Weekly Review — October 7, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation, which originated as a three-page proposal by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and grew to 451 pages after House and Senate negotiations, established the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to grant the Secretary of the Treasury up to $700 billion to buy troubled assets owned by financial institutions, to allow the Treasury to limit executive compensation and “golden parachutes” at those institutions, and to establish an oversight board to monitor the Treasury. The act also provides wooden arrow manufacturers an exemption from excise tax. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rushed the legislation to President George W. Bush, who signed it and promised that the United States would maintain “a leading role in the global economy.” “If I were dictator,” said Senator John McCain, who voted for the act, “which I always aspire to be, I would write it a little bit differently.” McCain also suggested the act be vetoed because it included so much pork. “No matter what the stakes are,” he said, “you’ve got to stop this.”New York TimesABC NewsNew York TimesThink ProgressThink ProgressCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger emailed Paulson to say that he may need a $7 billion loan for the state,Los Angeles Timesand in Akron, Ohio, a 90-year-old woman named Adele Polk shot herself in the chest as police tried to evict her from her foreclosed home. “I saw that blood,” said a neighbor, “and I said, ‘Oh, no. Miss Polk musta done shot herself.'” Responding to public outcry, Fannie Mae forgave Polk’s mortgage, which will allow her to return home if she recovers from her wounds.CNNAfter the bailout was signed into law, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 10,000 for the first time in five years. “Today,” said an income strategist, “is watching the sky fall.”New York Times

Employment decreased for the ninth consecutive month, with the U.S. economy losing 159,000 jobs in September;New York Timesbetween April and July, nearly one million people enrolled in the federal food-stamp program.Washington PostNewt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, suggested the United States solve its economic crisis by creating a website where people could post their ideas,Politicoand vice-presidential candidates Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin debated in St. Louis. Commentators noted that during the debate Palin was successful in repeating Republican talking points, despite having appeared incoherent and ignorant of the basic principles of American government during interviews earlier in the week. “Oh, man,” said Palin, “it’s so obvious I’m a Washington outsider, and someone just not used to the way you guys operate.”New York TimesNASA discovered that snow falls on Mars.Washington PostRussian billionaire Alexander Lebedev and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev teamed up to form a new political party that will promote democracy,Washington Postand in Brazil, where politicians often adopt new names for elections, six candidates had taken the name Barack Obama. Other candidates called themselves Cattle Ana, Jeep Johnny, Big Charlie Knives, Jorge Bushi, Chico Bin Laden, DJ Saddam, King of the Cuckolds, and Kung Fu Fatty.Telegraph

One hundred sixty-eight people were killed in a stampede when someone screamed “There’s a bomb!” at a crowded religious celebration in Jodhpur, India,Washington Postand a Baghdadsuicide bomber killed 14 people who had been celebrating the end of Ramadan. “Nobody expects anything like this,” said Jamal Tawfiq, a 28-year-old Iraqi who gathered body parts in a plastic bag.New York TimesMr. Clean died.Yahoo NewsThe U.S. State Department issued a security alert warning Americans to avoid visiting Bulgarian strip clubs;New York Timesgeneticists determined that the AIDS virus is about a century old;Washington Postand Mexican police recovered the stolen “condom mobile,” a truck used to promote the government’s HIV-AIDS awareness program. Thieves made off with the vehicle’s sound system, 5,000 condoms, and a motor used to inflate a 23-foot-long condom balloon. New York TimesArchaeologists unearthed a ceramic cup that may bear the first-ever written reference to Jesus: “Christ the magician.”Discovery NewsParents were taking advantage of Nebraska’s new safe-haven lawâ??enacted in July to prevent “Dumpster babies” but also protecting children as old as eighteenâ??to get rid of unruly teenagers. “The appropriate response is to reach out to family, friends, and community resources,” said Todd Landry, the state director of children and family services. “What is not appropriate is just to say, ‘Iâ??m tired of dealing with this,’ and drop the child off at a hospital.”New York TimesA seven-year-old boy broke into an Australian zoo, used a rock to bludgeon to death several lizards, and fed them and many still-living reptiles to Terry, the zoo’s crocodile. “By all accounts,” said the zoo’s director, “he’s quite a nasty seven-year-old.”USA Today

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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.

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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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