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."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Great White Father Knows Best, Part 257

Judge Leeds at the Tsalagi Think Tank analyzes the negative implications of the Oneida land case from Wisconsin, specifically as it would apply to the Cherokee Nation. The upshot is that this decision continues to promote the doctrine that Indians are too stupid to know how to handle our own land and must therefore rely on the benevolence of the Great White Father in Washingtion, in the form of the BIA, through the land-into-trust process. The other effect of continued dependence on land-into-trust (for lands owned in fee simple by the tribes) is that it enables local governments to have an effective veto over what tribes may or may not do (i.e., casinos) on their own land. Another blow to tribal sovereignty.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mukasey: Like Gonzales, Only Worse

At least Alberto Gonzales could manage to keep a straight face while lying out his ass.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the War... appears as though the US military has been drug into an all-out civil war between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite militia allies and Shiite militias loyal to his rival Moqtada al-Sadr; that Maliki didn't bother to consult with the US before attacking Basra; and that Maliki is losing. Badly. Yeah, I definately need some rest now.

UPDATE: Maliki achieves a humiliating compromise, declares victory, and runs home.

UPDATE 2: It gets even better. Apparently, it was the IRANIANS who worked out the cease-fire when a group of Iraqi lawmakers flew to the Holy City of Qom. It's hard to envision a more obvious sign that we have lost very nearly all control over the situation.

UPDATE 3: Now Iraqi legislators are saying that not only did Iran handle the ceasefire, but Maliki was out of the loop and "only informed" of the deal once it was done.

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Scenes from a Convention

It went pretty smoothly, actually. Bearing in mind that "smoothly" for a Democratic convention means "no fist fights and nobody called the cops." For some strange reason, I was elected permanent convention chair. The county vote ended up being about 70% for Clinton and 30% for Obama. Bill Conover did an outstanding job as chair of the credentials committee and was presented with the Earl Pierce Award. Most of the delegates had never been to a convention before, and that was a truly wonderful sight to behold. And yes, I'm pretty much exhausted now.

UPDATE: As expected, Obama appears to have come out slightly ahead in the overall delegate count. And despite widespread MSM hair-pulling about "Chaos in Texas," nothing too terribly awful happened, other than long lines (a new phenomenon) and some frayed nerves (which ALWAYS happens at Democratic gatherings, even when only two people show up). I'm actually starting to like our bastardized hybrid system, since it forces presidential campaigns to concentrate on their ground game and enables local parties (like ours) to make new contacts thanks to a large fresh infusion of activists. Yes, it's a helluva lot of work, but I think the results may be worth it, providing the new folks (and here, they were predominantly Hillary supporters) actually stick with it.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

I Voted for Hillary Clinton...

...but this reeks of duplicity and desperation. Given that there is no way to sucessfully challenge enough delegates to give the majority of the caucus votes to Clinton, what's the point? We already have the media jackals cackling over "Chaos in Texas"; why in hell would you give them (and the Republicans) more ammunition? I tend to hold with those who say the extended primary battle is ultimately good for the party, increasing turnout and excitement, but also I would add allowing the candidates to air out any potential dirty laundry early in the process, before McCain/Rove gets to it. If Obama is the nominee, when would you rather have the Jeremiah Wright story break? Now? Or August? But this kind of pointless shit-stirring by the Clinton camp is counterproductive; it doesn't help her, but more to the point, it doesn't help the Party.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wal-Mart: The Focus of Evil in the Modern World

Welcome to free-market health care solutions! A woman is catastrophically injured and wins a modest judgment in a personal injury case to pay for the lifetime of healthcare she will require. Her former employer WAL-MART THEN SUES HER FOR MORE THAN THE TOTAL JUDGMENT in order to recoup what it paid out in health-care expenses (expenses that were paid through a policy which she herself contributed to during her period of employment). Meanwhile, one of her sons has been killed in Iraq and her husband has been forced to divorce her in order to qualify her for public assistance with her medical bills. The only thing worse than Wal-Mart's despicable (though entirely legal) actions in this case is the cosmic insanity of a health-care system where something like this can occur. And occur to PEOPLE WITH HEALTH INSURANCE.
UPDATE: Great minds think alike. And it's even worse than I originally thought; the poor woman's brain injuries are such that she has virtually no long-term memory. Thus, every single time she asks about her son and is told he is dead, it is as though she is experiencing the wrenching grief for the very first time.

