The resident faculty left a chess diagram outside the mail room labeled: “White – House to O5, Mate or Stalemate?”

We hope it was a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week, and addisnana shared the Perseid Meteor Showers in Midday Matinee.

On Tuesday, we discussed Fred Whispering about Obamacare in Morning Feature and readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: Camp Cliché in Midday Matinee.

On Wednesday, we asked Did Ya Get that Meme-o? in Morning Feature, addisnana mused that It’s a Lock in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan saw that Fox News Creates Distrust of Science in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we began a series on Jonathan Alter’s The Center Holds with Obama Derangement Syndrome in Morning Feature and triciawyse shared Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee.

On Friday, we continued our series on The Center Holds with The Schmooze Gene in Morning Feature, triciawyse offered Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan shared the Impact of Extreme Weather on Climate in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we concluded our series on The Center Holds with A Message Built to Last in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked about Republicans-Only Debates? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

Thus we return to the chess diagram left outside the mail room by the resident faculty, as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

The diagram was labeled: “White – House to O5, Mate or Stalemate?”

This prompted some consternation among the staff, for three reasons. First, we prefer poker to chess, although Chef played chess in high school. Second, there is no chess piece called a House. And third, there is no location O5 on a chess board.

We asked the Squirrel for help and he tapped away at his Blewberry. A few minutes later he texted: “The Rook is also called the Castle, which is kind of a house.”

“True,” Chef said as she served slices of pecan danish ring. “But there’s still no location O5 on a chess board.”

“That’s right,” the Squirrel texted, his nose twitching. “Can you save me some of those pecans?”

“Can you help us with the clue first?” Chef asked.

“I guess,” the Squirrel texted, flicking his tail impatiently. “Okay, ignore the hyphen and the problem is ‘White House to O5, Mate or Stalemate?'”

“Right,” Chef agreed. “So?”

The Squirrel paused to gaze at the pecan danish ring longingly, then texted: “This is President Obama’s fifth year in the White House, and everyone is wondering if he’ll checkmate the Republicans or be forced to accept a stalemate on issues like comprehensive immigration reform and new infrastructure investment.”

“Of course,” Chef said, tapping a few stray pecans into a bowl. “Obviously the president needs to take his case to the American people, or use presidential perks and personal charm to win over key members of Congress.”

“That’s the Beltway wisdom,” the Squirrel agreed. “But ‘Beltway wisdom’ should be in a list of oxymorons. Especially in this case.”

Chef tapped a few more stray pecans into the bowl. “And?”

The Squirrel looked at the bowl, then looked at Chef, then looked at the bowl again. “Okay, okay. This week the resident faculty will discuss The Strategic Presidency: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership, wherein political science professor George Edwards uses polling data and detailed historical analysis to illustrate the limits of the so-called ‘bully pulpit’ and debunk myths about the power of the presidency, concluding that America’s most effective presidents were ‘facilitators’ who took strategic advantage of existing opportunities, rather than ‘directors’ who created opportunities by the power of persuasion.”

Chef pushed the bowl over to the Squirrel. “So you eavesdropped outside the hot tub faculty lounge again?”

The Squirrel picked up a pecan, sniffed it, then tucked it in his cheek and texted: “Well, the hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath is right next to Árbol Squirrel, and the resident faculty were kind of loud….”


Happy Monday!