A Note from Joe--
Last night I ran across an article in the Huffington Post: “VAWA Vote: Senate Rejects GOP Alternative That Omits LGBT, Native AmericanProtections.”
That article describes an attempt by some senators to derail the Violence Against Women Act by offering an alternative. To quote the article--
“During remarks on the Senate floor earlier Thursday, Grassley [Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)] said he planned to vote against the bipartisan VAWA bill over the provision giving tribal courts the ability to prosecute non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on tribal lands. House Republican opposition to that provision is a major reason why VAWA failed to be reauthorized in the last Congress.
“‘That provision raises serious constitutional questions concerning both the sovereignty of tribal courts and the constitutional rights of defendants who would be tried in these tribal courts,’ Grassley said.”
Just last week, I made a few comments about Louise Erdrich’s TheRound House. Erdrich’s book describes the horrible rape-attempted murder of a North Dakota Ojibwe woman by a white man. The man gets off because of a dispute about where the rape occurred. The land around the sacred round house is in several different jurisdictions. Because the courts can’t determine in which one the rape occurred (and because they won’t take the Ojibwe woman and her family's word for it), the man gets off.
This National Book Award-winning book deals with what is happening right now in the Senate. Mysteries or at least crime novels can be effective muckraking tools. But that’s true only if the books themselves are great books, as this one is.
Another book I talked about a couple days ago, Ken Bruen’s The Magdalene Martyrs, is the same kind of great muckracking book.