ACORN was favored and nurtured until recently by many on the left in state legislatures around the country and in Congress.
The organization, whose acronym stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, was embarrassed recently by an investigation by two young people using a concealed camera and recording devices.
“A video sting had caught ACORN workers counseling a bogus prostitute and pimp on how to set up a brothel staffed by under-age girls, avoid detection and cheat on taxes. The young woman in streetwalker’s clothes and her companion were actually undercover conservative activists with a hidden camera,” The New York Times’ Public Editor said Sept. 27,
As a result of this scandal, ACORN lost millions of dollars of federal funding. It announced it would sue the investigating pair and others involved, because they “recorded the staff members without their consent, which is illegal [in Maryland].”
If Maryland law does makes such recordings illegal, its legislature should immediately enact a law to legalize them and, if possible, make the law retroactive as well. If the Maryland legislature does not rescind the law, hopefully the defendants will be exonerated under the theory of jury nullification: a jury refusing in the interest of justice and equity to carry out the letter of the law.
FDA Deserves Praise for Flavored Tobacco Ruling
The first action taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after Congress gave it the authority to regulate tobacco deserves praise.
The action announced by Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of Food and Drugs, will prohibit, according to the Times, “the sale of tobacco products with chocolate, vanilla, clove and other flavorings that lure children and teenagers into smoking.”
Regrettably, the new law does not permit the FDA to totally ban cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco. After she studies the industry, I hope Hamburg will find that it is in fact selling a form of poison responsible for a huge portion of this country’s medical bills and an enormous number of deaths directly attributable to smoking. If that is what she finds, Congress should consider whether an outright ban of tobacco products is warranted. We should try to shame Congress into action. Regrettably, it has a high tolerance for shameful conditions.
Obama Advisers: No Afghan Troop Buildup
The president is weighing what to do in Afghanistan. According to the Times of Sept. 27, he regularly consults with four people on the issue: retired Four-Star Army Gen. Colin Powell, Sens. John Kerry and Jack Reed, and Vice President Joe Biden. They are advising him against a troop buildup in Afghanistan. The article states that “other presidential advisers sound dubious about more troops, including Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, and Gen. James L. Jones, the national security adviser.”
Surprisingly, certainly to many of her supporters, the article tells us that “Mr. Obama is also hearing from more hawkish figures, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
Mr. President, reverse your position in Afghanistan and withdraw all of our ground forces from that country. If you do not, you will be held responsible for the escalating American casualties and deaths. To what end? Propping up a corrupt administration in Afghanistan on which we cannot rely?
Listen to your advisers who counsel withdrawal. Remember, no matter how you slice it, we are effectively being driven out of Iraq by the Iraqi government with a now agreed-upon withdrawal deadline of Dec. 31, 2011.
Let’s not wait for our helicopters to be called in to evacuate American personnel from the American Embassy in Kabul as the Taliban storms its gates. Instead, let’s increase the bombing of the Taliban and al-Qaida from offshore in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, avoiding and ending an unwinnable land war.
Support for Polanski Appalling
The reaction among artists and supporters of the arts, particularly in France, to the arrest of Roman Polanski by Swiss authorities is appalling. After pleading guilty in Los Angeles more than 30 years ago to rape and sodomy charges involving an incident with a 13-year-old girl, Polanski fled the country before being sentenced.
The Times reported Sept. 29 that “Jack Lang, a former French culture minister, said that for Europeans the development showed that the American system of justice had run amok.” Ridiculous.
Polanski is not entitled to one free rape of a child simply because he is an artist. The punishment he receives should take into consideration a number of factors including the lapse of time, his conduct over the intervening years, his age, and other mitigating factors. I would be surprised if he is sent to jail, but even if he were, it wouldn’t shock the conscience. Rape, particularly of a child, is a horrendous crime. Apparently, some French elite and movie directors, and American counterparts, don’t think so.
Particularly shocking to me is the arrogance of some film makers, including Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar Waim, and Wim Wenders who, according to the same Times article, “urged in a petition that Mr. Polanski be released, saying: ‘Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States, and around the world are dismayed by the decision.’ ”
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