Kentucky Derby Trash Talk: A Run For The Roses & Missing Mary

If it is the first Saturday in May, it is Kentucky Derby day. And so it is again today. We dabble with the ponies occasionally here at the Emptywheel blog, from previous Derby Trash Talks, to our coverage of the historic battles of super filly Zenyatta against the biggest and baddest boys of the horse racing world. Heck, we even have our own fearless roving reporter, Rosalind, monitoring the pending debut of Zenyatta’s little sister, Eblouissante.

But, by far, it was our friend and colleague Mary who kept up our equine quotient here. Her tales from her farm, in the actual horse country of Kentucky, were a constant over the years. Whether it was the feeding and common chores to care for her horses, saving ones in trouble, to making sure they were ready for incoming storms, it was a slice of life we don’t often stop to ponder in the fast paced politi-legal world we generally do here. Mary loved racing horses more than the actual racing really. For the big race days she would always say something to the effect of “oh, I’ll probably just be working on the farm for that”. Yet, later would say “well, I found a few minutes to see Rachel Alexandra run, wow what a race!”

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. If you are new here and did not know Mary, here is the original memoriam we did.

So, there is a real live Derby today. It has not been one of the years with a big noisy media buildup. While we would probably know Andrew Cohen, the CBS News and The Atlantic legal analyst more for his work in the law, he is a completely devoted and involved soul in the world of horses and racing. Here is his breakdown for this year’s race:

On Saturday, the first Saturday in May, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, will host the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. It ought to be an excellent race. There is no dominant, obvious favorite this year and you can make reasonable arguments for any one of a handful of colts who will be running. As is often the case, you also don’t have to look too hard to find a sentimental choice, if you are so inclined, because the field is full of them.

For example, there is Union Rags, the pre-season favorite for the Derby until he ran poorly after a tough trip in the Florida Derby. Union Rags is trained by Barbaro’s old trainer, Michael Matz, the mercurial horseman who seems like he could use some good karma for a change on the track. Then there is the fast colt Creative Cause, winner of the San Felipe Stakes, who represents his 71-year-old trainer Mike Harringon’s first-ever Derby horse. And there is Bodemeister, trainer Bob Baffert’s latest missive, named after Baffert’s son, a colt who blew them away in the Arkansas Derby.

Want more? There’s Gemologist, one of trainer Todd Pletcher’s best, a colt who won the Wood Memorial and who has never been beaten. There’s Hansen, a striking white colt whose owner got into a tussle with race officials in Kentucky because he wanted the horse’s tail painted blue for a race. It didn’t happen—God forbid horse racing should have an edgy marketing ploy—and Hansen was beaten by another Derby horse, named Dullahan, trained by Dale Romans, son of Jerry Romans, who never won a Derby himself.

There is much, much more in Andrew’s article though, it is well worth a read. The title is “The Kentucky Derby and the Slow Death of Horse Racing” and it is is an excellent work on the various ills of the endeavor once known as “the sport of kings”.

I found a couple of historic takes on the Kentucky Derby from years gone by that you might find interesting, if so inclined. The first is by William Faulkner and is from 1955. Faulkner is such a rich and brooding writer. The second is from the always raucous Hunter S. Thompson and paints the picture of just what a depraved and decadent ramble of a party Derby week is in Louisville. From a man who really knew decadent and depraved partying.

My mother was bred, born and raised in the bluegrass country of western Kentucky and went with her father, my grandfather, to the Derby nearly every year growing up. She also taught American Literature for a very long time; she, like Mary, would have loved these looks back through the eyes of American masters of the pen. They are long, but fascinating pieces.

There are a host of other sports going on as well. The NFL recently completed its entry draft, had more trouble down in the Big Easy and, sadly, lost Junior Seau. Not a very good week. Oh, and former marginal Pittsburgh running back Merril Hoge is making a blithering ignorant jackass of himself by ripping Kurt Warner, who made the perfectly reasonable comment that he might not want his children to play football at the level of the current college and pro ranks because of the potential for life altering brain injury. It appears to be Hoge, however, who has an angry screw loose in the head. Notably, Hoge himself almost died from the bullshit he is spewing.

