In Memoriam: Mary Beth Perdue

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.

Mary Beth Perdue, 52, of Robards, KY, formally of Newburgh, passed away at her home.

She graduated Order of Coif from University of Kentucky Law School and from University of Evansville with an accounting degree. She was a member of the Indiana Bar Association. She was in house counsel at Mid-Central Land Services, Inc. and served as an attorney for firms in Indiana and Kentucky. She owned and operated the Horse and Hound (a pet supply store) in Newburgh. Mary was a lover of all animals with a special place in her heart for horses, dogs and cats. She was involved in numerous equestrian sports and organizations.

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. Mary had a steel trap index in her mind for even obscure torture and rendition cases and facts. To the day she died, Mary was one of the very few people commenting in America that remembered, and would never miss a chance to point out, how the children and extended families of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Aafia Siddiqui were used and/or disappeared by the US as pawns in our immoral torture in the name of the so called “war on terror”. Mary’s dissection of Jack Goldsmith terrorist detention policy, complete with with a comparison to the Ox Bow Incident, was a thing of passion and beauty.

One of Mary’s favorite, and most important, hobby horses was the seminal case of Ex Parte Milligan, on which she beat the drum loudly long before the critical 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush and the 2009 release of the torture memos. She was, as usual, right. Here she is taking John Yoo apart at the seams over his intellectual duplicity regarding Ex Parte Milligan. And then there was Mary’s three part opus on the history and meaning of Ex Parte Milligan (Parts One, Two and Three), which is one of the best primers anywhere on the case that has finally come back into renewed significance in the critical issues of the war on terror. Mary played a part in keeping that significance alive, and in the discussion mix, until it took hold again.

Mary did not talk much about her real life family and work, and as another still practicing attorney, I can fully understand the maintenance of that separation. It is quite likely, like me, that her friends and family had little idea of the true depth and importance of her knowledge and dedication to the interests she expressed here, both in front page posts authored, and in her consistent critical contribution in the discussion comments. But, make no mistake, Mary was not just an invaluable contributor, and affected not just me and Marcy, but key players in the larger discussion. I know for a fact, because I talk to the different people and discussed it with them; Mary’s posts and comments were seen and known by actors from the ACLU, to EFF, to other think tanks and attorneys in the field. She left a mark.

As I said at the start of this post, the internet is a curious, if compelling and wonderful place; in all the furiously teeming milieu of people and issues, it is easy for one voice to not be missed for a brief time. All of us take time away every now and then, and Mary was no exception; often being scarce for a period due to pressing duties with work and her beloved horses and land.

I had not talked to Mary since a few days before Christmas. With the rush of the holidays, and a busy work schedule for me in January I have been a tad scarce myself and I had not particularly noticed Mary’s absence. A little over a week ago, I emailed her some irresistibly cute pictures of the one of a kind racehorse Rachel Alexandra and her new foal. Mary loved Rachel Alexandra. Realizing she had not responded to that catnip, I checked yesterday and found the terrible news. There are a lot of things Mary might be too busy with real life to respond to, but not that. And so life became a little less full and enjoyable. Mary’s family has indicated:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a local humane society or other animal rescue.

And that would indeed be Mary, and fit her, to a tee. Here is a secure link to do so for the national Humane Society; but by all means, if so inclined, give to your local chapter and let them know it is for Mary.

Emptywheel will not be the same without Mary Beth Perdue, but her work and memory will live in our hearts, minds and archives as a testament to who and what she was and stood for. We shall close with the picture Mary never got the opportunity to see, but would have been the epitome of the horses, animals and children which she truly loved, Rachel Alexandra and foal.

Vaya con dios Mary, you will be missed.

72 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    RIP Mary, we will miss you.

    McCaffrey the Rescue MilleniaLab and I will be donating in your name to the Humane Society that rescued him.

  2. Nan says:

    RIP Mary.
    I valued both your analytical mind and compassion, and know that your contributions to the discussion of US torture and other policies undertaken in the name of ‘national security’ will live on. My heart goes out to all who loved her.