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Can Someone Please Explain to Me...

...why the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed "King of America" (crowned in a bizarre ceremony thanks to John McCain's "chief political advisor" lobbyist Charlie Black),the biggest backer the Republican Party has ever had, and crazier'n a pear orchard boar, gets a pass from the Mainstream Media that makes their treatment of L. Ron Hubbard look like coverage of Mother Theresa's funeral?

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Latest Freedmen News

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on whether or not the Freedmen can sue the Cherokee Nation in federal court without the Nation's consent. Federal District Judge Henry Kennedy previously ruled that the Nation's sovereign immunity was waived by the Treaty of 1866 and the 13th Amendment. Hard to predict how this will go; Federal courts have been notoriously unsympathetic to tribal sovereignty.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lou Dobbs STILL Full of Crap

Evidently anytime Barack Obama receives the endorsement of a politician who is not white, this constitues "pandering to ethnocentric special interests," especially if said shamelessly non-white politician has a beard. No word yet on whether or not receiving Lou Dobbs' endorsement would constitute pandering to the vital "fat white guys with bad fake tans" special interests.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Why So Angry?

While drug crime is OVERprosecuted among blacks, violent crime is UNDERprosecuted. Though Drum rightly critiques the article for taking an obliviously narrow definition of "white racism," the statistics are stomach-churning. The whole thing reminds me rather uncomfortably of the situation regarding white-on-Indian crime in Indian Country, only on a much larger scale.

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Bush Administration Backs Indians!

No, seriously! And against Big Banks even! There's got to be some angle here I'm missing, some way in which supporting the jursidiction of tribal courts somehow makes torture legal or something...

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Let's Do the Numbers

The Cobell Plaintiffs have formally demanded $58 billion to settle their suit over the catastrophically mismanaged IIM (Individual Indian Money) trust and Osage "headrights". Lead Plaintiff Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet) calls the demand "conservative," given that her lawyers came up with about $176 billion, including interest. So far, Congress has offered $8 billion and the Bush Administration $3.5 billion.
Obama? Clinton? McCain? Time to step up...

