Americans Would Be Outraged If They Understood Enron Collapse

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Man's Dream To Get Drunk In An A-Frame Finally Realized

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, CO— Pete Strausbaugh, 33, a Denver-area electrician, realized a longtime dream Saturday when he got drunk in an A-frame house. "Man, that was even better than I thought it would be," said Strausbaugh, finishing off a ninth Coors Light in the living room of his A-frame at Sunlight Mountain ski resort. "It's not quite up there with being drunk in a treehouse, but still." Strausbaugh later announced that his new ambition is to get baked at Niagara Falls.

Conrad Bain Steps Down As National Kitsch-Reference Laureate

WASHINGTON, DC— Actor Conrad Bain, known to millions as Philip Drummond on the hit '70s sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, stepped down Monday from the post of National Kitsch-Reference Laureate. "I am extremely proud to have served my country for the past 11 years in my humorous-referential capacity," Bain said. "Almost as proud as I was of Willis and Arnold that time they went on the hunger strike to save the ancient Indian burial ground that my construction company was going to tear up for a new building." Bain added that he is fully confident that his successor, Ron "Horshack" Palillo, "will serve the nation with distinction and honor."

Guy Who Just Wiped Out Immediately Claims He's Fine

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT— A fraction of a second after wiping out on a patch of ice, South Burlington pedestrian Isaac Berkman loudly insisted that he was fine. "I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine," Berkman, 24, told concerned onlookers before he even straightened his badly twisted legs and attempted to stand up. "I'm okay." After noticing a deep gash just below his left knee, Berkman instantly assured witnesses that the heavily bleeding wound was "no biggie" and "totally under control."

Dog Keeps Iceland Awake All Night

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND— The nation of Iceland was tired and cranky Monday after being kept up all night by a howling dog. "People were complaining as far away as Seyhisfjórdhur," said President Ólafur Grimsson, brewing an extra pot of coffee. "The sound carries a long way up here." Grimsson said none of Iceland's 280,000 citizens were close enough to the dog—believed to have been stranded on an ice floe near Vestmannaeyjar—to throw a shoe at it.

New Bin Laden Tape Contains Three Previously Unreleased Monologues

ATLANTA— A new Osama bin Laden videotape acquired by CNN from Al-Jazeera features three previously unreleased anti-U.S. rants and harangues by the terrorist leader, excited network sources said Monday. "One piece goes on for 45 minutes and is entirely about the need to bring down the Great Satan," CNN spokesman Gil Eckert said. "In another, shorter piece, he's sitting in a dank cave, cryptically telling some guy off camera about the 'great victory' Allah will enjoy in the very near future." The eagerly anticipated tape, the first new material from bin Laden in more than two months, hits video stores Tuesday.

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Americans Would Be Outraged If They Understood Enron Collapse

HOUSTON—According to an independent report released Monday, Americans would be outraged if they had a basic grasp of the details of the Enron collapse, in which company executives concealed massive debt while claiming profitability and then declared bankruptcy, bilking investors and employees out of millions as they made off with a fortune.

Enron

"I've followed it a little, but I'm still not quite sure what exactly the deal is," said Portland, OR, graphic designer Gina Kader, one of 3,500 Americans polled about the Enron scandal by the D.C.-based Center For Public Integrity. "I know they laid a bunch of people off, which made a lot of people mad. Then again, lots of companies are laying off workers these days. So who knows?"

Though many Bush Administration appointees are former Enron executives or business associates, Congress is not being flooded with letters from outraged Americans demanding an investigation into what the White House knew about the energy giant's illegal and illicit activities.

"Is Enron out of business?" asked Amanda Garces, a Cicero, IL, real-estate agent. "I saw footage of people clearing out their offices, even taking home plants from the lobby. I know they went bankrupt, and I think some of their top executives may have been guilty of some sort of extortion. But I could be totally off."

The mass public silence grew even quieter following reports that Enron has contributed $572,350 to various George W. Bush election campaigns over the course of his political career.

"Didn't the collapse have something to do with the California energy crunch?" asked Rochester, MN, nurse practitioner Roberta Miller. "I'm pretty sure I saw something on the news about it being related to that. But then, I also read somewhere that there was some kind of trouble with their accounting. So maybe it was both. Or neither."

In addition to the groundswell of disinterest in the president's ties to Enron, a mass public outcry has not gone up over Vice President Dick Cheney's refusal to release details of his many meetings with former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay.

Kenneth Lay (left) confers with some other guy who must have something to do with the whole Enron thing.

"From what I gather, some of the top Enron executives predicted the earnings wrong, and as a result they overbudgeted," said Pete Moseley, a Philadelphia-area construction worker. "So then they had to fire some people to make up for the loss. And everybody's mad because the people they fired were all the low-level employees, not the top guys like themselves."

Americans are also not demanding answers regarding Enron's relationship with Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), who, as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, approved legislation exempting Enron from federal regulation at a time when his wife was on the energy giant's board.

"A lot of people are saying a lot of things about this company," said Sacramento, CA, orthodontist Alan Hood, one of the 275 million Americans not angrily calling for an independent investigator to find out how much influence Enron bought on Capitol Hill. "Right now, it's all just a lot of noise. I'm going to wait until the dust settles before I even consider trying to get a handle on it."

Teresa Conreid, an Athens, GA, legal secretary who thinks she may have seen something about document shredding in Time a few months back, said the scandal is not high on her priority list.

"What are you asking me for?" Conreid said. "Between terrorism, the economy, and my own personal life, I've got enough problems. I think we all have more important things to worry about than politicians rolling over for giant corporate interests at the expense of the voters who elected them."

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