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In today's pages: Perotistas, marijuana and the balloon boy

October 20, 2009 | 11:56 am

Twingley Columnist Jonah Goldberg foresees clouds ahead for the Democrats -- in fact, a coming storm so severe that it could end Democratic control of Congress. It's building from the Tea Party movement, which Goldberg sees as an heir to the Ross Perot third-party movement of the 1990s. "If the GOP can convincingly align with and exploit the growing Perotista discontent, it very well might ride to victory on a tsunami the Democrats can't even see."

Also on today's Op-Ed page, scholar Giles Dorronsoro explains why U.S. attempts to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan's Pashtun areas in the south and east are probably doomed to fail. And ACLU National Security Project chief Jameel Jaffer decries an attempt by Congress to circumvent the courts by giving the secretary of Defense the power to withhold photographs of combatants "engaged, captured or detained" by the U.S. during the Bush administration.

On the Editorial page, The Times weighs in on Atty. Gen. Eric Holder's policy change on medical marijuana. Though we're happy that federal prosecutors will make marijuana cases a low priority in states like California that have passed laws approving its medicinal use, we think that's the wrong approach. The administration shouldn't be picking and choosing states in which to enforce federal law -- rather, it should de-emphasize medical marijuana cases in all 50.

We also note that the best place for local health departments to conduct swine flu vaccinations is at public schools -- yet that's not where the inoculations will take place in Los Angeles, thanks to a failure by the school district and the county to properly coordinate.

And we muse on the bizarre spectacle presented by Colorado's Heene family, accused of perpetrating the "balloon boy" hoax in an attempt to drum up publicity for a reality show. "As much as some people will do just about anything for a Hollywood contract, a good number of the rest will lap up the juicy story of their wrongdoing. In reality, perhaps we all get what we wanted."

Illustration by Jonathan Twingley / For The Times

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