Weekly Review — April 22, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

Pope Benedict XVI toured the United States. Kathleen Battle, Harry Connick Jr., and Kelly Clarkson serenaded him, President George W. Bush gave him a crystal cross and a birthday cake, Placido Domingo threw him a birthday party (but forgot to invite him), Jews welcomed him into a Manhattan synagogue, and fans at Yankee stadium performed the wave in his honor. Three Girl Scouts fainted in his presence.Washington PostWashington PostNew York TimesBBC NewsSundriesâ?¦A Sweatshop of MoxieUnited Press InternationalThe Senate and the House took half a day off so that more than 100 members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senator Edward Kennedy, could take a bus to Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C., to hear the Pope deliver Mass.Washington PostBaker Liturgical Art, LLC, the Connecticut-based clothing company hired by the Vatican, revealed that more than 150 artisans (including 50 seamstresses), and 1,500 yards of fabric were necessary to outfit the Pope and his entourage in new vestments for their 6-day stint in the United States. Brian Baker, the company’s president, also created a one-size-fits-all flex-miter for the occasion.Hartford CourantThe Pope turned 81, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens turned 88, and 75-year-old Democratic Representative John Murtha said that 71-year-old John McCain is too old to be president. “Let me tell you something,” said Murtha. “It’s no old man’s job.” Supreme AnxietyBreitbartChristie’s was unable to sell the skeleton of a 65-million-year-old, 25-foot-long triceratops.Washington Post

Suicide bombers struck in Gaza, Afghanistan, and Iraq. “We are seeing the globalization of suicide bombs,” said Mohammed Hafez, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School; U.S. officials revealed that suicide bombing was on the rise, with more than 658 attacks worldwide last year, double the number in any of the past 25 years.Washington PostCalcutta NewsCanada East OnlineWashington PostIraqi police were cracking down on drivers who neglect to wear their seatbelts. “It is a symbol of civilization,” said Ahmed Wahayid, a taxi driver. “Western people in Europe and America have it.” New York TimesOhio Governor Ted Strickland signed into law a bill that allows disabled hunters to shoot from their cars.The Plain DealerDemocratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told superdelegates that they had to decide between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “starting now.”CNNBruce Springsteen endorsed Obama.Washington PostZodiac Vodka announced that Obama, a Leo, will defeat Clinton, a Scorpio, in the race for the Democratic nomination. “Leo has never lost to a Scorpio,” said the company. “Scorpio, however, has lost to 11 of the 12 signs.”Washington TimesA German TV station aired segments from recently discovered top-secret Stasi porno movies with names like Private Werner’s Big Surprise and Fucking for the Fatherland. “I didn’t recognize myself,” said a former actor/soldier. “Neither did my wife, thank God.”TelegraphPresident Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met and discussed the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom. “If it wasn’t a personal relationship,” said Bush, “I wouldn’t be inviting the man to a nice hamburger or something. Well done, I might add.”Washington PostA new study revealed that forgoing beef at least once a week could drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions.New Scientist

A Yale art major convinced the press that her senior thesis project chronicled the nine months she spent artificially inseminating herself “as often as possible” and then repeatedly inducing abortions; a Yale spokeswoman said that the artist’s claims were false and that the project was “performance art.”BreitbartArgentines were upset about a recent episode of “The Simpsons” in which Homer’s friends praised “military dictator” Juan Peron for successfully disappearing people and for his lovely wife, “Madonna.” “This type of program causes great harm,” said former congressman Lorenzo Pepe. “That part about Madonna–that was too much.”Washington PostAstronomers watched baby stars being spawned in galaxy M83, more than 15 million light-years away;BBCa NASA spacecraft captured images of solar burps spewing from the Sun and ripping the tail off a passing comet;BBCscientists built a tiny operating table in order to perform laser nanosurgery on a one millimeter worm; andThe Telegraphresearchers tinkering with the genes of female fruit flies were able to make them produce an alluring song by vibrating one of their wings, an action previously seen only in males.BBCA woman hitchhiking from Milan to Tel Aviv dressed as a bride in order to promote world peace was raped and strangled in Turkey. “Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and trust,” said the artist’s sister, “but not everyone deserves trust.”New York TimesBBC

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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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