The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Friday, June 30, 2006

VRA Renewal and Immigration

From ePluribus Media, some fascinating investigative journalism that links Congressional Republican opposition to the Voting Rights Act to various fringe, anti-immigrant nativist groups.

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Yet More Analysis of Hamdan...

...this time from Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the MSM

From Media Matters, a round-up of lies, distortions and assorted manure being spread about the Bush Administration's banking records surveillance program.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bush Punishes Indian Country (Again)

Following its' normal pattern of punishing Indian Tribes who dare to challenge it in court, the Bush Administration has frozen $300 million in federal housing funds to Indian Country after a federal court ruled that the way the money was distributed was unfair to tribes.


Curt Weldon and the Temple of Doom

So, turns out Cong. Curt Weldon (R-Penna) planned a supersecret expedition to Iraq to find and dig up those elusive WMDs because some guy on the internet (who actually seems more credible than Weldon) thought he saw some.

More on Hamdan

From Unclaimed Territory, a long and typically well thought-out analysis of Hamdan and its implications by Glenn Greenwald.

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SCOTUS Spanks White House

From the lovely and talented Blognonymous, a review of the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, wherein the court found the use of military tribunals for "detainees" unconstitutional as it violates the Geneva Conventions, to which the US is bound by treaty.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SCOTUS: SOME Racial Gerrymandering Bad

This is really probably the best we could've hoped for, given the current makeup of the Supremes. At least Kennedy left open the possibility that the Court MIGHT consider excessive partisan gerrymandering in the future, but if DeLay's Monstrosity doesn't make the cut, I don't know what would. Andrew Cohen at WAPO forsees chaos, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together--mass hysteria!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Prosecuting the Messenger

From Unclaimed Territory, an excellent dissection of the White House apologists' accusations of "treason" against the New York Times.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Don't Be Hatin'!

From the almost-always funny I Drew This!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why Does the White House Hate the Troops?

That timeline for withdrawal? The one that was "cut and run" and "defeatist"? Yeah, not so much.

Xenophobia Roadshow

Disdaining their own President, and dismissing out of hand the Senate immigration reform bill, the GOP House is planning a travelling circus on the issue. One can only hope they feature the pathetic, racist losers of the "Minutemen" as prominently as they did the pathetic, racist losers in the "militia movement" in hearing immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brush With Greatness

Former President Jimmy Carter and I at a fundraiser in Austin for his son Jack, who is running for the US Senate from Nevada. I am holding a copy of President Carter's book, "Turning Point," one of my favorites, which he was kind enough to autograph.

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Someone Forgot To Tell the Iraqis...

...that we are absolutely opposed to a timetable for withdrawal of US troops and anyone who says otherwise is a "cut and run" defeatist.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Good News from Iraq

From the lovely and talented (liberal) girl next door.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Giant Waiter Attempts to Eat President, Film at Eleven!

Not really.

GOP: Voting Overrated

House Republicans have pulled extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act off the calendar, due to objections from assorted nitwits like Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. It's hillarious in a sad way to see Southern Republicans fighting the VRA, considering that it (and more to the point, the first Bush Administration's unique interpretation of it) lead directly to GOP control of the House. Bush I's Justice Department mandated a racial quota system in order to preclear redistricting plans back in 1990; in other words, if your state's population was 15% African-American, then by Golly, 15% of the your congressional districts had to be majority African-American, leading to the kind of bizarre, twisted bug-splatter-pattern districts that were later tossed out by the Supreme Court. Map-makers ended up packing minorities into some districts, thus decreasing the Democratic margin in neighboring districts held by white Democrats, particularly in the South. These white, usually moderate Southern Democrats were slaughtered in electoral droves in 1994.

Hutchison Unpopular, Despite Being a Cheerleader

According to the latest Rasmussen Poll (which tend to skew Republican), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's popularity has plummeted 11 percentage points since January to a career-low of just 53%. Democrat (and excellent dancer) Barbara Ann Radnofsky still has an uphill climb, but you can't blame her for crowing about this news.

