President and Treasury Secretary Downplay Mid-East Strife, Hail Invention

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News  

President Barack Obama and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sought to downplay fears that unrest in the Middle East would negatively impact the US economy by hailing a Virginia man’s invention of a rainbow-making machine as a harbinger of a brighter future for America.

The device is the brainchild of Michael Jones McKean, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. It uses a large scale sprinkler system and the light of the sun to create rainbows averaging about 1,000 feet in length. Each device can produce a rainbow of 15 minute duration twice a day. A prototype is currently being installed on top of a building in Omaha, Nebraska.

“This is a very encouraging development for this country,” said an upbeat President Obama. “A rainbow is a sign that the storm is over, that a brighter day lies ahead. If we have the means to create a rainbow wherever and whenever we want we won’t have to wait for their random occurrence after rain storms. We can boost the people’s morale on an ‘as needed’ basis anytime we want.”

Since the device is powered by rainwater and biodiesel fuel, the President also cited the project as “an example of the ‘green’ economy my Administration is trying to build. There are 30,000 towns and cities in this country. Each one of these will need at least one of these machines. Constructing them will employ millions, not to mention the investment and jobs necessary to grow, transport, and refine the corn needed for the biofuel.”

Treasury Secretary Geithner highlighted what he called the “self-financing characteristics of an investment in these devices. Up to now, our ability to capitalize by recovering the pots of gold at the ends of rainbows has been hampered by the lack of foreknowledge on when and where a rainbow would appear. This combined with their short life span has frustrated our ability to take full advantage of the opportunity. With these machines, though, we’ll know exactly where and when these rainbows will appear. This should maximize our chances for an optimal rate of return.”

While admitting that he was “unsure of just how much gold is in any given pot,” Geithner said, “at the price gold is going for these days, I’m confident it will be a quite a lot—maybe enough to pay down some of the federal debt after the cost of construction and operation of the machines is covered.”

Bar Association Executive Council Opposes State Bans on Sharia Law

Legislation aimed at barring Islamic sharia law from being used to decide cases in state courts has been introduced in 14 states, thus far this year. The American Bar Association’s Executive Council has created a “task force” to oppose this legislation by producing “talking points that can be used to dissuade legislators from taking such action.”

“There are two key issues here,” said Council spokesman Arthur Swindel. “First, there is the cultural prerogative of persons to choose which laws they wish to be subject to. Islam has a long and storied history and a legal structure that has been in place for centuries—pre-dating, I’d like to point out, the constitutions and laws of every state now in existence. Therefore, whether a state’s laws or sharia laws should take precedence is, we believe, a matter for adjudication.”

“Second, it is the primary responsibility of the Bar Association to protect the interests of its members,” Swindel continued. “The more competing legal standards in play, the more ambiguity there is in what the law is, the more opportunities there will be for the employment of our members. Fees will be earned on both sides of every case. Even attorneys who oppose using sharia law will benefit from the necessity to contest its application in any given case. So, from an economic standpoint this means a bigger pie for every member of our profession.”

This venture into preemptive lobbying against legislative action supplements the profession’s more traditional approach of suing to overturn already enacted laws. Last November, an Oklahoma court struck down a ban on sharia law being used in its state courts that was put into place by voters.

President Defends Stimulus Cost

After the Congressional Budget Office issued estimates that the jobs “created” or “saved” by the federal stimulus program cost between $200,000 and $500,000 apiece, President Obama stoutly defended it.

“Those figures are just averages,” Obama argued. “The implication that every job was this costly is an unfair inference. Many of the jobs created were in the low income range, but the average was ballooned upward by the necessity to save expensive jobs on Wall Street and in corporate management. Over all, we provided opportunities across a wide spectrum of social classes, not just for the ‘six-figure’ guys.”

“And let’s not forget that not all of the money went to wages and salary,” Obama added. “Parceling out large sums of money isn’t easy. There’s overhead, handling, and vigorish that have to be paid, as well.”

The President rejected contentions that the program served as a “regressive redistribution of income” because the median income for Americans is only $50,000 per year. “The idea that we could’ve achieved a more equitable result if we’d simply granted everyone a tax cut or sent everyone a check is selfish and short-sighted,” Obama insisted. “We would’ve lost control over how the money was spent. That would’ve merely reinforced individual greed. Fighting against such greed is one of the keys to the transformation I intend for America.”

White House Unable to Deal with Libya Due to “Scheduling Difficulties”

President Obama has been unable to take effective measures to deal with the crisis in Libya because of “scheduling problems” according to new Press Secretary Jay Carney.

“Massacres of civilians, disruption of oil deliveries, and the rescue of Americans from danger aren’t the only things on the President’s plate,” Carney huffed. “Unions are being assaulted in Wisconsin. That’s a lot closer to home than some ruckus in Asia. The President’s focus on domestic tranquility is, I think, appropriate.”

As for the time the President spent coaching his daughter’s basketball team, Carney pointed out that “the regular coach couldn’t make the game. The President stepped into the breach and saved the day. Providing vital leadership for these young girls at a critical time for them is more than any previous President has done in similar circumstances. Critics need to keep that in perspective before they carp about how he spends his time.”

Congressman Calls for Blood in Union Dispute

Citing the “assault on unions” being carried out in Wisconsin by that state’s Governor Scott Walker (R), Representative Michael Capuano (D-Mass) urged union partisans to take to the streets and not be afraid to “get a little bloody” in their battle for better wages and benefits.

The “battle” in Wisconsin stems from Governor Walker’s proposal to narrow the state’s budget deficit by having public employees pay 5.8% of the cost of their pension benefit (the national average) and 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance (about half the national average). In addition, the proposal would bar state employee unions from bargaining for wage increases exceeding the rate of inflation.

“You know, Thomas Jefferson said that the ‘tree of liberty’ must be watered periodically with the blood of tyrants,” Capuano recalled. “Right now may be one of those times. We cannot let the right-wing oppressors make slaves of the working class by trying to take back hard-won gains. We’ve got to take the bastards down and smash them to the ground.”

Capuano rebuffed accusations that his call for blood might contradict the President’s request for a more civil political discourse. “You only have to be civil with those who are civil,” he declared. “Reaching into somebody’s pocket to take money they already have isn’t civil. The thief shouldn’t be surprised if his hand gets broken. Besides, in case you haven’t heard, the President and I are on the same side on this issue. I don’t think he considers himself uncivil in this class struggle.”

Of course, it’s possible that Capuano may have been inspired by the Service Employees International Union’s new fight song: “Take the Bastards Down.” http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dropkickmurphys/takeemdown.html

Wisconsin Democrats Face Hardships as Refugees

The 14 Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin rather than vote on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s budget measure are suffering unforeseen hardship while hiding out in the People’s Republic of Illinois.

“We thought we’d be feted here, what with Rahm Emanuel being the new mayor of Chicago,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). “I mean aren’t we the vanguard of the struggle against fascism? Hasn’t the President praised our strategy? Yet, we find ourselves lonely and ignored.”

One of the chief gripes is “we have to pay for everything—food, shelter, entertainment, you name it—out of our own pockets,” Erpenbach complained. “And our paychecks have been stopped. The Governor says if we want to get paid we’ll have to come back to work. What is he, some sort of dictator?”

Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) said he may be “forced to move to a lower class hotel like Holiday Inn if this goes on much longer. What the Governor has made us go through is criminal. Walker ought to be ashamed.”

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