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  THE WEEKLY RUNDOWN FOR JULY 25.  
   
   
   
 

 

You don't Qusay. In a Tuesday attack, American forces claim to have killed Saddam Hussein's two oldest sons, Uday and Qusay. After receiving a tip, American soldiers launched 10 missiles into the house where Uday and Qusay were supposedly hiding. Two others were killed in the subsequent firefight, one believed to be Qusay's teenage son, Mustapha. The deaths should reaffirm to Iraqis that "the former regime is gone and will not be coming back," President Bush said Wednesday. The Pentagon released photos of Uday's and Qusay's bodies on Thursday after debating whether the need for proof trumped the appearance of gloating among Iraqi people.

 

 
   
 

 

So not fast, TV People! The House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday blocking a new Federal Communications Commission ruling on media ownership. Last month, the FCC decided that newspapers and television stations in one market could be owned by the same company. But this House bill would prevent the FCC from using any money to carry out the new ruling. Instead of one media company owning enough television stations to reach 45 percent of the national audience, the House wants to return to the current cap of 35 percent. The new proposal was tacked onto a House spending bill and passed overwhelmingly, 400 to 21. Now the Senate must act; there, the Commerce Committee recently passed a similar bill.

Didn't this guy just get reelected? More than 1.3 million Californians signed a petition supporting a recall vote for Gov. Gray Davis, who was reelected only last November. Unless the California Supreme Court blocks the recall, Davis will face a popular vote of confidence in the fall. No statewide official has ever faced a recall vote since the provision was created in California 92 years ago. Davis vowed to "fight like a Bengal tiger" as he shored up liberal support in San Francisco this week. Funny thing is that Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (winner of The Black Table's Name of the Week award) will call the recall vote and an election to choose the next governor "if necessary." Bustamante said Wednesday he might not call a concurrent election for a successor, essentially making him governor until the new gubernatorial election. This makes the Republicans, the group largely behind the recall vote, pretty pissed. The recall vote will cost budget-crunched California between $30 and $35 million.

 

 
   
 

 

The long farewell. Liberian President and indicted war criminal Charles Taylor promised Tuesday he would leave the country in 10 days. Good thing, too, because 600 people were murdered in gun and mortar fights in the four days previous. Rebel groups claim they've ordered their troops to back off, but the trouble with the region is that neither side is known for keeping its word. (For instance, Taylor said he would leave six weeks ago. Instead, he's the world's most dangerous houseguest.) Nigeria has offered Taylor asylum, and Ghana and Chad are considering similar invitations. Taylor says he will announce his departure date (for sure) on Saturday, a Liberian holiday. What he'll actually say probably rhymes with "I'm not going anywhere."

 
   
 

 

That kid is worth at least $400. The Internal Revenue Service will mail those advance child tax credit checks out over the next three weeks. Taxpayers who claimed a kid on their 2002 income tax return will get a check for $400. But don't be fooled into thinking that money is free. The $400 will be deducted from your refund come tax time. Oh, and remember the huge Bush tax cut that has pushed the deficit over the $450 billion edge? It's in there. Employers were required to use the new federal tax-withholding schedule as of July 1. People in the highest tax cuts will see the biggest change, while people in the lower tax breaks will have to squint real hard to notice the extra $50 or $100 a year coming their way. But don't worry -- it'll all trickle right down there. Really. We swear.

 

 
   
 

 

Clubbing baby scientists. A British scientist snorkeling in the Antarctic was attacked by a seal and subsequently died. Experts think the leopard seal mistook marine biologist Kirsty Brown for another seal and dragged her down beneath the icy waters. A rescue boat picked her up, but she could not be revived. The 28-year-old Brown was studying the movement of icebergs.

How can you sleep through that? A judge declared a mistrial in a Cincinnati obscenity case for the second time, after one juror fell asleep and two others averted their eyes during a viewing of the alleged obscene material. Shawn Jenkins was accused of selling obscene videotapes out of his magazine store; the subject of the tape involved a speculum, a gynecological tool. Sgt. Matthew Guy, who posed as a consumer and bought the tape for $15, explained that, in the video, the speculum was used to "stretch orifices to the extreme."

 

*BT*

Aileen Gallagher, author of three children's books, (and another one, about muckraking, on the way!) writes Weekly Rundown every Friday.