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Satire or Reality?

In Tuesday's issue of The Onion can be found a nice bit of satire, "Bill Of Rights Pared Down To A Manageable Six." When winter sets in, and there's not much to do in Madison except to stay warm indoors while writing satire for the Web, The Onion can be funny:

Flanked by key members of Congress and his administration, President Bush approved Monday a streamlined version of the Bill of Rights that pares its 10 original amendments down to a "tight, no-nonsense" six...

The Fourth Amendment, which long protected citizens' homes against unreasonable search and seizure, was among the eliminated amendments. Also stricken was the Ninth Amendment, which stated that the enumeration of certain Constitutional rights does not result in the abrogation of rights not mentioned.

"Quite honestly, I could never get my head around what the Ninth Amendment meant anyway," said outgoing House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), one of the leading advocates of the revised Bill of Rights. "So goodbye to that one."

The part that struck me about the story was a "quote" from Attorney General John Ashcroft:

Ashcroft responded sharply to critics who charge that the Bill of Rights no longer safeguards certain basic, inalienable rights.

"We're not taking away personal rights; we're increasing personal security," Ashcroft said. "By allowing for greater government control over the particulars of individual liberties, the Bill of Rights will now offer expanded personal freedoms whenever they are deemed appropriate and unobtrusive to the activities necessary to effective operation of the federal government."

Is it me, or does that sound exactly like something Ashcroft would say? Not in a satirical context, but in real life? It's spooky.

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