Weekly Review — July 26, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

It was hot in most of the United States. Many U.S. cities set records for high temperatures, and huge wildfires burned in the Southwest. At least twenty people, many of them homeless, died from the heat in Phoenix, Arizona.The New York TimesWashington PostConcern over storms in the Gulf of Mexico led to an increase in oil prices,Reutersand the directors of Enron gave themselves large raises.KLTVInvestigations into the expenses of former Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski revealed that Kozlowski had once held an extravagantbachelor party for his son-in-law. “It wasn’t like a three-ring circus,” said the son-in-law’s father. “It was a nice party. There was only one dwarf.”New York Daily NewsGermany declined to finance a bald man’s toupee, even though the state covers the costs of wigs for women who have lost their hair,Reutersand Michael Jackson announced that he would build another Neverland near Berlin.The GuardianA German magazine published a coupon for free sex with prostitutes,Ananovaand Heidi Fleiss was planning to open a brothel in Nevada. “I’m a perfect example of the fact that prison does work,” she said. “I have served my time, now will do my crime legally.”MSNBC GossipPresident George W. Bush nominated John G. Roberts, a federal appeals court judge, to the Supreme Court. Roberts has criticized U.S. abortion policy, but is considered very handsome. “American women will love him,” said an editor at More Magazine. “I love thee,” commentator David Brooks wrote of the nomination, “with the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. I love thee freely.”APTimes OnlineBill and Hillary Clinton paid off the last of their legal bills,APand a Kenyan man was reported to have offered twenty cows and forty goats to the Clintons in exchange for their daughter, Chelsea.The StandardAnother octopus learned to open lids.NBC30.com

More bombs went off in London’s public-transport system, but only the detonators of the bombs exploded. There was one injury.BBC NewsAround twenty London police officers chased a Brazilian electrician named Jean Charles de Menezes onto a train and shot him dead, thinking he was a terrorist.BBC NewsLater, a suspicious package in Little Wormwood Scrubs was detonated safely.BBC NewsMembers of the British government said that the bombings were not related to the war in Iraq, but only 28 percent of British people agreed;Common Dreamsa Muslim cleric in London said that such attacks would continue.Washington Post The U.S. House of Representatives voted to keep most of the USA Patriot Act, extending provisions that allow the search of library and medical records by ten years. “Periodically revisiting the Patriot Act,” said Representative Martin Meehan (D.-Mass.), “is a good thing.”APIn New York City, police began random bag checks of subway passengers.CNN.comThe CIA was granted the power to secretly interrogate Irish citizens in Ireland,IrishExaminer.comand the Pentagon asked Congress to allow people up to age forty-two to enlist in the military.ReutersTommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced that he would have an RFID identity tag inserted into his body.ZDNet.comU.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.) said he did not advocate bombing Mecca, but did not want to rule out the possibility.Al-JazeeraFifty-two prisoners were on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay.Science Daily

A study found that 24,865 civilians have been killed in Iraq during the last two years;BBC Newsin Baghdad, a suicide truck bomb killed twenty-five more people.BBC NewsThirty-six people were killed in Yemen during riots over fuel prices.BBC NewsFilm director David Lynch announced that he wants to raise $7 billion to promote transcendental meditation and thus create world peace.ReutersIran whipped then executed two teenagers for raping a thirteen-year-old and for being homosexual,PlanetOut.comand U.S. rapper Big Tigger denied that he was gay.AllHipHop.comLance Armstrong won the Tour de France for the seventh time,The New York Timesand a study found that French people think they look good.ReutersThe U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to start broadcasting radio and television programs into Venezuela that will counter the “anti-Americanism” of Telesur, a new Latin American TV station. Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez called the plan “a preposterous imperialist idea.”Common DreamsA British court, acting under the legal principle of “universal jurisdiction,” convicted a man named Faryadi Zardad on torture charges for events that took place while Zardad lived in Afghanistan, where he would often unleash a “human dog“–a crazed man he kept in a hole–on captives he was holding for ransom. In London, where he has lived since 1998, Zardad ran a pizza parlor.GlobeAndMail.comA bipolar Indiana woman beat her two young sons to death with a dumbbell so that the boys could go to heaven.MSNBCFlorida police were looking for a naked man who steals into the homes of elderly women late at night and tickles their feet,Local6.comChina planned to launch forty grams of pigsemen into space,News in Scienceand authorities in Malaysia arrested fifty-eight people who worship a giant teapot.MSNBC

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

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