Yearly Archives: 2000

Weekly Review — December 26, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Bethlehem was empty this Christmas, devoid of lights or trees or public celebrations, having been sealed off by the Israeli army.Jerusalem’sChristian churches endorsed Palestinian demands for sovereignty in East Jerusalem; they condemned Israeli violence against demonstrators and noted that an oppressed people living under a military occupation has the moral right to resist its overlords.The United Nations Security Council rejected Palestine’s request for U.N. peacekeepers; United States Ambassador Richard Holbrooke commented that “this is a resolution that will never be adopted.” The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ordered President Robert Mugabe to come up with a viable land-reform program, declaring his …

Weekly Review — December 19, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An international team of scientists announced that they had finished the first complete genetic sequence of a plant; Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale-cress, is related to cauliflowers and brussels sprouts and previously was a worthless weed.A new study found that marijuana slows the swimming of sperm in a test tube.The United StatesArmy was funding research aimed at allowing humans to hibernate.Experts on a National Toxicology Program panel said that estrogen should be listed as a carcinogen.Switzerland banned the sale of beef on the bone because of mad-cow concerns.Cargill Turkey Products recalled 16.7 million pounds of turkey products after it was linked …

Weekly Review — December 12, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Pentagon investigators acknowledged that American troops had massacred unarmed Korean civilians near No Gun Ri at the beginning of the Korean War, but claimed there was no evidence of direct orders from superiors to kill the Koreans, which would constitute a war crime.Former Congressman Pete McCloskey, a member of the civilian advisory panel to the investigation, pointed out that in fact one officer and nine enlisted men said they had received such orders.Many countries were trying unsuccessfully to get the United States to join the International Criminal Court; Henry Kissinger and other former U.S. government officials, who perhaps had good …

Weekly Review — December 5, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Chile’s former dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested, in Chile.The terms of the amnesty he negotiated upon his abdication included murder but not kidnapping, and the bodies of nineteen people who were abducted by the “Caravan of death,” a helicopter-borne death squad led by one of Pinochet’s close aides, were never found, world-historical ruthlessness giving rise to world-historical ironyâÂ?Â?which then devolved into farce when an appeals court suspended the arrest order.Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, his government about to fall, called for an early election.Mary Robinson, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, recommended sending international monitors to the …

Weekly Review — November 28, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Peru’s dictator Alberto Fujimori stopped in Japan on his way to an economic summit, decided he liked it there, and quit his job, via fax; Peruvians were generally pleased with the development, and within days Fujimori was named in a corruption investigation.Slobodan Milosevic was reelected president of the Socialist Party of Serbia.Madeleine Albright asked to meet with Serbia’s new president, Vojislav Kostunica, at a meeting in Vienna; she was snubbed.Jean-Bertrand Aristide (promising “Peace in the Head. Peace in the Belly.”) was reelected president of Haiti in an election boycotted by major opposition parties, who said it was rigged.The United Stateselection …

Weekly Review — November 21, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The European Commission announced its intention to test all beef cattle for mad cow disease. Italy banned the importation of French beef. Sales of beef in France dropped, even at McDonalds, even though France has rigid controls on the provenance of its homegrown beef cattle (each cow is given a “passport” at birth documenting its parentage and place of origin, which must be submitted to the slaughterhouse). Evidence that Kuru, a disease spread by eating human brains, is more widespread in Papua New Guinea than previously thought, suggested that the European epidemic of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of mad …

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In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
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“I am Here Only for Working”·

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But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
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The Year of The Frog·

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To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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How to Make Your Own AR-15

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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