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by Frank Flatten, 11/17/00

Frank: Make way for news. I'm Frank Flatten. In Washington, lawmakers are eager to debate proposals to do away with the electoral college. Many in Congress believe the electoral college has caused havoc and confusion in this year's cliffhanger election. Although the system still has defenders, their numbers are dwindling daily. Representative Loomis Beechly of Minnesota is a typical convert.

(sfx: echoing sound of house chamber)

Beechly: Mr. Speaker, we should not throw out the Electoral College! It helps lightly populated states like mine get much needed attention from candidates. If we dump the Electoral College and rely on the popular vote... in... say, 2004... Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush will sharpen their focus on the big cities and... probably won't run a single ad in my state. My state! No national political ads on local TV...! Why, that's... that's...

(sfx: house chamber hubub)

Beechly: ...that's sounding kinda... good.

(sfx: house chamber hush)

Mr. Speaker, let's kill the electoral college immediately and forever!

(sfx: house members cheer)

Frank: Representative Loomis Beechly. As the national media focused attention on the controversy surrounding the American presidential contest, the rest of the world took a news holiday, according to media watchdog Brice Barker.

Barker: (phone) I've been checking the papers. Almost nothing has happened in the rest of the world. Oh, sure, there were the usual tragedies and misunderstandings and complaints and disasters. But really, everything on the planet comes in a distant second to the returns from Volusia County. I never thought I'd live to see the day. Amazing.

Frank: A new study reveals that more Americans than ever before suffer from bad timing. Social scientists from the John Cameron Swayze Community College say that at any given moment over 90% of the nation's populace is in the wrong place at the right time, in the right place at the wrong time or in the wrong place at the wrong time. The study's findings were released at an International Conference on Timing. Jennifer Hampster has a live report.

(sfx: outdoor ambiance, people passing, etc)

Frank: We seem to be having a problem with the report. We'll try again later.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a new rule this week that will require almost all of the nation's employers to create programs protecting employees from repetitive stresses and strains. The hoped for result, says OSHA spokesperson Sasha Sosa, is that employers will think about ergonomics.

Sosa: Applying ergonomics is simple. You look at what your employees are doing over and over and over again. If there's anything that makes them say "Erg!", you should stop it.

Frank: Sasha Sosa of OSHA. Business groups were quick to criticize the new OSHA rule. Darren Tingly-Digits is president of the National Association of Indifferent Manufacturers.

Darren: We did a study and discovered that to implement the new OSHA rule, we'll have to file so many forms that our office staff will lose a total of 40 gallons of blood to paper cuts! And then the paperwork we'd have to file on the paper cuts would maim the fingertips of another two dozen employees. And then we'd have to file for them! It would never end!

Frank: And now we have that report from Jennifer Hampster from the International Conference on Timing.

(sfx: outdoor ambiance, people passing, etc)

Jennifer: OK, I'm ready. Tell him to cue me.

Frank: And now, we have a report from Jennifer Hampster.

Jennifer: I'm not gonna wait around. They're having a complimentary happy hour at the hotel. (off mic) Does anybody know what's going on?

Frank: We'll try to get that report for you later. New statistics from the Center for Self-Deception indicate that 80% of the adult population is "unable to take a hint." The new figures come from a multi-year study of adults in various walks of life who exhibited a variety of problems from body odor, to lousy singing, to severe fashion sense impairments. Tara Fandango is director of the Center for Self-Deception.

(sfx: wind chime jangling earrings, jewelry)

Tara: On things like jewelry. People who did not exhibit taste as good, even, as mine... were totally oblivious when friends and co-workers said things like... "your earrings are, like, so grotesquely huge, they sound like wind chimes." You would think somebody could take the hint, but no!

(sfx: wind chime jangling earrings, jewelry out)

Frank: Finally, let's go to Jennifer Hampster for a report on the International Timing Conference at John Cameron Swayze Community College.

(sfx: outdoor ambiance, people passing, etc)

Jennifer: If you've ever been at the wrong place at the wrong time, you're not alone, according to experts studying the timing habits of Americans. In fact, figures indicate that over half of everything that happens happens at the worst possible time, and almost nothing happens when it's convenient or timely. Conference organizer Mary Sweephand told me that simply organizing a discussion of the problem of timing has proven to be a logistical nightmare.

(sfx: crowd hubub)

Sweephand: Time experts show up late. They talk too much. They stay too long. They lose track of... you know what! I would say half the people in this room are in a different time zone, and the other half is still on standard time. I'm not surprised they decided to study it... time is a mystery to them.

(sfx: crowd hubub out)

Jennifer: The conference was supposed to end today but will be extended til tomorrow morning to accommodate the late arrivals. This is Jennifer Hampster. And speaking of which, I was ready to give this report HOURS ago. (fade) I shouldn't have to wait around while someone wastes my time because they think it would be "cool" to have a "live" report from the Timing Conference. It sounds the same whether I do it live or on tape. The only difference is... if it's live... I can embarrass you like this so maybe next time you'll record me like I asked and let me get on with my life!

Frank: Thank you Jennifer. And that's the news. I'm Frank Flatten.


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