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, May 31, 2007

News Round-Up

  1. Anti-war Marine veteran attacked by Corps for...being an anti-war Marine veteran;
  2. God bless Alabama. I won't hold my breath waiting for Georgia to apologize for nvnadaulatsvyi;
  3. Fred Thompson shows his "outsider" cred by wooing one of Karl Rove's hack sidekicks. Oh, and Cong. Zack Wamp totally has a man-crush on him. Get a room!
  4. Dubya appoints a Flat Earth political hack to head up a scientific agency. Yes, try to contain your amazement;
  5. Lou Dobbs: still crazier'n a shithouse rat;
  6. US Attorney targeted by Rove for helping Indians too much. Also here. You just knew this would all get back to us eventually, right?
  7. Hugo Chavez: low-rent thug;
  8. Tom DeLay: now with 50% more delusions of grandeur!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fake "Homespun" Actor/Politician Mulls Spin-Filled Bid for President

No, you haven't flashed back to 1980.

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Free Market, My Ass!

Kos has a great piece that encapsulates in one story the bitter truth that all that Republican rhetoric about the wonders of the "free market" is just so much hogwash (or in this case, mad cow wash). In reality, the GOP, as the official mouthpiece for corporate America, actually favors a sort of crony capitalism, an oligarchy like that of Singapore, Russia or China. Government intervention in the "free market" is perfectly fine, as long as it supports the continued dominance of the wealthy and powerful entrenched interests.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dispatches from the Front: GOP Civil War

  1. Newt Gingrinch is now the voice of reason;
  2. Dubya attacks his own party for rampant Know-Nothingism on immigration reform;
  3. But he completely misses the irony;
  4. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Bridge-to-Nowhere, Alaska): coming soon to a perp-walk near you...

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Someone Alert Homeland Security!

In a blast from the past, dozens of House members walked out of the chamber, breaking quorum to protest the shabby, petty (and increasingly crumbling) dictatorship of Speaker Tom Craddick.

More from Kuff and BOR and the Observer.

Texas democracy: a full-body contact sport.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Haudenosaunee Under Attack (Again)

The "Indian Wars" in New York State are heating up. The Seneca have voted to follow through on their threat to start charging tolls on the New York Thruway to protest the State's attempt to force them to pay taxes. Meanwhile, a Republican state lawmaker is claiming the Oneida owe $248 million in back taxes and is trying to stir up the tribe's neighbors against them. New York's 200+ year history of anti-Indian politics is continuing unabated.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Column for 27 May, 2007

