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."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This Just In...

...tele-Pharisee and religious bigot Dennis Prager turns out to also be a moron. Film at Eleven.

UPDATE: And now, unsurprisingly, the Tele-Pharisees want a law to FORCE members of Congress to take the oath on the Bible, and only the Bible. Again, their sheer visceral contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is breath-taking.

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Etiquette & Protocol

George Will spins the confrontation between President Bush and Senator-elect James Webb. Firedog Lake suggests the President was being even more pissy than he appeared at first glance. The Moderate Voice asks, "Why can't we all just get along?"

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stupid White Man of the Week: David Crosby

This bloated, shambling relic from the sixties has recently come out with a "book" filled with ignorant, innacurate racist diatribes against Indians in general and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in particular. For what sin have the Chumash incurred Crosby's drug-addled rage? By daring to use tribal sovereignty to improve their lot after a century and a half of being marginalized socially, politically and economically, and doing so in such a way as to mildy inconvenience this aging hippy. The inconvenient fact that Indians lived on this land for thousands of years before even the birth of the mummified remains of this limosine liberal seems not to have penetrated the permanent chemical haze that envelops Crosby's brain.
Ironically, the whole dispute took off when Fess Parker, the actor famous for portraying "Indian fighter" Davy Crockett, wanted to go into a development partnership with the Santa Ynez Band.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The GOP War on Common Sense...

...continues apace. The Texas Ethics Commission (a eunuch of an agency, if ever there was one) has confirmed that writing the word "check" without an amount is sufficient disclosure.
Later, the commission opined that writing the words "personality conflict" as a reason for leaving previous employment on a state job application is sufficient disclosure of a bloody workplace rampage with an AK-47.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Get to Breeding!!

As noted previously, the latest bizarre conservative meme concerns the desperate need of white Christian women to start birthin' more babies to prepare for the upcoming apocalyptic confrontation with the Islamofascist horde. Well, it's spreading. Not unlike manure. I wonder if these nitwits realize just how much they sound like eugenicists? Or if they even care?

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Corporations Seeking to Screw Indians...Again

Yes, yes, I know; terribly shocking. Evidently, the mining companies are in a snit because the Navajo won't authorize any new uranium mining until the contamination from all the previous mining is cleaned up. How unreasonable!

"We could worry ourselves to death that one additional cancer in a million will be caused," [Juan] Velasquez [mining company vice president] said. "It sounds stereotypical, but these Indians jump in their car and drive 90 miles per hour down the road. But they won't take the risk on uranium."

Stereotypical? No! Surely not! Incidentally, there, Velasquez, when's the uranium mine going up in YOUR backyard? When was the last time 93 MILLION gallons of radioactively contaminated water was dumped in YOUR water supply? That's what happened in ONE day, July 16, 1979, on the Navajo Reservation.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Welcome Daou-ists!

Have a look around! Make yourselves at home! There's cold beer in the fridge and plenty of venison and frybread to go around. Wa do.


God May Be Green...

...but the increasingly irrelevent Christian Coalition most certainly is not. What on earth was Joel Hunter thinking? That the tele-Pharisees would actually be interested in poverty, much less the environment? Another sad indication of the depravity of the corrupt, blasphemous regime that has hijacked evangelical protestantism in America. Rev. Hunter, and those like him, will ultimately, hopefully, be proved right in the end. They are "the good and faithful servants."

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Friday, November 24, 2006

So Much For That, Then...

The bold GOP experiment in reaching out to racial minorities comes to an end as brave College Republican cohorts protest the hideous injustice of a small amount of scholarship money being targeted to groups that weren't allowed to attend college for the first 200 years of this nation's existence. It's nice the kids could find the time for all this, what with their busy schedules of supporting the troops from behind...way WAY behind.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Column for 26 November, 2006

“Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

--Psalm 95:2

Things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

1) That my best friend and my uncle both made it back from Iraq in one piece;
2) The Democratic Majority in Congress (please try not to screw it up, y’all, okay?);
3) Fried squash;
4) Daddy’s retirement. The man’s been working since he was 12 years old, he deserves a break;
5) All the people who have put their trust in me and made my business a success;
6) Mama’s frybread;
7) My other best friend’s new baby boy;
8) Cheesecake (I’m starting to notice a food theme here);
9) The Baylor Bears, well on their way to becoming the Ralph Nader of the Big 12—they can’t win it themselves, but they can spoil it for other people;
10) FOX won’t be able to exploit murder victims to make Rupert Murdoch more money to subsidize the Republic Party;
11) That I never liked “Seinfeld” or Kramer in the first place;
12) Rob Orr, who makes this column possible every single time he opens his mouth;
13) Rick Perry, for the same reason. Don’t ever change, Governor; we love you just the way you are—a smug, low-rent, arrogant, self-absorbed jackanapes;
14) Tsalagi tsiyvwi;
15) My family in general and in particular;
16) The First Amendment (the other nine aren’t so bad, either);
17) That my youngest insisted on dressing like Captain America for “Community Helper Day” at school;
18) The little boy in my youngest’s class who solemnly asked me if Indians “fight crime.” Yes, yes, they do;
19) That my oldest kid’s soccer team was undefeated and he, as goalie, only gave up an average of one point per game;
20) That both of my kids know karate and can now beat up other parents’ honor students;
21) My great-great-grandmother, who died sixty-eight years before I was born but whose spirit is with me even today;
22) Texas;
23) My colleagues in the Johnson County bench and bar. We really are served by some very outstanding lawyers and judges here, despite what Fort Worth Weekly thinks;
24) That I don’t live in Dallas County. Who wants to be a judge, anyway? I’m much happier with my decision to blow thousands of dollars to unsuccessfully run for a job that doesn’t pay anything;
25) George W. Bush can’t run again;
26) That young men and women are still willing to put on uniforms, pick up rifles, and stand in between me and crazy people who want to kill me;
27) That the right to trial by jury still endures, despite determined efforts by the powerful to destroy this check on tyranny by the weak;
28) Paper ballots, the greatest weapon against tyranny ever known;
29) That I had the honor and privilege to know and work with Ann Richards;
30) All the tens of people who read and enjoy the column and the blog;
31) My two biggest fans in the entire world—Barney Maddox and Randy Sheridan. You guys are the greatest!
32) That Jesus loves me.

Happy Thanksgiving! Alihelisdi iga! And, seriously, try the fried squash.



Something else to be thankful for.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Laws of Thanksgiving

From the always-hillarious Capitol Annex.

I would add one more, which I just encountered today:

After the fourteenth time some well-intentioned white person asks you what "your people" do for Thanksgiving, calmly announce that you will be moving into their house, eating all their food and forcing them to live in a benighted corner of the backyard from now on, where you will occasionally send them surplus frybread and kanutche. On the plus side, however, you pledge to name a professional stickball team the "Honkies" in order to show respect and admiration for their culture.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Company You Keep

The United Nations is close to adopting the long-awaited Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Unfortunately, the proposal is bitterly opposed by a coalition of industrialized countries with horrible records on Indigenous rights; namely, the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia and New Zealand. These nations fear the completely toothless and non-binding resolution's call for "self-determination" might give oppressed and marginalized Indigenous people the ridiculous idea that maybe they should have some control over their own lives.

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Left-Wingers and Right-Wingers find common ground in their mutually complete and utter inability to grasp the obvious in Charlie Rangel's proposal to reinstate the draft. Jesse Jackson, on the other hand, does get it. And while a military draft is really not a realistic or viable option, I do hold out hope for some form of mandatory national service to break the culture of self-absorption and greed that seems to have consumed the nation in the last 20-30 years.

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"Sooner" Is A Nicer Word Than "Thief"

Principal Chief Chad Smith discusses the mixed feelings Indians have over the upcoming centennial celebration of the "great" Oklahoma Land Rush, the wholesale theft of Indian-owned land by white settlers.

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Johnson County Confidential

This has been the talk of the courthouse lately, an "expose" of the Johnson County criminal justice system in Fort Worth Weekly by a former editor of High Times Magazine. Among its startling revelations:

1) Johnson County does not have a juvenile detention facility. What a scoop! It's only been closed for seven years now.

2) If you shoot your wife, and then are too stupid to take the plea bargain offer, there's a very good chance the jury will jack you up. Who knew?

3) The County Commissioner's Court is cheap. Fortunately, this parsimonious attitude exists ONLY in Johnson County and not in any of the other 253 counties in Texas.

4) Dale Hanna is not, all appearances to the contrary, a cuddly, bleeding-heart liberal teddy bear. This is a severe shock to those of us who have to deal with him on a daily basis.

There are plenty of legitimate complaints that could be made about how the criminal justice system works (or doesn't work) in this county. Sadly, none of them made it into this rambling, disjointed, poorly written article.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Yet More on the Freedmen Controversy

The Cherokee Supreme Court is set to rule on Principal Chief Chad Smith's proposed referendum to kick the Freedmen out of the tribe. Let's be completely clear here: this has NOTHING to do with "Cherokee blood." There are enrollees on the Dawes Rolls who have NO "Indian blood" whatsoever, let alone "Cherokee blood," and everyone knows it. There are Freedmen who HAVE "Cherokee blood," and can prove it, and everyone knows it. But their ancestors were not given a blood quantum due to the racism of the Dawes Commission. And everyone knows that.

Unelanvhi asitiha Anitsalagi. God Save the Cherokee Nation.

