Christmas at Emptywheel: Friends Current and Past

And so we reach another Christmas Eve together here at the Emptywheel Blog. And I mean together, because this is a community, from Marcy, Jim White and me, to all of you who participate here with us. You are not just names on a computer screen, you are our friends and colleagues.

We deal with a lot of hard, and far too often infuriating and depressing, topics. Sometimes you just want to scream, because really success seems to be measured only in whether you can slow down by a fraction, or put a slight dent in, the bad things going on in this country and the world.

Occasionally, however, there are truly bright spots in what we cover and push. One of these is certainly the movement on marriage equality and equal protection for sexual preference. Another is, as problematic as they are in their own right, the victory of the Democrats and Obama over a slate of Republicans who would have materially regressed about everything we hold near and dear. It may be small solace, but it is far better than the alternative. So there are good things too.

But the one irreducible minimum is, despite the passion we all have for various subjects and policies, life will actually always plug on one way or another for most, it is simply a matter of how it does so. And that is really something too easily lost sight of…what really counts when you get down to it are the people.

Here at Emptywheel, so it is the people who really count too. And we would like to take a moment to thank you for sharing your time, your experience, your knowledge, your humor and yourselves. It makes all of us richer and that is something to be thankful for as we look forward to Christmas day and the week of festivities that culminates in New Years Day. Health and happiness to one and all.

I’d also like to take a minute to remember that not all are doing well. Some are struggling and have health problems. We know of several, but it would not be appropriate to discuss the individual situations. Just know that we know, we care and our thoughts are with you.

And then there are those that we have lost along the way this year. One in that category really stands out. One year ago tonight, our friend, colleague, and contributor to this blog, Mary Perdue, passed away. We miss Mary a lot, both in content and in her unique character. I constantly see discussions and think “Damn, Mary would have been all over this”.

However, Mary is not the only important voice here that has gone dark this year. We also seem to have lost MadDog. I first encountered MadDog at FDL during pretrial proceedings in the Libby case. We both quickly became regulars at the precursor to Emptywheel, known as The Next Hurrah. He followed us from TNH to Firedoglake and then to here. Like Mary, MadDog was a constant colleague with a well developed sense of irony and sharp analytical skills. The last comment by MadDog was on September 11 at 8:16 pm, since then a deafening silence. We have tried to determine what happened by both email and phone, but no luck so far. We miss him greatly.

In that regard, I want to excerpt part of a post we did in memory of Mary when we learned she had passed. Not just to honor her again, but because much of it applies to the nature of all who participate here, have participated here, and how we feel about them and you:

The internet is a strange and wonderful thing. Just about everyone and everything in the world is on it, even though it is nothing but data in the form of binary computer code traversing by random electrons. Yet thought is crystalized, and friendships born and nurtured, through commonality of interest and purpose. And so it is here at Emptywheel, where many of us have been together since the days at The Next Hurrah, through years at Firedoglake, and now at our new home. Just because it germinates via the net does nothing to detract from the sense of community, friendship and admiration for each other gained over time.

With profound sadness, I report we have lost a true friend, and one of our longest tenured contributors, Mary. Mary Beth Perdue left us on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011.
….
Here at Emptywheel, she was just Mary; and she was so much more than a simple obituary can convey. She was funny, kind, and, most of all, razor sharp in analysis of extremely complex issues surrounding torture, indefinite detention, international human rights, illegal wiretapping and executive branch overreach.

But this is the way it is with one and all here. You all contribute so much. Thank you. All here are indeed more than electrons and impersonal screen names.

It is the people – you – that count. Marcy, Jim and I raise a glass of fine IPA in toast to one and all. So, as you sit down with your families and friends for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the holiday week, from our family to yours, enjoy and thanks!