  3. saltinwound says:

    So sad. Mary was my favorite commenter. Such a formidable intelligence and so passionate and uncompromising. But it did not register at first when I saw this headline because I never knew her last name until now. And because of this sweet picture. I always imagined her as stern looking and at least six feet two inches tall. Thank you for everything, Mary. You did an exceptional job here. xo

  4. wavpeac says:

    I am so sad. I will miss her comments so, so much! I couldn’t understand all her law points, but I understood enough of what she said to recognize the times that her arguments were profound. Ugh. So sad.

  5. orionATL says:

    damn, this really, really hurts.

    mary and sara were my two favorite contributors of all time to any blog.

    mary had the most wonderful logical mind.

    reading her posts was both a pleasure and an implicit instruction in straight thinking and writing.

    i had wondered several times recently where she was, but figured she was just discouraged.

    thanks bmaz for including her picture. i knew without doubt what her heart and mind were like, but wondered what she looked like. that kind face with its wonderful smile says it all.

    boy am i gonna miss this wonderful, caring voice.

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    It won’t be the same without Mary. She was one of the few people who could post a massive respone and I’d still read it. You HAD to read everything she posted, even when it was longer than all the other comments put together.

    Four large bags of Iams will be donated to the local animal shelter in her name this evening when I get off work. Seems like too little, but then I could never match her contributions with just commodities.

    Boxturtle (God has Himself a new prosecutor. I’d worry, if I were Cheney or Yu)

  7. orionATL says:

    thanks bmaz for this thoughtful, detailed in memoriam. you said what others of us would have liked to say but didn’t have the knowledge to do so.

  8. justbetty says:

    Unbelievably sad- that strong and righteous voice will be missed. Thank you, Mary, for what you gave us.

  9. phred says:

    This is awful news. There are too few voices like Mary’s and losing hers is a real blow to those of us railing against the collapse of the rule of law in the United States.

    It is an enormous loss to the national conversation, such as it is, as you noted bmaz, but it is also an enormous personal loss for me. I simply cannot convey the depth of my gratitude for a place like Emptywheel, where an ordinary person like me who knows nothing of the law could ask questions and learn so much from Mary and bmaz and LHP and other lawyers who were willing to explain relevant cases and precedents and procedures. Mary was in rarefied company and even there she was in a class by herself. This is heartbreaking news. I will greatly miss her.

  10. rosalind says:

    i wondered where mary was keeping herself, and hoped she was just taking a web break. i can’t even begin to put into words what her presence here has meant.

    bless you mary for introducing me to Zenyatta. and i’ll keep a smile forever that one of our last interactions was as two super geeks cracking up over this.

  11. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: Yeah, I’m sorry we didn’t notice sooner. Late last year she told bmaz and I about how busy she has been at work, so I thought she might be taking a break after that.

    Heck, I’ve always thought about stopping and meeting her as I have driven through KY on the way to SC. I wish I had last year.

  12. William Ockham says:

    This is heart-breaking news. Mary was an amazing contributor here. I will keep her family (including the virtual one here) in my prayers. She will be missed.

  13. DWBARTOO says:

    Mary, I love ya … thank you for sharing your devastating wit and profound and sublime wisdom.

    I’ve simply not the words to convey how empty the world feels at this moment …

    Thank you, bmaz, for letting us know …


  14. What Constitution says:

    Mary’s eloquence and expertise will be greatly missed. And it is wonderful to learn a bit about the person behind the posts. It would not have been surprising to learn that Mary was a Senior Fellow at some Hoo-Hah Think Tank — but it is very reassuring to learn that she was not. A quintessential “engaged citizen” and the world needs more like her. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your insights and RIP.

  15. emptywheel says:

    @What Constitution: Agree. I’m not even sure if her family knew of her great writing here.

    That’s one of the reasons I love blogs. There are a lot of professions that don’t allow you to be smart and engaged very easily. Mary did that with her posts and comments in a really powerful way.

  16. Linnaeus says:

    I don’t comment often here, but I do read regularly. Let me echo the others here when I say that I will miss Mary’s voice.

  17. Petrocelli says:

    Mary’s intelligence and wisdom was matched only by her razor-sharp wit.

    Sending love to her family & friends …

  18. klynn says:


    Thank you for having a place where a voice like Mary’s was able to rise above the rumble and be a clear beacon of sanity and justice.

