Weekly Review — April 12, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Devil Spanker]

Eighteen people died when a U.S. helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed they shot down the helicopter; the United States blamed bad weather.BBC NewsChicago TribuneIraq’s parliament elected Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, as president; his Presidency Council then named Ibrahim Jaffari, a Shiite, as prime minister.BBC NewsSenior American defense officials noted several positive developments in Iraq: only thirty-six American soldiers, they said, died there this March; attacks on allied forces were down to thirty or forty a day; and by early 2006, only 105,000 American soldiers may be needed in the country.New York TimesTens of thousands of Iraqis held a nonviolent march in Baghdad to protest the American occupation,Reuterstens of thousands of Lebanese held a mass jog through Beirut to show national unity,APand thousands of Chinese rallied to protest Japanese history textbooks.The AustralianThe Bush Administration was working to gain access to records of international money transfers,New York Timesand transcripts of legal proceedings at Guantánamo Bay were released. “I don’t care about international law,” said the president of a military tribunal in one transcript. “I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”APAt the pope’s funeral, Prince Charles shook Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s hand,The Guardianthen went home to England, where he married Camilla Parker Bowles.BBC NewsTony Blair called a general election for May 5, 2005.BBC NewsPrince Rainier III of Monaco died,New York Timesand Peter Jennings announced that he has lung cancer.New York Times

Scottish soccer fans booed during a moment of silence to honor the pope,APSaul Bellow died,APand National Library Week began.The Daily DemocratThe New York Public Library planned to auction off rare artworks to raise money,New York Timesand developers in England were about to start construction on Dickens World, a $113 million theme park that will offer an Ebenezer Scrooge ride and Dickens characters on ice.SEEDAA long-lost poem written by Tennessee Williams was discovered,Washington Universityand geneticists bred blue roses.Biology News NetTen million eight hundred thousand copies of the next Harry Potter book were being printed.Argus LeaderIn Florida, investigators traced an outbreak of E. coli to a petting zoo,KansasCity.comand the EPA decided to cancel a study of the effects of pesticides on infants.Salt Lake TribuneIt was revealed that Interior Department scientists studying the environmental effects of a proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, had made things up and deleted findings they did not understand so that the development of the dump could go forward. “Science by peer pressure is dangerous but sometime it is necessary,” one scientist wrote in an email.New York TimesThe United Arab Emirates tested prototypes of robotic camel jockeys, which will replace child camel jockeys,Reutersa nine-foot-long eel with a head as big as a soccer ball was swimming loose in Australia,ABC News Onlineand millions??possibly billions??of butterflies were fluttering towards California.Biology News NetIt was announced that Cookie Monster would cut back on cookies.Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Republicans held a conference to discuss ways to reform the federal judiciary, which they say has “run amok.” Senator Tom Coburn’s chief of staff said that “mass impeachment” of judges might be necessary, and Tom DeLay, who is under investigation for illegal fundraising, gave a pre-recorded speech entitled “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith.”New York TimesDeLay was accused of paying his wife and daughter $500,000 from funds controlled by his political-action committee. He was also accused of taking lobbyist-funded trips to Russia, Saipan, and Scotland.ABC NewsNew York TimesBoth sides in Ivory Coast’s civil war signed a peace accord.Globe and MailScientists drilled 4,644 feet into the earth’s crust, nearly reaching the mantle,Kerala NextAndreaDworkin died,The Guardianand archaeologists in Germany uncovered a 7,200-year-old pornographic statue. The GuardianA study found that store clerks are more respectful to slender shoppers than to obese ones,APand scientists in Connecticut inseminated a whale.Live ScienceIn Indiana, someone threw a pie in William Kristol’s face. Someone else threw a pie at David Horowitz. Prior to the pie throwings, Pat Buchanan was doused with salad dressing.Palladium-ItemIsrael was planning to dump 10,000 tons of garbage a month into the West Bank,Haaretzand Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinian teenagers in Gaza.HaaretzA social-studies teacher in Georgia was in trouble for putting on blackface,WSBTV.coma Virginia judge sentenced a spammer to nine years in jail,APand a Georgia man died after police shot him with nonlethal beanbags.CNN.comMany conservative American pharmacists were refusing to dispense birth control,BBC Newsand tailors sewed the next pope’srobes.USA Today

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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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