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Column for 23 March, 2008

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
--Galatians 3:28-29

Let me start out by admitting I made a mistake in my last column. In my eagerness for a clever turn of phrase, I stated that David Paterson of New York was the only sitting black governor. In fact, Deval Patrick has been Governor of Massachusetts since 2006. Mea culpa. In my last column, I also discussed how the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential Nomination was not about race so much as the complete inability of America to have a grown-up discussion about race. Since then, Barack Obama gave The Speech. Even by already-high Obamanian standards of public speaking, this was an excellent speech. It is a welcome change of pace to hear from a politician who does not speak in sound-bites, is not afraid to sound as intelligent as he is, and refuses to treat his audience as a pack of drooling morons. Obama, of course, condemned some of the inflammatory language used by his former preacher, Jeremiah Wright, in keeping with media standards that only conservative white evangelical preachers (Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, John Hagee, Rod Parsley) are allowed to criticize America in their sermons or suggest that 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina were God’s judgment on a fallen nation. Using this same standard, I eagerly await FOX News’ expose of the Prophet Isaiah as an anti-Semite for his condemnations of Israel. Strikingly, Obama not only declined to condemn Wright the person (as opposed to some of his words), but actively embraced him as a part of his life, a contrast to the frequent Clintonian inclination to toss friends and associates (Zoe Baird, Les Aspin, Lani Guinier, Joycelyn Elder) under the bus at the first sign of trouble. Obama was not afraid to confront unpleasant truths, such as the fact that America was, in fact, founded on contradictory pillars of democracy and racism, from the Declaration of Independence’s reference to “merciless Indian savages,” to the Constitution’s relegation of African-Americans to 3/5ths of a human being each. Tellingly, however, Obama also acknowledged the fears of many white Americans, fears of busing and fears of affirmative action. Whether these fears are rational or not, they are nevertheless very real and no honest conversation on race relations can take place without both sides admitting that they are, in some way, afraid of each other. Whether The Speech will have a positive effect on Obama’s campaign is hard to say. He seems to have gained an uptick in the polls, but the whole episode with Rev. Wright has created a perfect tool for the Right Wing Howler Monkey Media Chorus (RWHMMC) to inject racial prejudice into the campaign without being too blatant about it. Okay, they say, if you don’t believe us that Obama is a communist, atheist, secret Muslim Manchurian Candidate, look at his scary black preacher! Look how he’s yelling! Isn’t that scary? And for those of us from the Baptist tradition, where everyone is supposed to sit very still and not wave your arms or clap lest you be thought a Pentecostal, the sight of people who actually seem to express human emotion in church may well be off-putting, particularly in a predominantly black congregation. Sadly, while many blacks know what services are like in a white church, few whites ever visit black churches, as Sunday morning remains the most segregated hour of the American week. Frankly, though, nothing Barack Obama said would have satiated the RWHMMC; they see in him a real threat, and so we are treated to the spectacle of Bill O’Reilly, a sexual stalker who nonetheless feels qualified to denounce Elliot Spitzer, and a credulous racist blowhard who once expressed astonishment that patrons at a restaurant in Harlem had good table manners, denouncing Obama and Wright for “phony charges of racism.” Because, you see, in the world of many whites, “racism” is just something icky that happened a long time ago. Certainly no one today is a racist. No one white anyway. In this strange parallel dimension, accusing someone of racism is a far worse crime than racism itself. Don Imus and that idiot from “Seinfeld” certainly can’t be racists; after all, they are nice people who do good things. A racist is somebody like, well, like Hitler or those inbred mouth-breathers who murdered James Byrd, Jr. Anything less than that is just “race baiters” trying to impose “political correctness” on everybody. Of course, the handful of actual instances of “political correctness” (such as asinine efforts to ban certain words on college campuses) are far outweighed by the legions of loud-mouthed jerks who feel they can now spout whatever racist, gay-bashing, misogynistic tripe that happens to spring into their empty heads just by preceding it with, “now this might not be ‘politically correct,’ but….” With those simple words, idiots are somehow magically transformed into courageous martyrs to the First Amendment. This is not to say that professional race baiters, both black and white, do not exist. They do. Al Sharpton, a con-man, pathological liar and cynical opportunist, is merely the other side of the coin from David Duke. Both make their fame and fortune from exploiting racial tension and, as a result, both are used as scapegoats to smother any realistic dialogue. Whites can point to Al Sharpton as the reason why black claims of racism cannot be trusted and blacks can refer to David Duke as an example of the Nazi tendencies that all whites allegedly harbor. But in order to come to grips with the issue of race in modern America, we have to ignore nitwits like those and concentrate on reality. For example, whites frequently tell me they are afraid to talk about race or even talk to nonwhites for fear of being “branded” a racist. These kinds of fears are mostly unfounded (and a good example of the “cult of victimization” I mentioned last week); common courtesy is usually enough to avoid giving offense. Stop talking to people of color like you are a 13 year old boy asking a girl to the school dance and you should be okay. A friend of mine, an African American who is a veteran, a college professor, a published author and a PhD, recently went to enroll his young son at a prestigious pre-school. The teacher was showing him around and extolling the virtues of their program, including a music class. We have country music, he was told by this obviously well-meaning but clueless person, and classical music, but I don’t think we’ve ever done hip-hop. Sigh. Maybe I should take my kids there to see if she’ll offer pow-wow dancing. The struggle continues.


Friday, March 21, 2008

The Candidates and Indian Country

As promised in a previous column, here is a link to John McCain's Indian policy (from with a link to the .pdf file). Someone from the Obama campaign was kind enough to send me his candidate's full policy paper, but I am not smart enough to know how to directly post .pdf files. If it is available as a web-page link, please send it again and I will glad to post it. No word yet from the Hillary campaign...

