Angry Obama Vows Vengeance against Trade Bill Opponents
Alternating between tears and venom, a stunned President Obama ranted against members of his own Party, calling them "faithless turncoats" and alleging that "they are destroying my credibility with foreign nations," after the House of Representatives voted 302 to 126 against the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act--a provision deemed crucial to the fate of his "fast track" trade legislation.
The vote came after a rare personal appearance of President Obama to lobby for the legislation. Erstwhile political ally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), led Democratic opposition to the President's wishes. She remained unfazed by the President's threat "to make life really hard for those who defy me." "Even under a 'worst case' scenario, the President will only be in office for another 19 months," Pelosi pointed out. "How much damage could he do?"
Press Secretary Josh Earnest advised the President's political enemies "to not underestimate his disappointment or his determination to get his way, one way or the other. Don't forget that he still has his pen and phone. He could bypass Congress and enact the trade legislation via executive action. He could use his phone to call on the FBI and NSA to release information that could prove embarrassing to Ms. Pelosi and others."
Pelosi, however, wasn't about to back down. "It's not as if we don't have our own sources of information that might prove embarrassing to the President," she warned. "And if push comes to shove, there is always the option to impeach him. The prospect of elevating Joe Biden to the White House so the Party can run an incumbent for President in 2016 is looking better every day."
In other news, Earnest brushed off revelations that the Chinese government has been hacking into secret federal databases for more than a year, saying that "this is just more proof that this Administration is the most transparent administration that this country has ever had, bone none."
HUD Eager to Put More Public Housing into Suburban Neighborhoods
The Obama Administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working on new regulations that would tie federal aid to the placement of low-income public housing within white suburbs.
HUD Secretary Julian Castro explained that "ensuring diversity in every community is a key goal of this Administration. People on welfare shouldn't be denied the right to live in nice communities just because there is no affordable housing available. Likewise, racists shouldn't be allowed to insulate themselves from having neighbors of color merely by moving into areas with expensive housing."
A possible fringe benefit for whites under this initiative, according to Castro is that "they wouldn't have to go into the urban ghetto to buy recreational drugs. Public housing will bring drug vendors to their neighborhoods. This will save them the time and trouble of venturing into undesirable areas in order to purchase crack or weed."
Castro acknowledged that "having drug dealers nearby also has its down side. There could be turf wars as gang members shoot it out to determine who will own the territory. And there may be a bump up in burglaries or robberies as addicts living in nearby public housing scrounge to obtain the funds needed to support their habits. But the Administration feels that this redistribution of crime will be more equitable in the long run."
Boeing Innovation Increases Fliers' Toilet Access
Concerned that the space allotted for on-board toilet facilities reduces the number of seats for passengers, the Boeing Corporation is converting all passenger seats on its 777-300ER into "potty chairs."
"Every additional passenger a plane can carry adds badly needed revenue to the airline's bottom line," said Boeing's public relations specialist Anita Crapper. "We thought, if there were a way to convert the space set aside for restrooms into passenger seating it would permit airlines to earn thousands more per flight. By making every seat a 'potty chair' airlines can achieve that objective."
Ms. Crapper lauded this innovation as "far superior to asking fliers to get their 'business' out of the way before boarding. In the old days passengers had to just 'hold it in' once they entered the airplane cabin. Even after on-board toilets were added, passengers' access is sometimes impaired. Using the toilet during take-off and landing is totally barred. Other times there may be a lengthy line. With each seat being a 'potty chair' every passenger can go whenever he or she wants."
On the new 777s each seat will have a retractable lid and drop-down privacy curtains. All a passenger needs to do is press a button to activate them. Any waste deposited will fall into a mini-chemical toilet under the seat. Pressing the button when finished will raise the curtain, close the lid, and release a squirt of air freshener.
"We are entering a new and exciting era of flying," Ms. Crapper boasted. "Those suffering from incontinence or loose bowels need no longer feel that flying will be an ordeal for them."
In other news, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he has given up bathing and drinking water to help fight that state's prolonged drought. "Bathing is unnatural anyway," Brown contended. "It's a late addition to American culture and relatively uncommon in most parts of the world, including Europe." Instead of drinking water, Brown says he will be switching to green tea "because of its added health benefits."
Pennsylvania Teachers Attend Mosque
About 50 teachers and administrators of the Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania got paid time off to attend Islamic religious training. Teacher Lara Book called the day "amazing. Even though the rituals are different what came through loud and clear is that all religions want the same thing."
While the ACLU is normally "johnny-on-the-spot" to protest any show of religion in a public space, especially one where taxpayer resources may be unconstitutionally used to promulgate a faith, spokesman Betram Petty found no problem with this event.
