Some of my favorite lines:
"Congress tried every remedy it knows, ranging all the way from borrowing money from China and spending it on government programs, to borrowing MORE money from China and spending it on government programs."
"This is what the public is worried about. In a word, the big issue is: jobs. So the Obama administration, displaying the keen awareness that has become its trademark, decides to focus like a laser on: health-care reform."
In other sports news, the Vancouver Winter Olympics begin on an uncertain note when it is discovered that Vancouver — apparently nobody realized this ahead of time — is a seaside city with a mild climate, so there is no snow. This hampers some of the competition, as for example when the Latvian cross-country ski team gets bogged down in mud and is eaten by alligators.
Despite these setbacks, the games are deemed a big success, at least by the Canadians, because they won in hockey.
Everyone at the ceremony agrees that the new law is historic and will become hugely popular with the American people once they have the opportunity to hear a few dozen more high-profile speeches about it from President Obama.
Soon, however, large patches of crude oil are drifting toward land, and it becomes clear that this is a major disaster — a challenge that we, as a nation, will have to meet, as we have met other challenges, with a combination of photo opportunities, lawsuits and tweeting.
The president also signs a historic arms-reduction treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev under which both countries will destroy one-third of their older nuclear missiles by upgrading them to Windows Vista.
President Obama, eager to show that he is on top of the situation, develops severe forehead cramps from standing on the shore and frowning with concern at the water. Meanwhile Congress holds televised hearings that establish, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Congress is very upset about, and totally opposed to, large oil spills.
The suspect is captured by U.S. Customs agents at the last minute after boarding a Dubai-bound plane filled with passengers who, like the suspect, had all been carefully screened by the TSA to make sure they were not carrying more than three ounces of shampoo.
The furor culminates in a New York Times story stating that eventually all the oil in the world will leak out through the hole in Gulf floor and cover the entire planet with a layer of oil 27 feet deep, which according to the Times would be "potentially devastating for polar bears."
Abroad, U.S. intelligence intercepts a top-secret cable from Iran to North Korea, apparently written in code, stating: "Thanks for selling us the buclear beapons." In response, the U.S. threatens to impose harsh new sanctions that, in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "will make the previous harsh sanctions that we threatened to impose seem like only moderate threatened sanctions, and this time we are not kidding around."
On the foreign economic front, anger builds over plans by the governments of both Greece and France to raise the retirement age, which means workers would have to continue striking for several years longer before they could start collecting pensions. In protest, everybody in both nations goes on strike.
In the month's most dramatic story, 33 copper miners in Chile are trapped 2,300 feet underground following a cave-in caused by a runaway Toyota Camry. The good news is that the men are still alive; the bad news is that the only drilling equipment capable of reaching them quickly belongs to BP. Informed of this, the men elect to stay down there for the time being.
President Obama, basking in the glow of the health-care reform act, offers to campaign for Democratic candidates, only to find that many of them have important dental appointments and are unable to join him on whatever day he is planning to visit.
… the U.S. economy suffers another blow as the Federal Bureau of Never Expecting Unemployment To Be As High As It Actually Is reports that, for the 37th consecutive month, unemployment is unexpectedly high. "Darned if we didn't get fooled again!" exclaims a bureau spokesperson, adding, "We expect it to be lower next month." Meanwhile Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking from his new office in Toronto, announces a plan to drastically increase the U.S. money supply by "quantitative easing," a controversial process involving what Bernanke describes as "a major job for Kinko's."
Speaking of health: Some air travelers express concern about radiation from the TSA's new high-resolution scanners, especially after screeners at O'Hare are seen using one to make popcorn.
The Democrats, suddenly alarmed about the deficit, want to raise taxes on people making $250,000 a year — or, as the Democrats routinely refer to them, "billionaires." The Republicans want to extend tax cuts for everybody, but compensate by cutting federal spending at a later date using an amazing new spending-cutting device they have seen advertised on TV.
Thanks, Dave Barry.