Weekly Review — June 12, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

President George W. Bush traveled to Europe, where he declared an end to the Cold War, suggested that a U.S. missile shield was “not something we ought to be hyperventilating about,” and suffered a stomachache that left him “slightly indisposed.”New York TimesNew York TimesForbesIn Iraq, the Sunni-dominated IslamicArmy announced that it would no longer threaten the “project of Jihad” by continuing to fight Al Qaeda.Washington PostA security assessment found that just one third of Baghdad’s neighborhoods were under U.S. control, police recruits shot a “suspicious woman,” a Catholic priest was kidnapped along with five boys, and 27 corpses, each shot in the head and showing signs of torture, were recovered.BBC NewsBBC NewsWashington PostWashington PostProposed “War Czar” Lieutenant General Douglas Lute described the results of the U.S. troop surge as “uneven.”Air Force TimesNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said people stood a greater chance of being hit by lightning than dying at the hands of a terrorist, and that anyone worried about it should “get a life.”WCBSTV.com via DrudgeA “clearly deranged” German man attempted to board the Popemobile in the Vatican and was beaten by the Vigilanza, the pontiff’s security force.New York Times and Washington PostGovernment doctors announced that the machine controlling Dick Cheney’s heart was old and should be replaced.ABC NewsChina was in the grip of “Web 2.0 madness,”CNETthe U.S. military was developing lethal water guns to combat scuba-equippedterrorists,.Wiredand three adulterers were executed by firing squad in Khyber, Pakistan.BBC NewsHillary Clinton thanked God for helping her endure the sexual indiscretions of her husband.CNN

The Republican presidential candidates met in New Hampshire to engage in “verbal combat” over immigration,New York Timesand Eric Alterman, author of the “Altercation” blog, was arrested after an altercation with police at the Democratic debate.CNNTwo John McCain campaign officials were fired for refusing to “rape and pillage” church directories for potential donors.Washington PostJohn Edwards said it was fine if Rudolph Giuliani chose a campaign platform of “four more years of what [the current] president has done.” “He will never be elected,” Edwards added. “But he is allowed to do that.”Washington PostViolence erupted in the Alabama state senate when a Democrat called Republican Charles Bishop a son of a bitch. “I responded to his comment with my right hand,” said Bishop.CNN“Fleeting expletives” were ruled legal by a U.S. court.Times of LondonThree Finnish fishermen were abducted by the Iranian government,BBC NewsU.S. efforts to recapture a shipping vessel taken by pirates off the Horn of Africa failed, New York Timesand Spanish naval authorities threatened to board two boats they believe hold stolen treasure.Yahoo NewsGlobal warming was linked to an upsurge of cat sex,LiveScience.comand NFL running back Clinton Portis explained why he ridiculed laws against dog fighting. “I’m not even a pets man,” Portis explained. “I’ve got a fish–that’s the easiest thing to keep up. I’ve never been into dogs, never dealt with dogs, don’t like playing with dogs. But at the same time,” he added, “there’s a lot of people who are crazy over pets.”CNNS.com

Students at Harvard University were scalping tickets to their own graduation,CNNhigh school officials in Galesburg, Ohio, withheld the diplomas of five seniors after their friends and families cheered too loudly at the commencement,New York Timesand three students were arrested in Aurora, Illinois, following a cafeteria food fight. “Milk cartons, full pop bottles, and blue slushies were flying around,” said one student. “Kids literally bought the food to throw it and, to me, that’s a little expensive.”CNNThe Spanish people resisted a government proposal to add lyrics to the national anthem. “It’s fine to identify a country with music,” said one Madrileno. “But a country with words, no, I don’t like it.”BBC NewsIn China, a spike in the price of pork tenderloin and bacon caused people to begin eating more fish,New York Timesand it was reported that Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old panda bred in captivity and released into the wild, was found dead in February. Wild pandas are suspected.BBC NewsForest guards in western India were using cell phone ring tones of cows mooing, goats bleating, and roosters crowing to lure hungry leopards away from human encampments. CNNIn Selmer, Tennessee, a preacher’s wife was sentenced to three years in prison for murdering her husband, whom she said forced her to perform “unnatural” sex acts with a black wig and platform shoes on,CNNand in Bautzen, Germany, three teenagers were found not guilty of impairing the sex drive of an ostrich.New York TimesBritain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds banned the word “cock” from its website. “Tit” and “swallow,” however, were still permitted.News.com.au via Nerve.comScientists successfully produced talking construction paper, trained dogs to track polar bear feces, and made stem cells out of adult mice.BBC NewsNew York TimesMedical News today via google newsCultural taboos against the public discussion of menopause were in decline among the American middle class,New York Times via Nerve.comand in England, gingerists, or people with a bias against red hair, were subjecting the auburn-headed to slurs like “you ginger bastard” or “you right ginger whinger.” BBC NewsThe Internet’s storehouse of wisdom, information, and pornographic images was determined to weigh 0.2 millionths of an ounce.Discover

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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

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

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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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