Late Night Open Thread

Grab your seatbelts, this one is going to ramble. You’ve been warned.

Just woke up from a great nap that was induced by forcing myself to watch Pirates baseball. I made a promise to my mom this year that I would watch more Pirates games this season, after what has been basically a 15 year hiatus. I’ve caught a game here or there over the decades, but haven’t been much of a fan since Sid Bream’s fat ass slid across home plate while Barry Bonds did- fuck, what was he doing?- in 1992. At any rate, I watched the game and fell asleep in the chair and woke up remarkably refreshed so I will probably be able to watch another episode of Ripper Street tonight (why are they all 75 minutes, FFS?). I was also in a foxhole during training at Fort Dix listening to the Islanders beat the Pens in OT in game 7 listening on my earphones, and I yelled out in the pitch black “FFFFFUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK” and got reprimanded by the #1 Sergeant.

It’s been a beautiful day here all day- 80 degrees at one point and clear blue skies all day. In a one week period (last week I talked about the grass changing color) all the trees have gone from barren to blooming. The peach tree down the road is beautiful, as are all the Asian Pear trees. My favorite tree, a massive oak in my neighbors yard, a tree that I spend hours looking at because it is just so big and pretty and a real giant, has just erupted with green foliage. On top of that, my spiders are back. I was sitting on the back porch drinking a cup of tea (Ginger Root Superior from and I saw two of them dive bomb me and one actually landed on my arm before pulling itself back up to protect my house from bugs. Also, the bats are back, and I saw several of them cruising around making my area of operations bug free.

Currently burning some really solid lavender essential oil that I got from, and along with with upton tea I think they are probably my favorite company that no one uses. I get all my spices and herbs from them (except for the fresh stuff from the garden and herb baskets). I’m also planning my garden, and I think this year I am going to really work to just make solid slicer tomatoes and maybe a bunch of heirlooms. Those really are my favorite. Nothing beats sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and olive oil and vinegar.

Other than that, I got nothing to say. I suppose I could share the very lurid details about the dream I had yesterday in which a topless Rosario Dawson and Bar Rafaeli gave me an alcohol sponge bath when I was feverish, but I have a mirror and I know what I look like naked, so I will spare you those details (even though it was awesome).

And that is all I have to say about that. Oh, also too, it is this time of year:

I so adore that band. The soundtrack of my life.

Manning Update and Open Thread

There was a hearing last week in the pending Court-Martial of PFC Bradley Manning.  I was going to write it up, but then…well.

There were two developments that were interesting.  The main take-aways from the hearing are that Judge Lind (COL, JA) has instructed the Trial Counsel that they will have to prove that PFC Manning “knowingly and with specific intent that the Taliban and/or Al Quaeda receive the documents” he stole and passed to Wikileaks in order to get a conviction on the specification of Aiding the Enemy (UCMJ Art. 104) and not merely that he knew or should have known that Taliban or AQ would avail themselves of the documents after Wikileaks presumably posted them.  This is a higher standard than the TC originally proposed, but TC did not object to this instruction.  The second development from the hearing was that Trial Counsel sought and received permission from the Judge to call a member of SEAL Team 6 who took part in the Bin Laden compound raid to testify for the government during the findings phase (when guilt or non-guilt is determined.)

Presumably, he will testify that documents that originated with Manning’s activities were found in the compound.  I’m not sure what that accomplishes given the ruling above, but that’s what happened in the hearing.  IANAL, so your guess is as good as mine.

Additionally, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the highest military appeals court, above the service courts but below the SCOTUS, has ruled in Center for Constitutional Rights, et al v US and Lind.  This suit concerns a writ of Mandamus that CCR, Wikileaks, Jeremy Scahill, and others were seeking to compel Judge Lind and the US to provide daily trial transcripts and verbatim transcripts of MRE 802 conferences.  MRE 802 concerns conferences that are taken in judicial chambers or sidebars.  The appellants sought to compel the government and the Judge to provide these records as well as reserve seats in the gallery to their representatives.  The Army Court of Criminal Appeals originally sided with the government and Judge Lind and turned down this writ on the grounds that Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests have served adequately in the past for news agencies and others seeking records of military courts-martial and there was no reason to change that now.  This policy/process differs significantly from federal civil courts, apparently.  There were also some grounds for turning down the request on military logistical grounds that are not really relevant but basically come down to who’s going to pay for the real time transcription and so on.  The accused (PFC Manning) and his counsel were invited by CAAF to submit a brief on this issue, but declined.  The CAAF found that since their jurisdiction was limited to appeals after ACCA would theoretically hear appeals, that did not give them enough jurisdiction to issue a writ in the case.  The majority specifically noted the fact that the accused did not join CCR, et al in the case and this weighed against them.

