Professor Plum walked into the mail room with his back straight, shoulders square, and head tall. Then he relaxed. “Sorry,” he said. “I was just posturing.”

At least he read the mail. (More)

Professor Plum 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 was playing a pair of Deuces as if they were Aces. He opened by calling the big blind and, after Chef raised, added a pot-sized reraise. Chef paused for a moment, then called. The flop brought the Ace of Hearts and the Eight and Deuce of Clubs. The Professor of Astrology checked and again offered a pot-sized raise after Chef’s bet. Without a moment’s hesitation, Chef pushed the rest of her chips into the middle. Now the Professor of Astrology Janitor paused. Did Chef have a pair of Eights for a higher three of a kind? Might she bet so boldly with an Ace-Eight for two pair, or be semi-bluffing with the Ace and another Club for a pair of Aces with a flush draw? She seemed awfully confident, but feigning confidence was one of the most common tells for a bluff. On the other hand, Chef knew the tells too. With a long sigh, he folded his Deuces. Chef generously turned over her pair of Aces, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling. Chef went to the kitchen to make Turkey Pastrami Omelets, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I think the continuing budget resolution fight will roll into the debt ceiling fight. I think that’s inevitable. And preferable in my opinion. I like combining all of our leverage, which is sequester and the debt limit. What we wanted to do is make really clear who stands for what. And doing what we’re doing today makes the Senate face up to that. We’ll see what happens. I’ve always believed you don’t try to predict with certainty where these things go. Everybody who says such things really doesn’t know. They’re just spinning. I want to see where Mary Landrieu votes on this or Mark Pryor or Begich or Kay Hagan and other people. I want to see if they really think – based upon the mail that they’re getting from their constituents, which is no different than ours – that they think Obamacare is ready for prime time and they’re ready to vote to make this thing go live in a couple of days and face the consequences with their constituents for having made that decision. But as for President Obama’s claim that he won’t negotiate on the debt ceiling, nobody believes that. He himself negotiated Bowles Simpson on the debt limit with Democrats. That was Kent Conrad’s requirement. He himself negotiated the Budget Control Act with the debt limit. Graham Rudman. Bush Andrews Air Force Base. Clinton Gore ‘97. All of those major budget agreements were debt limit agreements. I see this time as no different and I believe he does too. I think most people believe he’s just posturing for now.

Paul in WI

Dear Paul,

We congratulate your capacity for self-delusion. For example, we note that the examples you cite involve genuine budget disputes. That is not the case here. Consider the so-called ‘conscience clause’ added to your continuing resolution bill yesterday. President Obama has already exempted religious institutions from the ACA mandate to cover birth control, but you want that extended to any employer who finds women’s preventive health care “morally objectionable.” This despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office classifies employer-provided health insurance as compensation, just like salary or wages. By your logic, therefore, an employer who finds birth control “morally objectionable” should also be able to forbid employees from buying it on their own. The difference is merely one of accounting. That ‘conscience clause’ has nothing to do with the federal budget, and everything to do with giving (male) employers more dominance over their (female) employees.

The rest of your ransom demands are, likewise, right-wing fantasies that have nothing to do with the federal budget or the federal debt. Instead, you are trying to nullify the 2012 elections and the U.S. Constitution and invoke a parliamentary system where the House of Representatives unilaterally dictates government policy by threatening to burn the country down if you don’t get what you want. President Obama recognized the gravity of that threat in his remarks Friday, and that is why he will not negotiate with you. If you think he’s “just posturing,” we suggest that you take your people-reading skills to any casino and play poker. Just remember to buy a bus ticket to back home … before you sit at the table.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Is Chef bluffing about those Turkey Pastrami Omelets? If not, how do I make them?

Posturing for Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Posturing for Breakfast,

Chef says her Turkey Pastrami Omelets are more of a semi-bluff, because turkey pastrami tastes as good as beef. To make one, first brown two slices of turkey pastrami in a hot, buttered skillet, then slice them into short, thin strips. Let the skillet cool to medium-low while you beat two eggs, then pour the eggs in the skillet. Use a spatula to round the edges and, when they begin to set up, sprinkle the pastrami and shredded Swiss cheese on one half of the omelet. Chef also adds minced green onion. Fold the other half over and give the cheese a few seconds to melt, then serve. Bon appétit!


Paul in WI; ‘conscience clause’ added to House GOP continuing resolution; CBO classifies employer-provided health insurance as compensation; ransom demands; nullify 2012 elections and the U.S. Constitution; will not negotiate with you.


Happy Sunday!