a classroom, kept separated by however many feet the CDC recommends, they are wearing some sort of mask.

Suppose that the kids in the class decide to go to an after-school basketball program run by a different branch of the same enterprise (Palm Beach County). They will then meet on an indoor court and be close enough to actually touch each other, without any masks on. They’ll be breathing much more forcefully, of course, on the basketball court than in the classroom.

I would expect variation in coronapanic level and faith in masks from state to state and from county to county, but I didn’t expect to find this much variation in coronascience between two departments of the same county government!

(Separately, our neighborhood is packed with kids. As soon as they’re out of school, the masks come off and they play with each other outdoors in direct physical contact with no masks. They are also observed to visit each other’s homes and socialize without masks. So even if the county itself didn’t run mask-free kid gatherings, the young people and their parents would do this. Thus, it is a mystery to me how the masks-in-school plan was supposed to be effective.)

Related:

11 thoughts on “Coronalogic in Palm Beach County

  1. $50,000 is a cheap steak for wealthy democrats. Never figured out what the point of the theranos trial is. Never had a startup make money. All CEO’s are a bit looney. Even with SpaceX consuming most of the venture capital, there’s still cash chasing even the least credible idea. The only difference might be them not getting acquired. It’s very rare for anyone out of cash to not get acquired nowadays.

    • lion2: Elizabeth Holmes was delusional regarding her potential contributions to what the PhDs at Philips and Siemens had accomplished over the decades in blood testing. But she wasn’t more delusional the average Silicon Valley startup founder. And she wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without David Boies to be the heavy. It would make sense to me if David Boies were being prosecuted and also some of the Theranos board members (criminally negligent, at a minimum!). And maybe anyone who decided to put someone else’s money into Theranos (criminal failure to perform due diligence and spot an obvious fraud). But based on what I’ve read, Holmes wore her delusions on her (turtleneck) sleeve. She wasn’t some kind of sophisticated mastermind. I’m sure the jury will have a more thorough look at what happened than I will ever get, but right now I’d vote to acquit!

  2. > (Thus, it is a mystery to me how the masks-in-school plan was supposed to be effective.)

    Especially since the Governor has to call up the National Guard to drive the buses to get them to school in the first place.

    Really. Bus and van driver shortage. This just in:

    Shortage of School Bus Drivers…Baker calls out the National Guard:

    “Gov. Charlie Baker is calling up 250 members of the National Guard to help with the school bus driver shortage in the state.”

    https://patch.com/massachusetts/medford/s/hshvv/national-guard-called-to-get-ma-kids-to-school-patch-pm

    Are we in an episode of The Simpsons?

    • I realize that’s MA not FL in case anyone is confused. I don’t know if DeSantis will need to use National Guard troops to bus kids around.

  3. The London papers report that Boies is representing #MeToo chancer Virginia Roberts Giuffre in her case against Prince Andrew. They ascribe this to his desire to whitewash his previous roles in the Theranos case and as Harvey Weinstein’s fixer.

    It’s nice that a guy loves his work too much to retire at the age of 80.

    • Much as I ordinarily love the Daily Mail, the article is misleading with regard to Theranos and Holmes. Boies wasn’t representing Elizabeth Holmes after she’d been exposed and was in trouble. That would be a normal situation since the U.S. legal system is built on the idea that every defendant has a right to counsel. Boies is more fairly characterized as Elizabeth Holmes’s former partner. He served on the Theranos board. The firm did whatever needed to be done to keep Theranos going and suppress damaging info from coming out. So Boies and the firm were active participants in what Holmes is accused of doing. They are not representing her now that she’s in trouble and a criminal defendant. In fact, I think the firm ran away as fast as it could once Theranos was exposed.

      (Keep in mind that the exception to the above rule about having a right to counsel is in civil matters, even those that lead to a jail sentence. The most common example is the child support defendant who has lost a job and can’t pay the court-ordered amount. The plaintiff will be represented by experts from the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. The defendant won’t have a lawyer and won’t be entitled to court-appointed lawyer. The defendant who can’t or won’t pay can then be imprisoned for years for “contempt of court”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Walter_Scott is a fairly typical example. He’d been put in jail three times for failure to pay what the judge had ordered and was trying to avoid going to jail for a fourth time when the white police officer decided to shoot him in the back. Here’s a Facebook meme with 540 shares celebrating child support defendants being imprisoned: https://www.facebook.com/lupe.martinez.3576224/posts/10158887137974262 ; it is typically shared by a white Biden-voter and the take-away message is that not enough Black men are being imprisoned following proceedings where they are the only person in the courtroom who is not a lawyer or represented by a lawyer)

    • “the article is misleading”

      It is quite possible.

      I must admit I did not delve too deeply into the nature of the Theranos – Boies relationship since I generally find the common law as practiced now in this country rather uninteresting based on my personal experience with the system as an unwilling party to a civil litigation playing on both sides of the court.

      I’ve been simply impressed by the number of rats fleeing the sinking? ship in this case and assumed that the old man may need to get his own hands dirty, in a manner of speaking, due to staffing shortage.

    • Ivan: I didn’t meant to diss the Daily Mail article overall. That was more of a quibble.

      Separately, I heartily recommend the book Bad Blood if you want to see how critical Boies Schiller Flexner was to Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.