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Congress Passes Freedom From Information Act

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Monocle-Wearing Oil Baron’s Cigarette Holder Splinters In Clenched Teeth After Hearing Bernie Sanders’ Environmental Platform

GREENWICH, CT—Leaving him visibly seething as he sat in his tufted leather wingback chair in his study, monocle-wearing oil baron Frederick Porter Harriman’s ivory-inlaid cigarette holder reportedly splintered between his clenched teeth upon him hearing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders outline his environmental platform during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Biggest Campaign Gaffes So Far

The road to the 2016 election has seen its fair share of blunders, miscalculations, and poorly worded statements, all captured by an eager news media that’s always on the lookout for political missteps. Here are some of the biggest campaign gaffes of this election cycle so far:

How The Iowa Caucuses Work

The votes cast in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night mark the official beginning of the 2016 election season, but the specifics of the state’s selection process can be confusing to voters who don’t live there. Here, The Onion answers the most common questions about how the Iowa caucuses work:

Iowan Comforts Sobbing Jeb Bush At Town Hall

DES MOINES, IA—Slowly approaching the distraught, trembling presidential candidate before embracing him in a gentle hug, 42-year-old single mother Holly Sullivan comforted a sobbing Jeb Bush during a town hall forum, sources confirmed Friday.

Dazed Marco Rubio Wakes Up In Koch Compound To Find Cold Metal Device Installed Behind Ear

‘Hello Marco, We Will Now Begin The Program,’ Says Soothing Voice

UNKNOWN LOCATION—The brightly lit, stark-white room gradually coming into focus as he regained consciousness, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio reportedly awoke in the Koch brothers’ secret compound Thursday and reached suddenly to his throbbing head to discover a cold metal device implanted behind his left ear.

Hillary Clinton Relaxing Before Debate With Few Hours Of Debate Practice

GOFFSTOWN, NH—Describing it as a much-needed escape from the hype and pressure surrounding the event, aides from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign confirmed that the candidate has been taking it easy and kicking back ahead of Saturday’s Democratic debate with a few hours of intensive debate practice.

Terrified Jeb Bush Beginning To Fade From Visible Spectrum

LAS VEGAS—His voice slowing during his response to a question about immigration as he struggled to comprehend what was happening to him, a visibly terrified Jeb Bush reportedly began to vanish from the visible spectrum while on stage at Tuesday night’s Republican debate.

Koch Brothers Get Each Other Same Election For Christmas

WICHITA, KS—Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.

The Pros And Cons Of Political Correctness

A key issue currently driving a wedge between political parties in the U.S. is the question of so-called political correctness, or the avoidance of language and actions that could be construed as exclusive, oppressive, or marginalizing of minority groups. Here are the pros and cons of political correctness in our national discourse:

Rand Paul Escorted Off Stage After Falling Below 2.5% In Middle Of Debate

MILWAUKEE—Interrupted midway through answering a question about how he would reform the nation’s tax code, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul was reportedly escorted off stage roughly an hour into Tuesday’s GOP primary debate after falling below the minimum 2.5 percent polling threshold necessary for participating in the forum.

Fact-Checking Ben Carson’s Claims

GOP presidential frontrunner Ben Carson is currently under fire for claims he’s made about his past in books and interviews, many of which journalists have alleged are fabricated or skewed in the candidate’s favor. The Onion breaks down what’s truth and what’s fiction.

Republicans’ Demands For Upcoming Debates

Following last week’s contentious debate in Colorado, Republican presidential candidates are formulating demands for future debates in the effort to reduce perceived media bias and foster a more productive, policy-focused discussion. Here are the GOP’s demands for upcoming debates

Top Issues For Voters In The 2016 Election

With the presidential race well underway and the pool of candidates narrowing, Americans will soon have to choose their next leader based on how well they speak to the issues. Here are the top issues that matter for voters in the 2016 election

Winners And Losers Of Last Night’s Debate

The top 10 leading GOP presidential candidates met in Boulder, CO for their third debate last night, hosted by CNBC and featuring a number of contentious moments concerning alleged liberal media bias, frontrunners’ contradictory statements, and more. The Onion breaks down who won and who lost the debate

Ben Carson Tormented By Periodic Rational Thoughts

SAN ANTONIO—Calling the disturbing incidents a persistent source of anguish, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters at a Monday campaign stop that he has been tormented by periodic rational thoughts for the past several years.

