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, December 28, 2007

Okay, I Know, I Know...

...I said I was on vacation, but I had to go to court today anyway, and I couldn't let pass without comment the culmination of Dubya's campaign to desecrate every single line of the Constitution: inventing a "pocket veto" that doesn't exist in order to kill a bipartisan Defense Appropriations bill because our puppet regime in Baghdad is miffed. Kind of makes you wonder if this White House is racing to see how low it can go and how ludicrous it can be before January 20, 2009, doesn't it?

UPDATE: Another view suggesting Dubya was legally right on the pocket veto and just outfaked the Democrats. And that the veto really has little if anything to do with Iraq.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


Blogging will be on hold until after the first of the year. Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meet the New Boss?

The Huckabee/Dumont story continues to remind: do we really want another four years in the White House of a shallow former governor who makes decisions that determine whether others live or die based solely on cronyism and political extremism, while ignoring all inconvenient facts to the contrary?

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Biting the Hands That Feed

Arianna Huffington has a good piece on the hilarity of watching "establishment Republicans" hyperventilate over the prospect of Mike "Health & Wealth Gospel" Huckabee leading in Iowa. Apparently, Right Wing Politico-Evangelicals are perfectly alright to exploit as cannon fodder and for votes, but to actually head the ticket? Heaven forfend!

UPDATE: E.J. Dionne on the rise of Huckapopulism.

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Sorry! Sorry!

Been sick again. It was the same thing. Again. And yes, you still don't want to know. Trust me. Anyway, I'm feeling much better now. Sorry to disappoint all the tens of you who religiously read this blog.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Probably Not A Good Sign...

"Not one of the Republican (presidential) candidates is viewed favorably by even half the Republican electorate..."

Also, Congressional Democrats may have finally wised up to the reality that neither the White House nor the GOP leadership has any intention whatsoever of negotiating in good faith on the budget.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

News Round-Up

      1. Well, apparently we really are water-boarding, it really is torture, and it doesn't work. Oh, and the Democrats knew about it but wimped out;

      2. Oh, good GOD! Is there ANYTHING else horrible, malefic and evil that can come out about our corporate mercenary army in Iraq? Or have we at long last hit rock bottom?

      3. This seems highly unlikely to me, particularly in light of this;

      4. Republican corporate welfare is destroying public lands. And apparently, even Republicans (from Idaho, no less) are getting pissed about it. Yes, I was shocked, too;

      5. Mike Huckabee--like Dobson only with a charming avuncular veneer over the screaming paranoid crazy nougat center;

      6. CIA or CYA?

      7. Why do the troops hate the troops?

      8. State Rep. Phil King an early favorite for an Arlene Wohlgemuth Award (the coveted Arly). More on why King's idea is moronic;

      9. Blue Alaska?
      10. Iraq: militarily, doing a little better. Politically (the whole point of The Surge)? Not so much. And by "not so much" I mean "not at all."


      Saturday, December 08, 2007

      Today In History...

      H/T to Crooks & Liars


      What If Bill Clinton...

      ...had pardoned a serial rapist who then went on to rape and murder at least one other woman? And then tried to cover up his role in the pardon? Why, clearly, it would be, uh, Mike Huckabee's fault...somehow...

      H/T to Vote for Breakfast for the lovely photo montage of Jabba the Huck then and now.


