U.S. Inspires World With Attempt At Democratic Election

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Vol 40 Issue 44

I Don't Like The Person You Become When You're On The Jumbotron

Okay, Dave, we need to talk. I didn't say anything on the way back from the stadium, because I was collecting my thoughts. But now, I think it's time we clear the air. Look, you know I've always loved and supported you. I believe you are, at heart, sweet, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wise. But something happens when the eyes of an entire stadium are on you, and it makes me wonder whether I even know you. Dave, I don't like the person you become when you're on the Jumbotron.

Loft Apartments Converted To Mayonnaise Factory

SEATTLE—A building housing 10 adjoining lofts near Pike Place was purchased to be converted from airy studio apartments into a mayonnaise factory, Best Foods, Inc. CEO Peter Slater reported Monday. "I took one look at those great wood-plank floors and two-story ceilings, and I knew that all it would take was a little elbow grease to turn the building into an awesome industrial workspace," Slater said. "There's this one sunlit spot over by the windows that'll be perfect for a two-ton industrial mixer. All we have to do is get rid of the leather couch." Current residents were told to vacate the building by Dec. 1, but were offered first crack at the 80 $9-an-hour jobs about to be created, pending their acceptance into the building's workers' union.

Recurring Zhang Ziyi Fantasy Always Involves Getting Kicked In The Face

EL CAJON, CA—Bradley Vogt, 24, said Monday that, although he often fantasizes about Beijing-born Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi, his dreams always abruptly end with her kicking him in the face. "I'll be thinking about Zhang and how sexy she looked in that red robe in Hero," Vogt said. "But just when I imagine her taking off her robe, she delivers a devastating series of flying kicks to my throat. Weird." Vogt said that, if the actress would star in a non-violent role, it might solve his problem, but added that he isn't "completely sure [he wants] her to."

Millions Of Work Hours Lost To Voting

WASHINGTON, DC—Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao announced Wednesday that voter turnout for the 2004 election resulted in an "abysmal" 32 percent drop in productivity and millions of vital work hours lost Tuesday. "Because so many American workers arrived late or left early on voting day, the nation's output was severely reduced," Chao said. "We cannot afford this sort of massive drop in productivity." Chao has charged her staff with the task of investigating our current method of electing a president.

Nader Supporters Blame Electoral Defeat On Bush, Kerry

WASHINGTON, DC—Supporters of presidential candidate Ralph Nader blamed his defeat Tuesday on George W. Bush and John Kerry, claiming that the two candidates "ate up" his share of the electoral votes. "This election was stolen out from under Mr. Nader by Bush and Kerry, who diverted his votes to the right and the left," Nader campaign manager Theresa Amato said. "It's an outrage. If Nader were the only candidate, he would be president right now." In his concession speech, Nader characterized Bush and Kerry as spoilers.

Walking On Empty

Diabetes is no laughing matter, kids. (I'm not accusing you of laughing at diabetes—I'm just saying.) Diabetes affects millions of Americans, and while it can be controlled, there is no cure. I'm thankful to have the less severe form, Type 2, but I could still lose a leg. I'm in no imminent danger of that, but I could, eventually, lose a leg. Or some fingers.

Red Sox Break Curse

Last week, the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, breaking a "curse" that has persisted since 1918. What do you think?
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U.S. Inspires World With Attempt At Democratic Election

NEW YORK—Observers from around the world report that they were inspired and moved by America's most recent attempt to hold a public election in accordance with the standards of a democratic republic.

Citizens vote in embattled Miami.

"After all of the recriminations, infighting, and general madness before the election, the people of this fractured nation still found the courage to show up at the polls," said Anas Salman, an Afghan U.N. official who was in New York during the American electoral experiment. "More than half of America's citizens—a large portion of them women—made a valiant attempt to choose their own leader, even though there was no guarantee their votes would be counted. It was truly inspirational."

In the weeks leading up to the election, both of America's political parties alleged fraud in voter registration. Additionally, experts debated the reliability of electronic voting machines, which experienced problems in trial runs and leave no paper trail. Election officials also bemoaned many states' use of outdated punchcard machines.

Considering such disputes, Salman said he was "touched and gladdened" that voter turnout for the U.S. election nearly approached voter-turnout rates for Afghanistan's first popular elections in October, when 69 percent of citizens cast ballots.

"True, voter turnout in many parts of the world tops 90 percent," Salman said. "But it's understandable that the rate is lower in countries such as Afghanistan, where the government has raised fears of possible terrorist attacks at the polls. Our people showed great courage."

The last American presidential election, held in 2000, was also rife with problems. Myriad scandals arose concerning alleged fraud and ballot tampering. Although the Democratic candidate won the popular vote by a margin of half a million votes, the Republican candidate won the presidency with a strenuously disputed 537-vote lead in Florida, a state governed by his brother.

"Despite the specter of corruption in 2000, and even though the procedural problems which surfaced during the previous election were never remedied, the American people chose to put their faith in the system once again this year," said Joseph Mtume, a Kenyan diplomat who traveled to Ohio to view America's democratic proceedings. "You can't help but feel touched by the determination of these citizens who put their doubts aside to collectively participate in the democratic process. All this in a nation divided by war, where dissent is widespread and the rift between citizens has rarely been higher. It was truly stirring."

Carlos Cruz, an Argentinian diplomat who observed the election in Miami, said he was profoundly moved by America's democratic election.

"With my own eyes, I saw people from all walks of life waiting in long lines to cast their votes, and very few of them were turned away," Cruz said. "They believed in the democratic process, despite the existence of racial gerrymandering of the sort most recently seen in the redistricting of U.S. House seats to negate the impact of Hispanic and black voters in Texas."

Cruz said he was impressed that average citizens still participate in the "current money-dominated electoral process," even though legislators have largely ignored their repeated calls for campaign finance reform.

"Their wide-eyed earnestness was humbling," Cruz said. "Truly, my heart leaps up. I can only hope that, under such demoralizing circumstances, my countrymen would similarly rise together to try and make democracy work."

The multinational watchdog group Organization for Security and Cooperation sent 600 official observers to monitor proceedings, from countries as disparate as North Korea, Syria, and China. Many reported that they came away deeply touched.

"To see a country with such overwhelming problems—problems that affect every last citizen—have so many of its voters feel that they can still influence their leadership... words fail me," said Dae Jung Kim, a North Korean OSC delegate. "Certainly, my report to my own government will emphasize this. I will recommend that my leaders implement such American election-time strategies and tactics as would fit the North Korean model of personal freedom, such as their elegant Electoral College and the inscrutable voting machine."

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