Weekly Review — August 28, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned.New York TimesThe CIA’s inspector general released a report recommending that former CIA director George Tenet and other senior officials be held accountable for failing to prepare for the threat of Al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks,New York Timesand the Pentagon announced it would close Talon, the database created after September 11 to monitor and store information about security threats and peace activists. Washington PostGrace Paley died.New York TimesIn a motion filed by the Justice Department, the Bush Administration argued that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, even though the office is listed as one of six presidential entities subject to FOIA on the White House website.Washington PostThe American Psychological Association ruled that many of the interrogation techniques used against detainees at U.S. facilitiesâ??including mock execution, simulated drowning, sexual and religious humiliation, stress positions, sleep deprivation, hooding, forced nakedness, exposure to extreme heat or cold, physical assault, and the use of mind-altering drugsâ??are immoral.Washington PostAt the court-martial of Army Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the only officer to be charged in the Abu Ghraib scandal, witnesses for the prosecution said that Jordan did not “sign off on anything,” and that he had “nothing to do with the interrogations,” and “nothing to do with those detainees being abused.” The prosecution later rested its case.IHT

Two humanitarian groups in Iraq announced that the “surge” in the number of American troops has led to a large increase in the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes, furthering the country’s division into sectarian enclaves, and a new National Intelligence Estimate predicted that Iraqi politicians would be unable to fix sectarian rifts any time soon. New York TimesNew York TimesReturning from a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan, Senate Chairman of the Armed Services Carl Levin (D., Mich.) declared the Iraqi government “non-functional” and recommended that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet be replaced. “We care for our people and our constitution,” said Maliki, who was visiting Syria, “and can find friends elsewhere.”Washington PostWashington PostThe U.S. Justice Department released documents showing that Dr. Ayad Allawi, Maliki’s chief opponent and the man most likely to replace him as prime minister, is paying the G.O.P. firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers $300,000 to lobby on his behalf.ABC NewsDemocratic presidential candidate John Edwards dubbed himself the “candidate for change,”Daily Heraldand the hip-hop magazine Vibe dubbed Barack Obama “B-Rock.”CNN.comAs part of President Bush‘s $15 billion anti-AIDS program, the United States will begin paying for African men to be circumcised,Washington Postand researchers in Uganda said that washing the penis after sex increases the risk of HIV infection. “Don’t just finish and jump out of bed,” advised Dr. Ronald Gray, co-author of the study. “There ought to be a little time left for postcoital cuddling.”New York Times.Bob Allen, the Florida state representative who was arrested in July after offering to fellate an undercover police officer, was stripped of his legislative-committee appointments but remained unfazed. “I’m waiting,” he said, “for the politics to say it’s okay to hug Bob Allen againâ??and they will.”Orlando SentinelPatrick Leahy, the 67-year old Democratic senator from Vermont who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is pressing the Bush Administration to turn over documents relating to its warrantless wiretapping program, revealed that he has a small part in the upcoming Batman movie, and that he had to let his remaining hair grow out for the role.Washington PostResearchers found that cornrows can cause permanent bald patches.BBC

Two bears at the Belgrade Zoo, Masha and Misha, spent the annual beer-festival weekend feasting on a 23-year-old Serb, who was discovered naked, dead, and half-eaten in their cage. “Only an idiot,” said zoo director Vuk Bojovic, “would jump into the bear cage.”CNNMelting ice in the Arctic revealed previously unknown islands that have yet to be claimed.Yahoo NewsStudies in the U.S. showed that one in four adults read no books last year, that white youths are happier than the youths of other races, and that senior citizens are enjoying an active and varied sex life that includes masturbation, vaginal intercourse, and oral sex.Yahoo NewsYahoo NewsWashington PostAfter waiting 55 years for a Purple Heart, Nyles Reed, a 75-year-old Korean War veteran and former Marine, received a form letter from Navy Personnel Command saying the medal was out of stock and suggesting that he buy his own.Houston ChronicleVacationers aboard a Taiwaneseairliner in Okinawa slid down escape chutes and sprinted to safety moments before the plane exploded. “I ran so hard,” one passenger said, “my sock tore.”Washington PostScientists in England determined that Tyrannosaurus rex would have been able to outrun a professional soccer player.BBCThirty years after murdering six people, David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, sent a letter to amNew York in which he apologized for his misdeeds,AM New Yorkand previously unpublished letters by Mother Teresa revealed that beginning in 1948 and continuing until the end of her life in 1997 she was unable to sense the presence of God. “Repulsedâ??emptyâ??no faithâ??no loveâ??no zeal,” she wrote. “Heaven means nothing.” Time MagazineScientists found a very big hole in the universe.Yahoo 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.

“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:

1.85

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