Weekly Review — August 19, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

After more than a week of fighting and one failed cease-fire, Russia and Georgia signed a revised cease-fire agreement, but Russian troops remained within 25 miles of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev promised French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who negotiated the agreement, that Russian forces would soon withdraw from Georgia. He also insisted that troops would remain in the breakaway Georgian territory South Ossetia. “The superpower showed that she was able to defend her people,” said Marina Katayeva, a 30-year-old Russian doctor. “Now we will be more respected.” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Russians were “twenty-first-century barbarians” who had essentially raped his country; “Can you say that, you know the victim of a rape is to be blamed for the rape because she wore a short skirt?”New York TimesBBCWhile reporting live from Gori, Tamara Urushadze, a 32-year-old Georgian TV reporter, was shot in the arm by a sniper. Urushadze looked down at the bloody scratch, then collapsed onto the ground, then, moments later, resumed her broadcast.New York TimesNew York TimesCanada Free PressDaily MailIn response to the crisis, President George W. Bush postponed a vacation trip to his Texas ranch by one day.Swamp PoliticsVesti FM, a Russian state-run radio station, reported that the South Ossetia conflict was part of a plot by Vice President Dick Cheney to prevent Barack Obama from being elected president of the United States,.The Timeswhile in the United States it was suggested that John McCain’s speech on Georgia was partly cribbed from Wikipedia. Aides to McCain said there are only so many ways to state historical facts. Politico

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf resigned.ReutersThe United States and Poland finalized a deal that would allow the United States to build a missile-interceptor base on Polish territory, and Ukraine offered the U.S. use of its missile-warning system. Poland, said Russian general Anatoly Nogovitsyn, “is exposing itself to a strike–100 percent.”BreitbartTelegraphThe musical designer for the BeijingOlympics admitted that Lin Miaoke, the nine-year-old Chinese schoolgirl who, suspended on wires, performed “Hymn to the Motherland” at the games’ opening ceremony, lip-synched the song after Chinese officials decided that the actual singer, seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, was too ugly and buck-toothed to perform before billions.TelegraphMichael Phelps, the American swimmer who won eight gold medals in Beijing, revealed that he consumes more than 12,000 calories a day by eating three egg sandwiches with fried onions, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast, three chocolate-chip pancakes, two ham-and-cheese sandwiches, two pounds of pasta, and an entire pizza. New York PostIt was reported that few of the 9 million overweight or obese children in the U.S. could afford weight-loss summer camp.New York TimesIn a joint statement, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton announced that her name would be included in a state-by-state roll-call vote at the Democratic Convention,International Herald Tribuneand economists at the University of Maryland found that more than one million votes for Obama in the Democratic primaries could be attributed to Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement.Political WireAt a forum for the presidential candidates hosted by Reverend Rick Warren, Barack Obama and John McCain were asked to define “rich.” Anyone making $250,000 or more, said Obama. “If you’re just talking about income,” said McCain, “how about 5 million?”The Carpetbagger ReportBritish scientists unveiled Gordon, the world’s first robot controlled by living brain tissue.Bretibart

Trustees for a north Texas school district approved a policy change that will allow teachers to carry concealed handguns to class,Houston Chronicleand data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that minorities will become the majority by 2042. “It’s important to recognize that this is a choice we’re making,” said Steven Camarota, a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies. “This is not weather that we have no control over.” Washington PostGerman researchers raised a giant reflective screen in the middle of the Swiss Alps in an effort to slow the melting of the Rhne glacier,Breitbartand Australianscientist George Wilson called on people to eat kangaroo instead of beef to reduce global warming. BBCPenguin Nils Olav, the Norwegian King’s Guard mascot since 1972, was knighted in front of a crowd of several hundred people and 130 guardsmen. Nils, who shat himself during the ceremony, was, read the proclamation from King Harald the Fifth, “in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood.”BBCTwo Bigfoot hunters said they had killed one such animal and were storing its carcass in a freezer; analysts found that of the two DNA samples that the hunters provided to prove Bigfoot’s existence, one was from a human and the other was 96 percent opossum.New York TimesNew York TimesResearchers at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a material for use in invisibility cloaks,BBCand a community of Welsh Cistercian monks who had been relying on a dial-up Internet connection opted to get a broadband connection. “Patience is one of the characteristics of monastic life,” said Father Daniel van Santvoort, “but even the patience of the Brothers was tested by our slow Internet.”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.

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Altruistic children tend to be healthier but from poorer families.

The prosecution told the jury that the officer, Philip Brailsford, was a “killer” for forcing Shaver, who was unarmed and intoxicated, into the hallway and then shooting him as he crawled on the floor crying and asking not to be shot.

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