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with Leslie Generic, 3/10/00

Leslie: Here now the news, I'm Leslie Generic.
Gasoline prices continue to rise and experts say Americans may be paying two dollars per gallon at the pump by the time summer arrives. And surveys show that drivers are starting to adjust their habits in response. Randy Granatelli is a motorist in Nozzle Gap, Pennsylvania.

(sfx: traffic)

Randy: I still speed. I still tailgate. I still cut people off. But when I roll down my window to make a gesture … I use my fist, rather than extending any fingers because that creates aerodynamic drag and hurts mileage.

(sfx: traffic out)

Leslie: The Organization of Price Fixing Countries is expected to meet later this month to gloat about the rebound in oil prices, and to mock owners of SUV's. Campaign warnings are out for the center of the political spectrum as the presidential contest moves into a new phase and closes in on the middle. Moderate shopkeeper Tim Tuttle has already made preparations for the storm.

(sfx: construction, hammering)

Tim: Oh, yeah, here in the political middle, we always get hammered during an election year. You got your blowhards out on the left and your blowhards on the right … but when it's time to decide they all come in here and claim this is where they belong. It's a fact of life. You get used to it.

Leslie: Political moderate Tim Tuttle. For safety's sake he says he will evacuate his family from the political center, sending them to live with right wing fundamentalist relatives until the danger is over in mid-November.
The US Treasury bought back one billion dollars worth of high interest rate government bonds this week, starting a process intended to reduce the national debt. Treasury Bond trader Zelda Lassiter says it was fun.

Zelda: If the national debt was a huge huge huge pile of manure going up about 14 stories … buying back a billion is like taking a shovel full from the top. It's hopeful, as long as you don't look down, or breathe. We're just going to keep our shoes laced up tight … and keep digging.

Leslie: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan frightened financial markets again this week with talk of an interest rate hike. These Wall Street Traders, who asked not to be identified, say they have come to dread every Greenspan speech.

(sfx: trading floor)

(teens after a horror movie)
Trader 1: Oh … when he said that thing about interest rates … I was shaking, you guys.

Trader 2: I thought I was gonna have to change my pants.

Trader 3: And that part where he tries to pop that Internet bubble?

All: Oh, that is SO scary. He is really spooky when he does that. I wanted to crawl under my chair. (etc)

Trader 1: I couldn't look. Really.

Trader 2: He just gets creepier and creepier.

(sfx: trading floor)

Leslie: A federal report says more commercial jets, cargo planes and private aircraft will crowd the skies in the next several years to meet rising demand in the aviation industry.
Annual domestic passenger growth is expected to average almost 4%.
Sheila Bandonship of the federal Airline Passenger Discomfort Agency, says efforts will increase to counterbalance the rise in passenger bookings.

Sheila: We're going to launch a nationwide effort to do more random cancellation of flights. We're going to push for narrower seats, less leg room and we strongly recommend that the airlines heavily promote free travel for colicky infants.
And worse food, of course. With this kind of effort, I think we can keep passenger growth under control.

Leslie: Sheila Bandonship of the Airline Passenger Discomfort Agency.

There's another nursery rhyme in the news. Forest Grimm reports.

Forest: When Little Jack Horner was sent to sit in the corner with a pie, his mother intended it to be a lesson to him.

Mom: Jack had been on my nerves all morning. Here I am, trying to bake some pies and he just constantly needs attention. I tried to let him help but … it takes so much longer when you have that kind of help. So I got exasperated, gave him a pie and sent him to the corner.

Forest: What happened next surprised both Jack and his mother. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum! With the pit still inside! If Jack had eaten it, he might have choked!

Mom: It was an apple pie, I'm sure of it. I dumped the filling right out of the can.

Forest: Mrs. Horner called the Pie Filling Authorities, who did a spot check and discovered plums in 8 out of 10 cans of apple, blueberry and pecan pie filling.
The Olde English Pie Filling Company issued an immediate recall of 1.2 million cans of product, with lot numbers 10266 through 10294.
Customers will get a coupon for a free can of pie filling to be named later.
Forest Grimm, Delaware.

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