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God is STILL Green

More on the slow but steady rise of evangelical environmentalism.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006


I admit that I haven't been following the story of the Houston janitor's strike very closely. However, it definately caught my eye that 44 protestors arrested for alleged CLASS B MISDEMEANORS had their bonds set at $888,888 EACH. This is just about the most disgusting, repulsive abuse of the law I have ever seen in my legal career. Accused murderers don't get bonds set this high! The District Attorney who requested this should be immediately fired and then disbarred; the magistrate who granted this abomination should be impeached, removed from office and then disbarred. Pandagon has allegations of abuse, including sexual harassment of the protestors. You can read more about the Houston janitors and their grievances here.

UPDATE: BOR reports the strike is over and the janitors appear to have won. No report yet on the Houston 44...

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The 2006 George Orwell Newspeak Awards

First nominee, the United States Department of Agriculture. Someone needs to alert the Navajo and the Sioux; apparently they aren't hungry, merely "food insecure."

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Welcome Crooks & Liars!

Er, I mean, readers of Crooks & Liars, that is. C'mon in, have a look around. Grab yourself a beer from the fridge. We got plenty of fry bread and venison. Wa do.
P.S. That's not really me and I don't own a helicopter. Not yet, anyway.


Conservative Hypocrisy Watch

I could probably do an entire separate blog on this topic alone. In our latest installment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an odious little man previously known for fighting tooth-and-nail against anything even remotely resembling campaign finance reform, has now apparently learned how to stop worrying and love the filibuster. Same goes for James Inhofe, a right-wing troglodyte from Oklahoma, who now threatens to deploy the F-Bomb against any efforts to reduce global warming. Inhofe previously was known for trying to gut Indian sovereignty in order to prevent tribes from protecting the environment.

UPDATE: Senator John Warner of Virginia, whose thinking has actually left the Middle Ages, leapt the Renaissance and reached the Enlightenment, will challenge crackpot James Inhofe for the post of Ranking Member on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Good on him.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Column for 19 November, 2006

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
--John 15:7

Okay, so now what? The dog has caught the car, Charlie Brown has kicked the football, and the Democrats have retaken Congress. Sing, hallelujah! Of course, there are some discouraging signs that the Democrats didn’t quite get the memo that this election was about the corruption, stupid. The battle for House Majority Leader is between Steny Hoyer and Jack Murtha, both good people and (in Murtha’s case) courageous, but both have tin ears when it comes to ethical issues. And Alcee Hastings, formerly impeached, convicted and removed as a federal judge, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee? Yes, there were some problems with his impeachment, but that’s not the point. By winning on corruption, the Democrats will now be held to a double standard and will be raked over the media bonfire for ethical lapses that barely made the news scroll when Republicans did them. Get over it, guys. And get used to it. Besides, I have a simple solution to both problems. Make Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) chair of the Intelligence Committee and Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) Majority Leader. Reyes is smart and a former Border Patrol agent. Doggett has the political skills to keep Blue Dog moderate Democrats from teaming up with the Republicans to thwart the narrow Democratic majority. Of course, by the time you read this, it will be readily apparent that nobody in Washington is listening to me, but then, if Nancy Pelosi has one thing in abundance right now, it’s free advice from pundits. The advice ranges from “stay moderate, don’t do anything stupid,” to “impeach them all, let God sort them out!” to “don’t go nuts, but bash the Republicans with their own hammer.” This last argument, which I tend to agree with, is that Democrats should push an aggressive but not stupid agenda of items with broad public support and should feel free to use the same strong-arm tactics Republicans used to shut them out of virtually all Congressional debate for the last twelve years. President Bush will, of course, veto some or all of this. Great. Let him. The Presidential election of 2008 will then be like Harry S. Truman’s legendary 1948 run, only in reverse; a hard-working Congress bashing a “do nothing” White House. It’s really all about laying the groundwork to get a Democrat elected President. With that in mind, and since Christmas is coming, I now present my own little wish list for our new Democratic overlords in Congress: 1) Public Financing of Congressional campaigns. I hate this idea, but it’s the only alternative left as long as the Supreme Court insists that money equals speech; 2) Abolish electronic voting without a paper trail. In order for democracy to work, people have to be able to trust that their vote will actually be counted and right now, they don’t; 3) Mandate once-per-decade redistricting by non-partisan panels with no regard for protecting incumbents. Schwarzenegger was actually right on this issue. And, in fact, I think a good argument can be made that Congress can simply impose this reform using its’ Constitutional authority under Article 1, Section 4; 4) Repeal the foul-smelling Patriot, Warrantless Wiretap and Legalized Torture Acts and start over from scratch. We do need laws to help combat terrorism, but these acts are all abominations and an affront to very spirit of liberty this country was founded on; 5) Expand subsidized national health care for children on the CHIPs model. It’s time we really did start putting children first; 6) Implement lifetime free medical care for all honorably discharged veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, regardless of length of service. It is the very least we can do for them; 7) Implement by legislation the provisions of the Kyoto Accords on climate change. God demands it. And our grandchildren will curse our names if we fail to take action to slow down global warming; 8) Impose a lifetime ban on lobbying for all members of Congress and their staff. If you are only marking time in government service until you can get out and get rich, you have no business being there in the first place; 9) Ban all gifts to members of Congress of any amount. No golf vacation junkets, no meals in fancy restaurants, not even a stick of gum; 10) Abolish ear-marking, the coward’s way to pork barrel politics; 11) Repeal NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO (World Trade Organization). “Free trade” as it is currently practiced is neither “free” nor “fair”; we’re being played for suckers by our economic competitors in the world and our own treacherous corporations, who are systematically destroying the American economy and converting us back into a colony. Is that “protectionism”? Darn right it is. Corporate special interests should not be allowed to con us into allowing foreign corporations to eviscerate our economy; 12) Re-impose Clinton Era proscriptions on environmental exploitation in the National Parks. We are robbing our children and grandchildren by denying them at least some unspoiled wilderness to enjoy; 13) Revive a New Deal proposal to allow Indian tribes to administer certain public lands. This would have the dual benefit of protecting the environment and alleviating the crushing poverty on many remote reservations. I would begin with turning over the Black Hills (the Sacred Paha Sapa) to the Sioux, part of the Great Smoky Mountains to the Cherokee and the Grand Canyon to the Navajo. Hmm, well, I notice that the longer my list got, the less and less politically realistic it became. Oh well. That’s what wish lists are for, right?