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
--John 15:13

Memorial Day, 2007:
Aguilar Jr., Andres, Cpl.-Victoria; Aguirre, Anthony, Lance Cpl.-Channelview; Aguirre, Nathaniel A., Spc.-Carrollton; Alaniz, Paul C., Capt.-Corpus Christi; Aldrich, Nickalous N., Lance Cpl. Austin; Alexander Jr., George T., Staff Sgt.-Killeen; Allton, Eric L., Capt. Houston; Allmon, Jeremy, Spc. Cleburne; Alonzo, Joshua C., Lance Cpl. Dumas; Amaya, Daniel R., Cpl. Odessa; Amundson Jr., William M., Cpl. The Woodlands; Anderson, Danny L., Pfc. Corpus Christi; Anguiano, Edward J., Sgt. Brownsville; Arizola Jr., Roberto, Sgt. Laredo; Arnold, Andrew T., CWO Spring; Arriaga, Richard, Spc. Ganado; Arsiaga, Robert R., Spc. San Antonio; Aston, Trevor D., Lance Cpl. Austin; Austin, Aaron C., Lance Cpl. Sunray; Babbit, Travis A., Spc. Uvalde; Babcock IV, Howard E. Petty Officer 1st Class Houston; Bales, Chad E., Pfc. Coahoma; Balint, Paul Jr., Pfc. Willow Park; Barrera, Michael P., Sgt. Von Ormy; Barta, John, Spc. Corpus Christi; Battles Sr., Michael, Sgt. 1C San Antonio; Berg, Ryan R., Pfc. Sabine Pass; Berry, Sean B., Sgt. Mansfield; Bevel, Ray M., Cpl. Andrews; Bishop, Ryan A., Spc. Euless; Blanco, Ernesto M., Capt. San Antonio; Boatright, Michael L., Sgt. Whitesboro; Bolding, Todd J., Lance Cpl. Houston; Bonilla, Orlando A., Capt. Killeen; Boone, Clarence E., CWO Fort Worth; Bradfield Jr., Hoby F., Spc. The Woodlands; Bradshaw, Anthony M., Cpl.-San Antonio; Britt, Benjamin T., 1st Lt. Wheeler; Brown, Dominic, Lance Cpl. Austin; Brown, Philip D., Spc. El Paso; Brown, William R., Sgt.1st Class Fort Worth; Buford, Travis W., Pfc. Galveston; Burk, Taylor, Spc. Amarillo; Byler, William J., Spc. Ballinger; Caban, Eric, Staff Sgt. Fort Worth; Calderon Jr., Juan, Sgt. Weslaco; Canning, Wesley J., Lance Cpl. Friendswood; Carballo, Adolf C., Spc. Houston; Carrillo Jr., Rafael, Spc. Austin; Casper, James A., Lance Cpl. Coolidge; Castillo, Mario A., Lance Cpl. Brownwood; Castle, Samuel T., Staff Sgt. Naples; Castleberry Jr., Roger, Lance Cpl. Austin; Castro, Roland L., Staff Sgt. San Antonio; Cepeda Sr., Aaron N., Sgt. San Antonio; Chapman, John A., Tech Sgt. Waco; Chapman, Nathan R., Sgt. 1C San Antonio; Cisneros-Alvarez, Julio C., Lance Cpl. Pharr; Collins, Gary L., Staff Sgt. Hardin; Colunga, Zeferino E., Spc. Bellville; Contreras, Pedro, Lance Cpl. Harris; Cooper, Troy D., Pvt. Amarillo; Cox, Jr. Simon T., 1st. Lt. Mesquite; Craig, Brian T., Staff Sgt. Houston; Craver, Johnny K., 2nd Lt. McKinney; Cuervo, Rey D., Pvt. Laguna Vista; Daniel, Jason B., Cpl. Fort Worth; Das, Eric B., Capt. Amarillo; DeLeon Jr., Lauro G., Spc. Floresville; Durbin Jr., Jerry M., Staff Sgt. Spring; Dervishi, Ervin, Pfc. Fort Worth; Diaz, Isaac E., Spc. Rio Hondo; Dones, Jacob D., Sgt. Dimmitt; Donica, Dustin R., Spc. Spring; Drake, Chad H., Spc. Garland; Duerksen, Amy, Pfc. Copperas Cove; Dunigan Jr., Joseph L., Staff Sgt. Belton; Dunn, Terrence D., Staff Sgt. Houston; Eason, Carl A., Spc. Lovelady; Eckhart, William C., Sgt. Rocksprings; Eggers, Kyle A., Sgt. Euless; Esparza Gutierrez, Analaura, Pfc. Houston; Estrella-Soto, Ruben, Pvt. El Paso; Everett, Christopher L., Staff Sgt. Huntsville; Fernandez, George A., Master Sgt. El Paso; Fite, Joseph E., Cpl. Round Rock; Flores, Jonathan R., Lance Cpl. San Antonio; Flores, Omar D., Staff Sgt. Mission; Folks Jr.. Tommy I., Staff Sgt. Amarillo; Folmar, Timothy Shane, Sgt. Sonora; Ford, Philip C., Spc. Freeport; Fortenberry, Wesley C., CWO Woodville; Frantz, Robert L., Pvt. San Antonio; Fraser, David M., 1st Lt. Houston; Fry, John D., Gunnery Sgt. Lorena; Funkhouser, James A., Cpt. Katy; Galvan, Daniel, Sgt. Mercedes; Galvan, Jose A., Cpl. San Antonio; Garces, Tomas, Spc. Weslaco; Garcia, J. Adan, Spc. Irving; Garcia, Anthony R., Cpt. Fort Worth; Garcia, Israel Devora, Sgt. Clint; Garza, Israel, Spc. Lubbock; Garza, Joseph J., 1st Sgt. Robstown; Garza Jr., Juan Guadalupe, Pfc. San Benito; Garza Jr., Rogelio R., Army Spc. Corpus Christi; George, Phillip C., Lance Cpl. Houston; Gertson, Clinton R., Spc. Houston; Gibbs, Todd C., Sgt. Angelina; Gill, Steven P. Cpl. Round Rock; Given, Nathaniel A., Pfc. Dickinson; Goldman, Shane L., Pfc. Orange; Gonzalez-Garza, Rodrigo, Spc. San Antonio; Gordon, Lyle, Capt. Midlothian; Grant, Brian K., Pvt. Dallas; Graham, Lance T., Lance Cpl. San Antonio; Graham, Shawn A. Sgt., Red Oak; Green, Jeffrey G., Cpl. Dallas; Green, Ryan P., Sgt. The Woodlands; Guereca Jr., Jose, Sgt. Missouri City; Guerrero, Marieo, Spc.