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Day 3: Get out of work free card for Congress
In an astonishing display of complete incompetence, the United States Congress somehow managed to shut down the operations of the United States government this year for 16 days.
While we can fully understand the desire of almost anyone to stay as far away from politicians as possible, once you run for election and get elected, you're expected to do your job.
Even so, if you're incapable of leading and just can't handle the idea of putting your constituents first, above even your own petty partisan interests, we have a gift for you.
This year, as part of our 2013 gift guide, we're going to give each member of Congress a get out of work free card. Now, we know you all take very long recesses (and does it worry anyone that we use a term reserved for kindergarten children to refer to our leaders' breaks?). Even so, this card will entitle you to leave work for one day during the year in a huff, no matter how inconsequential or damaging your argument might be.
Day 4: A Jeff Bezos for every agency
Like many of us, our states, agencies, and even the U.S. Postal Service are feeling the pressure. The U.S. Postal Service is hit particularly hard because they're both responsible for managing their own revenue and governed in what they can do by the U.S. Government (ouch!).
Rather than going postal, the always-surprising Jeff Bezos, billionaire founder of Amazon.com, is stepping in with a proposal: if the USPS will deliver packages on Sundays, he'll do a deal with them that will ease the hurt.
Since The Bez seems so able to help indigent postal services and aging newspapers, we gift to every agency, state, and school district their very own Bezos bobblehead. While a bobblehead isn't likely to solve all your monetary woes like a full-sized Bezos could, perhaps being able to look at your own bobbling Bezos-head will help you feel hopeful that someone or something will bail you out of decades of mismanagement.
Day 5: An army of grad students for the FISC judges
The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has eleven judges, each serving out a seven-year term. The court is responsible for judging what's an acceptable privacy intrusion and what's not, for each and every request made by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.
These requests number in the thousands, and the court has been accused over and over again of rubber-stamping the requests. Obviously with the level of technical and national security detail each petition contains, it's impossible for the judges to review each in anything resembling sufficient detail.
Our first thought was to gift each judge with one of those always-full stamps, so they wouldn't have to take time to first stamp for ink, then rubber stamp the petitions. But that seemed too small for eleven people with such enormous power. Then we thought we'd just simply let them out of their terms, so they could be subject to the potential of untold surveillance like the rest of us.
But then we hit on it. What they really needed was the ability to research each and every petition down to a level of detail that actually protected American citizens. They needed to do this fast, constantly, and without stopping.
A moment of thought and we realized there's an entire class of people who are used to working constantly, with no appreciation, doing research for others, and even paying for the privilege: grad students. So as a way to increase the FISC output and increase quality, we gift to the the FISC judges as many overworked, underpaid, nearly starving graduate students as they need to keep American safe and our privacy protected.