The Week/the Spin

Cease Fire When Ready

Eggs do not significantly increase cholesterol levels. A study of 16,000 adults found that consuming four or more eggs a week did not raise cholesterol levels. The finding caps a growing body of evidence that eggs—denounced by cardiologists since the 1970s—contribute far less to heart attacks than overall fat intake does. Two weeks ago, the American Heart Association increased its recommended weekly egg allowance from three to seven. Egg industry’s spin: The research has been clear for more than a decade, but health activists don’t like admitting they’ve been wrong.

Wall Street bounced back from Wednesday’s plunge. After dropping below 10,000 for the first time since March, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied 1.7 percent Thursday, closing at 10,143. The Nasdaq surged 7.8 percent, after dropping 1.1 percent Wednesday. Bullish spin: Investors think tech stocks are a bargain. The market bottomed out. Bearish spin: Let’s wait a few days before jumping to conclusions. (Click here to read Slate’s “Moneybox” on the sub-10,000 Dow.)

A firefight punctured the Middle East cease-fire. A battle between Israeli helicopters and Palestinian gunmen threatened the truce agreed to by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat earlier this week. Israel has already opened the Palestinians’ airport as part of the agreement. Israel’s spin: Arafat is ignoring the cease-fire. Hamas’ spin: Arafat can make any deal he wants to; it doesn’t apply to us. U.S. pundits’ spin: Arafat should have taken control of part of Jerusalem when Barak offered it. Now he’ll never get it. (To read Anne Applebaum on the hopelessness of Middle East diplomacy, click here; to read about coverage of the Middle East in “International Papers,” click here.)

The United States will ease sanctions on food sales to Cuba. The bill—which passed the Senate and awaits President Clinton’s signature— eliminates sanctions but limits options for financing future sales. Agriculture lobby’s spin: By forcing Cuba to pay in cash or with foreign loans, this bill effectively keeps the sanctions in place. Fidel Castro’s spin: What makes the United States think we want its food? George W. Bush’s spin: Easing sanctions is unjustified. We should give Castro no quarter.

George W. Bush and Al Gore held a contentious final debate. Gore ratcheted up his sedate second-debate performance, using the open-floor format to directly address audience members and, occasionally, to invade Bush’s personal space. (Read a transcript here.) Bush countered Gore’s policy-laden answers by focusing on themes like small government and taxpayer relief. Democrats’ Goldilocks spin: Gore’s manner was too heated the first time out, too cold the second. This time, he got it just right. GOP’s spin: Bush’s last-minute cramming paid off—he’s now better spoken than ever before and more assured. Non-partisan spin: Gore won on points, but voters may take to Bush’s calm optimism. Americans’ spin: You mean there was a debate during Tuesday night’s playoff game? (To read Jacob Weisberg’s instant analysis of the debate, click here; for William Saletan’s take, click here.)

Two New York teams will meet in the World Series for the first time since 1956. The Yankees topped the Seattle Mariners four games to two on David Justice’s seventh-inning home run, while the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals four games to one. It is the first time the two franchises have faced off in the Series; the Yankees will be shooting for their third consecutive championship. Tabloids’ spin: “Burly men danced like Rockettes on dozens of bars from the Bronx to Brooklyn, and strangers hugged one another like someone just won a war.” TV executives’ spin: A Subway Series will be great for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but a regional contest means lousy national ratings. (To read “Sports Nut” on the Yankees’ mind games, click here.)

Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan died. Carnahan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, was in a dead heat with incumbent Republican John Ashcroft when his private plane crashed en route to a campaign rally. The St. Louis presidential debate went forward Tuesday night as planned. Carnahan’s name will remain on the ballot. Analysts’ spin: The Democrats’ chances of winning a Senate majority just dropped from 25 percent to 10 percent. And Joe Lieberman’s refusal to let another Democrat run for his Senate seat in Connecticut doesn’t help.

Yemeni authorities found an abandoned house with bomb-making materials. They also found an abandoned vehicle with a boat trailer. Osama Bin Laden issued a statement warning the United States not to bomb him in reprisal for last week’s attack on the U.S.S. Cole, which killed 17 sailors. U.S. spin: Yemen is finally cooperating with our investigation.

Scientists discovered that chicken soup is good for colds. The study, published  in the journal Chest, found that many ingredients in chicken soup—both homemade and commercial—have an anti-inflammatory effect and fight the body’s production of excess mucous. Researchers’ spin: “The present study suggests that chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity.” Furthermore, “If you know somebody prepared soup for you by hand, that might have an effect.” Translators’ spin: Grandma was right.

The Nation of Islam held a “Million Family March” in Washington, D.C. The event, held on the fifth anniversary of the Nation’s “Million Man March,” was described as peaceful, interdenominational, and sparsely attended. Dozens of couples were married in a mass ceremony. Vendors’ spin: Get yer official Million Family March athletic shoes! Al Sharpton’s spin: “We stand here today to talk about real family values.” Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s spin: “If I stood up [at the march] and said, ‘I regret saying that there is Jewish control over black artists and black athletes and black professionals,’ I would be lying. The Jewish people have that kind of control.” (To read a “Gist” on the Nation of Islam, click here.)