-Fort Worth; Guyton, Larry I., Pfc.-Brenham; Harrington, Foster L., Sgt. Fort Worth-; Harris, Adam J., Pfc. Abilene-; Hasse, Donald J., Sgt. Wichita Falls-; Henderson, Miles P., CWO Amarillo-; Henson, Clayton W., Pfc. Stanton-; Herlem, Bryant A., Staff Sgt. Copperas Cove-; Hernandez, Tony, Lance Cpl. Canyon Lake-; Hewitt, Thomas J., Private 1st Class Temple-; Hinton, Dominic J. Spc. Jacksonville-; Holland, Daniel E., Lt. Col. San Antonio-; Holler, Luke J., Lance Cpl. Bulverde-; Holloway, Matthew W., Lance Cpl. Fulton-; Holter, Paul C., Cpl. Corpus Christi-; Hornbeck, Kelly L., Master Sgt. Fort Worth-; Horrigan, Robert M., Master Sgt. Austin-; Houghton, Andrew R., Capt. Houston-; Hudson, Aaron M., Pvt. Highland Village-; Hufstedler, Doyle M., 1st Lt. Abilene-; Huston, Seth, Lance Cpl. Perryton-; Hutchinson, Ray J., Pfc. League City-; Jamar, Scott, CWO Granbury-; Jaynes, Allen B., Pfc. Henderson-; Jerak, Ivica, Master Sgt. Houston-; Johnson, John P., Spc. Houston-; Johnston, Gary S., Sgt. Windthorst; Jones III, Roy L., Pfc.-Houston; Jordan, Phillip A., Staff Sgt. Brazoria- Karr Jr., Michael G., Spc. San Antonio- Kathiria, Hatim S., Spc. Fort Worth- Kennedy, Brian M., Cpl. Houston- Kesinger, James C., Spc. Pharr- Kiehl, James M., Spc. Comfort-; Kilpatrick, Christopher R., Pfc.-Columbus; Kimble, Dexter, Staff Sgt.-Houston; Kolda, Zachary A., Cpl.-Corpus Christi; Kosters, Cory C., Spc.-The Woodlands; Kruger, Eric J., Lt. Col.-Garland; Kubik, Brian J., Pcf.-Harker Heights; Lanzarin, Jose A., Army Staff Sgt.-Lubbock; Laramore, Tracy L., Spc.-Greenville; Larson Jr., Scott Q., Spc.-Houston; Latimer, Aaron P., Spc.-Ennis; Ledesma, Rene, Sgt.-Abilene; Ledsome, Michael C., Cpl.-Austin; Leija, Hector, Staff Sgt.-Houston; Leon-Perez, Jesus A., Pfc.-Houston; Lloyd, Michael C., Army Staff Sgt.-San Antonio; Longoria, John M. Cpl.-Nixon; Lopez, Hilario F., Lance Cpl.-Ingleside; Losano, Raymond, Airman 1C-Del Rio; Ludlam, Jason C., Pfc.-Arlington; Lugo, Jacob R., Lance Cpl.-Flower Mound; Lyerly, Sean E., Capt.-Pflugerville; Maciel, Fred L., Lance Cpl.-Spring; Mack, Kenneth N., Marine Master Sgt.-Fort Worth; Marin, Javier Jr., Sgt.-Mission; Mariotti, Keith R., Chief Warrant Officer; Martinez, Francisco G., Spc.-Forth Worth; Martinez, Robert A., Lance Cpl.-Splendora; Mason, Johnnie V., Staff Sgt.-Rio Vista; Mata, John Villareal, CWO-El Paso; Matula, Matthew E., Cpl.-Spicewood; McCauley, Rayan M., Pfc.-Lewisville; McCrackin, Christopher M., Lance Cpl.-Liverpool; McDowell, Robert M., Sgt.-Deer Park; McElroy, Brian, Staff Sgt.-San Antonio; Medellin, Jesus M.A., Cpl.-Fort Worth; Meeuwsen, William B., Sgt.-Kingwood; Menchaca, Kristian, Pfc.-Houston; Methvin, Daniel K., Sgt.-Belton; Meza, Berry K., Sgt.-League City; Miller, Anthony S., Pfc.-San Antonio; Miller, Ryan A., Lance Cpl.-Pearland; Miller, William L., Lance Cpl.-Pearland; Minjares Jr., Gilbert, Petty Officer 1st Class-El Paso; Mintzlaff, Brian L., Staff Sgt.-Fort Worth; Mokri, Yari, Spc.-Pflugerville; Moore, Horst G., Major-Los Fresnos; Moore, Stuart W., Pfc.-Livingston; Morris, Stephen L., Lance Cpl.-Lake Jackson; Moreno, Gerardo, Sgt.-Terrell; Morin, Steve Jr., Sgt.-Arlington; Morningstar, Christopher R., Staff Sgt.-San Antonio; Morris Jr., Ricky A., Pfc.-Lubbock; Moss, Keelan L., Sgt.-Houston; Mosteiro, Allen, Sgt. 1st Class-Fort Worth; Muldoon, James P., Sgt.-Bells; Mutz, Mitchel T., Spc.-Falls City; Narvaez, Joe A., Staff Sgt.-San Antonio; Neal, Jacob H., Cpl.-San Marcos; Newman, Clinton T., Staff Sgt.-San Antonio; Nguyen, Dan H., Spc.-Sugarland; Nolen, Kyle A., Hospitalman-Ennis; Norquist, Joseph C., Spc.