6/23/13

Bobby Jindal Signs Off on Journo-Jailing Law

On Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into a law a bill I wrote about last month that threatens journalists (and just about everyone else) with arrest if they publish information contained on applications for concealed-carry gun permits. For the law to pass constitutional muster down the road, the state would have to show a compelling interest in its existence, a free speech test that Gregg Leslie, legal director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told me "is rarely met."

So presumably, the law will go down in flames if someone manages to challenge it and publish permit info (which isn't subject to public records requests in Louisiana or, last I checked, 26 other states).

6/22/13

Michael Hastings' Journalism Tips

I'm four days late to this, but want to stick a couple things about Michael Hastings in one spot. I never met him, but there were a lot of great remembrances from journalists who had. A recurring theme was the generous, eager advice Hastings gave young up-and-comers, which I imagine this, from his Reddit Ask Me Anything last year, captures fairly well:

6/2/13

The Free Jahar Kids

The saga of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects continued last week, with the story of the FBI's killing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's friend in Orlando the week before changing several times: Did Ibragim Todashev lunge at the officials with a knife, or metal pole, or something else, or nothing at all? Meanwhile, the suspects' mother claimed that when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke to her for the first time since his arrest, he told her that he and his dead brother were innocent.

That's all easy fodder for conspiracy theorists, who have been one of the weirder, if entirely predictable, parts of the story. There are plenty of theories, but the one I came into most direct contact with was the legion of teenage girls crushing on Jahar, as Dzhokhar is known, and proclaiming his innocence.

On May 1, three of Jahar's college friends were taken into custody (one of whom may get railroaded by the FBI even though he apparently had no knowledge of the bombing). After the news broke, I got in touch with a former dorm mate of Jahar's who had a brief fling with him near the beginning of the semester.