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Staff column

Sun Advocate associate editor

The Vatican solution

Silvio, my lifelong bud, lives and thinks on a different plane from us common folk. He and I were out watching other people work (our favorite pastime) on the new superhighway between Cedar Hills and Airport Road the other day, and he came up with this:

"The Vatican can teach us much about this budget deadlock in Congress. White smoke."

The smoke he exhaled was a pale blue. He draws most of his breaths through a smoldering cylinder of chopped tobacco. "OK, I'm listening," I said.

"You know how every so often the Roman Catholics have to choose a new pope," he mused. "It's a huge decision and they have to make it. So they do. Them cardinals, you know."

"Yeah," I replied. "I saw that movie, that one with Tom Hanks and the antimatter in the bottle. White smoke coming out the chimney means they've picked their guy."

"So why not do the same thing here with our tax and spend deadlock? The Catholics have been making tough decisions for centuries with their popes." Silvio ranted. "Here we have a historically documented procedure that works every time. They lock the Cards in the Sistine Chapel and don't let no one out until they come up with an answer."

"Sil," I said, "You can't mean locking up all 535 voting members of Congress until they reach a decision."

"That's exactly what I mean," he said. "They're public servants. You and I are the public they're supposed to serve. Now I'm not one to treat servants bad. They got cafeterias; they got restrooms in the Capitol. Set up come cots for them to sleep and they got all they need."

"They need their cell phones and staff to survive," I noted.

"No cells, no staff, no Blackberries, no CATV, no nothing except each other," Silvio said. "Whoa, man, they've got to deal with each other, with no escape."

"Enforced sobriety, too," I interrupted. "A few of them might be shaking when they come out."

"Not our problem," he declared.

"So what do you propose to do with lobbyists who want to break in and exercise their Constitutional rights as corporations to influence legislation?" I asked.

"In the traditional manner, they will be offered jobs as sopranos in the choir," Silvio stated. "Do I have to explain to you how males become sopranos?"

"Don't bother," I said

So Silvio and I will be watching for the white smoke over the Capitol, when the Super Committee takes a nose dive and the whole Congress is faced with the job they were elected to do in the first place.

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