Weekly Review — July 10, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

President George W. Bush, who turned 55 this week, played golf for the first time since he was inaugurated. The president wasasked what the Fourth of July meant to him. “It means what thesewords say, for starters,” he replied. “The great inalienablerights of our country. We’re blessed with such values in America. AndI â?? it’s â?? I’m a proud man to be the nation based uponsuch wonderful values.” A new study of 300,000 Nissan car loans found that blacks paid an average $800 more than whites. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association that innocent people may have been executed in the United States; O’Connor also acknowledged that wealthy people are better served by the justice system. Colorado’s department of motor vehicles said it would install cameras on the roads that will digitally record drivers’ faces and place them in a database. Police in Tampa, Florida, were using surveillance cameras and face-recognition software to scan for suspected criminals in the crowds of Ybor City, an historic downtown neighborhood. Florida’ssupreme court was considering a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right of pigs to spacious quarters while pregnant. The Bush Administration drafted a new policy that would let states define unborn children as persons eligible for medical coverage. According to witnesses, a 14-year-old dehydrated boy was denied water, beaten, and forced to eat mud, whereupon he vomited and died at a wilderness bootcamp for troubled youths in Arizona. Jenna Bush was fined $600 for trying to use a fake I.D. Thirty-nine percent of Americans believe that the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing rights, according to a new poll; 41 percent said the media has too much freedom.

A mass grave was found in eastern Bosnia that was believed to contain over 200 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, where about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered by Serbs in 1995. Slobodan Milosevic declined the services of counsel and refused to enter a plea during his arraignment at the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, which he said was illegal. The Bosnian Serb republic announced that it now was willing to arrest indicted war crimes suspects; about 20 such fugitives, including Dr. Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, are believed to be living there. Israel’ssecurity cabinet decided that it would continue to use death squads to eliminate suspected Palestinianterrorists. Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, was under investigation in Belgium for crimes against humanity committed during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. China executed more people in the last three months than the rest of the world did in the last three years, Amnesty International reported. Negotiators said that all major obstacles to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization had been overcome. In Nigeria, Muslim Hausas and Christian Jarawas continued to kill one another, as did members of the Azara and Tiv peoples. A peace plan was accepted in Sudan, where an 18-year civil war has caused almost two million deaths. The United Nations reported that Western aid to Africa has fallen by a third since 1994. The Vatican announced that it made an $8.5 million profit last year.

An Australian was issued a patent for a “circular transportation facilitation device,” also known as the wheel. A large new object, named 2001 KX76, was discovered beyond Neptune in the Kuiper belt. A patient in Kentucky was the first human being to receive a completely self-contained artificial heart; the device was first tested on calves weighing about the same as a person, where it functioned normally until the calves outgrew it. Transgenic Pets of Syracuse, New York, announced that it planned to engineer a cat that will no longer cause allergies in humans. Greece announced its first case of mad cow disease. Britain claimed that the burning of slaughtered animals infected with foot-and-mouth disease, which released dioxins into the atmosphere, posed no health risk. Hippies were descending on Boise National Forest for the annual Rainbow Gathering only to be turned away by a Forest Service roadblock. Nine people in Strasbourg, France, were killed by a falling tree at a concert. A shark attacked an eight-year-old boy near Pensacola, Florida, and bit his arm off; the boy’s uncle wrestled the shark to shore where it was shot three times by a park ranger. The arm was retrieved from the shark’s throat and reattached in a twelve-hour operation. Another severed arm was found in a canal near Ft. Lauderdale; the arm apparently belonged to an adult male who did not survive an encounter with an alligator. Employment in the service sector fell for the first time since 1958. Fifteen illegal aliens were discovered at the Kennedy Space Center. Mordecai Richler died. English students at Cambridge University were asked in a final exam to analyze the following lines from a 1979 Bee Gees song: “It’s tragedy . . . Tragedy when you lose control and you got no soul, it’s tragedy.” Professor John Kerrigan, chairman of the examination board, defended the inclusion of the Bee Gees: “There are elements to the Bee Gees songs that could have directed you to the great central canonical texts,” he said. “The line in the Bee Gees song where he sings ‘the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on’ is a fair summary of the end of King Lear.

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Editor's Note

Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.

Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”

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“Bolivia’s gene banks contain far more quinoa varieties than any other country’s, yet the Bolivians are dead set against sharing them.”
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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:

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