“So I’m wondering,” Professor Plum said as he entered the mail room, “what’s wrong with an ignorant, authoritarian bigot hosting a radio talk show?”

He read the mail…. (More)

Professor Plum 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 wondered if something was wrong with his Queen-high straight. He opened the pot by raising with the Nine and Ten of Spades, and Chef called. The flop brought the Queen and Eight of Clubs and Jack of Diamonds. The Professor of Astrology Janitor put in a pot-sized bet, and again Chef called. The Nine of Hearts on the turn seemed harmless enough, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor put in another pot-sized bet. This time Chef replied with a pot-sized raise.

Chef’s bet seemed strong. There were no possible flushes on board, and no paired cards, so she must have a straight. But was her straight Queen-high, like his, or King-high? Would she have called an opening raise with a King-Ten? And would she have called a pot-sized bet at the flop with a King-high straight draw?

And then the Professor of Astrology Janitor figured it out. Chef might well have called an opening raise with a suited King-Ten, and with the King and Ten of Clubs the flop would have given her both flush and straight draws. With 15 outs and two cards to come, she would have been the statistical favorite even against a Queen-high straight.

“King-Ten of Clubs?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked as he folded his cards.

Chef’s eyes widened a fraction. “Very nice read,” she said.

Chef flipped her cards face-down into the muck and gathered the chips. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling, and Chef went to the kitchen to make Bacon and Basil Farmer’s Market Hash, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I know what to do with illegals. We put up signs that say ’30 to 60 days from now anyone who is in the state of Iowa that who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become property of the State of Iowa.’ So if you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you’re still here, and we find that you’re still here after we we’ve given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa. And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do. I know that sounds like slavery, but what’s wrong with slavery?

Jan in IA

Dear Jan,

We commend your brazenness, but not your morality or your understanding of law. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits involuntary servitude “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” We note that mere presence in the U.S. without legal authorization is not a crime. While it is a crime to enter the U.S. by false statement or subterfuge, almost half of undocumented workers in the U.S. entered legally and overstayed their visas. For those workers, deportation is the only punishment authorized by U.S. law, and deportation is a civil matter, not a criminal prosecution. We further note that even when an undocumented worker enters the country illegally, in most cases that is only a misdemeanor, for which the only punishment is a fine. Finally, we note that immigration is governed by federal law, and in the 2012 case Arizona v. United States the Supreme Court held that federal law preempts state criminal prosecutions for immigration violations.

We conclude that, despite your authoritarian fantasy, Iowa would have no legal grounds to seize undocumented workers as state property and compel them to work for the state. To do so would violate the Thirteenth Amendment and federal immigration law … and make you the “illegal.”


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Umm, what is the connection between Bacon and Basil Farmer’s Market Hash and this week’s mail? Also, how do I make it?

Connecting with Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Connecting with Breakfast,

Chef found the recipe for Bacon and Basil Farmer’s Market Hash at the Iowa Girl Eats website. Chef notes that the site’s hostess, Kristin, seems much nicer than today’s correspondent.

To make Bacon and Basil Farmer’s Market Hash, first fry 3 slices of bacon in a large skillet. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain, and add enough olive oil to the bacon drippings to total 3 Tablespoons of fat. Next sauté 1 large russet potato cut into ½” cubes together with 8 golden radishes cut into ½” cubes and 1 diced shallot for 3-4 minutes, until the potatoes are golden-brown. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in 4 cups of chopped kale, and continue to sauté for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the kale begins to crackle. Add 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 6 large chopped basil leaves and sauté for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Finally crumble the bacon and stir it in, then remove the skillet from the heat. In a separate skillet, fry two eggs sunny side up. Slide them atop the hash and garnish with a few sprigs of chopped basil. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: CSpan


Jan in IA; Thirteenth Amendment; mere presence in the U.S. without legal authorization is not a crime; Arizona v. United States.

Crispy Kale, Bacon and Basil Farmer’s Market Hash.


Happy Sunday!