      Column for 9 December, 2007

      “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
      --1 Samuel 8:4-5

      There has got to be a better way to pick a President. The current system is insane. Right now, a large part of the decision as to who will be the next leader of 300 million multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-cultural, heavily urbanized Americans is made by the two of the whitest and most rural states in the Union, Iowa and New Hampshire. Presidential candidates of both parties are required to genuflect before the altar of ethanol to have any hope of success. Of course, they also need the ability to consume enormous quantities of fried foods at endless county fairs without having their hearts explode. If you are lucky enough to be from a neighboring state of these two self-anointed guardians of the White House, preferably one in an overlapping media-market, you automatically get a leg up, regardless of how competent or electable you really are (Mitt Romney and Michael Dukakis, I’m looking at you). And both these states zealously protect their status at the head of the line; New Hampshire even enshrined it’s commitment to being the first primary in the nation into its constitution. Now, finally, some of the larger states have gotten sick and tired of being so far back in the pack that the nomination is sewn up months before they vote, so a brawl has erupted over who can hold their primary the earliest. And the situation is so bizarre that both parties are excluding (or threatening to exclude) the delegates of states like Florida and Michigan (states far more representative of the country as a whole than either Iowa or New Hampshire) for daring to buck the system. At this rate, Iowa and New Hampshire will be the only states represented at the national conventions and the first primary for the 2012 election will be held on November 5, 2008. In some respects, the clout of the Big Two is being eroded by the rise of de-facto national primaries, like Super Duper Tuesday on February 5, 2008, when 22 states will hold simultaneous caucuses or primaries. And this brings us to the money situation, or more precisely the obscene amounts of special interest cash (estimated to reach one billion dollars this cycle by the Federal Election Commission) that drown the process. In small states like the Big Two, a little money can go a long way. And in states where the voters are used to hordes of candidates, there can be a diminishing return on your investment after awhile. When I ran for office, I became secretly convinced that most volunteer fire departments and churches deliberately scheduled their fund-raising barbecues, spaghetti dinners and bake sales for election season to separate gullible candidates from their hard-earned campaign kitties. Once the surviving presidential candidates get out of Iowa and New Hampshire, however, money becomes essential. On Super-Duper Tuesday, candidates need enough money to compete in states from Alaska to Alabama, including notoriously expensive media markets California’s. The fall campaign (which actually begins the nano-second the nominations are mathematically secured, regardless of season) is obviously even more expensive. In a nation with badly-divided politics, the cruel realities of the Electoral College have led to micro-targeting of tiny voting blocs. In 2004, both the Amish and the Lakota found themselves on the receiving end of unprecedented amounts of hyper-specialized campaign advertising. If you add in the fact that only a relatively few states are really up for grabs in November (Texas, for example, will likely be blessedly ignored by the parties once again), then a repeat of 2000 with a president who wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote (which has happened a total of 15 times) looms as an increasing risk. Or worse yet, a tie in the electoral vote, a nightmare scenario that nearly happened in 2004, which would of course result in throwing the election to the House of Representatives, which would vote by state caucus, not by individual members (in case you were wondering, Democrats are the majority in 25 delegations, Republicans in 22 delegations, and 3 states, Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi, are tied). This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Their idea was that the Electoral College, composed of the “better sort,” would winnow down the presidential candidates to a manageable three and then the House of Representatives would pick, but that original vision has turned out to be the exception and not the rule, last occurring in 1824. So how do we fix it? There are innumerable suggestions. In my view, if we have to keep the primary election system at all, then rotating regional primaries or a single national primary are probably equally decent replacements for the current hodge-podge. If I were King, I’d probably do away with primaries at all, since so few people bother to vote in them, and go back to having the delegates to the national conventions (the people who actually care enough to go out and work on campaigns) pick their party’s nominee. If nothing else, it would make national conventions worth attending and watching, instead of the insipid highly-scripted cheerleading sessions they’ve become. And as long as we retain a primarily two-party system, the benefits of the Electoral College (forcing candidates to campaign nationwide, for example) outweigh the risks. Those are just structural changes, though; the real problem is the corrosive influence of big money on democracy. Donors don’t cough up a billion dollars out of the pure, unfiltered goodness of their hearts; they do it to buy access to policymakers, to be the guys invited to top-secret meetings on national energy policy with Dick Cheney. As long as we cling to the court-created legal fiction that money equals free speech, then only the voices of those who have the money will be heard. As for the solutions to that, given the choice between having the government regulate who gets to spend money on campaigns and public financing of campaigns, I have to reluctantly choose public financing as the (slightly) lesser of two evils.


