What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
Aug. 12 2006 7:22 AM

The Zeitgeist Checklist

What Washington is talking about this week.

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1. NEW THIS WEEK[HARD UP ARROW]

Red Alert!
Homeland Security. British authorities arrest 24 suspected of plotting to blow up planes with liquid explosives; U.S. officials raise threat level to red for U.K. flights. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says this was much more serious than "a handful of people sitting around coming up with dreamy ideas about terrorist plots." He adds, "You know, like those bozos we rounded up in Miami." DHS bans hair gel on all U.S. flights, forcing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to cancel her travel schedule.

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2. Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 5 [SOFT DOWN ARROW]

Peace Nix Middle East. Israel moves more troops into Lebanon, Hezbollah fires more rockets into Israel, cease-fire talk remains a U.N. pipe dream. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice describes the situation as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East." In an unrelated story, the FDA debates over-the-counter sales of the morning-after birth control pill.

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3. Last week: 8 Weeks on list: 2 [HARD UP ARROW]

Tarnished I-Conn. Democrats. Left-wing challenger Ned Lamont upsets moderate Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., in primary, but Lieberman vows to run as an independent, complaining that mean-spirited extremists have taken over the Democratic Party. "Oh, really?" asks Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga. "Then how did I lose my primary?"

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4. Last week: 3 Weeks on list: 7 [SOFT DOWN ARROW]
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War, Yes; Civil, Not So Much Iraq. After a new surge in sectarian violence, U.S. and Iraqi troops launch Phase 2 of Operation Forward Together to secure Baghdad. Phase 1 fizzled after insurgents launched Operation You Get the Hell Out; We're Staying Right Here. President Bush says, "The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box," but some apparently want a recount.

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5. [REAPPEARING] HARD UP ARROW

He's No. 1!
Scandal. Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, the Jack Abramoff pal better known as "Representative #1," announces that he won't run for re-election so that he can spend more time with his lawyers. Ney relented after House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, warned him that he was jeopardizing his chances of making big bucks as a lobbyist. That's not a joke; that's what Boehner really said.

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6. Last week: 9 Weeks on list: 4 [SOFT UP ARROW]

House Party
Republicans. Polls show disgust with incumbents in general, GOP incumbents in particular. Even Republicans say they might lose the House if the Democrats run a smart campaign, although they burst into giggles when they say it. Meanwhile, right-wing challenger Tim Walberg upsets moderate Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., in a primary, but pundits are too busy debating whether the Democrats have left the mainstream to notice.

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7. [NEW THIS WEEK] HARD UP ARROW

Cracked Pipe
Energy. With oil prices already approaching record highs, BP shuts down its Prudhoe Bay drilling complex in Alaska after discovering corrosion in its pipeline. Fortunately, the United States isn't dependent on U.S. oil.

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8. [NEW THIS WEEK] HARD UP ARROW

9/11 + 5 Memory. Reminders of Sept. 11, 2001, are everywhere as the five-year anniversary approaches, including Oliver Stone's new movie, the new airline scare, and Republican warnings that Democrats are stuck in a "pre-9/11 mentality." They're apparently still nostalgic for a time when budgets were balanced, the economy was booming, and America was well-liked.

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9. [NEW THIS WEEK] HARD UP ARROW

Strock Out Katrina. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Army Corps of Engineers commander who recently admitted that his agency's faulty levees drowned New Orleans, resigns without fanfare on Thursday. By an amazing coincidence, Thursday was the day of the attention-grabbing terrorism alerts. In an equally amazing coincidence, the sun rose in the East again that day.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

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

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

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

How Punctual Are Germans?

  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
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  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
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  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.