It’s that most wonderful time of the year, the last week before the Presidential elections. You gotta love it. Herein lies the harmonic convergence of Halloween and the October surprises. Tis the season of the three Vs: venom, vileness and vituperation. Who knows what headlines of political ugliness will have hit the body politic by the time this contribution to world literature graces the pages of Up & Coming? While you are killing time waiting for the Apocalypse, how about a little idle speculation about what will happen in the last week of the Presidential race ? Don we now our Nostradamus beanie and fire up the old Prediction Machine. Here’s some fairly predictable headlines to watch for in this last week of President Bush’s unofficial Lame Duckiness. Next week he’s officially a lame duck. We shall all shed a silent tear at his waterfowl status.

Malfunctioning Voter Machines in Florida
    {mosimage}Long lines greeted voters in predominantly Democratic counties all over Florida as optical scanning voting machines refused to read thousands of ballots. Florida’s Secretary of State announced that either humidity, cheap paper ballots imported from China or an infestation of flying roaches caused the ballots to be rejected. Yoshiteru Taskahashi, a spokesman for DEMBEGONE, the manufacturer of Florida’s voting machines which were rejecting the ballots, explained that an unintended design error in the software was causing the machines to refuse to scan the ballots. Mr. Taskahashi stated, “The voting machines were designed to allow the ballots to be accepted by the machine. The machines were intended to have the appearance of fairness. The miscounting of the ballots was supposed to take place after the ballot had entered the machine so it would not be so obvious to the voter that his ballot for Democratic candidates was being rejected. I sincerely apologize to my Republican friends for this result. Please be assured that the outcome will be the same however, Democratic votes will be either morphed into votes for McCain or ignored totally.”

Voter Fraud Alleged in Chicago
    Republicans challenged the votes of thousands of dead voters in multiple Chicago precincts. A spokesman for the Republicans, Jim “Buffy” Hoisington protested that rampant dead voter fraud was endemic in Chicago. Mr. Hoisington said “It is bad enough that dead voters are allowed to vote in our elections, although in Chicago we are used to that sort of thing. What really sticks in my esophagus is that dead voters are being allowed to vote outside of their home cemetery precincts. We have reports of dead Democrats buried in south Chicago being allowed to vote multiple times in other areas of the city. The gentleman’s agreement we had with the Democrats to limit dead voters to voting only once in their cemetery precinct has been grossly violated. I am shocked, shocked that Chicago Democrats would sink to such a level.”
    George Jefferson, the spokesman for ACORN strongly disputed Republican complaints of dead voter fraud. Mr. Jefferson stated, “This is just another example of Republicans trying to disenfranchise one of our most important Democratic voting blocks — Dead People. Just because a person is dead is no reason to disenfranchise him or her. ACORN will not allow the electoral participation of dead voters to be blocked by nefarious Republicans bent on limiting the privilege of voting to living people. There are more dead people in the world than living ones. The votes of the dead are every bit as valuable to them as the votes of the living. It is troubling when a person dies that his ungrateful heirs start bickering over his property. A dead person loses his property but not his precious right to vote Democratic. ACORN’s principal of eternal universal suffrage for the dead will not be crucified on a cross of Republican gold.”

Stock Markets on a Wild Ride
    Despite the promise of additional free money from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, world stock markets continued to spike up and down leaving investors reeling. Bad puns about 401K accounts continue to flood late night TV comedy shows. On a brighter economic note, sales of Paxil, Welbutrin and Thorazine soared as the public attempted to drug itself into a state of comfortable numbness.

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