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Something to be thankful for. Turkey will send up to 10,000 troops to Iraq following a parliamentary vote on Tuesday. The coalition of the willing seems less euphemistic now, doesn't it? Iraqis aren't so keen on the idea, given the two nations' contentious relations over the past, say, hundreds of years. The Turks, formerly known as the Ottomans (as in "Ottoman Empire"), have been to Iraq before, also as an occupying force. They showed up in 1532 and stayed until 1918. It'll be like old dictators coming for a visit. At least our guys'll have a little help. Now there's someone else to snipe at.

They're showing you the exit sign, Rummy. Remember that birthday party in grade school you weren't invited to? (Or did that just happen to The Black Table?) That's how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is feeling these days. Seems that no one told Rumsfeld that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is in charge of a committee to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan. Plus, he's not even a part of it. Rumsfeld tried to play it off to foreign reporters that the whole thing was nothing new. When pressed, Rummy snapped at one German journo, "I said I don't know. Isn't that clear? You don't understand English?" This is why people hate America. Or at least it's why they hate Donald Rumsfeld.




Secede, California. Please. Arnold Schwarzenegger was… Sorry. This is hard. The people of California elected Arn… Okay, deep breath. And exhale. Ah. The new governor of California is actor-cum-politico Arnold Schwarz… The Black Table just can't say it. And since you already know all about it anyway, we'll skip over the awful parts. We just wanted to denote the exact moment democracy in this country was replaced with idiocy.

Philadelphia: The Noir Movie. The office of Philadelphia Mayor John Street is being bugged by the FBI. In a regular sweep of City Hall, Philly police found the listening device, a discovery that prompted the FBI to admit it was investigating corruption and fraud in city government. Glad the FBI now knows what Philadelphians have known since John Street was barely elected in 1999: Philadelphia is in a union death grip and city contracts make for some dirty business. (Half of The Black Table editors are from the Philly area, so we can say what we want) Oh, and Street's up for reelection in November. This should be good.




It's the holidays. Time to blow shit up. A suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel, that killed 19 people on Saturday (amid the Jewish high holidays) prompted a missile attack against Syria on Sunday. Though the group Islamic Jihad did the initial attack, the Israeli government said the strike on Syria was against a terrorist camp used to train suicide bombers. Fortunately, Syria opted to takes its beef to the UN Security Council, instead of bombing right back. Supporters of Israel say that such a response to terrorism is the only thing that will scare Syria into not supporting Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other militant groups. Detractors fear if Israel doesn't watch where it shoots, things could get a lot worse. The Black Table left the roadmap to peace at the last rest stop and now has no idea where it's going.




This money makes us feel all metrosexual. The new $20 bill was issued Thursday, a stunning spectrum of blue, green and peach. Sounds like a playroom for retarded kids. Or perhaps the Treasury Department received a visit from "Queer Eye from the Straight Guy." The new bills will make it even tougher for Kinko's employees to counterfeit, according to the government. The Black Table is accepting all old, useless twenties at its Manhattan headquarters, where they will be used to make trucker hats, lamps, soap and booze.




National freakshow evicted from tiger apartment. Antoine Yates, the complete weirdo who kept a lion, a tiger and who knows what else in his Harlem apartment, was evicted Wednesday. The Black Table hopes Yates is an example to anyone else this stupid who might possibly be wasting our valuable oxygen.



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