SANE — Stop Acronym Nurturing Everywhere

I may have grown up in the Age of Aquarius, but I’m growing old in the Age of the Acronym. — Pointer Institute writing coach Roy Peter Clark

Is their someone in Congress whose sole job is to create backronyms for legislation? You know a supposedly “clever” acronym derived from the intent of a bill.

Today’s contorted example is delivered via the morning paper’s editorial rightly chiding the author of a congressional bill intended to curb so-called hate speech on college campuses.

A Maryland congressman has introduced a bill called Creating Accountability Measures Protecting University Students Historically Abused, Threatened and Exposed to Crimes Act — CAMPUS HATE Crimes Act.

The editorial explains that the bill would require colleges to clearly define “what is acceptable speech and what is not acceptable speech” on campuses. It would provide grants carry out this First Amendment shredding deed and deny federal aid to those schools that fail to comply with law.

While the proposal deserves derision for its appalling intent, it should be hooted out of the halls of Congress for the retched act of acronym abuse — a practice that in recent years has become epidemic.

One current example being bandied about is the DREAM Act, which short for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.

A classic example of pandering by mislabeling is the USA PATRIOT Act — Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, which unpatriotically trampled the Fourth Amendment.

Then there is the DISCLOSE Act that would overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that held corporations and unions have speech rights. That stands for Disclosure of Information on Spending on Campaigns Leads to Open and Secure Elections Act.

Nevada and other states also have laws on the books with appropriate acronyms, such as the Anti-SLAPP Act — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, which tries to curb lawsuits meant to shut up opponents through costly litigation.

The Washington Post a couple of years ago created a compendium of twisted acronyms for legislation, almost one for every day of the year.


SWEET Act – Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act

FOCUS Act – Fighting Occupied Cell Use So Everyone Drives More Safely Act

FAIR TOW Act – Fair Action for Interstate Recovery Vehicles on Truck Operating Weights Act

SMOKE Act – Stop Selling and Marketing to Our Kids E-Cigarettes Act

TALENT Act – To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers Act

IRRIGATE Act – Irrigation Rehabilitation and Renovation for Indian Tribal Governments and Their Economies Act

PREPARE Act – Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience and Effectiveness Act

GROW AMERICA Act – Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America Act

REINS Act – Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act

DRONES Act – Designating Requirements On Notification of Executive-ordered Strikes Act

ROADS SAFE Act – Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-Related Fatalities Everywhere Act

BRIDGE Act – Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment Act

BALTIMORE Act – Building and Lifting Trust In order to Multiply Opportunities and Racial Equality Act — from a another Maryland congressman, of course.

SOFTWARE Act – Sensible Oversight for Technology which Advances Regulatory Efficiency Act

GIRLS STEM Act – Getting Involved in Researching, Learning, and Studying of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Act

SPEAK FREE Act – Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts Act — sound like the opposite of the aforementioned bill.

EGO Act – Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act

Perhaps someone should introduce the END ACRONYM Act — End Needless Derivative Appellations for Contorted Regulations Offering Name-Yielding Memes Act.


One comment on “SANE — Stop Acronym Nurturing Everywhere

  1. Athos says:

    It’s hard to be witty when there is so much BS being promoted as sound policy. How is it that people can’t see how ridiculous they’re behaving? It can’t all be for the money, can it?

    I long for Mel Brooks and his wit in “Blazing Saddles”. (” we must protect our phony baloney jobs”)

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