This is an open thread for all things – news, politics, cooking, sports, holiday greetings and all manner of discussion. Music by the incomparable Alicia Keys.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
75 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    thank you bmaz for these thoughtful comments; there a number of important voices now missing. voices that helped “emptywheel” to become the best little weblog in – the usa.

    no other i know of so relentlessly tackles gov’t injustuce and intrusion into citizens’ (of any country) lives like this one. from that you might think this was a conservative weblog, but no, concern about this issue is at the core of american liberalism.

    websites of the factual and intellectual quality of this one are directly responsible for the slow re-ascendance of a liberal governing philosophy to its historic position at the center and core of the american philosophy and practice of governing for the commonweal.

    they have accomplished this by describing our political world like it is, by challenging the corporate media on their slovenly, cowardly, self-serving reporting, and by challenging and spot-lighting republican/right-wing deceit
    and abandonment of that core american principle of
    governing for the common good.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @orionATL:

    websites of the factual and intellectual quality of this one are directly responsible for the slow re-ascendance of a liberal governing philosophy to its historic position at the center and core of the american philosophy and practice of governing for the commonweal.

    Completely agree. I cannot fathom how EW, bmaz, Jim White have managed to produce the quality and quantity of output through the past 6+ years. (Ditto Yves Smith at NakedCapitalism.) Boggles the mind. But over time, cumulatively, it has made a difference.

    they have accomplished this by describing our political world like it is, by challenging the corporate media on their slovenly, cowardly, self-serving reporting, and by challenging and spot-lighting republican/right-wing deceit and abandonment of that core american principle of governing for the common good.

    I don’t see the right wing possessing the caliber of research skills and analytical power that I’ve observed on the left.

    And my personal experience in about 14 years of local-regional government commissions, boards, and etc is that there is a huge swath of the ‘public’ that no longer possesses any conceptual framework for the term ‘public good’. They couldn’t tell you what one is. Nor could they tell you what an ‘externality’ is, largely because they can’t conceive of a world in which ‘markets’ don’t control every single molecule, including air and water. Neofeudalism is their default setting, and they have been unable to escape it despite the fact that it is killing them financially, environmentally, and spiritually.

    Meanwhile, News Corp has been exposed as a criminal enterprise (see also: phone hacking and payoffs). Fox’s rates are falling, and I just saw yesterday that print is still 25% of ad revenues, tv is 42%. Both will probably decline, but news organizations can’t figure out how to survive on digital revenues (which are about 1/20th of print rates, I’m told).

    In the six+ years since I started reading EW, along with comments by MadDog and Mary, we’ve had: the Libby trials and ‘liveblogging’, which is now endemic for just about every single news event. Indeed, the Guardian (and perhaps the NYT) had a toggle on their site for ‘English/Arabic’ on their liveblogs of the Arab Spring about two years ago.

    We’ve also had Wikileaks.
    And I’ve seen many, many timelines.

    The first timelines that I remember seeing were Marcy’s at TNH, and they’ve only become richer over time. Why they are not linked from the right margin here at EW.net, I have no clue.
    But now, I see timelines in finance blogs, and at NYT and other sources. So Marcy’s Timelines have gone mainstream.
    And that’s no small thing.

  3. Bill Michtom says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves as to “I don’t see the right wing possessing the caliber of research skills and analytical power that I’ve observed on the left.”

    By definition this is true. The nature of the authoritarian personality precludes analysis. [I highly recommend The Authoritarians, a sociological examination of same that’s available at authoritarians.com for free]

    And, in general, what you said about this incredibly valuable blog.

    Thanks to all.

  4. orionATL says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves:

    “…And my personal experience in about 14 years of local-regional government commissions, boards, and etc is that there is a huge swath of the ‘public’ that no longer possesses any conceptual framework for the term ‘public good’. They couldn’t tell you what one is. Nor could they tell you what an ‘externality’ is, largely because they can’t conceive of a world in which ‘markets’ don’t control every single molecule, including air and water…”

    this combination of ivoter gnorance and indifference has become a major problem for our society.

    it is a problem that allows representatives from both political parties to serve the wants and needs of a coterie of powerful and wealthy by playing on our fierce devotion to our personal values to the exclusion of our needs for education, health, safety, and economic security.

    for contrast, i recall reading that in new york and chicago in the ’20’s thru ’40’s the czechs, poles, germans, jews, italians, etc. had their own, small language newspapers which those new citizens read avidly and discussed widely. today’s weblogs may be fulfilling a similar function these days.

    in any event, commenting on a weblog beats the hell out of sending a “letter to the editor” only to see it deployed, or not, as an editor determines it fits his/her “plans” for a news story.