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Congress & the Freedmen

Congress is demanding answers from the BIA over the current status of the Freedmen. Be sure to check out the comments section; John Cornsilk wades in and smites the ignorant hip and thigh.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stupid White Man of the Week: Tom Sullivan

FOX News Radio bloviator Tom Sullivan wins this week's coveted SWMW Award for his prediction that there will be "riots in the streets" by blacks if Obama loses. Way to transcend the old racial paradigm there, you jackleg!

Dishonorable mention goes to former Virgina Governor and current Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder for his insulting suggestion that the 2008 Democratic Convention will be worse than the infamous 1968 Chicago Convention and "police riot" if the superdelegates intervene to nominate Hillary Clinton. Great job, Governor! Way to reassure people! You, uh, may recall that the Democrats LOST in 1968?


Republicans Give Up...

...on defeating Chet Edwards, anyway. After dispatching Arlene Wohlgemuth and annihilating the hapless Van Taylor, it's pretty clear that Chet couldn't be dislodged from this seat with dynamite. Hopefully, he will still run his usual strenuous campaign and offer some coattails to local Democrats, maybe even carry Johnson County this time (having fallen less than 10 votes short last go-round). And now that he's about as secure as you can get in Congress, he won't feel the need to cave on issues like Bankruptcy "reform."

H/T the Great and Powerful Kos

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Barack and the Huck

Turns out, Mike Huckabee may actually be as nice a guy as Vince keeps telling me he is.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Race, Religion & Politics

Excellent speech and one that mirrored my own thoughts on the matter, though maybe a little nicer than I would have been (which is probably why he's running for President and I'm not). I appreciated the fact that Obama refused to repudiate Pastor Wright, which is in marked contrast to the sometime Clintonian tendency to throw people (Lani Guinier, Joycelyn Elders, Les Aspin) overboard at the first sign of trouble. I was also impressed that Obama chose to directly address the fears of some white people regarding busing, affirmative action and so forth. He may very well "get" the racial issue better than any other politician in America today.

UPDATE: A good analysis of the cold, hard political realities of The Speech from over at MyDD. The RW Blogosphere is, as per usual, foamingly incoherent.

UPDATE 2: EJ Dionne mentions another "radical America-hating" black minister...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Modern Free Market Capitalism in Action

Millions of Americans set to lose their homes due to the implosion of the sub-prime lending market?
Merely the unfathomable workings of the Invisible Hand. Any government intervention would be counterproductive and might even encourage the wastrels to future inefficiencies.

A few cowboy multi-multi-millionaires run a billion dollar company into the ground with bad investments and lazy management?
This injustice must not stand! Deploy the financial cavalry!

This has been Modern Free Market Capitalism in Action. Thank you and good night.

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Where Have All the Racists Gone?

As a follow up to Sunday's column, an article from Slate on the curious phenomenon of an America where racism is always claimed to still exist by whites, but in which there are apparently no actual racists (except, of course, for skinheads). While it is true that there are certain "agents of outrage" who are quick to claim loudly (and preferably in front of television cameras) that any criticism of any minority is racism, it is also true that some whites have an almost pathological aversion to calling anyone short of Hitler a racist and recognizing anything less than a full-blown lynching as evidence of racism.

UPDATE: On a related topic, more on the double-standard being applied to Barack Obama regarding Jeremiah Wright.

UPDATE 2: Aaaand more. So which is worse? Someone (Obama) who sticks with his church even when the pastor says things he disagrees with? Or someone (McCain) who not only sucks up to the very Tele-Pharisees he denounced to gain his "maverick" credentials in 2000, but who changes his own religion in order to curry favor with them?

UPDATE 3: And yet more, this time from Glenn Greenwald.

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Southern Baptist Convention Discovers the Enivronment!