-San Antonio; Norwood, Byron W., Sgt.-Pflugerville; Orr, Cody J., Pfc.-Kerrville; Paliwoda, Eric T., Capt.-Killeen; Parker, James D., Pfc.-Bryan; Patriquin, Travis L., Capt.; Peña Jr., Roger P., Sgt.-San Antonio; Peralez, Jr., Johnny J., Sgt.-Kingsville; Perez, Emily J.T., 2nd Lt.; Perez III, Jose A., Spc.-San Diego; Perez, Hector R., Staff Sgt.-Corpus Christi; Perez, Nicholas, Lance Cpl.-Austin; Perez, Stephen J., Lance Cpl.-San Antonio; Poindexter, Jason T., Pfc.-San Antonio; Polley Jr., Larry E., Spc.-Center; Preston, Aaron L., Spc.-Dallas; Priest, Tina M., Pfc.-Austin; Puckett, Mathew D., Lance Cpl.-Mason; Pugh, Kenneth I., Cpl.-Houston; Qualls, Louis W., Lance Cpl.-Temple; Rairdan, Rhonald Dain, Lance Cpl.-San Antonio; Ramirez, Benito A., Lance Cpl.-Edinburg; Ramirez, Christopher, Sgt.-Edinburg; Ramirez, Gene, Sgt.-San Antonio; Ramirez, Reyes, Sgt.-Willis; Rangel, Ray, Sgt.-San Antonio; Reynolds, Jr., Edward C., Army Staff Sgt.-Groves; Richardson, William D. Staff Sgt.-Houston; Rico, Ariel, Sgt.-El Paso; Riggs, Wesley, Pfc.-Baytown; Roark, Timothy J., Staff Sgt.-Houston; Robertson, Michael T., Sgt.-Houston; Rodriguez, Joseph E., Sgt.-Brownsville; Rodriguez-Velasco, Juan R., Lance Cpl.-El Cenizo; Rosales, Benjamin S., Cpl.-Houston; Rozier, Jonathan D., 2nd Lt.-Katy; Rubalcava, Isela, Sgt.-El Paso; Ruiz, Lorenzo Ponce, Sgt.-El Paso; Russell, Blake H., Cpt.-Fort Worth; Russell, John W., Sgt.-Portland; Sanchez, Paul T., Sgt.-Irving; Sanchez, Virrueta A., Staff Sgt.-Houston; Sanders, Ryan T., 1st Lt.-College Station; Sandoval Jr., Leroy, Pfc.-Houston; Schockmel, Collin R., Spc.-Richwood; Schultz, Christian C., Spc.-Colleyville; Sekula, Dustin M., Pfc.-Edinburg; Serrano, Nazario, Lance Cpl.-Irving; Shank, Michael A., Staff Sgt.-Bonham; Shipp, Darrell W., Spc.-San Antonio; Simpson, Jonathan J., Sgt.-Rockport; Sims, Sean P., Capt.-El Paso; Slay, Russell L., Sgt.-Humble; Smith, Aaron A., Sgt.-Killeen; Smith, Brian D., 2nd Lt.-McKinney; Smith, Richard A., Spc.-Grand Prairie; Solorio, Juan M., Staff Sgt.-Dallas; Soriano, Armando, Pfc.-Houston; Sotelo Jr., Tomas, Cpl.-Houston; Springer, Lance C. II, Spc.-Fort Worth; Stalvey, John R., Cpl.-Conroe; Stephens, John S., Sgt. 1st Class-San Antonio; Suell, Joseph D., Sgt.-Lufkin; Swanson, Timothy A., Cpl.-San Antonio; Sweger, Franklin A., Lance Cpl.-San Antonio; Tanton, Nickolas A., Pfc.-San Antonio; Tapia, Samuel, Lance Cpl.-San Benito; Taylor, John E., Sgt. 1C-Wichita Falls; Taylor, Michael C., Sgt.-Hockley; Teal, John "Mike", Staff Sgt.-Dallas; Terrazas, Miguel, Lance Cpl.-El Paso; Tijerina, James R., Sgt.-Beasley; Torres, David, Sgt.-Fort Worth; Torres, Juan M., Spc.-Houston; Torres, Michael S., Lance Cpl.-El Paso; Torrez III, Elias, Lance Cpl.-Veribest; Torshizi Jr., Saeed Jafarkhani, Lance Cpl.-Bedford; Totten, Eric W., CWO 3; Tribble, Brett L., Pfc.-Lake Jackson; Trotter, John B., Sgt.-Marble Falls; Trovillion, Tyler S., Cpl.-Richardson; Tucker, Steven C., Pfc.-Grapevine; Ulloa Jr., George M., Sgt.-Austin; Valdez Jr., Ruben, Lance Cpl.-San Diego; Valles, Melissa, Staff Sgt.-Eagle Pass; Vandertulip, Josiah H., Spc.-Irving; Velez, Andrew, Spc.-Lubbock; Velez, Jose A., Spc.-Lubbock; Villa Jr., Ruben J., Army Sgt. 1C-El Paso; Villanueva, Javier A. Spc.-Temple; Villareal-Mata, Johnny, CWO-El Paso; Volker, Robert J., Spc.-Big Spring; Wafford, Michael B., Lance Cpl.-Spring; Waller, Richard P., Cpl.-Fort Worth; Walters Jr., Gary W., Spc.-Victoria; Waterbury, Forrest J., Spc.-Richmond; Weger, Michael S., Spc.-Houston; Westhusing, Theodore S., Col.-Dallas; White, Steven Wayne, Sgt.-Fruitvale; White, Nathan D., Lt.-Abilene; Wiekamp, Jeffery S., Sgt.-Utopia; Williams, Benjamin D., Staff Sgt.-Orange; Winegeart, Daniel W., Spc.-Kountze; Worrel, Matthew W., Maj.-Lewisville; Wright, James C., Spc.-Morgan; Wyatt, Stephen E., Pfc.-Kilgore; Ybarra III, Henry, Sgt.-Austin; Yepsen, Luke C., Lance Cpl.-Kingwood; Yolkin, Viktar V., Pfc.-Spring Beach; Zapata, Mark Anthony, Spc.-Edinburg; Zapp, Thomas J., Lance Cpl.-Houston; Zimmerman, Christopher M., Marine Sgt.-Stephenville