The baseball world has lost Mariano Rivera, arguably the greatest relief pitcher ever, for at least the year to a freak knee injury while he was shagging flies in pre-game warmups. Thankfully, Mo promises to be back for a curtain call, a player of such quality should not leave the game like that. Pujols still can’t get a ball out of the yard in his new home in Anaheim and the Sawx are back on an even keel – for now.

The NBA playoffs are in full swing with last year’s champion, the Dallas Mavericks on the brink of extinction, the Bulls hanging by a thread without star Derrick Rose and the San Antonio Spurs quietly plowing along. It is still completely impossible for me to find anything but total disdain for LeBron James and the Heat.

So, there is the rundown folks. A lot to chew on and talk trash about. Busy weeks lately, let’s have some fun! And Jimi Hendrix in the special video, what more could you ask for. Let’s get it on!

63 replies
  1. Brian Silver says:

    bmaz, thank you for this moving essay. As someone who back in school was called “Silky Sullivan” for the way I came from behind in my 880-yard competitions, I’ve always watched the horses. Never much took in live racing, though did get to Hollywood Park and Santa Anita a couple of times when I was growing up in L.A. and even went to Turf Paradise in Phoenix in 1956 shortly after it opened (the 1 year our family lived in PHX).

    For now, however, it’s mainly watching the big races on TV. Made sure we have the ingredients for our mint juleps this afternoon. It’s Spring. And btw there’s a Supermoon coming on tonight, if only those clouds go away!

  2. bmaz says:

    @Brian Silver: Hey, I didn’t know you had service time in Phoenix. Yes, Turf Paradise is still there. Still nice, but certainly not what it was back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, when it was a simply beautiful and very happening place. Wehn I was in law school, we used to load up and go out there from Tempe for happy hours and early dinners. Great scene.

    I too am going to collect up the goods for some mint juleps for the afternoon. Hey, if you have a good recipe, want to post it up here in comments for everybody? I would be interested, mine often come out lame.


  3. masaccio says:

    Wow, great video. The quote from Robert Jackson is at least as beautiful as Secretariat. It should bring shame to our judicial system.

  4. dakine01 says:

    As a native of Kentucky, born and raised a few miles north of Lexington, the Derby has a long and valued history in my family. My recently deceased sister was married on Derby Day in ’72 and with only a couple of years off, had held Derby parties in New Hampshire ever since.

    Plus this is the 45th and final Derby Party being held by my cousins and their daughters and granddaughters.

    While I am not a Mint Julep fan by any means, I will be sipping some fine Kentucky bourbon this afternoon and evening.

    My sister’s julep recipe:
    Simple Syrup:
    2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, boil for 5 minutes and let cool.

    In blender:
    3/4 cup syrup
    6 oz bourbon
    fill with ice
    drop pinch of mint in while turning it off

  5. bmaz says:

    @dakine01: For the record, I generally agree, mint juleps are a waste of good bourbon. But you kind of have to do it once a year….

  6. bmaz says:

    @Neal Deesit: Wow. Not sure how that happened. It was supposed to be a link to Sport’s Illustrated’s “SI Vault” and that was the page that was open I copied the URL from. Weird. Thanks for pointing out and finding a better link, I have replaced the bogus one with your good one in the post.

  7. Brian Silver says:

    I agree about not using your very best bourbon in the mint julep (I have some truly vintage pre-Prohibition rye, which I would never mix with anything) but it’s worth using good bourbon (in my case “Makers”), since you must drink it, after all.

    The more practical question is when you should have that drink (for 6:24 post time), and should you have more than one? Typically would put about 3 oz. of bourbon in that tall drink, equivalent to two “normal” drinks.

  8. thatvisionthing says:

    Watched the vid and I am in tears. I miss Mary and I’m glad that we are gathering round her here. Thanks.

