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Inside the system

October 11, 2002 | Page 4

Oh, those telemarketing terrorists

THE SHERIFF'S department of Branch County, Mich., is taking its cues about fighting terrorism from the satirical newspaper The Onion.

In a recent four-paragraph news release, the department reported investigating several complaints of possible telemarketing fraud, especially targeted at the elderly. Alarmingly, it said that some of the scams were being run by al-Qaeda.

"The CIA has announced that they acquired a videotape showing al-Qaeda members making phone solicitations for vacation home rentals, long distance telephone service, magazine subscriptions and other products," the news release said.

Only problem is, the information seems to have come from the September 18 edition of The Onion, in a story headlined, "Report: Al-Qaeda Allegedly Engaging in Telemarketing." At least one radio station in the Coldwater, Mich. area broadcast the information from the sheriff's news release.

Detective Dan Nichols, who wrote the release, said that he did collect some of the information from The Onion--but that he didn't know that it was a humor publication. "We wanted people to be aware of telemarketing scams, and I used the information just in case there is a remote possibility," Nichols said.

--Battle Creek Enquirer, September 26, 2002

Bored to death by your job--literally

IT'S OFFICIAL. Your job can actually bore you to death.

Researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health found that workers who spent their lives in undemanding jobs with little control over their work were 35 percent more likely to die during a 10-year period than workers in challenging jobs with lots of decision-making responsibilities.

About 7,500 workers were studied. At one extreme were jobs with little decision-making responsibilities, such as maintenance workers or housekeepers. At the other extreme were jobs with a high number of demands and lots of freedom to make decisions.

Well, apparently those high-pressure managerial jobs don't kill you--at least not as quickly as boring jobs. "This alienating work could result in social disengagement and/or adopting of high-risk behaviors," said the lead researcher.

--Washington Post, September 25, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"AT ANY anti-globalization protest, it's difficult to look beyond the clichés. There's …a seemingly endless number of people handing out copies of the black-and-red-splashed Socialist Worker--which, in case you didn't know, bears a striking resemblance to the New York Post--and placards with messages like 'U.S. Imperialist Butchers, Hands Off Iraq!'" report on recent anti-IMF/World Bank demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

"I CAN only say that the cost of a one-way ticket is substantially less than [the cost of military action against Iraq]. The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that. The cost of war is more than that."
--White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

"REGIME CHANGE is the policy, in whatever form it takes."
--Fleischer, on whether he had called for Saddam Hussein's assassination

"I THINK Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough…by both Muslims and non-Muslims [to decide] that he was a violent man, a man of war… Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses, and I think Mohammed set an opposite example."
--Rev. Jerry Falwell

"ANY STRIKE'S a tough situation, but this one happens to come at--or, a lockout is a tough situation, or no work is a tough situation…this is coming at a bad time."
--George W. Bush, on the longshore workers lockout.

"IF YOU catch this guy bin Laden, I would like to be the one to execute him."
--Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

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