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Those Torture Memos

Sleep deprivation for 11 days. A bug in his box. Waterboarding. Ain't no word for any of this other than torture. I have to second the comment by Andrew Sullivan, who called one of the memos "as chilling an artefact as you are ever likely to read in a democratic society."

I'm reading through the various reactions to the memos (see links below), but fyi, the story didn't make the front page of the USA Today I picked up this morning in the motel lobby. (I'm somewhere in the Midwest, probably Ohio.)

Instead there's a big John Madden splash, a big NBA playoff splash, a tax story and an Afghanistan story. Torture got a key, and a bland one that didn't mention "torture" itself ("CIA interrogators won't be charged/Obama: Methods were sanctioned at the time; memos of techniques"). This is not to pick on Al Neuharth's newspaper, just to point out that the torture story has never been front and center nationally. The Left is focused on it, the Right says we're giving away national security secrets, and Obama et al. would rather move on. The country is following his lead on that. But gosh -- you read those memos and it's so shameful, seems like at bare minimum the American people need to see what was done in their name -- which may include prosecuting the people who sanctioned this torture scheme. (One of them just became a federal judge).

Here's The Post's editorial board. Here's Steve Stromberg. At the NYTimes, Michael Ratner writes: "Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed."

[You can check out all the reaction at Memeorandum. The top item this morning is a piece in the Wall Street Journal by Hayden and Mukasey (Bush CIA head and AG), which basically says we've now told our enemies precisely where we draw the line (or where we used to draw it). Meanwhile, at HuffPo, a glimpse at what the U.S. did with the Lincoln assassination conspirators.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 17, 2009; 7:57 AM ET
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Next: Getting Cranky on Mars


Thank you Joel. This is important.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm just wondering if you can just haul off and hit someone in public and get away with it if you can prove that there was a doctor present.

Oh, hey, that's called professional boxing.

OK, that wasn't torture, that was boxing.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, just want to say that I am a huge fan of Leek soup. One of the oldest and best pleasures of mankind. That, along with a properly prepared onion soup. Something that isn't an excuse for a bowl containing a mimimum monthly allowance of melted cheese.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you should do a kit in USA Today "style." Prozac news.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Good kit, Joel. I've always been somewhat mystified about why the torture thing never really exploded; the only thing I can think of is that a sizable number of people in the middle are kinda sorta OK with it, since we were doing it to bad guys (and that's as far as they need to think about it). Of course, the "wings" have their much firmer opinions, which is to be expected.

Of course, if it had been some other country doing it to one or some of our people, then you'd have heard a ruckus like you wouldn't believe. Well, they don't call it American exceptionalism for nothing, I guess.

I'm much inclined to agree with Ratner's point, some point there becomes the issue of whether to go ahead and prosecute when you have very little evidence of state of mind, a Nuremberg-style defense ("we were only following orders" and besides the AG said it was OK), and the strong possibility, if not probability, of acquittals in complex cases where there is a lot of sympathy from the jury, if not outright jury nullification. What's the rationale for spending millions of dollars on a case you know you're likely to lose?

OK, a short ont this morning:

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

April 17, 1492: Queen Isabella of Spain reaches agreement with Italian navigator Christopher Columbus: she’ll finance his expedition across the Atlantic to “Cipangu” (as Japan was then called). (He missed.)
1524: Florentine navigator Giovanni Verrazano discovers and sails into what is now New York Harbor. They named the bridge and the narrows underneath it after him.
1964: Jerrie Mock lands her Cessna 180 Spirit of Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, becoming the first woman to fly solo around the world, in 29 days.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

And what did Chris Hitchens say on Morning Joe today about the CIA having some sadists within its ranks...

And Hitchen's mention that current SecDef Robert Gates was deeply involved in the intel community when bad intel about major players was dished out...Clip, is there a clip of Hitchens' remarks this a.m.?

"Secretary Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. Secretary Gates is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush."

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, I have no idea where you'd ever get a jury pool from. How do you find a sizable bunch of people who have never heard of any of this torture business and have no pre-conceived opinion about it? And would you want such people deciding this case?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I think the torture issue has not resonated with people because most people don't want to think about it. While some probably believe it is justified under some circumstances I think most people do not. Americans have a lot invested in the idea of the moral high ground, and included in that is the idea that we do not torture. It is easier to hold onto this feeling than it is to confront the reality of the last few years. Also, torture is icky. We don't like to think about icky things for very long, unless it is something icky and cool like on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel.

I like the Ratner quote about prosecution not being a political decision. That is so cute. Is he always this refreshingly naive? Every prosecution, everywhere, has an element of a political decision. It only gets attention in the important cases.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

That these memos have been released and the techniques repudiated makes me extremely happy. This goes a long way towards lifting the collective shame endured, rightly or wrongly, by members of the Intelligence Community, the Federal Government, Americans, and our allies.

Many psychological studies have shown how normally decent people can end up doing things they later find repugnant under certain situations involving stress and official sanction. A careful and sober examination of how these events came about is essential to make sure they are not repeated.

Finally, of course, it is also important that Obama preserve the legal protection of those who were doing what they were directed to do under good faith. I realize that this is difficult for some to accept, but consider the alternative.

If police, soldiers, and intelligence officers do not have the confidence that they are free to do things legitimately authorized by their superiors, the whole system would break down.

Consider a rather extreme example of this. A few days ago trained marksman were directed to shoot and kill three Somali teenagers. They did so with the assurances that they, personally, would not be charged with murder. Whether or not the authorization of this shooting was appropriate is subject for legitimate debate. The guarantee that the responsibility for these actions should rest with those in authority is not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert, titled "Madden vs. Torture."

Fasten your seatbelts and place your trays in the upright position.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm personally tired of folks on the right claiming that folks on the left are spilling state secrets.

I'm sick of IT!

So, ... I'm really going to let the cat out of the bag:

The chilling truth is, and you won't believe it since it is such a great setup, but it is true nonetheless, the entire Washington Nationals team is comprised of CIA Agents.

Whoa, you say, that explains a lot, and it does.

The whole ruse was set up to get Manny Acta into Central America and Cuba without tipping off his actual cause. He will not be just any baseball talent scout, all you have to do is wait and see!

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

RT, I gotta admit it makes a lot of sense that the Nats are nothing but Intelligence Officers. Goodness knows they don't seem to have been hired because of their baseball skills.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Sleep deprivation for 11 days ... new parents go through worse.

Terrorists need to be scared out of their wits by something a little bit closer to what John McCain endured in the Hanoi Hilton.

Posted by: mediaskeptic | April 17, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

RD, yes... right there in front of our very eyes, in broad day light for all to see. Well, not all, they made sure that Joe Wilson wasn't a season ticket holder, first.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

People don't want to think about torture, Ivansmom says. Well, let's add some video to it and make it far more real, shall we? Here's a five-minute clip of a waterboarding, with commentary. I do hope you feel uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, while watching it. It should also make people question the accuracy of information obtained under such conditions:

Lest we forget, the intelligence community really applied pressure against the ACLU lawsuit that pushed for the release of these memos:

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Since WAPO dragged sports into it, I am still on kit!

My Flames lost their first playoff game last night in Chicago. However, I take some comfort that it was by no means a rout; 3-2 in overtime is not bad. I mean, it is bad, but not bad bad.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's only vaguely related to torture, but I'm pleased as punch to see that "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" made the front page!

What Could Make Austen Better?

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Ooops. Didn't backboodle. Been there, done that, I see.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Are you referring to making him give the confession in front of cameras?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Loomis - please be careful of your words. Specific individuals may have opposed this release, but there was no petition. The "intelligence community" consists of thousands of people spread over a half dozen agencies.

And you are misinterpreting what Ivansmom said.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

From 9:43 a.m. post:
"A careful and sober examination of how these events came about is essential to make sure they are not repeated."

Like toca?

"...those like George W. Bush and his mouthpiece Attorneys General and those who don't really care a whit about the fact that waterboarding is torture might be interested to know that there was another group of people who felt they were doing God's work by sanctioning a method of torture in which a handkerchief was forced down a suspect's throat just before a gallon of water was pouted through a funnel that had been inserted between their lips."

Spanish Inquisition, anyone?

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm aggressively, even repugnantly, holier-than-nobody-at-all. But Ivansmom's analysis sounded pretty reasonable to me.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Dammit, Weed, you just gave away top secret information about the Nationals. Now their cover as hapless members of the Three Stooges is blown.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Good heavens, Loomis. Your ability to unnecessarily and inappropriately personalize a discussion - at entirely the wrong time - never ceases to amaze me. You feel strongly about this issue, and that's a good thing. Perfectly legitimate. You're welcome, in the service of that feeling, to misinterpret my post to make a point. I don't care. I know that the vast majority of Boodlers and lurkers, from past experience, skip your posts anyway.

However, this compulsion to personally attack RD Padouk, simply because he has more recent and better professional experience with intelligence agencies than you, and because you don't like his adding that experience to the mix, is foolish. You've done it before and it never makes sense. It makes you look petty and silly, and adds no credibility to your arguments.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 17, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, I appreciate your light hearted point, but it is misplaced and puts you onto a very slippery slope. One would hope that this America isn't your America.

I believe we managed to kill some folks with our intense questioning methods.

We can only hope that they had it coming. After all, we weren't batting 1000 in Gitmo.

What we were doing in the memo was basically adopting the KGB playbook on torture. KGB was at play in Hanoi Hilton.

KGB adapted stuff from the German Gestapo.

When you start making allowances, you have just started a slide. Some of us want to stay as far away as possible from that slippery slope.

mediasceptic, whether it is one person or 100's of thousands, we have to draw the line. McCain has spoken out against Torture. In a week, where we find out that our fears that all of our personal communications had been compromised for so many years were validated, we see that there was indeed true attempts to torture captives that we (you and I) held.

Our nation has tried people for less. What has changed? Because we did it?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

And, so, for something completely different ...

My condolences, Yoki, while I nevertheless exult over my Red Wings' huge win (4-1) over Columbus. YAY!

For anyone still interested in listening to Susan Boyle sing, there's another of her efforts set forth on YouTube (but only audio), when she sang "Cry Me a River" as part of a charity CD in 1999, I believe. Her phrasing and timing and dulcet tones are simply remarkable. She is, indeed, the real thing.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 17, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Bless the Fourth Estate, including Isikoff!

Brennan trying to involve current CIA jefe Monterey, Calif, Leon Panetta in blocking the release of those memos. Doesn't go much higher than the top of the CIA, does it? Newsweek, April 3:

"Brennan is a former senior CIA official who was once considered by Obama for agency director but withdrew his name late last year after public criticism that he was too close to past officials involved in Bush administration decisions. Brennan, who now oversees intelligence issues at the National Security Council, argued that release of the memos could embarrass foreign intelligence services who cooperated with the CIA, either by participating in overseas "extraordinary renditions" of high-level detainees or housing them in overseas "black site" prisons.

"Brennan succeeded in persuading CIA Director Leon Panetta to become 'engaged' in his efforts to block release, according to the senior official. Their joint arguments stalled plans to declassify the memos even though White House counsel Gregory Craig had already signed off on Holder's recommendation that they should be disclosed, according to an official and another government source familiar with the debate. ..."

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to by "Holier than though." If I were to say "Texans want to secede from the Union" would this be a fair statement?

And I was much more into 4-H.

But I have said my peace on this topic.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, mudge.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I am quite certain that should be zapped, according to the rules of the site.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

RD and iMom,

When you can watch a youtube video, check out the posts at the end of the last kit.

Janeane Garofalo is really hitting the nail on the head.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I am grateful to russianthistle for clearing up the confusion over the Nationals. All this time we've thought of them as a baseball team, when really they're on the front lines protecting the country. As RD and Mudge said, it explains so much.

Let us hope they are more effective intelligence agents than they are baseball players. The Powers That Be don't seem to have realized that, should the Nats continue to be true baseball bumblers, their usefulness as justification for Manny Acta would become dubious, and his cover would be blown.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, are you talking about me?

ps. Manny, I am sorry. I, like anyone who knows anything about (for Yoki, thats aboot) baseball knows that you aren't at fault.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Panetta is *not* head of the Intelligence Community - that would be the director of national intelligence (DNI) a fellow named Blair.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

No Weed, of course not! On the contrary, I am always delighted to see you here, and wish it happened more often.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Bloggers move swiftly, too. A blog post from a week ago today. The first part of the post is worth reading especially if one is familiar with Panetta's recent resume before being named to head CIA. With top honchos added to the story, it loks like a CIA CYA:

“The New York Times reported that Leon Panetta, the current CIA director, has taken the position that “no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished.” Yet a number of CIA officials implicated in the torture program not only remain at the highest levels of the agency, but are also advising Panetta. Panetta’s attempt to suppress the issue is making Bush’s policy into the Obama administration’s dirty laundry.

“Take Stephen Kappes. At the time of the worst torture sessions outlined in the ICRC report, Kappes served as a senior official in the Directorate of Operations—the operational part of the CIA that oversees paramilitary operations as well as the high-value detention program. (The directorate of operations is now known as the National Clandestine Service.) Panetta has kept Kappes as deputy director of the CIA—the number two official in the agency. One of Kappes’ deputies from 2002-2004, Michael Sulick, is now director of the National Clandestine Service—the de facto number three in the agency. Panetta’s refusal to investigate may be intended to protect his deputies. Since the basic facts about their involvement in the CIA interrogation program are now known, Panetta’s actions are increasingly looking like a cover-up.”

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Jack Bauer is too popular to really raise cross-partisan anger effectively. Too many people are willing to excuse the methods required to obtain the results. Only there were no results. If the ends can't be justified, what does that say for the means? We threw caution and our good reputation to the wind and woke up not only not being respected but we didn't even get a decent meal to show for our loss of virtue.

We wasted a lot of our moral high ground for no discernible benefit, and indeed, probably invited a great deal of damage that otherwise might have been avoided.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

My Habs lost with honour as well Yoki. That Chara guy is something else. It was even a good game!

Wow, debate within the government! Scandal! Stop that immediately!

The torture memo story was on top of the 4 European newspaper sites I looked at. There is international interest.

I just love that story. The president of Paraguay, who resigned his commission as a Catholic Bishop to do politics admits he fathered a child while he was a priest. A French newspaper adds that he may also be currently involved with an Argentinean model.,8599,1891408,00.html
He seems like an OK guy to me, better that old nazi sympatizer Stroessner anyway. I don't know why they are getting their knickers twisted in a knot.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Consider a rather extreme example of this. A few days ago trained marksman were directed to shoot and kill three Somali teenagers.

Damn skateboarders!

Posted by: Boko999 | April 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jkt, in almost every movie that takes place in San Fransisco, other than ones by Cheech and Chong, someone is driving through traffic at 60 mph or more spending much time airborne. That doesn't mean that it actually happens in real life.

Sort'ta like shooting a car or a gas can and making it explode.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Just because something is asserted on a blog doesn't make it true. Anyone can assert anything.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, you left out the part that the mother of the child was underage.

*hands out more prozac*

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

rd, you just gotta laugh...

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

at least, that's what I'm assertin'

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

RD? A boy scout? I love a man in uniform!

