There are, of course, 15 cabinet offices, which are known the world over as 'Departments'. I feel that the ranks of these offices are extremely important, and it seems that the Congress shared my feelings. So, in 1947 they passed a law entitled "Presidential Succession Act". This act spelled out who would take over the president's role if he were to die or become disqualified (i.e. Impeached). It goes a little something like this.
The President, George W. Bush, was walking his dog one day, and all of a sudden a crazed bum walks up to him and starts beating him with a cane. Now the secret service is supposed to keep tabs on the President, but today was Agent Johnson's birthday and all the other agents are attending his party and having way too much fun with the strippers to bother with protecting some wrinkly old man.
So, the bum continues to beat him to a bloody pulp. What is unknown to the now ground beef president is that this bum is the official that he had just hired to be the Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. He is found walking out of an adult video store and immediately taken into custody. He was released 2 hours later having his bail posted and being acquitted of all charges by the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. That's pretty convenient, don't you think?
Well, now the president is dead, so who takes over? Obviously the Vice President, Richard B. Cheney! But he had suffered a stroke the night before and died in the hospital without even his pants on. Next? Ah, the Speaker of the House. The only problem is he was just canned for having sexual relations with the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Well, now it starts to trickle down to the cabinet members. The first to take up the position is the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He does well for a while, but then he begins to find relief of his persecution back in Africa and decides to stay with his brethren and resigns.
It seems that the Secretary of Treasury, Paul O'Neill, is stuck with the job. Unfortunately, the day after he is sworn in as president, he chose to swindle 30 billion dollars from his former office and place it in an offshore account for 'retirement'.
With him out of the way, the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is free to take hold the position of commander-in-chief. His first order was to bomb Afghanistan and half the Eastern Hemisphere. The UN 'unofficially' decided to clean out the oval office.
People are dropping left and right, but it seems that the Attorney General of Justice, John Ashcroft, is willing to uphold the position. The next week he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a malignant lung cancer. It seems our smoking preacher, puffed a few too many and is now in critical care. He stopped breathing 36 hours after admittance and died 5 minutes later, go figure.
Well, the Presidency would have gone to the Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, and then to the Secretary of Agriculture, Ann M. Veneman, but pending investigation of an incident, involving excessive moaning, two tuning forks, a gallon of lubricating oil, and the dead body of a rigidly stiff Secretary of Health & Human Services, Tommy Thompson, they are suspended from their duties.
With only 7 cabinet members available to hold the Presidency, they are getting a little worried. The next to assume the president's role is the Secretary of Commerce, Don Evans. He isn't too thrilled, seeing the other members fall victim to unbelievable ruin. Once again the hex has befallen another member of the cabinet. It seems Don was racing across the street to engage in negotiations with a constituent that just so happened to be on a sting operation to snag government officials that seemed to have frequent 'negotiations' with the women that 'worked' the streets. He was disgraced and discharged from his office and spent the night in jail to let some inmates 'negotiate' with him.
Now normally the Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, would be next in line, but, ironically, they found her engaging in sexual favors for an undisclosed amount of money with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Mel Martinez, in an abandoned building being held by HUD. He was reprimanded and Elaine was discharged, but the next day Mel resigned from his post. How peculiar!
The day that the Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, found out about the incident in the abandoned building, he hustled on over to his life insurance agent and told him to raise the amount his family was to get in the event he was to become deceased. Alas, when he left to return home, he was crossing the street to get in his 2003 Rolls Royce, when a bus collided with his husky frame and crushed every bone in his body and severed his spinal column, killing him on impact. This was indeed a sad day, for there were now only 3 remaining cabinet members. There hopes were wearing thin that they would be able to find a replacement for this most prestigious office.
Now, the Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, is supposed to be the next in line, but the weekend before the Secretary of Transportation's unfortunate demise, Spencer had been swimming in a lake during a light drizzle, when all of a sudden it began to thunder and lightning began to hit the earth. He swam as fast as his legs could carry him and hustled out of the lake just in time to see two bolts of thunder hit the earth at the exact same moment. One bolt struck the water, where 2 seconds before Spencer had been immersed, and the second hit a tree 2 feet from the edge of the lake under which the poor Secretary tried to find shelter. The limbs burst from the tree and one of those branches impaled itself into Spencer's chest crushing his lungs and heart. He was not found until 2 days after the accident with Norman and the bus.
