The Zeitgeist Checklist

Zeitgeist Checklist

What Washington is talking about this week.

War in Lebanon
Middle East. Hundreds are dead in Lebanon and Israel as fighting enters third week. Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki proves he’s no puppet by backing Hezbollah. Already alone in the world, the United States and Israel increase their isolation when Israeli airstrike kills four U.N. observers and Annan calls it deliberate.

War in Iraq
Iraq. A somber Bush, calling the situation “terrible,”proposes more troops for Baghdad after request from Maliki while on a Washington visit; the PM is overshadowed by release of book on Iraq, Fiasco, by the Washington Post’s Tom Ricks. Schumer boycott fails to halt Maliki speech to joint session of Congress. Dog days for Bush? Cindy Sheehan group buys land in Crawford, Texas.

War in Gaza
Middle East II. Hamas, already fighting Israel in the south when Hezbollah attacked in the north, pushes its way back into the Zeitgeist. Dozens dead. Al-Qaida’s Zawahiri, whose cave must have a recording studio, weighs in with a new video about the “Zionist-Crusader war.”

War in Rome Diplomacy. Rice flies to Kuala Lumpur and plays Brahms on piano for Southeast Asian leaders. But the secretary of state bombs in Rome, where U.S. resistance kills international effort to negotiate a cease-fire. The ivory tickler says it wouldn’t be “sustainable.”

War in Charlie Palmer’s
Republicans. Maryland Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele sets off a political whodunnit when he has lunch with reporters and, speaking anonymously, disses Bush and GOP over Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. Under pressure for calling Republican “R” a “scarlet letter,” he later outs himself.

War in Geneva
Trade. The five-year-old “Doha Round” of free-trade talks collapses in Geneva because of a hopeless divide over agricultural subsidies. The United States wants the EU, Japan, and India to cut tariffs; they want the United States to cut subsidies. The big loser, as always: poor nations.

War(rior) From Pennsylvania
Homeland Security. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., introduces legislation giving Congress power to sue Bush for “signing statements” that reinterpret laws. But administration doesn’t find Specter haunting: Civil libertarians say his proposed deal with White House over warrantless surveillance makes privacy safeguards worse, not better.

War on Drugs Sports. Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France, but his visit to the White House may be in jeopardy after a drug test finds he has too much testosterone. Bush, meantime, opens the executive mansion to American idol Taylor Hicks and nine runners up, who are suspected of dopiness but not doping.

War on Wal-Mart
Labor. Chicago’s City Council votes to hike minimum wage for big retailers to $10/hour—seen as a bid to block the first Wal-Mart set to open in the city, in September. The federal minimum wage remains at $5.15, but pre-election votes to raise it are coming despite GOP leadership opposition in Congress.

War on Mustaches
Bolton. The temporary permanent representative to the United Nations returns to the Senate seeking a contract extension. A shower pipe bursts, pouring water on the proceedings. Bolton’s diplomacy fails to make him more attractive to Democrats; maybe they want him to get a haircut and trim his mustache.