  5. sandra says:

    I have also followed you since firedoglake, and I am mostly a lurker, but I have a fine and keen appreciation for all that you do, for your thinking and for your continuous, dogged hard work on behalf of all of us. Thank you for keeping the conversation alive.

  6. karenjj2 says:

    Merry Christmas ew, bmaz, Jim and all our virtual friends here. raising a glass to absent friends gone but not forgotten.

    Always hope for Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Every One.

  7. Ken Hardy says:

    I write to relay my thanks to emptywheel and all the people who so tirelessly toil to make it such an important place for information, connection, and discussion. Since I discovered it at FDL and then followed it to its new independent incarnation, this site has seen me through some despairing times. If nothing else it has simply reassured me that I am not alone in my many concerns over the forces that everyday work to tear the country apart by subverting its fundamental elements. You all have shared with me your courage and resolved when mine seemed to falter or disappear altogether and for that my gratitude is immeasurable.

    Emptywheel also reminds me each time I turn to it, that if we are to prevail in this struggle, we must be dogged, relentless, and patient—no enterprise has ever required nor been more deserving of the hard work and discipline of its participants.

    I wish every last one of you the most happy and successful of new years and will look forward to the time when I might convey my sentiment in person. Until then I remain with respect and affection

    Yours,
    Ken Hardy

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    Thanx to EW folks for the sharing thru 2012, and looking forward to a prosperous New Year for all. I very much have enjoyed Jim White’s written explorations, too, recently.

    rOTL gave me a good boost a few years back, before the passing of Steve Jobs, in discussions of a few topics that I could imagine MadDog enjoying. I believe there were close links between MadDog and fdl IT people, a line of inquiry that may provide more information if still viable. Pretty much, EW being the best and fastest and most complete and most dogged about investigative journalism, I visit only EW and have let fdl laapse to the second tier of websites I might consider giving sufficient time to view.

    Usually, I hae so many incomplete research threads of my own ongoing that I am somewhat independent of news-stream; just doing my own projects.

    It’s true, Mary Perdue was a light, with a charming way of challenging the BushW philosophy of what’s legal for a President to do.

    Electronic Frontier Foundation has a nice summary of funny business DoJ is trying to do; I particularly like the way EFF describes use of a delay technique now at this time when the FISA reauthorization is going to pass congress because the current law expires in 1 week.

  9. hate2haggle says:

    Like Sandra I, too, lurk around here often and rarely offer a comment. It’s not because I’m timid, but mostly because my thoughts mirror what has already been said. I hope the new year will bring more words related to the FBI categorizing OWS as terrorists and also the Kagans w/TheManCallPetreaus. Thanks you guys for your great work. Merry Christmas.

  10. jclausen says:

    Been reading since Last Hurrah.

    Fdl, Glen, Charlie P., Yves, and Marcy start my day.

    I’ll take that lineup over anything elsewhere.

    A special shoutout to bmaz, who I am proud to know.

  11. Rayne says:

    Thanks to Marcy, bmaz, and Jim for their determined constancy. It’s a relief to know this little corner of the networked universe remains true to values.

    Wishing all the Emptywheel family and friends a peaceful holiday.

  12. pdaly says:

    Thanks for the post, bmaz. I was thinking of Mary earlier today, on this anniversary of her passing.

    Sorry to learn that Mad Dog has gone silent and may no longer be with us. As you say, at first the silence is not noteworthy, because busy lives intervene sometimes and posting dwindles. Not being able to properly mark the passing of a friend in real time is the downside to an electronic watering hole. On the upside, their comments live on and can be revisited. I still learn from rereading old posts.

    I remember Mad Dog from The Next Hurrah when he was going by the plural moniker Mad Dogs. I forget why he dropped the “S” when emptywheel migrated to FDL for a time.

