Weekly Review — June 16, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the election results a “divine miracle,” but fraud and voter irregularities were reportedly rampant; Ahmadinejad’s main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, asked the ayatollah for an investigation into the results. “They didn’t rig the vote,” said an official with Iran’s interior ministry, which conducted the election. “They didn’t even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.” Iranians protesting the results took to the streets, where they were attacked with clubs, metal batons, baseball bats, stones, and teargas. “He ran a red light,” said Ahmadinejad of Mousavi, “and he got a traffic ticket.” During the campaign, Mousavi advocated increased engagement with the United States and accused Ahmadinejad of being “superstitious” and “brazenly staring at the camera and telling lies to the nation,” citing September 2005 footage in which Ahmadinejad discussed being surrounded by a mysterious light during an appearance at the United Nations: “I felt the atmosphere changed,” he said, claiming that, for 27 minutes, his audience did not blink. “Iâ??m not exaggerating,” he continued, “when Iâ??m saying they didnâ??t blink.”BloombergNew York TimesCNNNew York TimesNew York TimesTimes OnlineNew York City planned to gas geese near airports.WCBS

North Korea announced plans to weaponize plutonium.CNNChicago Reverend Jeremiah Wright claimed that he hadn’t spoken with Barack Obama, his former parishioner, since Obama assumed the presidency, because “them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me.” Asked to explain what he meant by “them Jews,” Wright explained that he was referring only to “Zionists.”Daily PressPolitico.comJames von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist and author of the book Kill the Best Gentiles!, opened fire in the Washington, D.C., Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard before he was shot in the face and hospitalized.Times OnlineA woman in Tel Aviv was searching through the city dump after she bought her mother a new mattress as a gift and threw out the old one, which was stuffed with $1 million in cash.CNNThe U.S. Treasury said that it would set executive compensation at seven firms receiving government support, including AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler.New York TimesThe parents of young “trustafarians” who live in fashionable Williamsburg, New York, could no longer afford to pay rent for their adult children.New York TimesA bakery in the Spanish city of Valencia was sued when the arm of an undocumented Bolivian worker was severed by a kneading machine and put out with the garbage,BBCand French prosecutors commenced the trial of a woman accused of killing her babies and storing their bodies in the freezer.BBC

Johanna Ganthaler, a woman who missed the May 31 Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and killed all aboard, died in a car accident.Times OnlineFarmers in the Netherlands were using pig excrement to generate electricity,National Geographicand U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested that painting roofs white might reflect sufficient sunlight to stave off global warming.New York TimesA Nebraska doctor said that he would offer third-term abortions.Associated PressNurses in the Czech Republic were receiving free breast implants and liposuction as signing bonuses. “It helps to improve the morale,” explained a clinic manager, “of both our employees and our patients.”Boston GlobeYoung girls in Zimbabwe were trading sex for food, three boys in Dorset, England, stomped a baby deer to death, a 16-year-old boy in California was running for city council, and a 14-year-old boy in Germany was hit by a meteorite.BBCBBCNBCTelegraphCaliforniascientists studying guppies found that evolution can take place in as little as eight years,Science Dailyand scientists conducting research in Africa announced the discovery of a penis-shaped mushroom that they christened Phallus drewesii, after herpetologist Robert Drewes. “I’m utterly delighted,” said Drewes of the new species of stinkhorn fungus, which is two inches long. “The funny thing is that it is the second-smallest known mushroom in this genus and it grows sideways, almost limp.”Scientific American

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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.

— Karl Marx

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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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