    My dad was born in Kentucky, grew up on a farm there, died on the farm there, is buried there. I think of him a lot and miss him more than I can say. There’s a spot on his farm where there’s a circle of big oak trees, and you know that the empty center once held the parent of them all. We call it The Cathedral. One of my favorite things.

  9. klynn says:

    Miss Mary. Thank you this tribute bmaz. I remember sharing with Mary about when I got to meet Secretariat. We had a neat exchange that day…

  10. bmaz says:


    TVT and KLynn. thank you! I am a creature of the desert and west coast (Santa Monica for many a summer in my late teens and early 20’s). But, really, mostly desert. I do know Kentucky though. I went there for at least a month every summer since before I can remember (before Kennedy was shot) and until 1974 or so. My grandfather was a leader, head at one point I think, of the Kentucky Colonels. My only Louisville Downs experience was as a kid, wish I knew more what it was like recently.

    Interestingly, what TVT said about the trees fits. There seems to be something, I have seen it before, about honoring souls by burying them by worthy trees.

  11. P J Evans says:

    I have a reprint (somewhere in a box) of a 19th century cookbook where the mint julep begins with a pineapple slice in the bottom of the glass. (I’d consider crushed pineapple, so it could go through the straw it also calls for.) And it uses more than a pinch of mint, too.

  12. Bob Schacht says:

    @bmaz: “…My grandfather was a leader, head at one point I think, of the Kentucky Colonels….” Do you mean the Bluegrass group, or some other? What was his name?

    “…There seems to be something, I have seen it before, about honoring souls by burying them by worthy trees….”

    Last year, we buried my mother’s ashes in small holes around a certain dedicated tree in the Madison arboretum. The landscaping is wonderful, and a most excellent place to remember her 92 year life.

    But I really miss Mary, too. I am thinking that by now she has had a chance to meet Bucephalos, Secretariat, and a host of other noteworthy horses. Who do you think would have been first on her list?

    Bob in AZ

  13. Bob Schacht says:

    @P J Evans: On her show last night, before MSNBC turned to Prisons! Prisons! Prisons!!!, Rachel Maddow ended with some talk about Mint Juleps, and a drink to prepare your alcoholic taste buds for the real thing. No pineapples mentioned. The point of the Mint Julep does NOT seem to be to make it taste good. The point seems to be to enable you to get hammered as quickly as possible after your horse loses, so you won’t remember betting the farm on a long shot until tomorrow morning.

    Bob in AZ

  14. Brian Silver says:

    Gonna wing it just a bit. Have the simple syrup made and chilled. But which whiskey? I’ve got: Bulleitt “Frontier Whiskey,” Willett, Woodford Reserve, and Makers (handmade and sour mash — will rule out the sour mash). Decisions, decisions. Gonna sample. — test results: Willett far too good and smooth to get sugared up but Wow. Bulleitt is sharper, could be used for this purpose. But I think I’m going with the Makers for now. Any one might do for a bourbon-based sidecar (not tonight!).

  15. Starbuck says:

    Growing up in Cicero, the Kentucky Derby was always a conversation piece, especially around the firehouse, where I hung out as a little boy. I even remember a song about the derby from the year Middleground won the derby (Middleground?)

    The last two lines:

    “I bet on Your Horse but I found
    I would have done better with Middleground”.

    Now why in ever would that be the memories of memories about the Kentucky Derby?

  16. P J Evans says:

    @Bob Schacht:
    I did say it was 19th century, and IIRC well before the Interstate Unpleasantness. (Can’t remember offhand if it was Mary Randolph’s Virginia Housewife or Lydia Child’s American Frugal Housewife. Both make interesting reading.)

  17. Brian Silver says:

    6 PM, it’s gooood. Mellowing out. (The wife has a half-dose and is proclaiming she’s already drunk: that is not possible!)

  18. thatvisionthing says:

    @bmaz: You know I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tree that I didn’t think was holy somehow. Here in Southern California in I guess you’d call it the high desert outside of San Diego, the oak trees are invisible. It’s kind of amazing actually what the government cannot see even though it’s their job to protect them.

