Monthly Archives: March 2007

Weekly Review — March 27, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The Cloaca Maxima, 1872 The U.S. House of Representatives passed a timetable for ending the Iraq war by a six-vote margin. The bill mandates American withdrawal in September 2008 if the Bush Administration meets certain benchmarks, earlier if it does not. Several Democrats voted against the timetable because it was not sufficiently antiwar, and Republicans derided the inclusion of domestic provisions benefiting spinach growers, citrus farmers, salmon fishermen, and peanut storers. “What does throwing money at Bubba Gump, Popeye the sailor man, and Mr. Peanut have to do with winning a war?” asked Representative Sam Johnson of Texas. “I will …

Weekly Review — March 20, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Caught in the Web, 1860. Congress continued its inquiry into the role of the Bush Administration in last year’s firing of eight U.S attorneys. D. Kyle Sampson, the chief of staff for U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, resigned after claiming, in an apparent attempt to save Gonzalez from the charge of lying to Congress, that he did not tell his superiors at the Justice Department that the White House wanted to fire the prosecutors. The Justice Department released a March 2005 email from Sampson to then-White House counsel Harriet Miers, in which he ranked all 93 U.S. attorneys on their …

Weekly Review — March 13, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An audit by the inspector general of the United States Justice Department charged that the FBI has engaged in “serious misuse” of the USA Patriot Act to collect the confidential phone, bank, and credit records of U.S. citizens without first obtaining a search warrant.CNN.comThe scandal surrounding the firing of eight federal prosecutors continued to unfold as it became clearer from congressional testimony that the attorneys had resisted political pressure from the White House to subordinate law enforcement priorities to partisan politics. Karl Rove admitted that he had passed along complaints from the New MexicoRepublican Party chairman about U.S. Attorney David …

Weekly Review — March 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

In a videoconference with Hong Kong investors, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that America might sink into recession by year’s end; a frenzied worldwide sell-off ensued. The Shanghai Composite lost 8.8 percent of its value in a day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.3 percent, its worst drop since September 17, 2001. “Alan Greenspan really needs to sit down,” said one economist, “and be quiet.” Others marveled at the ability of “the Maestro” to cause upheavals even in retirement; Greenspan later held another videoconference, for which he charges fees of $150,000, and said that a recession …

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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.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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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.

Illustration by Richard Mia
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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.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
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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

Chances that a gynecologist in Italy refuses to perform abortions for religious reasons:

7 in 10

A newly discovered microsnail can easily pass through the eye of a needle.

Moore’s wife published a letter of support signed by more than 50 pastors, and four of those pastors said they either had never seen the letter or had seen it before Moore was accused of sexual assault and asked to have their names removed.

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How to Make Your Own AR-15

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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