By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) rejected the idea of incorporating tort reform into the health care legislation now under consideration. The issue arose when the Congressional Budget Office estimated that tort reform could reduce health care costs by $54 billion over the next decade.
“Look, $54 billion is a drop in the bucket for a program that will cost at least $2 trillion over the same period,” Reid observed. “The impact on the taxpayers will be inconsequential.”
Reid contrasted the “minuscule savings for taxpayers with the devastating impact that reducing tort costs would have on trial lawyers. The benefit for the average taxpayer would be less than $400. But the loss in income for the average trial lawyer would be in the hundreds of thousands, or more.”
The Senator contended that “the shock to those who have become accustomed to earning their livings through lawsuits would impose severe lifestyle changes on members of the legal profession. Requiring the few to suffer so much for the tiny gains of the many would, in my mind, be a gross inequity.”
White House Praises Congress for Vote on Gitmo Detainees
Congress’ vote to allow the illegal enemy combatants currently imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay military base to be moved to the United States was applauded by the White House.
Calling the vote “an important reversal of the hysteria fomented by the Bush Administration,” a White House senior official speaking “off the record,” hailed it as “a crucial first step toward normalizing our relationship with these so-called jihadis.”
The “second step” entails a plan modeled on the foreign exchange student program. “American families will be asked to volunteer to house these former detainees and familiarize them with our culture,” the official said. “Later, they will be returned to their countries of origin as ambassadors for peace.”
“Of course, it is important that both sides participate in this exercise,” he continued. “While we haven’t yet reached an agreement with al-Qaeda, we are taking the names of young Americans who would be willing to spend a year living abroad in one of that organization’s many camps to both learn from them and to teach them the benefits of peaceful interactions with our country.”
The official pronounced himself “very excited with the President’s inspirational and innovative approach toward a new paradigm for easing global tensions.”
Two Potential “Blood Baths” Narrowly Averted by School Officials
Two separate incidents of potential school yard mayhem were narrowly averted by decisive action on the part of public school officials in New York and Delaware.
In Delaware’s Christina School District, 1st grade student Zachary Christie was spotted eating lunch with an unauthorized Boy Scout mess kit tool—a combination knife/fork/spoon. Disaster was avoided when the vice-principal quickly disarmed and immobilized the child. The school’s “zero tolerance” policy calls for the offending 6-year old student to be sentenced to 45 days in reform school.
School officials rebuffed arguments that the child’s age and the circumstances should be taken into consideration. “This student was wielding a knife within inches of other students,” said George Evans, the school district board’s president. “Are we supposed to wait until blood is spurting from someone before we act? It is better to act too soon than too late. And I categorically reject the notion that the punishment is excessive. Making an example of this one misguided boy will serve as a warning to others.”
In New York’s Lansingburgh Central School District, 17-year-old Eagle Scout, Matthew Whalen was suspended for 20 days after it was discovered that he kept a knife in a car parked in the school lot. The 2-inch pocketknife was part of a survival kit Whalen kept in his car. Other items in the kit included a sleeping bag, water, and a ready-to-eat meal.
District Superintendent George Goodwin defended the school’s action. “The fact that Mr. Whalen never brandished the weapon is irrelevant,” Goodwin contended. “Keeping it hidden in his car with other ‘survivalist’ gear is a clear ‘red flag.’ The Columbine murderers transported their weapons in a car. Neither am I impressed that Mr. Whalen is a Boy Scout. Timothy McVeigh was a Boy Scout. These are precisely the paramilitary types we’ve been warned about by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Nipplitaliano.”
Obama Administration Positions Itself to the Left of the UN on Honduran Crisis
Despite a United Nations’ report finding that Honduras acted within the parameters of its constitution in removing sitting President Manuel Zelaya, the Obama Administration remained firm in its demand that Zelaya be restored to power.
“While we certainly respect the UN’s right to a different point of view, we must insist on the reestablishment of the Zelaya Government,” said President Barack Obama. “His removal was founded on an adherence to formalistic procedures rather than a true expression of the people’s will.”
“It is our belief that the popular referendum President Zelaya sought is fully compatible with the core democratic principles our nation has stood for since its founding over 200 years ago,” Obama asserted. “Maintaining these core principles is more important than enforcement of an ancient scrap of paper.”
Zelaya was removed from office earlier this year when the Honduran Supreme Court, with the concurrence of the nation’s legislature, determined that his call for a referendum to extend his term of office was unconstitutional.
In related news, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass) vetoed a proposed fact finding trip to Honduras by several Republican senators on the grounds that “it can only generate a perception of disunity and disagreement over a policy matter that is the prerogative of the Executive Branch. It is harmful to America’s interests if members of the opposition Party are permitted to go abroad and criticize, or appear to criticize, the President’s policies.”
Obama Aide Defends Favorite Philosopher
Ridiculed by right-wing commentators for remarks indicating that Mao Tse-tung was her favorite philosopher, White House communications director Anita Dunn fired back at her critics, saying that “racial prejudice and ideological blinders shouldn’t keep us from acknowledging greatness wherever we find it.”
“Mao rescued his country from centuries of feudalism,” Dunn claimed. “The person that could accomplish such a feat is worthy of both admiration and emulation.”
Dunn said Mao’s detractors “make too much of the so-called brutality of his methods. The masses of China were largely illiterate—like most of the world’s people. There was no time for squeamish notions of democracy or human rights. Landlords and counterrevolutionaries had to be contended with in a rough and ready way.”
“He was also cute in a roly-poly kind of way,” Dunn added. “And I understand his sexual prowess was legendary.”
Historians estimate that Mao’s regime murdered 35 million to 65 million inhabitants of China. He is also rumored to have “seduced” over 1,000 women.
President Obama belittled Dunn’s critics pointing out that “many of FDR’s appointees were Communist sympathizers too. Yet, his was one of the most successful Administrations in US history. So, I definitely think there is a lot to be said for keeping an open mind on this topic.”
U.S. State Department on a Roll
A week of hard negotiations between the United States and Russia netted what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton classified as “significant breakthroughs in our two countries’ relationship.”
Among the breakthroughs cited by Secretary Clinton—Russia will be allowed to inspect US nuclear weapons sites, Russia retains the right to preemptive, first-strike use of nuclear weapons, and Russia will not assist the United States in seeking sanctions against Iran’s acquisition of nuclear warheads.
“By acceding to their demands we are showing them that we do not pose a threat to their interests,” Clinton explained. “A gesture of submission on our part eases tension in Moscow and brings our two nations closer.” “Should there be a preemptive strike, of course, we may have to renegotiate some of the terms,” she admitted.
“Let me point out that we have reached more agreements in the past week than any previous Administration ever has,” Clinton boasted. “Our two countries are on the best terms since the Yalta Conference of 1945.”
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