    I bet the 9th circuit could not see them either. (Juries, bmaz, juries.)

    What Kind of Times Are These
    By Adrienne Rich

    There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
    and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
    near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
    who disappeared into those shadows.

    I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
    this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
    our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
    its own ways of making people disappear.

    I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
    meeting the unmarked strip of light—
    ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
    I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

    And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
    anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
    to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
    to talk about trees.

    Hey Mary.

  19. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: About time our damned Roving Reporter showed up. You know, newsrooms all across the country are cutting staff. But, yet, we nurture and love YOU girl. Ya best gets with da program!

  20. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: dude, it’s national comic book day. priorities. also had to finish running errands in prep for Super Geek Sunday, aka “The Avengers”!

  21. Jim White says:

    @bmaz: Indeed. Fun to see a lesser-known horse and first time jockey win. Gutierrez’s response was special.

    I can’t imagine trying to handle these jazzed up young stallions. I’ll stick with show horses that we keep tired so that they are under control…

  22. bmaz says:

    @rosalind: Come on woman, have you no love for the fucking SUPERMOON??

    Again, we are gonna have to address the excessive nature of yer wages here at Emptywheel….

  23. rosalind says:

    ok, horsey talk. as bmaz issued me an assignment a while back, i guess i’ve gone from self-appointed roving reporter to official. instead of a press badge i sport a limited edition button (ahem).

    Zenyatta: the amazing horse i fell in love with (courtesy Mary) gave birth to her first foal, cute baby horse pics here – – i risked life & limb hydroplaning on the 134 to make Z’s baby shower at Santa Anita where i stood in line to get my free souvenir poster autographed by Z’s trainer John Shirreffs, his wife Dottie, her Jockey, and the artist of her official portrait. i have an extra poster if anyone is interested – send your mailing info to bmaz or ew and they can forward it to me.

    Eblouissante: is Z’s kid 1/2 sister, and has taken up residence in Z’s old stall at H’wood Park under the tutelage of John Shirreffs. i asked John for a hint of when she was going to run her first race, and after laughing hysterically, said the best tip he could give me is her first race won’t be at Santa Anita. her facebook page – – gives occasional updates.

  24. scribe says:

    @Brian Silver: I’d go with the “Kentucky Gentleman”, the colleague of “Virginia Gentleman”. In the local strip mall liquor store, the one is $7.50 the metric fifth and the other $8.00, I forget which way. Doesn’t matter, if you use enough mint. Getting hammered (but not driving home) is the point.

    In the astonishing selection of whiskeys in that store (in a frickin’ strip mall: go figure) I also found a bottle of Beam’s Rye (pale yellow label), which I promptly glommed and put up for sipping during chill nights next winter. I had to pass on a couple other ryes, too.

    Good race. The decline of horse racing stems, IMHO, from the growing and continuing divorce of American people from the land and any relationship to it. Many come to adulthood having had no relationship with a large domesticated animal, nor from holding dirt in their hands or planting a seed in a natural-ish environment and watching it grow. I (and you, too, I suspect) have heard time and again people refer to the sidewalk or the yard or the ground as “the floor” – a reflection of the paving-over of America, gone wild. In such an environment, any contact with a horse is fleeting. The derivative of such contact – racing – even more ephemeral and bound to fade. Imagine, if you will, how NASCAR would fare in a world where our cars were replaced by something else, faster and more efficient and less smelly. Some folks (rich ones, mostly) would cling to the car, and keep them in top shape and race them, but Daytona would devolve (no snarking about “can’t devolve any more”, please) into a day at a beach with some drinking thrown in while the cars raced. It would take generations, but it would happen.

    It’s sad. The relationship between man and horse is about as old and deep as that between man and dog, sheep, goat or cow. But it’s looking to fade out.

  25. bmaz says:

    Okay, seriously, is NO FUCKING BODY going to talk about the completely awesome video?

    Or Mary?


    I don’t even know any more…….

  26. Valley Girl says:


    Hi Rosalind, nothing to do with your comment above.

