What Washington is talking about this week.

What Washington is talking about.
Jan. 13 2007 6:51 AM

Zeitgeist Checklist, Escalation/Surge Edition

What Washington is talking about this week.

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1. Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 29 [FLAT ARROW]

Mahdi Blah Iraq. As Sunni insurgents and the Shiite Mahdi Army step up their attacks in Baghdad, President Bush announces his plan to send 21,500 more troops to provide security. It's not clear who will enjoy this security, but it won't be those 21,500 troops. Lexicographers debate whether to call this a surge or an escalation, but ultimately agree on catastrophe. Bush also warns Americans not to expect a traditional victory in Iraq, with U.S. generals accepting an unconditional surrender on a battleship. Thanks for the warning, Mr. President, but we weren't really expecting that.

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2. Last week: 2 Weeks on list: 5 [FLAT ARROW]

The Symbolic Congress
Democrats. Instead of trying to use their new power to try to stop the surge, congressional Democrats intend to express their strong opposition to the plan through a series of symbolic votes, to remind Americans that this is George W. Bush's war. Because most of us were laboring under the impression that this was Millard Fillmore's war. Some critics believe that after their election victories, Democrats must do more than stand on the sidelines and whine about Bush. Then again, that's all they did for the past six years, and Americans seemed to approve in November.

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3. [NEW THIS WEEK]

Surgin' General Pentagon. The new U.S. commander in Iraq will be Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, a widely respected military thinker renowned for his honesty, realism, and expertise in fighting counterinsurgencies. Bush insists that the choice is an aberration, and will not disrupt his ongoing efforts to surround himself with incompetent yes men.

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4. [NEW THIS WEEK]

Bomb Deal Somalia. U.S. warplanes drop bombs and fire missiles onto several towns and villages in southern Somalia. Bush explains that the airstrikes were unavoidable once the CIA confirmed the existence of weapons of mass destruction in northern Liechtenstein.

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5. [NEW THIS WEEK]


Defense Lawyer Sold Separately
Technology. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs wows the tech world with the new iPhone, a combination wireless phone, Web browser, digital music player, StairMaster, curling iron, and Fry-o-Lator. Jobs says the fully equipped phone won't be ready until June, but some of the options could be backdated.

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6. [NEW THIS WEEK]

Spend It Like Beckham
Sports. British footballer David Beckham is coming to America, after signing a five-year, $250 million contract to run Home Depot. Ha! We joke. He's getting all that money to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy, a team nobody has heard of in Los Angeles, or anywhere else in the galaxy. Beckham's brand of football is different from "American football," because players can't catch the ball or tackle their opponents. In the United States, that's known as "Redskins football."

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7. [NEW THIS WEEK]


Feeling Hot Hot Hot
Climate. Scientists report that 2006 was the hottest year on record, and the Bush administration finally admits that manmade global warming is contributing to the problem. Some analysts believe that the president may even consider supporting some modest bipartisan actions to address climate change, although these analysts also believe that Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump may decide to iron out their differences over a romantic weekend in Oahu. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats announce plans to express their strong opposition to the heat through a series of symbolic votes.

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8. Last week: 3 Weeks on list: 10 [DOWN ARROW]


Rebutton That Shirt, Dennis Kucinich!
2008. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., announces his presidential candidacy by calling Don Imus, a venue befitting his long-shot candidacy. Next week, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., plans to enter the race by telling the guy behind the counter at his local Arby's. But the big campaign news is all the media attention that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., gets after he's photographed shirtless. The Zeitgeist sincerely hopes that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson didn't read that last sentence.

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9. [NEW THIS WEEK]

Kerry Could Use Some Help, Too Sports That Americans Like. Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn are elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, but suspected steroid user Mark McGwire is shunned for stonewalling a congressional inquiry by refusing to talk about the past. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice immediately hires McGwire as a consultant.

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10. [NEW THIS WEEK]

It Wasn't the Knicks? Homeland Security. Urbanites scramble for indoor cover after a foul odor wafts through New York City. They calm down after extensive monitoring rules out a chemical or biological attack, and ultimately identifies the odor as New York City.

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

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