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If you can't beat 'em, ask 'em for help months after you already should have. President Bush acquiesced this week and plans to submit a new resolution to the United Nations Security Council requesting a UN-backed force in Iraq. The resolution will be served with a helping of crow, since the Bush administration has snubbed the UN since the body refused to endorse the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But even if Bush asks nicely, will the UN respond? Considering other nations watch the news and see American and international troops being picked off by suicide bombers or snipers, no country is really clamoring to send its troops. (Ooh! Kill me! Kill me!) Expect whatever international force is cobbled together to look like the current NATO force in Kosovo. That international coalition is commanded by American military brass operating under a UN mandate. No unsightly blue helmets there.




It's really time to get that health insurance. Next time you're without health insurance and seek care at a hospital emergency room, you might be turned away. As of November 10, hospitals will not be required to have specialists "on call" 24 hours a day. According to a 1986 law, hospitals were required to treat everyone with an ache or pain who walked through the door. The law made for crowded ERs, critics said. Advocates claimed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act offered a health care safety net for the uninsured. Under the new law, if you find a cancer treatment center before you find an actual ER, keep walking. Only licensed emergency rooms are required to treat emergency patients. So take that bloody stump to the right place, buster. And don't bleed all over the clinic carpet.

Not so fast, Michael Powell. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay preventing media companies from owning both newspapers and TV stations in the same market. Back in June, the House of Representatives voted to block the Federal Communications Commission rule allowing a single company to own media outlets that reach up to 45 percent of the public. The Prometheus Radio Project, an organization that helps community radio stations obtain licenses, sought the stay. U.S. Senate is expected to vote on overturning the FCC rule this month. Between taking a beating in the House and a court order preventing the rule from taking effect, it might be time for media moguls to take their Wishlists off Amazon.




They can tell time in Africa? A recent survey indicates that 90 percent of AIDS patients in Africa take their medicine. In the United States, only 70 percent of those prescribed pills are popping them properly. The survey, taken in Botswana, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa counters the popular notion that it is unwise to send millions of doses of AIDS drugs to the continent. (Believe us, the notion is popular. In 2001, the director of the United States Agency for International Development said sending AIDS drugs to Africa "wouldn't work" because Africans "don't know what Western time is." Riiight. The Black Table doesn't even know what Western time is. Do the clocks run backwards in Africa or something?) Taking drugs properly is vital to combating the virus, which will mutate into an untreatable strain if given the opportunity.




Tired of getting ripped off by major labels? Universal Music is equally tired of you not buying its records, so the label is lowering the list price of many of its CDs to $12.98. The label is slashing the price on albums by both its current stable of artists (including Eminem, U2, 50 Cent, Beck, Elvis Costello, Weezer, and Trail of Dead, among others) as well as releases from its catalog (such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, The Police, The Velvet Underground, and anything Motown ever released). This might not tear the kids away from KaZaA, but it’s better than charging $16 a pop for technology introduced nearly 20 years ago.

Planet Earth. Brought to you by GE. Vivendi is chatting it up with GE, planning on merging Vivendi Universal Entertainment with NBC. GE would own 80 percent of the company and Vivendi would control 20 percent. NBC-Vivendi Universal Entertainment would contain not only the NBC network, but also USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Trio, Universal Pictures and Universal Television. And don't forget a stake in five theme parks and the Spanish-language network, Telemundo. All this for the low, low price of $3.8 billion, plus another $1.6 billion in debt that GE took off Vivendi's hands.




Egg on his face, or at least his jacket. California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarznegger was pelted with an egg just before a Wednesday speech at Cal State-Long Beach. Who knows what would have happened if Schwarznegger bothered to show up at the recall debate.

Yeah, but was any of it good? Americans spent $3.9 billion at the movies this summer, $332.7 million of which was on the Disney-Pixar vehicle "Finding Nemo," which is now the top-grossing animated feature of all time. For comparison, the summer's biggest flop was "Gigli" which somehow managed to gross $6.2 million. No word on anyone admitting they actually saw the movie, but that money must have come from somewhere. We're guessing Ben took Matt on several friend-dates.



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