Getting lost in thought about 'merit badges.' Hey...did you know there's a merit badge for railroading?

Posted by: LostInThought | April 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I recall all too well Andrew Bacevich's remarks about Dennis Blair during Bacevich's remarks April 9 at Trinity University, as repeated in this guest op-ed at TMP Cafe:

On the other hand, President Obama has assembled a senior national security team of figures who, if seasoned and accomplished, seem unlikely to depart very far from the conventions of post-1945 U. S. national security policy. If you're intent is to "change the way Washington works," you don't install retired generals (James Jones), retired admirals [34 years Navy] (Dennis Blair), and career CIA officials (Robert Gates) at the top of the national security hierarchy. Whatever their virtues, which are no doubt considerable, these men do not qualify as out-of-the-box thinkers. As for Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, what we can say is this: "smart power" is a slogan not a world view; if Clinton is intent on engineering a major shift in basic policy, she'll need to do better than that.

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The point is, if someone here wants to advocate an unprovable assertion, that is his or her right. But scouring the internet and quoting another individual making an unprovable assertion and then implying that this indicates evidence is nonsensical. Almost as nonsensical as ad hominem attacks.

Look, these are incredibly important issues. They deserve careful reasoning and careful wording. They should not, in my mind, become an excuse for conspiracy theories and rants.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, rt. While I have never watched an episode of 24, I was a big fan of Alias which, in addition to the horrific torture, featured plenty of completely unrealistic events every episode including the tendency of evil masterminds to keep their headquarters in the basements of eurotrash discos that can only be infiltrated by a 20-something woman in a vinyl skirt wearing *MPs.

The fact that everything in the show was completely ludicrous didn't prevent me from enjoying it. I just didn't establish any national policies based on the ability of mad doctors with thick accents and rusty dental tools to save the world on a regular basis.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I say we just create a good euphemism for torture to clearly distinguish us from the bad guys and then move on to more important things -- like lecturing the rest of the world about human rights.

Posted by: patrick3 | April 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I have a joke about why I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts, but it's not for mixed company.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

24 yo is not underage to have a first kid, I think. The papers that were filed allege they started the relationship while she was 16, there ain't no proof yet and the lady ain't talking either.
I had my tongue firmly in cheek, the duplicity displayed by some big shots of the Catholic church never fails to amuse me.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Stern questioning"?

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, RD. One of the advantages of a legal education was development of the ability to distinguish between actual evidence of a proposition and unsupported assertions in favor of it. Of course, I'd already learned this through studying philosophy, but law school sharpened the focus. There are many disciplines which teach this well, but it is easy and convenient to forget the distinction in the heat of argument. I say "supporting" and "in favor of" but of course the opposite applies; it is just as easy to reject a claim based on opinion and unproved assertion. Either way, it is sloppy thinking. With issues of this magnitude, we owe ourselves rigorous analysis - one might even say thoroughty.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 17, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"If you're looking for adventure of a
new and different kind,
And you come across a Girl Scout who is
similarly inclined,
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared.
Be prepared!"

Tom Lehrer

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

When it became available I printed off and read (most) of the infamous Gonzales memo justifying torture. My recollection was that the reasoning comes down to a restrictive interpretation of the UN Torture Convention. The Convention defines torture as follows:

“1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any
act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as [obtaining a confession etc].“

So if action X does not inflict “severe pain or suffering”, the Convention doesn’t apply. “Severe” in turn was interpreted in the memo as something causing permanent injury, based on some domestic criminal law IIRC. So in other words, if the person could reasonably be expected to make a full recovery once X was stopped, there was no capital T “Torture” going on. Actions short of X were justified as falling within the scope of powers of the Commander in Chief.

On following orders in the military context, my recollection of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders is that all orders must be followed, unless “manifestly unlawful”. I expect that standard to probably be similar in all NATO countries.

Posted by: engelmann | April 17, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

According to Andrew Sullivan we stole 'enhanced interrogation' from the Nazis. Perhaps if we called waterboarding 'freedom drinking' it would have been more palatable. We could call 'walling' 'hockey practice'. And what we did to Abu Zubaida could be called 'entomophobia aversion therapy'. The English language is such a great tool.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

My late grandmother was phobic about birds; really terrified by them. For some reason now lost in the mists of time someone thought it would be a good idea to take her to St. Mark's in Venice. To get her across the plaza and up the steps, we (her five travel companions) had to completely surround her (fortunately, even as tweens we were all taller than she) and shuffle as a body across the square, encouraging the pigeons away with our feet and preventing her from seeing the animals.

It strikes me that a similar manoeuvre might profitably be employed on the Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Joel.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if that causes embarrassment and second-guessing of one's debating and social skills, even if sitting alone at home, or if there's a cackle of glee.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 17, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we can claim that the torture issue has not resonated with people, or that most Americans have always felt it was unjustified in all circumstances. I think it resonates very effectively, because we know who is guilty: we, ourselves. And we don't want to be held guilty. I remember we had lots of impassioned debate about the Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario right here in the Boodle. *Lots* of people -- people with whom we have even shared a beer -- felt that 'terrorists' were such bad people that torture is perfectly justifiable to extract information, forgetting thousands of years' experience showing that 'extracted' information is false information and forgetting the lack of objective evidence to demonstrate that these people were, in fact, terrorists. And forgetting that morality is found in following your own moral code, not the other guy's.

The Bush Administration's use of -- heck, preference for -- "enhanced" interrogation was already widely known in time for the 2004 election. Nevertheless, just barely over half the voting public voted him back into office. *We* authorized these scum to do scummy things on our behalf, either by voting for them, or by failing to argue against them with sufficient persuasiveness.

Now, it comes time to straighten up and fly right. I really, really, REALLY want for people to be charged with crimes against our Constitution and against humanity. I *really* want for the world to know which of us opposed this insanity, and to know that we have won. But. Half the country chose for us to follow the course of evil. We can reject those prodigals, or we can welcome them back into the light. If we are to change the course of the whole country, then we need the willing participation of all of us, not just the ones who can hold our heads high and be smug about our moral and ethical and legal rectitude. How can half of us try the other half for failing to meet their responsibilities to society? Which society? I think this all means that we have to forego the satisfaction of meting out justice. We can have individual justice, or we can have an intact nation that is able to move into the future as a better country. You can't ask for better justice than that.

(By the way, the last line in that paragraph is stolen from my own version of the Book of Jonah, told as "Jack in the Old West." You should hear me tell it sometime.)

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

We went to Italy with a lady that said she was frightfully scared of pigeons. We were happy to find that the pigeon population in San Marco Square had been substantially reduced by a new policy that forbade feeding them. It hasn't eliminated them or prevented some from feeding them, but the density has decreased to the point where a phobic person can safely cross the plaza.

That said, I also believe that the occasional shotgun blast can also be an effective pigeon deterrent.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, I blog corrected.

Yes, and he, therefore, must be commended for being a committed and faithful priest who was a child predator, I guess.

And a leader of men, as well.

A better story is hard to find, unless it takes place in the basement of a eurotrash disco.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If the density ever rises, you'll know what to do!

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

FYI, I just had an e-mail from Don from I-270. He's fine, but is up to his eyeballs in black helicopter issues, and is also backstopping a colleague on leave, so Don won't be boodling for two weeks or so. He didn't want anyone worrying about his absence. Says "Howdy" all around.

Don was chortling about one of the crew of the Maersk Alabama saying he was a proud American, a proud sailor, a proud this-and-that, and a proud union member. The message to the Somalis seemed to be you can mess with my country, you can mess with my ship, you can mess with my captain, but by god leave my union pension alone!

As you were.

Oh, BTW, virtual lunch at the club is cancelled. Anybody got a good idea? I'm poor as a churchmouse at the moment, and will be dining al fresco across the street at the hot dog stand. Fortunately it seems to be al fresco weather here. Glad I'm not in Denver.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Since I am saving every penny possible in order to afford a mini-vacation in the near future, I'll join you at the hotdog cart, 'mudge. Mit, please.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Hi Boodle! (apologies to Eurotrash--where are you, anyway?)...

Wanted to say "yay" to Bill Everything for his good news last night about Mrs. Everything.

And also want to add that I'm helping you look for that miracle, Jack, and I will go forward with the assumption that all is OK and you are fine.

It's a gorgeous spring day today and I'm off work. Gotta do some stuff around the house and then off to Wegman's for some good Friday grocery shopping.

Yesterday while driving to work I was marveling at the spring--at the fact that it's so beautiful and it comes every year without fail to remind us that life goes on.

It was five years ago this spring that I was taking my mom to radiation for treating her brain tumor. After she'd had her surgery, she wasn't quite "her" anymore, if you know what I mean. She also didn't want to know her prognosis, so she didn't know that she didn't have long to live.

As we drove every day through the cherry blossoms, dogwoods, tulips, daffodils and lawns that get greener as you look at them, I'd point out the beauty of our surroundings, only to have Mom grunt some sort of disinterest. I wanted to shake her and say "You're never going to see this again!" but I couldn't; it hurt me so that this woman who always had loved spring just didn't appreciate it anymore.

So I decided then that I would always see spring as if I may never see it again.

Now... about the kit... We can talk about torture and be shamed by the actions of our own government, but we also must realize that we've already taken the first steps--we have voted out the folks who authorized it.

We've chosen "change," whether it's the change we were looking for or not. We just must ensure that these things don't happen again--that they decidedly *aren't* accepted practices for people who represent our country.

Posted by: TBG- | April 17, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I realize I'm behind the times, but: mediaskeptic makes the claim "Sleep deprivation for 11 days ... new parents go through worse."

(1) Endless days of insufficient sleep is not the same as days of *no* sleep. People who have done this, for whatever reason, report hallucinations and other problems.

(2) New parents are not actively prevented from sleeping. Eventually, they are so exhausted that they can sleep through the child's provocations until they have had enough rest that the screaming gets through to them.

(3) If these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were really "not so bad", then there would be no point in doing it. The whole point is to apply pressure. You are being mis-led by euphemistic terminology. The obvious point is to torment prisoners.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The hot dog cart it is then.

You've got colourful people in Congress. The most excellent Ron Paul wants to issue "letters of marque" to private ship owners to go against the pirate. I'm sure they'll be a stampede to get those letters.
Who doesn't need an old souk, an aging outboard motor and a few slightly used Chinese copies of AK47s? Those pirates aren't rolling in gold doubloons, aren't they?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Howdy all
Warm and wild and wonderful in west by god this morning.The trees are starting to bud,still not much out yet though.

So much to catch up on.Where to start?
John Wilkes Booth attended a school where I grew up,St Timothy's school in Catonsville MD

We used to climb the many accient trees there,ring the church bell,well because we were boys and mischief was fun.

Loomis I am glad it is still basketball season,because most of what you write is just "Dribble" to me.Your personal attacks must stop though. Remember "Pow right in the Kisser"

Glad to see most everyone's hockey teams won or at least played well.I was downright Mad that the Capitals lost.

Well out to enjoy the weather

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I smell forces at work attempting to run the torture investigations by a script. Especially the script that includes lots of attention to waterboarding, so other torture is not examined closely. Such as hanging men by their arms until their shoulders dislocate, or breaking bones. Beatings and kicking, that sort of thing.

I respectully disagree with RD's simile with pirate shooting. The captain's life was clearly in danger from armed men. The Nuremberg defense is not valid.

I have a faint hope that the whole torture thing is one of Rumsfeld's lies - promulgated to make the terrorists THINK they might be tortured. This is a conspiratorial train of thought, certainly, and at this point I doubt it is the case. Also, speaking of scripting, the whole question of use of drugs in interrogations has been - almost nothing, no significant discussion; a black hole.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 17, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

That occured to me, too, Shriek. The "letter-of-marque" theory of privateering for prize money doesn't exactly work when their isn't any prize money at stake. I think it was just the root word of "private" in privateering that got Ron's attention.

If it were otherwise, Blackwater would have its own navy in a heartbeat, with a couple of Cigarette and Scarab boats towing waterskiiers and flying the Jolly Abdul.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I am in for virtual hot dogs, beautiful here sitting outside with the laptop - the hot dog will be perfect.

As a mom with a child who only rarely slept through an entire night for the first 2.5 years of her life - I had a lack of the necessary sleep but did not suffer from "sleep deprevation" - just never fully rested - and completely different situation.

To the quote included in SoC's post re about permanent injury - I am guessing that only means - physical injury - the mental damage that would be done is acceptable?

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - my point is that once the snipers got the order to fire they did so without fear that they would be tried for murder. The snipers had the confidence to act because they were assured of legal protection for doing their duly-authorized job.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd be quite surprised if there aren't (as we speak) a couple of boats full of folks with too much time & money on their hands out there trolling for pirates, for kicks. I've got no particular objection, except that heavily-armed thrill seekers will probably start messing around with inappropriate targets if they can't find the appropriate ones.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

As long as you are reaching, reach for some of my virtual apricot pie, soon to be a reality. This one has apricots, a little pineapple for tartness & mystery, and the juice and zest of one orange. Suspicious at first that I would be accused of adding the OJ and zest because "they are both orange," I, upon reviewing the evidence, found the tastes quite complimentary. The pie will have bottome and top crusts.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 17, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, congratulations to bill everything and a fervent good luck to Jack.

Y'all are killing me with the hot dog stand. I loved hot dog stands in DC. There is no such animal anywhere near here. Dog, mustard, chili, sauerkraut (it was an exceptional cart), soda & candy bar: food of the gods.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 17, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I'm haven't been a huge apricot fan, but the pie sounds fantastic. I will gladly trade a slice for a bowl of my spicy stir fry over rice from the country of texas.

YAH, that was good!!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

On a more serious note, I am bothered by the fact that you could officially violate international treaties with a memo.

Memos should be used to tell your boss that the company is getting dangerously low on paperclips.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I am listening to an audiobook about Captain Morgan. (Wow, turns out he is known for more than just shilling for rum.)

I'm finding this book fascinating and appalling. Whether they be sanctioned privateers or rogue pirates, these fellows firmly believed that to be effective their opponents had to view them as totally crazy, brutal, and merciless. And some of the Bush-policy defenders seen to believe the same thing.

But here's the thing, even if (and I do *not* believe this) being considered morally repugnant and mentally deranged by one's foes is an effective short-term policy, is it a prudent one in the long term? The story of Morgan and his ilk suggests to me that it is not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Better, a memo is used to clarify the point that the week off that you mentioned to your boss back in January that you would need to take in June was actually one of those nine day weeks.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed."

That's a fact,,,and that why Bush kept saying "WE DON'T TORTURE,,WE INTERROGATE ENHANCELY"!

Posted by: mudbone | April 17, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

RD, that's true about being considered crazy. I think I am not alone in thinking that Dick Cheney, when he shot his friend, was just sending a message.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The whole TX secession issue...I'd pay good money (getting both popcorn *and* raisinettes) to see how that changes the border fence debate.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 17, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, the Convention prohibits "severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental", so psychological trauma wasn't ignored completely in their consideration. It returns again to the definition of "severe".