Who Does Tom Craddick Think He Is...

...George W. Bush? Apparently, there's a "Unitary Speaker," too. And with an "enemies list," Craddick is apparently channeling the ghost of Dick Nixon, too.
Actually, all this is pretty damned entertaining; reminds me of the old days with Gib Lewis, Gus Mutscher, guys like that. BOR thinks Janek's threat to filibuster the budget is really just water-carrying for Dewhurst, who hates Craddick's guts (hey, get in line!) and knows the Speaker can't survive a special session.
It's too damned bad Molly Ivins isn't still around; she would've loved this.

Eye on Williamson has more. Never fear, though, Mr. Speaker; Dan Patrick has your back. The Texas Observer (pissing off the powerful for 50+ years) has a breakdown on where Craddick's bribe money--excuse me, I mean special higher education appropriations--has gone. Oh, apparently all this has happened before, in 1870. What is it with Republican Speakers of the Texas House? Is there some kind of curse?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

At Last! The Cure for Republican Amnesia!

Ask your representative today!


Texas Spared Further Legislative "Help" As Session Collapses

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today in History...

...nvnadaulatsvyi (The Trail of Tears) begins as thousands of Cherokee men, women and children are forced from their homes at bayonet-point and herded into concentration camps before being forced to march halfway across the country to Indian Territory. Some 8,000 (a quarter of the population) will never arrive (1838).


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Getting Worser Still

The Interior Department has rejected a 2003 amendment to the Cherokee Constitution that removed the requirement that the BIA approve all changes to the Constitution. Of course, Chief Smith is right that this decision is insulting and an affront to tribal sovereignty, but what are the odds it would've happened if he hadn't pursued his cynical plot to disenroll the Freedmen?

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All the Lonely People

A nice review of the proposed immigration reform bill from Dos Centavos. It's obviously a kludge, slapped together to keep a coalition together sufficient to get something passed. The guest worker program is, as mentioned before, a sop to corporate Republicans, a stream of new workers to hold down upward wage pressures but who can never become citizens lest they vote Democratic. All the "border security" mouthings are supposed to placate the Know-Nothings, who may scuttle the deal anyway. And, of course, the eventually citizenship portion (Amnesty, the love that dare not speak it's name) is to round up the liberals. Will it pass? Hard to say, but the chances seem slim. The person who stands the benefit the most, George W. Bush, who would like to go out with a legislative victory, has zero credibility with either party. The key is whether enough House Republicans will vote for it to make up for the Democrats who will vote against due to the guest worker provision.

P.S. Lou Dobbs is crazier'n a shithouse rat.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Craddick Agonistes Strikes Again

I'll believe it when I see it. Craddick is like a cockroach. And he's also hard to get rid of.

UPDATE: The SS Craddick continues to take on water. Two more formerly secure water-tight bulkheads are breached. Craddick's pet Democrats desert the sinking ship. And despite valiant attempts to plug the leaks with $168 million in bribes--er, special higher education appropriations--her bow is starting to dip beneath the waves.

UPDATE 2: And now the damn lawyers are after him! Wow, Tom Craddick sued for being a petty, bullying, self-important thug! Bet nobody saw that one coming...

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy Armed Forces Day!

Until they all come home...


Saturday, May 19, 2007

And the Crowd Goes Wild...

The Know-Nothing branch of the Right-Wing blogosphere demands Bush's impeachment for...that's right, not hating brown people enough.
Savor the irony.