    Thank you for inviting her to post as a contributor to EW.

    Thank you Mary for being here with us. Thank you for making me think and for making me laugh. Missing you as I type.

  19. Jon Margolis says:

    RIP Mary. Thanks for the kind words BMAZ. Darn. I loved Mary’s posts. Wish I could think/write 10% as well. She was as good as it gets.

  20. Eureka Springs says:

    Mary’s spirit and words changed my life. In my early internet years when I would see a comment by her it was like an E.F. Hutton moment. All stop.. devour every word.. often think about it for hours or days. The way she could could take us into the depths of hell, parse the insanity, its legal minutiae in a way I could understand… Yet somehow she never lost focus of what really mattered… she would return at the end of these dives disgusted yet unsullied. I sometimes imagined her as a General… perhaps the only General I would have ever considered fighting with. Sometimes I wondered just what kind of person I might have become if as a child I had teachers like her. Most of all I hoped she was a teacher out there somewhere. Her words often made me want to stand up and salute, give a few hallelujah’s and amens in an otherwise empty room.

    RIP Mary, a most righteous patriot. Some little town or at least a little law department in Kentucky ought to be building a monument to your spirit.

    Thanks for telling us, bmaz.

  21. Bob Schacht says:

    I passed this post by a few times, thinking that it must be about someone in that chicken family in the South. I’m glad that I finally stopped by to read.
    Thank you for this eloquent memorial, and the picture. I, too, will miss her acute, penetrating observations. She looks nothing like what I imagined. For some crazy reason, I thought she was Black. And older.

    My introduction to Mary was back in the days of the Scooter Libby trial, when I was over-reacting to Patrick Fitzgerald’s mandate, thinking that he had broad license to investigate and prosecute, according to the announcement of his appointment. I was hoping for some Watergate moments. But Mary took the time to explain to me, through EW’s blog, the constraints on Fitzgerald that I did not see.

    Her words deserve to be memorialized, and bmaz’ set of links in the top post are a good start. But many of her bon mots are hidden in comments to posts by EW and others. Sometimes, her comments were of sufficient substance to have been worthy of a top post of her own. It is my hope that someone with more legal knowledge than I have will, with her family’s consent, edit her posts and comments into some coherent whole, and published as a book. Because of her knowledge of the importance of Ex Parte Milligan and other cases, her work has a relevance that transcends the specific occasions that she was commenting on.

    It is a huge loss that Mary Beth has died. Long may she live, through her words, and in our hearts.

    Bob in AZ

  22. hcgorman says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I always watched for Mary’s comments especially on all things Guantanamo/detainee related as she just seemed to have everything at her fingertips.
    I too will send something in Mary’s name to the organization that rescued my dog.
    RIP Mary.

  23. prostratedragon says:

    This is such sad news. I had missed Mary just lately, but having been rather busy with other things myself had not noticed how long it had been since one of her signal, always bracing contributions. I will remember her to one of the fine animal causes around here soon.

    And Godspeed.

  24. Skilly says:

    Life is short and can be so fragile. This posts serves to remind me that the written word can be so powerful when used correctly.

    They say, that muddled writing is the result of muddled thinking. Inversely, brilliant writing must be the work of a brilliant mind. Evidently she was brilliant. I will endeavor to remember her messages and methods. I too will mourn her lost voice.

  25. JohnLopresti says:

    my condolences to M’s family.

    i always thought her quantifiably centrist, other people up thread expressed thayt in several ways, too.

    at first it felt nearly difficult to draw M into the conversation. as the years morphed and moved, as bmaz alluded, some acuities of insight and grasp of standards of civil conduct, as well as of government and business, began to emerge as some of her strongest voices.

    she was principled. there is a sort of unknown branch of my family from M’s part of the countryside, and I believe she supplied at EW’s place some of that bluegrass conscience in many of her long writings online.

    i am sorry she passed so early in our time and hers.

  26. rg says:

    When I got to the point of realizing that this post was about our MARY, the tears welled up like I’d lost my best friend. Mary was an inspiration to me with regard to how to relate to all the sycophantic hucksterism the society seems to spawn. If she can get a coherent grip on it, so can I, and we. She’ll be missed, but as Eureka Springs said, she was like a general; in my picture she’s on a horse, brandishing a sword and urging us all onward toward some noble goal. Just because she’s not there now, doesn’t mean we can stop.