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman: Champion of Liberty

Was he really the fount of all liberty in the Twentieth Century? Or just a shamelessly hypocritical academic who favored free markets over free people and flirted with free market authoritarianism of the sort we now see rampant in China, Russia and Vietnam? You make the call.

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Better Late Than Never

The MSM finally gets around to noticing that the Gringrich GOP Congress was a hypocritical freakshow crammed into a clown car.

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Making a Difference!

Instant lame-duck Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, in the finest tradition of Kay Bailey Hutchinson and the killer notebook, manages to annoy Tom DeLay's staff so much they quit en masse. And now she wants them investigated for deleting records. Maybe they also know where the "W" keys from all the White House keyboards went...

Seriously, though, how bad do you to be if TOM DELAY's staff thinks you're "mean"?

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Our House Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

Historically speaking, the Murtha vs. Hoyer fight is probably nowhere near as big a deal as the media are making it out to be. But the media double-standard for Democrats illustrates once again why Alcee Hastings should NOT be chairman of the Intelligence Committee, a point on which the Bluedogs and I both agree, though I'm still holding out for Silvestre Reyes.

UPDATE: Harman is out, and probably a good thing under the circumstances. Hastings would still be worse, though.

UPDATE 2: Silvestre Reyes may have some problems of his own, though not nearly as bad as, say, getting impeached and removed from the bench for corruption.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Welcome Back, Old Friend!

How I have missed the insane, paranoid, disjointed ramblings of the Wall Street Journal editorial page! When Clinton left office and the WSJ Editors could no longer accuse him of everything from drug running to the Kennedy assassination (he was the pudgy kid with the Moon Pie on the grassy knoll), I feared I would never again enjoy the foam-flecked rantings that were just a half step above fat losers in camo and tinfoil hats complaining about the UN black helicopters coming to take their guns. But now, just when we need them most, they're back, baby, and this time to warn us that UNLESS WHITE WOMEN HAVE MORE BABIES, WESTERN CIVILLIZATION IS DOOMED!!!! DOOOOOMED, I SAY!!!!! And it will all be the fault of traitorous liberals and wimpy Euros who secretly long for the lash of Sharia law.

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Get It?

Man, that Chris Matthews! What a caution! See, Nancy Pelosi is a woman in a position of power, right? So that automatically must mean she's a ball-buster, get it? So that's why it's funny that Chris Matthews says she's gonna "castrate" Steny Hoyer! Get it? What? You don't think that's funny? What a bunch of feminazis!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Ten Wise Men

