The week in review

Worst week for Iraqi sculptors: Statues of Saddam Hussein come tumbling down.

Best week for American armed forces: Major combat in Iraq is essentially over.

Worst date for procrastinators: April 15, when the post office stays open until midnight to get those tax returns postmarked.

Best way to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's April 13 birthday: The Jefferson Muzzle Awards, the TJ Center for the Protection of Free Expression's annual spotlight on egregious erosions of free speech.

Best Muzzle: Gee, it's so hard to pick, but U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft heads the list with four actions "ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous," including denying public and press access to deportation hearings and implying that criticism of his policies aids terrorism.

Second best Muzzle: The 107th U.S. Congress for passing the Patriot Act and allowing search warrants of library patrons' reading materials without probable cause, and forbidding librarians from telling anyone.

Best perk of being a bureaucrat: Charlottesville and Albemarle County government employees get April 14 off in honor of TJ's birthday.

Worst Ivy Landfill casualty: An explosion kills manager Howard Wayne Stephens when he uses a cutting torch on fuel tanks April 10.

Worst murder-for-hire allegations: Jese Luke Crosson is charged with three counts of conspiring to commit capital murder for allegedly asking someone to bump off three witnesses while he's in Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He's awaiting trial for break-ins and the shootings of two men last year, Reed Williams reports in the Daily Progress.

Best long shot in the 5th District: Vintner Al Weed throws his hat into the race against four-term incumbent U.S. Representative Virgil Goode.

Best long shot in the 57th District: Blair Hawkins challenges Democrat Mitch Van Yahres for the General Assembly seat Van Yahres has held since 1981.

Best credentials: Hawkins is two-time winner of the Clark School spelling bee, according to the press release announcing his candidacy.

Worst inflammatory marketing combo: Chocolate Easter bunnies and toy soldiers have Westminster Presbyterian Church members up in arms against Kmart and Wal-Mart, according to a Liesel Nowak story in the Progress.

Best get for a utility: Susan Allen, wife of Senator George Allen, joins the Dominion Resources board of directors.

Best get for UNC basketball: NCAA-regular Kansas Jayhawks coach Roy Williams.

Worst suicide attempt: Louisa resident George H. Morris Jr. allegedly slaps $500 on the Forest Lakes CVS pharmacy counter April 10 and demands 100 tabs of the narcotic OxyContin, which he downs on the spot. Police find him sitting in the store minutes later.

Worst man to act bratty around: Stan Tatum. His ire at seeing eight-year-olds running amok on the Downtown Mall is widely covered in the local media and quickly has police promising more patrols.

Best way to assess the likelihood of terrorism: The Daily Progress website, which features an orange block that says "Threat level: high." Thanks!

Best resemblance to a real website: WVIR Channel 29 finally posts news on www.wvirtv.com, but be careful typing its address, as www.wvir.com still leads to "Supersluts."

Worst lack of still cameras: For the on-air team section on the revamped Channel 29 site, the station is unable to cop photos of nine reporters, including Luke Duecy, Jeff Kraus, Ken Slack, Ranji Sinha, and David Vagnoni.

Best way to get into Vanity Fair : Have a murder case involving rich people. The Orange County Mt. Athos estate murder of a duPont relative, allegedly by his second wife, makes the May issue of Vanity Fair.

Best celebrity comeback: The above article also mentions that former Albemarle residents Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard have bought a farm in the Somerset area of Orange.