They all took after the king, too, in being large, corpulent, oily men

Edgar Allan Poe is credited with inventing mystery fiction, and his own death is still a subject of intense speculation. Matthew Pearl investigates one of the most peculiar puzzles in literary history.

Today, the story of Poe's death is a subject of intense fascination. Downtown Baltimore has signs leading tourists to Poe's burial place. Fresh flowers can be found at the foot of the memorial obelisk built in 1875. Where there was once no gravestone, there are now two: one to mark the original spot of his grave and the other, the obelisk, where the body was later moved to. Every year, Poe's birthday brings a gathering at the cemetery, which is covered by the national press. By contrast, few Bostonians know where Poe's birthplace is in Boston, or even that it is in Boston. Poe's biography may be said, in a sense, to begin with his death rather than his birth.

Stop reading if you want to avoid a spoiler. The article fills out some very interesting details and clears up some of the urban type legends about Poe's life, but gives no definitive answers about the mystery of his death. It does serve as a very good teaser for the book, 'The Poe Shadow' by Matthew Pearl.

Return of Jefferson Files Is Sought in which someone I admire, Nancy Pelosi gets it half right. She has asked Jefferson a Louisana Democrat to " temporarily vacate his seat" and Jefferson in an ode to his false pride and disregard for the Democratic Party has refused. On the other hand Rep. Pelosi signed off on the ridiculous request that "the Justice Department must cease reviewing the documents and ensure that their contents are not divulged. Once the papers are returned, "Congressman Jefferson can and should fully cooperate with the Justice Department's efforts, consistent with his constitutional rights,". Unless the FBI seized evidence without a warrant I'm in doubt that any constitutional violations have occurred. It is notable that House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert(R) also is part of the chorus that thinks the FBI has overstepped its bounds. I admit a certain cynism regarding Hastert's sudden adherence to constitutional principles, or any principles for that matter, ABC News Update on Hastert Story

Despite a flat denial from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement sources tonight said ABC News accurately reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the FBI investigation of corruption in Congress.

Speaker Hastert said tonight the story was "absolutely untrue" and has demanded ABC News retract its story.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has provided information to the FBI about Hastert and a number of other members of Congress that have broadened the scope of the investigation. Sources would not divulge details of the Abramoff’s information.

"You guys wrote the story very carefully but they are not reading it very carefully," a senior official said.

One focus involves a letter Hastert wrote in 2003 urging the Secretary of the Interior to block an Indian casino that would have competed with tribes represented by Abramoff.

The letter was written within days of a fund-raiser held for Hastert at Abramoff’s restaurant in Washington. Federal campaign records show more than $26,000 was raised at the time from Abramoff and his clients.

Hastert has denied doing anything unlawful and says he has a long history of opposing certain types of Indian casinos.

ABC’s law enforcement sources said the Justice Department denial was meant only to deny that Hastert was a formal “target” or “subject” of the investigation.

"Whether they like it or not, members of Congress, including Hastert, are under investigation," one federal official said tonight.

Denny is playing the Rush Limbaugh gambit; law and order, warrants and investigations are all fine except when a conservative is the target. The Den-man isn't looking out for Jefferson, he's looking out for himself. While the WaPo story suggests that there are some disagreement between legal scholars over the searches of congressional representatives offices, this argument against would put lawmakers above the law. It is doubtful that legal precedent supports such a view. Den-man is going down and neither the whining of the fringe right-wing nor legal hemming and hawing are not going to save him.


I NEVER knew anyone so keenly alive to a joke as the king was. He
seemed to live only for joking. To tell a good story of the joke kind, and
to tell it well, was the surest road to his favor. Thus it happened that
his seven ministers were all noted for their accomplishments as jokers.
They all took after the king, too, in being large, corpulent, oily men, as
well as inimitable jokers. Whether people grow fat by joking, or whether
there is something in fat itself which predisposes to a joke, I have never
been quite able to determine; but certain it is that a lean joker is a
rara avis in terris.

(rara avis in terris – a very rare bird. Usually a term of irony.)