Weekly Review — October 12, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web.

The Labor Department reported that the economy created a mere 96,000 jobs last month, thus failing to keep pace with the expansion of the nation’s work force and confirming that George W. Bush has the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. The White House reacted to the bad news by declaring that the poor job numbers prove that the president’s tax cuts have been working.New York TimesThe Iraq Survey Group issued its final report and concluded that Saddam Hussein dismantled his nuclear weapons program in 1991 and did not attempt to revive it. The inspectors said that there was no evidence that Iraq continued to possess chemical or biological weapons, and they concluded that Hussein refused to admit he had disarmed because he wanted to maintain a deterrent against Iran.New York TimesPresident Bush said that the report proved that Iraq was “a gathering threat.”New York TimesL. Paul Bremer, President Bush’s former proconsul in Iraq, told an audience of insurance agents that “we never had enough troops on the ground” and that “the single most important change â?? the one thing that would have improved the situation â?? would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout.” Bremer said that he had argued for more troops but that his requests were denied. The Bush Administration first denied that Bremer asked for more troops and then admitted that, yes, in fact, he did.Washington PostJacques Derrida died of pancreatic cancer.New York TimesSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq and told soldiers that the violence there will probably get worse; while he was in the country two car bombs went off in Baghdad, killing 11 people.Los Angeles TimesAlu Alkhanov was sworn in as president of Chechnya.New York TimesOpposition politicians complained that the Afghan presidential election was fraudulent, and anNew York TimesIraqi politician was indicted for suggesting that the country open negotiations with Israel.New York TimesBombings in three Egyptian resort towns killed at least 33 people and wounded 149. Many of the victims were vacationing Israelis.New York TimesA suicide car bombing killed at least 39 people at a rally in central Pakistan, and theReutersgovernment banned public meetings except for Friday prayers.New York TimesRebels and government soldiers were abducting, torturing, and killing civilians in Nepal.ReutersThe genocide in Sudan was continuing.New York TimesIn Haiti, supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide were going after policemen with machetes; some were beheaded.New York TimesA Washington, D.C., policeman arrested, cuffed, and jailed a woman for eating a candy bar in the subway.Associated Press

The Bush campaign denied rumors that the president was wired with an earpiece to receive help during his first debate with Senator John Kerry.Associated PressRepublicans in Michigan were calling on authorities to prosecute Michael Moore for offering to give clean underwear to college students if they would promise to vote.Associated PressRepublicans in Oklahoma were running television ads showing dark-skinned hands accepting welfare checks, andAssociated PressHouse majority leader Tom DeLay was again rebuked by the House Ethics Committee for having “created an appearance that donors were being provided special access to you regarding” pending legislation.New York TimesVice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards had harsh words for each other during their debate;New York TimesCheneyclaimed that he had never before met Senator Edwards; newspapers then published a photograph of the two men smiling and speaking together at a prayer breakfast.New York TimesMartha Stewart began her five-month prison sentence for telling lies.Associated PressSwaziland’s police commissioner was detained for several hours in the Atlanta airport when he was traveling to the Interpol General Assembly in Mexico.New York TimesKing Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated his throne.New York TimesRodney Dangerfield died.New York TimesFederal tax revenue was lower than it was in 2000,New York TimesChicago experienced its first murder-free night in five years, andNew York TimesSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that “sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”Guardian

Britain suspended the license of the factory in Liverpool that was supposed to manufacture almost half the American supply of this year’s flu vaccine.New York TimesPublic health experts have long warned that it is insane for the United States to depend on two companies for the country’s flu vaccine.New York TimesThe World Health Organization released a study, based on an unscientific “spot-check” sampling, concluding that Indonesian villagers in Buyat Bay, Sulawesi, have not been poisoned by a gold mine, owned by the Newmont Mining Corporation, that dumped about 2,000 tons of mine tailings a day into nearby waters.New York TimesThe Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations called on hospitals to prevent “anesthesia awareness,” which is the term for when a patient can feel the pain of surgery but is unable to move or cry out.Associated PressCongress agreed to permit the Energy Department to redefine some highly radioactive nuclear waste in South Carolina and Idaho so that it can be left in tanks rather than being pumped out for deep burial.New York TimesThree hundred pounds of weapons-grade plutonium from the United States arrived in France.New York TimesMexico declined to stop the construction of a Wal-Mart next to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán, and paleontologistsReutersin China discovered 130-million-year-old fossils of Dilong paradoxus, an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, with impressions of feathers all over its body.New York TimesScientists sequenced the genome of a Hereford cow.Associated PressWeather experts said that the United States experienced a record number of tornadoes in August and September, andNew York TimesElfriede Jelinek, the Austrian novelist, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.Associated PressScientists were investigating the appearance of hermaphrodite fish in Colorado’s South Platte River; the fish were found near two wastewater discharge pipes.USA TodayKorean and Italian researchers developed a tiny robot with multiple legs designed to crawl through a patient’s guts.New ScientistScientists with NIZO Food Research developed an artificial throat that breathes, salivates, and swallows.New ScientistA nineteen-year-old Singapore man set a world record for the number of hamburgers he could stuff in his mouth. “I’m on top of the world right now,” he said,” because everyone’s going to know that I can shove more than three burgers in my mouth.”Associated Press

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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.

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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

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

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