Posted by: engelmann | April 17, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Torturers always believe that their behavior is justified, and that they are unlike other torturers. The people who tortured Jesus also believed that they were doing the right thing. It could never happen to me, is what most people think, and that is why they don't care about it. Even the contributors to this cite would rather talk about something else.

Posted by: rjoff | April 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Any one who reads these memos will understand that Bush/Cheney/Rove/Gonzales
have committed crimes against humanity, and they thought it was OK because they are better than human,,after all Bush only conferred with GOD!


Posted by: mudbone | April 17, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I got to visit the ruins of old Panama, abandoned after Morgan's attack in favor of a more defensible site.

Panama's defenders seem to have failed due to bad decisionmaking, something to the effect that they should have encouraged Morgan's exhausted, diseased pirates to mount an assault--and be slaughtered. Instead, the defenders attacked the pirates and were themselves mowed down.

I have difficulty seeing anything admirable about privateering/buccaneering in and around the Caribbean. Excepting, perhaps, that it served British interests.

On the side, I'm kind of amazed that Francis Drake's shipload of captured Spanish silver seems to have been sufficiently valuable to strengthen the English monarchy.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 17, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse


That pidgeon blurb was to the point. Pidgeons are "RATS WITH WINGS",,and they get fed by dottering old lonely farts.
In lieu of the shotgun may I suggest two cats and two bowls of cat food stratigically placed about the viranda.

BTW our landscapers never saw the "WINGED RATS" eating the seed they threw,,they came, threw seed , and left, and then friggin pidgeons came!

Posted by: mudbone | April 17, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Off kit (and bunker alert)--

This lady reminds me of Yoki for some reason, maybe the hair and hawtness?;_ylt=AsbLCCvaaO5812Hd2Zlhpdm26ysC

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 17, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Dave, you shouldn't be amazed by Drake's Spanish silver. Elizabeth never had a lot of money, and the only reason she kept her government afloat was that she was parsimonious to the extreme. The other reason for keeping the silver was the damage it did to Philip II's credit. She staved off the Spanish Armada for a season, and contributed to the eventual bankruptcy of Philip's government.

Posted by: slyness | April 17, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

War Crimes Trials. Now.

Posted by: tgoglia | April 17, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

My hair is red :)

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Phillip II seems to have been terribly diligent but not terribly competent.

The Daytona Beach News Journal is facing Chapter 11. That paper seems to have been highly profitable until recently. Bringing the London Symphony Orchestra to Daytona every other year was, until this year, something of a News Journal production. The LSO's latest visit, under new management, is next week. Two of five concerts will focus on Latin America.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, of COURSE torturers always believe that their behavior is justified. Almost everybody believes that.

When good ole' Million Mom Marcher Barbara Graham gunned down Kikko Smith back in 2000, she was convinced that she was perfectly justified. Ooops, wrong guy! She should be getting out of prison pretty soon, right?

Posted by: bobsewell | April 17, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

You're one of those rare natural fuchsia Yoki?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, the "hot" part still works.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Q: Baseball: What is it not unlike?

For those with limited time to spend, go to about minute and fifteen seconds (5:15) Unfortunately there's a commercial to view. However, well worth it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 17, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Joel has added to the end of the Kit, a link to a WSJ editorial from the former DCIA and AG, decrying us for having shown where we draw the line in our behavior. This pretty much supports the notion that the Bush Administration subscribed to the "Captain Morgan" theory (or "Dread Pirate Roberts" theory) of the strategic benefits of a reputation for cruelty, evil, and villainy. Unlike the Dread Pirate Roberts, it did not occur to them that the reputation is enough, no actual villainy is required.

The police and FBI draw the line considerably higher than do Misters Hayden and Mukasey. We have, in fact, enshrined that line in our Constitution, the text of which is freely available on the web, and we have spent 200 years or so, hashing out in public exactly what we mean by outlawing "cruel and unusual punishment." And yet, somehow, with their hands thus tied (behind their backs?), the police and FBI manage to get villains to confess and conspirators to turn over their colleagues. It's almost like they know what they're doing, and it works whether or not the secrets get out, because it's based on a knowledge of human psychology.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

*Blushing something fierce*

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Philip meant well but I gather he would have been a better bishop than king. He should have known what he was up against with Elizabeth, but his blinders were such that the Invincible Armada never really had much of a chance, at least technically. Much different, a firefight in the Channel, compared to one in the Mediterranean.

Posted by: slyness | April 17, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe 'mudge will tell us exactly how different.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Come over here for a late lunch. Not much atmosphere, but there was a department-wide potluck, and there's enough good (mostly homemade) food left to feed everyone twice over. Couscous salads, wings, pizza, hoagies, South St. Italian Cream cake, my cellmate's excellent olive and craisin salad, kielbasa and sauerkraut, hotdogs and beans, hors d'oeuvres. It's embarrassing how much there is leftover, but with 100+ people contributing, . . .

TBG, I love your philosophy and I think I'm adopting it (re: spring).

Posted by: -dbG- | April 17, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Trudeau has been BPH stalking. That is a thinly veiled Yoki (the real one is MUCH hawter).

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out what do with this wonderful weekend we are about to have. I want something outdoors but not too physically strenuous. Ideas?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful spring weekend + outdoors + not too strenuous = hammock with book and beer.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think there are a lot of useful lessons to be learned from studying the history of the 17th century West Indies. Not the least of which is how you deal with crazed privateers after the battle is won.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Repainting the mailbox?
Mowing the cat?
Planting one grass seed?
Cleaning out the cement pad at the base of the gutters?
Playing croquet with no wickets?
Taking a walk to the curb and back?
Changing the oil in your mountain bike?
Adjusting your satellite dish to get a better picture?
Doing a quality control test on your new hammock?
Giving the glove compartment of your car a good, thorough spring cleaning?
Raking leaves?
Oiling the doorbell?
Replacing the shower curtain around the birdbath?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I'm already having a great day-before-the-weekend! Too kind, really.

I was looking at some business news flashes and, just to prove that I must be preoccupied with the topic of today's Kit and all things intelligence, mis-read the company name Mosaid. I'm thinking to myself, why would the Mossad invest in a Canadian company?

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it looks like it'll be beautiful. I was thinking of taking a rug outside to clean (do I know how to have a good time, or what?). Also trying to psych myself up to cut the lawn myself for the first time in 3 years.

Big shoutout to SoG who is home for Greaster. If I could spell the greeting from _My Big Fat Greek Wedding_, I would.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 17, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"If police, soldiers, and intelligence officers do not have the confidence that they are free to do things legitimately authorized by their superiors, the whole system would break down.

"Consider a rather extreme example of this. A few days ago trained marksman were directed to shoot and kill three Somali teenagers. They did so with the assurances that they, personally, would not be charged with murder."

Posted by: RD_Padouk

You first point is BS. Obeying an illegal order, no matter the cover, is illegal. You are legally, ethically and morally bound to disobey. Adolf Eichmann had "the confidence that [he was] free to do things legitimately authorized by [his] superiors." Yet that did not absolve him of murder and crimes against humanity.

Your second point is equally invalid. The pirates were committing an illegal and threatening act. They were not in custody, as the tortured prisoners were. Please--the next time you make comments, use some common sense.

Posted by: edwcorey | April 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

...except that you are using a tautology, that an illegal order is illegal. Usually one can tell when an order is illegal or unlawful, but there are times when such clarity is not available. It ain't all black-and-white.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little down as the sun has disappeared. Sunday's supposed to be nice but cool. We shouldn't complain, it was -1C with light snow earlier in St-John's, Newfoundland according to a local colleague.
Much swearing at the intertubes and much appeals to the gods of electronics are in my future; I'm getting a new computer tonight. The basement's clunker frightened me last weekend with strange sounds and even stranger behaviours. Obsolete at last after 6.5 years of use, not that bad.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Easier to wish everybody Jo Bole So Nihal, from My Big Fat Sihk Wedding.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Darn typos. Sikh, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

That is one helluva a honey-do list you have. For the price of a overly sweet malt liquor beer alternative, I could be talked into coming over to help you with some of those. Mowing the cat sounds especially fun. Do I have to clean the blades afterwards?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, for anyone out west of the Mississippi, that is, in Colorado land, we are having quite a storm. The snow is falling fast...might get more than a foot at my elevation. But it will be in the 70's by Monday. It's not really cold nor windy. Just straight down snow showers. And we get occasional lightning and thunder. Kind of cool. Another weekend to watch my poor spring flowers droop and drop. Some actually recover but not many.

On another not I read that TWP and TNYT are having major reorgs. TWP is combining paper and online newsrooms reporting and other things. Wonder how this affects Joel?

Posted by: Windy3 | April 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree that there is no (rational or moral) parallel between prolonged sleep deprivation imposed upon prisoners and the lack of sleep experienced by new parents.

Everyone knows that the real torture doesn't start until the kids become teenagers.

Budda Boom


Posted by: jp1954 | April 17, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Might actually be 2 feet. I better get outside now and start shoveling. Good exercise.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 17, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown--so true. Real torture that lasts about 7 years.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Some of you may find it hard to understand but some of us furriners get a little irked when our fellow citizens are kidnapped and tortured by God-fearing Amrican heroes.
Quaint, eh?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 17, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

edwcorey, RD_Padouk has proven himself to be smarter than the average bear, so you really should take a moment to consider his argument a little more deeply. There are a large but enumerable set of circumstances under which a person acting on behalf of the state is authorized (indeed, required) to act in a way that is personally repugnant and would be legally actionable if undertaken as an individual. That includes execution of prisoners, shooting alleged criminals, and shooting persons of ambiguous combat status. What if it is shown (too late) that the prisoner was actually innocent? What if the alleged criminal was in fact preparing to throw his weapon aside, or it's really a plastic toy? What if the ambiguous person is a deaf man who didn't hear the commands he was given? All tragic consequences of incorrect judgment -- but the soldier or officer charged with enacting the order could be subject to serious charges of mutiny or dereliction of duty if he refused the order in a relevant moment. The military cannot function if every order must be ethically debated prior to action. Thus, a soldier must be able to take it for granted that he has been given a legal order unless the opposite is obvious. In such an environment, "enhanced interrogation" would be more ambiguous than we think from our comfortable civilian positions, which is why I would like to see accountability among elected officials and higher-ranking officers, but I don't think it reaches to the individuals. In this case.

You make it sound so clearcut that the snipers' shooting of the pirates was fully justified. Would it have been so clear from within a sniper's riflescope? Not having lived inside the man's head, I cannot know. I would like to think that it was NOT clear -- I dread the thought of men with such skills who feel confident they know who should live and who should die. The order to shoot to kill was given by an officer, who could see the whole scene, not just the narrow view available from a rifle scope. In order to act effectively, the snipers absolutely had to be able to trust that they had been given a legal order to shoot to kill. RD's point was not about whether the shooting was a legal order; it was about the marksmen's confidence that they had been given a legal order, so that they could act as they had to, to fulfill the mission. If the order were later shown to violate rules of engagement or legal authority, the fault rests with the officers who delivered the order, not the men who enacted it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

A point about the German soldiers who "were just following orders:" I am more forgiving to individuals than many are inclined to be, because it occurs to me that in such an environment a refusal to follow orders is not met by disciplinary action, it is met by a summary execution, as an example. It requires heroism to refuse to follow orders under such circumstances. And, if one were heroic, one wouldn't be there in the first place. War crimes trials really were for those who were not just "following orders," but following orders with gusto and a willingness to go beyond the mere order in their brutality.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I totally understand your quaint irkishness. Irkedness. Irkicity? In the case of the Canadian professor who was 'disappered', we carefully washed our hands of the stain of the actual torture by farming it out to others (interestingly, to Syria (IIRC), a country that we officially have nothing to do with). However, because our people did not do the "interrogation", that means that the policy of not pursuing the actors in "enhanced interrogation" *should not* apply. I infer that the personnel who gave the orders should still be subject to legal consequences. I still doubt whether the individuals who enacted the order would be liable -- are they supposed to expect the chance to review every bit of "intelligence", test it for validity, and make an individual judgment before following orders? That's why there is a chain of command, so if your officer gives you a bad order, it's his neck, not yours.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

rjoff wrote that "Torturers always believe that their behavior is justified..." but I don't think that is true. I think that a good deal of torture, historically, has just pretty much been plain old brutality, without much or any thin veneer of there being a "reason" behind.

I've often thought that that a good deal of the brutality and torture during the Vietnam War was pretty much mindless and purposeless, or was in some sense just a generalized "revenge" on the enemy. Granted that in many cases the object of the torture is simply to break the prisoner's spirit...and that may be the true motive. But to what purpose? I think of what happened to McCain and his fellow captives in the Hanoi Hilton. There was really no great military objective or goal in treating those men that way. There was no longer much useful intell that could have been extracted, and the notion that they could be broken and then used for propaganda purposes is/was very weak at best.

When you think about a good deal of the torture and brutality in something like the Spanish Inquisition, drawing and quartering somebody shortly before they were executed anyway, there was really no point whatsoever to the torture except to inflict a maximum amount of pain. To some extent, the notion behind it was a variation of the Dread Pirate Roberts idea if terror: behave, or we'll put YOU in the rack, too. But I think nobody much believed that rationale, and it was just naked brutality for its own sake.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

My torture comment didn't go through; maybe it'll show up later? I don't want to recreate it, at the risk of being tiresome. I'll just repeat the first four words. "Torture: I'm against it."

* * * * * * **

Due to my lack of gainful employment I was able to join the local geezer contingent at the Friday matinee of "State of Play" this afternoon. When we got home I said, "it's nice and cloudy, I think I'll go for a bike ride" and my husband said, "What? You're not going to report to the blog about being the first to see this movie??" So, all right, here's the comment.

The movie is pretty good. I'm not seeing any Academy Awards on the horizon but Affleck and Crowe did both get to cry. There's also action, flirting, and beautiful women.

The "Washington Globe" is depicted as the mythological entity we all know--messy desks, flyaway hair, old cars, hot young bloggers, women in charge, faceless megacorporation threatening the integrity of the product, etc. etc.

I was glad to have recently seen All the President's Men; it was fun to compare and contrast.

I'm not sure what the title means--can someone explain it?

Posted by: kbertocci | April 17, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for immunity and pardons, hell, I wouldn't be irked if a jury found that a reasonable torturer might believe he had to brutally torture people.
What I fear is that without at least the threat of prosecution the minions will not give up the b@st@rds who ordered it.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 17, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Here is an interesting problem: take the case of a Taliban or al Queda suspect captured in Iraq or Afghanistan, and being held in a military prison, say in Iraq or Gitmo. The prisoner is being held by clearly military personnel (the Army, say). The prisoner is interrogated and subjected to treatment by both military (Army) as well as CIA officers, and possibly even by "pure" civilians such as Blackwater or some other paramilitary contractor personnel. It is clear that if this prisoner was tortured by Army personnel, that this is a crime for the military to handle. But let's look at the case of the CIA interrogator acting within a complete military environment, inside a military facility, regarding a prisoner held by the military. Is that CIA officer subject to civilian legal charges, or military charges? It is conceivable that a team of two people, one military and one CIA, could perform identical acts upon a prisoner, and one would be subject to military code of conduct as well as punishment, yet the other would be subject to civilial rules and punishment. Then add in the contractor performing equally questionable acts.