Looking Out For the Little Guy

The Republican-dominated Senate votes to raise its own pay (using parliamentary chicanery to try to shield themselves from public wrath) but votes against the first increase in the minimum wage in nearly ten years.

Chet Edwards Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

After criticizing millionaire political dilettente Van Taylor for declining to inform us lowly peasants just how much his inheirited Exxon Mobil stock is worth, Cong. Chet Edwards has released a detailed accounting of his own (much smaller) finances. Good on him! Such exacting disclosure should be mandatory for all office holders and candidates.

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Perry Full of Crap, Film at Eleven

From the Burnt Orange Report, an analysis (via the Lonestar Project) of Perry's false advertising media blitz that seems to have (at least temporarily) boosted his poll numbers.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

The Party of Ideas

Thanks to I Drew This!

Less To This Than Meets the Eye

According to SurveyUSA, Rick Perry's approval rating has jumped 6 percentage points in a month. The Quorum Report calls this "solid"; I call it saturation bombing by Perry's blatantly false feel-good advertising blitz. Do we really expect his 47/48 split among African-Americans to continue? Let's see what his numbers look like next month before we start worrying about Sam Houston spinning in his grave at the prospect of this mouth-breathing sock-puppet setting the record for longevity in the Governor's Mansion. In the meantime, our old pal Lon Burnam (I knew him WAY back in the Texas Populist Alliance days) demolishes the "happy news" coverage of the not-so-special session.

Like Shooting Chickenhawks In A Barrel, Part 2

Next, Murtha takes on Karl Rove. Ooo-rah, Marine! From Crooks & Liars.

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Why Does the US Embassy in Iraq Hate America?

From Media Matters, an alarming memo outlining rapidly deteriorating conditions in Baghdad is cabled to the State Department and promptly ignored by the "liberal" media.

Buckets O' Cash

From the Burnt Orange Report, yet more evidence of the ungodly atmosphere of rampant hypocrisy and corruption pervading the Texas Republic Party.

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The Right Wing Blogosphere Loves You and So Does Karl Rove

From the lovely and talented Blognonymous.

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Like Shooting Chickenhawks In A Barrel

Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) gets his ass handed to him by Congressman Jack Murtha (D-Pennsylvania). Tip of the cranky cowboy hat to Wonkette!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Cleburne Times-Review Column for 18 June, 2006

And now the cry of Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
--Exodus 3:9-10

Abraham Lincoln believed that the Civil War was the blood debt the United States had to pay to atone for the original sin (for it is enshrined in the Constitution) of slavery. If true, then September 17, 1862, holds particular significance as the bloodiest single day in all the history of the nation. On that day, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, near Antietam Creek, 22,720 Americans were killed, wounded, captured or lost at the hands of other Americans. By comparison, US casualties at Omaha and Utah Beaches on June 6, 1944, amounted to only 2,510. The Union actually suffered more than the Confederacy, but Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North was thwarted and that was enough, enough for Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation and change not only the course of history for this country, but for all the world. It read, in part, “That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom,” and “upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” Cynics pointed out, then and now, that the Emancipation was more the work of Lincoln the shrewd and calculating politician than “Father Abraham,” as he would later be lionized. The act was of dubious Constitutionality and actually freed very few slaves, since it only applied to regions of the country not then under Federal control. Slavery was explicitly protected in the precariously loyal border states of Kentucky, Delaware, West Virginia and (ironically) Maryland. But the Proclamation served a larger goal; it transformed the moral basis of the war from a dry constitutional question about the legality of secession to a crusade against human bondage. Decades later, Booker T. Washington, then only a child, would write, “Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper -- the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.” Aristrocratic opinion in Europe, which had always preferred their ideological cousins in feudalism, the “Southron gentry” to the vulgar democratic masses of the North, was swamped by liberal voices supporting Lincoln and Emancipation. There would be no recognition of the Confederacy by England or France.
In those days, in most of war-torn America, news travelled approximately as fast a horse and so it was not until June 19, 1865, nearly three years later, that Union General Gordon Granger read the Proclamation from the balcony of Ashton Villa on Galveston Island, belatedly freeing the 250,000 slaves in the state. “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” Granger said. “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” The first known celebration of that day came two years later, in Austin in 1867 under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Ever since, in Texas and in other parts of the country where African-Americans from Texas have settled, Juneteenth is an occasion for joy and pride. Just as the Israelites’ escape from Egypt was not the end of their sufferings, however, the mere reading of the Emancipation did not, in fact, bring about the “absolute equality” General Granger referred to. Indeed, the General’s last two sentences, advising Freedmen to “remain quietly at their present homes,” and warning that “they will not be supported in idleness,” hint ominously at what was to come. But the struggle that was to come following that first Juneteenth, and which continues until this one, 141 years later, should not deter us from rejoicing, in the words of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the African-American National Anthem, “Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod,Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears have been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”