A spokesman for Hell refused to confirm or deny reports of plunging temperatures in the Infernal Realm.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Column for 16 March, 2008

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
--Romans 10:12-13

The long, grinding battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination is not about race or gender. Really. Oh, sure, that’s not what you see or hear in the mainstream media, but that’s mostly because white America talking about race is like adolescent boys talking about sex; a lot of giggling and pointing but not much substance. And yes, lots of people would dearly love for this to be about black versus white or man versus woman. Take Geraldine Ferraro. Please. Her inane statement that Obama only got where he is today because he’s a black man is just about as stupid as they come. If being a black man is the key to political success, why is he the only one in the United States Senate? Why is there exactly one black man serving as a governor today (and only then because an extremely stupid white man couldn’t keep his hands off high-priced hookers)? If not for a multi-million dollar television ad campaign, how easy do you think it would be for Barack Obama to hail a taxi after dark in any major American city? How long could he jog through any gated suburban community before the police stopped him to inquire as to his business? Barack Obama got where he is by being smart, talented and tenacious, not through any sort of political quota system. By the same token, Hillary Clinton certainly gains no benefit from being a woman in a political system that is still overwhelmingly dominated by men. If Hillary Clinton were Harold Clinton, would major cable news channels and national magazines run breathless articles on what he was wearing and whether or not it showed too much skin? Would pundits be discussing whether or not he was sincere when he showed emotion? Would the fact that he was strong and outspoken naturally lead to a whisper campaign that he was gay? While it is true that Senator Clinton has benefited from her power marriage to President Clinton, it is condescending tripe to suggest that she would be nothing without him. Had she never dated a law student from Arkansas and instead remained in Illinois, she could very likely have ended up in Obama’s senate seat. The very fact that Geraldine Ferraro could make such a moronic statement, or that it would touch off such a storm of insipid press “coverage” is yet more indication of the basic fundamental problem with discussing race in America: to the extent white America will discuss race at all, it insists on defining all the terms of the debate. Listening to talk radio today, I heard one caller insist that the fact that 91% of black voters in the Mississippi Primary voted for Obama was proof that “blacks are racist, too.” Excuse me? If that’s true, does the fact that 76% of white Mississippians preferred Clinton mean they are racist? Of course not. And if Barack Obama the black man was Barry O’Bama the white Irishman, would the fact that he got 91% of the Catholic vote mean that all Catholics hate Protestants? Of course not. How do we square that with the fact that Bill Clinton had such strong support among blacks that he was famously referred to as the first African-American president? Surely it couldn’t be that black voters liked Bill but don’t like Hillary? Yet the same white Americans who insist that any organization of non-whites that they feel excluded from (La Raza Unida, the American Indian Movement, black student unions in colleges) are proof of anti-white “reverse racism,” see nothing wrong with Polish-American, Italian-American, Jewish or similarly-formed associations. Why? Because those groupings are almost exclusively white. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx, I refuse to belong to any club that would have me as a member. Likewise, two-hundred years of white male affirmative action in the form of laws that systematically excluded women and people of color are one thing, but thirty years of lukewarm efforts on behalf of non-white males evidently spells the end of civilization as we know it. White pathology about race has gotten so toxic that a privileged young white woman, Margaret Seltzer, felt compelled to pretend that she was a Native American (no doubt her great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess) raised by a black family in South Central Los Angeles in a completely fictionalized account of gang life. Were there any oppressed groups she forgot to claim membership in? Perhaps she was also a quadriplegic lesbian? Having helped themselves to land, culture, religion, language and even appearance, must white America now also claim “victimization” itself as some kind of prize? How twisted do you have to be to want to even pretend to be a victim? Is there some visceral thrill in believing you are “oppressed”? Evidently so, since the least oppressed segments in our modern society (white men, rich people, and evangelical Christians) are the ones who most loudly bellow that they are “under attack” on a regular basis. So, to all you white liberals, and those non-white Obama supporters who act as though Hillary Clinton is George Wallace, please do not project your racial fetishes onto this campaign. Either you think Barack Obama would be a good president or you don’t. If you don’t like him, don’t vote for him. It doesn’t make you a racist. Either you think Hillary Clinton would be a good president or you don’t. If you don’t like her, don’t vote for her. It doesn’t make you a sexist. However, if you vote for John McCain, it does make you a masochist.


