Washington DC Buzz – week ending July 15

July 15, 2006

From Slate.com

DC cap

The Zeitgeist Checklist
What Washington is talking about this week.
By Dana Milbank
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006, at 12:52 AM ET

A Foul Whiff of Freedom
Something is spreading in the region, and it isn’t democracy. White House blames Iran and Syria for Hezbollah raid into Israel, which bombs Beirut airport, Lebanese bases, and TV station. While Israel also fights Hamas in Gaza and rockets reach Haifa, Bush vows to send Iran’s nuke program to the Security Council. Does a regional apocalypse loom? Oil: $77 a barrel. Gas: Fuhgedaboudit.

Cruel: More Unusual
Bush’s moves to give Geneva Conventions rights to terrorism detainees and to subject his warrantless wiretapping program to court review are seen on the Hill as major caves. Meantime, judicial nomination of Pentagon counsel William Haynes founders over his role in torture memos. Has Congress found its nerve? Don’t count on it: A forum at the center-right American Enterprise Institute finds that Congress is at its wimpiest and most dysfunctional in more than a century.

Next Time, We’ll Really, Really Mean It
North Korea. Kim Jong-il appears to have called the U.S. bluff successfully. American and Japanese efforts to punish the Korean for his missile tests remain deadlocked as the Chinese and Russians push a softer Security Council resolution.

All Terrorism Is Local
Homeland Security. India blames Kashmir rebels for bombs on trains in Mumbai (née Bombay), but New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, taking no chances, step up mass-transit security. Senate Republicans join the Bush administration in concluding N.Y. and D.C. are not in harm’s way: The chamber knocks down an attempt to restore $750 million in anti-terrorism money taken from the two for the likes of Omaha. Internal review finds DHS thinks a mule festival, ice-cream parlor, and kangaroo conservation center are all critical terrorism targets.

He’s No Judy Miller
Scandal. Columnist Bob Novak, whose story about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson started the CIA leak case, confesses that he outed his sources to Fitzgerald. Further indictments are unlikely—but Wilson and Plame try to keep hope alive by filing a civil suit against Cheney, Rove, and Libby.
Crime Emergency
Iraq. In observance of a visit by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the sectarian violence spreads to horrendous new levels as scores are killed in one of the bloodiest weeks yet. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announces a trip to Washington later this month, but we have our own problems: Police Chief Ramsey declares his own “crime emergency” because of 14 killings this month and robberies on the National Mall.

Chilling Effect
Democrats. Court gives Congress—not to mention Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.,—the cold shoulder, deciding it was OK for the administration to search Jefferson’s office after $90,000 of alleged bribe money was found in his freezer. Bad for House GOP leadership’s balance-of-power claims; good for GOP midterm campaigns.

Tubes and Trucks
Technology. The tech world is fascinated by Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail about how Internet retailers are spurring a revival of niche products. But Washington, sans Al Gore, isn’t so savvy. The House votes to crack down on online gambling. And Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, announces at a hearing that the Internet is “not a big truck” but a “series of tubes.” Further, he discloses, “an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I got it yesterday.”
Now Where Is That Veto Stamp?
Culture wars. President Bush has been in office for five and a half years without vetoing a single piece of legislation. But he’s threatened to veto legislation expanding federal support for stem-cell research. The House has already passed a bill defying Bush, and the Senate takes it up this week after overcoming reluctance to debate a social issue that favors Democrats.

Great Expectations
Economy. Stocks plunge over oil fears while Bush gets little credit for a bullish budget forecast. Everybody downplays the crowing after economists friendly to Bush call a lower deficit forecast the result of earlier, inflated forecasts. A reminder that Medicare and Social Security are going bust comes in paragraph 31 of Bush’s 39-paragraph East Room speech.

Dana Milbank writes the Washington Post‘s Washington Sketch column.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2145775/

Copyright 2006 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

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One Response to “Washington DC Buzz – week ending July 15”

  1. Lilyana Betancourt Says:

    If we as citizens of this great country, do not already know the catastrophic “human-economic holocaust” the elimination of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going to cause by 2040 to our senior citizens and the sacrificing workers of today, who will be reaching the 65 years mark by that year… with no hope in site – that is… unless we all strongly demand from our Congressmen through our votes and exposition in the press of what they are doing on behalf and for their people, to strengthen, not eliminating these much needed social-health plans. If they do not stand strong to carry our message to the government – Congress – loud and clear… about the need to maintain Social Sec., Medicare and Medicaid benefit plans strong and working… Low income men and women workers, will never have enough money to put away for their future needs… (specially paying for health plans, etc.)… with the prices going up everyday – specially for children education, housing, taxes, food, clothing, and taxes… taxes everywhere…but specially the private HMO health plans which are just another Mogul business making big money… for which the government should make them pay higher taxes on their multi-billion gains. Probably this way Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would guaratee their existence forever… they will never face “extinction”… they would only grow in services offered and get stronger and stronger monetarily speaking. – Taxes rates for the majority of these inescrupulous health plans should be raised – and government should closely monitor the settlement of claims submmited by their clients or patients, which we know always favor the company. The regular patient/client usually doesn’t have the means to fight against these “monsters”. WE,The People should strongly demand from our Congressmen, through our votes, to uphold the only government plan that has worked for our working people, specially when you get old, you are poor, and the health needs cannot be met without this important help. I would urge people to write… to come out and openly challenge these Congressmen capacities and abilities to defend our rights against abuse and irresponsible actions being taken against us by government officials without considering the adverse and irreversible catastrophic impact they are going to cause to our society. If, We the People want to become another third world country… then let’s keep our mouths shut forever. AS BRAVE PEOPLE…WE MUST STAND UP AND BE COUNTED NOW. Let’s tell our government to
    stop taking money away from our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Funds… as well as from many other social/environmental/health plans to help pay for wars abroad…and upgrading other enemy countries economies… when our country’s economy is going down the drain fastttttttttt… We all know that if we don’t stop it from falling… nobody in the world will. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

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