Friday, June 16, 2006

Republicans Hate the Troops

While House Republicans were unveiling their latest absurdly transparent ploy to prop up poll numbers that rank them just slightly above staph infections in popularity, Senate GOPhers discovered an amnesty plan they like: amnesty for terrorists who kill American soldiers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Bush Who Would Be King

From Wampum, why George W. Bush, formerly without sin among conservatives, now faces excommunication for apostasy by outraged pitchfork-and-torch-wielding right-wing mobs.

Blue Hawai'i, Part II

From Indian Country Today, an excellent short overview of the Hawai'ian sovereignty issue and the Akaka Bill to establish a Native Hawai'ian government currently pending before Congress.

Congress Still Crashing

While President Bush's poll numbers have at least found a limb to hang onto and are no longer plunging like Wile E. Coyote to the bottom of the canyon, Democrats continue to increase their lead in the generic Congressional ballot.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This Just Can't Look Good

The Cherokee Nation is poised to amend the new 2003 Constitution to eliminate the Freedmen from the rolls because they don't have "Indian blood." Of course, many of them might well have "Indian blood," but we'll never know because their ancestors on the Dawes Roll were not given a blood quanta due to the racist belief that one drop of "negro blood" made you black. Sigh. As an unenrolled Cherokee of admittedly "thin blood" (the last full-blood in my mother's family was born in 1855), my opinion on this obviously counts less than those who have blue cards. However, the whole concept of "Indian blood" is a racist invention of whites, not Indians. Most tribes historically based their membership on culture, not who your parents were. While the Cherokee don't have a specific history of admitting blacks into the tribe like the Seminole, it is obviously clear that many African-Americans today, the descendents of Cherokee slaves, do have "Indian blood"; they just can't prove it due to the requirement of descent through the Dawes Roll. This requirement already produces bizarre results: someone like me who has low blood quanta, never lived in Oklahoma, doesn't speak the language and is at best self-taught in Cherokee culture could conceivably become a tribal citizen; yet someone who is full blood (unlikely for anyone born after 1900), speaks Cherokee as their first language and lived their entire life in the Cherokee Nation might be barred from membership, based solely on whether or not our great great grandparents chose to receive an allotment of land from the Dawes Commission. Yes, the Cherokee Nation was forced to admit the Freedmen by the Federal government after the Civil War, but that was because the Cherokee were holding these people as slaves. Are we going to continue to fixate on "Indian blood" to the exclusion of all other considerations of justice? Are we going to exclude the Freedmen based on a technicality (their inability to prove "Indian blood")? What would John Ross, himself only 1/8, think?