Both Democrats and George W. Bush seem to be placing an awful lot of faith in the Iraq Study Group, the long-anticipated "Blue Ribbon" Panel (decidely thin on Middle Eastern Credentials) composed of James A. Baker, III, Lee Hamilton, Vernon Jordon (in case the President of Iraq faces a sudden "bimbo eruption"), Edwin Meese (in case the Iraqis need advice on incompetence and corruption in their Justice Ministry), Leon Panetta, Lawrence Eagleburger, Alan K. ("Stick it in his gazoo") Simpson, Chuck Robb, William Perry and Sandra Day O'Connor (Robert Gates has resigned to clean up Rumsfeld's disaster at DOD). Bush needs the panel, so the thinking goes, to give him an "out" from Iraquagmire, a point supposedly driven home hard directly to the President by Baker and Bush 41. The same conventional wisdom says that Democrats need the Wise Men (and one Wise Woman) so that they can avoid having to make the hard decisions on Iraquagmire, now that it's their problem, too. I think both sides' faith is misplaced; I have a hard time imagining that this panel can actually form a consensus, for one thing; for another, Democrats in Congress are demanding a timetable that the White House says is not open for discussion. My best guess is that the panel will recommend opening talks with Iraq and Syria and the White House will comply as slowly as humanly possible, trying to run out the clock on this presidency and dump the disaster on whichever poor dumb bastard is elected in '08. And Democrats can't use the one real tool they have to force Bush to yield, cutting the military budget for Iraq, because that will inevitably be seen as stabbing US soldiers in the back. And, as Michael Hirsch points out, it may well already be too late for anything or anybody to save Iraq from a nasty sectarian collapse. So, unfortunately, panel or no panel, we're likely down to only two options: a bloody, grinding status quo or the political equivalent of nuclear war between a Democratic Congress with a slim majority and a lame duck White House with no credibility and no "political capital."

UPDATE: Oh, yeah, NOW we're saved! Bush has started his own little "Iraq Study Group," possibly as a prelude to ignoring the advice of the Council of Grownups.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Okay, So NOW What?

Democrats have won control of Congress; so what do they propose to do with it? Your Liberal Media is hard at work pushing the "triumph of the moderates" and "conservative vs. liberal Democrats" memes, despite a rather distinct lack of evidence for either. Meanwhile. in the vast untamed wilds of the blogosphere, some argue that the time for tea parties is over, by which I take it they mean impeachment followed immediately by tar and feathering, while others suggest an aggressive agenda, but with fewer molotov cocktails. The Carpetbagger recently chewed over the notion that Congressional Democrats could learn alot from how the GOP ran the show, and I agree, with the caveat that the lessons are both positive and negative. My two cents worth is that, if the Democrats are serious about laying the groundwork for 2008, they should take a page from Harry Truman, only in reverse. Pass legislation that is both badly needed and politically popular (the list is pretty extensive and should definately include election and redistricting reform) and (bearing in mind that Dems do NOT have anything like a veto-proof majority) dare the President to veto it. Given the Bush Administration's attitude towards bipartisanship in the past, I would leave it to the White House to extend an olive branch, but take it if sincerely offered. Investigate by all means, this Administration REEKS, but be mindful of the inevitable and defeaning MSM and GOP spin that this is all "politically motivated," and "revenge" and so forth. Don't let disdain for this President outweigh common political sense. Remember Clinton. And above all, be prepared to push back HARD if the White House decides to pick a fight; remember, they will be laying tracks for 2008, too. It'll all be about the "legacy" for Dubya for here on out.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Column for 12 November, 2006

