Weekly Review — October 6, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

The International Monetary Fund said that the global economy was improving and that banks would probably have to absorb another $1.5 trillion in losses in addition to the $1.3 trillion already written off. There remained, the IMF said, “risk of a reintensification of the adverse feedback loop between the real and financial sectors.” At Anadolu University in Istanbul, a student threw a white Nike shoe at IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and shouted, “Get out of the university, IMF thief!” NYTNYTU.S. unemployment rose to 9.8 percent, underemployment rose to 17 percent, and the average American workweek shrank by six minutes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, raising its earlier estimates, reported that eight million jobs had vanished in the recession so far, the largest mass layoff since the end of World War II. “This is what a recovery looks like,” said former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Ninety-nine of the hundred largest metropolitan areas had lost jobs in the past year. The exception was the area around McAllen, Texas, a border town where per-capita income is $12,000 and the incidence of heavy drinking is sixty percent higher than the national average. President Obama called the new jobs figures “sobering.” John “Bootsie” Wilson, the last surviving member of the Silhouettes, the soul group that sang the 1958 hit “Get a Job,” died. NYTBloombergPittsburgh Business TimesNYTNew YorkerCNNYouTubePhiladelphia Daily NewsNYTSarah Palin announced that the co-author of her forthcoming memoir Going Rogue will be a fundamentalist Christian named Lynn Vincent. “Many Muslims are kind and gentle people,” Vincent co-wrote in an earlier book, “but about one in ten, according to scholars who study Jihad, have declared war on our way of life.” Alaskan porcupines were in heat, Juneau Empireand David Letterman told a long joke about his affairs with coworkers.Entertainment WeeklyLovebugs near Hilton Head, South Carolina, emerged en masse to mate and die. The Beaufort Gazette

An earthquake in Indonesia killed more than six hundred people, floods in India killed 271, a tsunami in the Samoas killed more than 160, and soldiers in Conakry, Guinea, fired on pro-democracy marchers, killing 87. “What upsets me most,” said opposition leader Sidya Toure, “is that they destroyed my library.” TelegraphLATCNNUSA TodayAP via LATThe United Kingdom opened a new Supreme Court with carpets by Sir Peter Blake, who also designed the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,BBCand one hundred thirty-one walruses in northern Alaska died in a walrus stampede. Alaska Daily NewsChicago’s Field Museum announced that it would exhibit the body of a one-month-old woolly mammoth, possibly dislodged from Siberian permafrost by climate change, Chicago Tribuneand Catholics and Episcopalians brought pets to church to be blessed, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.Rome churches bless animals; â??This is a way to remind ourselves that (animals), too, are part of his creation.â??Columnist William Safire, who called himself a language “maven”â??a word of Yiddish origin, first popularized in a 1960s ad for pickled herringâ??died, NYTNYTand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accidentally revealed that his original, Jewish surname is Sabourjian, Persian for “weaver of the prayer shawl.” Telegraph

Scientists announced the discovery of a 4.4-million-year-old hominid primate skeleton that is 1 million years older than the Australopithecus afarensis known as Lucy. The bipedal creature, named Ardi, had more useful big toes than we have. WPNYTScienceScienceNational Geographic BlogsNational GeographicKraft Foods agreed not to call a new mix of Vegemite and cream cheese “iSnack2.0,” after Australian consumers complained. The creator of the name, said one protestor, should be made to run down the street “wearing nothing but a generous lathering of old-fashioned Vegemite as retribution for his cultural crime.” Asia TimesTimes UKBBCChicago lost to Rio de Janeiro in a bid to host the 2016 Olympics. “If they have Obama,” said soccer superstar Pele, “we have Pele.” TelegraphChina celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the socialist People’s Republic of China under the democratic dictatorship of the Communist Party and Chairman Mao, AFP via Googleand the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, under chairman Max Baucus, finished its proposed health-care reform bill, after striking down the “public option” favored by 57 percent of Americans. The Senate Finance version of the bill will now be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, then melded with a more liberal version by the Senate Health Committee, and sent to the Senate floor for debate. Las Vegas Review-JournalNYTWPChicago TribuneAP via Miami HeraldKaiser Health NewsKaiser Health NewsLATWPElk in the Rocky Mountains were gathering their harems for mating, and tourists gathered to listen to their eerie bugling. “At the end, they let out two to three grunts and spray urine on their abdomen, chest, and neck,” explained Bob Kreycik, a retired veterinarian in Loveland, Colorado. “The more they smell, the more the cows like it.” Loveland Reporter-HeraldBoulder Daily Camera

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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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