White House Seeking Open-Ended Budget Authority
By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Citing what he termed “the need to avert a gridlock that could paralyze our government,” President Barack Obama has asked the “lame duck” Congress to enact a budget reform that would permit him to transfer funding between accounts.
“With the House passing into the control of the Republicans next January there is a very real threat that our achievements of the past two years could be thwarted by the simple mechanism of the budgets being ‘zeroed out’ or otherwise crimped,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “This would bring the transformation that I have promised to the American people to a halt. Granting the Executive the power to transfer funds between accounts will neutralize any prospective GOP efforts to undo what we have already done or to prevent further reforms from being undertaken via Executive Order.”
While the grant of such authority to the Executive would seem to run contrary to the intent of the Constitution that Congress control the public “purse strings,” the President asserted that “Congress has the authority to delegate its powers as it sees fit. The requested delegation of authority is necessary to ensure the flexibility needed to maintain our momentum toward progressive goals. It’s a simple question of whether Democrats in Congress prefer to have their President or the new Republican majority controlling public policy.”
Kenya Takes Exception to “Malicious” Wikileaks
The most recent posting of confidential diplomatic documents struck a nerve in the Kenyan government this week. According these documents, Kenya has been characterized as a “swamp of corruption.”
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua called the characterization “malicious and false.” “Kenya is a nation of varied topography,” Mutua pointed out. “We border on the beautiful Lake Victoria. The Serengeti Plain in the west is home to the magnificent wildlife that draws tourists from around the world. And you can see the stunning Mount Kilimanjaro from our southern border. Only the tiniest portions of our country have any swamp-like features and that is only during the rainy season.”
While Johnnie Carson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has conveyed the US Government’s apology to Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Mutua said he is hopeful that “a more forceful response will be forthcoming. It is unconscionable that President Obama could abide such slander of his native land. We expect reparations in the form of cash payments will be on their way soon.”
In related news, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained why the Obama Administration isn’t “scared” of the leaks. “Look, it’s one guy,” Gibbs observed. “All the President has to do is say the word and he’d be taken out. Assange is the one who should be scared. He’s upset the Russians. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took him out.”
Administration to Block Oil Drilling off East Coast for Next Seven Years
Reversing course on an earlier promise to permit oil companies to explore the potential for drilling offshore wells along the US east coast, the Obama Administration declared that there will be no drilling in this region for at least the next seven years.
“I know this will reduce future supplies of petroleum products in this country and that some people will be upset about this, but if we’re ever going to wean ourselves off oil we’ve got to start somewhere,” the President said. “Shorter supplies and the higher prices they’ll bring will encourage people to conserve or switch to alternate means of meaning their needs.”
“There are also significant social and environmental gains that will follow from this policy,” Obama added. “If it costs more to fuel your car you’ll do less driving. Less driving means less pollution. If you substitute taking public transit you’ll get to meet more of your neighbors face-to-face. This will help boost the communal spirit that I think is vital to the transformation of American life that forms the core of my program.”
The President admitted he wasn’t entirely comfortable with using high prices to discourage consumption. “Pricing isn’t the best allocating mechanism,” he said. “It favors the rich over the worthy. Ideally, we ought to be ensuring that resources go to those who truly need them. What we need is a commission to weigh the relative claims of each person and make a socially justifiable determination of who does and doesn’t deserve them.”
Senators Say GOP Are “Terrorists” on Tax Talks
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) declared that Republican demands for extending tax cuts are “terroristic.” The comment came amid negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over the so-called “Bush tax cuts” that are due to expire on December 31 of this year.
“They want us to approve an across-the-board extension of these tax cuts,” Menendez complained. “They say that taxpayers deserve to keep more of their own money. Their money? Congress is who decides whose money it is. We make the laws. We can distribute this money as we see fit for the benefit of the whole nation.”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) concurred and suggested that “Americans might have to take up arms against these enemies of the government just like our ancestors did in 1776. Haven’t Republicans heard that we have a deficit? The Government needs this money more than these high-bracket taxpayers do. Taking this money out of the Government’s hands is a greater threat than anything al-Qaeda could do to this country.”
Nipplitaliano Says DREAM Act Will Help Ease Her Burden
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Nipplitaliano urged Congress to pass the so-called DREAM Act saying that “it will make my job a lot easier. Every undocumented immigrant who can be taken off the status of ‘illegal alien’ is one less person I’ve got to worry about. While I think comprehensive immigration reform that will legalize the 20 million undocumented immigrants believed to be in this country is the ultimate answer, anything that chips away at that total is a step in the right direction.”
The DREAM Act would legalize illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, earned a high school diploma or equivalent, and attended college or enlisted in the military for at least two years.
Governor Wants to Pardon Morrison
As his final act before leaving office in January, Florida Governor Charlie Crist says he wants to pardon Jim Morrison. Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure during a rock concert performance in Miami in 1969. By all accounts, Morrison was extremely intoxicated and abusive toward the audience. In the midst of a largely inept performance, Morrison asked the audience “Do you wanna see my cock?” whereupon he unzipped his fly and dangled his member.
“There was nothing indecent about Jim Morrison,” Crist said. “His body was a thing of beauty. He should not have been prosecuted for sharing a rarely seen glimpse of a most precious and comely part of it with his adoring fans—among whom I must count myself.”
Crist’s pardon would have to be posthumous. Morrison died of a drug overdose at the age of 27 in 1971.
Obama Administration Seeking Technology to Disable Cell Phones
Citing the “dangerous distraction” that cell phones pose to motor vehicle drivers, US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is proposing that a means of disabling cell phones from operating while they are in vehicles be installed in all vehicles.
“It’s bad enough that we so readily allow nonprofessional drivers to operate vehicles on our roads,” LaHood said. “The vast majority of them aren’t really competent to drive. They should be riding public transit. But when you allow cell phone conversations to driving it’s a deadly combination.”
LaHood observed that “there’s a lot of technology out there that can disable cell phones. Getting some of that installed in all cars would go a long way toward making our roads safer.”
The Secretary downplayed arguments that cell phones have saved many lives by enabling victims and witnesses of crashes to call for help. “We’re not saying that people can’t have or use cell phones,” LaHood explained. “We’re just asking that they step outside the vehicle before making a call.” As for getting help after a crash, LaHood advised people to “purchase cars that have the On Star system.”
On Star is a navigation and communication system owned by General Motors. Owners of GM vehicles can purchase services from On Star in exchange for an installation charge and annual subscription fee. Today’s “smart cell phones” provide similar capabilities and more in addition to being portable.
On a related note, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Nipplitaliano said “an even broader government capability to block cell phone transmissions would help us prevent threats to the government of this country.”