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
--Proverbs 16:18

It’s difficult to overstate the magnitude of the Democrats’ victory in Tuesday’s election. As I type this, news reports suggest that Sen. George Allen (R-Macaccaville) will not ask for a recount, giving the Democratic Party control of both Houses of Congress for the first time in twelve years. The results of this election blowout will be endlessly scrutinized like the entrails of a sacrificial goat for weeks to come (after all, pundits have to have something to justify their existence), however I think it’s clear that there are two reasons, and two reasons only, why the Democrats won: George W. Bush and Tom DeLay. Bush, with his stiff-necked monomaniacal fixation on pursuing a catastrophically failed policy on his unnecessary war in Iraq, transformed himself into the political equivalent of a giant steaming barrel of toxic waste. Republican candidates were reduced towards the end to sneaking the President of the United States into town late at night, like college students smuggling a date out of a dormitory, for clandestine fundraisers. GOP candidates performed extraordinary verbal gymnastics trying to demonstrate that they had never heard of this alleged ‘George W. Bush.’ Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island even revealed that he hadn’t voted for Bush in 2004. He did everything short of being legally adopted by Ted Kennedy and still lost. Tom DeLay on the other hand, with his used car salesman’s smile, shellacked hair and a heart, like the Grinch’s, that was two sizes too small, came to epitomize what Democrats gleefully called the “Culture of Corruption” in the GOP-led Congress. DeLay wasn’t alone, of course; he had Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Bob Ney and Mark Foley, among many, many others, to help fan the awful stench wafting from the People’s House. Americans perceived, and rightly so, that their government was for sale to the highest bidder. Conservatives were turned off by the orgy of pork-barrel spending used to fuel the Republican political machine. In that respect, 2006 resembles 1994: an unpopular President combined with a scandal-plagued Congress (though the scandals back then seem positively quaint by comparison) brings down the party in power. The Democrats even managed to swipe a page from the Republicans’ playbook and engaged in a rare show of organization and message discipline. In other ways, however, this year is far different: while the GOP takeover in ’94 was fueled mainly by the defeat of white, Southern, moderate-to-conservative Democrats, this year Republicans of all stripes were beaten, and in some cases beaten badly, all across the country. Also, the Republicans twelve years ago had at their backs a strong wind from a thirty-year trend in their favor in the South; Democrats this year had no such history. In fact, they had been losing ground in recent elections, and were fighting a GOP with the institutional advantages of big money and hyper-partisan redistricting. As one pundit opined, however, the Republicans’ advantages this year were like the levees of New Orleans; capable of resisting most normal storms, but swamped and ultimately breached by a Category 5 hurricane.
Here in Texas, the Democrats had a great night, in spite of once again losing all statewide races. Rick Perry was strutting and preening for the cameras, encouraging talk of him as a possible vice presidential candidate in ’08, in spite of the fact that he won the smallest percentage of the vote of any Republican candidate for governor since 1974 and despite winning fewer votes overall than Tony Sanchez, the man he decisively beat in 2002. Several down ballot candidates, all hopelessly outspent, performed much better than expected as well, with VaLinda Hathcox (Land Commissioner), Hank Gilbert (Agriculture Commissioner), Dale Henry (Railroad Commission), Bill Moody (Supreme Court) and J.R. Molina (Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals) all winning more than 40% of the vote. In the Legislature, not a single Democratic incumbent lost, the Democrats successfully defended all their open seats, and gained five seats, not enough to change control of the State House, but possibly enough to end the Speakership of the universally despised Tom Craddick, whom even the Governor now refuses to publicly support. Just up the road in Dallas County, the Republican Party was virtually annihilated, losing nearly every single contested countywide race. In fact, an old friend of mine from our Young Democrats days, Martin Hoffman, was elected the new judge of the 68th Civil District Court. Democrats also ran ahead of the state average in Harris County, in keeping with a general trend of the large urban counties becoming more and more blue.
Here at home, Chet Edwards delivered a severe beating to Vancampen Taylor, easily winning every county in the 17th Congressional District except for Hood and Johnson (which he lost by a mere 8 votes out of 30,000 cast). While no other Democrats won locally, several besides Chet got at or near 10,000 votes, a respectable showing in a heavily-Republican county.
So all across American, Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular were handed a stunning personal rebuke by the voters. What happens next? The White House has already shown promising signs of returning to reality, as the President quickly and unceremoniously shoved Donald Rumsfeld under the nearest bus, though he proposes to replace him with an un-indicted co-conspirator from the Iran-Contra Scandal, Robert Gates. The Democrats have their work cut out for them, as an electorate that determinedly voted for divided government will paradoxically expect them to Get Things Done now that they are in power. But we can worry about that later. For now, let the Democrats enjoy their white wine spritzers and brie. The hard work comes later.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day--Always Remember

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Life In the Big City

Democrats smashed the nearly 30 year long GOP stranglehold on Dallas County, and may do the same thing in Harris County next election. This is significant, and indicates that the Dallas Massacre was not just the result of demographics (a polite euphemism for "white flight") since Harris County still has a large, predominately white and usually reliably Republican suburban population. It's certainly a big change; I clearly remember a meeting of the venerable Harris County Democrats around Christmastime, 1994, when one speaker described the suburbs as "the idiot belt."

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let the Spin Begin

This election was a victory for moderates.

No, it wasn't!

Was too!!

Was not, was not, was not!!!

Both of you shut up!! The Republicans lost because they didn't pander enough to blasphemous religious zealots!

No, you shut up! Republicans lost because terrorists totally brainwashed the voters!

Sigh. I need a nap.

UPDATE: Republicans lost because they abandoned the Will of God (which, coincidentally, is also the Will of Dobson).

No way, dude!

Run for your lives! The Democrats are gonna impeach Bush!! Really!! I mean it!!!

It was the incompetency and corruption, stupid!

Oh, yeah; I definately need that nap now...

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Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

H/T to Wonkette!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Gone

I called my best friend who recently completed a year-long, all-expenses-paid, involuntary vacation in Baghdad courtesy of the Texas National Guard, and told him the news. He laughed so hard he nearly passed out.

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Texas Democrats: Fighting Back

Despite losing all the statewide contests, Democrats in the Legislature successfully defended all their incumbents, held on to all open Democratic seats, and have actually picked up four, possibly five, more seats in the State House. True, there's a long way to go before they take back either House or Senate, but these are still historic gains and shouldn't be overlooked.

UPDATE: Juan Garcia has defeated the loathesome Gene Seaman, for a total of five Democratic pick-ups in the House.

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Okay, NOW You Can Gloat

Yeah, yeah, I know. The Senate. We can still gloat, just for a little bit. Then the real work starts.

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The Big Mo

Talent has conceded in Missouri, returning Harry Truman's desk to the Democrats. Tester leads in Montana. The Senate will apparently be decided by the recount in Virginia. Cry havoc, and let slip the lawyers of war!

And Joe Lieberman is now the most powerful man in America.

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Dallas County Republican Party Wiped Off the Face of the Earth!

