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Initially, I had no problem with the sting pulled on ACORN by the conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. “It’s a serious matter when at least three different ACORN offices, in Washington, Baltimore, and New York, offer to help a 25-year-old ‘pimp’ wearing a derby hat and chinchilla shoulder throw and his ‘prostitute’ lie about their business in order to buy a home,” I wrote at the time. “And even more so when the preposterously dressed duo suggested that they’d be bringing in underage girls from Central America to work at their brothel.”
But now it appears that much of the “sting” was a hoax. Most significantly, O’Keefe was not dressed as a pimp when he visited Acorn’s offices. It’s also clear that O’Keefe and Giles edited the videos from the sting.
That seriously undermines their work, but it doesn’t mean that ACORN comes off looking good. “If O’Keefe did not dress as a pimp, he clearly presented himself as one: a fellow trying to set up a woman — sometimes along with under-age girls — in a house where they would work as prostitutes,” the New York Times wrote in a review of the case. In Washington, he said the prostitution was to finance his future in politics. A worker for ACORN Housing, an allied group, warned him to stay away from the brothel lest someone “get wind that you got a house and that your girlfriend is over there running a house of women of the night. You will not have a career.”
Watch the Colbert clip and read the Times piece and see what you think.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”