Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Short Story

“Where's all the meat?” I asked the butcher behind his counter.
“It's all back here, there's a new regulation that families can only get so much meat per day.” replied the butcher
“Is there some kind of shortage?” I responded.
“No, no shortage, only a new regulation by executive order. It came down late last night. We had to scramble since 2AM to get everything behind the counter.”
I sat there and thought this can't be happening. “So what do I have to do now to buy meat?”
“Well what's your name?”
“James Carnahan”
“Ok, let me look you up. Says here you are 45, your wife is 38 and you have children that are 12, 10, 8, 5, and 3 years old”
“Ok, based on the data we have you can buy 3 pounds of hamburger today”
“But I want chicken and I'm doing my shopping for the month so I need more than 3 pounds.”
“Sorry sir, but you can only get hamburger today and only 3 pounds based on your family data.”

I bought my 3 pounds of hamburger and headed home. I knew I was going to here it from my wife that I didn't get everything on the list. As I was driving home I wondered how we got to this point? I decided it started a few years ago when there was a push to reduce childhood obesity. The White House had decided to appoint a special committee to look into the issue and start formulating a plan to make (I prefer force) children to eat better.

The committee performed several studies and made several recommendations, however Congress took no action to legislate what children could eat. At that point I figured the issue was dead and that there would be recommendations but no legislation. Alas I was wrong. It seems that the President under pressure from his political base created an executive order that instantly became law in the country. The executive order was signed in the middle of the night and was to be enforced by 6AM local time the next day.

I went home and did what any other red blooded American would do. I got online and looked up the Executive Order. Sure enough it took about an hour and a half to find the text of the order (the government isn't known for its transparency after all). The text was as follows:

Distribution of Butcher Related Products to Families

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. Due to the inability of the American people to properly regulate their diet it has become necessary to enforce the distribution of butcher related products. This will ensure that we have a healthier population and therefore allow for America to continue in its greatness.

Section 2.Policy. (a) To achieve a healthier America, all places of business will now be required to limit the distribution of butcher products to American families. This will be accomplished by:

  • (i) Each family will be allowed to buy a certain amount of meat each day
  • (ii) Each family will be allowed to by the following:
    • Monday: Hamburger
    • Tuesday: Pork
    • Wednesday: Chicken
    • Thursday: Non-Chicken Poultry
    • Friday: Lunch/Deli Meat
    • Saturday: Bacon, Sausage, Hot Dogs, Bratwurst and other Sausage like meats
    • Sunday: No meat sold
  • (iii) The following schedule will be used to determine the number of pounds of meat that a family can buy each day:
    • Family of 2: half pound
    • Family of 3: 1 pound
    • Family of 4: 1.5 pounds
    • Family of 5: 2 pounds
    • Family of 6: 2.5 pounds
    • Family of 7 or more: 3 pounds

Section 3. Butcher Product Distribution Oversight Committee. The Butcher Product Distribution Oversight Committee is responsible for determining the formulas for product distribution. It will have oversight of businesses to ensure that the regulations described in this executive order. It has the authority to enforce the regulations through federal law enforcement if necessary. The committee will setup sub-committees as appropriate.


November 15th, 2010

Stunned, it's the only word that fits. With one stroke of his pen the President was able to limit my choices in the food I buy, how much I buy and when I can buy it. I wondered if this could be legal? I did my research and found that yes it is. Could it be challenged? Again the answer was yes? How to challenge it was the next question. For that I had no answers.

So what to do? Do I just accept the fact that this is the way it is? What could I do? Then I got distracted by “The Big Bang Theory” and Sheldon's relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler. Of course to put what I just read into physics I would be an object attached to another object on an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis (translation: screwed).

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