Weekly Review — February 3, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel announced plans to evacuate 17 Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. “I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza,” he said.ReutersYasir Arafat expressed disbelief, right-wing politicians were outraged, and one political ally suggested that the prime minister was merely trying to distract attention from corruption scandals that could result in his indictment.Guardian, Ha’aretzIt was reported that David Kay, the former American arms inspector, was shocked at the huge controversy created when he simply spoke the truth about the nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.New York TimesPresident George W. Bush said it was important to “compare the facts to what was thought,” and heNew York Timesdecided to order an investigation into American prewar intelligence failures.Associated PressBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair authorized a similar investigation.Financial TimesPowerful Republicans were said to be urging President Bush to get rid of Dick Cheney, who continued to insist, contrary to all evidence, that stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, and that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qaeda. “Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?” Cheney asked an interviewer. “It’s a nice way to operate, actually.”Asia TimesThe United States released three teenagers from the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.New York TimesA federal judge struck down as unconstitutionally vague the provision of the USA Patriot Act that bans giving “expert advice or assistance” to terrorists.New York TimesIt was reported that the U.S. government plans to order airlines to provide background information on all passengers for a new screening system, and officialsAssociated Pressin Iowa were thinking about joining the Matrix.Associated Press

A federal judge tried for the third time to impose punitive damages on the Exxon Mobil Corporation for the Exxon Valdez oil spill fifteen years ago; Exxon Mobil said it would appeal the $4.5 billion judgment.New York TimesThe National Research Council of the National Academies said that America’s pollution laws are outdated, and aReutersnew study found that male dolphins, whales, and seals have been turning into hermaphrodites because of pollution.BBCA pierced breast popped out of Janet Jackson’s outfit during the Super Bowl halftime show, and aMSNBCdead sperm whale with an unusually large penis exploded on a street in Taiwan, showering nearby pedestrians, cars, and shops with gore.MSNBCIn Jerusalem, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing at least 11 people and spraying body parts into nearby buildings.Washington PostA Canadian soldier was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, as was a British peacekeeper.New York TimesIn Iraq, a suicide bomber drove a car into a Baghdad hotel and killed three people; sixReutersU.S. soldiers were killed by roadside bombs; two employees of CNN were killed in an ambush; threeLos Angeles TimesAmerican soldiers were killed when a homemade bomb destroyed their Humvee; and nine Iraqis died when a suicide attacker drove a car into a police station.New York TimesAt least 67 Iraqi Kurds were killed and 247 were wounded in another suicide bombing.ReutersU.N. secretary general Kofi Annan sent a team to Iraq to see whether it was safe enough to hold elections.Reuters

One hundred twenty-four members of Iran’sparliament resigned to protest the disqualification of more than 2,000 moderate candidates by the conservative Guardian Council.GuardianAlain Juppé, the former prime minister of France, was convicted of corruption.New York TimesJohn Kerry won the New Hampshireprimary, and reportersNew York Timescontinued to notice sartorial oddities among the Democratic presidential candidates.New York TimesA judge ruled that Arnold Schwarzenegger broke campaign-finance laws during the recent election, and theNew York TimesCalifornia Assembly was considering a proposal to incorporate feng shui into the building code.New York TimesThe Food and Drug Administration banned the feeding of cattle blood to calves. Dinner scraps from restaurants, known as “plate waste,” will no longer be fed to cattle either, though rendered cows will still be fed to pigs and chickens, and vice versa.New York TimesDr. Stanley Prusiner, the Nobel Prize-winning expert on prions, said that until all cattle are tested for mad cow disease, none should be considered safe, and he noted that improved feed practices will not prevent spontaneous cases.New York TimesDutchresearchers found that some migraines are caused by brain disease.ReutersA Pennsylvania company recalled 52,000 pounds of beef that might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.New York TimesThe International Poultry Exposition was held in Atlanta; among the items on display were automated slaughterers, pluckers, and skinners; an antibiotic delivery device that injects 3,500 chicks per hour with pressurized air; metal detectors that cull bits of metal and bone from meat; and a hands-free neck-breaking machine.New York TimesThe World Health Organization reported a possible case of human-to-human transmission of the avian flu that has killed millions of birds across Asia and at least 12 people.BBCChina reported a new SARS case after the patient had already recovered.Associated PressA polio case was confirmed in the Central African Republic, which had been free of the disease since 2000, andNew York TimesPresident Bush was reportedly planning to cut back on AIDS and poverty programs in the Third World.New York TimesFormer president Jimmy Carter denounced the proposed Georgia state science curriculum, which omits basic information about the theory of natural selection, and scientistsAtlanta Journal-Constitutiondiscovered a new neurodegenerative disease that affects older men called fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome.Globe and MailThe Congressional Budget Office predicted a record $477 billion budget deficit this year; deficits over the next decade could reach more than $2 trillion if the president’s tax cuts are extended.New York TimesAmazon.com posted its first annual profit.Wired NewsSea piracy was up 20 percent last year, andBusiness Times SingaporeSomalia’s warlords reached yet another peace deal.New York TimesFidel Castro accused George W. Bush of plotting to assassinate him.Associated PressDick Cheney gave the pope a crystal dove.New York Times

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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