The Media vs. ACORN

This Wednesday a federal judge ruled that the congressional bill, passed last year by both houses, which barred the community organizing group ACORN from receiving federal funds amounted to a bill of attainder and was therefore unconstitutional.

As The Nation's Chris Hayes argues, "the United States Congress is not known for quick, decisive action." Yet only days after a series of videos showing two conservative activists dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute receiving tax advice from ACORN representatives hit the Web, both houses passed the ACORN bill stopping all government funding to the group.

So why did congress suddenly kick into overgear to deny funding to a group which receives on average only "$3.5 million a year from the government, or approximately one-millionth of [2009's] budget"? After all, wouldn't lawmakers' suffer some backlash by cutting aid to an organization working to keep people in their homes during the worst foreclosure crisis in the country's history?

The answer has something to do with the perfect media storm that resulted from the colorful viral videos, public outrage over the government's handling of the financial crisis, and the easy target of a community organizing group with decentralized leadership and admittedly variable standards and practices. Back in April of last year, Media Matters found that, "in coverage of major news stories, conservative media figures have repeatedly fallen back on two of their favorite bogeymen—the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and undocumented immigrants—frequently blaming national crises on one or both groups or accusing them of receiving undeserved benefits from the government."

And when ACORN was cleared by the Brooklyn district attorney's office earlier this month, the Colbert Report put together this humorous yet revealing compilation of media outlets getting aspects of the story wrong. The videos were heavily edited, as the Brooklyn DA found, but the mainstream media didn't seem to care. Too bad the damage has already been done.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less