      Friday, December 07, 2007

      Today In History...


      Thursday, December 06, 2007

      Charlie Wilson's War

      I can't wait to see this!


      Republicans Hate Jesus!

      Notorious atheist and pervent Senator Charles Grassley (R-Gomorrah) unleashes the awesome power of the Satannic State to harass innocent, Christ-living multimillionaire Men of Fraud--er, I mean, God. Folks, when the day comes that hucksters and con-artists can't abuse religious faith to swindle the poor out of their life savings without having to pay taxes on the take, well, then, the terrorists have won!

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      Here Is Wisdom

      "The white man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and soil. The white man is still troubled with primitive fears; he still has in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent, some of its fastnesses not yet having yielded to his questing footsteps and inquiring eyes. He shudders still with the memory of the loss of his forefathers upon its scorching deserts and forbidding mountain-tops. The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent.
      "But in the Indian the spirit of the land is still vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers' bones."

      --Luther Standing Bear (Lakota)


      Wednesday, December 05, 2007

      Tom Tancredo: Racist Piece of Crap

      In his ongoing campaign to discredit white people everywhere, Tancredo used (without permission) the photo of a 17 year old pregnant girl murdered for trying to testify against a brutal street gang to illustrate one of his scummy "fear the brown hordes!" television ads. Did Tancredo's drones know or care who Brenda Paz was? Doubtful. As far as they were concerned, she was just another face in the crowd. If you want to know who Brenda Paz was, you can read about her life and death here.

      H/T Wonkette

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      Tuesday, December 04, 2007

      Couple of Things

      1. The MSM regurgitates GOP talking points (in this case regarding reform of the FISA Court and reining in warrantless wiretapping) that are easily verifiably false. What a surprise, huh? Only this time, Congress pushes back. Hard. And the MSM (in this case Time) is pissed. Good.
      2. The DNI unexpectedly and against his previously-stated opposition, releases a public summary of the NIE. And it shows that, shockingly enough, the Bush Administration and the Serious Foreign Policy Experts were absolutely, positively dead-wrong about Iran's quest for nukes. Why would the DNI do this? Not (apparently) pressure from Congress. My guess is that either he is in the Condi Rice camp and trying desperately to avert a disastrous preemptive strike on Iran by the Cheney or he is trying to CYA in case the Cheney attacks Iran anyway. Or both. And Bush and Cheney have apparently, since they learned of the report a year ago, been subtly shifting their rhetoric to justify an attack with or without Iranian nukes. Oh, and the Right-Wing Blogosphere despairs.

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      Monday, December 03, 2007

      Conservative Hypocrisy Watch..

      ...starring Tom "Criminal Aliens" Tancredo. Film at Eleven!

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      Sunday, December 02, 2007

      The Magic of the Invisible Hand...

      ...or why privatizing Social Security is a really bad idea.

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      Saturday, December 01, 2007

      A Cautionary Tale?

      After an unexpected trouncing at the polls, the Liberal Party of Australia (which is actually the pro-business, pro-Iraq War, repulsively nativist and anti-Aboriginal party) had an implosion of its leadership, emerging with the much more moderate (and thus evidently despised by the hard-liners) Brendan Nelson as party leader. Is there a lesson here for the GOP?

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      Republicans Scared of Democracy!

      Film at eleven! The Bush GOP's puling cowardice in the face of any dissent no matter how timid isn't really news, but the linked article from Orcinus is a very good rundown of Dubya's long history of maintaining a hermetically-sealed anti-First Amendment bubble around him at all times and how the current crop of Bush wannabes are dutifully following in his footsteps. Considering that the "Republican base" objectively hates poor people and illegal immigrants (and, of course, gay generals) and loves torture, maybe their desire not to answer unscripted questions makes a little more sense.

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