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Hard to Know Who to Root For

John McCain deploys F-bomb against John Cornyn. On any other occasion, I wouldn't cross the street to piss on Cornyn if he was on fire, but in this case, he had a valid point; McCain really has been too busy running for President to have much impact of legislation this year.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Column for 20 May, 2007

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.”
--Proverbs 29:1

It’s getting harder and harder to watch the ongoing degeneration of the Republic Party from a national political organization into a gang of delusional paranoids with poor personal hygeine living in their mother’s basement and darkly discussing conspiracy theories while wearing tinfoil hats. As President Bush’s poll-numbers plummet into the Richard M. Nixon Memorial Sub-Basement, the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt is being dragged right along with him, an albatross tied to an anchor, increasingly out of touch with the majority on issues all across the board. And the smaller they get, the meaner they get. When the Democrats were shoved to the sidelines during the Reagan Years, the party turned inward in long period of navel-gazing, self-doubt and depression, emerging as Clintonian “New Democrats” in the 1990’s. The Republicans, on the other hand, have gone from an embarassing cult of personality formed around (of all people in the universe) George W. Bush, to now a gang of authoritarian fetishists, consumed with wars the overwhelming majority of them would never deign to fight in, and with using shabby Third World dictatorial tactics to grind down anyone who dares oppose them. Consider, for example, the fanatical push for “Voter ID,” a bill cooked up ostensibly to solve a problem that does not exist (widespread voter fraud), but in reality is merely an excuse to damp down turnout by people Republicans don’t like, namely minorities, the rural poor and elderly people. Their real motivation was (perhaps inadvertently) revealed at a town hall meeting with Rep. Todd Smith (R-Bedford) who, when confronted by a constituent who demanded to know why he would vote for such an abomination to democracy, replied, “I did it because I’m Republican.” Further support can be found in US Attorneys fired for failing to pursue frivlous voting fraud claims, and Attorney General Greg Abbott harassing elderly citizens in a clumsy attempt to dredge up some sort of justification for the bill. The Republic Party’s cowardly fear of free and fair elections was previously demonstrated by Tom DeLay’s use of his boot-licking sycophantic sock puppet Tom Craddick to punish rural voters (for daring to prefer Democrats) through the creative use of a racist redistricting scheme. Now David Dewhurst, in his lust for the Governor’s Mansion, resorts to such contemptible tricks as trying to rush through passage of the Voter Suppression Act while the Democrats were short-handed, Senator Carlos Uresti being sick and momentarily off the floor. Dewhurst was called to account for this ham-handed stunt by Sen. John Whitmire, who may have well driven a stake through the heart of this assault on liberty (especially after Dewhurst issued, then denied, then retracted, a screechingly over-the-top letter in reaction), and incidentally may also have redeemed himself for selling out the state on the Great Redistricting Walkout. On the national front, the GOP has shrunk so far into irrelevance, and is now so beholden to it’s shrinking base, that whether or not one “believes” in biological evolution is now apparently an ideological litmus test for presidential candidates. Bear in mind this is the same party that includes State Rep. Warren Chisum, last seen passing out flyers denouncing the Copernican Theory (the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not vice versa) as part of a Jewish conspiracy “that has been at work over many centuries implanting the incredible evolution myth about the origin of the Universe, the Earth, and Mankind.” Did you watch the second Republican Presidential debate? If you did, you could have watched as the crowd cheered and roared its approval of non-veteran candidates like Rudolph Giuliani who supported the use of torture, but sat on their hands in stony silence as the only candidate who has actually experienced torture, John McCain, explained that he was against it. So being against reality and for torture are what the GOP “base” demands in a nominee? And these are the candidates to replace a President whose sheer visceral contempt for the rule of law is revealed to be more and more pathological every day? Clearly, these are people who do not think like us. So how low can they go? Hard to say. It is, of course, a million years until November, 2008, but it seems increasingly likely that the GOP is heading for a historical beating. If that happens (and keep in mind that I’m the guy who predicted the big John Kerry landslide of ’04), then the Republicans have a hard choice to make: will they be a for-real grown-up party of conservatives or will they become a permanently irrelevent side show, what Theodore Roosevelt called “the lunatic fringe,” dominated by neo-fascists and blasphemers preaching a doctrine of war, greed and intolerance completely unrecognizable as anything approaching Christianity?


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wampum, As Usual, Makes An Excellent Point...

...where IS the White Liberal Blogosphere on the Immigration reform debate? Shouldn't they be out front denouncing Bush for abandoning his previous principaled stand in favor of the "A" word for the corporate dream of a permanent peon underclass (i.e., "gastarbeiters," or "guest workers")? Why aren't they pointing out that corporate Republicans only support "gastarbeiters" because it gives them the best of both worlds: new workers to drive down wages, but who will never be able to vote for Democrats to do anything about it? Why isn't there more denunciation of Know Nothing Republicans like Tom Tancredo for his blatantly racist pandering?

