Saturday, July 11, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 33

None of the Above
City Controller and mayoral candidate Annise Parker recently unveiled a survey to determine Houstonians' satisfaction with city services. As is typical of such things, both the questions and the multiple choice answers provided are rigged in an apparent attempt to validate the city's agenda.

For example, the first question asks respondents to rate the "Overall quality of services provided by the City". Possible answers range from "very satisfied" to "don't know". If one is opposed to the city providing services such as trash collection, libraries, parks, etc. there is no proper answer. If one responds "very satisfied" then one implies an endorsement of the city providing such services. If one responds "very dissatisfied" one implies that he wants the city to do more.

A survey that sought to truly understand what the citizens think would have provided an opportunity to voice one's opinions, not limit the choices to those that will provide justification for expanding government.

Cap and Trade to Regulate Breathing
Over the weekend it came out that the Cap and Trade bill passed by Congress includes regulations on breathing. Congressmen who had voted for the bill were quick to defend their vote, pointing out that the bill had not actually been completed at the time of their vote. "We had no way of knowing what was in that bill," said Rep. Al Green (D-TX). "I mean, it was really long already, and they just kept adding things to it."

The Obama administration, which has been pushing for this legislation, feigned surprise that Congress went so far as to regulate the breathing of citizens. "Now that we have had time to think about it, this makes perfect sense," said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (who, incidentally, was not one of the Bee Gees). "Human breathing is a significant source of carbon dioxide."

The bill calls for a reduction in breathing to 1990 levels over the next 5 years. Given the increase in population, it is estimated that each individual will be required to take 40% fewer breaths each day. Critics argue that this will virtually eliminate such activities as exercise and hard manual labor. Gibbs dismissed such claims as reactionary, saying, “Americans are resilient people. Every time Congress has passed some outrageous bill that greatly reduces their freedom, Americans have learned to adjust.”

When it was noted that most Americans depend upon breathing to stay alive, Gibbs was circumspect. “While there is some validity in this claim, we must remember that we all must do our part. If some wind up perishing, it will be unfortunate, but this measure is intended to promote the public interest. Our projections are that this will reduce the population, I mean pollution, by 35%.” Gibbs added that there would be other benefits to the bill, such as reduced health care costs due to the rapid decline in the population, more jobs available for those who survived, and better parking places at the mall.

It is unclear how the new regulations would be enforced. Henry Waxman, the bill's sponsor, has suggested that each citizen will be required to wear a device that will automatically apply pressure to the windpipe and specific intervals, but he isn’t certain that Harry Reid's business partners will be able to meet the demand. An alternative plan proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would involve “lots of people running around with some kind of gadget”. Congressmen from the Midwest suggested using corn cobs as an environmentally friendly solution.

Environmental groups, who have been pushing for such legislation for years, said that the bill did not go far enough. “We wanted a reduction to the levels of 150 B.C.,” said a spokesman for Earth First!. “But this is a step in the right direction.”

Rep. Waxman was asked what other provisions were in the bill. "That's for me to know and you to find out," he said. "But seriously, we aren't sure yet. Since Congress has already passed it, we are just going to keep tinkering with it until we get tired."

While the above is satirical, it isn't far from what the various players would say if they were honest. Of course, if they were honest, they wouldn't be engaging in such dishonest shenanigans.

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