Weekly Review — September 26, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Killing Ground, May 1874]

Killing Ground.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at the United Nations in New York, proclaimed his love for all the world’s peoples, and suggested that the United States halt domestic fuel production and buy its energy from him “at a fifty percent discount.”BBC NewsVenezuelan president Hugo Chavez objected to the smell of sulfur in the U.N.’s General Assembly hall, and offered to relocate the U.N.’s headquarters to Caracas. New York timesFox NewsTed Turner called the Iraq war one of the “dumbest moves of all time,”CNNand a spokesman for the Iraq Study Group, a think tank created to analyze events in Iraq, announced that it had “made no judgment of any kind at this point about any aspect of policy with regard to Iraq.”Washington PostThe judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein was removed because “he hurt the feelings of the Iraqi people.”New York timesIn Afghanistan,Marine General James L. Jones claimed to have killed as many as a third of the Taliban’s “hardcore” fighters, leaving only the “weekend warriors.”New York timesA British major described the Royal Air Force as “utterly, utterly useless.”The IndependentIn Thailand, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin staged a coup d’etat, dismissing the prime minister and revoking the constitution. “Democracy has won!” said one coup supporter.Reuters and the Washington PostHungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that his campaign was based on lies. “We lied in the morning,” said Gyurcsany. “We lied in the evening.”New York timesBritish Home Secretary John Reid declared that England’s “fight is not with Muslims generally,”BBC Newsand in Jordan, a failed suicide bomber was sentenced to be hanged.New York timesIsraeli tourism officials circulated a sightseeing pamphlet bearing the slogan, “Jerusalemâ??there’s no such city!”BBC NewsPalestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that Hamas would never recognize Israel.monsters and critics.comPakistani president Pervez Musharraf said it was “very rude” for former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to threaten to bomb his country “back to the Stone Age.”Times of LondonHezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah attended a rally in Beirut to commemorate the “divine and historic victory” in the war with Israel,.New York timesand President George W. Bush said he now knew that the stability he believed to exist in the Middle East was a “mirage.”Washington Post

The United States Justice Department claimed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “had his timeline mixed up” when he denied the United States had deported a Canadian citizen to Syria, where he was tortured.New York timesThe Food and Drug Administration announced that it had found the “smoking gun” of bacteria-infested spinach in a refrigerator in New Mexico.CNNThe Federal Emergency Management Agency made final preparations to demolish the town of Elkport, Iowa,CNNand in Fernald, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency was planning to cart away 5,800 tons of contaminated soil so that a former nuclear production facility could be turned into a “natural” park.New York timesIn California, accused pedophile John Karr was described by his lawyer as a “southern gentleman with a sense of humor,”New York timesand VirginiaSenator George Allen acknowledged his Jewish ancestry.Washington PostThe Boeing Company was awarded a congressional contract to build a 6000-mile “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexico border.Washington PostFruit farmers rallied in Washington, D.C., to protest a shortage of low-wage, uninsured, illegal immigrantlaborers.New York timesIn Maryland, the National BlackRepublican Association ran radio ads claiming that Martin Luther King was a Republican and that Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan.nbc4.com via google newsNawar Shora of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said that “the average Yousef” thought of an FBI agent as a “middle-aged white guy talking in their sleeve.”Washington PostIn the basement of the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld unleashed his deadly squash drop shot.New York times

President Bush predicted that, given the opportunity, Democrats would raise taxes.ReutersBill and Hillary Clinton both agreed that they were “sick of Karl Rove’s bullshit.”The Examiner via the Drudge ReportResearchers in Massachusetts successfully gave a mouse a tan without exposing it to the sun; other scientists partially restored the sight of blind rats.BBC NewsA man believed to have ingested four glasses of draft beer jumped into a pen at the Beijing Zoo and bit Gu Gu, a six-year-old panda.Yahoo News via the Drudge ReportBBC NewsHybrid lions were dying from a mystery disease in northern India. The Drudge ReportThe recipient of a penis transplant in Guangzhou, China, requested doctors remove the organ after he and his wife began experiencing “severe psychological problems.”The GuardianAustralian researchers determined that lesbian women were 10 percent more orgasmic than their straight female counterparts.Daily MailA survey showed that rap music fans are unlikely to recycle.Innovations Report via Nerve.comBusinessman Richard Branson pledged to donate $3 billion to alternative energy development,ABC News via google newsParis Hilton gave a homeless man $100,The Superficial via Nerve.comand Michael Jackson was considering opening a leprechaun-themedamusement park in Ireland.MSNBCTelevision sets outnumbered people in American homes.Breitbart.com via Nerve.comKatelyn Kampf, 19, of Yarmouth, Maine, accused her parents of hog-tying and gagging her, forcing her into a car, and taking her to New York for an emergency abortion.Local6.comAnousheh Ansari, a communications entrepreneur from Texas, became the world’s first female Muslimspace tourist.BBC NewsBig box retail stores were employing anthropologists to help sell their products.New York timesA poll conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery found that 46 percent of American women wanted to be surgically altered to resemble Jennifer Aniston.CNNA pedigree bull mastiff deefer from Nottingham, England, underwent emergency surgery to have two pairs of ladies’ underwear removed from his small intestine,BBC Newsand scientists announced that breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day.Los Angeles Times

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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.

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

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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