What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 25, 2007

Better Know Jason Altmire

Congressman Jason Altmire (4th District PA) appeared on the "Better Know A District" segment on last night's The Colbert Report.

Altmire managed to avoid looking as foolish as some of the other pols who've gone up against Colbert, but he did succumb to demonstrating his alma mater's tomahawk chop and chant twice during the piece. Not the greatest move given the sensitivity issue of using Native American symbols as team mascots. As the Post-Gazette reports it, after he did the chop as requested Colbert responded with:
"So you have no national aspirations?" Colbert said to Altmire, who looked a little shocked.
Altmire did manage to get across a serious point: that the Iraq War had little to do with the "War on Terror." Kudos to that.

I must say that seeing Cranberry portrayed as Amish Country by the show was a bit bizarre.

If anyone finds a video link for the segment, let me know.

Update: The Clip can be found here.


Anonymous said...

As a HUGE college football fan, an inevitability when you're a Penn Stater, I remember the whole NCAA controversy about insensitive mascots. FSU, however, was one of the few, maybe even the only school, to get an exemption that allows it to continue to use the Seminole name and associated images. The reason: the Seminole tribe voted unanimously to support the university and its symbols. So I disagree that it was insensitive for Altmire to perform the FSU chant. It's unfair to say it was insensitive when the school clearly has the support of the Seminole community.

Overall he did well, a funny segment, and great answers on Iraq. Colbert is a tough venue.

Anonymous said...

The Seminole TRIBE was not given a chance to vote and neither were the Native Americans at the school. If all the Seminoles, including the ones in Oklahoma were given a chance to vote, FSU would not have that name or that dime store image on a horse. It was the council who gets the royal treatment and have been on it for 30 years that voted. It is an embarrassment to most Native people, but if you look hard enough, you will find one that approves of it. The chop and chant just simply hurts.

Anonymous said...

There are a good number of Amish in Lawrence County, which is in Jason's district. Still kinda silly to concentrate on them...

Maria said...

Thanks, Anon. #3. I was hoping that there was some basis for this.

JustTheFACTS said...

The Tribe has voted, including Oklahoma. The vote, taken in Spring of 2006, was 18-2. Both no votes were, in fact from the Oklahoma Tribe, but he overall vote was lopsided. That is why the NCAA removed the Seminoles from its list of insensitive mascots.

Anonymous said...


NCAA will rethink Seminole ban
A man who has protested Florida State in the past led the NCAA to believe his tribe condemned the school's mascot. It wasn't true.
Published August 12, 2005

A controversial NCAA decision restricting Florida State University's use of an American Indian mascot was based on incomplete information and will be reconsidered, a top NCAA official said Thursday.

Walter Harrison, who chairs the committee that approved a policy directed at 18 schools with "hostile and abusive" American Indian mascots, said FSU has "good grounds" to appeal.

Among the reasons, he said, are that the NCAA Executive Committee thought the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma opposed FSU's use of the Seminole image as a mascot.

That was based partly on letters the committee received from David Narcomey, a member of the General Council of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

But Narcomey was not authorized to speak on behalf of the tribal nation and "misrepresented" its view, the tribe's attorney general said Thursday.

In fact, Narcomey pushed for a tribal resolution condemning the use of American Indian mascots and imagery, specifically at FSU. It was defeated last month by an 18-2 vote.

Harrison, flooded with hundreds of e-mails from FSU fans, also said Thursday he wants to better understand FSU's history with the Seminoles.

FSU has vowed to fight the NCAA decision.

Trustees voted Thursday to appeal the rule that, starting February, would bar the use of American Indian symbols at championship events. University president T.K. Wetherell has lined up powerful opposition, including Gov. Jeb Bush, and hired powerhouse lawyer Barry Richard.

"If there are appeals or attempts to change legislation, I can listen to different things," said Harrison, who is also president of the University of Hartford.

Harrison said he decided the NCAA should listen to FSU's arguments even before he discovered Thursday's news about the Oklahoma Seminoles.

But the new information won't necessarily change the outcome, he said. The Executive Committee's decision, he added, did not hinge on whether the Oklahoma group opposed FSU's use of American Indian mascots.

"I don't know how we would vote on it," Harrison said. "But it would seem to be good grounds for a waiver request."

FSU and the other 17 schools, including Illinois and Utah, can appeal to the Executive Committee or seek an amendment to the new rules. That would need the Executive Committee's blessing.

Two other members of the 19-person Executive Committee said the matter needs further review in light of the stance of the Oklahoma Seminoles.

"I think this is material new information," said committee member Arthur Kirk Jr., president of Saint Leo University in Pasco County. "It is not only new, but it is counter information from what we had earlier."

Could it have pushed FSU off the NCAA's list of 18 schools?

"I think that is a very valid question," Kirk said.

Executive Committee member Sidney McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State University, said he also would consider the new information. He also has been swamped with e-mails from FSU boosters.

The NCAA has been studying the issue for years and, in November 2004, asked 33 schools to submit a self-evaluation about their use of American Indian mascots. A special committee developed recommendations that were considered by the Executive Committee last week.

That's when Charlotte Westerhaus, the NCAA's vice president for diversity and inclusion, told the Executive Committee that the Oklahoma Seminoles opposed the practice at FSU. She was relying on letters from Narcomey, including one dated June 1 in which he said he was crafting a resolution condemning FSU's use of the Seminole name and imagery.

"We are part of the Five Civilized Tribes Council and have joined the other four nations, the Chickasaw, the Cherokee, the Choctaw and the Creek nations, in condemning the use of American Indian sports team mascots," he wrote, according to the NCAA's Westerhaus.

Narcomey's letter did not mention that the Intertribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes passed that resolution in 2001 and that it spoke generally about derogatory images that perpetuate stereotypes. It did not name specific schools or mascots.

Nor did he mention that he sits on boards of organizations with a political agenda, including the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism, and that he has protested at FSU in the past.

Narcomey soon became the one speaking for the 14,000 Seminoles in Oklahoma.

But he was "unauthorized" to speak on behalf of the nation and "misrepresented" its view on the issue, said Jennifer McBee, the attorney general for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

McBee said the tribe has numerous students at FSU.

Narcomey, who last month was elected to another term on the General Council, didn't return a call from the Times.

Oklahoma Seminole members had contacted several newspapers saying Narcomey did not speak for the Seminole Nation, said Lee Hinkle, FSU's vice president for university relations.

NCAA's Westerhaus defended the committee's handling of the matter. "We didn't get a letter nor did we see anything in newspapers," she said.

The NCAA did not follow up with Narcomey on whether his resolution passed.

But key members of the Seminole tribes in Florida and Oklahoma apparently were not communicating either.

"We did not concoct this," Westerhaus said. "We acted in good faith and we'll continue to do so."

The NCAA provided the 18 schools with a letter Tuesday detailing how they could appeal their inclusion on the list.

Aside from being unable to host championship events, such as baseball regionals, student-athletes will be prevented from displaying "hostile and abusive" imagery on their uniforms in post-season games as of Feb. 1, 2006. Cheerleaders, dancers and band members must remove such images from their uniforms by Aug. 1, 2008.

The new policy will not affect FSU football, the school's signature sport. The NCAA doesn't control the Division I-A postseason, the bowls or league championship games watched by millions on TV.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds and staff writers Curtis Krueger and Tom Zucco contributed to this report.

Anonymous said...

He did not do well. He looked bad, especially when he tried to give Colbert a high five and Colbert left him hanging, also when he started pointing out all the accomplishments in Iraq, but then couldn't recognize them as accomplishments. Colbert's good at showing how the talking points that Jason always relies on, just don't make sense.