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In today's pages: ACORN and right-wing nuts

September 16, 2009 |  1:24 pm

ACORN The Opinion Manufacturing Division straddles the ideological divide today, offering red meat to both sides of the aisle. The Times editorial board blasts ACORN, the community organizers at the heart of conservative talk radio's favorite conspiracy theories, for failing to acknowledge and correct its serious internal problems in the wake of "devastating" hidden-camera exposes. And Op-Ed columnist Tim Rutten peers behind the newfound celebrity of Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-S.C.) to find all sorts of fringe-group, umm, creativity. In particular, he examines the roots of the tea party movement and the intellectual underpinnings of the "10thers" -- anti-government conservatives who claim the 10th amendment gives state lawmakers authority to reject many acts of Congress and Supreme Court rulings.

Elsewhere on the Op-Ed page, David A. Lehrer, president of Los Angeles-based Community Advocates Inc., argues that anti-Semitic attacks are declining -- contrary to dire warnings from the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Similarly, Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection, contends that tragedies such as those involving Dae'von Bailey and Lars Sanchez -- two children killed despite the supervision their families were given by county child-welfare officials -- are the exception, not the norm:

As it turns out, it is a serious mistake to pull children out of their homes just because their parents are poor or imperfect, just as it is a mistake to leave them in homes where parents are dangerous brutes. A landmark study of 15,000 typical foster care cases showed that children placed in foster care usually fared worse in later life than comparably maltreated children left in their own homes.

Back among the editorials, the board urges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign AB 2, a bill by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) to limit the ability of health insurers to cancel policies retroactively. And while it praises the announcement that the Irvine Co. would transfer 20,000 acres to Orange County for parks, it calls on the county to reveal more about how it will manage the windfall:

The county also should provide specific information about its ability to take financial responsibility for 50% more park land. Because the 20,000 acres can never be developed no matter who owns it, its main value as a public asset is the extent to which the public can use it for recreation. The county should have detailed plans for that to happen before accepting the land.

Photo: Police in Nevada gather evidence from an ACORN office in 2008 as part of an investigation into voter fraud. Credit: AP Photo / Jae C. Hong

-- Jon Healey

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