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In The Hoop
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Get to Work!
Poor politicians.

It seems some of the less "senior" members of Congress have been "forced" to work under conditions that probably even Kathie Lee Gifford would reject for her sweatshops. According to The Washington Post, they have had to forego their fancy digs for less impressive ones.

"Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) [who tried to pre-empt the Miami Nation's land claim before the tribe dropped it] was working out of a briefcase and the Senate Republican cloakroom. Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) was headed for the Senate basement to scout out a temporary cubbyhole. As a more senior member, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) had a hideaway but found that he could not connect his computer to the system in his office."

The New York Times reports similar refugee stories. Not content with the two offices being provided to each member of the House by the General Accounting Office, some chose to work from home where it is more "comfortable."

But the true casaulty of this whole affair isn't the health of infected, lowly Congressional staff charged with such menial tasks as opening mail for their bosses. No, the real tragedy is what's happening to Sen. John B. Breaux's goldfish.

"No one is feeding them," the Democrat from Louisiana told The Times. "They will all be floating upside down by the time I get back."

Bon Voyage!
Stephanie Hanna, known for such quotes as "The department does not support and would not support the idea of the trust fund being taken into receivership" and "It's certainly something we are looking at carefully," is leaving the hallowed halls of the main Department of Interior building in Washington, D.C. for prettier pastures.

But not before the plaintiffs in the Cobell v. Norton lawsuit gave one of many spokespersons for Secretary Gale Norton a going away present. In a court motion filed last week, lawyers for the Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders gave a special shout-out to Hanna.

"It is not plaintiffs’ fault that [Hannah's] usual response is 'No Comment,'" they wrote. "Normally, the Secretary of the Interior’s public relations machine and prestige would overpower any private litigant’s effort to be heard in opposition."

"It is a testament to how far the Secretary of the Interior’s reputation and credibility have been."

Always one to take the plaintiff's claims in stride, Hanna has told In The Hoop she is "happy" about her pending move to the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington state. Until then, she will be stationed in suburban Virginia, where some members of the media allege Interior employees have been hiding out with Vice President Dick Cheney.

In Your Hoop
Where do you think Secretary of Interior Gale Norton has been hiding? Email In the Hoop and give us your guess.

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