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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let's Take A Shot At ACORN!

And Also: Local primaries. Didn't know who to vote for controller (bunch of mostly bland competent sorts) but then found out two voted to end term limits, something I like in theory, but not when it overrides two public votes against doing so. And, partially to allow Bloomberg to run again, since he's the only real one to solve the economic situation or something. Oh, and the fourth option acted like a dweeb running, leaving one.*

[Update: Glenn Greenwald and Anonymous Liberal have covered this matter, particularly my last comment on selective prosecution, in much better detail. Why can't we just look to the future ... the organization is sorry and it's only a few bad apples? AL btw highlights all the good ACORN has done, something coverage tends to ignore. Unlike wrongdoing by say the police or Catholic Church, this is not a matter of "well, people basically know that already." BTW, as shown by a GG update, the House has joined in, if a bit less in lockstep. FWIW, my congressman did not.]

The Senate voted on Monday to forbid Acorn, the antipoverty group frequently criticized by conservatives, from receiving federal housing grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sen. Gillibrand, who certain people on my side of things crudely rejected as an appropriate pick for senator, again (she also has supported the public option and interacted with those at Daily Kos) does something else to impress. The fact that the Senate voted 83-7 for this crap is distasteful. A comment to that top blog entry sends an unintentional message:

Here are the 7 American traitors i would suggest that you not vote for them in 2010
And the looser are….NAYs —7

Burris (D-IL)
Casey (D-PA)
Durbin (D-IL)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Sanders (I-VT)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Anyone see a pattern here?

Yes, they are on the whole (putting aside Burris and perhaps Casey) consistently people you can trust to do the right and smart thing. By now, I can assume a certain commenter online will have a p.o.v. that skewers the facts enough for a clear pattern to form. Thus far, the likes of Sen. Whitehouse leads me to trust his judgment with the proviso that ultimately you need to trust but verify. Gillibrand needs more time, but this sort of thing helps:
Matt Canter, a spokesman for Ms. Gillibrand, responded in a statement of his own that “while Senator Gillibrand finds the actions of certain Acorn employees to be reprehensible and will ask Acorn leaders for a full investigation and plan to prevent any further abuse, the truth remains that thousands of New York families who are facing foreclosure depend on charitable organizations like Acorn for assistance.”

If a full investigation, not a conservative hit job, results in clear evidence that ACORN should not be trusted with the money, fine. Even then, I'd want a neutral rule that does not single out one controversial group, in the process helping conservative talking points. Instead, guilt is presumed, innocence (for them alone) must be proven. It should be noted that the House did not yet support such a move. ACORN might have invited some of this abuse, but an evenhanded approach would like find loads of problems with other groups, some that Republicans like.

This is the danger of singling out disfavored groups for such treatment.


* Oh, and the lever machine -- apparently an original from the time when the Cubs won the World Series -- stuck, so someone had to stick their arm in to fix it. Um ... secret ballot! And, a poll worker at my table was like my landlord, who wore a "Republican poll watcher" pin. Darn. I might lose my sharecropper land now!

[Update: The election was so fun that we will have another one soon, since there appears to be two runoffs for citywide positions, the multiple candidates preventing a majority. The fact I find one option a jerk, the other supported the term limit override, my choices are clear. Oh, some say the remaining two are the best candidates on substance too.]