The Zeitgeist Checklist BY MICHAEL GRUNWALD
The Zeitgeist Checklist BY MICHAEL GRUNWALD

Sunday, August 6, 2006

OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME!

Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 4

1Middle East. Fighting intensifies in Lebanon, as dozens of innocents die, but President Bush senses a "moment of opportunity." Linguists note that in Chinese, the character for "opportunity" also means "quagmire." And "Hezbollah" means "Party of Mel Gibson."

IT'S GETTING HOT IN HERE

Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1

2Weather. Triple-digit temperatures bake the capital, straining the power grid, forcing Congress to dim its lights halfway. Policy experts ask: Why not all the way? The nationwide heat wave fires up the debate over global warming, as climatologists blame the problem on carbon emissions. Mel Gibson blames the Jews.

BRINKSMANSHIP

Last week: 2 Weeks on list: 6

3Iraq. Army Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, says Iraq is on the brink of civil war. Abizaid also says the insurgency has "a lot of resiliency," which linguists note is not a synonym for "in its last throes." Meanwhile, International Crisis Group calls July "the grimmest month for conflict prevention around the world," citing crises in North Korea, Somalia and Sudan, as well as the Middle East. Mel Gibson's publicist claims he meant to blame all this bloodshed on "the Druze."

THE PASSION OF THE SCHNOOK

Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1

4Mel-tdown. Drunken-driver Mel Gibson offers provocative theory that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." A brief furor erupts when it is revealed that police cleaned up the arresting officer's report, particularly the part where Gibson elaborated on Jewish aggression in the Punic Wars, the War of Jenkins' Ear and the defeat of the Persians at Thermopylae, which Gibson claimed "involved a couple of guys named Goldfarb." Still, Gibson insists he is not an anti-Semite, blaming his tirade on his struggles with alcoholism and depression, and also on his hatred of Jews.

WEEKEND AT FIDEL'S

Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1

5Cuba. Fidel Castro fails to appear in public after surgery. The government says his condition is a state secret, but some Cuba watchers wonder whether that condition is "dead." Other Cuba watchers are starting to suspect that Mel Gibson will join a minyan and memorize the Talmud before Fidel kicks the bucket.

GOING NUCLEAR

Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1

6Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejects a U.N. resolution calling on Iran to stop enriching uranium, and warns that sanctions would only produce $200-a-barrel oil prices. But he says he's still willing to talk. Why, just the other day he was chatting about the Holocaust with his pal Mel Gibson . . .

QUALITY WAS JOB ONE

Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1

7Cars. Ford Motor Co. is outsold by Toyota for the first time, announces a $250 million loss and recalls a million vehicles to prevent their engines from catching fire. Analysts say CEO Bill Ford Jr. needs to re-create Henry Ford's culture of consistent excellence, just as he has done with the Detroit Lions. Mel Gibson says the company needs to re-create Henry Ford's culture of anti-Semitism.

LOSING HIS MO-JOE?

Last week: -- Weeks on list:1

8Democrats. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) continues to fight for his political life before his primary, attacking a blogger who portrays him in blackface. Challenger Ned Lamont tries to stick to the issues, especially Lieberman's staunch support for the war in Iraq. Mel Gibson says he'd like to comment, but really, really shouldn't.

CAFETERIA CONSERVATISM

Last week: 5 Weeks on list: 3

9Republicans. GOP lawmakers finally agree to a $2 raise in the minimum wage, on the condition that Democrats accept huge cuts to the estate tax for millionaires. Republicans also agree to let the House cafeteria stop pretending its french fries are "freedom fries," as long as Democrats accept more huge cuts to the estate tax for millionaires. Meanwhile, Republicans worry that they could face dramatic losses at the polls in November if Democrats get their act together. Which could happen as soon as Mel Gibson is named grand rabbi of the Lubavitchers.

NOT A STUMBLE -- AN OPPORTUNITY!

Last week: -- Weeks on List: 1

10Pratfalls. In metaphorical news, during yet another tough week in his presidency, Bush nearly falls down the stairs of Air Force One. At least he doesn't blame his problems on the "[expletive]-ing Jews."

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