You can read their ruling here.

Also, NRA lobbying makes it a LOT harder to catch terrorists.  This is something of which the NRA is well aware.  UPDATE: Mistermix already beat me to it.

Game update 2.0, “Scum and Villainy” is out for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I’ll be playing that tonight as soon as I get off shift babysitting server upgrades.

Open thread

My love for you endures, and remains forever more

So, it’s been a shit of a week, and it’s not over yet. Amongst all the horror and sadness and stupidity, I offer you a moment of pure joy.

In New Zealand the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, introduced by Labour Party MP Louisa Wall (the lovely Māori woman in the rainbow coat) passed with 77 votes to 44. On receiving Royal Assent from the Governor-General, the bill will become law and same-sex marriages will be available in New Zealand from mid-August.

When the bill was passed, this happened:

Kia ora to all my Kiwi friends (particularly the lady in the fabulous hat).

Pōkarekare ana, ngā wai o Rotorua
Whiti atu koe hine, marino ana e
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

Tuhituhi taku reta, tuku atu taku rīni
Kia kite tō iwi, raruraru ana e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

Whatiwhati taku pene, kua pau aku pepa
Ko taku aroha, mau tonu ana e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

E kore te aroha, e maroke i te rā
Mākūkū tonu i aku roimata e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

The waves are breaking, against the shores of Rotorua,
My heart is aching for your return my love.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

I have written you a letter, and enclosed with it my ring,
So your people could see it how much I’m troubled for you.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

My poor pen is broken, my paper is spent,
But my love for you endures, and remains forever more.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

The sun’s hot sheen won’t scorch my love,
Being kept evergreen by the falling of my tears.
Oh girl, Come back to me, I could die of love for you.

Site Notes



In case you don’t read the comments and wonder why the site’s been slow, John’s post on the bombings was on the front page of Reddit for most of yesterday afternoon and evening. That post has 3566 comments at the moment, and over 60,000 Redditors have voted it up or down. So, we got crushed. In the spirit of Reddit, here’s a picture of a dog with a butt-sniff cam installed. (This is a real thing, btw.) Open thread.

Early Morning Open Thread: The Neverending Race

marathon race for the cure
(Signe Wilkinson via
Warning: This New Yorker blog post on the third Marathon victim will break another little piece of your heart.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Jason Zengerle at NYMag reports “How Savvy Jenny Sanford Sabotaged Ex-Husband Mark’s Political Comeback

… Indeed, while Jenny has never come out and publicly opposed Mark’s congressional candidacy — choosing to remain officially neutral — she’s waged a brutally effective passive-aggressive campaign against it. Whether it was revealing to me that Mark had shamelessly asked her to manage his election bid; or telling the Washington Post that, until the night Mark’s fiancée showed up onstage at his victory party in April, one of her sons had never met the woman; or just generally making it known that she is furious that he’s running, Jenny has done a masterful job of keeping her ex-husband’s past (and not-so-past) transgressions in the news. She has seeded the ground with political land mines, stood back, and waited for Mark to step on one.

Now that he has, in the form of this trespassing news, Republicans are cutting bait, with the National Republican Congressional Committee deciding that it’s not going to spend any more money on Sanford’s behalf. Meanwhile, the conservative group Concerned Women for America has announced that it’s contemplating a write-in campaign on behalf of Jenny in the May 2 congressional race: “CWA’s staff is still checking the legalities but I gotta say,” its head told the Washington Post, “Congresswoman Jenny Sanford has a nice ring to it.” She’s certainly proven to be a better pol than her ex.

Also, I thought this was an experienced and cynical crowd, and yet nobody in DougJ’s earlier thread seems to have shared my first reaction to the news of Mark showing up with a cellphone flashlight when he thought Jenny was out of town… [steel magnolia accent]…

“Mark, I knew ALL ABOUT those nasty, nasty pictures in your ‘secret stash’ — I burned those vile things ten minutes into your ‘Appalachian Hike’ — so you can just stop sneaking around like the low dirty hound you are and leave us all in peace!”