Garrison Keillor's running joke about all children being above average is coming true in Montgomery County, Maryland, where your columnist lives. Elementary school grades of A, B, C, D and F have been replaced with ES (exceptional), P (proficient), I (in progress) and N (needs improvement). Set aside that ES means "exceptional," a word that does not contain the letter "s." The new system has two above-average grades (ES and P), one average grade (I) and one below-average grade (N). Changing the definitions increases the shares of grades that are at or above average.
Crimea River: Football columns are unlikely to be your best source of geopolitical risk analysis. But it seems worth pointing out that TMQ had an item in November 2013 on Ukraine-Russia tensions, months before the MSM, or the State Department, noticed this issue. Scan for the subhead "Ukrainian News."
Yet There Are Always Plenty of Zeroes in the CEO's Bonus: Bank of America, the nation's second-largest bank, suspended a stock buyback plan after realizing it didn't know how to make financial calculations.
"Henhouse Is Safe with Me," Fox Declares: Guests came down with food poisoning at the national Food Safety Summit.
Helicopter Pads at Dorms May Not Be Far Behind: Junior year college visits by private jet came to the 1 percent.
Did Jesus Sign a Prenup? To the disappointment of late-night comedians, and breaking the heart of thriller writer Dan Brown, the "ancient papyrus" showing Jesus was married turned out to be a forgery. Another exhibit for the Hoax Museum! Like the "Hitler diaries" of the 1980s or the 1978 bestseller "In His Image" that claimed a cloned man exists -- initially marketed as nonfiction, the book is now sold as a novel -- Jesus-was-married is the sort of story on which journalists suspend disbelief, because it would be so interesting if true.
Brown and others have supposed the Gospel autographs contained references to Jesus' wife, but an early-centuries anti-woman conspiracy deleted them. If so, why would this super-efficient machination -- the NSA can only envy a conspiracy that altered every copy of the Gospels everywhere in the world! -- have left intact the many pro-woman references in the same books?
What from the Christian perspective are the three most important pieces of news in human history -- the coming of the Redeemer, his status as Messiah, then his resurrection -- are given to women. Announcement of the celestial child is presented to Mary. The empty tomb is discovered by three of Christ's female followers. When Jesus reveals himself as Messiah, he is speaking not to the disciples or to some huge admiring crowd on a hillside but to a Samaritan woman he meets by a well. Though unmarried, the Samaritan woman lives with a man: thus, is both an outsider and a prostitute by ancient rabbinical thinking. Jesus considered talking to her a lot more important than impressing the rich and powerful.
In the milieu of the Gospels, statements by women were considered inherently unreliable. Many legal systems of the time, including that of Galilee during Jesus' life, would not allow women to testify in court, or required at least two women's affidavits to counter one from a man. Yet at crucial points, the Gospels present women's testimony as central to grasping the ministry of Jesus. Surely the super-efficient conspiracy would have altered that!