What rules of engagement apply, what rules of conduct, and what is the proper court of jurisdiction in each of the three identical cases?

This discussion always brings to my mind the question of war crimes. Here's a thought problem: watch the movie "Saving Private Ryan," and keep an eye out for what are clear violations of military conduct, i.e. acts that, in isolation, are clearly illegal and chargeable offenses.

About the third time I watched SPR, it suddenly dawned on me there were a dozen or more pretty clear violations of rules of engagement, etc., in that movie: shooting prisoners, shooting men who were surrendering, etc. Even "worse" (in a manner of speaking), in most of the cases the viewer is actually sympathetic to the soldier committing the crime.

Next time that movie comes on, count the number of war crimes you think you see. I'd love to watch that movie with a military lawyer present to offer his/her comments.

All this ties back to edwcorey's notion that illegal acts are illegal, and the underlying assumption that, during wartime, it is always possible to "know" what is legal and what is not. I think SPR is a terrific example of the total ambiguity of war.

Hell's bells, I've always wondered what the legal basis is for a "take no prisoners" order. That seems to me to be inherently illegal, prima facie. Can our lawyers comment?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Off the top of my head, some other euphemisms for torture:

"Interview Plus"

"power talking"

"Creative Persuasion"

For waterboarding "Hydro-Truthing"

"Jack Baer Interview"

"invasive consultation"

"reconciliation" (I know, blaphemy)

Posted by: jp1954 | April 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I think of all the regimes overthrown because of, at least among the top enumerated reasons, torture. The Shah. And there's the allegations against Nguyen Cao Ky. And Latin America

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 17, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Everybody have a good weekend.

yello, those weren't *my* honey-dos, those were suggestions answering your request for easy outdoorsy activities for *you* to do.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 17, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Almost forgot! yello, may you gain something from reviewing my plan: I am going to go to the barbecue restaurant, buy a mixed dinner for four, transport it and the incomparable Bailey over to the home of some friends (one of whom is 95) and we are going to sit outside at a picnic table and devour ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, beans, coleslaw, and french fries and hushpuppies also.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 17, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Here's WaPo's official critic of the movie "State of Play" to supplement Bertooch's excellent summary.

A movie about money, newspaper, dirty politicians and ink-stained wretches, what's not to like?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like fun, Jumper! Say 'hey' to Bailey for us. Enjoy the great dinner and great company, ya hear!

Posted by: TBG- | April 17, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I knew that, mudge. I just assumed you were projecting. All great ideas, but very few fall in the implied category of Fun. That's too many restriction, I know, I know. The hammock idea sounds best but it would require planting and growing a second tree which involves a little too much lead time.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll be right over, Jumper. You had me at 'pork shoulder'.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, real barbeque. Cruel, Jumper.

On State of Play, I liked this too

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Clips from State of Play on TV caught my eye - anything with Helen Mirren does - sounds like it would be worth seeing. This is an article by the WaPo editor who was the technical adviser:

It was based on a BBC mini-series - with James McAvoy, so I've got that on order from the library now. "State of play" means "the current situation", according to the Collins dictionary.

Thanks for the review, kb, and thanks to Mr B for reminding you of your priorities!

On Kit - I'm against torture, am glad to see President O's stand against it...don't hold much hope that the perpetrators of the policy (Gonzales, Cheney, Bush) will be prosecuted. For me, it's enough that it is no longer an official US policy. It will be Bush's legacy.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"Let's not bicker about who killed who." - The King of Swamp Castle

“nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” - The President of the United States

Wise words to duck responsbility by.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 17, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I've given your question some thought. The Geneva Conventions are, of course, applicable and there are several UN Conventions which have to be considered. The interplay between the US Code of Service Discipline and the application of US domestic criminal law is also a factor. There is also the issue of the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the order is given.

Ultimately, it is my considered opinion that “take no prisoners” would be an illegal order because it’s illegal. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Posted by: engelmann | April 17, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

When you have Michael Isikoff of Newsweek on Hardball moments ago saying that Panetta (70 years old with no intelligence experience...defending his new turf) is covering for CIA's Kappes and Rizzo, then you know this story has legs.

Oh, Wyden, Wyden--too bad the Wyden-Snowe amendment went down in committee...Bravo on your cojones to block Rizzo.

Posted by: laloomis | April 17, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I am particularly fond of "invasive consultation."

Yellojkt, my hammock is on a steel frame, so I can put it most anywhere.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

edwcorey - your position assumes that all individuals who have been granted special authority by the government possess an innate and infallible sense of legality. Indeed you imply that this inner sense supersedes the rulings of trusted legal counsel, even if said counsel was obtained in good faith.

This is a ludicrous position for it invalidates the authority of the legal advisors and instead holds individuals, retroactively, to an ever-changing and poorly defined standard.

This would either result in people doing nothing out of fear, or simply doing what they think is legal regardless of what those silly lawyers say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I suppose one could interpret "take no prisoners" as "leave the surrenders when we pull out." If there, y'know, are any. Surviving.

The Mongol approach (at least, the Genghis Khan approach) was "surrender or die." If you surrender, you live. If you fight and don't surrender, you die (unless you win! Ha, ha). If you fight and then surrender, you die. "Dudes, did we say surrender whenever you feel like it? It was a one-time offer." Gotta admire that sort of principled dedication to the interpretation of a clear and unambiguous statement.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - thanks very much for your kind words earlier.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I would go even further, RD_Padouk, and say that this position undermines the authority of the law itself. And we see where that leads.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Putting together everything I have read and deduced over the years, I'm pretty sure that once the military captures a person, he remains in military custody until he is freed or formally remanded to civilian custody (complete with rights under the civil code, such as the right to fight extradition, and you can't just decide to turn him over in a prisoner exchange -- the State now has a stake in his fate). As a result, the CIA guy and the Blackwater guy are responsible for their own actions under the relevant civilian legal system (our laws? the "host" country's?), but the officer in charge of the prisoner also is responsible for permitting mistreatment of the prisoner who it is his duty to guard and maintain according to the Geneva Conventions, quaint though they may be.

The big question -- whose civilian legal system is in effect? Once we ended martial law in Iraq (did we formally have martial law, and apply it to our own people?), our civilians should have been under our legal system until Iraq had/has a legal system in place. Right? Otherwise, all boats and aircraft outside our borders would be the Wild West. Except we claimed that they were not under Iraqi jurisdiction, but we also claimed they were not under our jurisdiction because they were outside our borders and outside US-occupied territory. Sounds to me like a lot of bad law (certainly bad logic), of the sort that should fall under the category of "just following orders isn't a defense." Meaning "if you did a bad thing in Iraq, it's no defense to claim that you were told that U.S. law didn't apply."

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Those Cowards who performed the torture must be brought to justice along with those who authorized it.

Independent Counsel and then the Hague. The only problem with sending them to the Hague is there is no death penalty.

Posted by: Regeman | April 17, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful day here. I just finished cutting the weeds in the yard, and am relaxing in a quiet house: the children are off to Charleston. We're buying another VW. This one is quite the find. One owner, '70 Sunroof Deluxe. 98k on the odometer, and it's been more or less parked for the past 18 years. Everything is there, down to the dealer's window sticker and the plastic cover on the fuse box. The front bonnet area has never been hit, and the latch works, cable actuator and all. Original Sapphire xix am/fm radio, pop out windows and rear defroster are the options. I'm stoked. I understand that the Hawks dispensed with the Flames last night in OT. Ahhh...let the run for Lord Stanley's cup begin.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

How rude of me. Thanks to all for the words of encouragement. I'm lucky to have the support of you kind and caring people that are the boodle. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Here I was, gradually getting over my crushing disappointment in both the Flames and the Habs, and you had to remind me! Oh well, my general enthusiasm and equanimity will reassert itself, in time, I hope.

A little Metric will help.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Fear not, Yoki. the Habs have history on their side.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh please. Watching the liar Obama deliver a prepared speech is torture for some. Maybe we should stop that activity. If it isn't crippling or life ending it isn't torture. This political storm is doing nothing to protect my country. The blood of the next to die at the hands of terrorists will be on the left's and Obama's hands.

Posted by: DarkMatter | April 17, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

OH, my, Guy Lafleur. I met him once, (he was a neighbour of friends of my parents in the Montreal suburbs) and he was *dreamy* off the ice, as well as on.

Hey, jack, meant to say, sweeeet car!

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't assume Stalin wasn't doing HIS thing to "Protect the State." It's not like the victims were good people in his/the States' eyes.

I can't figure out what happened to the Good Ol Days when we'd locate the Bad Guys and kill em... or torture them on the spot - REAL torture, of course, the one that ends in death - and find the other ones, and on and on...

But this institutionalized BS torture, dependent upon Lies and redefining the word "is" is too much to accept. If the country was behind it, why hide it?

I say Stick with the High Road. If that doesn't work, we can always resort to Inquisition Style torture and put it on the web - look how well that's worked for Al Qaeda - I mean, everyone loves 'em now!

Posted by: LeftwithNochoice | April 17, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, not quite the fluffy Friday night vibe I was hoping for, but who am I to complain?

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I love the intellectual challenge of trying to decide which of several posts is the more incoherent.

BTW, Englemann, thanks for your legal interpretation at 5:25. That cleared up a lot of things for me.

*memo to Scotty: When E's invoice comes in for legal advice, file it along with the Kinkaid invoice and the doily purchase orders. You know where that file is.*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Loved the Guy Lafleur link Jack - he was the main reason I became a Habs fan way back when, music in the video was good as well. Danny Gallivan calling the games helped make me a fan as well - "dipsy doodling across the blue line".

A video that would break my husbands heart - game 7 Bruins/Habs - hehehe

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I found this vid via Yahoo. I can think of far worse things to wake as. Of course, I love Canada.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Yoki is not a "Lostie," and probably not you, Jack. Don't know about you, dmd. But we Losties might possibly be amused because the character known as Sawyer is currently using the alias LaFleur -- and if you know who Sawyer is, then "LaFleur" is about the most ridiculous name he could have picked.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again. RD & jack are both honourary Canadians. Everyone from Minnesota too, of course.

Not a Lostie at all, you're right, 'mudge.

Actually, I really liked the 7:17. It took some parsing, but was very clever.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Might want to skip through parts of this but Leafs/Habs playoff game 1979, Guy Lafleur at his best, Gallivan one of the announcers. Dryden in net.

Hockey fantastic.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Hehe, dmd! I think LaFleur converted at least 3 generations of women to hockey! I remember my grandmother getting all tremulous over him.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

*Wondering how sitting in an easy chair with a TV and remote and lots of brain-rotting junk food, access to bathrooms and loved ones, etc. is torture.*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 17, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

If the American People let this torture thing go, it means that every American President from now until eternity will be immunized from every law everywhere. It means that the American Consitution and the Magna Carta will have been rendered "inoperative".
It means that one should encourage one's children to run for office because once you get in office, you are entirely secured from any laws in any state or federal juristician. You are above the law. Period. Forever.
NOw, THAT is something to aspire to.

Posted by: cms1 | April 17, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

So true Yoki, I remember meeting Cournoyer , Savard and Beliveau on a flight - had I been older Beliveau would have converted me - one very distinguished gentleman.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The Magna Carta is American?

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Jean Beliveau was a real gentleman, wasn't he? My little brother (the one with kidney disease) met him on a flight from Toronto Sick Kids to Edmonton; Beliveau spent a lot of time with the wee boy, and that boy kept the autographed Air Canada lunch menu (boy, that *was* as long time ago!) pinned over his bed until he was quite grown-up.

And JB was client of our firm in Montreal, so I got to see him every now and then. He did a ton of community work, but in a low-key way.

Good guy.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Magma Charta is American, dmd. John Adams was forced to sign it at Runymede, New Jersey (q.v.; not far from, say, Pennsauken). It had something to do with the Pine Barons forcing him to. Although why he was intimidated by a scrub pine forest I don't quite remember.

Don't you know *any* history?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clearing that up Mudge, wonder if I can sue those crazy history teachers I had who claim it was British circa 1215 :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

1215? Nah. Nobody works during lunch in the gummint. He musta signed later in the afternoon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

1215? No way. December would have been way too cold.

Posted by: -pj- | April 17, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Magna Carta doesn't sound too American to me. It's more like, Eyetalian.

Lafleur is THE man crush of my life. I saw him play his junior years with the As jr (junior Aces) and Ramparts in Q-city. What a smooth player he was. The best shot in junior hockey, by a mile.
He's in a rough patch now, thanks to his Tourette afflicted youngest son beating up his girlfriend and an overzealous DA.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow. You guys know all of the cool Habs. I could only look on from the telly. Robinson was perhaps one of the best defensemen in the modern era. He was *big*. Grande. Humongous. but, the Hawks have a history too. Look what happens when they get upset:

Magnuson didn't have any teeth. small wonder.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

FYI, some of you may not be aware of it, but the Magma Charta (latin for "charred volcanic ick") is the cornerpiece the blaney stone, if you will, of English juris and prudence (two more latin words, meaning juries, and being careful, i.e. meaning be carefull when you go before a jury). Actually, Magma Charta is only its first and middle names; it's full name is Magma Charta Libertatum, which is more latin. Libertatum comes from the two latin words liber, meaning book or drink (from which we get libation), and tatum, neuter singular, as in tatum, tata, sometimes rendered as "bosoms," but more properly simply as "chest." Hence, libertatum means a book you put away in the chest. (Although there is a minority opinion that it means "book one hugs to one's bosom.") This latter theory is clearly nonsense, of course.

Linguists have speculated that "libertatum" came about because back in those days people used to hide racy and salacious reading material in their chests, dressers, armoires and troubadors. These would include books such as "the De Cameroon," by Foccacio, "The Lives of the Caesars" by Petsmart, "Troilus and Croissant" by Shakesmear, and the national anthem of the Venetian city-state, called the Chanson de Roland (and who can forget its haunting lyric, "Roland, Roland, Roland, keep those Doges, Roland, rawwwww-hide!!" sung by Frankielaine, son of Chatelaine).

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Jack you just reminded me that the heart throb for girls my age, in the mid to late 70's Bobby Clarke - I can still picture his mid/post game interviews, sweat dripping off, pretty much toothless.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of racy books, Michael Dirda has been raiding the Bunker Library again:

And someone tell the shop steward we are getting really low on TP in there.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes. All the great Bobbies. Bobby Orr. Bobby Hull. Gordie Howe.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Me and Bobby McGee.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 17, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

You must be thinking of Curtis McGee, 'mudge. He didn't play hockey.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up, Yello. I'll put TP on the list and get it when I go to Costco Monday. Anything else we need in the bunker?

Mr. T and I have traversed two states today. We went 60 miles north to eat barbeque (fabulous, fabulous stuff) and brought back 20 pounds to freeze. (If you are all REALLY, REALLY good for a few weeks, I'll consider getting some out to share.)

Then we went 30 miles south (over halfway to Jack's) to pick up a freezer. The size we need was only available at Sear's in Rock Hill. Such is life.

Cassandra, I hope you're having a good time with the grandsons. And I hope they don't completely wear you out!

I'm tired and am going to bed.

