Amoeba’s Lorica: 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

“[US House of Representatives Speaker Mr Michael] Johnson’s proposal [passed by the House on 14 November 2023, three days before the deadline for a government shutdown set three months prior during the last irresponsible shenanigans] puts forward a unique — critics say bizarre — two-part process that temporarily funds some federal agencies to Jan. 19 and others to Feb. 2. It’s a continuing resolution, or CR, that comes without any of the deep cuts conservatives have demanded all year. It also fails to include President Joe Biden’s request for nearly $106 billion for Ukraine, Israel, border security and other supplemental funds.” – News item

The Constitution of the United States of America has not been revised since the 27th Amendment was ratified in 1992, 21 years ago as this post is written and 19 years since the Contract on with America began the budget games through which Our Elected [sic] Representatives have demonstrated their, and Our, criminal incompetence ever since. In the opinion of Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba, the text below, drafted as a proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution, is long overdue. It’s time – it’s far past time – for the bullmanure spreaders to be put out to pasture. And for each and every one of We the People to recognize that the only thing any of Us is entitled to is oblivion.


Article 1.

The fiscal year for the Federal Government of the United States of America shall begin at 12:0o:oo AM, Eastern Standard Time, on the 1st of October of each Common Era year, and shall end at 11:59:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time, on the 30th of September of the subsequent Common Era year, each year consisting of 365 days in non-leap years, and 366 days in leap years. Neither Congress nor the Executive shall have power to change the starting time and date, or the ending time and date, or the duration of the fiscal year.

Article 2. 

Prior to the start of each fiscal year, the House of Representatives shall draft a Budget for the Federal Government that will fund all elements of that Government for the entirety of the upcoming fiscal year. The Congress will then debate and pass a single Budget Bill, and present that Bill to the Executive for signature and passage into Law. Passage of the Budget into Law shall take place before 11:59:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time, on the 30th of September of the immediately-preceding fiscal year. Congress shall have no power to enact a Budget in any form other than a single Bill that covers all aspects of the Federal Government for the entirety of the upcoming fiscal year, though it shall retain the power to amend the Budget, through Budget Supplement legislation, to meet unanticipated needs of the Nation.

Article 3.

If a Budget for a given fiscal year that meets the provisions of this Amendment (see Article 5) is not passed into Law prior to the start of that fiscal year (12:00:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time, of the year in question), the following Actions shall take effect.

Section 1. The Budget for the preceding fiscal year shall be adopted as the budget for the fiscal year for which no Budget has been passed into Law, without amendment except as necessary to comply with the provisions of Article 5. Any such amendments will be enacted by the Chief Executive as set forth in Section 3.

Section 2. All elective offices of the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Government of the United States of America shall be declared vacant. Incumbents shall stand down, surrendering their offices and the perquisites thereof by 11:59:59 PM on 1 October of the Common Era year in question, and be permanently ineligible for re-election.

Section 3. Governance of the United States of America shall pass to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, with its Chair becoming the nation’s Chief Executive, until new elections are held to fill the vacancies.

Section 4. Elections shall be held within 120 days of the failure to pass a Budget, namely by the first of February of the Common Era year in question.

Section 5. Candidates for electoral office shall post their candidacy, and their qualifications for the post for which they wish to be considered, on public forums. No campaigning other than the posting of candidacy and relevant qualifications on public forums shall be permitted, and no campaign funds shall be acquired or spent, either by or on behalf of a candidate, on penalty of disqualification of the candidate. Elections for all offices shall include, as a candidate, a non-person, to be named Nobody, representing, to the voter, the option to refuse election to any human candidate for the office.

Section 6. In all elections, votes shall be tallied for all persons eligible to vote in that election, whether or not a ballot is cast. Voters who do not cast a ballot shall be recorded as having voted for Nobody, as provided for in Section 5.

Section 7. The candidate winning the largest plurality of votes in any election shall be declared the winner. If the winner of the largest plurality in an election is Nobody, the office in question shall be declared vacant.

Section 8. If, in an election as stipulated in Section 4, the offices of President or Vice-President of the United States of America be declared vacant according to Section 7, or if there be declared vacancies in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, according to Section 7, sufficient to deny either body a Quorum, then all elective offices will be declared vacant, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will remain in power, this result being interpreted as the Will of the People.

Section 9. Should the result of an election be as described in Section 8, subsequent elections shall be held on the Tuesday of the first full week of November annually until an elected government is seated, the Joint Chiefs of Staff retaining the Executive power until that time. New Budgets during this time, required under Article 2, shall be emplaced according to the provisions of Article 3, Section 1. The Executive shall have the power to reassign funds within the Budget to meet emerging needs, but shall not have the power to spend more funds in total than are provided for in the Budget, or to raise supplemental revenues.

Section 10. So long as the Executive authority resides with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as provided for in Sections 3 and 8, constitutional powers reserved to Congress that are not addressed in this Amendment, such as the power to declare war, shall devolve upon the Chief Executive. When an elected Congress is seated, as provided for under Sections 3-7 and 9, its constitutional powers shall be returned to it.

Section 11. Congress shall pass no Law that seeks to remove or modify any of the provisions of Article 3.

Article 4. Congress shall pass no law that stipulates adjustment of annual Budgets by any means other than the full deliberation of Congress, on the single annual Budget Bill as provided for in Article 2, and on any Budget Supplements that may be mooted to meet pressing circumstances and are subject to the provisions of Article 5.

