Weekly Review — September 20, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

At least 167 Baghdad residents were killed in 14 separate bombings, with 570 wounded. The next day 40 people were killed with car bombs and guns. Twenty-one more were killed the next day, 52 more the day after that, and 7 the day after that. At least 30 more people were killed the following day.The IndependentSenator Robert Byrd called on the Bush Administration to withdraw from Iraq. “We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq,” he said, “when our own people are so much in need.”Democracy Now!It was reported that $1 billion had been stolen from Iraq’s defense ministry, and $500 to $600 million had been stolen from the electricity, transport, interior, and other ministries.The IndependentSeventy-two percent of African Americans polled said that George W. Bush does not care about them,Democracy Now!and Texasexecuted Frances Newton.CBS NewsAt least 128 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were on hunger strike; 18 of them had been hospitalized and were being force-fed. “We’re going to take care of everyone,” said a prison spokesman.LA TimesChicago was considering a proposal to ban foie gras. “Our culture,” explained an alderman, “does not condone the torture of innocent and defenseless creatures.”The New York TimesChuck E. Cheese restaurants were showing Defense Department footage. “We support what our troops are doing over there,” said a Chuck E. Cheese representative. “Helping kids.”New YorkMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney suggested wiretapping mosques.Democracy Now!Newly declassified portions of the 9/11 Commission Report revealed that the FAA had warned in 1998 that Al Qaeda operatives could “seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark,” although the FAA thought this was “unlikely.”The Smoking GunAfghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in over three decades; about 6 million people went to the polls to elect 249 people to the Wolesi Jirga.Muslim American SocietyThe Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda crossed the White Nile River into southern Sudan and attacked the city of Juba;BBC NewsNorth Korea announced that it would halt its nuclear programs in exchange for oil, energy aid, and diplomatic recognition;Reutersand Delta and Northwest both filed for bankruptcy.Forbes

A summit of world leaders met at the United Nations in New York City.Democracy Now!At the summit, President George W. Bush was photographed writing a note to Condoleezza Rice. “I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?” read the note.ReutersThe U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy gave $100,000 to Sumate, a Venezuelan group that opposes President Hugo Chavez. “If the imperialist government of the White House dares to invade Venezuela,” said Chavez during an interview, “the war of a hundred years will be unleashed in South America.”Democracy Now!Democracy Now!Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was under criticism for saying that rape victimhood was “a money-making concern”; “A lot of people,” he explained, “say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”BBC News Musharraf also shook hands with Ariel Sharon.BBC NewsSupreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. was questioned by members of the Senate and managed to avoid direct answers to many of the questions posed to him. He did reveal, however, that “Dr. Zhivago” and “North by Northwest” were his favorite films. Antiabortion groups felt that Roberts was doing just fine.KPAXThe Washington PostA federal judge in California ruled that requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. “Undoubtedly,” read the court’s decision, “the pledge contains a religious phrase.”CNN.comThe Dutch government announced that it would track every citizen from birth in an electronic database.APEighty-seven journalists were arrested for protesting against Nepalese restrictions on the media,CTV.caand the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that it was “evil” to force menstruating women to live in cow sheds.BBC News

The Vatican was investigating all 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for evidence of homosexuality,The Washington Postand Pope Benedict XVI spoke to an exorcists’ convention, encouraging the audience to “carry on their important work.”IOL.co.zaThe confirmed death toll from Hurricane Katrina rose to 883, with 663 of those in Louisiana. About $9.8 billion had been spent so far on the relief effort, and it was estimated that up to $200 billion remained to be spent. President Bush promised to rebuild the communities that had been destroyed by the hurricane. “To the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right,” he said, “I take responsibility.”KPLCTimeDemocracy Now!A poll showed that only 35 percent of Americans approved of the President’s handling of the Katrina crisis.Rasmussen ReportsKarl Rove was named to head the relief effort in New Orleans.Washington PostMany uninsured evacuees from New Orleans were receiving medical care for the first time in years. NOLA.comA 73-year-old New Orleans woman was being held on $50,000 bail for allegedly looting sausages.Democracy Now!In Spokane, Washington, a man was in trouble for breaking into another man’s house and smearing the man’s naked, sleeping body with chocolate frosting, then opening a dog pen in the hope that a dog would eat the frosting.KXLY.comA broken light bulb at a school gym in Tennessee caused severe sunburns and swollen eyes in 18 people.SunHerald.comIn Alaska a 20-foot-long treadmill was installed at a zoo to help an elephant named Maggie lose a few hundred pounds,Reutersand two plague-infected mice were missing in New Jersey.MSNBCJudith Miller was still in jail.Editor & Publisher

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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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Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.

Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.

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