    But there was a branch of my family involved in horse racing, and still is in a minor way.

    Father of one sister’s husband made a mint b/c of some drill bit he invented. This was a huge upswing in family wealth.

    For whatever reason, he decided to buy a filly at auction. I think his wife might have made him do this, but I’m not sure about the history there. But, she did have dreams of owning a horse farm.

    ~~Filly was “Fabulous Notion”, Fabulous Notion won all five starts as a 2-year-old in 1982, including the second running of the Hollywood Starlet Stakes. The following year, she captured the Santa Susana Stakes (gr. I) and two other added-money races.~~

    Quote from

    Not sure which race I saw her win- I was visiting from England. But it was a thrill and a half.

    My sister and her husband got finagled into running a thoroughbred farm as their first marital adventure. Both of them could quote stats on any horse you cared to name. My sis really got into it, and ended up employed by California thoroughbred auction house in Pomona. Mostly to recruit sellers and keep them happy. She was then, and probably still is now, a cute little blonde who could flirt to the max, but also knew her horses.


    And, being the great flirt, also got to know the trainers at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. Behind the scenes. I wish I could remember some of her more salient comments!

    But, it’s not just the horse, it’s also the trainer. That was my take-home message.


  27. Phoenix Woman says:

    I remember seeing an e-mail comment about Mary, a comment from someone who was herself a smart cookie: “Mary. Is. Scary.” This was meant in a good way.

    If this were a less corrupt world, she’d not only still be alive, but sitting on the Supreme Court in John Roberts’ place. Can you imagine her giving Scalia fits? She’d literally have him chasing his tail inside of ten minutes, once he realized he couldn’t bully her with his blowhardiness. In ten more minutes, he’d probably bust a blood vessel.

  28. Jim White says:

    @bmaz: In my case, the video, combined with thinking about Mary, is just so moving it’s hard to come up with anything to say. I doubt there were many dry eyes around the Wheelhouse as folks got to the end of it.

    But please thank the friend who put the video together. It is to be treasured.

  29. Valley Girl says:

    Oh, and I miss Mary enormously. I first got to know her when I was a mod (one of the very first) at FDL. I mean, I got to know her via her brilliant comments at FDL. And, for whatever reason, she had trouble posting comments from home and office, and I steered her through. She was the absolute best, in every respect. Her extremely inventive sense of humor, plus her absolute command of every case at hand was extraordinary. Her posts were always a joy to read.

  30. Bob Schacht says:

    Awesome vid, and a great closing quote. I just hope Judge Jackson is prowling about, behind the scenes, doing things that will right these wrongs. But he needs some help!

    One thing about the race: A guy on NPR, talking about Jamaican track & field racers, said something interesting: All those races where it looks like a man (or a horse?) comes “from behind” to win the race– what usually is actually happening is that the leaders run out of gas as they approach the finish line; the winner is the one who is able to *maintain* pace all the way to the finish line. I suppose one way to test this is that in horse racing, don’t they time each quarter?

    Bob in AZ

  31. Bay State Librul says:

    Rivera is a first vote Hall of Famer.
    2013 could witness a “Comeback of the Year” mantel.
    My favorite comebacker was Tony C beaned in ’67, but roared back in 1969 to win the Sprorting News Award

    “Baseball is the sport that cackles back at can’t-miss kids. Baseball humbles every player sooner or later. Baseball confers greatness stingily, in its own sweet time. At least that’s what the bow-tied essayists and sandlot scouts solemnly tell us.” – Johnette Howard in Sports Illustrated

  32. quebecois says:

    @Phoenix Woman:

    That was the way I felt about Mary, she was scary good. She was able to cut through the crap and make me understand what was really behind the subject discussed. I always smiled when reading her post, she is missed.

    I like horses, but I dislike the humans who own them most of the time. I’ve had to photograph a few daughters jumping, and these folks were simply out of their minds.

    Which brings me to different horses, and to say that the start of this year’s formula One season is something to behold. I pretty much skipped, or should I say Boycotted the Bahrein gp, it should have never taken place.

