By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Both the White House and Congressional Democrats are upset about Republican plans to require that bills be read before being voted on.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the read-before-passing strategy “a new low in this nation’s history. What they’re doing with the START Treaty, foe example, is both unconscionable and unconstitutional. Anyone familiar with the Constitution knows that the President is granted the power to make treaties. The Senate’s role is to ‘advise and consent.’ There is no need for them to read the treaty. There is no Constitutional authorization for them to hold a treaty hostage with this kind of delaying tactic.”
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) seconded and expanded upon Gibbs’ take on the issue. “It would be bad enough if this problem were only confined to the Senate,” Kerry complained. “But the Republicans say they will be applying it to all legislation not just the Senate’s treaty consenting process. I mean, the omnibus spending bill is almost 2,000 pages long. Requiring us to read such bills before we pass them will severely hamper what we can get done in the limited time we have available.”
Kerry rejected the contention that passing laws that he hasn’t read might be irresponsible. “It’s not as if nobody has read these bills,” Kerry argued. “We have aides who do this sort of thing for us. Besides, pretty much everything we pass ends up in litigation anyway. The lawyers and the courts will parse the phraseology of the legislation and determine what it means. Why should we be required to duplicate their effort?”
New Deep Water Drilling Rules Explained
The US Government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement unveiled new deep water drilling regulations that some are calling “incoherent” and “obstructive.”
“We’re not saying that firms can’t drill,” said Bureau Director Michael Bromwich. “All we’re saying is that no oil can be extracted.”
Bromwich defended the new rules as “suitable for the vast majority of drilling operations. Most of the wells drilled are what we call ‘dry holes.’ That is, they don’t strike oil. Our regulation banning the extraction of oil will not interfere with this typical outcome. So, the majority of drilling activities would continue to be allowed under the new rules. Only a minority of wells would be affected negatively.”
The Director said he is confident that “when all the factors are considered, people will see that this approach represents a balanced compromise between divergent interests. On the one hand, we’ll be protecting the environment from pollution. On the other, we will be protecting the majority of the drilling activity and the jobs they represent.”
“The ban on extracting oil will have its downside,” Bromwich conceded. “Supplies will be tighter and prices higher. But that will encourage more conservation efforts. We shouldn’t be myopic about this. People may be driving less, but this will boost public transportation. If high energy prices force people to turndown the heat, they’ll be forced to buy sweaters, pumping up demand in the clothing sector of our economy.”
Senator Claims Mandate for Higher Taxes
New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer (D) contested the consensus view that last November’s election constituted a repudiation of his Party’s tax-and-spend agenda.
“Look, I won 66 percent of the vote in my reelection bid,” Schumer pointed out. “My position on taxes and spending has always been that more is better. Voters knew that before they sent me back to Washington. So, I’d have to say I have a mandate from the people of my state to push for both higher taxes and spending.”
Schumer dismissed the idea that New York voters had selfish motives. “I’m proud to say that New Yorkers have always paid more in taxes than they’ve gotten back in federal spending,” Schumer boasted. “We’re not in this for ourselves. We’re happy to be contributing to the benefit of others.”
New York’s return of 80 cents on each dollar of federal tax paid isn’t the worst ratio. That title belongs to the oft mocked New Jersey (55 cents). Since these states overwhelmingly vote for Democrats to represent them in Congress perhaps Senator Schumer is correct.
The best return on taxes: Washington, DC at over $6 in federal spending per tax dollar paid. Ironically, eleven of the 25 counties with the highest personal income in the US are in the Washington, DC metro region.
Snub Sparks Diplomatic Crisis
Revelation that the guest list for Prince William’s wedding next year won’t include the Obamas has sparked a diplomatic crisis. Sources inside the US State Department confirm that President Obama is considering severing diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, a nation once held to be our closest ally.
“This is a royal snub if you ask me,” said the President’s visibly angry Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “After all this country has done for the Brits—bailing them out in two World Wars, boosting the careers of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, adopting their language as our own—to be stabbed in the back like this is unforgivable.”
While the President himself is said to be taking the affront “stoically,” First Lady Michelle and his two daughters are reportedly “devastated.” “Participating in a royal wedding is every young girl’s dream,” said a tearful Michelle. “To have that dream crushed by those you thought were your friends cuts deep. I will be talking to the President about the appropriate response our government should take on this insult.”
Time Is Ripe for Openly Gay President Says Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter came out forthrightly in favor of an openly gay person as president of the United States.
“We’re breaking down the barriers that have been in place for hundreds of years,” Carter asserted. “President Obama is our first openly Black president. President Clinton was our first proven fornicating president. I think it’s about time that we have our first openly homosexual president.”
Carter dismissed rumors that several former presidents may have been secretly gay as irrelevant. “I know there are those who say Lincoln may have been gay,” Carter admitted. “And Buchanan, a lifelong bachelor, certainly had the look of a sodomite. But neither acknowledged being gay.”
The former President speculated that “an openly gay US President would likely improve our nation’s relationships with Middle Eastern countries” because “these are places where pederasty is very common and the leaders of these countries would then share more of a common bond with our gay president.”
Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) praised “President Carter’s candor” and suggested that “an openly gay President would be able to get more members behind his legislative program.”
Child Nutrition Law Defended
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Law is “necessary because parents have fallen down on the job,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “In an ideal world, every parent would be properly informed and adequately motivated to choose appropriate nutrition for her children. But the reality is, too many are ignorant and others don’t care enough to make the right choices.”
“Granted, parents could still put inappropriate foods into ‘brown bag’ lunches brought from home,” the First Lady admitted. “That’s a problem we’ve left for another day. In the meantime, though, we’re hoping that the subsidies provided by this law combined with social pressure from teachers and fellow students will help guide and monitor what each child eats.”
The new $4.5 billion law gives the federal government the authority to control all the food available at public schools, including items sold in the cafeteria and in vending machines on school grounds.
Unregulated Speech an “Aberration” Says FCC Commissioner
FCC commissioner Michael Copps contends that “lack of government oversight of the media is an aberration that must end. Since the end of the ‘fairness doctrine’ in the 1980s broadcasters have been pretty much on their own. This has resulted in an unbalanced airing of views by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck.”
As a remedy, Copps proposes a “public value test” in which “the FCC would assess whether broadcasters are making appropriate use of the public airwaves. Those who aren’t would be removed and replaced by others who we can count on to respect the diversity of values we cherish in our democracy. The right-wing ‘lunatic fringe’ won’t totally lose their right to freedom of speech, just the ability to monopolize the airwaves with their rants against the people’s interests.”