(Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2010) -- Americans have become the most portly people on the planet, according to studies released here today by the American Medical Association.
More than three-quarters of U.S. residents in all 50 states are now considered to be incredibly obese, the AMA statistics show. "Obese" is at the top of the progressive scale used by researchers to categorize personal body mass. The scale descends through "heavyset," "pudgy," "big-boned," "proportional," "firm and toned," "slender," "sticklike" and "Calista Flockhart."
"At this point in time, only Calista herself falls into that bottom classification," noted Dr. Polly Unsaturated, the nutritionist who headed the latest study. "Those considered to be heavyset account for another 20 percent of Americans, with the remaining 4 percent distributed among the other lighter groups."
As recently as 1991, a mere 12 percent of American adults were considered dangerously overweight. The advance of obesity has been compared to a widespread epidemic even more threatening than that of disco dancing in the '70s. Authorities fear that, if left unchecked, this alarming trend will soon result in the United States running out of space for its populace.
"We're already seeing the effects of this in reduced capacities for sports stadiums and movie theaters," said Unsaturated. "Owners have twice, since 2000, been forced to replace existing seats with wider models. Many owners are now going to all-bleacher seating to avoid further costs attached to accommodating the expanding American backside."
Researchers are unsure about the causes of the obesity epidemic or how it might be stopped. Studies are currently focused on a possible relationship between food consumption and physical activity.
"This area looks very promising," Unsaturated said. "Controlling obesity may be as simple as eating less and exercising more. We hope to have an answer within the next 10 years."
(New York, N.Y., Dec. 24, 2000) -- Expect to hear a lot more labored breathing in the Big Apple after the first of the year, especially around the city's shelters for the homeless.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced on Christmas Eve that more than 13,000 homeless persons currently staying in his city's shelter system will be required to work if they expect to use the New York City air supply on New Year's Day. Giuliani last fall launched a controversial "work to sleep" program for shelter residents, which was followed by his equally debated "work to eat" program this summer.
"This is simply the next logical extension of those successful incentives," Giuliani noted. "If you think these people were motivated by their desire sleep and eat in our shelters, imagine how their work ethic will be boosted by their urge to breathe."
The program requires that shelter residents 16 and older put in a four-hour day to qualify for a cot in the shelter, eight hours to get a hot meal at the end of the day and another two hours overtime to fill their lungs. Critics have charged that the system will force all shelter residents to put in a 50-hour work week, since most people find sleeping and eating to be difficult tasks to perform if they are unable to breathe.
"I don't see this as being an unreasonable policy," Giuliani responded. "Anyone who does not want to follow the rules can always move out of the shelter. I think there's room in New Jersey."
"The apostles of dependency want to bring us back to the days in which New York City had 1.1 million people on welfare," Giuliani added, "a city in which dependency was the rule and work was the exception. I think this is the highest form of compassion and love -- to help people to help themselves."
Giuliani pointed out that the city has achieved significant cost savings by tapping into the homeless labor pool. Since the program's inception, New York has been able to layoff more than 1,100 street and sanitation workers who were unwilling to work for food, shelter and oxygen.
"I don't mind working, so I can stay in the shelter," said Willard Pathos, 75, who lost his home about a year ago through a day trading addiction, "but I really don't like the leg shackles they use to chain us together when we do street work."
Giuliani said that the chains are used, not to prevent homeless shelter residents from escaping, but to help keep them more tightly organized when working as a group.
(Springfield, Ill., Oct. 23, 2009) -- The siren call of communism proved too much for the Illinois, which today officially replaced its state government with a Marxist regime and declared its independence from the United States.
"Only history will reveal if this declaration will begin to make a difference in the lives of the People's Republic of Illinois,'' said George Ryan, the former Illinois governor who initiated his state's communist seduction with a 1999 visit to Cuba. "The probability that we may fail ought not deter us in support of a cause we believe to be just."
"We know that we face a long struggle against the capitalist forces of America," Ryan continued. "As acting president of our new republic, I call upon my comrades to face the future with courage."
The immediate response from the U.S. State Department was to isolate the runaway state by economic embargo and cut off federal funds for road repairs.
"We must nip this thing in the bud," declared Diane Burnredscumm, state department spokesman. "As we all know, the Domino Theory holds that if we allow one state to fall prey to the communist threat, others will topple as well."
U.S. troops have been assembled along Illinois boundaries with neighboring states. A flotilla of Coast Guard cutters, awaiting reinforcement by Navy vessels en route via the St. Lawrence Seaway, has begun a blockade of the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline.
"We are stopping all traffic both in and out of the State of Illinois," explained Burnredscumm. "Loyal residents of other states caught inside by the blockade are being allowed to leave, and we are also allowing anyone who wants to leave the state during this temporary period of unrest to exit. Illinois residents who want to rejoin their families are being permitted to enter."
The initial trickle of refugees has grown into a flood. Temporary refugee centers hastily organized in Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri quickly filled to capacity, state authorities report.
Burnredscumm said that personal at Great Lakes and other federal bases inside Illinois have been put on alert, but military action against the rebellious state is not currently anticipated. Alarmed members of the United Nations Security Council urged peaceful exploration of a solution to the situation.
"The land of Ricky Ricardo applauds and supports this brave action by the land of Abraham Lincoln." said Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, ''We regret that our poor country cannot send arms or troops to aid in their struggle with oppression."
Ryan's 1999 visit to Cuba, leading 45 Illinois business, religious and university leaders was a humanitarian mission which presented over $1 million in donated supplies. In the ensuing decade, high-ranking Illinois officials went to Cuba or more occasions than those of all other American states combined. Opponents of the Cuban communist regime, who have charged that Illinois leaders were being "brainwashed" during their visits, said they feel vindicated by today's announcement.
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