  27. emptywheel says:

    @Bob Schacht: Come to think of it, the other indication Mary wasn’t around was when I did the post on Fitz’ mandate in the Kiriakou/John Adams Project investigation. Cause that was right up her alley.

  28. KWinIA says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. Mary made everything understandable. I will miss her knowledge and insight.

  29. posaune says:

    @rg: Exactly. Just ‘drivin by’ from the office when I saw bmaz post and then realized it was MARY. What a huge loss! She was able to think, legally as sharp as a razor to reveal humanity at its most vulnerable. I’m still haunted by KSM’s children.

  30. EH says:

    Well, this sucks. Mary was a major force in spurring me to look deeper into legalities and politics of the law as a matter of citizenship. A real loss, though I’m glad she was around while she was.

  31. tejanarusa says:

    Left a comment at the fdl cross-post, but it’s great to read the lovely comments here.
    I just hope she knew what a profound effect she had on so many of us. I, too, did a sort of double take, while racking my brain for “Mary Beth Perdue?”, an “oh no!” moment.
    Sweet Afton…lovely.

  32. joanneleon says:

    This is such sad news. I always looked for Mary’s comments. She taught me so much.

    Mary, I wondered where you were. Now I know that you are at peace. You will be missed.

  33. thatvisionthing says:

    @Jim White:

    Beautiful, Jim. Thank you.

    One of the side recs was to Jo Stafford’s lovely version — made me think of a 78 my mom (93 yesterday) had that we used to love. Haven’t heard or thought of it in years, but this is it, Whispering Hope:

    If, in the dusk of the twilight,
    dim be the region afar,
    will not the deepening darkness
    brighten the glimmering star?

    Then when the night is upon us,
    why should the heart sink away?
    When the dark midnight is over,
    watch for the breaking of day.

    Whispering hope,
    oh how welcome thy voice,
    oh how welcome thy voice,
    making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

    Goodnight, Mary. Say hi to Sara and Mom.

  34. pdaly says:

    Such sad news. Mary’s contributions were always so penetrating and, even while in the midst of illustrating in the minutest detail how our legal system was being subverted, Mary could still crack a joke.

    As Eureka Springs wrote above, “she would return at the end of these dives disgusted yet unsullied.”

    As an example of her wry sense of humor, one of her comments from 2008 comes to mind:

    “Could someone, anyone, take up a collection to send Ceasar Milan to Congress to teach them about discipline, boundaries, limitations? I think he may be the only guy left in America who could snap a choke chain on Cheney and accomplish something.”

    And this funny comment from a 2010 Special Trash Talk about Scotch as emptywheel prepared for a train ride across Scotland:

    “As a Vodka girl, I’m not sure why anyone would want to put something that tastes like peat in their mouth.

    A coulple of decades plus back, when I had to do cocktail parties in heels, I always got a Scotch. I could nurse that sucker through 3 hours and still only be partway done with it. blech. I always thought it was invented for people like me who needed something that wouldn’t tempt them (like Vodka and wine) to chug back and kick off the shoes and … lose your job. ;) OTOH, my mom’s side of the family who are mostly teetotalers make exceptions for KY bourbon and Scotch, so I just missed out on getting the right genes I guess.

    Sample and enjoy and find a your scotchy blisspoint. If you end up shoeless, let us know.”

    Bmaz, it is good to know that Mary’s contributions were appreciated not only by our crowd but also by the larger world.

  35. orionATL says:


    “whispering hope”, beautful choice.

    “whispers of hope” are what weblog commentary, like mary’s commentary, are.

    i sang that song in church as a child; i’d bet it’s in the methodist hymnal, maybe presbyterian, too.

  36. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Many thanks, bmaz, for this kind, revealing memorial for Mary, one of Marcy’s sharpest, most informed and committed commentators. We will miss you, Mary. Condolences to your family and friends, which include many here.