How Democrats Are Preparing For Their First Debate

The first Democratic presidential debate will be held Tuesday, and the candidates are expected to battle it out over issues as wide-ranging as gun control, climate change, and wealth inequality in America. Here’s how the candidates are preparing for the debate

Group Of Christie Campaign Deserters Found In Forest

SHAMONG, NJ—Huddling together around fires of burning yard signs while sipping small rations of soup from mugs adorned with the phrase “Telling It Like It Is,” a ragged encampment of advisers, pollsters, and volunteers who deserted Chris Christie’s presidential campaign was reportedly found living deep in a New Jersey forest Friday, authorities confirmed.

Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State

WHEELING, OH—Feeling the earth shake beneath them as they watched the procession climb over the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains toward their village, sources along the Ohio border confirmed Thursday that the sight of 400 war elephants marching on the horizon marked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s arrival to the critical swing state.

Unemployed Single Mother In Rubio Speech Told Candidate About Her Problems In Confidence

CEDAR FALLS, IA—Describing her shock and embarrassment upon learning that her personal struggles were shared with an entire campaign rally audience, 37-year-old Allison Kilpatrick, an unemployed single mother that Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio mentioned in a recent stump speech, informed reporters Thursday that she told the candidate about her problems in confidence.

Obama Scrambling Around White House Kitchen Before State Dinner

WASHINGTON—Darting back and forth from refrigerator to sink to prep table while hurriedly preparing 350 hand-carved radish rosettes, a visibly agitated President Obama reported Friday that everything must be absolutely perfect for tonight’s state dinner in honor of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Voters Look On In Horror As 3 New Republican Candidates Appear In Place Of Scott Walker

MADISON, WI—Overcome by a profound feeling of dread and helplessness as the GOP field multiplied before their eyes, voters at Scott Walker’s press conference yesterday, in which the Wisconsin governor announced he was exiting the presidential race, reportedly looked on in horror as three new Republican contenders appeared on stage in place of the former candidate.

Top Snake Handler Leaves Sinking Huckabee Campaign

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Dealing yet another blow to the former Arkansas governor’s presidential hopes, Dalton Hobbs, one of Mike Huckabee’s top snake handlers, has decided to leave the sinking campaign, sources reported Thursday.

Aides Rush On Stage To Rotate Scott Walker Back To Direction Of Audience

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Upon noticing that the Wisconsin governor had become disoriented during one of the moderator’s questions and begun delivering his response while facing the set’s backdrop, several of his aides rushed on stage during Wednesday’s GOP primary debate to rotate Scott Walker back in the direction of the audience.

GOP Debate Stage Manager Pulls Ladies’ Podium Out Of Storage For Carly Fiorina

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Having rummaged through a cluttered backstage closet for nearly half an hour in an effort to locate its elegantly curved lavender form, stage manager Paul Guzman is said to have finally pulled the GOP’s official ladies’ podium out of storage for Carly Fiorina ahead of Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate.

Who Is Kim Davis?

Rowan County, KY clerk Kim Davis returned to work Monday after being jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on religious grounds. Here’s what you need to know about the defiant public servant:

Obamas Decide To Stay In White House Until Daughters Finish High School

‘We Don’t Want To Uproot Them Just For Our Jobs,’ Say Parents

WASHINGTON—Saying it wouldn’t be fair to disrupt their lives after seven years in the same school district, Barack and Michelle Obama this week announced their plans to stay in the White House until their daughters graduate high school.

Frenzied Trump Supporters Admit They’d Be Just As Happy Tearing Him To Pieces

‘We’re Just Mad And Want To Destroy Something,’ Say Candidate’s Backers

WASHINGTON—Saying they simply needed something to direct their anger toward, the nation’s frenzied Donald Trump supporters admitted Thursday that, if circumstances were different, they would be just as happy tearing the Republican frontrunner to pieces.
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Ugh, This A Place Where Bartenders Wear Bow Tie

PITTSBURGH—Saying they should have known from the moment they walked in the unmarked speakeasy entrance and spotted the extensive wood paneling, customers confirmed Friday that, ugh, this is one of those places where the bartenders all wear bow ties.

