“I brought you a latte,” Professor Plum said as he handed Chef a mug.

A tiny paper airplane floated on the foamed milk. Professor Plum had read the mail. (More)

He then left with Ms. Scarlet to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor sipped what appeared to be aircraft-free orange juice while pondering what to do with his pair of Tens. Chef had called the big blind to enter the pot and, when the Professor of Astrology Janitor put in a small raise, replied with a pot-sized reraise. That betting pattern usually announced a big pair, pocket Aces or pocket Kings, or at least a suited Ace-King. The Professor of Astrology Janitor knew that his Tens were a huge underdog against Aces or Kings, and had only a slight advantage over a suited Ace-King. But Chef might be bluffing a weaker hand. The Professor of Astrology Janitor also knew that merely calling Chef’s reraise would gain him no information. A pot-sized reraise would bluff his Tens as a big pair, and Chef would fold if she were bluffing or call his bluff if she indeed held the goods. And she probably did.

He folded his Tens and Chef mixed her unseen hand into the muck before gathering her chips. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling, and Chef went to the kitchen to make Espresso Mocha Waffles, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

This is a very long letter because I have a lot to say. I will write as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a café in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. I don’t write to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I write for the principle.
[…]
I think this is something we shouldn’t give up on so easily. I think that the idea that we can deprive someone of their life without any kind of hearing, essentially allowing a politician. I’m not casting any aspersions on the President. I’m not saying he is a bad person at all, but he is not a judge. He’s a politician. He was elected by a majority, but the majority doesn’t get to decide who we execute. We have a process for deciding this. We have courts for deciding this, to allow one man to accuse you in secret, you never get notified you have been accused. Your notification is the buzz of the propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you’re killed. Is that what we really want from our government? Are we so afraid of terrorism, are we so afraid of terrorists that we’re willing to just throw out our rights and our freedoms, things that have been fought for and that we have gotten over the centuries.
[…]
Now, the President has said, don’t worry because he’s not going to kill you with a drone unless it’s infeasible to catch you. Now, that would – sounds kind of comforting, but I guess if our – if our standard for whether we kill you or not is whether it’s practical or not, that – that – that does bother me a little bit. Just doesn’t sound quite strict enough. Because I’m kind of worried that, you know, maybe there’s a sequester and the President says we can’t have tours of the White House.

Maybe he’s not got enough people to go arrest you. He had policemen by him and he said he was going to lay off the policemen. Of course, he doesn’t have anything to do with the policemen so don’t worry about that. But he had the policemen by him and says he’s going to lay them off. So maybe he’s going to lay the policemen off because he’s going to kill you.
[…]
There has been some dispute over this. There is a Supreme Court case by the name of Lochner back in 1905. The President doesn’t like Lochner at all. He is very much opposed to it. But the one thing about Lochner that I like is that Lochner really expands the Fourth Amendment.
[…]
But the President is an opponent of the Lochner decision, and in the Lochner decision, a state legislature decides something. It’s not really of importance what the decision is so much as that it’s about judicial deference, about whether the court should say well, the state legislature decided this, a majority should get to rule. So many, like Oliver Wendell Holmes, was a dissent in the Lochner case, and he basically said majorities should get to rule. Herbert Crawley, who was one of the founders of the new republic, he wrote that we can get trapped up in all this support for the Bill of Rights and all these ancient individual rights, if we get too carried away with that, this whole idea of rights things, we’ll have a monarchy of the law instead of a monarchy of the people.
[…]
I need to pee so I’ll stop now.

Rand in KY

Dear Rand,

We applaud your decision to stop. We agree there should be additional safeguards over the president’s authority to target individuals, and would applaud FISA-like warrants such as those you proposed in a bill last July and were also proposed in February by Maine Senator Angus King.

That said, we deplore the paranoid fantasies you used. Attorney General Eric Holder has made clear that the authority to kill exists only when arrest is not feasible without excessive risk to our troops or to civilians. Far from a new legal wrinkle, that has long been the standard of review for killing by law enforcement officials. It was the same standard applied in the recent case in Alabama, where a man shot a bus driver, seized a five-year-old child, and held the child hostage in a bunker. When negotiations broke down after six days, law enforcement officials decided to breach the bunker, and when the hostage-taker reached for a gun the SWAT team shot and killed him. He did not get Fifth Amendment due process, because he refused to surrender himself to authorities. We would rather he had released his hostage and received a trial, but he made that impossible … as does hiding in a region where not even the local Yemeni government, let alone the U.S., can safely send troops to make an arrest.

Finally, we disagree that the state law reviewed in the infamous Lochner decision is “not really of importance,” unless you believe there is no conceptual difference between New York state limiting the workweek to 60 hours for bakers and the federal government launching missiles at cafés in San Francisco, Houston, or Bowling Green, Kentucky. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Lochner in 1937, in the case of West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, holding that the right to contract is not inviolate and may be reasonably regulated to against threats to public health, safety, and welfare, including laws that guarantee a minimum wage and maximum working hours. That you see no distinction between workplace safety regulations and drone strikes … says even more about you than your thirteen-hour Senate paranoiathon.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

Is he done yet? I’m hungry and I want to make Chef’s Espresso Mocha Waffles. What is her recipe?

Droning Toward Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Droning Toward Breakfast,

Yes, he’s done. To make Chef’s Espresso Mocha Waffles, first draw a two-ounce shot of espresso and whisk it in a large bowl with 2 cups of Bisquick, ⅓ cup of miniature chocolate chips, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 large egg, and 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil until the batter is well combined. Cook the waffles in batches, using the directions for your waffle iron. Chef garnishes hers with dark chocolate chips and maple syrup. Bon appétit!

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Sources:

Rand in KY; FISA-like warrants proposed last July; again in February by Maine Senator Angus King; Alabama bunker hostage case; Lochner v. New York; West Coast Hotel v. Parrish.

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Happy Sunday!