Senator Fred Thompson and Patent Reform

I’ve been studying the patent reform bill that Senator Harry Reid plans to bring to a vote next month. Along the way I’ve been reviewing previous attempts to reform the patent system. In that context, this post by Paul Hollrah is very interesting. It describes how he and others derailed the Omnibus Patent Reform Act of 1997 as Senator Orrin Hatch was maneuvering to get it passed by the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate via unanimous consent votes for which no one would be held accountable. Here’s how it played out in Hollrah’s words:

The following day, as Senator Hatch took his seat in the cavernous Judiciary Committee hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, he was confident that he would pass S.507 [the Senate version of the Omnibus Patent Reform Act] out of his committee by unanimous consent. But that was not to be. When Senator Hatch called for the vote on S.507, Senator Thompson rose from his chair, pounded his fist on the table, and shouted, “NO, BY GOD, SENATOR. I OBJECT!”

In that instant, the most damaging piece of legislation in recent memory came to a screeching halt. There would be no “unanimous consent” in the Senate committee, and there would be no “unanimous consent” on the floor of the Senate. S.507 had suddenly become just another Senate bill — subject to all the political give-and-take of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

This reminds me of how much I miss Senator Fred Thompson.

Falling Short of Original Intent

On November 22, 1800, President John Adams delivered a State of the Union address in the still unfinished Capitol building in Washington, D.C., saying in part:

May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever!

I think Washington, D.C. has fallen a bit short of Adams’ vision.

Michelle Malkin Jumps the Shark

I read Michelle Malkin’s “Rick Perry’s Bad, Obama-style Medicine” yesterday and my first reaction was that she’d lost all perspective. I’ve read her columns for years and respected her opinions, so this reaction was a surprise. I decided to wait a day, then read the column again before writing a response. I read it again. Now I’m certain she’s gone off the rhetorical deep end.

This sentence in the preface to her column says a lot: “Please read this, get informed, pass it on, and make sure that you don’t fall for a purported cure to our political ills that’s worse than the power-grabbing disease in the current White House.” Malkin is trying to convince me that this Gardasil incident – one incident in ten years of Rick Perry’s time as governor of Texas – is worse than what we’ve experienced in two and a half years of Barack Obama’s presidency. ObamaCare. The non-stimulative stimulus. The czars. GM and Chrysler. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The NLRB and Boeing. Libya. The endless apologies to foreign governments. Bowing to foreign kings. $1.6 trillion annual deficits. Leading from behind. Everything else detailed in Malkin’s book Culture of Corruption.

That’s insane.

Nonetheless she continues: “The PerryCare executive fiat was not simply a one-off mistake explained away by lack of ‘research.’ It exposed a fundamental lapse in both political and policy judgments, an appalling lack of ethics and a disturbing willingness to smear principled defenders of limited government who object to the Nanny State using their children as guinea pigs.” Moreover Perry is an Alinskyite: “Borrowing a tried-and-true Alinskyite page from the progressive left, Perry surrounded himself with female cervical cancer victims and deflected criticism of his imperial tactics with emotional anecdotes.” Texans complained about Perry’s decision. The legislature overruled him. Perry dropped it and said it was a mistake. Since Malkin is telling me that Perry is worse than Obama, and Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the rest of the Democrats passed ObamaCare over the objections of the vast majority of Americans, I can expect Obama to cease implementing ObamaCare tomorrow, and the Senate to vote to nullify the law when it returns from its August recess, right?

I didn’t think so.

And then there’s the crony capitalism angle: “Merck’s political action committee pitched in $6,000 to Perry’s re-election campaign in 2007 and Merck discussed the vaccine with Perry staff on the day they donated.” The Austin American-Statesman and Politico both scoured the emails from Perry’s office during this period and can’t find any signs of undue Merck influence. And neither of these organizations is going to give Perry an inch. Should it surprise anyone that Merck contributed $6,000 to Perry’s re-election campaign to help keep a business-friendly governor in office? I’ve contributed money to his re-election campaigns for the same reason. If I thought a $6,000 contribution was enough to buy a multimillion dollar vaccine contract, I would have given him $10,000 and asked to be named Emperor of Texas. At least for a month. OK, maybe a week.

In her column and on Twitter, Malkin claims she’s vetting a candidate. She’s not. She has lost all perspective and is assassinating a candidate. Near the end of her column you’ll find this: “And it’s not just about one ‘mistake’ or one issue, my friends. It’s about instincts, judgment, core values, and trust.” On this count she’s right, because it applies to her, too – I no longer trust Malkin’s instincts, judgment, or core values, and I won’t be reading anything written by her anymore.

Get Thee to American Majority Training

When I attended RedState Gathering in Austin last year, the program included brief training sessions by people from American Majority. I learned a lot, but the training was heavily compressed to fit into a tight schedule. When I learned the Waco Tea Party was planning an event that included American Majority training, I signed up, mainly so I could learn how to be a more effective campaign volunteer in next year’s primary and general elections. The training event was held yesterday and I was impressed again. Raz Shafer did an great job teaching sessions that included tactical and strategic advice for candidates, campaign managers, and volunteers. I spend part of my day job working with the GeoDjango geographic web framework, so the material on how to use geographic and historical election data to identify and target voters was particularly interesting. If you look at American Majority’s resources page you can get a flavor of the material they offer. If you get a chance to attend their training yourself (there’s an event in Dallas on September 17), I highly recommend it. You can also request American Majority to come to your group; if you do, please give them a full day—it’s worth it.

That said, I snuck away during lunch to walk around downtown Waco and take photos:

Cowboy Statue

In downtown Waco for a @WacoTeaParty training event.

That was worth it, too.

Texans at RedState Gathering 2011

I attended the RedState Gathering in Austin last year and had a tremendous time. I couldn’t attend this year’s Gathering in Charleston, but many other Texans did. The Texas Tribune uploaded Rick Perry’s full presidential campaign announcement speech to their Vimeo site. U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz spoke as well; Human Events recorded his speech to Ustream. Candidate for House district 25 Michael Williams spoke, too, and his speech is here.

Riotous Links

Here are some of the better news stories, blog posts, photos, and video I’ve found on the U.K. riots:

  • The police shooting that started everything involved Mark Duggan, who is alleged to have been a crack dealer. He was carrying a starter’s pistol that had been converted to fire “real” (non-blank) ammunition; this Daily Mail story says “[s]uch a weapon is popular among London’s drug gang members.” A police statement says, “At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident.”

  • Winston Smith (winner of “The Orwell Prize 2010”) observes, “The once great nation of Britain is being brought to its knees by a festering parasitic underclass that has been fostered by decades of failed social policies in the spheres of education, criminal justice, social services and welfare provision.” And then there’s this jaw dropper: “This morning on Sky News, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, dismissed the option of using water cannon when she said: ‘The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon…the way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.’ I am sure if she consulted the vast majority of people on this island she would discover that very few people would be too concerned about a few thousand drenched tracksuits if it meant a return of law and order and an absence of terror within communities. She then went on to assure us that, ‘people will start to see the consequences of their actions’. “

  • The Boston Globe’s Big Picture feature includes some excellent photos of the riots.

  • Searching for “London riot” on Flickr produces some interesting results.

  • A YouTube video of thugs stealing from an injured kid, which left me asking, “So why didn’t you help him instead of videotaping the assault?”