Posted by: slyness | April 17, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Good night, slyness. *Being very good indeed*

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I must have been very good in my life because I have shared that delicious BBQ with Slyness and Mr. T.


Posted by: TBG- | April 17, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you "must have done something go-oood!"

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Kewl. I'm watching "Me and Bobby McGee" being perrformed by K. Kristoferson, J.C.Melenkamp, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, and a young woman I don't recognize.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 17, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Finally, we have today's stop on Yellojkt's Photographic Tour Of Italy and it is at Pisa

And there is only one reason to go to Pisa and that is to take this picture:

It's mandatory. I have plenty of pictures of other people doing it as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Back in St. Paul from Atlanta, and have to say I am very optimistic about leaving our planet in the hands of today's young people. Of note, spent about 15 hours total observing thousands of young people aged 9-18, with very loose to no adult supervision, and heard not a single word of profanity. They were not only unfailingly polite with adults but respectful towards each other. Oh, and they can do some kick a$$ things in the way of engineering.

"Torture-we're against it" seem like words to live by to me.

Off to bed. Toodles boodle and sweet dreams. Plan to backboodle thoroughly in the morning. Goodnight Al.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 17, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Startling evidence that there is at least one conservative with a sense of humor. From this week's Style Invitational report, one of the Honorable Mentions:

"House Democrats meet to approve $875 billion in this year's budget for earmarks for their home districts. (Ronald Nessen, Bethesda, a First Offender [yes, the same one])"

From the creative mind that gave us "that statement is no longer operative."

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

There was a great episode of 'The Big Bang Theory' recently about fighting robots. It showed the seamier side of robotics. Great little gag here:

[Kripke challenges the guys to a robot duel]
Leonard Hofstadter: Barry, we can't fight you tomorrow. Our engineer is incapacitated.
Barry Kripke: What's wrong with him?
Rajesh Koothrappali: He's depressed because he's pathetic and creepy, and can't get girls.
Barry Kripke: We're ALL pathetic and cweepy, and can't get girws. That's why we fight wobots.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

yello, I gotta tell you. Mid-way through my Masters, I took and then TAd an undergraduate 350 survey course called Erotica in English and American Letters and I can tell you, nothing less titillating could possibly be imagined. Even the Victorians, who can usually be counted upon to at least be expressive and multilayered, and the Edwardians, who are generally pervy about everything, couldn't pull it off. We all ended up absolutely *howling* at the preposterous offerings. Completely cold-leaving and not at all blush-making. As Dirda implies. I just love Michael Dirda.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

If you say it often enough Mr. Rather, it will be SO. Just say, "Torture, torture, torture." Like in Bush Goes Awol From Texabama National Guard. "Oh, I DO hope it is SO." "Torture, torture, torture." Oh, I DO want the title of the memos to be "It's okay to TORTURE; signed George." What to you think about Obama sanctioning "Torture", Mr. Rather? "Oh, I don't give a nannynookie about that, you old right-wing-extremist billygoats!" I just SO want the Bush torture to be SO." I am so TORTURED over this!

Posted by: chatard | April 17, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Me and Bobby McGee...vintage 1972. Bobby is the lead. Classic.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Evidently, someone was partaking of something intoxicating at about 11:35.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 17, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

That was my judgment too, ScienceTim. But I'm sure it made sense to him or her, at the time.

You know what? I used to get distressed by these sorts of posts. And now? Not so much.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, your 9:35 ish was positively genius. I laughed out loud.

Thank you.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | April 17, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you'll have to give us an example.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 18, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

No, I won't.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I meant bibliographic examples, not an actual excerpt, Yoki.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 18, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I know.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Evening all
Coming over the mountain overlook tonight and just as this song kicked in
I saw the 3 lamp lights coming down the valley.Those old trains sure have a way of making me feel Great.Of course I had to stop and watch it roll thru the valley.My prediction was a three engine coal train loaded with black gold heading east.

How is everyone tonight?

TGIF need a weekend off.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 18, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Hi, all, I've been only lurking for a long time.

I have a question unrelated to anything posted recently. I'm in the mood to buy a wok. I have a Kitchen Aid 11" anodized aluminum "stir-fry" pan with a flat bottom from Target that's similar to a wok and works pretty well, but now I want a Real wok to make Real stir fry. I'm looking at some 14" models in Amazon, and will also look in one of the amazing Asian markets nearby. My question is: flat or round bottom? I have a gas stove, so could use either style. My thought is a flat bottom is easier to use because I wouldn't have to coordinate with the ring that holds the round bottom wok, but is the round bottom better?

Hope this isn't too weird. I could ask on a forum that's more cooking-related, but I know there are a lot of cooks here, and I trust your judgment.


Posted by: Jim19 | April 18, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Someone wrote:

'If the American People let this torture thing go, it means that every American President from now until eternity will be immunized from every law everywhere. It means that the American Consitution and the Magna Carta will have been rendered "inoperative".'

Americans and their Presidents have been able to get away with a lot since the end of World War II in large part because of lack of economic competition for the first few decades. Now we're in a period where fundamental changes have occurred -- we consume but don't produce as much, meaning we export wealth rather than goods, while Asian countries do the opposite. We aren't going to be able to get away with nearly as much, because they won't be so impressed, and that will tie the hands of POTUS. If things get to the point where the only influence the US has in the world is military, then I'm glad I will probably have died already. I know the US tries to lock in patent, copyright, etc., rights for longer and longer periods to make up for the loss of goods production, but I don't know if that's a good idea -- we may end up beholden to Chinese and Indian patents for the century to come, considering how many of the technology graduate students come from those countries.


Posted by: Jim19 | April 18, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, one advantage of having a round bottom wok is that it allows oil to gather at the bottom. It works well if you have a small amount of, say, garlic to brown evenly in small amount of oil. It allows you to “deep fry” with less oil.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 18, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Hot coffee, with a pinch of salt in honour of our Marine pilots, and country ham biscuits are in the ready room. I can't bake, so I went to Bojangles. Many apologies to slyness. Now off to warm up the machinery for dawn patrol. *recalling the counterclockwise spin debacle*

Posted by: -jack- | April 18, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. Nothing like a little dog to make sure you don't sleep in too late on a Saturday morning.

Cinnamon Life cereal and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Then out to do epic battle with the chickweed that is running rampant in the lawn.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 18, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Dawn Patrol 6 o'clock watch.


This could be the opening move toward a grand disaster, horses out of control that will pull the carriage over the cliff.


Posted by: Braguine | April 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: russianthistle | April 18, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, LTL. Don't be a stranger.

I gotta think the Israelis have had that contingency plan for a long time. They would have to do it as a rogue operation unless we can muster up some iron-clad plausible deniability. Either way we'd still get blamed. If this was going to happen, December of last year would have been the chance. Cheney who floated the most trial balloons on this option no longer has his finger near the button.

And today it's Gondolamania over at Foma*.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

No apologies necessary, Jack. I LOVE Bojangles biscuits. They are among the best on the planet.

Slept in this morning and am still moving slow. But, yanno, I'm okay with that.

Today's the day to plant the two tomatoes and two peppers that I've had for a month. I have to replace the rosemary that I drowned, but other than that, all the stuff I've bought so far looks good.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Jack, thanks for the breakfast goodies.

My wife's off babysitting a friend who had some minor surgery, so I have the whole day to myself...except...except...we had 10 cubic yards of mixsoil delivered yesterday, and only about a third made it into the raised garden box, so 2/3 needs to be relocated by hand. Before it rains. Which is tomorrow or Monday.

Also, oldest dottir is dropping by their dog (Cairn terrier) whom I have to babysit all day. Part of that includes taking him to Petsmart for his beautician appiontment, and picking him up afterward.

So much for a lovely day of solitude and writing my brains out. *sisgh*

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

April 18, 1942: In retaliation for Pearl Harbor, USS Hornet (CV-8, famously code-named “Shangri-La” by FDR) launches 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers led by Army Air Force Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle on their 668-mile no-round-trip raid on Tokyo, the first American attack on the Japanese home islands. One plane landed in Russia; the other 15 in China; 71 of the 80 pilots and crew survived. The Japanese captured eight and executed three; a fourth died in a P.O.W. camp and the other four survived the war. However, the Japanese reportedly killed a quarter of a million Chinese while searching for the 72 raiders, nine of whom are still alive today. Doolittle thought the raid a failure and expected court-martial; instead he got the Medal of Honor.

1943: “It appears the peacock will be on time. Fan his tail.” With that cryptic message to the airfield on Guadalcanal, Adm. William Halsey authorizes Capt. Tom Lanphier and his squadron of P-38 Lightnings to fly 500 miles to attack and shoot down two Japanese transports, Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” twin-engine bombers known to be carrying Halsey’s nemesis, Adm. Isoruku Yamamoto, architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. They got him. The US keeps his death a secret to prevent the Japanese from figuring out America had broken its codes. Lanphier was originally credited with half the kill, with Lt. Rex Barber getting the other half, but for half a century Lanphier got all the fame. In 2003 it was determined that Barber’s bullets were the ones that brought Yamamoto’s plane down. Yamamoto was himself struck, probably fatally, by two of Barber’s bullets.

Onward and upward. And as Shep used to say, "Excelsior! Ehhhhhh."

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 18, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

In my perfect world I would turn the backyard into a complex Japanese garden with many manicured plantings and gravel paths leading to hidden grottoes with quiet ponds and Koi. Or at least carp with high aspirations.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 18, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, still warm here but the clouds have moved in and I doubt we will get as warm as yesterday.

Noticed young birds in the mourning dove nest outside my patio door (on the pergola), they seem larger than I would have thought - but so very cute - and so quiet.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Off-kit alert.

Yoki ... I'm sure you read this bit of Eng. Lang. pron:

Elegy XX
John Donne

COME, madam, come, all rest my powers defy ;
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe ofttimes, having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing, though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breast-plate, which you wear,
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopp'd there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th' hill's shadow steals.
Off with your wiry coronet, and show
The hairy diadems which on you do grow.
Off with your hose and shoes ;
then softly tread In this love's hallow'd temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes heaven's angels used to be
Revealed to men ; thou, angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven-like Mahomet's paradise ;
and though Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite ;
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O, my America, my Newfoundland,
My kingdom, safest when with one man mann'd,
My mine of precious stones, my empery ;
How am I blest in thus discovering thee !
To enter in these bonds, is to be free ;
Then, where my hand is set, my soul shall be.
Full nakedness ! All joys are due to thee ;
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta's ball cast in men's views ;
That, when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul might court that, not them.
Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings made
For laymen, are all women thus array'd.
Themselves are only mystic books, which we —
Whom their imputed grace will dignify—
Must see reveal'd.
Then, since that I may know,
As liberally as to thy midwife show
Thyself ; cast all, yea, this white linen hence ;
There is no penance due to innocence :
To teach thee, I am naked first ; why then,
What needst thou have more covering than a man?

Intense, huh? "Oh, my America, my Newfoundland!"

Posted by: KBoom | April 18, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. jack, that breakfast sounds great. Cassandra, hope you are having a great time with the boys.

This evening I will attend a performance of Mendelsohn's Elijah. Outside of the Christmas season and Handel's Messiah, we don't get much Oratorio round these parts, so I'm quite excited. The fabulous baritone Russell Braun is the guest artist. Who said tenors get all the glory?

But, before getting gussied up, it will be laundry and housework. Not glamourous.

Hope everybody has a great Saturday.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

KBoom! Intense and beautiful. Thank you. I have recently been discussing Donne with a friend, and we agree that he knew a thing or two.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I do believe if I had to choose but one food to eat for the rest of my life I'd be hard put to choose between Bojangles biscuits and and Bojangles dirty rice. Neither available here, sigh.

Round bottomed wok, for the reasons Rainforest mentioned. On the gas stove at Chez Frostbitten I don't use a ring, not sure I could find it even.

Off to do park clean up for the second Sat. morning in a row. Would skip this week but I'm determined to prove the worthiness of the frostfam to nurture a choice garden spot. I am in line for a spot that is not likely to be trampled and plan to transfer the dimensions to graph paper this morning.

Just finished the April 9th dead tree WaPo, (saved by Mr. F because he knew I'd want to read the Home section's garden features). Saving two weekends worth for tomorrow morning. I am happy to have the WaPo in my hands, but it just makes me more depressed about the sad state of journalism in the Twin Cities. There was a time when the Strib, formerly just the Mpls Tribune, was nearly on par.

Have fun everyone.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 18, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Just chekin in to say hi.

Posted by: omnigood | April 18, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. And Hi Omni. Backboodled a bit late last night. Please forgive my sketchiness.

I saw the issue of the afternoon, and thought 'well done. Everyone walked straight across St. Mark's Square. *Tim, RD, you guys are great.

Also, the thing about the Magna Carta incident. I know what that person was going for. And you do too, if you think about it for a minute. You know she was referencing our Bill of Rights. My guess is she was going for the big, long-standing-history everyone's always known this stuff aspect of it, and saved herself from typing it all out. Or not. But if you don't know what she was talking about...

Way back when, like, 400 years ago or something, some guy whose name is known only by colonial America history geeks pushed for a lot of the Magna Carta to be included into VA Colony's founding documents. As the population expanded outward, those ideals and phrases became the standard, and then a bunch of years later they were tinkered with here and there, by people like Geo Mason (who history gives all the credit to), who then took them upstream, where they were then in turn heavily used (with sprinklings from other docs) to form our Bill of Rights. Something like that. You remember now, right?

Trout season opens today. I'm expected at a party in the woods at 8 am. I'm going to be way late....around noon. (Chances are it will go on until tomorrow.) Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 18, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse


It is certainly a relief to have Cheney far from the trigger. Nevertheless, there are still shadowy figures lurking.

So far, I have not seen any actual improvements in Afghan or Iraq policy--worrying stuff.

Haff a gut weekendz everyone and happy Easter to any orthodox Boodlers.

Posted by: Braguine | April 18, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Much easier to say the Bill of Rights LiT, as Americans could not reverse the Magna Carta without considerable government upheavals in several nations :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter to you, too, Brag. I'll never forget your description of midnight Easter in Athens. A beautiful sight I hope to see myself one day.

It's gorgeous here today. Doors and windows open and the birds are chirping away. Slept soundly last night knowing both kids were snuggled in here at home. :-)

Time to get to work on the soup and the eggs.

Posted by: TBG- | April 18, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, dmd. I agree.

Who made the coffee? Whoever it was, thanks, and please consider it your job now.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 18, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Not it [touching finger to nose], LiT, but I've got a big pot of DNA Girl's chai on the counter if anyone's interested.

Posted by: TBG- | April 18, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to LostInThought for speaking out for the Magna Carta before I did. One of the milestones of the Enlightenment and we forget its profundity at our peril.

On woks, my guru is here:

The Edwardian erotica led me to Jon Lovitz's (with Mel Gibson and Nora Dunn) titillating tale:

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 18, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh the "Magna Carta." I thought they were referencing the "Manga Carta" and was just about to discuss Astro Boy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 18, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Hairy diadems? Yikes! Sounds like Weingarten wrote it.