    I enjoy the special camaraderie here at emptywheel and FDL and appreciate the chance to read, learn, and watch the news of the day be unpacked and redisplayed in a new perspective–ones that the politicians and oftentimes the major news organizations themselves don’t want viewed.

    MadDog and Mary contributed to this effort like nobody’s business.

    This ‘The Next Hurrah’ post illustrates the new power of the blogs.
    http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2007/11/i-was-under-sed.html

    Commenter ‘Kathleen’ attended a conference at which she posed Ashcroft a question. Kathleen prepared ahead of time by soliciting potential questions from emptywheel online. The non-answer Ashcroft gave Kathleen was informative and entertaining for us to hear.

    As I reread old posts, (both MadDog and Mary make appearances in the link above) I am struck by the number of us who have been together so long. Sometimes names crop up in old posts that I have not seen recently, and I wonder where they are–and hope they are merely lurking or maybe going by a different handle.
    When that is no longer true, it is still a pleasant treat when stumbling across prior comments by these people.

    Thanks, emptywheel, bmaz and Jim for all you do. My hellos and appreciation as well to the emptywheel community.

    Merry Christmas! Best wishes to everyone for the new year.

  13. Watson says:

    I’m so sad to learn belatedly of Mary’s passing. The work that Marcy, Jim, and bmaz do at EW is precious. Best wishes to all.

  14. jayackroyd (@jayackroyd) says:

    I want to echo bmaz. I mostly lurk, because invariably someone else has said what I’d want to say, but better. In a time when commentary communities are being pillaged by twitter, it’s a remarkable testament to Marcy, bmaz, Jim and the EW commentariat that this one thrives.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    Thanks Bmaz and the crew

    Okay, I didn’t burst into joy when Clemens was acquitted, but Trash Talk was there for me to vent and don sackcloth and ashes for six months.

    Holiday wishes to Marcy, Jim, Bmaz and the commenters for their insights, thoughts and good cheer

    Now, if only Ben Affleck or Tom Brady would run for Senator.

  16. DavidTarrell says:

    Thanks for this post bmaz and thanks to Marcy, you, Jim and everyone else who work so hard to create this amazing oasis on the Internet. It’s early on Christmas morning, my coffee and my golden retriever are by my side, and (once again) it’s nice to find something written here that brings clarity to a rapidly spinning/changing/sometimes incomprehensible world. I rarely comment but always appreciate the fine work you all produce here.

    Just after high school, I worked on a trail ride that ran through a forest and i learned a trick that impressed the tourists on the ride. I could spot wildlife in the woods simply by watching my horses’ ears and then looking in the direction they pointed, which usually revealed a deer, some turkeys or something else that the riders loved to stop and look at. Of course I pretended it was me and not my more highly attuned horse that heard the noise, taking credit myself rather than revealing this trick.

    This site is my modern version of those horses ears. I just point in the direction of what the more highly attuned people writing here have already heard and get to sound smart when instead i was simply being “carried” by someone with a highly-attuned sense of what to look/listen for, or what might remain unseen in this modern landscape.

    So thanks to all of you! I hope all of your holidays reveal something wonderful and look forward to a new year at Emptywheel.

  17. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Just wanted to add my wishes for a Merry Christmas and safe holiday season to everyone.

    bmaz – isn’t MadDog somewhere in my area? Hope everything is OK.

  18. scribe says:

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all the best in the coming year.

    Been reading and commenting since TNH days. Actually, I think I started back when Marcy, ReddHedd, and Jane were going back and forth in the space at Orange Satan’s House (Kos’). But it’s been going so long that it doesn’t matter that much.

    Don’t comment as much lately, more a function of work schedules taking me away from my computer and putting me in front of an employer’s.

    As to twitter pillaging the one-liner community, I recall the old days when there was a central office for new one-liners, somewhere downtown in NYC. It seemed like the brokerage house and ad agency guys (all guys then) were always getting the one-liners first and propagating them. I think twitter democratizes that a bit – no more NYC monopoly on bad (or good) one-liners.

    Back to the stove. Best to all.

  19. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: Hmmm ………. thanks for the info. Wasn’t there someone who used to post around here that was from Humble?