Friday, March 14, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

What's the Fall campaign gonna look like? Something like this:

  1. The MSM flog Obama over moronic comments made by his former pastor, while glossing over rabidly anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic rants by McCain's religious braintrust;
  2. McCain, apparently disatisfied with the old "Who would Osama vote for?" slander, has upgraded to actively claiming that Al Qaeda will kill people in order to elect Democrats;
  3. Ezra Klein, sadly, hits the nail right on the proverbial head as to why Obama's ex-pastor "matters," but Joe Lieberman's rabbi and Pat Robertson don't.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Supreme Court Poised to Screw Over Indians Yet Again

Try to contain your shock. The stakes in this case (pardon the gaming metaphor) are much higher than just Rhode Island. If the Indian Reorganization Act (the basis for land-into-trust applications) is held to apply only to tribes that were federally recognized as of 1934, then all the tribes who struggled for decades to obtain recognition after that year, and those who are still struggling, will have practically no chance to obtain a viable, economically-sustainable land base, particularly in light of the Oneida case, where the courts ruled that even though it was undisputed that Oneida land was illegally stolen by the State of New York, the only way they could get it back was through land-into-trust.

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In Case You Needed More Proof...

...that this is going to be a tight election: public support for continuing the Iraq War is pretty much evenly divided, though a narrow majority believes "the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals" (whatever those goals are). Obviously, though, these are extremely volatile numbers (and may have something to do with the fact that only 28% of Americans know how many total casualties we've suffered in this conflict, down from 54% who knew the right number last August). One bad round of car-bombings or (God forbid) more out-and-out fighting, and support will plummet again. If nothing else, this should be an alert to Obama and Clinton: you have to run on more than Iraq.

UPDATE: Apparently, when it comes to MSM coverage of the war, out of sight means out of mind.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Night and Thank You

For God's sake, get out!
Yes, he was smarmy self-righteous and arrogant, but as attorney general he took on Wall Street when no one else would, and as governor he faded the heat and approved the St. Regis Mohawk Casino, against some of his early anti-Indian rhetoric. Nevertheless, there's already going to be enough fall-out from this idiotic self-immolation, if for no other reason than it allows the GOP to deflect attention from their own morally bankrupt, whoremongering hypocrites. Is it a double standard, especially considering how fast the Vitter scandal dropped off the MSM radar? Sure, but shouldn't Democrats be better than Republicans? Shouldn't we at least demand that our leaders not flagrantly break the law? Hit the road, governor. You have no one to blame but yourself. Don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Wannabe Tribe

By now, you've probably read about Margaret (Jones) Seltzer, author of a fictional account of growing up on the mean streets of LA...except that she passed it off as real. But being a gang-banger in LA apparently wasn't enough; she also claimed to be "part Native American" unaccountably raised by a black family. Talk about minority envy! Did she also claim to be quadriplegic or a lesbian? David Treuer (Ojibwe) has a good piece at Slate on the long artistic history of fake Indians and some speculations on why so many non-Indians try to pass. Putting aside the obvious New Age charlatans who are in it for the money, I would add that I think many white people feel a desperate yearning for a sense of spirituality. Buying into the stereotype that all Indians are inherently spiritual/mystical/magical (what I call the Indian Elf syndrome), it follows that many of them then "discover" heretofore unknown "hidden ancestors." This, frankly, is just as harmful as Seltzer's blatant fakery as it reduces the profound cultural experience of being an Indian in America to the equivalent of deciding one day to switch churches. Also, as noted by one of the commenters at the Slate piece, many white people love to believe, or at least tell others, how oppressed or victimized they are, the Religious Right and Angry White Men being prime examples. Who could be more oppressed than Indians? Bottom line, there are enough problems with Indian Identity (something I am keenly personally aware of as a fully assimilated thin-blood) as is without further denigration by speculators, errant spiritual pilgrims and other wannabes.
Hat tip to Three Wise Men!

