The intern was nervous as she approached her boss, manila folder in hand. “Congresswoman Fischer,” she said, “I’m not sure I was actually supposed to see this document — I think it might be classified — but you did say you wanted me to look for examples of wasteful spending that might make for good PR…”
Congresswoman Fischer waved the explanation away and then reached her hand out for the document. After a few seconds of befuddled blinking, she pulled her reading glasses off her head and onto her eyes, and looked at the papers with renewed focus.
“Julie,” she said, finally. “Is this a prank?”
“Julie,” the congresswoman said, sternly but somewhat uncertainly, “I think someone’s pranking you then. There’s no way the federal government is literally spending $5 million a year finding out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”
But further investigation proved that it was true. Congresswoman Fischer made an appropriately large fuss — state secrets be damned — and the budget line was cut.
A short time later, in North Korea, the employees of the secret Institute for Communist Theology watched this apparently minor political battle with fascination. “The Americans and their democracy,” said the director, during an all-hands meeting, “have allowed their system of government to drag them down. We now have no competition in this important research domain. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for your help.”
Then, much to the surprise of all those present, the projector at the front of the meeting started showing a giant pin with terrifying, many-winged, fiery angels dancing upon it. This pin seemed to be flying through the air.
“Our new angel-based missiles,” continued the director, “are right now being deployed against the capitalist, imperialist foe.”