John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Detroit’s decline into bankruptcy and decay seems to have boosted its desirability as a sight for tourists to visit. Howard Carter, a recent visitor to the City’s ruins, was quite enthusiastic, “It’s like seeing the pyramids without having to wait thousands of years for them to turn into ruins.”
Carter congratulated himself on his good fortune. “Instead of having to pay thousands of dollars to take the family to Egypt we were all able to hop in the car and drive over from Canton,” Carter boasted. “At most we’re out a few hundred bucks instead of the thousands an overseas trip would’ve cost us. And every dollar we spent stayed in the US helping to boost our own economy.”
Locals are even giving guided tours. “We paid a guy $50 bucks for a three-hour tour,” Carter said. “In addition to describing the decay from prior greatness he was able to direct us past dangerous areas where roving gangs of violent youths battle each other for turf and prey upon unwary intruders.”
Retiring Mayor Dave Bing (D) declared himself “pleased with the City’s ability to transition to a new way of life. From the media coverage you’d think that the City is just a big wasteland. But even wastelands have a part to play in the evolution of a culture.”
Bing modestly refused to take all the credit, “I’ve done as much as I could in the last five years, but the momentum was established by policies set in place a long time ago. My role was more like a basketball player dribbling out the clock to preserve the team’s win.”
In related news, Wisconsin is spending millions of dollars to maintain vacant public school buildings rather than rent or sell the space to charter schools. Milwaukee Public Schools spokesman Anthony Tagliavia explains that “letting charter schools use these buildings and grounds would remove the one remaining competitive advantage public schools have over these rivals. Forcing charter schools to rent vacant commercial space denies them the opportunity to offer suitable playgrounds the children might use for recess or PE.”
DOJ Declares “Knock-Out Game” Attack a “Hate Crime”
The US Department of Justice charged Conrad Barrett of Katy, Texas with a “hate crime” for assaulting a 79-year-old Black man and fracturing his jaw. Barrett made a video of the attack in order to see if it would make the national news.
While there have been numerous other incidents of knock-out game assaults, a few resulting in fatalities, this is the first instance in which the DOJ has become involved. In the vast majority of these other incidents the perpetrators have been young Black males.
Attorney General Eric Holder insisted that these other incidents were “not analogous to what occurred in the Barrett case. A White man attacking a Black man is part of a 400-year pattern of racist abuse. The victim did nothing to warrant being bludgeoned by Barrett. The same cannot be said in these other cases. As victims of 400 years of racist abuse, the Black assailants have obvious cause for grievances against Whites. Therefore, their hate is justifiable and cannot serve as the basis for a criminal charge against these Black assailants.”
Obamacare “Sticker-Shock” Hits More Americans
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) may seem to be anything but affordable to many average Americans. Take a middle class, middle aged couple earning a combined income of $65,000 a year. Under Obamacare, this couple would have to pay $19,400 before receiving a single dollar of benefits from their “bronze plan.” This is a total comprised of a $9,400 annual premium and a $10,000 deductible.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disputed the contention that “merely because some people are paying more than they previously paid doesn’t make the overall program unaffordable. Many of those signing up are qualifying for subsidies. When we consider both those receiving subsidies and those paying higher premiums to help cover the cost of those subsidies the average outcome is in line with what the President is trying to achieve.”
Confronted with the above example couple, Sebelius pointed out that “even a cost of $19,400 per year is still less than 30% of their annual income. And that’s only if either one of them gets seriously ill. If neither one of them has to see a doctor they’re only out the $9400 insurance premium. That’s less than 15% of their income. So, people can cut their own medical expenses in half if they stay healthy and keep away from doctors. That sounds pretty affordable to me.”
Ironically, prior to the passage of the ACA people could cut their own medical expenses to zero by staying healthy and keeping away from doctors. Consequently, it may be difficult for many people to fully appreciate Sebelius’ contention that the law is a benefit to them.
In related news, despite the Administration’s urging, a distressingly small number of American households spent any time discussing health care insurance over the Christmas holiday. “We had hoped that we could count on people to do this voluntarily,” Sebelius observed. “We may have to look into a more formally structured method of achieving the needed reeducation of the masses.”
Mrs Morsi Laments Change at US Department of State
The wife of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi told Turkey’s Anatolia News Agency that “the departure of Hillary Clinton from the Obama Administration has been a major setback for the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to overthrow Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.”
“You would expect that a person appointed by President Obama would ensure a continuation of previous policies, but we have found this not to be the case,” Mrs Morsi complained. “Kerry ‘expresses his concern,’ but he doesn’t carry through like Mrs Clinton did. She and Ambassador Stevens were working to supply weapons for the Islamic cause. But now he is dead and she is retired from office.”
“Mrs. Clinton has famously asked ‘what does it matter now?’” Morsi recalled. “Well, it matters to us. She may feel it is okay for us to wait until she is elected president in 2016, but my husband is in jail and could be dead by then. Meanwhile, the soldiers of Allah are being killed by the infidels running our country. We need help now, before it is too late.”
Study Findings Fail to Sway Lawmakers
A new study by QuinnipiacUniversity economist Mark Gius published in the journal Applied Economics Letters found that states with restrictions on carrying concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than states with laxer restraints on gun ownership.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) challenged the findings saying that “logically, they can’t be correct. I just can’t accept the idea that more guns could lead to fewer killings. Take your common mugging, for example. If both the robber and the victim are armed two people could be shot. If only the robber is armed most likely no one gets shot, but if a gun is fired it will only be one person who gets shot. So, it seems clear to me that even if gun control only disarms the law-abiding it still should reduce the number of shootings.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) contested the criteria used in the study. “Lowering the murder rate by turning more citizens into vigilantes is not an objective I’m comfortable with,” Pelosi declared. “Making defense against crime a ‘do-it-yourself’ type of operation undermines the role of collective defense that government is established to provide. If individual action out-performs collective action in this core sector of governmental responsibility what does it say about the more wide-ranging ventures we have undertaken?”
“Deterring murders is only one dimension of the equation,” Vice-President Joe Biden pointed out. “A larger number of weapons in private hands provides the means for civil unrest and insurrection. Even if the price of dealing with this bigger threat is a few more homicides in the private sector I think the American people would willingly pay that price. Many of the most vocal supporters of 2nd Amendment rights express views that cause me to question their loyalty to the Government. The fewer weapons these people have the safer we’ll be.”
VA Hospital Rejects Christmas Cards
An attempt by the students of GraceAcademy in Prosper, Texas to spread some holiday cheer to wounded veterans in the VA hospital in Dallas was rebuffed by hospital officials. The 51 hand-made cards were deemed unacceptable because the word “Christmas” appeared on most of them. An example of an offending card was one from 4th grader Gracie Brown with the message: “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.”
Hospital Administrator Henry Potter cited Veteran’s Administration policy as the grounds for rejecting the cards, “we can’t have anyone taking advantage of the delicate health of these injured men and women as an opportunity to shove religious propaganda down their throats.”
Potter blamed the school’s teachers for “leading our young people astray. Church and state must be kept completely separate. Teachers should’ve known that and should’ve redirected their pupils’ efforts into more politically acceptable channels of thought, sentiment, and action.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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