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Okay, Definately Not, Then

Karl Rove is, apparently, not going to be indicted. Liberals are, understandably, dismayed. But as I have tried to explain to the rabidly "Impeach Bush Now!" crowd, we shouldn't get so monomaniacally focused on punishment that we forget the main goal: winning back control of the government. Bush is not going to be impeached, even if the Democrats stumble into control of both Houses of Congress. He's going to leave office January 20, 2009, open a library, ghost-write some whitewashed memoirs and start making money on the rubber-chicken circuit. He will never be punished for the myriad sins of his Administration and he will never ever admit he was wrong. And Karl Rove isn't going to jail. Deal with it. It might even be for the best. Then get out and fight like hell to get Democrats elected in November. Taking back Congress in '06 and the White House in '08 is the best revenge.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

More Scenes From A Convention

Leaving the Convention Friday night, I ran into an old friend from Young Democrats, Martin Hoffman, who is now running for judge of the 68th (Civil) District Court in Dallas County. Martin is a good guy, scrupulously honest and a good lawyer. If you live in Dallas County, vote for him. If you don't, send him some love.

Dem-O-Con '06

Just got back from the Democratic State Convention in lovely downtown Fort Worth, where the west begins. I did not sit in Bloggers Alley, for two reasons: one, I didn't know about it at the time, and two, I was a delegate so, unlike the other bloggers, I couldn't even pretend to be a journalist. Also, I can't imagine lugging my laptop around like Jacob Marley's chains. The speeches went as expected: Wes Clark has a great stump speech now, much better than his stiff, wooden delivery in 2004; he doesn't sound like someone who's running for Hillary's VP slot. Someone needs to tell him that Daniel Boone was not at the Alamo, however, and it's William Barrett Travis, not "Brett Travis." Chris Bell is mildly energizing, David Van Os is crazy but in a good way, Hank Gilbert was brilliant. Chet Edwards delivered a very strong address on behalf on the Congressional Delegation, leading to some speculation that he might be interested in higher office, maybe against Cornyn. Considerably less Bush-bashing than you might have expected. I supported Boyd Ritchie for State Chair, not because I doubted Glen Maxey's ability, but because I knew that if he won, everyone Republican in the state would be running against him. That's not fair, of course, but this is Texas. Maxey was clearly the sentimental favorite, and frankly I thought Ritchie (who, God love him, is boring as dirt when it comes to public speaking) would lose in a runoff. I assumed the majority of Charlie Urbina-Jones' delegates would support Maxey, but evidently I was wrong. Maxey ended with a great concession speech. Overall, a good convention. Democrats are NEVER united, but there was less back-stabbing and bitterness than usual. Hell, the delegates even applauded politely for the bi-annual candidate representing Lyndon LaRouche (that is, after Bob Slagle yelled at us not to boo her).

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Cleburne Times-Review Article for 11 June, 2006

“”But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name because you are a warrior and have shed blood.”
--1 Chronicles 28:3

Truly, we live in bizarre political times when Republicans like Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert rush to the defense of a Democratic Congressman from Louisiana (who by all accounts is so crooked that when he dies they will have to screw him into the ground) and I am defending the Republican President of the United States against attacks by the Chairman of the Johnson County Republic Party. What’s next? Arlene Wohlgemuth campaigning for better health care for poor children? Senator Rick Santorum stumping for legalized gay marriage? George W. Bush telling the truth? Rob Orr actually representing the interests of his constituents? But no, if you look a little closer, there is more to both of these scenarios then meets the eye. You would think, at first blush, that Republicans would be eager to exploit Cong. William Jefferson’s penchant for stuffing inexplicably large amounts of cash into his refrigerator, giving the GOP something to counteract the widespread public perception that their party is bloated and corrupt and riddled with indictments. But Republican outrage over the FBI’s raid on Jefferson’s Capitol Hill office hasn’t stirred the legislative branch, up until now the Bush Administration’s faithful Lhasa Apso, because of some grand Constitutional principle. Instead, the anger and vitriol (one Republican Congressman advocated impeaching Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Speaker Hastert opined that the FBI was spreading false rumors about him being the target of a corruption inquiry) stems from two factors: one, Congress is sick of being treated with barely-concealed contempt by the White House. On issue after issue, President Bush’s cabal have given their own party faithful in the House and Senate the back of the hand. This was merely the proverbial straw that broke the elephant’s back. Second, Congressional Republicans know for whom the search warrant tolls, it tolls for them. If the FBI can barge into Jefferson’s office on a corruption investigation, then what’s to stop them from going after one of the several GOP House members facing ethical quagmires of their own? So, instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to at least spread the stench of corruption around a bit, the Republicans are instead wallowing in it.