    Cycling season is on, I’m watching the second étape of the Giro d’italie on Réseau des Sports.

    Thanks bmaz.

  33. emptywheel says:

    Thanks for posting this bmaz, and to whatever person did that great video.

    I missed the race yesterday, was chasing my niece all over DC (about to get on a plane, should be back at the post tomorrow). But I’ve been thinking about Mary a lot lately, particularly as I try to unpack just how egregious the government’s attempts to hide the Memorandum of NOtification they’re using to torture and drone assassinate and partner with Libya and a range of other atrocities.

    You are missed, Mary.

  34. Brian Silver says:

    @Bob Schacht:

    Bob, he may be right. I’ve read the same thing about human races. Sprinters, say at 100 meters, reach peak speed at about 50 meters; after that the question is how long can they maintain form and peak velocity. The winner doesn’t necessarily speed up, just maintains peak speed longer and slows down less than the other runners. The same phenomenon might work at 200 m as well. For longer races, however, the final segment can be faster than prior ones, at least for the winner!

    The splits (5 quarter-mile segments) for the lead horse (keep in mind the lead changed) yesterday in seconds were 23.74, 24.89, 24.77, 24.09, and 24.55. So the last quarter mile was slower than the fourth one. I don’t have the splits for the winner separately. Here’s a link:

  35. rosalind says:

    DODGER DIVORCE: gather around boys & girls, it’s the final installment! When we last left off, Frank & Jamie McCourt had reached a divorce settlement and MLB had given Frank the power to choose the finalists & ultimate winner of “New Owner of Bruised But Still Battlin’ Baseball Team in Aging Stadium”. Frank picked the Magic Johnson fronted Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC, and the D-Date became 5/1/12.

    On this date Jamie was due her $150 million from Frank, and the handpicked winners were due their team. Last minute details pushed things to May 2nd, but the ink set and the deals done. For the honor of buying a b’ball team completely ON CREDIT, cause the powers-that-be deemed him “one of their own”, then sucking out multi-millions so he and da family could live large, Frank McCourt walked away with ONE BILLION, CASH.

    To L.A. fans hoping to have seen the last of the McCourts, the fine print on the legal docs provided an acid reflux inducing detail: Rumors were rampant that McCourt had retained ownership of the parking lots. Not so, said Magic Johnson et al, they had just legally partnered with McCourt for any future commercial development on the Parking Lot land. That’s all! The man who has made a spectacularly successful life suing people, their new partner. What could go wrong?

    So concludes the sad saga of teen love gone really bad. I am now taking book on when that little asterisk in the fine print blows up bad, with a new yet-to-be-determined boatload of cash thrown at the man to just make him fucking go away. I got dibs on May 2nd, 2016, with the Court Case resolved somewhere in the ’20s.

    for the lesson learned, we cue the final scene of “Burn Without Reading”:

    CIA OFFICER: What did we learn, Palmer?

    PALMER: I don’t know sir.

    CIA OFFICER: I don’t fuckin’ know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.

    PALMER: Yes, sir.

    CIA OFFICER: But I’m fucked if I know what we did.

    PALMER: Yes, sir. It’s hard to say.

    to be cont’d…

  36. P J Evans says:

    If Loser Frank wants to do anything with his piece of parking lot, he’s going to have fans with pitchforks and torches surrounding him before he can say that he’s going to have the rest multi-decked. Especially after Winner Magic lowered the parking price this week.

  37. MadDog says:

    @emptywheel: Mary was a constant companion, a bedrock really, in EW’s blogs. Like all, missing Mary now too is a constant companion.

    And speaking of US drone assassinations, this from the AP:

    Airstrike kills senior al-Qaida leader in Yemen

    An airstrike Sunday killed a top al-Qaida leader on the FBI’s most wanted list for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship, Yemeni officials said. The airstrike resembled earlier U.S. drone attacks, but the U.S. did not immediately confirm it.

