Weekly Review — August 22, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Hezbollah declared victory in its 34-day war with Israel. “I guess,” said President George W. Bush, “I would have done the same thing if I were them.” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged that Israel would “do better” in what Defense Minister Amir Peretz referred to as “the next round.” An official said killing Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah was a top priority.The Daily Telegraph (Australia)Dan Halutz, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, was under fire for selling all of his stocks in the hours before the war began.The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe Daily Telegraph (UK)The New York TimesBreitbart.comIsraeli troops detained a Hamas legislator in the West Bank and engaged Hezbollah guerillas in a shootout near Boudai, Lebanon.The Wall Street JournalIn South Africa, Shlomo Goldwasser, father of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hezbollah on July 12, urged the world to defeat his son’s captors. “If Israel won’t finish the job, you will find them here,” he said. “They will kidnap your sons.”Independent Online, South AfricaPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that it was willing to work with Hezbollah to aid suffering Lebanese animals. CNSNews.comSyrian President Bashar Assad called those who doubted Hezbollah “half men,” an Arab newspaper called Assad a rose that failed to bloom, Jerusalem Postand VirginiaSenator George Allen called an Indian-American man with a mullet a “macaca.”Washington Post

Snipers killed 20 pilgrims at a Shiite festival in Baghdad; a government employee noted that it was an improvement over last year, when nearly a thousand died in stampedes. The New York TimesSenatorBarack Obama called the Iraq war “dumb.” Harrisburg Daily RegisterRussia sent text messages to Chechen rebels telling them to stop fighting,St. Petersburg Timesand Rwanda announced plans to end the death penalty for genocidiers.BBCThe Sri Lankan air force bombed an orphanage and killed dozens of schoolgirls, and the Tamil Tigers failed to kill the High Commissioner of Pakistan with an exploding rickshaw.GuardianIran was launching missiles at Kurds and cracking down on “decadent” satellite dishes. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed the country would continue to pursue its nuclear program “forcefully,” and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the United States “should be disarmed.” Middle East TimesShimon Peres had dinner with ConnecticutDemocratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont, The New York TimesThe Penninsula (Qatar)The New York Timesand Republicans were, in general, neglecting their party’s candidate in favor of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, who said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign. The New York TimesPacifist ex-NaziGünther Grass got to keep his Nobel Prize, The New York TimesThe Australianand Pluto retained its status as a planet. The New York TimesAn epidemic of bird flu among geese in northern China was driving up the price of badminton shuttlecocks,CNNand two wild swans in Lake Erie contracted a low-grade strain of the virus.Yahoo! NewsColombia began exporting its big-butt queen ants (Hormiga culona), which taste like juicy popcorn when toasted.The Penninsula (Qatar)An empty submarine suspected of cocaine smuggling was found floating off the coast of Spain,BBCVenezuelans were spending their oil money on Scotch whiskey, The New York Timesand American guitars were dominating Japan. MSNFive Uighurs found life in Albania “better than Guantánamo” but longed to move to Toronto.The New York Times

In Thailand, a preoperative transsexual named John M. Karr claimed to have been present for JonBenet Ramsey’s 1996 death, which he called “an accident.” The New York TimesBenedict XVI complained that being pope is “really tiring” and emphasized that “seeing the funny side of life” is crucial to his ministry. Yahoo! NewsIt was reported that U.S. military recruiting violations rose in 2005, as did the number of troops discharged for homosexuality.Washington PostHouston’s rising crime rate was blamed on refugees from New Orleans, which has been gripped by a baby boom.The New York TimesBreitbart.comOfficials in Canton, Ohio, decided that a 13 percent pregnancy rate among its high schools’ females justified moving beyond an abstinence-only approach to sex education, LA TimesLocal6.comand a secretly pregnant 21-year-old in Florida went into labor, sneaked out of her parents’ house, crashed her car into a canal, then delivered standing up in the wreckage. She named the baby Myracle.Palm Beach PostDoctors in India speculated that the birth of a one-eyed girl might be attributable to her mother’s exposure to Cyclopamine, a cancer drug derived from wild corn lily that causes cyclopia in sheep.Wired NewsSouth Korean DNA tests on tissues obtained during a 2003 hysterectomy indicated that a Frenchwoman was the mother of two rotting infant corpses found in a freezer at her home in Seoul, but she and her husband denied any relationship to the dead babies.Digital ChosunilboIn Germany a man was struck on the back of the neck by projectile human feces, then robbed of $9,554 by three people who offered to clean him off.ReutersSir Mick Jagger lost his voice, The Daily Maila Chicago ice-cream-truck driver was shot dead behind the wheel,Local6.comand a tree in Texas was mysteriously spouting water from its bark.San Antonio Express-News

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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:

1.85

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