Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Schools roundup

Matt Welch on Benghazi and speech

His latest. The Reason editor-in-chief has consistently focused on the Benghazi angle that should most concern libertarians, namely the Administration’s scapegoating of speech (I think I’ll go ahead and coin the term “speech-goating.”) Here he focuses on a David Brooks column seemingly intended as a defense of the process that led to the famed Benghazi talking points, but which winds up putting them in a bad light indeed:

…in the absence of a clear narrative, the talking points gravitated toward the least politically problematic story, blaming the anti-Muslim video and the Cairo demonstrations.

Why was it deemed “the least politically problematic” course to spread an untruth, already widely known to be such by many senior officials, that sought to focus public and world anger on private speech, and by implication on our First Amendment protection of free speech about religion?

One should note carefully Ken White’s powerful argument at Popehat that the arrest of filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula wasn’t in fact legally irregular because Nakoula had clearly violated the terms of his supervised release and revocation of his release was par for the course under the circumstances.

Even so, the questions remain. The Administration sent Susan Rice out to five talk shows on the weekend of the attacks, where she pressed the line that outrage about the video fueled the attack. Brooks makes the case that interagency rivalries and secrecy got in the way of telling a fuller story. Maybe so. But why should American free speech be left as the “least politically problematic” thing to blame after a terrorist attack?

Gun control roundup

  • “Who killed gun control?” [David Boaz] Democratic senators from rural states are in touch with public opinion back home. Is that actually sinister? [Jennifer Rubin]
  • Failed bill applied tough regulations to gun “transfers,” not just sales, and the difference was often not well explained in the press [Kopel via Lynch] The un-empirical debate [Sowell via Lynch]
  • We’re informed the late Margaret Thatcher was “divisive” in tone. What are we to think of Pres. Obama’s tone on gun bills? [Jacob Sullum; similarly]
  • Hometown paper: “As lead sponsor in House on gun legislation, Rep. Diana DeGette appears to not understand how they work” [Denver Post, followup in which DeGette digs in deeper]
  • Argument that making insurance obligatory for gun owners would generate insurer records documenting who owns guns, to which government might in due course demand access [Tom Blumer; related, Alex Pappas/Daily Caller; earlier here, here, here]
  • Bloomberg’s armed Bermuda bodyguards draw critics’ fire again [Cheryl Chumley, Washington Times; earlier]
  • “Connecticut’s Gun Control: A Rush To Pass Laws That Couldn’t Have Prevented Tragedy” [Tuccille, Sullum]

Obama on patent trolls

The president has some opinions on the subject [TechDirt]:

Obama: A couple years ago we began a process of patent reform. We actually passed some legislation that made progress on some of these issues. But it hasn’t captured all the problems.

The folks that you’re talking about are a classic example. They don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them. Sometimes these things are challenging. Because we also want to make sure that patents are long enough, and that people’s intellectual property is protected. We’ve got to balance that with making sure that they’re not so long that innovation is reduced.

But I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go. What we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.

Also: RICO claim can’t shoot down Wi-Fi patent troll [Joe Mullin, Ars Technica]

“Reflections on gun control by a Second Amendment advocate”

From Cato Institute chairman Robert Levy, who was co-counsel in the landmark D.C. v. Heller case. [National Law Journal] More: Trevor Burrus, The Blaze. And the New York Times takes up the topic of guns and suicide, but with some pretty big omissions [Tom Maguire, Ira Stoll/SmarterTimes]

Further: “Senate Judiciary Committee Hears from Cato on Gun Policy” [Ilya Shapiro, citing contributions by David Kopel, Randy Barnett, etc.] And while Bing’s real-time reaction tracker isn’t a scientific voter survey (though the sample size is large, and there’s a partisan breakdown) it seems I was not alone in being put off by President Obama’s demagogic “they deserve a vote” State of the Union wind-up on gun control. [Mediaite]


My tweets and retweets last night during the State of the Union address and the GOP response by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in regular rather than reverse chronological order:

Also, by way of pleasant contrast:

And here’s Cato’s response video with scholars Michael Tanner, Julian Sanchez, Alex Nowrasteh, Simon Lester, John Samples, Pat Michaels, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Michael F. Cannon, Jim Harper, Malou Innocent, Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus and Neal McCluskey.