Article 5. Beginning on or before the fifth full fiscal year after the ratification of this Amendment, the Budget that is passed into Law shall be a balanced Budget, with expenditures less than or equal to projected revenues. After this date, failure to pass a balanced Budget, under ordinary circumstances, shall be held to be the same as failure to pass any Budget under the provisions of Article 2, and the provisions of Article 3 shall be invoked; a Budget that is not balanced may become Law only if it is passed by acclamation by both Houses of Congress, under circumstances that make it clear that insistence on a balanced Budget would do irreparable harm to the Nation.

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Dude and Dude Get Real

“[…] uh, dude?”


“Do I wanna know whut yer tryin’ ta feed me here?”


Inna bread bag? That tale’s kinda fishy.”

“So would tha head an’ tha rest a it. Now tell me yer grateful it ain’t.”

“Grateful fer whut? That I ain’t realin’ in tha bread fer my sandwich?”

“I’d like ta see ya try ta make that sandwich wit’ bread made from imaginary ingredients, dude.”

“That would be dope, dude.”

“In bread? I thought that wuz supposed ta be fer brownies.”

“It’s a real ingredient, dude. So is, like, maybe, concrete. Makes fer a real dense loaf, ya feel me? Could kinda be hard on tha teeth.”

“Dunno whut’s crustier, dude. Tha bread, ‘r you.”

“Mebbe I’m just gettin’ kinda tired a gettin’ fed a line, yeah?’

“Whatta ya wanna get fed, dude? Food? Whassamatta you? Didya buy tha bread ‘r didn’t ya?”


“So ya wuzn’t watchin’ out fer tha hook, yeah?”

Dammit, dude …!”

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Amoeba’s Lorica: Dendrochr-ohno-logy

For millennia local time, the technologically-advanced Xrbgol civilization had been sending probes throughout its galaxy, looking for somebody – anybody – out there who showed signs of developing similar technologies and surviving the event. One such probe returned from a distant arm of the galaxy with evidence of proto-intelligent life forms on the third planet of a small yellow star with the uncouth local names of Sol or Sun. (They were slightly happier with names such as Helios.) Intrigued, the Xrbgol sent a second probe to the region. Several generations of Xrbgolia later, the probe returned – with news that the civilization had collapsed. Scientists assigned by their great-great-grandmothers to the Sol project gathered around the sentient probe to ask …

“Well, probe, what happened?”

The probe, a disk around four meters in diameter and perhaps a meter high, designed for speed, efficiency, and undetectability by lesser intelligences, opened a small circular hatch at the central crest of its dorsal surface. From the opening, a holographic presentation appeared, summarizing in a series of images what the probe had discovered. A disembodied voice narrated.

“As anticipated from the observations of the prior probe”, it intoned, “the civilization on the third planet from [sigh] Sol, with the even more unsatisfactory local name of Earth (the assembled scientists shuddered as if they had been unceremoniously dumped into a vat of untreated sewage) had been progressing. It had reached a sophisticated level of artisanal technologies, represented by such things as complex habitation buildings and sophisticated sailing ships, and was on the brink of achieving an industrial revolution. And then, it all came apart, due to a remarkable biological event.

“Legends of the bipedal inhabitants, which have regressed to small bands of mostly hunter-gatherers, speak of a time in which vegetation, in the form of large growths called “trees”, suddenly became able to consume animals. They became carnivores. Cross-sections of selected trees, achieved with difficulty even with our energy-beam tools, verified the legends by showing a layer within the trees that was saturated with calcium phosphate objects, interpreted as the bony skeletons of consumed animals. Different tree species evidently preyed on different animal species. In the example shown, the width of the tree ring is less than half of what it would have needed to be to hold the remains of the proto-intelligent species that was pursuing technological development; it could only have eaten much smaller prey.

“Just as inexplicable as the onset of carnivorous trees is its cessation, apparently after a single revolution of (gah!) Earth around (urk!) Sol. It is unclear how many direct casualties the bipedal inhabitants, called, sorry, humans (the assembled scientists groaned, a few of them retched), suffered. It must have been substantial, for the trees, as mentioned, developed a cylinder of calcium phosphate around their circumferences that was essentially continuous. But that by itself is insufficient to explain the societal collapse, given the fecundity that the species had previously shown in the face of deadly diseases and periodic episodes of famine and warfare.

“It must be understood that the trees had become a primary resource for fuel and building materials, critical for the prospects of technology development by this civilization. At a stroke, this material became unavailable. It could no longer be worked with available tools. It no longer could be burned with anything like the energy yield the tree material had previously had. Structures, especially ships, a prime mover of commerce and technology exchange, could no longer be either constructed or repaired. Weaponry for hunting and for conflict resolution could no longer be made; the tree material, I won’t utter the word used to name it (“Thank you!”, the scientists murmured), was no longer suitable in itself, and could no longer generate the heat needed for metalworking. The planet does contain large reserves of exploitable energy rock and tars, but they no longer had the means to explore and develop these resources.

“The trees won protection against what had become their most significant predator, and those predators are now no more than roving bands. There is, as a result, no prospect that this planet will develop advanced technology.”

The lead scientist moved to dismiss the gathering. “We can let them wallow in their (he spat) Earth. I suppose it’s as well that they collapsed before they achieved significant technological capacity. I don’t wish to contemplate what would have happened if they had. We already have examples aplenty, we don’t need any more. Especially not from them.”

The scientists left the room, shutting off the lights and closing the door. The probe sealed itself off and went to sleep, pending its next assignment, and hoping that it would be a little more savory.

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