    Speaking of Christmas. Do all the Mexican families in Arizona do the tamale thing like those around here or is that sort of a Texican thing? Man, I’ve had some good tamales this season so far. They make a terrific turkey stuffing.

  20. bmaz says:

    Best part of Christmas so far: Wife and daughter dancing Gangnam style to a Billy Bass plaque singing Take Me to The River. #Sublime

  21. bmaz says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: I think that may have been William Ockham, who is still around occasionally.

    And, yep, tamales for Christmas have always been the rage here ever since I can remember as a little kid.

  22. bell says:

    thanks for this wonderful site with the wonderful people who work hard to bring insights and info not easily gotten anywhere else.. it is much appreciated.. happy holidays everyone..

  23. thatvisionthing says:

    Merry Christmas all. Loved reading through everyone’s comments, ditto ditto ditto, you all said it better.

    Mad Dog missing?! Oh no. I hope what everyone hopes.

    Thanks for remembering Mary. I still miss her and wish she was here saying it better. I know she would have had something to say to DavidTarrell @25 and I wish I knew what it was. I’m still missing Sara too. And other names I just don’t see anymore — pdaly, was your Kathleen = Leen? She cared so much, pushed hard in sore spots sometimes, and now I don’t see her anymore. bmaz, I knew a Costa Rican family in San Diego that did tamales every Christmas Eve. Also, in your links to Mary posts, you left out the Derby one you posted with her very own youtube. That’s actually the one I think of and hear when I miss her:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/05/05/kentucky-derby-trash-talk-a-run-for-the-roses-missing-mary/

    Mary’s voice, sadly, left us just before last Christmas and, frankly, we are still reeling a little from the loss. Communities need glue, and she was part of ours. The first thing I thought when the Derby chatter started up this year was “Damn, I miss Mary”. So, our Trash Talk and Derby coverage this week is dedicated to Mary. In honor, one of our longtime good friends of the blog has put together an amazing video, which is at the top of this post, and has a powerful ending. Give it a watch please.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9IxGYfx-Rro

    Happy holidays everyone. And congrats to Marcy for the post with 48,000 shares — is that a record? I see it’s gone up by several hundred to hit 48K since I last looked a ways ago. You’re doing good.

    p.s. I love quotes:

    ~ Garrison Keillor: Be well, do good work and keep in touch.
    ~ Robert Fulghum: And it is still true, no matter how old you
    are – when you go out into the world, it is best
    to hold hands and stick together.

  24. DavidTarrell says:

    @BayStateLibrul Thanks! @bmaz Small world huh? This site has been on my bookmarks bar for years but I haven’t said much. I’ll probably get some business from friends and family over the holidays (a DUI maybe?) but afterwards we’ll never speak of it again. It’s the nature of the business, as I’m sure you know.

  25. What Constitution says:

    Many thanks to Marcy, Jim and bmaz for tireless vigilance, perspective and insight, and to all those sharing here at this site. Peace to all.

  26. joanneleon says:

    Merry Christmas to all and my best wishes go out to you.

    Marcy, bmaz and Jim, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank you so much for all the work that you do, for your integrity (harder and harder to find in the progressive blogosphere) and for being tenacious. It can’t be easy. There have been, as bmaz said, some positives and alternatives that could have been worse, but we have lost so much ground too and have fallen down the rabbit hole. It can’t be easy to keep going some days.

    I have, for some odd reason, some intuition of optimism for the coming year. Maybe it’s some pattern recognition going on deep down there somewhere. Maybe it’s wishful thinking or remnants of superstition. And I don’t mean optimism in terms of what we’ll get from the Democrats, it’s something else. Maybe it will be a matter of more people waking up.

    In any case, again, many thanks for your work and for building this community. I am working with a small group of people on building a news/community blog as well and will let you know when we launch. We had some setbacks and had to change developers, and I had to get up to speed to be able to do enhancements and maintenance on the site, but it looks like we’re back on track now and it won’t be too long. New year, new site.

