Vol. 1, Issue 3, May 27, 2003
Tort Reform Measure Sidelined by Typo
Thanks to a single misplaced letter, the landmark tort reform legislation which has been making its way through the House and Senate has been redirected to the Food and Drug Administration.
"Instead of 'Tort Reform Measure,' the title of the document said 'Tart Reform,'" said frustrated congressional officials today. "Somewhere there was a mixup, and now the thing's stuck in review by the FDA."
The FDA sets standards for many foodstuffs, analyzing everything from the viscosity of ketchup to the percentage of meat in the average hamburger. However, despite its manifold array of standards, it has no protocols in place for dealing with tarts.
"Frankly, tarts are not a major American commodity," said FDA spokesman Genevieve McGill. "Many people have probably never even seen one outside of a fancy restaurant. So we need to perform significant baseline research before we can move forward with analyzing the validity of the tart reform proposal."
The culprit for the misspelling is apparently the word processor used to prepare the legislation, Microsoft Word. The program has a feature which automatically corrects spelling errors. Justice Department officials have long accused Microsoft of providing deliberately flawed versions of the program to its offices, following the long and bitter anti-trust battle with the software giant.
"It's not our fault they can't figure out how to use the number one office software in America," said a Microsoft spokesman. The company stated that the Justice Department appeared to have the automatic spellchecking dictionary set to the "Isle of Wight" dialect rather than the standard American dictionary.
"That doesn't explain why the program keeps changing 'Justice Department' to 'Moron Department,'" noted Justice Department officials.
The FDA review is expected to take six to nine years, during which time no further tort reform measures may be considered. "It's going to be a tough case," said McGill. "But if we can set international standards for ketchup viscosity, we can tackle this."