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Marching Backwards

House Republicans use procedural tactics to delay nearly every single piece of legislation that comes up. How long do you think it will be before John McCain starts railing about the "do nothing Democrat Congress"? Be sure to share this knowledge with any liberal friends who bleat to you about how the Democrats have "done nothing" since taking control of Congress.
On the plus side, former Speaker Denny Hastert's old seat has been won by a Democrat in the special election.
And speaking of House Republicans, Cong. Steve King (R-Iowa) is an idiot. Further updates as events warrant.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Unconventional Wisdom?

Maybe, as I suspect, the continuing saga of Hillary & Obama is not automatically a bonus for John McCain, after all. Meanwhile, Mark Green has a surprisingly sensible modest proposal for getting the contest off dead-center without (hopefully) a fight over superdelegates (H/T Wampum).

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Column for 9 March, 2008

“If You are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your People.”
--Exodus 33:13

In the immortal words of another (and vastly more talented and funny) Cherokee political commentator, Will Rogers, “I belong to no organized political party; I am a Democrat.” It was certainly a wild night, though all things considered it went relatively smoothly, both in Johnson County and in the rest of the State. At my precinct convention, so many people showed up we had to move to the church sanctuary, which quickly filled up. One older gentleman showed me his voter registration card; when I pointed out that he had voted in the Republican Primary so he couldn’t vote in the Democratic Convention, he gave a bewildered look at the people all around him and asked in a disbelieving voice, “You mean all these are Democrats?” Hillary Clinton carried Johnson County, as she did most counties in Texas, other than the large urban areas which went for Barack Obama by big margins (San Antonio being the sole exception). Three million Texans voted in the Democratic Primary; 1.1 million of them attended the caucuses. Maybe, with a little luck, the final results will be known by the time you read this. So far, it looks as though Clinton won the primary vote by a relatively narrow margin, but Obama may have won most of the caucus delegates. Because of the unique structure of the Texas Democratic system, Obama could very well end up with slightly more pledged delegates than Clinton when it’s all said and done. By “winning” three out of four on Tuesday night, Clinton may not have regained the momentum, but she does seem to have checked the growing perception that her campaign was in free-fall. It just goes to show what long-time political observers should know; Clintons always do best in the clinch. The problem she faces is that we are rapidly approaching the point, if it hasn’t already been reached, where it is mathematically impossible for either candidate to win enough pledged delegates to lock-up the nomination before the national convention. The reasons for this are several, including the fact that support for Obama and Clinton has been and remains relatively closely divided; Michigan and Florida’s votes don’t count (at least so far); and Democrats award delegates by proportion instead of winner-take-all like the Republicans. As a result, you have some pretty silly threats coming out of both camps; some Obama supporters threaten to drop out of the party; the Clinton camp hinting darkly of lawsuits. My advice to both is the same; knock off that kind of idiocy and take a deep breath. Look at the situation realistically. First, there are the super-delegates. The super-delegates came about after the disastrous 1980 brawl between then-President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy. Members of Congress didn’t want to anger their constituents by running for delegate for a candidate who might not have carried their district. It’s since been expanded to include members of the Democratic National Committee, State Party chairs and others. The Obama campaign argues that the super-delegates are somehow morally obligated to vote the same way their state went in the primary. This is wrong for at least two reasons; first, Democratic delegates are awarded in proportion to the vote. Just because Obama narrowly won a state doesn’t mean he should get all of that state’s super-delegates. Second, the super-delegates are not supposed to be like pledged delegates. The whole system was set up so that they could vote their conscience. Lastly, I haven’t seen a breakdown yet, but Obama might want to be careful what he wishes for; Clinton carried California with its’ huge block of super-delegates, and Massachusetts which has prominent Obama supporters Senator John Kerry and Governor Deval Patrick (Obama’s campaign co-chair) as super-delegates. Is Obama really saying Kerry and Patrick should have to vote for Clinton? My suspicion is that long before the convention, the super-delegates will start flocking to whichever candidate is leading the delegate count and the national polls, as Congressman John Lewis did recently when he switched from Clinton to Obama. Then there’s the matter of Michigan and Florida, states that voted early in defiance of Party rules and were punished as a result. It’s hard to feel sorry for Michigan; they knew what was going to happen and changed their primary date anyway. Given the fact that Michigan is a battleground state in the fall, though, it will probably be politically expedient to let them have either a re-vote or a caucus so they can be seated. Florida Democrats, on the other hand, were the victims of a move by Republican Governor Charlie Crist and a Republican Legislature to move the election date up ostensibly to help Rudy Giuliani. Because of this, Florida has a much better case for being allowed to seat its’ delegates when the convention starts in Denver. Allowing Michigan and Florida to participate could solve the problem without having the nominee chosen by the super-delegates, a move that would almost certainly be played up in the media as a “back room deal” that could hurt whoever ultimately wins. Hillary Clinton, though, needs to call off her cadre of attack lawyers. Threatening to sue your own party would be a bone-headed move that could cripple the nominee and end her political career on a sour note. The “common wisdom” seems to be that the longer the Democratic nomination fight goes, and the nastier it gets, the better for the Republicans. I don’t agree. For one thing, there is nothing that Barack Obama can say about Hillary Clinton (or vice versa) that the Republicans won’t use in the Fall. Dragging this out now enables the Democratic nominee to describe it as “old news” when John McCain and the Right Wing Howler Monkey Media Chorus try to recycle it. For another thing, every day this contest goes on, John McCain is pushed off the front pages and everyone is paying attention to the Democrats. That can only help, especially as Clinton and Obama will be trying to stake out positions that distinguish them from the currently politically toxic Republicans. Additionally, most polling shows that (at least for now) the overwhelming majority of Democrats would be comfortable with either candidate leading the ticket and that either candidate could beat John McCain. Republicans are whistling past the graveyard in thinking that Clinton would be easier to beat or that a long nomination fight weakens the Democrats. In state after state and primary after primary, Democratic turnout is swamping Republican turnout at record levels. Some thirty Republican members of Congress are retiring and President Bush’s approval rating is an anemic 19%. And you may rest assured that whoever the Democratic nominee is, they will hang George W. Bush around John McCain’s neck like the proverbial albatross.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Curses! Foiled Again!

