Robert Samuelson scorns the egomaniacal "quest for glory" of Congressional Democrats who are trying to pass health care reform. But of course the quest for glory may be the only reason a worthwhile reform could still pass. It ain't going to pass it because it's popular ! (Orszagism has seen to that by scaring seniors. ) You'd have to be an especially rigorous believer in the Howell Raines Fallacy** to think that if a policy isn't popular then it can't be a good one. ... P.S.: If I remember correctly, the untouchable contributory plan that we now call Social Security wasn't especially popular when it passed in 1935--after all, it would be years before it took full effect. (The popular part of the New Deal's central legislation was Old Age Assistance, a fast-acting straight cash dole to the elderly, which is why it was placed at the beginning of the bill. It's now part of the SSI program.)
**--The assumption that whatever changes you want are of course demanded by the great and good American people. ... 1:09 A.M.
Did ACORN chicanery elect Al Franken? That's the import of this tactfully phrased Minneapolis Star Tribune column.** Franken won by 312 votes. ACORN claimed to have registered
43,000 ew Minnesota voters. If just 1% were ineligible but cast ballots, or had ballots cast for them illegally, and survived the recount process ... that's 480
430 votes, almost certainly overwhelmingly cast for Franken. ... Maybe in pristine Minnesota even ACORN is clean. If so, the state would apparently be an outlier. ...
**--Item originally said "story." It's a column. (I was thrown off by the byline, "Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune .") That makes no difference in Kirsten's argument, though Dave Weigel makes a fuss about it, and then bizarrely says it's a "smear" to even raise the obvious question of whether the voters--you almost want quotes around the word--registered by a highly questionable outfit like ACORN were legit and made a difference in a very close race. The most important question, I would imagine, is whether ACORN handled absentee ballots for anyone in the state. Would we trust an organization, whose registrations featured (in the NYT 's words ) "fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors" to distribute, collect, and maybe even mail in absentee ballots for, say, shut-ins at nursing homes? If there were funny business, would a recount necessarily have detected it (assuming the ballots were clearly marked)? ... That's more questions! Sorry! ... P.S.: There are also obvious potential problems with same-day-registration that might not be picked up on a recount. ... P.P.S.: In neighboring, also pristine Wisconsin, ACORN employed as voter registration workers felons "convicted of crimes including cocaine possession and robbery."
Carolyn Castore, state political director for the group, told the AP: "We have a lot of folks with felony records and, frankly, they need jobs."
People I respect (my mother) claim Roman Polanski got a bum deal in 1977. But it's worth remembering that the French--now in the process of being outraged by his arrest--can be absurdly resistant to extradition by the ugly Americans, especially when an artiste is involved. Here's a Steven Levy article on one famous case --the Unicorn Killer, a Philadelphia hippie who seems to have stashed the remains of his ex-girlfriend in a steamer trunk. He fled before trial, winding up in France. When discovered, he successfully resisted extradition (at least initially) after a campaign that played up his having written "written four novels, one a philosophical novel on the Holocaust ." He was eventually extradited, tried and convicted. ... P.S.: He also seems to have maybe invented social networking, or at least spam:
In the 1970s he persuaded Bell Telephone to finance a networking scheme in which he sent information to a list of contacts that ranged from author Alvin Toffler (whom [he] introduced to computer conferencing) to corporate Brahmins in Fortune 500 firms.