Weekly Review — October 21, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

Governments around the world attempted to slow the global financial catastrophe. Der SpiegelNYTThe stock market in Iceland reopened after a three-day suspension and immediately plunged 77 percent.NYTBloombergReutersThe Economist via Seattle PIFTGuardianBloombergSwitzerland bought $60 billion in bad debt from the largest Swiss bank, while the second-largest Swiss bank sought aid from the government of Qatar.WPPresident George W. Bush announced a world financial summit, described by some as “Bretton Woods II,” to be held at Camp David after the November 4 elections,TelegraphWSJBBCWPNYTWPBloombergCSMand the United States partially nationalized nine of its major banks. “Bush is to the left of me now,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who also referred to Bush as “comrade.” The Dow jumped 936 points, or 11 percent, on the news that the bailout had begun–its fifth-largest gain in history, surpassed only by records set in the early days of the Great Depression. Reports were released showing weak consumer spending, and the Dow plummeted again, for its worst day since Black Monday in 1987. BBCPawnshop profits were up as much as 50 percent over last year,MSNBCand “Capital Gains,” a program to pay middle school students in Washington, D.C., for good grades and behavior, disbursed $137,813, but underpaid some students due to computer errors. “I only got $10,” said seventh-grader Tarae Graham. “I should have gotten way more.” “Yeah,” said classmate Dominique Watson, who was paid $28. “This whole thing is really messed up.” WP

Taliban militants attacked Lashkar Gah, in the opium-rich Helmand province of Afghanistan. NATO responded with airstrikes that killed 62 insurgents, and 40 more were killed in another battle in the region. Villagers in Nad Ali, six miles away, claimed the airstrikes had also killed civilians, and they protested by carrying 12 corpses to the home of the local governor. The Taliban then seized a bus that they said was en route to Lashkar Gah, executed at least 24 passengers, and beheaded at least six. LATLATLATLATA classified National Intelligence Estimate showed sharply increased militant activity in Pakistan, and also noted food shortages, rising fuel costs, and a sudden flight of foreign capital. An anonymous official summarized conditions in the nuclear-armed country as “no money, no energy, no government.” McClatchyIt was revealed that the National Security Council had given the CIA written approval of waterboarding, WPand the Republican Party in Sacramento, California, removed the words “Waterboard Barack Obama” from their official website. “Some people find it offensive,” said county chairman Craig MacGlashan. “Others do not. I cannot comment on how people interpret things.”Sacramento BeeGeneral Colin Powell endorsed Obama for president. “I’d have difficulty,” said Powell, “with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.” He also attended an African culture festival in London, appearing onstage to do the finger-pointing dance to “Yahoozee,” a Nigerian rap song about Internet fraud. YahooBBCIt was revealed that the online market Intrade, which trades bets on the outcome of the presidential election, had been manipulated by a single trader to favor John McCain. “If the investor did this as investment,” said financial researcher David Rothschild, “he is one of the most foolish investors in the world.”CQ

A House investigative committee presented evidence that military contractor Harry Sargeant III, a top McCain fund-raiser, overcharged by tens of millions of dollars for fuel deliveries to American bases in Iraq.NYTSenior officials of Russian energy company Gazprom, including personal associates of Vladimir Putin, met in Anchorage with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources to discuss investing in energy projects in the state. Governor Sarah Palin said that she did not know about the meeting.IHTCNNNYTPutin’s black labrador was given a satellite-monitoring collar. “She looks sad,” said Russian Deputy Minister Sergei Ivanov. “Her free life is over.” “She is wagging her tail,” said Putin. “That means she likes it.”ReutersDavid Moore, a former Air Force mechanic in Connecticut who is building a flying bat-suit, admitted that he had “failed miserably” this year. “It looks,” he said of his crumpled nylon contraption, which he calls The Fletcher, “like a pile of spaghetti right now.”Hartford CourantJazz trumpeter and big-band arranger Neal Hefti, who wrote the “Batman” theme song, died at age 85. “He told me he tore up more paper on ‘Batman’ than on any other work he ever did,” said his son. “He had to find something that worked with the lowest common denominator, so it would appeal to kids, yet wouldn’t sound stupid.” “Nananana, nananana, nananana, nananana,” went the song, a 12-bar blues that won Hefti his only Grammy, “Batman!” NYT

Share
Single Page

More from Sam Stark:

From the February 2015 issue

A Weimar Home Companion

Walter Benjamin on the air

Commentary January 21, 2011, 3:43 pm

United We Brand!

Weekly Review September 28, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Chances that an American pediatrician has treated a child for a gunshot wound in the last year:

1 in 6

Researchers found that young teens who witness gun violence are more than twice as likely to commit a violent crime themselves.

Brailsford’s lawyer said Shaver was “not a bad person” but that “his actions” had gotten him killed, referring in part to the defendant’s claim that a hand movement of Shaver’s while he was on his knees made it appear as if he might have been reaching for a weapon in the waistband of his basketball shorts, which at that point had fallen down.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today