Ah, yes, the tales of ribaldry. Any excuse to make Mel Gibson take his shirt off. It's enough to make a lady get the vapours. Lead me to the swoon couch if you could be so kind.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

You all are too much, LiT and Jumper. dmd has a history degree and a degree in common law and has likely forgotten more about the Magna Carta and its descendants than you will ever learn. If she chose to engage in a humorous way and some of us followed her lead, it makes no occasion for condescension.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't being condescending. In fact, I agreed with dmd. And she's not the only one with a relevant degree. You don't know my history, my education, or my cv. Don't make assumptions.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 18, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Morning All
Warm and sunny here in west by god.I got up so damn early after getting to bed at 3am.I had to pick up my monthly food help from Angel Food Ministries.
I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to make ends meet.

Also stopped at the local Goodwill store and got 2 pairs of dress pants for $9.

I got windows to clean and leaves to move today.But. Like LiT, I thinking fishing and the river and the Kayak are in the plans for later today.Maybe a bonfire a little later this evening too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 18, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I know what threw those red spots into my brain. It was those da#% still-existing monarchies in the world. Every time I see a king I want to hoist him onto a barbecue spit. And then blow up Parliament for the hell of it, too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 18, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, Guy Fawkes in November is the holiday for you, dear man.

RD, I too battled chickweed albeit in a community setting. Now I duel with the laundry pile of cleanness but why won't they fold themselves? And the sock mating now degrades into this rule'

White? Yes. Yes. Mate them.

I love the preamble to the Montana State Constitution:



We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.

One of the most environmental conscious statements ever. And, to be ruled by words is both major miracle and ongoing hard work.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 18, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh Magma Charta! I giggled, it was such a funny riff. [Totally gross and offensive comment redacted.] [Don't ask.]

Hookay, the tomatoes and peppers are planted. I couldn't tell which way was up on the anemone corms but they are in the ground. Mr. T is off getting mulch, and after lunch I will decide what to do with the rest of the seeds.

The columbines are in full bloom and they are glorious.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

While the Manga Carta is an important document to fans of Speed Racer, people neglect the importance of its predecessors, the Go Carta, the Library Carta, and the Carta Blanche.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the following might be instructive:

"It is worth noting that “Magna Carta” became a generic term which included various documents of special constitutional significance. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that the Massachusetts Bill of Liberties of 1641 was framed, in Winthrop’s words, “in resemblance to a Magna Carta”. The act of the New York legislature of 1683, which was known as the “Charter of Liberties and Privileges”, and the Pennsylvania “Charter of Privileges”, which was the fundamental law of the province from 1701 to 1776 and the “most famous of all colonial constitutions”, may also perhaps be reckoned in this category. The instructions issued by the Virginia Company in 1618 to Sir George Yeardley as governor are known to Virginian writers as the “Great Charter”; and the term is said to be found also in some of the land grants. But while this document of 1618 was undoubtedly of great importance in the constitutional development of the colony, it is perhaps going somewhat too far to liken it to a Magna Carta. The use of the term “Great Charter” is instructive, however, as showing the influence of Magna Carta upon legal terminology. Another illustration may be taken from the history of the Carolinas. In 1668 the proprietors of northern Carolina authorized the governor to grant land on the same terms and conditions as those that prevailed in Virginia. The colonists always referred to the instrument containing this authorization as the “Great Deed of Grant” and regarded it as a species of Magna Carta.22

"A point of even greater importance for our present purpose is that constitutional documents granted by colonial proprietors sometimes contain the clauses of Magna Carta itself. Thus, for instance, in the constitutions granted by the proprietors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the latter part of the seventeenth century, careful provision is made for the protection of personal liberty and of property and the familiar phrases of Magna Carta reappear. [footnote 23]"

Footnote 23 says:

"23 For further details, see II Osgood, op.cit. 192, 193; II Channing, op.cit. 46, 56.

"As William Penn seems to have had a hand in the framing of all these documents which embodied the phrases of Magna Carta, it is instructive [footnote continues on p. 16] to observe that in 1670, when he was indicted in an English court for being present at an unlawful and tumultuous assembly in Gracechurch Street, and there addressing the people in contempt of the King and of his law and against his peace, Penn claimed for himself the rights of Englishmen as set forth in Magna Carta and its confirmations. Penn’s case may be studied in 6 Howell’s State Trials. II Channing op.cit. 105, 106 gives a short account of it."


Author: Hazeltine, H. D.
Title: “The Influence of Magna Carta on American Constitutional Development.”
Citation: Columbia Law Review 17 (January 1917): 1-33.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 18, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Sir Edward Coke, 1606. Time to get me some trout. Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 18, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Mudge those references are great, and makes me smile when I remember people complaining that they did not want European influences in American politics/law i.e. International Court of Justice. Never quite understood the disdain for European culture by some (normal boodle regular exclusion applies).

Heck what little I do remember of our legal system (Yoki is so correct about me forgetting more than I remember), was the influence of Judiac (OK wrong term SoC - jog my memory), Napoleonic and English common law - an evolution if you will that continues today as society changes.

Which is why I do not understand strong adherance to a constitution - the basis yes but must be flexibility to adapt to new situations/societal conditions.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, I have both. Even accounting for the ring on the gas stove reversed, the flat-bottomed one is more stable, possibly because of the long wooden handle. Both work well, so for me it's 6 of 1.

I went to 2 church-sponsored yard sales today, dozens of vendors, with friends. All they reminded 2 of us was how much of our own junk was hanging around, so I'm cleaning out, pronto.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 18, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hello All (and Al)!

I managed to survive yet another tax season.

I had yesterday off. Yes, a 3-day weekend for me! I spent the day catching up on much needed rest and taking a break from the computer.

Today, I have restocked badly-needed food supplies. I also put together several spice rubs in preparation for grilling season. (Mr. Moose and I are pretty serious about the smoker/grill.)

Next, I think I shall tackle the laundry and dusting. Perhaps some vacuumming. I don't want to get too crazy.

Hopefully, now I will be able to Boodle more than I lurk.

I'll check back later.

Take care!

Posted by: Moose13 | April 18, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Moose! Glad to see you made it through tax season!

Posted by: TBG- | April 18, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse


Thanks, ftb, for alterting us to the YouTube audio for Susan B's earlier charity cd.

Not that I know *anything* about music, but she definitely has whatever it is that makes people want to listen to music.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 18, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What a lovely day, most of the chores are done,just need to get some wood,cause i fear that even with today being warm and sunny with wonderful blue skies. Soon it will be rainy and cold again.

Glad you have your whole crew together tbg,what wonderous smells must be eminating from your kitchen.

For those of you without blue skies here is a little for ya.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 18, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

A refreshed Moose larder. Hmm. Asparagus? Nappa cabbage?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 18, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Well I was wrong about today not being as warm, fairly overcast but warm, even the wind is warm - it will end tonight and return to spring temps but nice while it is here.

Winter cover is off the pool - backyard looks better already even if the pool is half empty. Too early to start it up though.

Daffodils and forsythia beginning to bloom in my area.

Moose good to have you back.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Just discovered/realized that "For Dummies" translates into French as "pour les nuls," which is a much better way to say it, I think...

Posted by: TBG- | April 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

That secret spy theory of the Washington Nationals is starting to seem more and more plausible.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 18, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Just came back from grocery shopping on the way there this song came on and made my decision as to whether I go to the grocery store that is very close or drive a little further to the other grocery store.

Song last the length of the drive, temp 76, windows down, sunroof open - radio loud doesn't get much better, the live version below.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse


The woman appearing with Kristofferson, Cash, Costello, and Mellencamp was Norah Jones. The guy in back is John Leventhal. He's married to Rosanne Cash and is the best guitar player on stage.

Posted by: -pj- | April 18, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

What an absolutely gorgeous day! And, yet, since the trees are exploding, that glorious tree pollen is lining my throat and lungs and making my eyes itch and water. Bleah! But I love Spring all the same.

I've been tuning in to Susan Boyle's wonderful singing on a regular basis, and reading more about her and the experience (both during and since) in several British newspapers. The Guardian has a couple of very, very good articles about her.

I'm looking forward to getting her CDs when eventually available.

I note that the Pistons were predictably plastered by the Cavaliers today. I'm no longer paying attention. And the poor Caps -- they must be so disappointed, losing the first two games. Now they have to win four to go further. I suspect that this has to do with experience in the playoff season, and I'm not sure how many of the Caps players have that. Now my Red Wings (yeah, you knew I was gonna mention them) have Zamboni-loads of playoff experience. And, I think they're playing right now. Gonna go check.

Hope all is well with everyone. Will tune in tomorrow.

Toodley-boodley till then.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 18, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Joel,

Bybee has been a federal judge since 2003, before the torture memos were known about. He did not just become one.

Posted by: WhatsSo | April 18, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Torture is more than obtaining information, it's a sadistic practice, that yields no valuable information, just sick pleasure for the torturer. Anyone, who supports this, is pure evil, and now we see who's involved in all this, and they should be prosecuted to the full extend of the law.

Posted by: arieb | April 18, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Back from the river a little while ago and I have got to give Kudos to our Canadian Boodlers.I bought a dozen Canadian night crawlers last October and after 6 months in the frig.I was able to catch 7 fish at the river today. God Bless Canada!!!

3 good size bass and 4 little turds,but oh what fun.The river was high and swift,so I needed to stay near the shore.Plenty of birds around including a Great Blue Heron. Nothing reallt out in the way of leaves yet,but the trees I floated under all had buds and will be bursting soon enough.Blue bells galore all along the river.

Grilling tonight,but I just had my favourite pottery piece fall out of my china and break on the floor.At least the lid survived. Geesh it just fell out.....

What a nice day,despite the pottery.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 18, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh GWE, I'm sorry about your pottery. There is no way to glue it together? It does sound like your day was lovely tho.'

Nice day here too. The traveling to and from my hair appointment was not kind to my back. Nor was the sewing I did before I left. I've spent most of the night on the sofa with the heating pad. The curse of getting older is how long it takes to recover from stupid little injuries.

dmd, good luck on Tuesday. Happy Greaster to TBG and family.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 18, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Bad sneaks, no hope for the pottery too many pieces, but as we speak the lid is keeping the grill food warm on another piece,it doesn't match but is functional.

Have you ever tried accupuncture sneaks?It did and still does a world of good for my bad back,plus it usually comes with a massage which is always good too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 18, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey TBG, happy Easter!

I used to send Easter packages to my kids at the local Pack and Ship, telling the clerk that, late as usual, I was celebrating "Greek Easter." He corrected me every year, telling me that he was Eastern Orthodox, and the correct term was "Easter Orthodox Easter."

I went once to a truly Greek church for Easter and it started late on Saturday night and went on for hours and hours and there were no chairs at all.

It was so beautiful and all, but once was enough!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | April 18, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, everybody! It was a lovely day here, spent mostly in the yard.

I hadn't meant to leave the lot today, but Geekdottir came by at lunchtime, and Elderdottir wanted her to come and try on dresses. She needs one for a wedding we're attending in a couple of weeks.

Why is it that siblings are so different? Elderdottir has always loved fashion and was good at picking out clothes and putting outfits together as a small child. Geekdottir couldn't care less about clothes, as long as she is covered and comfortable.

So we went to the mall on a Saturday afternoon (!), to shop at the store where Elderdottir is an assistant manager. I think Geekdottir tried on every dress in the place. Fortunately, she found one we all like, plus a couple of tops and a pair of jeans on sale. ($44.50 is a sale on jeans!!)

I was exhausted.

But it's a lovely dress, and she needed it, having NOTHING but jeans and t-shirts.

The next battle will be shoes, but I don't have to participate in that one. Thank heavens.

GWE, I'm sorry to hear about your broken pottery. TBG, I hope you all have a pleasant Greaster! I don't have to tell you to enjoy SonofG, I know you are. Sneaks, I hope the back heals quickly. FTB, I look forward to comparing notes on Susan Boyle's first CD with you. Cassandra, hope you're having fun with the grandsons; don't let them wear you out!

'Night all.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Siblings have to be different, Slyness. It's just the law of sibling rivalry to help minimize competition.

You roll your eyes at Elderdottir's fashion obsession, and Geekdottir decides to go the opposite way-- or Geekdottir got tired of being dressed up like a doll and rebelled against Elderdottir.

Only when they become adults and no longer live together can such siblings become more confident in their individuality to find their common ground and appreciate each other.

Here's hoping.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 18, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Bad Sneaks I am sure Tuesday will go well - after a few days all will be better.

Take care of your back - hope it improves soon.

Re sibling rivalry - my sister and I came up with the perfert solution as adults - live on opposites sides of the country - amazing how friendly you can be with only limited contact - all bets are off after a few days of close contact however, two very different personalities.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Forgot Happy Easter TBG and family.

Now off to bed.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 18, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"...[the bunnies are]...a menace." LOOK AT THE BONES!!!!

Posted by: -jack- | April 19, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Rumors of my demise are slightly exaggerated.

Back from college visits with the eldest, and I'm comatired. mcf;vd;k;vjsbv,cn

Not completely done backboodling at this point, but I'm getting there. Should probably resume that when there's less threat of my repeated keeling face first into this keyboard from exhaustion, but I just can't stop...ghlsvsvbf vrvbdib (oops, there I went again)

There may be a clever comment to make there about how I'm 'keyboarding' myself, but I'm incapable of it at the moment, and in the context of the Kit & Boodle, it could be inappropriate and definitely not funny. nsgfbdp9g;b.hdnv

G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Glad you made it back, bc. Is the incoherence from exhaustion or from reviewing tuition projections? That's enough to make anyone start babbling.

I finally figured out what to do with this beautiful day. I woke my wife up at the crack of noon and bribed her with a bahn mi sandwich from the new Song Que deli at Eden Square. We then went to Great Falls just as the ticket booth closed, so we got in free.

I took bunches of pictures of the river and then I noticed two guys taking photos of these really small blue flowers kinda shaped like bells. I wonder what they are called. Anyways, these guys had tripods and really fancy cameras, but I decided to give it a go as well. Here is the best of the bunch:

Although if you are into the study of insect aeronautics, this would be a good one as well:

They had this ditch in the park with a sign saying it was part of a canal around the falls that had been part of a business venture by George Washington. I bet the story of that would make a great topic for a book.

Finally, we went to Bethesda for dinner and saw a movie called 'The Class' which required too much reading because all the characters insisted on speaking in French despite being lazy high school kids. It had won a bunch of oak leaf clusters in this film show at some obscure beach town. The point of the movie seemed to be that insolent annoying teenagers (as well as Alan Iverson jerseys) are a universal constant.

And tomorrow will be a day of rest.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, dbG. I agree the handle would help make the wok feel (and be) stable. I saw a nice looking 14" carbon steel one (flat bottom) at Target for $26, that I'm considering. Haven't looked at the Asian market yet.

Other food news is I just re-discovered my crock pot, which had been neglected in the cupboard for maybe 20 years. How could I have forgotten about it? It's a way to combine my work schedule with my love for braised/slow-cooked meats. First try was delicious -- brisket with cranberries.


Posted by: Jim19 | April 19, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

The May Harper's just arrived, with this:

Can You Hear Me Now?