    Fahd al-Quso was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle, along with another al-Qaida operative in the southern Shabwa province, Yemeni military officials said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with military regulations…


    …Al-Quso’s association with al-Qaida dated back more than a decade, when he met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bin Laden allegedly told him to “eliminate the infidels from the Arabian Peninsula.”

    From there he rose through the ranks. He was assigned in Aden to videotape the 1998 suicide bombing of the USS Cole, but he fell asleep…”

    Evidently falling asleep can get you placed on the US government’s “kill lists”.

  38. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: And more OT – Via AP again, this doesn’t bode well:

    Congress’ intelligence heads: Taliban stronger

    The leaders of the congressional committees said Sunday they believed that the Taliban had grown stronger since President Barack Obama sent 33,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010.

    The pessimistic report by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., challenges Obama’s own assessment last week in his visit to Kabul that the “tide had turned” and that “we broke the Taliban’s momentum…”

  39. orionATL says:

    yes, i thought of mary yesterday. she flashed into my mind right after “kentucky derby” showed up there.

    thanks, bmaz for this affectionate and elegantly written memoriam.

    and thanks to you, mary, for being that lawyer who never took a “ho hum, it’s the way things are, ya know” view of our government’s episodic depredations of individuals’ rights of life and liberty,

    and thereby gave others of us here leave and heart to also speak out against those depredations.

  40. orionATL says:


    a very fair question, bmaz. thanks for asking it.

    by the way, it may be something i’ve done wrong here at this cpu&co., but this essay did not show up on my screen until sometime after 10am this morning, sunday.

    this has been a small problem here for ew posts for a week or so – some posts are delayed a day, though they may show up sooner in the “latest posts” sidebar.

  41. orionATL says:

    god, i’d forgotten how that big red horse could RUN.

    thanks, for the video bmaz.

    miss your voice, mary – a lot!

  42. orionATL says:


    orion amends what he wrote above to say,

    “and thanks to you, mary, for being, along with bmaz, that lawyer who never took …”.

    just so it is crystal clear how much i value both lawyers.

  43. William Ockham says:

    I don’t much care about horses, one way or the other, but, damn I miss Mary. Never interacted with her anywhere but at EW’s place, but she made an impression on me. She had a fine mind and an even better spirit. She was relentless in opposing torture to the very end.

  44. orionATL says:

    i have been running that video in my head.

    i suspect that there is only one person who could combine the horse racing clips, the knowledgeable sports commentary, and the quote from supreme court justice, attorney general, and federal prosecutor, robert jackson.

    that person is almost certainly bmaz.

    thanks, bmaz for a first-rate multi-media essay.

    more importantly, thanks for providing – longterm – leadership for this small weblog.

  45. bmaz says:

    @orionATL: I participated a little, but am not even close to having the skill to pull it off. A longtime friend of the blog did the hard work, and did a spectacular job.

  46. Bob Schacht says:

    @orionATL: “and “joe hill” wasn’t joe hill, but some swedish immigrant fellow with an attitude and a talent for song writing:

    Hey, watch your debunking. I read your words to indicate that Hill wrote the song with his name, but as the Wikipedia says, it was written by someone else posthumously. Besides, changing his Swedish name to an easier to pronounce and spell English name was a common thing to do. An attitude? what’s wrong with that? I know a few folks here in the Wheelhouse that has them an attitude. Besides, he was a Wobbly, which is a badge of honor so far as I am concerned.

    What kind of deja vu were you driving at?

    Bob in AZ

  47. wavpeac says:

    I miss mary,too…great memorial. I don’t think I can ever forget the minds that help to make sense of the lead up to war, the libby trial, torture. Thank you all!

  48. orionATL says:

    @Bob Schacht:

    it was sarcasm, bob, aimed at the anti-immigrant mood in the country and pointed toward the fact that, salve for native-americans, we are all immigrants. many from many nations have contributed to making the u.s what it is – or was until recently.

  49. JohnT says:

    That’s sad about Mary :-(

    I did not know that.

    I feel like a better person for having read her comments and blogs.

    Wow. Just wow.

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