What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
Dec. 22 2006 6:22 PM

Zeitgeist Checklist, Miss USA Edition

What Washington is talking about this week.

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1. Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 26 [FLAT]

Surge Suppressors
Iraq. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell joins the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 88 percent of the public in opposing a "surge" of new troops. At his end-of-the-year news conference, President Bush says he'll think seriously about scrapping the idea, because he's recently decided to start giving a rat's ass what Colin Powell thinks. It should happen shortly after he makes Britney Spears his undersecretary for undergarments.

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2. New This Week [UP ARROW]

Not to Mention Leaving
White House. In a surprising reversal, Bush finally informs the nation we're not winning in Iraq. He then provides the nation with an equally surprising list of other things we're not doing in Iraq, including Jello-wrestling, cow-tipping, Zamboni-driving, and learning.

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3. New This Week [UP ARROW]
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It's Still Got Northern Charm
Global Warming. A new study by the National Arbor Day Association finds that climate change has given Washington, D.C., a distinctly Southern climate. Skeptics point out that if the District were really part of the South, Democrats wouldn't keep winning here.

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4. New This Week [UP ARROW]

You May Already Be a Winner!
Media. Taking the indulgence of the American consumer to its logical extreme, Time magazine selects"You" as its Person of the Year. Never before has the Person of the Year spent so much time sitting around the house in his underwear, eating Cheetos, and watching Flavor of Love. Seriously, Time hasn't chosen someone this inept, incurious, self-satisfied, self-deluded, and clueless about the outside world since 2004.

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5. Last week: 6 Weeks on list: 7 [UP ARROW]

Bayh Week
2008. Virginia's own James S. Gilmore III is the latest GOP presidential candidate to consider an exploratory committee. Its first task will be to explore who exactly is James S. Gilmore III. On the Democratic side, after Evan Bayh drops out of the race, early polls suggest that John Edwards is the front-runner in Iowa, Barack Obama is strong in South Carolina, and Dennis Kucinich is still competitive in the Kucinich household.

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6. Last week: 10 Weeks on list: 2 [UP ARROW]

The Answer to What?
Sports. Allen Iverson, the NBA's No. 2 scorer, joins No. 1 scorer Carmelo Anthony on the Denver Nuggets. The two superstars both pledge to be team players, although for some reason their coach has started calling them "Eisner" and "Ovitz." Of course, Anthony was suspended after his team's recent brawl with the hapless New York Knicks, but he may be appealing. Incidentally, that was the first time during the Isiah Thomas Era that the words appealing and Knicks appeared in the same sentence.

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7. New This Week [UP ARROW]

And the DUIs Were Mostly Nicole Richie
Crime. The FBI reports a nationwide increase in crime in the first six months of 2006, including a whopping 7 percent increase in robberies. However, the increase is only 4.2 percent if you exclude members of Congress and the Cincinnati Bengals.

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

These Days, It's Always March
Death. Turkmenistan's brutal dictator-for-life, Saparmurat Niyazov, is no longer dictator. He was best known for naming months after his friends and relatives, such as Sanguinary and Dismember. Not to be outdone, Bush plans to honor Vice President Cheney and former press secretary Ari Fleischer with the new months of Coronary and YouLie.

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9. New This Week [UP ARROW]

Mel Gibson, Call Your Agent!
Books. Literatrix Judith Regan, after failing to publish O.J. Simpson's If I Did It, is fired after reportedly blaming a "Jewish cabal" at HarperCollins. She receives a sympathy card from Jimmy Carter, who blames a similar cabal at Simon & Schuster for rejecting the original title of his latest book: Palestine: Jews Gone Wild.

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10. New This Week [UP ARROW]

You're Tired
Celebrity. Donald Trump nearly fires Miss USA for partying too hard in New York, then announces he's changed his mind because he's "a believer in second chances." So are his creditors! But seriously, what New Yorker could have expected a 20-year-old beauty queen to hit the bars? What's next, a taxi driver failing to use his turn signal?

Michael Grunwald, a staff reporter for the Washington Post, is the author of The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise.

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?

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