[From a November press release by the telecommunications company Nokia Siemens Networks.]

Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the preliminary planning process to identify the proposed remaining headcount reductions necessary to reach its previously announced synergy-related headcount-adjustment goal. To date, the company has achieved and adjustment of more than 6,000 employees and continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees. "With the successful completion of these plans," said CBO Simon Beresford-Wylie, "we can start to put this chapter of our history behind us and focus on creating a world-class company." The proposed headcount adjustments are a result of merger-related synergies, including changes to the product portfolio, site optimization, streamlining of various functions, and strategic long-term R&D and workforce balancing designed to build a competitive Nokia Siemens Networks. Bosco Novak, head of human resources, said, "It is our goal to engage constructively with employee representatives to quickly and fairly achieve these needed changes so we are able to remove the ongoing uncertainty that our employees have about synergy-related headcount reduction."

[At least they call them employees, not resources.]


Posted by: Jim19 | April 19, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Our main street at the beach, in off season, is so quiet that you can sometimes spot native marsh rabbits munching the grass in the strip between sidewalk and curbstone.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 19, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Good night and morning, both, Boodle dear. I returned from a most amazing performance of Mendelsohn's oratorio "Elijah" (like, really freakin' awesome!) a couple of hours ago, and then found the first Star Wars movie just starting on television. That is, the 1977 original movie called "Star Wars." Which I love (not so much any subsequent Star Wars, except the next one with the Ewoks). So here I am.

Even those of you who do not like classical music all that much would have responded to the power of the massed voices of a chorus of 120 voices, a gorgeous baritone and soprano feature artist, and a big booming organ well-modulated to not overwhelm the singers, not to mention a skilled but small-scale orchestra under a good conductor. Sublime.

It may take me a couple of hours yet to decompress.

By which time my EST friends will be up, and we can chat. Good morning. Good night. Fabulous experience.

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Good for you, Yoki. I've only heard Elijah a couple of times every, on the radio.

LTL-CA is still up (listening to Messiah, as it happens)....

Posted by: Jim19 | April 19, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

ever, not every....


Posted by: Jim19 | April 19, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA. It is full-power when one is the same room with the baritone Elijah. Thank you.

I must obtain a recording of this. I know Messiah the way I know my own name, but not Elijah, yet. I will know it, this way. In time.

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

OK, I'm ALMOST completely backBoodled...

Yoki is NOT Yoko, no how no way. She's WICKED BETTAH!

bill e, thanks for the good news.

jack, best wishes to you.

Sneaks, thanks for providing the synopsis of the Unintentional BPH -- I'm STILL smiling at bc's sudden appearance.

And I must have slipped into an alternate dimension when I wasn't looking. NukeSpawn send NukeSpouse a birthday card, and saved a stamp by including a "note" for me in the same envelope. The note essentially said:

"I realize I texted too much last month and I'll work on staying within my boundaries. Here's a few dollars to make up the difference."

*my-jaw-dropped-so-fast-I-gotta-find-a-jackhammer-to-dig-it-outta-the-floor-before-I-go-jogging Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 19, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Can we all make this economy improve? In some weird way, the Progressives' PAC to make Norm Coleman Go Away ... gave me a stupid idea. What if we all agree that, if at all possible, we buy on thing each day. Make a schedule and if any of us need the item or one of the items of the day, we agree to go buy it--thus creating a shortage in the stock of that item, causing an hundreds of retail re-stocking orders.

I know, it is stupid, but sort of psychological effort to go buy things that we need, anyway.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 19, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse


Funny how the youngins just can't stop texting. They text folks sitting at the table. I am amazed when I get to see a bunch of 20 somethings sitting around not talking at all, but texting madly.

On the flip-side, I appreciate the business applications for uninterrupted, but quick communications. Phone calls for silly stuff are way down. It drives me nuts dealing with some friends who don't adapt. I have to keep my thinking going while I can and calls just stop my software development, but I can easily stop in 2 minutes and give a response... or schedule a call at a mutually convenient time.

Comfortable business communication really does make business relationships work.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 19, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse


Your post got me thinking, so I checked my cousin's website and

TA DA!!!

She is singing performing in the Sci-Fi Spectacular, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, Canada, April 23–25, 2009!!!

Also, Yoki, did we have a requiem discussion a while back? Here's another appearance ...

Mozart Requiem and Rutter Requiem, Carnegie Hall, June 28, 2009

I thought that Mozart was in there as one of your favorites. I may very well be losing my mind.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 19, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. *yawning* Haven't had my coffee yet.

Yoki, missed you on the Boodle last night, but glad you enjoyed the performance. Like they say in the movies, it was quiet here last night...too quiet.

My arms hurt a little from shoveling dirt yesterday, but it's kind of a good hurt. Got a lot more to do today.

Hey, the weekend of May 2-3 is the Montpelier Wine Festival, out in Virginia. We had a mini-BPH there two years ago. Anybody wanna repeat? My wife and I are going--I have to replenish our supplies of Stone Mountain's excellent wines. Scotty? TBG, Mo??? Anybody else? Maybe we'll have somewhat better weather than last time.

A short, fairly boring one today:
Today in Nautical and Aviation History

April 19, 1915: French ace Roland Garros’ Morane-Saulnier fighter plane is shot down behind German lines. Capture of the aircraft reveals Garros’ secret: metal plates bolted to his propeller blades deflected bullets from his own machine gun, so he didn’t shoot himself down as other, earlier pilots had done. France’s technological edge had only lasted 19 days before the Germans started using it, too. Alors.
1941: The Naval Aircraft Factory located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard begins development of the “Glomb” (glider bomb), a glider designed to be aerially towed to and released in the vicinity of the target, after which an on-board television camera would transmit pictures of the target to the tow aircraft, to radio-control the glider bomb into the target. In short, the world's first "smart bomb."

Must be some coffee around here somewhere...

*wanders off...*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 19, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to Speaking of Faith this morning, and wanted to get the text of a poem from their website. I've been on that website before and somehow thought I remembered that the url was WRONG!!! It's actually The initials are owned by a site I have considerably less interest in: "Soldier of Fortune." Ooops.

Here's the poem; I think some people here will appreciate it:

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 19, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Morning! This will be quick, because it's almost time to leave for church. Got a meeting this afternoon, it will be the last one, yay!

Wilbrod, the funniest thing is that when Geekdottir graduated last spring, she wouldn't move home. Her excuse was that she didn't want to share a bathroom with me. So where did she move? In with her sister.

They seem to get along just fine. I'm only the mother here, but I'm amazed.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, sorry about that incoherence.

I'm not so good at typing with my forehead, going in and out of consciousness.

Didn't get texting on the plans for my kids, the concern being that there would be temptation to distraction during classes.

Glad I was able to see Scottynuke and bsneaks et. al. up in Beantown the other night -- an unexpected pleasure.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Morning all I started my day by taking a few photos as well. Went outside to see the adult and two baby Mourning Doves at my feet on the patio. Went to get the camera but the dog decided they might be tasty and lunged at them, fortunately the birds just flew to the fence and let me take a picture.

Also got a picture of what I thought was a Baltimore Oriole - couldn't get as close to them (male and female) but I tried.

And of course a few shots of plants in the garden - Hellebores in bloom and spring flowers.

A great way to start the day.

Yello love your shot of the Bluebells.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 19, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Just finished breakfast of french toast, bacon, and coffee. Coffee, bacon, and now dish washing courtesy of Mr. F. We were up very late last night discussing weighty policy stuff-just confirming our theory that we would still have plenty to talk about once our home was free of life sucking teens.

37 and drizzly here this morning, but no snow on the ground. The edges of the lake have started to thaw and the river is nearly ice free. Saw deer, bear, and raccoon tracks on our after dinner walk last night. Won't be long until we start hearing frogs, always the best day of spring because it means it really is finally spring.

Happy Greaster! TBG

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 19, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Very nice pictures flower pictures, dmd. My wife's tulips are in bloom. I was taking pictures of those on Friday, but haven't posted them. I can't afford to get too distracted from finishing up my Photo Tour of Italy. I still have Pompeii and Rome to go.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse


Garden's done. Everything hurts. Got about two cubic yards left over, gotta spread it around the yard. Wife's got to plant the veggies before the rain comes. Weathermna says 30% chance, sky says 80%.

Cool pome, KB. Always liked Walcott. Keep 'em coming.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 19, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Happy Grishtar to all. Or is it Grastarté? That sounds right; the grass starts growing about this time of year.

Plugged in a thriller "Spartan" last night. These things often fall apart, but barring one deus ex machina which barely avoided ruining it, it held together to the end. Whereupon I saw the name Mamet roll across the screen, which explained it.

Bailey and I had a fine barbecue lunch with our friend and recent arrival from Russia. A new friend for me and an old friend to Bailey. And his elderly Danish mother-in-law, recently completely rescued from a con artist. The day was beautiful and we ate amid dogwoods in bloom. And planned additional outings as it turns out I walk my dog at the paddleboat park they like to go to. It's good to have reached apoint in my life where I can enjoy multigenerational company without the prejudices of youth. When younger I simply did not trust those older than me, and usually assumed the worst. Nowadays I sense the same prejudices against the olders in the youngers and it strikes me as sad. I want to shake them: wake up!

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I've always enjoyed multigenerational company, Jumper, mostly older.

The challenge for me those days is to befriend younger people in a way I'm comfortable with (and them likewise).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a fine day, Jumper. You've met Son of G and know that he enjoys multigenerational company as well.

I think that has to do with his being partly raised by his grandparents--his grandfather in particular. Dad was just retiring about the time Son of G was spending his days at their house, so the boy and his Papou spent a lot of time together--at home and out and about.

Yello... meant to tell you how pretty your flower pictures are from Great Falls. I believe those are bluebells and I have a batch of them here in my yard now, thanks to GreenwithEnvy.

Thanks, too, for all the Easter greetings. As we say in greeting today, "Christos Anesti!"

Posted by: TBG- | April 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Christos Anesti, Al!

Gotta go cut the grass. Gotta go cut the grass. Now I'm remembering what a pain this is.

I applaud the Disney machine for *finally* creating an African-American princess in their marketing lineup, but think someone is going to get fired for not performing due diligence on the Web (check out the name on Wikipedia):

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Happy belated Easter, TBG. I like the "Christ is risen" greeting, which I first heard in Russian:
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!

yellojkt, gorgeous pictures. I tried to get similar pictures of my bluebells, but I can't get the close-up shots. I'm officially blaming the camera. dmd, yours are gorgeous too. Thanks for the pome, kb.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, check out the name using a regular search engine. On Wikipedia, it's "Tiana Lynn."

Of course, some here may already know about her. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

For TBG:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | April 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DNA Girl. I love it. Close to home, too, with teenagers in the house.


Posted by: TBG- | April 19, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

That's pretty hilarious dbG. I recently heard a comedian wonder if parents check domain availability before naming their child. I guess a quick Google check would be prudent.

Posted by: TBG- | April 19, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Lynn seems to be a popular surname in that industry.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

With enough resolution you can just crop as needed without getting ultra-close to the subject.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all
It has gotten cloudy here,still warm,but so far no rain.TBG glad the bluebells are taking,I am on my way down to the river to grab some for my Mom's yard.That way after I move I can have bits and pieces of west by god in Merlin.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 19, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I see it's time to play the NPR name game (better than sharing stripper names any day)

My NPR name is Tonid Azraq

"The rules: Take the first letter of your middle name and insert it anywhere you'd like in your first name. And then your last name is the smallest foreign town you've ever visited."

More here:

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 19, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep that in mind, yello. Part of why I'm seriously claiming it's the camera's fault is that it has a low-resolution. But I know a lot of it is me.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Its utterly lovely here, brilliant blue sky. By days end I expect the bulk of the snow to be gone.

I'd stay and boodle longer, but it is time for deck sitting to commence.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 19, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

NPR name: Yokim Oberwil

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

NPR name: Wilbrodt Shahjahanpur.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I would be Monna Port Antonio.

Appears the HMCS Winnipeg has been busy these days - I think this was a ship Shriek mentioned the other day - read yesterday about how it was escorting food aid to Somolia and today how it helped (with British support) thwart a pirate attack.

Perhaps we need to have an international agreement that the rescue ships can offer temp citizenship to the crew members under attack - thus allowing the rescuers to detain the pirates. If I am correct to believe that the Navies may only detain the pirates if they are rescuing their own citizens? The detering the attacks but releasing the pirates does not seem to be hindering anything.

Yes I do realize the complications my scenario would raise - but there must be a better solution.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 19, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

That does it, it happened again. Despite an active firewall, scanning, etc., another virus sneaked through. Minor, but it still took a few hours, logging on with and without I'net access, scanning, quarantining, to get rid of them (2 total).

Next desktop is a MAC!

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It's seemed like I'm always in the leading edge of the curve for these, so be careful.

These 2 viruses popped up a little warning box to tell me that my firewall was wide open and if I just clicked on the little warning box, all would be fixed.

Duh! I hope I don't look that stupid!

When I checked my firewall settings, they were just fine.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudgec Puertomorales

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 19, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Let me change that to Mudgec Ek Balam. Has more of an air of exotic Middle Eastern terrorism, even though Ek Balam is in Mexico.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 19, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Worth a look:

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey to all and sundry (or, um, Al and sundry). Happy Greaster to TBG and others who so celebrate.

Outside of a couple of loads of laundry and the watering of houseplants, I've basically been f@rting around today. I got my Susan Boyle fix and am now about to get an Eva Cassidy fix, long overdue. During that, I just wonder whether I'll be able to work the backhoe (silently, of course, whilst the music is on) on some of the piles in the office. Or, um, not.

The blue skies of the morning have given way, as predicted, to overcast grey skies in anticipation of the equally predicted rain. Certainly would be nice to wash away as much of the tree pollen as possible. I do not remember suffering so much as I am this year. I do, on the other hand, remember not suffering at all before I moved here. *connecting-the-dots*

May the week ahead be friendly (and lucrative) to us all. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 19, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful day in the other capital as well. The puppies got their full complement of sun.

Looks like I'm 12% in the formatting of a 500MB HD. I think dinner will be over when that thing is finished. I love the new display though. You get a full screen on the right of a narrow boodle column. I managed to recycle my XP license, a $120 Bill won't get.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 19, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I. Am Never. Watching. The Nationals. Again.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 19, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I properly kilt it.
I'm up 74% in formatting.
The dispaly is really sweet. The Big Lebowski never look better dude.

Ok, off to grill some fish to go with the ratatouille and some fragrant rice.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 19, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I guess my NPR name would be P.L. Baddeck. I have only traveled to Canada and England and it's been a long time since I was in either place, so my options are limited.

Posted by: -pj- | April 19, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Lepter Baddeck will also work.

Posted by: -pj- | April 19, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I have a hard time thinking of Baddeck as a foreign village. Well, I would, wouldn't I?

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Somehow Fello Sweetwater just doesn't sound right.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Yoki. (Would it be better if the town was in Newfoundland? I understand ya'll tell Newfie jokes.) But we are an international blog, so someone's furriner could easily be someone else's neighbor.