"The whole separation of church and state thing is a western way of thinking," he said. "It would be improper to hold Islam to these standards. Muhammed used the state to spread his religion, often giving individuals the choice of converting or being put to death. Using taxpayer funds to educate teachers on the fundamentals of Islam seems a lot milder than resorting to jihad. So, opening our institutions to this milder form of proselytization seems a more peaceful way of accomplishing the same goal. Objecting on the grounds that it mixes church and state could divert Muslims toward a more violent course of action."
In related news, the ACLU is suing Gloucester High School in Virginia for denying 16-year-old Gavin Grimm, a female, access to the boys' locker room and restrooms. "This is hurtful and stigmatizing for Ms. Grimm," complained Petty. "The school's effort to palm-off 'gender-neutral' restrooms as their solution to the transgender phenomenon falls far short of equal treatment under the law. Ms. Grimm's inalienable right to explore her sexual identity requires that she be enabled to disrobe and shower among boys. It is key for helping her decide whether to make the full transition to male or whether she would be more comfortable keeping her female body."
Police Shut Down Kids' Lemonade Stand
Police in Overton, Texas ordered two sisters, Zoey (aged 7) and Andria Green (aged 8) to "cease and desist" selling lemonade in their efforts to raise money to buy a Father's Day gift for their dad.
"Selling anything in Texas without a permit is illegal," explained rousting officer Doug Stamper. "It doesn't matter that neighborhood lemonade stands have been a time-honored way for kids to make a buck. Under the law, they need to buy a permit if they want to sell lemonade."
The cost of the required permit is $150. Few kids would have the funds to afford it. Few kid-run lemonade stands could net enough to cover the cost of purchasing a permit.
"Every dollar these kids make is stolen from legitimate businesses that pay for permits and collect sales taxes that they remit to the government," Stamper added. "If the loss of this legitimate revenue weren't substantial the businesses wouldn't have bothered to lobby for the law we're enforcing here today."
Stamper went on to contrast "the fundamentally selfish motive of these two girls" with "the loftier purposes to which the local government puts the revenues garnered from permit fees and taxes. A couple of kids operating a rogue business may look cute, but it's a 'knife between the ribs' of legitimate businesses and the government elected to protect their interests."
Congressman Introduces Automatic Voter Bill
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) has drafted legislation that he says "will greatly simplify the whole voting process in this country. Right now we have what is basically an 'opt-in' system. Those who want to vote have to take the initiative to register and make a periodic effort to cast a ballot. There is no question this reduces the number of ballots cast and lessens participation in our democratic process."
Under Cicilline's bill, every voter would be automatically registered to vote on his or her 18th birthday. A notice would be sent supplying each newly registered voter with a postage-paid reply card where they could indicate a Party preference. Once the card were received and recorded the person's vote would automatically be cast for the Party specified in all future elections unless the individual presented a notarized affidavit changing the Party preference for a specific election.
"By making one decision at the time of registration that person's voice will continue to be heard in all subsequent elections without requiring any additional effort on their part," Cicilline said. "People wouldn't needlessly be forced to endure the tedium of going to the polls time-after-time. Their preference will be pre-recorded and repeated, saving them enormous amounts of time and trouble."
Cicilline denied that his bill would usher in "mandatory voting," saying that "a person could return the reply card asking that his or her name be stricken from the rolls." He insisted that a better analogy would be "like those book clubs where they automatically send you the month's selection unless you opt out. That system sells more books. My system will result in more votes. It will strengthen our democratic process."
The legislation has been endorsed by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla), former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (NY), and civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga).
Homeland Security Searching for Leaker
Last week's news that the TSA failed to detect 95% of the weapons smuggled onto airlines in its security test has focused the Department on ways to tighten up security. Readers will be forgiven for mistakenly assuming that the tightening efforts will be on ways to interdict more smuggled weapons. In fact, the main concern, as Secretary Jeh Johnson sees it, "is finding the person who leaked these confidential test results to the media."
"The sad truth is that there is no way we can intercept more than a tiny fraction of actions hostile toward our air transportation system," Johnson admitted. "Making sure that this truth is kept confidential was a crucial component of our 'big bluff' strategy. If terrorists believe they will be caught, they won't attempt to penetrate our security. If travelers believe security is tight, they won't be afraid to fly. This leak undermines both of these goals. We need to find out who is responsible and make an example of him."
The Secretary dismissed the possibility that any of the 73 TSA personnel with ties to terrorist groups could have played a role in the failure to detect smuggled weapons. "Seventy-three is just a small fraction of our TSA crew," Johnson pointed out. "The 95% failure rate is evidence of much bigger flaws in our system. There is no cause for us to embark on a witch hunt aimed at blaming the Muslims we employ."