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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, February 3, 2013 Edition

Democrats Debate Nuances of Gun Control

Vice-President Joe Biden, the man tapped by President Obama to lead his Administration's efforts to push gun control legislation, acknowledged that “Nothing we are going to do is fundamentally going to alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down.”

Biden insisted that critics' contention gun control laws are, therefore, useless or counterproductive “represents a short-sighted view. While the projected impact on criminals is likely to be minor, the number of firearm fatalities at the hands of the law-abiding will go down. To the extent that the laws deter or delay access to weapons by those willing to conform to the rules, fewer people will be shot by these persons.”

Look, everybody with any sense knows that your hardcore criminal isn't going to be swayed by any rules we can enact,” Biden added. “Case in point, Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. In fact, many of the measures we're looking at for a nationwide program are modeled on what Chicago has already done. Yet Chicago has one of the worse murder rates in the country precisely because criminals there don't obey the City's laws. But just because we can't keep guns out of the hands of these outlaws doesn't mean we have to give up on the idea of disarming as many others as we can.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) took issue with Biden's perspective saying that “the Vice-President's distinction between criminals and the so-called law-abiding is flawed. If we do it right, mere possession of a gun will be a criminal offense. So by definition the number of criminals we will be able to crackdown on will be expanded. If police are the only ones allowed to legally have weapons the whole job of enforcing gun control would be simplified—anyone else brandishing a gun would automatically be classified as an armed and dangerous felon and could be legitimately shot on sight.”

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) asserted that “while Senator Durbin is, I think, on the right track. I believe that there may be a need for persons other than the police to be authorized to carry weapons. Those of us in government who may be targeted by extremists should be permitted to defend ourselves. Tragic as it may be for a private citizen to be victimized by a gun-toting assailant, it cannot compare with the threat to our whole social and political system that an assault on a member of our government poses. There is a paramount need for us to prevent such a possibility in any way that we can.”

In related news, the Department of Homeland Security's stockpile of bullets reached the two billion round mark this past week. Quizzed as to why her Department would need six times as many rounds as the entire population, Secretary Napolitano pointed out that “while it would take only a single bullet to the head to dispatch a person, we cannot rely upon those who pose a threat to the government to be so accommodating as to just line up to be shot. We need the firepower to overcome any resistance or, better still, to project an image so daunting that none would dare rise up against us.”

Outgoing Energy Secretary Defends Administration's “Green Investments”

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced his resignation from the Obama Administration this week. Chu had clashed frequently with critics of Obama's so-called green investment approach. He took the occasion of his pending departure to fire off a final volley at these critics.

Much as these people would like to portray the bankruptcies of a large number of recipients of government aid as a failure of the Administration's green investment policy, they are wrong,” Chu maintained. “Take the Solyndra Company as a example. The contention is that the $500 million we invested in this now bankrupt company was a waste takes a too narrow view of the program.”

First of all, the $500 million we put into Solyndra is $500 million that was not available for a more environmentally damaging form of energy production,” Chu argued. “Money that might have been used to expand output of oil or coal was diverted away from these polluting technologies.”

Second, the fact that Solyndra failed is another overlooked plus for the environment,” Chu continued. “As long as the company remained open it meant employees commuting to work and spewing emissions into the air. It meant lighting, heating, and cooling the facilities in which these employees worked. Since green energy sources couldn't have met these needs, an idled plant helps reduce the consumption polluting energy sources.”

Chu suggested that “we ought to emulate China. They are making more headway on green energy than we can here. They don't have naysayers nitpicking every idea insisting that it must meet some kind of 'reasonable return on investment concept.' The Government sees what it wants done as just orders everyone to fall in line.”

Ironically, half of the world's annual coal consumption occurs in China. China's urban areas also have dangerous levels of air pollution with coal soot particles more than 20 times higher than is considered safe.

IRS Estimates Cheapest Insurance Available under Obamacare

This week the IRS issued its estimate for the projected annual cost of a “bronze” package of benefits when the system is fully implemented in 2016. The bronze package is the lowest level of benefits that will be allowed by law. It is expected to cost $20,000 per year.

With the median family income around $50,000 per year, this health insurance bill may be out of reach for many. Not to worry says IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller, “families that can't afford to pay the $20,000 premium will have the option of going without insurance and paying an annual fine of $2400 instead.”

Miller denied that the high cost of insurance would pose a health threat. “In most cases, people don't really need professional health services,” Miller asserted. “We've seen a few studies that show fatality rates actually decline when doctors and nurses have gone on strike. So, contrary to the alarmists who've been forecasting doom under the Affordable Health Insurance law, it looks like the potential for deterring overuse of professional medical services may be an under-appreciated benefit of the new system.”

And let's not forget the added revenue stream for the government that will come from the collection of the non-participation fines,” Miller said. “If only half the households falling below the median income opt to pay the fine we'll net another $60 billion per year for the federal treasury.”

NJ Senator Mounts His Own Defense

Under a new wave of criticism related to his overseas sexcapades, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) rose to his own defense insisting that “everything I''m alleged to have done has been within my rights under the law.”

The claim that he has illegally and immorally consorted with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic is “without merit,” Menendez said. “There is a saying—when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Well, in the Dominican Republic, prostitution is not illegal. I was within my rights to engage in a transaction that is perfectly legal under that country's law. That I should be hounded here in America shows disrespect for both me and the sovereign nation of the Dominican Republic.”

Likewise, the implication that the young age of the ladies involved somehow constitutes a sort of 'statutory rape' offense is absurd,” the Senator complained. “Girls in other countries don't lead the kind of sheltered lives they do in America. They mature a lot faster. They have to if they are to make a living. That I may have employed a few of them helped contribute to their efforts to support themselves. I deserve credit, not censure.”

Menendez also asserted that as a member of Congress he has immunity from charges of this sort. “Even if New Jersey law were applicable, which it is not, prostitution is only a misdemeanor,” he pointed out. “Under the Constitution, members of Congress are 'privileged from arrest' except for 'treason, felony and breach of the peace.' My breach of a piece in a foreign country clearly fits within this privilege.”

A poll of New Jersey voters indicates that the Senator is in no trouble as far as the majority of them are concerned. “What he does in the privacy of some whorehouse is none of my business,” said one respondent. “His job is to bring federal money back to New Jersey. As long as he does that he's got my vote.”

White House Blames GOP for Shrinking Economy

The decline in the country's fourth quarter GDP isn't President Obama's fault,” says Press Secretary Jay Carney. “If you want to blame someone, blame the Republicans.”

It is Carney's contention that “opposition to the President's agenda is what is causing uncertainty in the markets. As anyone in business can tell you, uncertainty discourages investment and hiring.”

What the country needs is unity,” Carney advised. “The sooner everyone gets in step and marches to the same beat the sooner we will be able to pull the nation out of the recession we inherited from George Bush.”

The Republicans in Congress need to stop trying to impede the President's program,” Carney demanded. “He won the election. He has a mandate. The argument that we can't afford his program is bogus. As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has reminded us, the Government can print as much money as necessary. It should be clear that the GOP's resistance is spiteful obstruction, at best. At this point, one must really question their loyalty to the country and the will of the people.”