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

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

Barack Obama began his week-long foreign tour in Afghanistan, where he met with President Hamid Karzai, and continued on to Iraq. There, he flew in a helicopter to the Green Zone with General David Petraeus. Before he left the United States, he was asked what he would say to foreign leaders. “I’m more interested in listening,” Obama replied, “than doing a lot of talking.”CNNNew York TimesPoliticoBBCJohn McCain went to a Yankees game and took a drive in a golf cart with former President George H. W. Bush. CBSSenator Joe Lieberman argued that the success of the “surge” policy made the Iraq visit possible. “If Barack Obama’s policy on Iraq had been implemented,” he said, “Barack Obama couldn’t go to Iraq today.” Talking Points MemoLieberman also said that, if asked, he would speak for McCain at the Republican National Convention,Politicoand Hillary Clinton unveiled a new hairdo with the part shifted to the right.Washington PostA White House employee accidentally emailed hundreds of reporters a news item headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan”; the story detailed how Prime Minister Nouri Maliki had said in an interview that the Obama proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq in sixteen months was “the right timeframe.”ABC NewsPresident George W. Bush announced that he would now agree to a withdrawal inside “a general time horizon,” rescinded a 1990 ban on offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf that had been imposed by his father, and tried to give a little Kentucky girl named Emily, who had played in the White House T-ball game, a presidential baseball. The child ran away crying. AP via Yahoo! NewsWashington PostWashington Post

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the 2010 census will not count the estimated 780,000 same-sex marriages that will have by then taken place in California and Massachusetts,LA Timesand Kay Ryan was named poet laureate of the United States. “I might take it upon myself,” she said, “to prevent all bad poetry from being published.”Washington PostCongress passed a bill that named the portion of U.S. Route 20A that leads to the Buffalo Bills stadium “Timothy J. Russert Highway,”Washington Postand Republican Senator Orrin Hatch announced that his ballad “Headed Home,” written in tribute to his longtime friend Senator Edward Kennedy, who has a malignant tumor in his brain, will be performed at the Democratic National Convention. “The words ‘headed home,'” said Hatch, “mean he is headed home to the Senate.” Washington PostDozens of revelers at the Aquamarine Open Air Festival near Moscow were left partially blind after a laser light show burned their retinas,Reutersand members of Finland’s Theater Totti debuted the world’s first opera for the deaf. Performers conveyed the mood and tone of the nineteenth-century opera “The Hunt of King Charles” using sign language and body language, facial expressions, and two musicians. “I was afraid it would be a pitiful imitation of opera by the hearing,” said Kaisa Alanne, the director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf, “but, oh, how wrong I was! It is as if a new form of art was born.”National Post

A tanker truck on its way to Sugar Land, Texas, overturned, spilling onto the highway more than 5,000 gallons of what a city spokeswoman described as “healthy, all-natural molasses,”Yahoo Newsand after hundreds of formulations, scientists at Argentina’s Center for Research and Development in Food Cytotechnology arrived at a prototype for a juicy, lean hamburger patty by removing the beef fat and replacing it with a combination of soybean byproducts and seafood oils. Washington PostInBev, the Belgian beer company that makes Stella Artois, completed its purchase of Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. “We were betrayed,” said American brewery employee Dave Liszewski. “The good Lord was sold out for 30 pieces of silver. We were sold out for $70 a share.”New York TimesPotential First Lady Cindy Hensley McCain, chair of the massive Anheuser-Busch distributor Hensley & Co., said that she became a licensed pilot because “in Arizona, the only way to get around the state is by small private plane.”Huffington PostA toad in Australia ate a three-foot-long snake,.Mail OnlinePope Benedict XVI spoke to a crowd of more than 400,000 people about the evils of materialism,New York Timesand “Easterbunny,” a red, methane-covered dwarf planet orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, was designated as the third plutoid in our solar system and rechristened “Makemake.”New York 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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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.

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