Weekly Review — September 27, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian Lion, March 1875]

Hurricane Rita, the third-most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, struck Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, killing 36 people and causing flooding, tornadoes, and storm surges, and re-flooding parts of New Orleans. Hurricane evacuations caused miles of traffic jams in Texas, and a bus filled with elderly people exploded when an oxygen tank caught fire, incinerating at least 24 passengers.WikipediaHouston ChronicleIn the wake of Hurricane Rita, which damaged a number of oil refineries, President George W. Bush called on Americans to conserve gas. “I mean,” he said, “people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they’re able to maybe not drive when they–on a trip that’s not essential, that would helpful.”The White HouseIt was reported that President Bush, exhausted from job stress, was back on the bottle. “Stop, George!” Laura Bush allegedly yelled as she walked in on him drinking straight whiskey.The National EnquirerWikipediaSlate.comThe Bush Administration raised $600 from U.S. citizens to help rebuild Iraq, where at least 42 people died in the fighting this week.The GuardianThe Washington PostOne hundred thousand people marched in Washington, D.C., to protest the war.APCindy Sheehan was arrested.APIn Poland an 18-month-old child ran over three family members with a car,Reutersand in India a 12-year-old girl killed herself after her mother told her that she could not afford to give her a single rupee for lunch.BBC NewsAn earthquake struck Peru.BBC News

A Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, killing the entire crew.BBC NewsMembers of the Armyâ??s 82nd Airborne Division admitted that while in Iraq their battalion regularly tortured prisoners. “Some days,” said a sergeant, “we would just get bored, so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. This was before Abu Ghraib, but just like it. We did it for amusement.” Another sergeant said that he had seen a soldier beat detainees with an open chemical light. “That made them glow in the dark, which was real funny,” he said, “but it burned their eyes, and their skin was irritated real bad.”The New York TimesNASA announced that it wanted to return to the moon,Reutersand China was preparing to send the manned Shenzhou VI spacecraft into orbit.Red NovaNew York City announced that it would install up to twenty public pay toilets, one for every 405,203 people.1010 WINSIn Wichita Falls, Texas, a man named Roderick Johnson was suing prison officials for allowing him to be made into a sexual slave. Johnson testified that he had once been the “property” of a prison gang called the Gangster Disciples, who rented him out at rates ranging from $3 to $7 per rape. A defendant in the case said that Johnsonâ??s testimony was not credible because he never showed the “bruises,” “possible broken bones,” or “a little worse” that would prove that the sex was nonconsensual.The New York TimesA man in Butte, Montana, was charged with killing and beheading a dog, then throwing the severed head at the dogâ??s owner. “Here,” said the man, “is your f——- dog back.”The Independent RecordThirty-six military-traineddolphins with toxic dart guns were reported missing in the Gulf of Mexico.The Guardian

Hamas announced that it would stop using the Gaza Strip to stage incursions into Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised to crack down on the group. LA TimesThe National Rifle Association convinced a district court to stop gun confiscations in New Orleans,The National Rifle Associationand the Irish Republican Army laid down its arms.The Washington PostA man in Portland, Oregon was calling people, telling them he had kidnapped an 11-year-old girl, and threatening to hurt the girl unless the recipients of the calls engaged in phone sex.The Corvallis Gazette-TimesThe FDA was criticized for naming a veterinarian trained in animal husbandry as acting director for the Office of Womenâ??s Health.The Washington PostGreece won the Eurobasket.FIBA.comAn Australian surfer avoided a shark attack by punching the shark.CNN.comA Des Moines, Iowa, high school teacher was in trouble for confronting the students who toilet-papered his house with a sword,The Iowa Channeland the skeleton of a schizophrenic man was found in Wales; he had handcuffed himself to a tree. Deep scuff marks on the tree made it clear that the man had tried to free himself.Liverpool Daily Post

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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

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