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Citizens left the city in droves as August began, apparently fleeing the cloud of uncertainty that seemed to have settled over the city. Governor Spitzer called the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Joe Bruno investigation “unnecessary,” then offered to testify under oath. The families of 9/11 victims were told that this year’s anniversary would not be marked at ground zero, but then it was announced they’d convene at a spot overlooking the site. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid was either staggering (one set of polls showed Barack Obama’s numbers surging in New Hampshire and South Carolina) or swaggering (another showed Clinton with a two-to-one lead over her rival). Fellow senator (and regular guy) Chuck Schumer took a stand against raising taxes on hedge-fund billionaires. The Jamaica Bay marshlands were reported to be on the verge of extinction, perhaps because of smog emitted by Mayor Bloomberg, who was busted hitching SUV rides to his morning subway commute. The city, pushing breast-feeding, removed baby food from the goody bags given to new moms at city-run hospitals. In other family news, Elmo and Big Bird’s Fisher-Price likenesses were recalled after having been found to contain lead. So were two alleged Albanian extortionists; when they came to the doorstep of a Queens man who said they were threatening him, he shot them. The Mets failed to land reliever Eric Gagne (he went to the Bosox), who might have helped Tom Glavine get his 300th win; in his first shot at it, Glavine left with the lead, but the bullpen blew it. Whoopi Goldberg signed on to chew the fat on The View, while Star Jones finally confessed that stapling was the magic behind her adipose disappearing act. Nicole Richie plopped down on Good Morning America’s Times Square couch to admit that she has a bun in the oven. Metaphorical bantamweight Jimmy Fallon was rumored to be the next Conan, while onetime Tomorrow host Tom Snyder passed away at 71. And—after months of uncertainty—Rupert Murdoch landed The Wall Street Journal.

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