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New probe probes impact of probes

By John Breneman

(Sept. 24, 2002)    Recent probes into anthrax, church sex and corporate excess have sparked public demand for intrusive new probes into every orifice of American life.

"Polls show that people love a good probe," said Barnaby Holmes, head of a blue-ribbon panel probing the public's renewed interest in probes. "Citizens have come to depend on these probes to keep track of who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing."

The House Subcommittee on Bipartisan Probes today announced new probes into Martha Stewart's nuclear capabilities, Saddam Hussein's secret diary and Dick Cheney's trousers, while the Justice Department launched a fresh probe of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' large intestine.

Body-cavity probes at U.S. airports are at an all-time high according to a New York Times probe. And the Wall Street Journal is probing reports of proctologists who bill patients for unnecessary probing.

Meanwhile, a National Enquirer probe led to shocking reports on Bill Clinton's aborigine love child, President Bush's $500-a-day crack habit and Britney Spears' steamy sex romp with Jerry Springer and Cardinal Law.

The Securities Exchange Commission is probing allegations of financial irregularities in Dolly Parton's warchest. And subpoenas have been issued for a federal probe into whether the FBI has been probing the CIA or vice versa.

Experts in the fast-growing probe industry predict future investigations into baseball card insider trading, political liposuction and Yasser Arafat's hat.

Because probes are believed to have a positive economic impact, Treasury Department officials have launched a probe into the possible benefits of converting to a probe-based economy.

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Latest poll: Americans dislike telephone polls

By John Breneman

Americans are becoming increasingly annoyed with telephone surveys, according to an annoying telephone survey just released by U.S. pollster Polls R Us.

"We called 950 U.S. citizens from all walks of life -- most of them just as they were sitting down to dinner -- and 94% of them made it strikingly clear that they are extremely annoyed by telephone surveys," said company spokesman Richard Click.

The number of respondents who politely declined to participate has dropped sharply; and 63% of those contacted invoked an expletive before slamming the receiver down, up from 44% in a similar poll conducted last month.

The range of expletives has also expanded, according to Click, who noted that one particularly creative curser unleashed a barrage of invective featuring multiple ethnic slurs, five crude anatomical references and a genetically engineered donkey.

"Our research shows that Americans truly hate unsolicited telephone calls," said Click, whose firm initiated approximately 1.2 million unsolicited calls in the first quarter of 2002.

Among the 6% of respondents who said they don't mind participating in telephone polls, nearly half reported that they approve of President Bush's efforts to avert nuclear war between India and Pakistan but would feel safer if he could pronounce the word "nuclear."

Two-thirds of those surveyed said the media is far too infatuated with polls, which really have no value other than to produce meaningless date upon which pundits can pundificate.

The latest Polls R Us poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 143%, also revealed the following:

2% of respondents claimed they were much smarter and better looking than the other 98%.

63% of the middle-class favor peace in the Middle East (72% in the Midwest).

106% of those surveyed said Americans must improve their math skills to better compete in the global economy.


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