With the final two cabinet members on the edge of their seats, the Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, was up to bat for the Red, White, and Blue as the President of the United States. It was now close to Halloween and the kids at the schools he visited tried to play many scary tricks on him in the spirit of All Hallows Eve. It was unapparent at the time that the Secretary had had some mental difficulty in dealing with the death of his child by another child with a handgun. The children at one particular school decided to play as if a crazed first grader were walking through the school shooting other students. Everyone knew it was fake and it was all in good fun, but someone forgot to inform Rod. So when he jumped on the child to wrestle away the firearm, it went off and the child thinking it was still an act played dead. Rod went ballistic over the death and sadly went insane, later that day he was admitted to an insane asylum. The child was suspended for 3 days for inadvertently causing a member of the cabinet to go insane.
There was only one member left. He felt so confident in the fact that he was the last and the hex could not hurt him for there would be no one left. But what was not known to him were the requirements to become president even if the president and all other members were incapacitated. For you see the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, was a mere 21 years old and therefore 14 years too young to hold the office of President. There seems to be a dilemma. There is no precedent for what should happen next. Who will become President now? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion of 'So many Members, So little Action'. This scenario has little to no relation to real life events or people; it is simply an inventive way to display the presidential succession as set forth by an act in 1947 of the same title. No members were actually maimed, murdered, bamboozled, mutilated, bedazzled, stabbed, shot, disfigured, hit, mystified, assassinated, perplexed, slaughtered, snuffed, stupefied, marred, bewildered, or in any other way harmed during the creative production of this piece of literature.
That Department Does What?!!!
Now is the time in this beautiful piece of literature that you should be informed as to what the Departments are here to accomplish. I have already given you the names of the titular heads of these Departments. They are known as Secretaries, with an exception of the Attorney General who is the titular head of the Department of Justice.
Well then, lets begin. The first department under the President is the Department of State. Its mission is to ensure national security by building and maintaining international alliances, and defusing and preventing crises; advance the economic interests of the American people by promoting free trade and assisting American businesses; promote democratic values and respect for human rights; and provide protection to Americans abroad and control access to the United States. The Department of State is the primary foreign relations branch of the United States Government and advises the President on all matters of foreign affairs. A few of its more renowned subdivisions are that of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Equal Employment Opportunity & Civil Rights Administration, and the Trafficking in Persons.
The next ranking department is the Department of Treasury. Its mission is to formulate and recommend economic, fiscal, and tax policies; serve as financial agent of the U.S. government; enforce the law; protect the President and other officials; and manufacture coins and currency. As the chief banking and economic institution of the federal government, the Department of Treasury plays a critical role in the success of economic activities in both the private and public sectors. A few of its more famous subdivisions are that of the Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, and the United States Mint.
Third in importance is the Department of Defense. Their fundamental mission is to provide the military forces, agencies, and field activities needed to deter war and protect the security of the United States. The Department of Defense is responsible for formulating and executing the defense policies of the United States. A few of its more recognized subdivisions are that of the Air Force, Navy, Army, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The next department is the Department of Justice. It is self-described as the largest law firm in the nation, whose primary client is the U.S. Government. The Department of Justice represents the government in federal cases and investigates and prosecutes violations of federal law. In addition, it is charged with protecting the public interest and the safety of the nation and is responsible for overseeing the federal correctional system and developing crime prevention systems. A few of its more familiar subdivisions are that of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States National Central Bureau.
The fifth department of importance is the Department of the Interior. It is charged with the protection and conservation of federally owned land and water resources for the use and enjoyment of future generations; authorized to sell, lease, and manage federal lands for the purpose of providing a source of revenue for the federal government. The Department of the Interior is also responsible for providing sound scientific analysis in order to prepare Americans for natural disasters; serves and protects American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and the inhabitants of U.S. Pacific Island territories through the administration of land trust systems, educational programs, and economic assistance. A few of its more acknowledged subdivisions are that of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The next in line is the Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to acquire and diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture; to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants; improve and maintain farm income; forecasting the weather, promoting rural economic development, promoting exports, and guaranteeing credit. The Department of Agriculture regulates food safety, promotes the teaching of home economics, encourages an adequate diet for all Americans, regulates marketing systems; works with farmers to protect the soil, water, and forests in order to maintain production capacity, keep agricultural products safe for consumption, and enhance the environment. A few of its more well known subdivisions are that of the Soil Conservation Service, Rural Electrification Administration, and the Forest Service.
