Friday, August 20, 2010

A Rebuilt Four-barrel Constitution

"The Tea Party is meanwhile busy rewriting America’s early history under [Glenn] Beck’s tutelage by enforcing a vision of the Constitution tantamount to the Creationists’ view of Genesis. We must obey the words of the founding fathers literally..... There can be no evolution or amendments."
- Frank Rich - The N. Y. Times - May 30, 2010

Glenn Beck’s reply in the latest issue of "Constitutional Shadetree Mechanic":
It’s about time someone had the good sense to revert back to the Constitution as it was originally formulated by our sainted Founding Fathers. Any piece of long-working machinery, no matter how well designed, will eventually get clogged up with accumulated deposits and amendments.
Say you inherited an old ‘57 Chevy that hadn’t seen the inside of a garage in thirty years. Would you continue to drive it on the highway, cross your fingers and just hope for the best?

Of course not. You’d put it up on the hoist, drain the oil and start removing all the gunk and sediment that had built up over the years. You’d also take a look under the hood and remove any unnecessary add-ons and replace any worn or used parts.
Well, that’s just what we’ve gotta do with the Constitution. Given its age and the rough treatment it’s endured, it doesn’t just need some minor tinkering. It’s time to drive the old gal into the legislative shop, strip her down to basics and rebuild the engine to original specs.

Now looking at the owner’s manual, I guess we could all agree that you’d keep the first ten amendments. After all, they were installed on the original chassis after only four years by the same designers. Plus, they’re pretty much essential to the document’s smooth functioning, especially that second amendment.

Can’t run a good government without an unencumbered right to bear arms.
But anything tacked on after 1791 has gotta go. There’s just too much crap hanging off the frame and gunk jamming up the governmental carburetor to achieve anything approaching the optimal performance of this classic document.
Once we’ve stripped this classic down to the basics, we can see what we’ve got. By my reckoning, that should leave us with a Senate unelected by popular vote. That should cut down considerably on electoral expenses and allow for a more efficient bicameral vehicle.
We should also be able to see that this baby was originally an exclusively male-operated mechanism. Eliminating women from the electoral transmission should cut our operating costs in half.

I think you’ll find that once you’ve done a complete rebuild that you’ll no longer be encumbered by such operational limitations as a two-term presidential restriction. For those of a conservative bent, that could mean lots more governing milage under someone like a Bush or a Reagan.

You might be surprised to find that when you’ve reassembled the Constitution as originally written that you’ll have re-instituted slavery. Initially, you might find this troubling but just remember, it will only be active in certain states and, even then, each slave will be counted as three-fifths of a person. Before condemning this original feature outright, we probably should really give it a try and see what the founding designers had in mind.
Once you’re done, you’ve got a brand new 1787 U. S. Constitution with all the original bells and whistles. Take her out for a spin and enjoy that new-document feeling all over again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Truly Canadian Crime

"Bilingual thief robs convenience store"

OTTAWA - A knife-wielding man robbed a convenience store in the 300 block of Shakespeare Street Saturday afternoon. The man entered the store shortly after 4:30 p.m. and demanded money in
both English and French.
- The Ottawa Citizen - August 8, 2010

"Hello. Bonjour."
"This is a stickup. Ça c’est un ‘stickup’."
"Do you understand? Comprenez vous?"
"If yes, just shake your head. Si oui, hochez votre tête."
"No, I do not speak Italian. Non, je ne parle pas Italien."
"Hey, buddy, this is a bilingual country. You’re expected to know at least one of our two official languages. Eh, mon fils, Canada est un pays bilingue. If faut que vous savez au moins une des notres deux lingues officiels."
"OK, I’m not going to repeat this again. Open the cash drawer, put your hands above your head and step back from the cash. OK, je ne vais pas répéter cet. Ouvrir le tiroir-caisse, mettez vos mains dessus de votre tête et recul par rapport à la caisse."
"Is that all you’ve got? Est que tout ce que vous avez?"
"No, no, I’m not blaming you. Non, non, je ne vous blâme."
"It’s just that it’s eight o’clock at night and I assumed you’d have a full till. C'est juste que c’est veinte heures et je suppose que vous auriez une caisse pleine."
"Look, what have you got that I can sell? Regardez, qu'avez-vous que je peux vendre?"
"How about some beer or wine? Qu'en est-il de la bière ou du vin?"
"You’re kidding. No beer or wine? But this is a convenience store. Vous plaisantez. Pas de bière ou de vin? Mais il s'agit d'un dépanneur."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. This is Ontario, not Quebec. No beer or wine sales in convenience stores. Ah, oui, j’ai oublié. Pas de bière ou de vin de vente dans les dépanneurs."
"How about cigarettes? Maybe I could take a few cartons. Que diriez-vous des cigarettes? Peut-être je pourrais prendre un peu de cartons."
"What do you mean I have to show identification? Qu'est-ce que tu veux dire que j'ai une carte d'identité?"
"Of course I’m over nineteen. Bien sûr, je suis au dessus de dix-neuf."
"I understand. I understand. If you sell to a minor, you could lose your license. Je comprends. Je comprends. Si vous vendez à un mineur, vous risquez de perdre votre permis."
"OK, here’s my driver’s license. Just check my birth date, that’s all. Promise? OK, voici mon permis de conduire. Il suffit de cocher ma date de naissance, c’est tout. Vous me le promettez?"
"Oh, damn! Here are the police. Sacrifice! Voici la police."
"Yes, officer. I’ll put my hands behind my back. If I didn’t have to give instructions to that clerk in both official languages, I would have been out of here five minutes ago. Well, since I assume you’re bilingual, at least I don’t have to translate anymore. Merde!"