Congress Asks Clinton For Permission To Have Congress Outside Today

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Vol 33 Issue 21

School Shootings

On May 21, Springfield, OR, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel opened fire in his high-school, killing two students and wounding 22 others. What do you think about the recent rash of school shootings?

Area New York Times 98 Percent Unread

NASHUA, NH—A copy of Monday's New York Times was discarded at approximately 6:40 p.m. Monday, with only two percent of its content read. "I skimmed the front-page headlines, and then I looked at the sports scores and part of a movie review," Times subscriber Hal Ruggerio said. "Then I chucked it." Among the features not read by Ruggerio were a Jeanne Kirkpatrick op-ed on the geopolitical ramifications of the nuclear race on the Indian sub-continent, a review of John McPhee's latest collection of essays, and the obituary of a former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay.

USA Original Movie Not That Original

LOS ANGELES—It was learned Tuesday that Brute Force, a USA Original Movie slated to air on the USA cable network this Saturday, is actually not all that original. "Despite its billing, this so-called 'original' movie is, in fact, remarkably similar to many other movies," said film critic Irwin Schloss. "From the mysterious drifter's encounter with the schoolteacher with a dark secret to the climactic waterfront chase scene, you've no doubt seen all this before." A USA spokesman defended Brute Force and noted that summer will be hotter than ever on USA, thanks to all-new, totally original movies like Bare Ambition, an erotic thriller starring Dana Plato.

Family Dog Ignored For 11th Straight Year

KLAMATH FALLS, OR—Brownie, a 12-year-old mixed-breed dog owned by the Wilcox family of Klamath Falls, reached its 11th year of being ignored Monday. "The first year or so we had Brownie, we paid a lot of attention to him and played with him constantly," father Mitchell Wilcox said. "But after that, the novelty of having a dog wore off, and we all started to ignore him, even the kids. Now, I suppose, we're just waiting for him to die." Experts predict that Brownie will tolerate two to three more years of disregard before attacking a family member, at which time he will be declared senile and euthanized.

Birthday Boy Admits Accepting Gifts

ARLINGTON, VA—Under heavy scrutiny for alleged improper conduct in connection with his recent 10th birthday, Arlington-area birthday boy Joshua Stern admitted to accepting gifts Monday, but vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the matter. "My receipt of these gifts was in no way unethical or improper. No special favors or perks were conferred upon Aunt Patricia in exchange for the Godzilla action figure," Stern told reporters. "Likewise, the Sony Playstation I received from my parents was an unconditional gift, wholly unrelated to my cleaning of the family garage five days prior."

New 92-Grain Bread Depletes Majority Of World's Resources

UNITED NATIONS—A report released Monday by the World Health Organization states that Hearthwell Farms' new 92-grain bread has depleted nearly 55 percent of the planet's resources. "One loaf of this mind-bogglingly wholesome bread contains enough grain to feed 4,000 dairy cows for 20 years. The flax seeds alone could sustain a small city for a year," the report read in part. "We're talking about some seriously grainy bread here." A spokesperson for Hearthwell Farms, responding to the charges of reckless resource consumption, said: "It takes a lot of grainy goodness to make Hearthwell's 92-grain 'Kitchen Sink' bread... The Hearty Sandwich-Makin' Bread."
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Congress Asks Clinton For Permission To Have Congress Outside Today

WASHINGTON, DC—With temperatures in the D.C. area expected to remain in the 80-degree range all week, members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have formally petitioned President Clinton for permission to hold Congress outdoors on the National Mall.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and fellow congressmen discuss their strategy for getting the president to let them legislate outside today.

"We, the members of the 105th Congress," reads the petition, presented to Clinton by House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), "believe that we have drafted and passed legislation in a timely and prudent manner in past weeks, and otherwise conducted ourselves in a very grown-up fashion. So, can we?"

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) said of the request: "Our conduct has been exemplary throughout recent months, yet we have not been allowed to hold Congress outside once this year. I note also that the Supreme Court has made two trips to the National Air & Space Museum as a reward for merely completing its work. This out-of-doors congressional session has been a long time coming, and we are fully confident that the president will see fit to grant it to us."

Bingaman also pointed out a kind gesture Congress made toward Clinton two months ago, when the president was welcomed home from his 12-day African visit with an oversized Manila paper greeting card signed by every member of Congress. "It said, 'Welcome back, Mr. Clinton! Hope you had a fun trip,'" Bingaman said. "We even glued glitter sparklies on it. Clearly, we deserve to go outside."

Legislators note that, despite the president calling the 105th Congress "the best Congress I've ever had"—and despite his May 1997 promise that Congress could go outside on a nice day if it passed his Omnibus Motor-Voter Registration Act—Clinton has not let the current Congress out once.

"The only time we ever get to enjoy a little sunshine while Congress is in session is when there is a fire drill, and they only do those a couple of times a year," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said. "It's not fair that all the other branches of government get to go out except us. We don't even have windows in the Senate chambers."

The Capitol lawn.

Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Subcommittee On Having Congress Outside, said there is a grassy, well-shaded spot less than 100 yards from the Capitol that would be perfect for holding Congress. "This spot to which I refer is easily large enough to accommodate the members of both houses," Wyden said. "Furthermore, there are plenty of rocks on the ground that could be used to prevent our legislative papers from blowing away, should a breeze occur."

Responding to the legislators' request, White House press secretary Mike McCurry said that, despite the absence of outdoor privileges, Clinton's treatment of Congress has been quite kind. "The president brought in a bag of fun-size Baby Ruths just a week ago, and when they finished up early on Friday, he allowed them to watch The Lion King. These are not the actions of a mean president," he said.

McCurry said the president's mind is not yet made up regarding the request. "On past occasions when Congress was permitted to conduct its affairs outside, very little legislating actually got done," he said. "Too often, legislators would begin wrestling with each other or putting dandelion heads down the backs of each other's suit jackets. I am not going to name any names, but those involved know who they are."

Responding to McCurry's remarks, members of Congress promised not to get distracted if let outside. They also said Clinton could order them back inside if they fought, threw grass, or started any trouble whatsoever.

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