What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 2, 2009

ACORN, Bachman and The Trib

Curious how content-free factoids make it through the right wing noise machine, isn't it? Kinda resembles how oats make it through a horse.

First, I stumbled upon this editorial at the Trib. It begins:
If Senate Republicans have to play hardball to force the removal of ACORN from the ranks of "2010 Census Partners," so be it.

There are compelling reasons why the liberal activist group should not help recruit U.S. Census Bureau workers. Among them -- allegations in more than a dozen states that it used illegal voter-registration quotas and its long history of bias that clearly sucks up to all-things-Democrat.
The part about "census partners" caught my eye because of this fact-checking of looniest of loonies, Michelle Bachman. Politifact (a Pulitzer-winning project of the St Petersburg Times) writes:
Rep. Michele Bachmann sparked a new controversy recently when she declared she would provide the bare minimum to Census takers because she was concerned about the Census Bureau's partnership with ACORN, a left-leaning group that has become a popular villain for Republicans.
Then they go to work. They quote Bachman:
"Now ACORN has been named one of the national partners, which will be a recipient again of federal money," Bachmann said. "And they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public. This is very concerning because the motherload of all data information will be from the Census."
Now the facts:
Yes, the [Census] bureau does partner with organizations to help recruit workers. To date, it has 30,000 such partners.

ACORN is one.

Just so we're clear. That's one of 30,000. Politifact goes on:
Partners agree "to promote the 2010 Census among their constituents." As a partner, ACORN has agreed to spread the word among its people about the availability of temporary Census jobs. The U.S. Census Bureau expects to hire 1.4 million people through the course of the 2010 census, the bulk of them to do the door-to-door questionnaires, so the bureau casts a wide net to get applicants, including through its partners. Partners don't get paid, but they presumably benefit by getting the word out to members about jobs, and also by providing a public service emphasizing the importance of filling out the Census.

According to Census Bureau information provided to Congress on June 1, 2009, "ACORN and other partner organizations simply promote the availability of temporary Census jobs, but have no role in the terms or conditions of employment beyond promotion of the availability of temporary jobs. Applicants that are hired by the Census Bureau to work on the 2010 Census are required to go through a background check that includes an FBI name check and fingerprint check so that felons are not hired to work on the 2010 Census." [emphasis added.]

So tell me again why Scaife's editorial board is upset?


EdHeath said...

Of course, we might be entitled to ask how many of the 30,000 partners are national groups?

Still, this is clearly much ado about very little. ACORN's business is helping the poor, which can include the unemployed. So when it comes time to find large numbers of people needed to go out and register voters, perhaps particularly poor and thus poorly represented voters, ACORN is in a good position to know people who can use the temporary work. Now, some people may be unemployed because they have trouble taking direction and obeying instructions, but I expect that whatever training the Census people do would reveal those kinds of people.

Of course, Republicans want urban centers to be under counted, so they will try to starve the census of employees, and opposed any measures designed to estimate the count of people who are hard to find and physically count. Hopefully Harry Reid will do something with his sixty votes.

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

Don't count on it, Ed.