What's really happening in Washington this week.

A political calendar.
March 27 2006 6:07 AM

The Dick Cheney Comedy Hour

What's really happening in Washington this week.

Monday

Judiciary chairman hijacked; president flees country: Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has one last chance on Monday to prevent immigration legislation from being hijacked by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as part of his 2008 presidential campaign. Specter has scheduled a final "markup" of his legislation, which would couple the border crackdown conservatives crave with a plan to let millions of illegal immigrants stay. Earlier this month, Frist put the legislative equivalent of a gun to his head, introducing his own proposal that, out of respect for the wishes of GOP primary voters, skips the guest-worker plan and just goes for the crackdown. Either way, the full Senate takes up immigration on Tuesday, starting what is expected to be a two-week debate.

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President Bush, who favors a guest-worker provision, on Thursday emigrates to Cancun, Mexico, for two days of meetings with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The subject of immigration just might come up. While at the Mexican resort, Bush might also get a clinic from his Mexican counterpart on hurricane recovery: In contrast to New Orleans, Cancun, clobbered by Hurricane Wilma, has moved quickly to rebuild.

The Abramoff antidote: Fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff has a sentencing hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Miami. On Monday, the Senate tries again to pass lobbying reform, and Rules Committee Chairman Trent Lott, R-Miss., thinks he can guide the measure through the chamber in just one day. The legislation would bar lawmakers from accepting meals or gifts from registered lobbyists, and reform-minded senators may try to create an independent Office of Public Integrity or impose a ban on travel on corporate jets. The proposal isn't as tough as was once contemplated, but Lott sees hardship aplenty. "We would give up any pay, any outside food," he said in a recent speech. "We would live in the Russell compound. We would have no conjugal visits. And for 15 minutes a day we would go out into the courtyard, which we would use to confess our sins and flagellate ourselves."

Tuesday

Traffic court: Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the alleged driver for Osama Bin Laden, has a big court date today (not that he'll be allowed to attend, being locked up in Guantanamo). The Supreme Court, in the much-anticipated Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, will consider the constitutionality of the military tribunal the Bush administration has proposed for him. The justices, in the special, extra-long 90-minute argument, will also consider the reach of a new law passed by Congress stripping the courts of their authority to review the legality of the military trials.

Onward Christian voters: The rest of the country may be talking about Iraq, but deposed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park to give his thoughts on "The War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006." That's the title of a two-day conference sponsored by a group called Vision America, which will also be hearing from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas. Among the hardy perennials to be debated: "ACLU and Radical Secularism: Driving God From Our Public Life" and "The News Media Megaphone for Anti-Faith Values."

Reporters on the whiskey trail: The National Press Club, with an assist from Maker's Mark distillers, upholds the profession's honor with a postdeadline whiskey tasting at 7 p.m. Members: $5. Nonmembers: $10.

Wednesday

Dick Cheney, comedian: The vice president's comic genius has not, until now, been fully appreciated. But last week came the leaked copy of Cheney's demands for his hotel rooms: all lights on, thermostat at 68, televisions tuned to Fox News, four cans of Diet Sprite, four to six bottles of water (plus some Calistoga or Perrier if Mrs. Cheney is traveling), a fresh pot of decaf coffee, and directions to the ice machine. And tonight, Cheney appears at the 62nd Annual Radio-Television Correspondents' Association Dinner, where he will be expected to perform his standup routine. The Harry Whittington jokes should really slay 'em.  

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.