UPDATE: Political Animal, at least, is paying attention. Kind of.

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Conquest by Law, by Lindsay G. Robertson

Most people with even a passing knowledge of Native American history know the story of Worcester v. Georgia, the famous Supreme Court case where Chief Justice John Marshall heroically upheld the sovereign rights of the Cherokee Nation against the State of Georgia, only to have that decision ignored by the Indian-hating, land-lusting Andrew Jackson, leading to the Trail of Tears. Few people (myself included) know that in Worcester, Marshall was trying to atone for a disastrous earlier decision, one that directly precipitated Georgia's attempt to legally erase the Cherokee Nation, and which has plagued Indian Law in America ever since: Johnson v. M'Intosh. With a novelist's flair for characters and description, Robertson (an Indian Law professor at the University of Oklahoma) describes how his discovery of old documents abandoned in an attic enabled him to unravel the complex story of how early 19th Century politics, proto-capitalist land speculators, the beginning of the State's Rights movement, and Revolutionary War veterans led to this disastrous decision and the pernicious Doctrine of Discovery, the legal principle that white people gain fee title to land inhabited by non-white people just by looking at it. Chief Justice Marshall, the original activist judge, invented the doctrine (and its spurious history) out of whole cloth to justify the results he wanted; allowing Revolutionary War veterans to have valid title to land grants they received for their service and trying to induce the State of Virginia to support the infant Supreme Court. It was not until much later that he realized what his monster had accomplished, depriving all Indians in North America of any claim to valid title in their land, reducing them to mere "occupants" of territory they had inhabited for millennia. To his credit, Marshall realized his error and tried to correct it, all but overruling M'Intosh in the Worcester decision, but by then it was far too late. All the many ethnic cleansings that followed, from the Trail of Tears to the Long Walk, to Wounded Knee, the Dawes Roll and Termination, trace their bloody ancestry to M'Intosh. The Discovery Doctrine has even been used by other nations, to justify dispossession of First Nations in Canada, African tribes on their own continent, and Australia's genocidal policy against the Aborigines. It is a sad story of the sad need of racists to somehow make their crimes seem just and right by giving them the force of law. Robertson is a very good history writer; the book flows nicely, includes intriguing sketches of the characters involved, both famous and obscure, and avoids legalistic jargon. I recommend Conquest to anyone interested in Native American history in general, and Indian law in particular.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This Just In... an astonishing move, the Cherokee Nation has agreed to an injunction preventing them from disenrolling the Freedmen pending appeals in the tribal court system (though not the Federal lawsuit). The upshot of all this is that the Freedmen (some 2,700 of whom have enrolled since the Cherokee Supreme Court decision that restored their eligibility) will be able to vote in the June 23 tribal elections. Maybe, just maybe, the Nation is moving back from the brink.

UPDATE: A good thought-piece on race, racism and tribal sovereignty from Indian Country Today.

UPDATE 2: Wampum has a good rundown on the law and politics of the Freedmen controversy. And, as usual, she's right; this crisis will not end unless Judge Leeds is elected the next Principal Chief.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell (1933-2007)

His greatest hits.

Best eulogy so far comes from Atrios: "One hopes he finds that his God is a more forgiving being than he believed."

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Republicans Devour Their Own

Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) announces for Speaker, though he decides against stabbing Caesar in the back immediately. Tom Craddick (R-Fascist Sock Puppet) declines to go quietly into that good night. Keffer and Craddick are, of course, birds of a feather, who fly in circles because they have only a Right wing. A plague on their House.

In other news, David Dewhurst is a chickenshit. Film at eleven.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Astonishing Coincidence Theatre!

A young man receives a felony conviction at age 19 in 1972. Twenty-four years later, he is hired by the Texas Youth Commission, despite the conviction, which he freely discloses. Twice he is recommended for a pardon by the Texas Board of Pardons & Paroles, though the Governor fails to act. On May1, 2007, newspaper reports reveal that this man, now 56, had complained to his supervisors about sexual abuse of male juvenile offenders at TYC facilities in West Texas as early as 2003, one or two years before officials are willing to acknowledge they received notice. On May 7, 2007, this man, Anthony Mikulastik, is fired by TYC, with the official reason being his felony conviction from thirty-five years ago. TYC officials insist the firing has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Mikulastik's whistle-blowing...

This has been another exciting episode of Astonishing Coincidence Theatre!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

And Now It's Officially Worse

Lawyers for the Freedmen have asked Judge Henry Kennedy for an injunction to halt Federal payments to the tribe. These payments make up about 80% of the tribal budget, depending on who you ask. And just remember, especially when it comes time for tribal elections, the disenrollment of the Freedmen was a "war of choice" that Principal Chief Chad Smith led the nation into based on "faulty intelligence." Whatever happens, don't blame the Freedmen; blame the administration that blundered into this mess in the first place.