Film at Eleven.

And congratulations to my old Young Democrats buddy, Martin Hoffman, the brand new judge of the 68th Civil District Court. Expect great things.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Chet Takes Johnson County?

Chet Edwards and a future member of Congress at the Johnson County Democratic Convention

With 83% of the total vote in, Chet is running away with it at 59% and is carrying every single county except for Hood. Even more astonishing, though, with 66% of the vote counted, he's carrying Johnson County 51% to 47% for Vancampen. If this holds, he'll be the first Democrat to win this county since (I believe) 1998.

UPDATE: Sadly, no. CNN reports that Chet lost Johnson County to Vancampen by 8 votes, still a remarkable achievement considering he didn't even break 40% in the last election. The Johnson County Elections site confirms the figures, as well as the fact that no other Democrats even came close to winning. More analysis of these results later, but they are frankly pretty grim for any prospects of this becoming a two-party county anytime soon.

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Madam Speaker

Democrats take the House and Nancy Pelosi becomes the closest woman ever to the Presidency, replacing Condoleeza Rice, who replaced Madeline Albright.

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Election Results

Check here for election results in Johnson County ONLY.

Check here for election results in Texas.

And, finally, go here for national election results.

Good luck, and God Bless America!

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The Spirit of '76

I watched my favorite musical "1776" last night. In this scene, John Dickinson, speaking for the "cool, cool, considerate men," proclaims that conservatives will always win because most men would rather have the possibility that they might become rich than face the reality that they are poor. Let's see if he's right.


Monday, November 06, 2006

The Battle of the Wabash

An important anniversary I missed. On November 4, 1790, an allied Indian force commanded by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket (and including a young Tecumseh who, according to some accounts, was Blue Jacket's brother by adoption) annihilated American forces under the command of Revolutionary War hero Arthur St. Clair. It was the worst defeat ever suffered by the US Army.

Hat tip to Mule Boy at Rule 303.


Rock Bottom

Just in case you needed more evidence of the utter moral bankruptcy of the Republic Party...

UPDATE: GOP clumsily trying to pound down turnout in the Old Dominion. Robo-calling in Indiana shut down by Republicans after threats of legal action. Tele-marketing fear-mongering in Montana, Maryland and Ohio. Also Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Illinois. And on and on. Even crackpot Republican judicial candidates in Alabama get into the act. Meanwhile, in Texas, Republicans are scared of PBS, but eventually graciously allow the existance of the First Amendment.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Closer Than It Looks?

Two recent polls show the generic ballot tightening, maybe dashing hopes of a Democratic Senate, or maybe even a Democratic House (though that is less likely). If these are accurate and not merely outliers, it will reinforce the pre-election RW spin: Democrats have no mandate. That, and the neo-cons bashing Bush for not being "neo-con" enough.

UPDATE: FOX News (!) gives the Democrats a 13 point lead.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Freedmen Saga Continues

The Freedmen are now suing in tribal court over the election to kick them out of the tribe. I'm sure it will go to Federal court next. Can we please, for the love of God, stop pretending this is about "Indian blood"? This controversy doesn't have a damn thing to do with "Indian blood" and everyone knows it. If it was, then why couldn't we just allow the Freedmen to submit secondary sources (like the Cherokee Census, for example) to prove their "Indian blood," since they were denied the opportunity to list blood quanta on the Dawes Rolls?

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Column for 5 November, 2006

“Cursed is the man who leads the blind astray on the road. Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’”
--Deuteronomy 27:18

