What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
Dec. 1 2006 6:49 PM

Zeitgeist Checklist, Civil War Edition

What Washington is talking about this week.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule

1. Last Week: 1 Weeks on List: 23 FLAT ARROW
Advertisement

Amman, a Plan
Iraq. The administration gets huffy over the term "civil war." Its proposed alternative, "the War of Iraqi Aggression," hasn't caught on. President Bush meets with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Jordan, calling him "the right guy for Iraq"—immediately after a leaked memo by his national security adviser says exactly the opposite. The Iraq Study Group, meanwhile, takes a study break to pose for Annie Leibovitz in Men's Vogue. Expect to see James Baker cradling Lee Hamilton in his arms on a wind-swept dune while squinting into an Iraqi sunset. 

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
2. Last Week: 3 Weeks on List: 10 FLAT ARROW

George Allen Got Off Easy
Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejects Rep. Alcee Hastings' bid for intelligence-committee chair, saving herself potential embarrassment. In the other chamber, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb thinks his razor-thin victory was a mandate for attitude. In response to President Bush's question, "How's your boy?" Webb replies, "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President." Bush reminds self to find Webb fils a nice quiet patrolling gig in Ramadi.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
3. New This Week UP ARROW

He Knows It When He Sees It
Climate. The Supreme Court chambers heat up, as the justices hear arguments for enforcing vehicle-emissions standards. Scalia's rant alone, in which he reminds everyone he's "not a scientist" and therefore doesn't "want to have to deal with global warming," increases the nation's carbon footprint tenfold. Meanwhile, Al Gore promises Jay Leno an "uncut" edition of An Inconvenient Truth will feature "glacier on glacier action." If 2008 doesn't pan out, we hear there's an open spot at The Laugh Factory.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
4. New This Week UP ARROW

It's Hard Out Here for a Pope
Religion. Pope Benedict XVI visits Turkey to patch up that whole Islam v. Christianity thing. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to see the pope, except for a 20-minute hello at the airport. Benedict backs Turkey's bid for European Union membership, only to see the European Commission swat it down. Conclusion: Popin' ain't easy.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
5. Last Week: 9 Weeks on List: 2 UP ARROW

From Russia, With Polonium
Russia. Fallout over the death of poisoned former spy Alexander Litvinenko continues this week, as British officials demand answers from President Putin. A British probe discovers traces of polonium-210 on five planes—three British and two Russian. A shaken (not stirred) Tony Blair suggests he and Putin resolve this like real men, with a winner-take-all round of Texas Hold 'em.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
6. New This Week UP ARROW

Next Stop, Guinness
Pentagon. While defense secretary nominee Robert Gates opposes a fast exit from Iraq, President Bush opposes a fast exit for Donald Rumsfeld. According to Newsweek, Rumsfeld may stay at the Pentagon until after Dec. 29, in order to break Robert McNamara's record for consecutive days served. Why he wants people drawing McNamara comparisons right now is a mystery.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
7. New This Week UP ARROW

All I Want for Christmas Is My Enriched Uranium
North Korea. His nation crippled by trade sanctions, Kim Jong-il agrees to resume nuclear talks. Still, the United States twists the knife by banning export of iPods and other luxury goods to North Korea. Now, North Korean refugees will have to flee on foot instead of by Segway.

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
8. New This Week UP ARROW

Party Like It's 1959
Latin America. An ailing Fidel Castro kicks off his celebrity-studded 80th-birthday-party gala by not attending. Luckily, he can still watch it on every channel. A nearly victorious Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won't be able to attend either, citing a previous commitment to eliminate term limits. In Ecuador, economist and outspoken Bush critic Rafael Correa leads the polls; a victory would group him with Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales in opposing U.S. trade policies. Bush speechwriters look up Spanish for "axis of evil."

1_123125_2144105_zeitgeist_horiz_rule
9. Last Week: 7 Weeks on List: 4 DOWN ARROW

Off to the Races
2008. After declining to run for a third term in the Senate, Bill Frist throws in the towel, narrowing the shortlist of potential Republican presidential nominees to … everyone else. As Giuliani and McCain continue "testing the waters," Democratic Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack ignores the "No Running" sign and dives right in. Barack Obama announces plans to visit New Hampshire next month as part of an effort to gather support from grass-roots Democrats, party leadership, and Ludacris.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?