What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
July 22 2006 9:31 AM

The Zeitgeist Checklist

What Washington is talking about this week.

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1. Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 2 Flat Arrow
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Holy (Expletive)!
Middle East. Washington worries that Israel is on the road to Damascus as ground troops enter Lebanon, Beirut is crippled, and more rockets hit Haifa. U.S. greenlights Israel, to the consternation of Europe and the Kofi-klatch. Bush, thinking he's off-microphone, gives Syria some of the best off-color advice since Cheney met Leahy.

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2. Last week: 9 Weeks on list: 4 Strong UP arrow

Stillborn
Culture wars. Bush appeases base but hands Democrats a rare wedge issue to use against GOP candidates in midterms when he vetoes expanded research on embryonic stem cells. Americans—including Bill Frist, Orrin Hatch, and Nancy Reagan—disagree with Bush, 2-to-1, even though he surrounds himself with "snowflake" children adopted as embryos.

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3. Last week: 6 Weeks on list: 4 Soft UP arrow

Maybe They Double-Counted Zarqawi
Iraq. United Nations reports that 14,338 Iraqi civilians died violently in the first six months of 2006. In June, the rate was 100 a day. U.S. military reports that attacks actually increased after the June 14 security crackdown. Republicans tone down the war whoops that followed Zarqawi killing.

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4. New this week Soft UP arrow

Hands Off the Chancellor
Diplomacy. President Bush has always been known to suffer heavy jet lag, but it's getting out of hand. At G8, he's caught uttering a four-letter word to Blair— and he was talking with his mouth full. Then he surprises German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a quick, unsolicited massage—the most touch on the world stage since Condoleezza Rice traveled with British then-counterpart Jack Straw.

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5. Last week: 5 Weeks on list: 4 Soft DOWN arrow

Abramoff Rubbingoff
Scandal. Ralph Reed—ex-Christian Coalition chief, Bush White House darling, Georgia GOP kingpin—goes down hard in a primary for lieutenant governor. Reed's dip in the Abramoff Indian gambling swamp hands the nomination to an unknown. Meantime, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D), conqueror of Capitol Police, faces a primary runoff.

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6. New this week Strong UP arrow

Al Gore's Revenge
Weather. Would the world be cooler today if Justice Anthony Kennedy went the other way in Bush v. Gore? It certainly could not be any hotter, as temperatures approach triple digits in the capital, and pretty much everywhere else.

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7. New this week Soft UP arrow

Pander Not Accepted
Race. NAACP: National Association for the Admonition of Chastened Presidents? At the NAACP convention, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the like tee off on Bush, who ends his five-year boycott and does the compassionate conservative speech, with predictable results: awkward politeness, punctuated with boos and heckling. Oh, and the Voting Rights Act is being renewed.

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8. Last week: 7 Weeks on List: 3 Soft DOWN arrow

Get a Dog
Democrats. His prospects about as stable as a Boston highway tunnel, Joe Lieberman falls behind anti-war primary challenger Ned Lamont in Connecticut poll as Washington colleagues distance themselves. Bill Clinton will campaign for Lieberman Monday, but both he and Hillary say they'll support the primary winner in November.

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9. New this week Soft UP arrow

A Mission From God
Republicans. House GOP, with just five weeks left on its legislative calendar for all of 2006—yes, it's only July—holds a debate on a gay-marriage amendment to the Constitution, even though the Senate already killed it. Numerous proponents say they're doing the Lord's work, but a two-thirds majority cannot escape Satan's grip.

TODAY IN SLATE

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The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

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Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

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Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

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  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.