Likewise, the statements of the Johnson County Republic Party Chairman (and the antics at the recent GOP State Convention in San Antonio) reinforce what I wrote about in a previous column: the President and Congress’ abysmal approval ratings are due not to perfidious liberals or even squishy moderates, but conservatives deserting them over issues like immigration and profligate spending. Certain Republicans are so virulently opposed to government doing anything for anyone who actually needs help, they cannot see the obvious economic value of investing in such things as, for example, improving Hamm Creek. Other Republicans are so blinded by their delusional paranoia of “them” (whether “they” are illegal aliens, homosexuals or evil liberals), they can easily subscribe to the asinine notion that a federal government that could not evacuate 1.2 million people from New Orleans can somehow magically teleport 12-20 million people back to Mexico. The darker, xenophobic side of this paranoia was reflected in San Antonio, where the overwhelmingly white delegates shunned the booth of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly as though it was handing out free doses of avian flu and flocked instead to buy t-shirts that read “Keep American Beautiful! Put Up the Wall!” I have tried to at least defend such moronic behavior from charges of racism by pointing out that it is more akin to nativism, the anti-immigrant phobia of 150 years ago (then directed against Irish, Italians, Poles and Germans) by the aptly named Know-Nothing Party. But my task is made harder by the deafening silence of these crackpots at the discovery that real, live, suspected terrorists may be trying to sneak across the completely unprotected Canadian border.

Meanwhile, here at home, the Chairman (and certain pre-fabricated letters to the editor) continue the disheartening trend of Republicans adopting one of the least-appealing aspects of liberals: their whiny, self-indulgent sense of victimhood. When a Republican who has either never served in uniform, or served under somewhat suspect circumstances, denounces a decorated Democratic veteran such as Max Cleland, John Kerry, or John Murtha as a “traitor,” “fraud,” or “coward,” why that’s simply politics. But let any Democrat even mention the service of a Republican candidate, and it’s a despicable attack upon the virtue of all who served. Spare us. Young Van Taylor should be rightly proud of his service as a Marine and we should all be grateful that he (unlike so many others who loudly profess their support for this war from the safety of a computer keyboard) had the courage to put on a uniform, pick up a rifle and rush into harm’s way. But his time in action does not grant him a free pass, nor automatically make him the best candidate for the job, especially given his contradictory position as a veteran who slavishly supports an Administration with a contemptible record on veteran’s issues. Likewise, it is a very faint defense to claim that young Taylor should be excused from informing us where in the range of $5 million to $25 million his value of Exxon Mobil stock lies simply because he has had “good fortune.” In other words, don’t hate me just because I’m a multi-millionaire political dilettante carpetbagger trust-fund baby from North Dallas. That doesn’t strike me as a particularly effective bumper-sticker slogan, but it might explain why no one in West, his supposed hometown, seems to even know who he is.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blue Hawai'i

Without getting into the Hawaiian Sovereignty issue too much, because I haven't researched the issue that intently since stumbling upon it on vacation last year, I think it's fascinating that conquering and subjugating Native Hawaiians (or Native Americans) is not "racist," but any sort of self-government for the victims apparently is, at least according to that well-known defender of the Constitution, Ed Meese.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why Van Taylor is Going to Lose

If you are a millionaire dilletente carpetbagger from North Dallas who has suddenly decided to find your "small town roots," it might be a good idea if at least some of the people in the small town have any idea who you are. Might also be a good idea to actually have a campaign office.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Oh, please God, don't let this be true...