Secular humanist communist pro-evolution Islamofascists conspire to deny Dr. Barney Maddox a seat on the State Board of Education, which would have cemented a Flat Earth Majority. We were all rooting for you, Dr. Maddox! There's a silver lining, though; maybe now you'll have more time to write letters to the editor.

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Greg Abbott, ladies and gentlemen!
It's a cake topper! Honest!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

By the Numbers

The Great and Powerful Kos has a couple of nice maps showing SUSA's 50 state polling data. Even given that some of the data is old, it's still worth noting that McCain loses to either Clinton or Obama. I'm not sure I necessarily buy that Obama could put North Dakota into play, or that Clinton would lose Washington, Oregon and Michigan, but still it's an interesting view from eight months out.

UPDATE: A more nuanced view of the SUSA numbers. As much as I'd like to believe it, I still have a hard time seeing either Obama or Clinton getting within a point of McCain in Texas. As a matter of fact, Texas is a pretty good canary in the coalmine for the GOP; if come summer polls consistently show the Democratic nominee within striking distance here, then it's going to be a blue tsunami.

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Today in History...



Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today In History...

"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself --nameless,unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days." (1933)


Monday, March 03, 2008

Stupid White Man of the Week: William Perry Pendley

William Perry Pendley (and what a precious little name that is, too! Could he possibly sound any whiter?) of the "Mountain States Legal Foundation" argues that tribes shouldn't have any jurisdiction whatsoever over non-Indians because...wait for it...Indians are too stupid and savage to understand the brilliance that is the white man's law. Oh, you think I'm exagerrating? Read this drivel for yourselves. Note that his brilliant legal reasoning utterly ignores tribal sovereignty, or rather treats it as something that Congress and the Federal Courts can wipe effortlessly away lest it inconvenience any white people in the slightest.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Today In History...


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Send Lawyers, Guns & Money...

...the shit has hit the fan. The Clinton and Obama campaigns are threatening to sue if they don't get their way in the Texas primary? Both campaigns deny it, as you would expect. If this threat is real, it is just about the stupidest thing I can think of.

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