“If I get arrested for setting a fire in a federal courthouse,” Professor Plum asked as he entered the mail room, “is that federal tyranny?”

He read the mail…. (More)

Professor Plum left that question dangling as he 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 pondered the tyranny of fate. He opened the pot by calling the big blind with a pair of black Kings and then put in a pot-sized reraise after Chef’s raise. Chef called and the flop brought the Ace of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, and Six of Hearts. The Professor of Astrology Janitor offered a half-pot-sized bet. Chef pondered for a moment and then called. The Queen of Clubs fell on the turn. The Professor of Astrology Janitor suspected Chef had an Ace in her hand, so he checked. But Chef checked as well. The Ten of Clubs on the river gave the Professor of Astrology Janitor an Ace-high straight, but it would also have completed a Club flush draw. He checked and Chef put in a half-pot-sized bet.

Did she have two Clubs for a flush? Did she have a King for a matching straight and a split pot? Or was she betting a hand like three Jacks or three Sixes, thinking he had only a pair of Aces?

The Professor of Astrology Janitor weighed his options and decided the pot odds demanded a call. Chef turned over the Ace and King of Hearts, and tapped the table as he revealed his Kings. “I guess we split it,” she said.

The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Oregon Triple Berry Crisp, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

We are occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters to protest the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond. We don’t want to hurt anyone, but we will defend ourselves if the feds attack. The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds. We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely. This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.

We demand that the federal government release the Hammonds. The best possible outcome is that the ranchers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down forever and the federal government will relinquish such control. What we’re doing is not rebellious. What we’re doing is in accordance with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

Ammond in OR

Dear Ammond,

We agree that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Moreover, we note that includes the Article VI Supremacy Clause, which provides that both the U.S. Constitution “and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof” and they supersede state constitutions and laws. We further note that the Hammonds were convicted of arson in federal court, because they burned federal property in 2001 and 2003. While they claim they did so to burn invasive plants and reduce the wildfire threat on their ranch, they violated federal arson statutes. Finally, we note that the Article IV Property Clause authorizes Congress to “make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” Under any reasonable reading – which you admit is “the supreme law of the land” – the Property Clause authorizes Congress to both own property and to forbid and punish arson on federal property.

Thus, we conclude that you are indeed in rebellion. If you and your followers are armed, and if you follow through on your threat to open fire against law enforcement officials, then a federal prosecutor might well charge you with levying war against the U.S. Or as Article III, Section 3 of “the supreme law of the land” describes it: treason.

At the very least, you could be charged with “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State [and] appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” Or as 18 U.S. Code §2331 describes it: terrorism.

In short, you might soon be joining the Hammonds in federal prison … under “the supreme law of the land.”


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Does the supreme law of the land define Oregon Triple Berry Crisp? Also, how does Chef make that?

Supremely Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Supremely Hungry,

Although today’s breakfast dish is named after the State of Oregon, we know of no federal or state law officially defining the recipe. To make it, gently toss together 1½ cups each of fresh blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, along with 4 Tablespoons of white sugar. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of rolled oats, 1½ packed cups of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 1/2 cups butter. Press half of this mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan, spread the berries evenly over the base, and sprinkle the remaining mixture over the berries. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes, until the berries are bubbling and the top is golden-brown. Chef tops this with a dollop of whipped cream. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: Talking Points Memo


Ammon in OR; Article VI Supremacy Clause; Article IV Property Clause; Article III Treason Clause; 18 U.S. Code §2331 Terrorism.

Oregon Triple Berry Crisp


Happy Sunday!