  37. orionATL says:

    mary was also a business woman.

    she made the following comment, in which her both her businesswoman side and an acerbic sense of humor were evident, in response to a myfiredoglake post about the desireability of farmers adverting in newspapers for american workers. it tells us a bit about her day-to-day life.

    this comment was made about this time last year; who could have guessed…?

    ” Mary February 14th, 2011 at 2:50 pm «

    As someone who actually lives in Kentucky and who actually has been involved in the horse industry since I worked on the backside as a mucker at Kentucky’s dogfood track, Ellis – I have to say that despite my sympathy with the point you are trying to make, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    There are a lot of minimum wage types of jobs which go unadvertised because they are low paying and the employers are not mega corporations hiring a slew, but instead are a entities hiring a few – often part time. It’s like saying that “it can’t be true” that it’s hard to find someone to come and cut your grass if you can’t point to where you spent the equivalent amount of money that you would pay for the jobs in running the ads.

    The truth of the matter is that the work is seasonal, tends to be parttime, and tends to be very hard and dirty work; however, it not only doesn’t need a lot of upper education to perform, it operates in an environment where the work almost has to be low paying because there are only so many costs you can bump onto the monthly cost of keeping a horse that don’t make it cost prohibitive except for the very wealthy.

    I do my own stall work and work part time, but whether it’s someone like me with 10 horses in mostly pasture retirement, or someone like any number of my friends who have 1-4 horses or my stableowning friends who board or do layups for 20 and upwards – I can tell you for a fact that it is incredibly difficult to get help for the low paying, very hard work, part time and seasonal type of work that is involved.

    Where once the teenage country boys would work for a few hours a day doing things like putting up hay, mucking stalls, nailing fencing back up, cloroxing stalls of sick horses, carrying water buckets from frozen handpumps back and forth, etc. – it’s the kind of work that you have a hard time finding anyone to do now.

    You can rail and rant that this is because people have to be able to make lots of money if they are going to do such hard work, but the truth is that, but for a very small sliver of the horse industry – most horses are supported by people who work very hard themselves and live on the constant edge of how to pay the next big vet bill and they just don’t have an extra 25,000 out of their own gross 50,000 to pay.

    So they do for themselves a lot or the other common outcome (and just as illegal) is that they have someone who is also collecting some kind of disability who does the work on the side without any reporting.

    It is very much like fruit picking and other industries where illegal immigrants are very much abused, except that almost all of the horse industry is mom and pop, struggling to get by themselves, almost no one does anything but lose money – employers. There’s a reason you get extra years under the tax code to show a profit if you are in the horse business. There’s a reason that bumperstickers saying, “The way to make a small fortune in the horse industry is to start with a large one” are so popular.

    Sure there are some very wealthy people who may take advantage. But you’ve really targeted an indsutry that you don’t know anything about and where a hell of a lot of the “employers” dip below povertyline themselves if their horse colics and has to have surgery.

    And all horse people – “Caucasian or African American” or other – know that a newpaper classifieds is where you look for hay for sale, but not job postings. They know that for jobs, you go where the horses and horse people are and ask. You might have tried getting some info from someone in the industry before you went on the tangents but even from the time I was 16 and on the backside (several decades back) and you did see a lot of African Americans (and horsecrazy young girls) and toothless middlaged men who looked very old and not nearly as many hispanics, no one ran “ads” in a classifieds for stablehand jobs. Feed stores, tack stores, riding organization newletters, travelling to the barns and farms knocking on the doors – those have ALWAYS been the way to get stablehand jobs. Or at least, for the four decades I can speak to specifically.

    And here’s the other thing – working with horses is dangerous. Extremely so – even though it is low paying. So if someone doesn’t know enough about horses to be looking for their jobs through those avenues, they aren’t likely to be someone with enough horse sense to turn loose working with your animals without having them get hurt.

    If you wanted to dig in and chew on something, the way KY makes getting workers comp for banr help almost impossibly might have been a good topic – but what the heck – a clueless rant about missing classified ads is probably more satisfying…”

    if you know anything about small-time farming (or husbandry), you hear the ring of truth in mary’s comment.