  27. quebecois says:

    I’m a man of a few phrases only. Became aware of Marcy during the Plame thing, learned a lot because of her. And when it went over my head, Mary came in and put it all in a perspective I could understand. My education is continuing. Thanks to all involved here, feels like my knuckles are off the ground. Bmaz, lovely that we share that love of the most advanced motorsport out there, thanks for your hard work.

  28. qweryous says:

    I too now visit frequently but comment infrequently. This thread always comes to mind when I see Mary mentioned here. I just read that thread again, one comment in particular always makes it easy to find. This one. Be well and happy in the new year all. You too MadDog if you are lurking or out there.

  29. JohnLopresti says:

    re: [email protected], et al. For some reason known to Google gmail exclusively, the full record of email addresses MadDog employed is missing; however, I recall during one of EW’s upgrades at the fld site, discovering a MaddestDog, which sounded pretty forbidding.

    MadDog I simply would expect to find, quite by accident, trimming a hole in the ice on lake Wobegon, this time of year, in some long secret scheme for how to find fish away from the overpopulated shores.

  30. Peterr says:

    Merry Christmas, one and all!

    Part of what drew me to EW back in TNH days was discovering someone who delighted in footnotes as much as I do. [Note to the kids on my lawn: footnotes are links in dead tree publications.] Footnotes are where we chase down the author’s sources, and check out the veiled insults against the writer’s foes.

    What kept me coming was the community of folks with a similar passion, as well as the outrageous sense of humor that seems to be contagious. As has been said upthread, Marcy et al. have kept me (relatively) sane during some truly insane times.

    Thanks you all — posters, regular commenters, and those who delurk either to offer that one very cogent observation no one has yet made or to give encouragement to the author or others.

    None of us can do this alone. The good news is, we don’t have to. Thank you all for hanging around these parts.

  31. evolute says:

    ’tis the season to be jaw-ee. Though I haven’t spoken here in year(s) I still find this site warm, delicious and essential to my sanity. Merry Christmas to all.

  32. Bay State Librul says:

    Indeed.
    As Clarke Hayden, the foxy Court-Appointed trustee in The Good Wife,
    says, “If you are looking for fraud, look in the Footnotes.”

  33. skilly says:

    I am usually way behind on the postings. It reflects my thinking ability? Best wishes to our host and her regular writers. I note that David Dayen has or is leaving fdl. Any chance we (you) can add him to the list of occasional contributors?
    Thank you for another thought stimulating year.

  34. TheraP says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves:

    Happy Holidays to all! Avoid the flu! We got our flu shots but we got sick, sick, sick!

    Thanks for the post above. And regarding the lack of “research and analysis” on the right, I’d start with a lack of empathy. And only then, how that leads to deficiencies in analysis and how THAT drives what they “call” research.

    Case in point. I am ashamed to admit that I have a very close biological relative who is not only a tea party member but has a license to carry a concealed weapon. Which she announced to me in my father’s living room during a disagreement. Imagine! Fortunately the said license was for her state. Not mine. Nevertheless….

    That was several years back. But a few days ago, the same person was unable to understand why some folks don’t get flu shots. She said: “Around here they offer them in every drugstore!”

    It had never occurred to her that there might be a person who had to choose between shoes, for example, for a child, and the price of a flu shot! She seemed quite amazed when I pointed that out to her.

    So, to me, we have to start with a lack of empathy. And that’s a sorry place to start! Particularly when I’m so closely related to this 61 year old woman.

    Lack of empathy. That’s what leads people to shoot little children. Or announce within the family circle that one has a license to carry a concealed firearm. That’s what allows people to think that the solution for healthcare is to negotiate with the doctor! That’s what drives people to think they shouldn’t have to pay taxes.

    One thing we have on the left. We constantly express empathy! It’s what lies behind all of our policies, our instinctive need to ally with the suffering, with the deprived, with those who lack justice and civil rights. That’s what keeps us sane and logical and reality-based.

    RIP, Mary! I loved your comments. Your empathy.

    Peace to all.

  35. klynn says:

    A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and warm Winter blessings to all at EW. Many heartfelt thanks go out to EW,bmaz,Jim, Rayne and all the commenters/contributors over the years (TNH and a bit earlier) who make this not a place of “what if thinking” but a place of “thinking” in depth and with superior research and analysis of sources. And, there are the daily doses of wit and satire that are a thing of beauty.

