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  INCOMING! APRIL 19, 2004.  


You probably saw Kill Bill: Volume 2 already -- the film took in an estimated $25.6 million over the weekend. But forget Vol. 2.


Consider Vol. 1, which sold two million DVDs its first day of release last week. Proving once again that nothing piques the pocketbook like hot women with swords.

While we douse ourselves in stylistic violence, it's still the real deal in the Middle East. Israel's military knocked off Abdel Aziz Rantisi in a missile strike on the Gaza Strip. Rantisi is a leader of Hamas, that Palestinian militant group that helps keep things so unstable in that part of the world. The missile strike doesn't necessarily jive well with


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to pull Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip. President Bush supports the withdrawal and says the United States will support military action in the region if Israel feels threatened. So in one way, taking the Jews out of land the Palestinians claim is theirs is a nod to them. But in another way, it offers Israel carte blanche military action. Either way, it's going to be a hot week in Israel and Palestine.



President Bush is kinda, sorta on trial at the Supreme Court. Starting today, the court will hear three cases concerning the detention of


"enemy combatants" in Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. Cases like this are exactly what your social studies teachers were talking about when you learned the term "separation of powers." The prisoners feel the Bush Administration cannot imprison an American citizen as an "enemy combatant" without charging him with a crime or providing adequate legal counsel. The Bush legal team claims that the court system has no authority in these matters whatsoever, that court intervention is tantamount to "second-guessing" or "micromanaging." This case is a big one, folks. It is one of the most significant challenges to presidential authority in recent memory. However,


since the Bush Administration says the U.S. court system is not to be accessed by the enemy combatants (even if they are American citizens, the "enemy combatant" status nullifies those rights), who knows how binding any decision will be?



If you think you look better backlit by a blue glow, don't worry. It'll all be over soon. It's TV Turnoff Week 2004. The folks at Adbusters


see TV Turnoff Week as a way to deny the corporate-owned mass media your eyeballs for seven days. However, the organization that started the whole thing back in 1994, TV-Turnoff Network, sees the week as a way for families "to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities." So which is cooler? Not watching TV in order to stick it to the man or not watching TV in order to get off your ass? Good thing "The Apprentice" is over. But considering that a TV is on in the average American home for over 7 hours a day, what on earth are we going to do with ourselves?





Presidential hopeful John Kerry is in the belly of the beast on Thursday, pointlessly campaigning in Texas. George W. Bush took 59


percent of the vote there in 2000 (Gore got 38 percent) and will most likely repeat his performance in this Republican hothouse. Though recent immigrants could be a good vote for Kerry, Bush struck a preemptive blow in January by offering a "temporary worker program" granting legal status to undocumented workers in the United States. The plan was a huge hit with illegal immigrants, or at least those who cross the border from Mexico into Texas. Can Kerry compete with that? Probably not, but since he's doing a "gala fundraiser" in Houston, the closest he's likely to get to undocumented workers is when exiting through the kitchen.





What's *even* more boring than football? The 2004 NFL draft.

Beginning at noon on Saturday and droning on for ten hours, NFL fans will be amazed, enlightened and entertained by … a guy reading


a list of names. That's it. And there's even several hours more on Sunday! Explaining the significance of these names to slack-jawed obsessives is Mel Kiper Jr, ESPN's draft analyst since 1984. This guy's entire career revolves around one weekend a year. You'd think he would alter his Liberace hairstyle for the occasion, but Mel is too busy watching 20 to 25 college football games a week to worry about such things. If you aspire to other things, like a regular sex life or healthy-looking skin, the NFL draft is not for you. The Black Table recommends going outside and taking a walk in the sun. Or at least watching a sporting event where a game is actually played. Trust us. You'll like it.


However, free tickets to the event are available at the Madison Square Box Office first-come, first-serve on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. We hear the draft sucks live, though.


INCOMING! will run every Monday on The Black Table, starting, well, now. Writers will be rotated, and if you're interested in contributing one, email Will Leitch at