Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far)

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Authors: Dave Barry
having hijacked airplanes and flown them into the World Trade Center exactly six months earlier. Stung by the intense criticism that follows, the INS director vows that the agency will implement tough new procedures for reviewing visa applications, “including, if necessary, actually reading the names.”
    In other government action, Congress passes a campaign finance reform law, thus guaranteeing that, henceforth, politicians will not be influenced by money. Also, the sun will rise in the west. Meanwhile, the Whitewater investigation, which lasted six years and cost $70 million, finally comes to a close with the special prosecutor issuing a five-volume report concluding that Hillary Clinton “probably” dyes her hair.
    In business news, investigators probing the Enron scandal finally track down the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen, which had sought to evade prosecution by changing its name to “Arthur Smith” and disguising its corporate headquarters with a gigantic red wig and sunglasses. Troops are sent to capture the firm, only to discover that the top auditors have escaped to…Iraq. The Department of Homeland Insecurity responds by ratcheting the nation up to a Code Ocher Alert (“Deeply Concerned”). The stock market drops 381 points.
    On the religious front, the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston pays $23 million to a man who alleged that his parish priest, on more than a dozen occasions in the 1970s, exposed him to the soundtrack from Grease, and now he can’t get it out of his head.
    In entertainment news, the surprise TV hit is the The Osbournes, in which viewers follow the wacky antics of zonked-out rocker Ozzy Osbourne, played, in the performance of his career, by David Hasselhoff.
    In the Academy Awards, the Oscar for best picture goes to A Beautiful Mind, the uplifting story of legendary mathematical genius John Nash, who received a Nobel Prize decades after his descent into insanity, caused by attempting to do his own income taxes. On the music front, the U.S. recording industry is buoyed by a report that fourteen-year-old Jason Plempitt of Knoxville, Tenn., went into a music store and actually purchased a CD, making him the first teenager in three years to pay money for a recording rather than download it for free from the Internet. The humiliated youngster quickly informs his classmates that his computer is broken.
    On a sadder note, two beloved public figures pass away: Milton “Mr. Television” Berle, who was ninety-three, and Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth, who was 247. They are laid to rest in identical dresses.
    But there is little rest to be had in…
    â€¦when Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to the Middle East to (1) restore peace to the troubled region and (2) receive a plaque from the Association of Troubled Middle East Travel Agencies honoring him for making the five-thousandth official U.S. peacekeeping trip. At the awards ceremony, Powell jokes: “We expect to get this thing resolved any day now,” which gets a big laugh, punctuated by mortar fire. On Powell’s arrival back in Washington, President Bush hails the trip as “a major success,” noting that the secretary of state brought home “much of his original luggage.” The stock market drops 518 points.
    In France, the first round of the presidential elections produces alarming evidence of a right-wing resurgence in the country when the second-place vote getter, finishing just behind incumbent Jacques Chirac, is Pat Buchanan.
    In other international news, a euphoric Argentina president Eduardo Duhalde announces that he has received an e-mail stating that Argentina can make a surefire $500 million via a foolproof plan. All Argentina has to do is send $10 million to the top name on the e-mail list, which is…Iraq.
    On the domestic terrorism front, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, tightening up its procedures, quietly reverses its

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