    There have been times of my being able to contribute more in the way of research in the past but I have slowed down in the last two years due to life issues. I will forever be thankful for Mary ever willing to answer my questions which came out of reading both her and EW insights on any given matter.

    The day I delurked (after two years of lurking) was a great day. Everyone welcomed me. As EW upgraded formats and moved to FDL, I experienced tech problems at times and MadDog coached me through them. Once he stayed with me online for five hours one night until my tech problems were solved and I was back at EW’s. Only a friend would do that. Thank you MadDog.

    This is my place to be anchored for clarity on global and domestic issues.

    You are all wonderful. Thank you.

    (PS Hi TheraP and rOTL!)

  36. JohnT says:

    Just a quick comment

    I feel a pain in my heart, and also miss those we’ve lost along the way in the last year. They’ve made my life richer, and gave me the life-long gift of knowledge – not to say the people who remain don’t teach me as well, because they have, and are – and I’m eternally grateful.

    Thanks

    PS I see quebecois (hi quebecois), but I’m also missing the rest of the emptywheel Canuck contingent

    PPS Vikings v Cheeseheads — it’s on! ;-)

  37. Skilly says:

    Is blog writing addicting? I wonder how smoothly David Dayen’s transition to new forms of writing will go? Certainly he is more than capable, but given his productivity and unusual writing times, being a blogger, for him, was more than just a job, it was a lifestyle seemingly. See all we have to do is be his “inabler.” We deal him some really good stuff (blog topics)and then watch him go as he may be out of control. That wouldn’t make us evil would it?

  38. posaune says:

    Seasons Greetings to all at this wonderful place! Thank you so much EW, bmaz and Jim!! I can’t even begin to describe the comfort of reading real scholarship and the discussions that ensue. I never hear or read another headline without thinking, “wonder where Marcy is going with that?” Or, “hmm.. . ., I need bmaz reading on that,” or “bet Jim has something on that.”

    Of course, my level of reading has changed markedly from the early days when I read every single word! Now we’re parents of a highly special needs child, between that and being able to keep our full-time jobs, we’re exhausted. But blessed.

    We have learned more about childhood trauma that we could ever have imagined — and what it takes to heal. It is an enormous undertaking.

    In light of the above comments about empathy, I highly recommend Bruce Perry’s Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential.

    Our best wishes and gratitude to all here.

  39. JohnLopresti says:

    To centennial lab. exiting DoD Sec Panetta at Natl press club ended q+a session with the tale of a retriever dog that did not divulge overheard state secrets. The transcript of the December 18 NPC remarks remain at the sec def’s repository, there. It was in the very last remarks before the moderator closed the q+a session. The foregoing link is from lawfare, December 23.

  40. dipper says:

    Please add my thanks for all you do here. I’ve been a devoted follower since TNH days and, as others have said, you all keep me sane when things look a little too depressing.

  41. Katie Jensen (wavpeac) says:

    This is where I come for the “real” news. I don’t comment as often as others have said because you all know what you are doing and can say far more about these topics that I can. I love you all. I miss Mary and worry about MadDog.

    So many memories of news stories “uncovered” on this site with Marcy leading the way.

    Just checking in to say “Thank you, Thank you” for keeping me sane and for reporting “real” news. I love the comment section most of all because of all the smart folks that comment here.

    Blessings and Happy Holidays!!

    Katie Jensen

  42. bittersweet says:

    Thank you Marcy and Bmaz and Jim, and all of you that I love to listen to, for making me more informed, and perhaps wiser. Here is hoping that we have more to celebrate next year, and that more people find this and other sites and learn to care! (Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hopped Ale to all!).

    I join you in worrying about MadDog. He is one of my favorites. I see he last commented at fdl on September 8, 2012. (sigh).
    I live in Minneapolis. If you find a name and address near the Twin Cities, I am willing to knock on neighbors’ doors when I get back in town after the holidays. (Perhaps PhoenixWoman knows something?)

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