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Coarse Grind -- Satire and Humor

House, Senate Leadership Seek End to Bad Analogies

Alaska House and Senate leadership unexpectedly took steps to reduce a year’s-long escalation in the use of bad analogies in committee hearings and floor sessions. Analogies have long been a staple in political dialogue, but beginning in the late ‘90s Alaska legislators have increasingly driven what was once a fine art form to its knees.

The issue came to a head Tuesday in Senate State Affairs when Sen. Bill Stoltze tried to size up Alaska’s oil dependence by saying, “Hank and Tommie Aaron combined for 755 homeruns, and Hank hit most of those. Oil is the Hank Aaron in our state, obviously, is everyone else Tommy?” The analogy was directed at a testifier who sported a foreign accent never before heard in Alaska, and it was completely lost. Making matters worse, Hank actually hit 755 career home runs and Tommie added 13 for the sibling pair, so poor Malan Rietveld will forever be confused about American baseball.

Minutes later House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Kevin Meyer announced a moratorium on unapproved analogies. “Until further notice all analogies will have to be vetted through our Legislative Research department and approved as both accurate and appropriate to the subject matter,” Meyer said.

Chenault, who normally speaks in a sort of woodsy-wisdom Americana broke character and said, “I don’t want to see this used as an excuse for people to step up their metaphor and simile game, either. And unless your name is Jesus H. Christ, you can check your parables at the door. Nobody knows what the heck we’re talkin’ about anymore, and it’s got to stop.”

People first began to notice a problem during the AGIA debate in House Resources in 2007. Rep. Mark Neuman of Big Lake attempted to simplify the complicated bill for Alaskans listening at home. “Let’s say we own a farm and we have a bunch of hay we want to bring to market,” Neuman began. He then discussed the various ways the hay might be marketed. A few moments later Rep. Mike Doogan from The Republic of Spenard said, “I have an idea. Let’s pretend we have a bunch of gas ... ”

While the moratorium is a noble effort to clarify legislative debates, some fear it could end conversation in the Capitol altogether. “It makes sense,” said Juneau Rep. Sam Kito III, “but I suspect many of the longtime legislators may not be able to complete a thought without a bad analogy or awkward metaphor.” It’s kind of like telling a bloodhound not to howl at sirens ...

 

House and Senate Democrats Narrowly Escape Caucus Positions

A joint meeting between House and Senate Democrats almost ended in disaster Tuesday when the group nearly adjourned with a consensus position on a bill that would establish December 23 as “Some Other Religions Can Be Cool, Too Day.” According to minutes leaked by an unnamed Democratic staffer the Democrats’ long-standing record of disagreement was narrowly preserved by Sitka Rep. Jonathan Kreiss Tomkins.

Tomkins had been busy texting and designing a pinochle app throughout the grueling six-hour meeting but looked up just as Rep. David Guttenberg said, “Boy, I can’t believe it only took us six hours to reach agreement on this. Sorry about the black eye, Les.”

“Wait, what?” Kreiss Tomkins said. “We did what? We’re actually prepared to stand in public and commit to something? Are we sure about this?”

Sen. Johnny Ellis did not look up from his button-making machine to say, “JKT’s right. It’s too risky. Our myriad and powerful enemies will accuse us of supporting terrorism and we’ll be destroyed in the election.”

The meeting quickly spiraled into several separate disagreements that lasted an additional three hours ... and the caucuses were saved.