The Department of Commerce is next in importance. Its mission is to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved living standards for Americans by working in partnerships with businesses, universities, communities and workers. A few of its more distinguished subdivisions are that of the Bureau of the Census, International Trade Administration, and the Patent and Trademark Office.
The eighth prestigious department is the Department of Labor. It was established to protect the interests of and strengthen the rights of working people, and to improve workplace conditions for the employed. The Department of Labor promotes the well-being of workers and deals with programs, including job safety, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, fair labor practices, and job training opportunities. A few of its more illustrious subdivisions are that of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Disability Employment Policy, and the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
The next in line is the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves; provides services to infants, children, youth, low-income families, Americans in need of health care, and senior citizens. The Department of Health and Human Services provides medical insurance, improved education, regulation of food and drugs, and numerous other services to millions of Americans. A few of its more eminent subdivisions are that of the Food and Drug Administration, Social Security Administration, and the Public Health Service.
The next department is the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was established to address the nation's housing needs, ensure fair housing opportunities for all U.S. citizens, engage in a broad spectrum of programs designed to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the U.S., and administers mortgage insurance providing rent subsidies to low- and moderate- income families who otherwise would be unable to afford adequate housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides funds for construction of new public housing and rehabilitation of existing units and addresses cases of discrimination in public housing. A few of its more notable subdivisions are that of the Federal Housing Administration, Government National Mortgage Association, and ..............................
The eleventh department in order of importance is the Department of Transportation. Its mission is to assure the coordinated, effective administration of the transportation programs of the federal government; focuses on safety and environmental concerns and is a strong supporter of free enterprise within the transportation industries. The core mission of the Department of Transportation is to provide first-rate transportation programs that achieve consistent operational success. A few of its more reputed subdivisions are that of the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Maritime Administration.
The Department of Energy is the twelfth prestigious. Its mission is to contribute to the welfare of the nation by providing the technical information and scientific and educational foundation for technology, policy, and institutional leadership necessary to achieve efficiency in energy use, diversity in energy sources, a more productive and competitive economy, improved environmental quality, and a secure national defense. The Department of Energy has expanded its mission to include long-term planning for nuclear power and weapons waste in light of growing dependence on nuclear energy and the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles. A few of its more prominent subdivisions are that of the Office of Public Affairs, Office of Counterintelligence, and the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology.
The second to last department is the Department of Education. Its mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation. The Department of Education supports and complements the efforts of states, local school systems, parents, and students to improve the quality of education. A few of its more notorious subdivisions are that of the Office of Public Affairs, Office of Vocational Education Technology, and the Office of Inspector General.
The last in prestige is the Department of Veteran's Affairs. Its continuing mission is to assist and provide for veterans and the families of veterans. Their programs are designed to benefit veterans and families by providing them with disability benefits, pensions and health care; maintains responsibility for and recognition of deceased veterans. Their motto is "care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan." A few of its more legendary subdivisions are that of the American Legion, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, and the American Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. That raps up this edition of 'That Department Does WHAT?!!!' Stay tuned next week when we delve into two of the most secretive components of our government intelligence under the president, the NSA and the CIA!!
But just to tide you over here is the basic gist of the two organizations. NSA is short for the National Security Agency, the nation's cryptologic organization, meaning they encrypt sensitive government information to transmit as well as decrypt information from other organizations or nations whose activities are considered antagonistic to U.S. interests.
CIA is short for the Central Intelligence Agency, which is responsible for gathering information and intelligence on all matters of national security and foreign affairs as well as counter attempts of other organizations or nations from gathering intelligence on the U.S. I hope that tidbit quenches your thirst for now, but just wait for the massive amount of information we divulge on the next edition of 'That Department Does WHAT?!!!'