When William “Boss” Tweed, the corrupt gang leader of the Democratic Party machine in New York City, saw how he was being savagely caricatured by the famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast, he supposedly said, “Stop them damned pictures. I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents can't read, but, damn it, they can see pictures.” Nowadays, the politician’s enemy isn’t some newspaper cartoonist (or newspapers at all, as they become increasingly irrelevant) but rather YouTube, allowing their every moronic utterance to instantly become a viral video, spreading around the country and the world at the speed of email. So George Allen, the redneck wannabe Senator from Virginia by way of Southern California, gets roasted for using an obscure West African racial slur (then his staff inexplicably tackled and roughed-up a blogger at a campaign rally); Rush Limbaugh spews his venom at the disabled; and John Kerry, who has even less comedic timing than Al Gore, flubs a joke and causes the Right Wing Feigned Outrage Machine to kick into overdrive. By the time you read this column, probably be one or more such “controversies” will have come and gone. All of this, of course, leads to a round of the usual whining and hand-wringing about how “mean” politics has gotten lately. Isn’t it amazing how it’s always the Party currently getting its butt handed to it that complains about a “lack of civility” in elections? And asinine comments like that only illustrate our short attention span for history; American elections have always been full-body-contact affairs. George Washington was attacked and criticized when he ran for re-election. Read what Democratic newspapers wrote about Abraham Lincoln or Republican newspapers wrote about Franklin Roosevelt (switchboard operators at the Chicago Tribune, owned by paleo-conservative Robert McCormick, answered calls with “Do you know you only have 97 days left to save your country?” counting down to the 1936 election). Read what Whig newspapers wrote about Andrew Jackson. Well, scratch that last one; Jackson had it coming. The point is, the nastiest attacks being floated today, questioning a candidate’s patriotism, religion or even sexuality, are like minor tiffs in a Sunday School class compared to elections past. They are ultimately distractions, intended to redirect voters away from uncomfortable truths, like stage magicians using sleight-of-hand. LBJ is said to have once told his aides to spread an awful rumor (unprintable in a family newspaper) about a political enemy. We can’t do that, his aides replied in horror. It’s a lie. I know, LBJ said, I just want to hear him deny it. Which brings me to the biggest loser in the 2006 elections, if the Democrats do manage to take one or both Houses of Congress: Turd Blossom himself, Karl Rove. Frankly, I’ve always thought that Rove was overrated as an evil genius. He’s no Lex Luthor. Much of his success was due to factors way beyond his control. For example, given Ann Richards’ high approval ratings, it’s extremely unlikely that George W. Bush could’ve beaten her without the GOP’s 1994 electoral tsunami at his back. And it was Rove’s clever idea to send candidate Bush to California, a state he had no chance of winning, in the last days of the 2000 election in a misguided attempt to show confidence instead of keeping him in Florida. But for the Supreme Court, Rove’s blunder would’ve cost Bush the White House. And what a tragedy that would’ve been. I will give Rove credit for 2004, though. Deciding to blow-off the Independents and concentrate solely on getting out the base was a brilliant, if evil, move to exploit an already badly-divided electorate. But then, Rovian strategy has never been about governing; it’s all about power, obtaining it, jealously hoarding it, and especially denying it to others. Very likely, you will see a civil war (excuse me, I meant “insurgency”) break out among the Republicans, and probably the end of the militaristic neo-conservatives. Bush’s status as a lame-duck will be sealed and the surviving Republicans in Congress will see him even more as an anchor and will likely be squirming even harder to get away from him in anticipation of 2008. If, as the polls seem to indicate, the Democrats take at least the House, there will be a confrontation with the White House. It’s inevitable. Nancy Pelosi has pledged not to impeach Bush, but this Administration has repeatedly snubbed its own Party in refusing to turn over documents or cooperate in investigations. The stonewalling will only get worse if it’s the Democrats demanding accountability. The best we may be able to hope for is two years of gridlock, though frankly, doing absolutely nothing would be a vast improvement at this point. So, what elections to watch on Tuesday? Congress, obviously. There may be a Democratic blowout in the House, with a gain of thirty-plus seats, but I’m still thinking it will be more modest. In the Senate, I remain skeptical of the Democrats’ ability to pick up the six seats they need for control. Too many variables have to all break in their favor. Actually, it would be supremely ironic if the Democrats ended up with fifty Senators and have to rely on Joe Lieberman, jilted at the altar by Connecticut Democrats, to get them over the top. Here in Texas, Chris Bell seems to be trending up, but he’s having trouble maintaining a sufficient cash flow to stay on the airwaves. John O’Quinn can only write checks so fast. Ironically, Carol Strayhorn may ended up re-electing that nitwit Perry, by draining just enough of the Democratic base, which is really all Bell needs to win. Barbara Ann Radnofsky has run a brilliant campaign for US Senate, but she’s badly outspent by Kay Bailey Hutchison, even though she did get her below 50% in the polls for awhile. Watch the mid-ballot statewide races, like Agriculture Commissioner, where Democrat Hank Gilbert is running hard against Republican Todd Staples. Surprises have been known to happen mid-ballot. Democrats could pick up as many as six or seven seats in the State House, not enough to take control, but maybe enough to embolden Republicans to throw universally-detested Speaker Tom Craddick under the bus. Here locally, of course, the biggest question is just how much of a whupping Chet Edwards will put on Vancampen Taylor. More to the point, can Chet carry Johnson County? Or has this county become so reflexively Republican that they will vote for literally any buffoon with an “R” beside his name? The Johnson County Democratic Party, after several years of lying fallow, has a number of active, hard working, well-funded (for Democrats, anyway) candidates this year, who seem to grasp that in order to actually win elections it is necessary to campaign for them. A Chet victory in the county might have enough coattails to pull some of them along for the ride. If that happens, then Johnson County will become a real rarity in this state: a contested county where the voters actually have a choice, as opposed to the one-party monopolies that exist in most of the other 253.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Meanwhile, Back In Iraq...

...the Bush Administration orders the US Army to abandon one of the soldiers it is so vociferously defending from that evil ol' liberal John Kerry. So, uh, where's the outrage? MSM? Right-Wing Blogosphere? Anyone?

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