Weekly Review — June 3, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Scott McClellan published a memoir about his stint as President George W. Bush‘s press secretary from July 2003 to April 2006. In the book, McClellan says that he does not believe that the Bush Administration “deliberately or consciously sought to deceive the American people” when it dispensed with “honesty and candor” in favor of launching a “political propaganda campaign” to justify the Iraq War. He also asserts that the media became the administration’s “complicit enablers” and that the president said that he did not remember whether he had ever tried cocaine at “some pretty wild parties back in the day.” Senator Bob Dole responded in a note to McClellan: “There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues.” Ari Fleischer, Bush’s previous press secretary, suggested McClellan had been manipulated by his liberal editors. Wall Street JournalPoliticoNational JournalNew York Daily NewsWall Street JournalIn Baghdad, a car bomb in a parking lot near the Iranian Embassy killed two civilians and wounded five others, and west of the city, in the town of Hit, a suicide bomber killed ten people and wounded twelve at a police checkpoint. APFranz Kunstler, the last surviving veteran of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s forces in World War I, died at the age of 107,New York Timesand Dianne Odell, a polio victim in Tennessee, died at the age of 61, after 58 years in an iron lung.APAustralia pulled its 550 combat troops out of Iraq, declaring their mission a success. AP

The Democratic National Committee determined that delegates from Michigan and Florida will be allowed half-votes at the party’s convention. “At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen,” read a sign at a protest by supporters of Hillary Clinton outside the Washington hotel where the decision was made. Demonstrator Larry Sinclair, a Minnesotan who has posted videos on YouTube alleging that he took drugs and had oral sex with Barack Obama in 1999 but failed a polygraph test about his allegations, handed out a pamphlet titled “Obama’s DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS: Murder, Drugs, Gay Sex.”New York TimesThe New RepublicObama broke his ties with Chicago’s Trinity Church, The Daily DishClinton won the Puerto Rico primary,New York Timesand it was reported that Obama had offered Clinton a “negotiated surrender” that included a possible post as health secretary in an Obama administration.TelegraphA human-rights organization accused the Bush Administration of operating “floating prisons” by holding suspected terrorists on ships and of continuing its policy of extraordinary rendition, a practice it claimed to have discontinued in 2006.GuardianJohn McCain shifted a fund-raiser attended by Bush from the Phoenix Convention Center to a private home, confining his on-camera public appearance with the president to 25 seconds at an airport. New York TimesMcCain’s campaign manager, former lobbyist Rick Davis, was slowly and quietly purging lobbyists from the campaign’s ranks.New York TimesMonkeys were able to move a robot arm with their thoughts. New York Times

At a literary festival in Wales, British columnist George Monbiot attempted a citizen’s arrest of John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on charges of war crimes, but was obstructed by security guards.Democracy NowCanadian Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier resigned shortly before his ex-girlfriend Julie Couillard told a television interviewer that Bernier had left classified NATO documents about Afghanistan in her apartment and had encouraged her to wear a low-cut blouse to his swearing-in in order to attract media attention. It subsequently came to light that Couillard, a former model, had lived with one member of the Quebec Hell’s Angels (who was arrested for possession of submachine guns and marijuana, then turned police informant, and was found dead in a ditch), married and divorced another, and was marked for death by the head Angel, a man named “Mom.” “I don’t care about her cleavage,” said MP Michael Ignatieff, deputy leader of the Liberal opposition. “But this stuff is not only my business, it is the business of all Canadians.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative, rejected calls for an investigation into the scandal.New York TimesNational PostBritish archaeologists discovered that Stonehenge was a cemetery for the elite, New York TimesLa Scala announced that it will produce Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as an opera,Breitbartand structures built for the 2004 AthensOlympics were falling into ruin.Telegraph

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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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