Weekly Review — September 12, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

President George W. Bush confirmed the existence of secret extra-territorial prisons operating beyond the scope of American law.ABC NewsThe U.S. Army promised to stop intimidating prisoners by placing hoods over their heads, or by simulating their drowning, or by threatening them with dogs,New York Timesand President Bush emphasized the fine line between “alternative” interrogation methods and torture.CNNThe Iraqi government took control of its own army,Times of Londonand the United States increased the number of troops in Iraq by 15,000.Houston ChronicleAn official at the Baghdad morgue said that last month’s death toll was actually triple the number first reported.Christian Science MonitorSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice compared critics of the Iraq war to Northerners who sought peace with the South during the Civil War. “There were people who thought the Declaration of Independence was a mistake,” she said.New York TimesA declassified CIA intelligence report concluded that prior to the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein “did not have a relationship, harbor, or even turn a blind eye toward,” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or Al Qaeda, New York Timesand the White House warned of a “WMD-terrorism nexus” emanating from Iran.New York TimesFour prisoners in El Salvador’s maximum security Zacatecoluca prison were caught coordinating crimes using cell phones hidden in their bowels,Yahoo News via Nerve.comand Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Palestinians were wrong to think war with Israel would transform them into “some kind of golden child.” Instead, he said, it made them “a shit child.”The New YorkerA spokesman for the Republic of Georgia confirmed that a surface-to-air missile had been fired at a helicopter carrying U.S. Senator John McCain,Azcentral.com via the Drudge Reportand Kenya’s Human Rights Commissioner said Kenyans “get a thrill out of seeing a white man in a powerless position.”New York TimesPrime Minister Tony Blair described a junior defense minister who called for his resignation as “discourteous.”CNNIn Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said he was “very happy to hear” Pakistan was not sponsoring terrorist attacks on his country,New York Timesand “Little America,” a model city built during the Cold War, came under attack by Taliban forces. “Our government is weak,” said one resident. “Anarchy has come.”New York Times

Joseph Lieberman returned to the Senate for the first time since losing the ConnecticutDemocratic primary, and Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) offered to buy him a dog.Washington PostFormer Iranian president Mohammad Khatami predicted that “prudence and wisdom” would prevail and that the United States would not attack Iran.Washington PostMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney refused to guarantee Mr. Khatami’s safety during his trip to his state.Boston HeraldThe U.S. Office of Special Counsel was criticized for advising its female workers that before “choosing a skirt to wear, sit down in it facing a mirror.”Washington PostResearchers at the University of Southern California determined that celebrities exhibit higher rates of narcissism than the general population,Breitbart.com via the Drudge Reportand pop star Prince disputed Justin Timberlake’s claim to have “brought sexy back.” Contactmusic.com via Nerve.comActress Lindsay Lohan said she didn’t want anyone to know she was in favor of voting. “It’s safer that way,” she said.BBCA poll found that New Yorkers were more concerned about terrorist attacks than are people living elsewhere,New York Timesand many Germans were “startled” to learn that they could be terror targets.Los Angeles timesBritain’s Royal Preston Hospital unveiled the “Inter-Faith Gown,” a hospital garment modeled on the Muslim burka,Breitbart.com via the Drudge Reportand an Orthodox Jewish man was removed from an Air Canadaflight because his praying made other passengers nervous.CBC

A group of masked men burst into a bar in Michoacan, Mexico, and tossed five human heads into a crowd of dancers.BBC NewsCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized for saying that Cubans and Puerto Ricans were “very hot,” due to their mixed “black blood” and “Latino blood.”New York TimesPolitical analysts debated whether Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s 100-pound weight loss would harm his presidential aspirations in the South,New York Timesand visitors to the Texas State Fair were enjoying deep-fried Coca-Cola.Local6.comEnglishscientists were conducting experiments to determine whether sea horses could be tempted into adultery,New York Post via Nerve.comand Scottish researchers learned how chimpanzees safely cross roads. BBCThree men in Lancaster, Wisconsin, were arrested after attempting to steal a corpse from a cemetery in order to have sex with it.WCCO.comThe White House announced plans to name former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.Breitbart.com via the Drudge ReportTwo teens in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, attacked a man and beat him with his own prosthetic leg, CNNand Dapoxetine, a pharmaceutical believed to prevent premature ejaculation in men, remained in “regulatory limbo.”Medpagetoday.com via Google NewsActor William Shatner turned down a free seat on the Virgin Galactic spaceship. “To vomit in space,” he said, “is not my idea of a good time.”The Daily Mail

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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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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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