Finally, Somebody Found A Use For Wyoming

The Raw Story | Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

“We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area [Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming] that encompasses our country are free to join us,” long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

The Lakota are claiming that their treaties with the US government are essentially null, due to not being kept up by, ah, one of the parties involved.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely “worthless words on worthless paper,” the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been “repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life,” the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

“This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution,” which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

“It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent,” said Means.

That’s pretty awesome. And having lived in that part of America, let me be the first to say to my Lakota cousins: you’re welcome to it. Seriously. If you can reclaim your cultural heritage and get past the problems that reservation life has created for you…and also freak out all those toothless fucking inbred redneck bastards who dot that beautiful land with their trailer parks and copper mining pits…I will support you 100%. Hell, put the rednecks in reservations.

This is awesome. I’d actually like to see this happen, for real.

A Musical Christmas Card

So I’m obviously not much of a Christmas guy. Nor do I like most Christmas music (the Phil Spector Christmas album notwithstanding). But there are two Christmas songs I adore: “Fairytale Of New York” by the Pogues, mentioned a couple of days ago, is one of them.

And so, since there’s no feasible way for me to record a cover of “Fairytale Of New York” (since it would require a girl who could sing like Kristy McColl, a pennywhistle, and a lot more whiskey than I can afford), here, for your seasonal pleasure, is my cover of “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis” by Tom Waits, which is my other favorite Christmas song.

Enjoy. And merry Christmas.

Thought Of The Day

In the future, the words “whore”, “skank”, “slut”, “slattern”, and possibly the word “retard” and the phrase “train wreck” will all be replaced in common usage by the word “spears“.

As in “I can’t believe you got drunk on Zima and went down on every single dude at the bar, you fuckin’ spears!”

Or “Fifteen people are dead in the worst spears in Amtrak history.”

Rolling My Eyes Towards England

BBC radio station censors Pogues Christmas hit – Yahoo! News

LONDON (Reuters) – British public broadcaster BBC’s Radio 1 has cut out the word “faggot” from an old Christmas hit in a move the mother of the song’s late performer branded “ridiculous.”

In “Fairytale of New York,” released 20 years ago by Irish band the Pogues and singer Kirsty MacColl, she sings “You scumbag, you maggot/You cheap lousy faggot” as her character in the song argues with one sung by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.

This is, in point of fact, one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful Christmas song ever released, and it’s not homophobic in any way. The song is about an old Irish immigrant couple, arguing on their deathbeds, and if you play it at the right moment, I’ll cry.

The full verse goes:

Kirsty: You’re a bum, you’re a punk
Shane: You’re an old slut on junk / living there almost dead on a drip in that bed
Kirsty: You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy faggot / Happy Christmas, your arse / I pray God it’s our last

Which doesn’t sound particularly lovely, I know. But you have to hear the song.

And the boys of the NYPD choir
Are singing ‘Galway Bay’
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

When I saw the Pogues last year, Shane brought his wife out to sing poor Kristy’s part, and they slow-danced under fake snow on stage. Sad and beautiful. (Kirsty McColl died several years ago, saving her children from being run over by a boat.)

Leader Of The Band

I’ve never been a Dan Fogelberg fan, generally speaking. However, my mother is the world’s biggest Dan Fogelberg fan. His music was the reason she became a singer-songwriter, and in fact she reviewed his album High Country Snows for Rolling Stone. I grew up listening to Fogelberg albums (that’s vinyl, folks).

So I was really not happy to tell her, a few minutes ago, that Fogelberg had died of cancer at the age of 56. She started crying. Hard. (This despite the fact that, the one time she ever actually managed to speak to Fogelberg, he was a complete asshole to her.) I felt awful, and weirdly shaken up; my entire life, this guy and his work had such an effect on my mom. It’s almost like someone I know dying.

Once I grew up, I decided that I didn’t really like Fogelberg’s songwriting, though there’s no denying his ability as a musician and singer. His songs were too obvious for me — the sentiments were pretty, but there wasn’t a lot of subtlety to his metaphors.

But there was one of his songs I always kinda liked when I was a kid, though: “Leader Of The Band”, about his father, who was a high school band director. I’ll leave him with that.

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band

My Cassandra Complex Turns Out To Be Quite Real, Thank You

Remember when the Iraq War started, a few years ago, and Turkey didn’t want to allow us to stage the invasion from our bases in Adana and Inçirlik? And when they suddenly changed their mind, I said — very explicitly — that I believed we’d made a deal with the Turkish government. Specifically, I figured we’d told them once we’d gotten control of Iraq and the heat had died down a bit, we’d allow them to come in and take out the separatist Kurds in northern Iraq — who had our back in both wars, incidentally. (I tried to find the blog post in question on, but I couldn’t track it down. Damn those database failures.)


Turkish planes bomb northern Iraq in hunt for PKK – Yahoo! News

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) – Turkish planes bombed suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing one woman, damaging infrastructure and forcing villagers to flee, local officials said.

Turkey’s general staff said its warplanes had hit the “regions of Zap, Hakurk and Avasin as well as the Qandil mountains” — known to harbour rear bases of the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish military said the bombardment began at 1:00 am (2300 GMT Saturday) and all its aircraft had returned safely to base by 4:15 am (0215 GMT Sunday). Artillery continued to pound the targets once the planes left.

The raids, which Turkey’s armed forces’ chief said were carried out with US approval and intelligence, were condemned by the Iraqi government, which called in the Turkish ambassador to explain his country’s actions.

Italics mine.

I found out some really interesting shit about US involvement in the whole PKK thing when I was in Turkey. I’m going to do some research and see if I can verify any of it.

But it’s nice to know I was totally right about this, even if nobody believed me or nobody really cares.

links for 2007-12-16