Re: Phone Sex Operator Wins Compensation Settlement
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 07:02:14 EST

In a message dated 11/23/99 6:22:23 AM Eastern Standard Time,

<< Is this an urban legend? --RK]

Phone Sex Operator Wins Compensation Settlement
Of course it's a legend! It's a poke at OSHA and a jab at Labor's
"Ergonomics is Good for Economics" campaign. (PSO options: fake an orgasm or
use a vibrator.)

SLATE NEWS: Mon., Nov. 22, 1999

today's papers

Carpal Diem

By Scott Shuger

Both the NYT and WP lead with the government's expected
introduction today of safety rules designed to counter repetitive
stress injuries in the workplace, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The
USAT lead notes how states will be spending the first installment
of the $206 billion they'll receive in settlements with the tobacco
industry. Most of the initial $2.4 billion, the paper reports, will
be going to health care, but much will also be spent on completely
unrelated areas, such as roads, jails, farm aid, schools and senior
centers. The story quotes the architect of state legal action
against tobacco companies, Mississippi attorney general Michael
Moore, as deploring this diversion of funds. The LAT leads with a
snapshot of the nation's current political sentiment, based on
1,800 adults (including 370 who aren't registered to vote--who
cares what they think?). The polling's takeaway: Voters would
prefer Democrats controlling Congress and a Republican in the White
House (the survey's presidential tally is Bush over Gore 55%-40%),
a stance the paper summarizes as, "Times are good, so throw the
bums out."

The big type over the WP lead--"OSHA OFFERS STANDARD TO FIGHT
INJURIES IN WORKPLACE"--is clearer than the big type over the
with that exception, the NYT effort is the better story. For
instance, what does the WP mean with this first sentence: "The
Occupational Safety and Health Administration will take the first
step today to require many employers to provide work spaces and
equipment to support the physical makeup of each individual doing
his job..."? And the NYT uses its third paragraph to cite
bottom-line-based business resistance to the rules as the chief
cause in their delay, while the Post doesn't get to this until its
13th. And while the WP quotes somebody from something called Food
Distributors International as its source for the bottom-line worry,
the Times goes instead with the Small Business Administration,
which the paper explains, is an independent government agency.

Moreover, the Times has the clearest statement of the dimension of
the problem being addressed: 600,000 Americans injured this way on
the job each year. (A puzzle arising from reading the stories
together: Although the WP doesn't give the injury total, it says
the new regime would prevent 300,000 injuries. Can it really be
true that fully half of these injuries are unpreventable?)