Posted by: -pj- | April 19, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I have the same dilemma, about never having travelled outside the US except to Canada. And then, the only towns I could say I've visited are Victoria and Banff. I toyed with using a Texas town...Truly, the smallest town I have ever gone to with the intention of visiting was Cashmere, WA (where they make Aplets and Cotlets, but the reason we were there was for a pow-wow, which was supposed to be huge, but wasn't). So, I could be Marys Cashmere...which sounds more like a stripper name.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Texas counts as foreign doesn't it :-).

Posted by: dmd2 | April 19, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Oklahoma was plenty foreign to me.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

"Texas counts as foreign doesn't it :-)."

Well, yeah... to *you* dmd! Well... I guess to us, too. :-)

Had a great Greaster with the whole family, including the new baby, who is more adorable every day--happy, smiley. Just plain wonderful.

Posted by: TBG- | April 19, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Texas as foreign is funny, and I have been to some very small towns there. If you thought Freer was small, you shoulda seen Ben Bolt...

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 19, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I think my NPR name would be Tibna Venise-en-Québec.

Posted by: TBG- | April 19, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm just catching up. I was going to tell y'all I was off for a weekend symposium - during which I strongly recommended "The Grand Idea" while on a book panel, and by extension to the whole 100-strong crew - but my computer went nuts Friday about noon and I had to leave it. Ivansdad rescued it while I was gone.

I'm sorry I missed the legalistic part of the torture discussion.

I did want to note, Mudge, that I thought the Magma Charta Libertatum came from "libera" meaning "free" and "tatum" meaning "potatoes" - thus, the charter promising free potatoes. The early version of a chicken in every pot.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

So there might be precedent for hard-working civil servants to be granted free coffee?

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Joel's new article re. the Martian rover Spirit, still operating, despite being well out of warranty (though it could use a good wash, a detail, and a tuneup. Definitely to include changing all the filters):

On a side note, I spent some time repairing my olde German sedan (parts came in the mail while I was in Beantown with the oldest Daughter) and finally, the last "bc, yer an idiot" light is out. Of course, when I look at the odomoter and it shows 205,000 mi., I wonder if that's just an indicator I'm idiotically optimistic.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

You're triggering memories here tbg, one of my earliest recall is fishing perch in the bay Missisquoi, where Venise-en-Québec is located.
The foreignest place I've been got to be l'Anse-aux-Meadows in Newfoudland. It is truly the end of the world. I was served pickled seal flippers fur crying out loud. It's like a large bat wing termination, or the like the hand of a monkey with webbings between the fingers.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 19, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Did the taste get your seal of approval, Shrieking?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

He may have sealed those horrific memories, Wilbrod.

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

It certainly doesn't sound appetizing, but I'm sure the method of cooking has a great impact on the final taste.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

BTW, TBG, a happy Easter to you and yours.

How great it is to enjoy family holidays, to make new memories as well as revisit those we hold dear.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Recent news stories report that Macs are just as vulnerable to attack as PCs. It's just that bad people have preferred to attack the mass market. At least one baddie must have seen those stories and set to work on a Mac attack.

Foreign? When I was a college student in North Carolina, the place seemed like a developing country, what with a third-world excuse for a phone company, lousy A&P stores with empty shelves, and poverty up against statewide branch banking (UnAmerican. I'm surprised Congress didn't ban it), an incredibly sophisticated construction industry, and the Research Triangle Park gleaming alongside the wretched little road to Raleigh.

Isn't l'Anse-aux-Meadows where the Vikings settled? Seems a difficult location for growing grapes. Maybe climate change will bring Vinland Vineyards.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 19, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Barn find, bc. I remarked in an earlier post that we're buying another VW. One owner, 99k on the odometer, dealer sticker, sealing, operable sunroof, operable front bonnet latch, never been hit, complete down to the plastic cover for the fuse box. Diamond in the rough, good enough to be a daily driver.

Long day. The kids were off to Charleston with GP, and we got a call this morning at 10. Our boy had been up all night, repeatedly sick to his stomach, and was in severe abdominal pain. This prompted GP to seek the advice of the hotel MD, who diagnosed possible appendicitis. This prompted GP to go to the hospital. Blood tests indicated an elevated white cell count, and with the nausea and severe abdominal pain, three of the four hallmarks of appendicitis. A CT scan was done that showed the appendix was in its normal conformation. Gastroenteritis was the verdict, and he was discharged. Everyone is home now, although our son had a fever of 102.7F upon arriving home. Alternate doses of ibp and acetaminophen seems to have stabilized things for now. We were counseled to keep an eye on things and to seek medical care immediately if the same symptoms reappeared. I go to the ENT Tuesday, and await the results of Friday's scan. Off to finish the laundry, then to bed.

Posted by: -jack- | April 19, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Joel's comment on Mars rover Spirit's non-rotating wheel reminds me of early American ecologist Frederic Clement, who seems to have made a career of inventing latinate-greekish jargon. For him, a shovel was a geotome.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 19, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Dang. almost forgot the topper. We bought a couple of bales of wheat straw so our son could shoot at targets with his bow. I smelled smoke in the laundry room, which is quite leaky to the air outdoors and shook it off as smoke from our neighbour's wood burning stove. Went off to get some gatorade and jello for our son and came home to find one of the bales smouldering quite nicely. classic biochemistry: heat from the decomposing done by the bacteria and fungi in the straw built up enough to cause the straw to burn. I drenched both bales and set them out to be picked up by the refuse trucks tomorrow morning. sheesh.

Posted by: -jack- | April 19, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Darn Jack, could have used some flaming straw today. Tried to burn that portion of the lower meadow that is not under water but couldn't get a decent blaze going before it started to rain.

Time for lights out. Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 20, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I've spent most of my evening getting together my photos of Rome. We have gladiators, 60+ megapixel panoramas of the Coliseum, locations for 'Angels and Demons' and just some plain old gorgeous churches.

I'll repost the link on Joel's next kit since only the diehards are this far down in the boodle. Night all.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Diehard? Moi? I blame it on the timezone.

JJ&M, jack, looks like you had quite the exciting weekend. I would be curled up in a little ball if I were you. Glad things turned out to be not as serious as they could have been.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 20, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

You were wise to have the kid checked for appendicitis. A couple of years back my son had a mild fever and stomach pains while we were on vacation in Hanoi. We were totally clueless that those symptoms could be for appendicitis. We chalked it up to bad food.

Several days later he had the same complaint in Tokyo. This was the night after we all had Kobe steak, so again we thought the cusine was the problem.

A week after we returned home, his appendix burst and he ended up spending 14 days in the hospital. You were right to have the full scan done. You just can't be too careful.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Dave. The professional literature doesn't support that. I'm sure there's more than 1 baddie writing viruses for the Mac, but how does that compare to the hundreds (++) writing them for Windows?

This one's popup box came in the bottom right toolbar, same area (and same look) as the legitimate warnings I get from Microsoft, Software Guard, Symantec. The last one, which was months ago, but still, disabled my firewall then moved in.

So when this computer starts failing, I will lower my stress level. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | April 20, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Spyware Guard

gwe, unexpectedly (to me, at least), the dogs are crazy about the composter. They sniff around it every time they go out and supervise when new scraps are added. You never know, something might fall. I suspect it's the bunny poop that really fascinates them.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 20, 2009 2:08 AM | Report abuse

I've been happy to use a Mac and escape the security care-and-feeding issues of the old PC. Hope things stay that way.

"St. Peter in Chains" looks like the Capitolio.

"Ancient Roman columns that form the side of a church" are the Hadrianium at Piazza di Pietra. Converted to use as a Customs House in 1695.

Not that I've been. Just have an interesting book of b&w photos matching Piranesi's views by one Steven Brooke. He managed to to take those photos at times when the city was seemingly deserted. Um, I bet all the other captions are correct.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 20, 2009 2:46 AM | Report abuse

30 minutes of thought provoking video from Bill Moyers and David Simon:

It makes you think about the role of the police not only in the inner cities, but also in suburban America. What is our goal? Peace or a bunch of tickets and arrests?

Simon suggests what an inner city might be in his perfect world. Can we invest in the people the same amount of money in a constructive way?

I have often wondered if our world would be better off (without facing the basic yammering that one would hear if you were to do so) if we were to construct a positive use of the $50 grand that we spend per inmate on people while they could be free and developing.

What would our cities become if the money were spent right there on a life that was reasonable and sensible? What would it be like if we didn't declare war on the poor?

Clearly, at the end of the segment we all have to ask ourselves if that world is worth discovering? It would take too much mental heavy lifting to get there.

Simon makes a good point that most inner city police forces are just making arrests for "simple" crimes that supersede the efforts to solve violent crimes. We are just scooping up the victims of that world... the small time players and calling that police work (which it is). BUT, what if we were to spend all that effort on improving that lot in life.

I wish we could do a test on society to make that case.

Of course, Simon closes his comments with the point that, if you make this suggestion, you are immediately branded a socialist. (that about the fact that the rich are getting richer, etc). And also referring to what is a social welfare question. Would we as a country be better off if the people of the inner city were not "tooled" by the system?

Simon also talks about our economic system and refers to the fact that we "don't make anything anymore." AND, we have folks supporting an economic environment that rewards the rich beyond their wildest beliefs and yet are tooled by that system only because they "think" they want to opportunity to be that rich.

Very powerful. Very thought provoking. Great way to wake up and start working!

Posted by: russianthistle | April 20, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

7 minutes in segment #2:

What is the result of the loss of journalists as the result of the shrinkage of the newspapers?

David Simon ... took 3rd buyout in mid-90's... he was being shifted out when the Baltimore Sun was making 37% profit. THen, the paper gets overrun by the Internet.

The owners didn't get it and took the profits. The owners marginalized their content. Right now, there are 180 people at the Sun.

Simon predicts a wave of corruption... of misbehavior.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 20, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the proof reading DOTC. Neither of my guidebooks mentioned the Hadrianium and we cruised by so fast I didn't catch the name.

I've also updated the caption on the Capitol Hill picture. I was in St Peter in Chains back in the 80s and now I don't know where it is.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Raining here, right on top of our brand new garden, as planned. 6 tomato plants, 22 feet of sweet onions, 12 feet of sugar snap beans, couple of rows of carrots already in. And we've still got lots of room for more.

And I don't hurt as much as I thought I would. Possibly due to pharmaceuticals.

Didn't look like much on the home page (other than Joel's piece on the rover, which was good). And do I have this right? Palin made a major pro-choice speech? Won't they drum her out of the GOP for that? Flaming liberal. Sheesh.

Just a very short but very timely one this morning. Arg, mateys!

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

April 20, 1720: The executioner hangs the last batch of pirates (54 total) brought to England after Capt. Chaloner Ogle’s HMS Swallow defeated history’s most successful pirate, Bartholomew “Black Barty” Roberts, and his ship Royal Fortune off the coast of Africa. Roberts himself was killed by grapeshot during the battle.

OK, Dawn Parol. I smell coffee and something from slyness's kitchen, so you know it's gonna be good. Uniform of the day includes umbrella, slicker or raincoat, galoshes (one blushes to use the old term we used -- innocently -- in elementary school: "Put on your rubbers, kids.")

(Do they even *have* those kinds of rubbers anymore? Does Totes still make them? I have no idea. Knoweth the Boodle?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 20, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Al, you too! Country ham bisuits it is, Mudge. They're on the table in the ready room.

I'm headed to Costco this morning. Does the bunker need anything besides TP?

We woke up to rain, but it's passed and looks like it's done. I almost got up and move the car out of the carport so it would have the pollen washed off. Maybe I'll wash it this afternoon. Then again, maybe not.

Posted by: slyness | April 20, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse


14.5 minutes into the second segment, Moyers and Simon start to discuss what I have said for a while, quoting from a speech at Loyola U., they discuss the fact that Simon points out that America is an oligarchy. From the money managed by a few and then through the power over the system that this money can maintain, directly into the Senate of the United States... our destiny is controlled not by the theory of one man one vote, but by the money.

The context of discussing this right after the loss of many of our newspapers really speaks, in my mind, to the disaster that is befalling America.

Are the oligarchs better off without a strong journalistic base? Can the oligarchs make the economy improve without spending too much of their own money? (my point).

Occasionally, it's nice to know that you aren't alone. Did the uber wealthy take everything out of our companies and "leave town," so to speak? I contend that much of the wealth of the United States has moved off-shore. The question is what is America willing to do about this?

We are on the doorstep of crushing Detroit. We have allowed the foreclosure crisis to cut huge parts of Cleveland out of the nation. Simon and Moyers pointed out the disaster of governing that was New Orleans.

I might add that Bobby Jindal, who I would say is more suited to riding a quarter-driven old Supermarket horsey-ride actually believes, as do his supporters, that he is Presidential material. There is Bobby Jindal, already sitting on a disaster of mankind, rejecting money from the Federal Government to aide those who are suffering. President? Nah...

And yet, why is it possible that anyone would take that guy seriously? Well, its because there are a few Americans who might want him to be President. He could be a tool for the oligarchs.

I just find this whole thing to be a fascinating commentary. You know? I can't believe that the Washington Post couldn't find a way to employ Tony Kornheiser. Sometimes, totally meaningless facts can be the window into the economic times and the values that drive a process.

Tony is probably, if the not the most, one of the most recognizable people who has worked for the Post. And yet, things are so dire at the Post that someone thought that this was a good idea. They couldn't make money on him, so they cut him.

That's pretty lame.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 20, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Must have been neat to be at the original Capitol Hill, designed by Michelangelo, to boot (except the stairway wasn't faithfully executed. Sounds just like the City of Palm Beach managing to get Frank Gehry out of designing a park).

Looks like S. Pietro in Vincoli is from 442, restored 1475 with a new facade. Some city. So much for the (war, hurricane, earthquake) ruins of ancient Charleston.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 20, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I Googled it. It's nowhere near where I thought it was. Revoke my Rome Tour Badge.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Buildings in places like Portland, Oregon, London, Washington D.C. have been known to migrate. A few don't, like the Capitol and White House.

The former Dodgertown may have a new occupant. I'd rather the locals worked on creating a rowing center at Sebastian.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 20, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Then there's the sudden death of 14 polo ponies belonging to a Venezuelan team, just before a match in Palm Beach County. It'll probably get more attention than any number of human-related problems.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 20, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. Cassandra, hope you are well and had a good weekend with the grandsons.

I am just heading out to the office, where I will participate in a marathon conference call; scheduled to last at least six hours. Who programmes a day-long meeting?

My own view is that if you can't say everything necessary in an hour, you've not thought about it enough.

Have a good day, all. I wish sunny skies for all.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Something to do for 6 hours? Count the number of times that people use the phrase "to be honest" ... as if ...

Posted by: russianthistle | April 20, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey kids! There's a new kit! And it's about robots on mars!

Yoki. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 20, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

So we are sure now that it was not an AMC Spirit.

I didn't know what 4:20 meant either but then, in my bad old days that would have been an awfully late hour to "really" start the day.

To add to the rubber thread (ha!):
A very proper British chemist working in our lab at the time ask the young and pretty office manager for rubbers. Dumbfounded by her hilarity he explained he wanted some of those pink rubber erasers. We are separated by a common language indeed.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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