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  THE WEEKLY RUNDOWN FOR SEPTEMBER 19.  
   
   
   
 

 

What WMDs? Hans Blix, former UN chief weapons inspector, said Wednesday that the U.S. and British governments "over-interpreted" information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and used "spin" to convey this information to the public. Mr. Blix believes Saddam destroyed "all, almost" of Iraq's WMDS. Mr. Blix said there was no conclusive proof that Iraq had WMDs at the time the U.S. invaded the country.

You're kidding, right? President George W. Bush said Wednesday that there was no evidence Saddam Hussein was involved with Sept. 11, confusing the crap out of the vast majority of Americans. The president said, however, that Saddam was tied to Al Qaeda, the terrorist network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. The Black Table is confident that the Bush administration will continue to put Saddam in bed with Osama, no matter what the president says. It's a little late for this "new" information to come to light, man.

 

 
   
 

 

Not so total recall. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week to postpone the California recall election, originally scheduled for October 7. The court found that six counties in the state use punch card ballots, which the presidential election of 2000 proved completely unreliable. State officials asked the court to consider the ruling again en banc, meaning 11 judges will hear the case. California Secretary of State Kevin Shelly said in his appeal that federal law prohibits interference in an ongoing election, adding that 375,000 people already mailed in absentee ballots and the state has spent $30 million to $50 million. California is in danger of becoming a parody of itself, and The Black Table regrets that the state has so many votes in the electoral college. Those voters shouldn't be allowed to do anything.

 

 
   
 

 

We can't get enough David Blaine. (The Black Table can't believe it just said that.) Londoners continue to screw with David Blaine's tender mind. Thirteen days into his weird, I'm-not-going-to-eat-anything-for-44-days-ostensibly-to-make-you-forget-I'm-friends-with-Michael-Jackson stunt, Blaine -- who expects to "lose his mind" during the final 10 days of his stunt -- was taunted by Brits leaving their pubs in the middle of the night Wednesday. Blaine is in a clear box hanging over the Thames. Other anti-Blaine acts have included a helicopter dangling a cheeseburger in front of him, people whacking him with golf balls and drunken revelers pelting him with eggs. Some consider the vitriol aimed at Blaine an example of European anti-Americanism, but we can assure our brothers across the sea: We'd be throwing eggs at the guy too, if we could.

 

 
   
 

 

Nothing like a little public pressure. New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso was forced to resign Wednesday, as the criticism surrounding a roughly $190 million pay package rose to uncomfortable levels. The NYSE's board voted 13 to 7 against Grasso, who has worked at the exchange since 1968. Not only were people furious about the $140 million Grasso had earned over the course of his tenure as chairman, but the $48 million that Grasso magnanimously turned down failed to promote the image the NYSE sought. Even worse, the compensation committee that decided on these huge payouts was manned by Grasso's friends and the Wall Street CEO's he regulated. In 2001, Grasso made $30.6 million, $5 million of which was a bonus for Grasso's handling of the Exchange after Sept. 11, when he opened the markets the following Monday. The Black Table also returned to work that Monday, but have yet to receive $5 million for simply doing our job.

 

 
   
 

 

And then there were 10. Retired four-star general and NATO commander Wesley Clark announced his candidacy for president of the United States on Wednesday. Clark is viewed as a potential competitor to Bush, unlike most of the rest of the Democratic field. Will Dean followers transfer their affection to Clark? Will Carol Mosely-Braun just drop out already? This race could be sexier than The O.C. The Black Table can't wait.

 

*BT*

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