Congress Passes Freedom From Information Act

WASHINGTON, DC—Calling the unregulated flow of information "the single greatest threat to the emotional comfort and well-being of the American people," Congress passed the long-discussed Freedom From Information Act Monday.

Congressional Focus

The legislation—a response to widespread public demand to know less about the realities of the world around it—guarantees citizens protection from unpleasant information and imposes tough new restrictions on facts that federal authorities deem potentially damaging to the public's overall peace of mind.

"What good does it do people to know that, for example, migratory killer bees are due to arrive in Los Angeles this spring?" said Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN), a key proponent of the bill. "I don't want to know that a majority of adult males have had more than one homosexual experience, do you? I also have no interest in knowing how widespread mercury poisoning is; the statistics on gun ownership among inner-city youths under the age of 10; and the number of Kazakhstani nuclear warheads currently unaccounted for. Each day, more and more disturbing information encroaches upon the comfortable, illusory worldviews our country's middle- and upper-middle class citizens have constructed for themselves. It is up to this nation's elected officials to stem the tide."

Passage of the new legislative package is being greeted with widespread approval.

"With all the problems and stress of modern life already taxing people's emotional resources to the limit, the last thing we need is a lot of depressing information dragging everybody down even more," said Greg Hill, an Edina, MN, lawyer and longtime advocate of federally imposed information limits. "People need to be shielded from the realities of the horrible world if they're to have any chance of getting through life in a pleasant manner."

Fellow anti-information crusader and Deerfield, IL, homemaker Jane Gernbaum agreed. "I don't want to specifically mention some of the offensive facts I've accidentally exposed myself to, but believe me, they were pretty harsh," she said from her upscale suburban home. "It's about time the government put a stop to them."

Much of the impetus for the broad-based information reductions came from parents' groups, which have long been concerned about the harmful effects facts may have on children.

"Kids have curious minds and are eager to learn," said Francine Walters of the What About The Children? Foundation. "This makes them susceptible to harmful information-exposure. It's about time Congress finally did something to protect them."

The recent mass slaughter of ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces is just one of the many horrors from which Americans will be shielded with Monday's passage of the Freedom From Information Act.

Last month, the calls for information safeguards for children grew louder, due largely to the highly publicized case of El Paso, TX, sixth-grader Jeff Paulsen, who accessed information about the neighboring border city of Juarez, Mexico, from a Harper's magazine in his school library. According to attorneys for the Paulsen family, which owns controlling stock in several textile factories in Juarez, the boy had previously believed the city to be a thriving border town that enjoyed positive economic relations with the U.S. Severely traumatized after discovering that Juarez is actually a deathscape of unimaginable poverty, with one of the highest murder rates in the world, Paulsen became sullen and withdrawn.

"He kept saying, 'What's the point of going to soccer practice when all those Mexican boys and girls are dying?'" said his mother, Carole Paulsen. "The entire season was a complete wash. He may not even make the team next year."

Children are not the only ones in need of protection: According to an ABC News poll conducted last week, three in five U.S. adults claim to have a "strong personal fear" of information.

Among the facts cited as "too scary to think about": the number of microscopic creatures living in the average person's hair; the likelihood of a future outbreak of a worldwide "superflu" pandemic; and the percentage of U.S. families in which father-daughter incest is never reported to authorities, continuing year after year in secrecy.

Ironically, while access to information about such subjects will be heavily restricted by the federal government, polls indicate that Americans are most afraid of information regarding the federal government itself.

"I was so content in my belief that President Carter screwed up the hostage-rescue attempt, and that Reagan came in to free the hostages his first day in office," said Frank Sims, junior partner in a Roanoke, VA, consulting firm and a racquetball enthusiast. "It wasn't until 1992 that I learned that the Carter attempt was actually sabotaged by the same shadow-government operatives that backed Reagan's election and illegal arms-for-hostages trades. I can't tell you how much that bummed me out."

Under the new act, Americans will be protected from information about the Iran hostage crisis, as well as all other government blunders and/or questionable activities, including the U.S. Army's decades-long Tuskegee syphilis experiments on black veterans; the number of times NORAD has been at DefCon 1 due to human or computer error; and the government's longtime support of Indonesian president Suharto, a dictator responsible for one million deaths in East Timor.

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