  38. Francine says:

    I’m a long-time reader of this blog, mostly lurking to learn. Not only are the articles interesting and newsworthy, I enjoy people’s comments. Everyone else has already said far more eloquently than I can how much her voice will be missed. I really enjoyed reading her comments. And, like somebody else said, even though sometimes they were long, I always read every word — sometimes more than once. Bmaz — thank you for posting this. It was beautifully written and very heartfelt!

  39. burnt says:

    This is a terrible loss. Mary was sharp as they come. What I came to appreciate at The Next Hurrah and later incarnations of this blog was her unparalleled ability to unpack complex legal issues for the laity. She will be sorely missed.

  40. John Casper says:

    I just left this in the Guestbook, recalling Mary talk about her little brother play against the Yankees’ future star and current Dodgers’ manager, Don Mattingly. Mattingly was from Evansville, IN, so it was probably in high school. Mary thought her brother was better than “Donnie Baseball.” If it were anyone other than Mary, I would have thought “sis,” was just looking out for her brother. Knowing Mary’s unquenchable passion for fairness and honesty, her brother was pretty damn good.

    Another memory, one I did not leave in the guestbook, when he was very young, her brother got a hold of a loaded gun and took a shot at her. Fortunately for all of us, he missed.

  41. crowinghen says:

    Like so many others, I almost skipped this post as I didn’t recognize the name and I teared up when I saw that it was Mary. I so admired her comments, and was in awe of the incredible depth and breadth of her knowledge and analysis.

    Thank you, pdaly for posting her comment from the Scotch thread. At the time I remember laughing at how much I enjoyed that thread even though I don’t drink Scotch either. And Mary’s comment that you quoted was probably my favorite ever….her lighthearted comments were as delightful as her legal comments were enlightening.

  42. behindthefall says:

    Oh my goodness. I thought she was a spry 52, say, from her descriptions of her activities. But her intelligence was ageless. What a huge contribution she made to this blog.

  43. JThomason says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful tribute bmaz. Mary’s singular brilliance has been unmistakable. I have rarely encountered any writing embodying reason and outrage in the way her comments about torture conveyed these qualities.

    I am saddened to receive this news.

  44. Bob Schacht says:

    @thatvisionthing: There must be more than one Whispering Hope. This is the one I grew up with:

    Soft as the voice of an angel,
    Breathing a lesson unheard,
    Hope with a gentle persuasion
    Whispers her comforting word:
    Wait till the darkness is over,
    Wait till the tempest is done,
    Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
    After the shower is gone.

    Whispering hope, oh, how welcome thy voice,
    Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

    If, in the dusk of the twilight,
    Dim be the region afar,
    Will not the deepening darkness
    Brighten the glimmering star?
    Then when the night is upon us,
    Why should the heart sink away?
    When the dark midnight is over,
    Watch for the breaking of day.

    Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
    Rends the dark veil for the soul,
    Whither the Master has entered,
    Robbing the grave of its goal;
    Come then, oh, come, glad fruition,
    Come to my sad weary heart;
    Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
    Never, oh, never depart.

    Written in 1868 by Septimus Winner.

    Bob in AZ

  45. mzchief says:

    I think I would have very much enjoyed having tea with kindly and brilliant Mary. It was generous of her to give her thoughts and spend her time with us. May she rest in peace.

  46. shekissesfrogs says:

    This is awful news. Her comments here were like finding easter eggs. I remember EmptyWheel warning: “Don’t tell Mary!” The world is lesser for the loss.

  47. thatvisionthing says:

    @Bob Schacht: Same one, I just heard it on that 78, the one at the youtube, minus the last verse. Didn’t know it went back to 1868! Here I was thinking how fragile words are when they’re on 78s. Live and learn, words aren’t fragile. Hail Mary. Full of…heart.

    I don’t know if it would have meant anything to Mary, but now I wish they’d name Rachel Alexandra’s foal Whispering Hope. For Mary.

  48. egregious says:

    Mary drew a line in the sand and said Torture is wrong. And that any legal attempts to say torture was ok, really, were also wrong and immoral. Thank you, Mary. Rest in peace.

  49. Rayne says:

    She represented the kind of American intellect missing for far too long in public discourse. Sadly, we are now missing this keen intellect again.

    Heartfelt condolences on this enormous loss to Mary’s family both in KY and here at

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