Weekly Review — August 12, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Storks, 1864]

Claiming that South Ossetian separatists had attacked its villages, U.S. ally Georgia sent troops to capture the city of Tskhinvali. Russia retaliated by sending ground troops into Tskhinvali, then into Georgia proper; Georgia claimed that hundreds of troops had been killed on both sides along with “huge numbers” of civilians. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili described Russia’s troop actions as “the preplanned, cold-blooded, premeditated murder of a small country.”NYTimes.comItar-TassBloomberg.comThe Olympics began in Beijing, heralded on television by fake, computer-generated fireworks.All Headline NewsPresident George W. Bush told Bob Costas that China “is a big, important nation…it is important for this country to show respect for the people of the country.”CEP NewsThe International Court of Justice condemned Texas for executing a Mexican national who had not been advised of his right to consular assistance. “Texas,” replied the office of the state’s attorney general, “is not bound by the World Court.”BBCNews.comUnder pressure from human-rights groups, Iran suspended death by stoning “for now,”BBCNews.comand a U.S. military jury in Guantanamo rejected the 30-year minimum sentence called for by the Bush Administration and sentenced Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s former driver, to five more months in prison atop the 61 he has already served.The Wall Street JournalAustralian police reopened 7,000 investigations after realizing that they had mixed up DNA samples and wrongly arrested a man for double homicide and child rape,Reutersand Franz Kafka’s secret porn stash was brought to light. “Animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action,” said researcher James Hawes. “It’s quite unpleasant.”Times Online

It was discovered that a woman who paid a South Korean company to create five clones of her pitbull Booger was Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming who escaped British authorities in 1977 after abducting a Mormon missionary, securing him to a bed with mink-lined handcuffs, and raping him three times. “They are perfectly the same as their daddy,” said McKinney, in Seoul, of Booger’s clones. “I am in Heaven here.”Salt Lake TribuneDaily MailThe RegisterAfter The National Enquirer published pictures of John Edwards holding his “love child,” Edwards admitted that he had had an affair with actress Rielle Hunter in 2006 but said that he did not love her and that her baby couldn’t be his. Novelist Jay McInerney said that Hunter was the basis for Alison Poole, a “cocaine-addled, sexually voracious” party girl who appeared both in his novels and in Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho.”ABCNews.comA poll by Lifetime Networks found that women would prefer to carpool or vacation with Barack Obama over John McCain by a factor of two to one.ReutersMcCain campaigned at a biker rally in South Dakota, at which there is each year a beauty pageant that features topless contestants performing fellatio upon bananas. “I encouraged Cindy to compete,” he told a crowd. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as First Lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”Talking Points MemoIt was revealed that days after McCain reversed his position on offshore drilling to one of support, employees and family members from Hess oil company gave his campaign $285,000.Talking Points MemoIn New Zealand a 111-year-old tuatara reptile, a remnant from the age of dinosaurs, impregnated his partner for the first time in decades. The lizard-like creature, who now has three consorts, regained his interest in sex after zoologists removed a cancerous growth from his genitals.Fox News

A U.S. biologist in Barbados claimed to have discovered the world’s smallest snake, which, at less than 4 inches long, may be the smallest that snakes can possibly be. Barbadians insisted that they already knew about the animal, which they call a “thread snake.”BBCNews.comCNN.comIsaac Hayes, who sang the theme song to “Shaft” (“Can you dig it?”), and comedian Bernie Mac both died.BBCnews.comNYTimes.comRwanda’s justice ministry issued a report accusing France of participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. “French forces directly assassinated Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis,” said a statement from the ministry. “French forces committed several rapes on Tutsi survivors.”BBCnews.comA survey found 125,000 Western lowland gorillas living in a swamp in Congo, double the number of the endangered primates previously believed to exist; nevertheless, due to habitat loss and human encroachment, said a report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, almost half of the world’s primate species are facing extinction.CNN.comBBCnews.comThe U.S. Army failed to censor a new medical textbook that teaches updated military surgical practices and depicts blast amputations, dead children, and a suicide bomber’s rib embedded in a soldier. “There was never any doubt in my mind that the Army would publish this,” said Dr. Stephen P. Hetz, a retired colonel and the book’s co-author. “It was just a matter of getting around the nitwits.”NYTimes.comSharks were eating polar bears in the Arctic,Reutersand Greyhound pulled an ad that read, “There’s a reason you’ve never heard of ‘bus rage,'” after a Greyhound passenger on the TransCanada highway beheaded and ate his seatmate.Houston ChronicleAt least 38 Venezuelan Warao Indians had died of rabies after being bitten by vampire bats. “Vampire bats are very adaptable,” said a rabies researcher. “Homo sapiens is a pretty easy meal.”CNN.com

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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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Minimum square footage of San Francisco apartments allowed under new regulations:

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