What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
July 8 2006 7:10 AM

The Zeitgeist Checklist

What Washington is talking about this week.

(Continued from Page 1)
6. Pump It Up

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Economy: Oil prices reach new records, which means gasoline prices—one of the biggest drags on Bush's approval rating—are sure to follow. The high fuel prices are worrying employers, who issued profit warnings and hired fewer workers in June than Wall Street had expected. "Good news," Bush says of the jobs report.

7. Fratricide

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Democrats: Bush and the Republicans might be undone by Iraq, North Korea, and gas prices, but the opposition party is doing its best to self-destruct. In New Jersey, a shutdown of the state government by Democrats could sink appointed Sen. Bob Menendez's prospects in November. In Connecticut, beleaguered Sen. Joseph Lieberman threatens to run as an independent if he's beaten by an anti-war candidate in the Democratic primary.

8. What Liberal Judges?

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Culture wars: Top courts in Georgia and New York rule against gay marriage. The Georgia court reinstates a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, while New York rules that gay marriage is illegal. But the legal victories for religious conservatives could be a political burden: It's difficult to campaign against activist judges if the activist judges have done what you want.

9. Lighting the Candle

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Space: Bush, playing Yankee Doodle Dandy, celebrates his 60th birthday two days early, on the Fourth of July. NASA chooses the same patriotic day to return the space shuttle to orbit—and mercifully it has better luck than the North Koreans. Washington anxiously watches Discovery's 12-day mission: Another mishap would doom the entire shuttle program.

10. Old Europe, Renewed

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Soccer: The World Cup must be terribly dispiriting to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. After an all-Old-Europe semifinal round, it's de Villepin's France against Prodi's Italy in Sunday's final.

The Zeitgeist Checklist also appears in the Washington Post's Outlook section.