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Son of STILL Unclear on the Concept...

Cong. Ken Calvert's got a lot of 'splainin' to do...

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Goyathlay's Revenge

Mary Kim Titla, a San Carlos Apache, is running for Congress against the fabulously corrupt Rick Renzi in AZ-1, the district with the highest percentage of Indians (22%) of any in Congress.

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Serves Him Right for Listening to Me

Speaker Pelosi threatens to take President Bush to court if he takes my advice and signs a withdrawal bill but tries to circumvent it with a signing statement.

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STILL Unclear on the Concept

House GOP replaces corrupt Cong. John Doolittle (R-CA) on the House Appropriations Committee with...corrupt Cong. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and even the Right-Wing Blogosphere can no longer stand the stench of it all.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

The Arly's

Redneck Mother makes a convincing case for Debbie Riddle as this year's recipient of the coveted Arlene Wohlgemuth Memorial Award (the "Arly"), as the legislator who best exemplifies Wohlgemuth's example of extremism, obstructionism and just plain meanness. Dan Patrick (last seen ministering to the fallen at Hooters) and Robert Talton have their work cut out for them.

Hat Tip to Capitol Annex!

UPDATE: Miya Shay, the reporter for Houston's ABC 13 who broke the "Dan Patrick only goes there for the buffalo wings" scoop, was kind enough to provide a link to her original post. If you blog this story, please do her the courtesy of using this link.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Today In History...

  • Spanish and German troops sack Rome, ending the Renaissance (1527)
  • Sigmund Freud is born in Pribor, Moravia (1856)
  • Henry David Thoreau dies of tuberculosis (1862)
  • The future Tsar Nicholas II is born in St. Petersburg (1868)
  • Crazy Horse surrenders to the US Army (1877)
  • King Edward VII dies (1910)
  • American forces on Corregidor surrender to the Japanese (1942)


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Who Would Osama bin Laden Vote For?

Well, apparently...

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Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

And congratulations to our valiant Mexican allies for sticking it to the perfidious French.
UPDATE: Firedog Lake correctly notes that most of the Mexican troops that day were los Indios, fighting to defend their homeland against a white European invasion. Ho wa!


The NRA Loves Terrorists...

...and wants to make sure there isn't some nosy liberal government bureacrat standing between them and their God-given right to buy a gun.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Republicans Hate Indians

Alaska Republicans want Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to abolish tribal governments in that state because some of them dare to try to open casinos.
Yeah, I'm shocked, too.
UPDATE: From World-Nut Daily, shorter Doug Phillips: "Since no one from 1607 is still alive, Indians should stop their damn whining about being wiped out by disease and war and having their land stolen and their children kidnapped and blah blah blah! Besides, I'm the real descendent of Princess Pocahontas!"
UPDATE 2: Texas tribes screwed again. And Rep. Will Hartnett calls them "criminals." Kiss my rosy Cherokee ass, Hartnett.

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Real People

From BOR, real stories of some of the real people who will be kept from the ballot by the Republicans' voter-suppression bill, HB218. Because, ya know, we're doing such a good job with the voter rolls we have now...

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Pot Calling the Kettle White

David Yeagley ("Comanche" "Patriot") takes umbrage at my post, saying:

Another complaint based on the contortion that I blamed the students of VA Tech for being shot.

Let's take another look at his article, shall we?

There were no heroic acts in the VA Tech incident, contrary to liberal media reports. Hiding behind a desk, or jumping out a window is not a heroic act!

You. Make. The. Call.

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Racing to the Bottom

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism continues, as they scramble to justify granting Pharaoh-like powers to the president. The smaller the Republic Party gets, the meaner they get. The Party that produced Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt is well on its way to becoming a handful of paranoids with poor personal hygiene, huddled in their mother's basement with tinfoil on their heads whispering darkly about "conspiracies" and "traitors."

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Was Half Right

Contrary to my advice, he vetoed the bill, but added a signing statement anyway.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Indians Invent Football

A fascinating story (though somewhat patronizing in tone) from Sports Illustrated about the Carlisle Indian School's football team and how they (including the famous Jim Thorpe) invented and popularized in the early 1900's many of the tactics common to modern football, essentially transforming the sport into the game we know today. Given how brutal and repressive Indian schools were (Carlisle's white founder coined the motto, "Kill the Indian, save the man"), it's amazing that such a story of hope and perserverance could emerge.

Hat tip to Rob at Newspaper Rock.


Republicans Hate Babies...

...or at the very least they hate trial lawyers more than they love babies. Especially in Mississippi.

UPDATE: Not to be outdone by Mississippi, Texas continues to peel children off CHIPs coverage. A spectre is haunting the Captiol, the spectre of Arlene Wohlgemuth...

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Happy Mission Accomplished Day!

"Mission accomplished!"

"But, er--"

"Mission accomplished!"

"Yeah, but if you really loo--"


UPDATE: And it was totally cool, too!!

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