Weekly Review — December 1, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

News leaked that President Barack Obama would send roughly 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, with the possibility of sending 10,000 more in a year, even as NATO allies spoke about withdrawing their own forces. Both Democrats and Republicans were skeptical of the strategy; Republican Senator Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) said that the call for phased deployment was “reminiscent of Vietnam.” Obama is expected, in a forthcoming speech at West Point, to provide a time frame for when American forces will leave the country and to stress that the goal in Afghanistan is to “defeat” Al Qaeda. The Daily BeastTalking Points MemoTalking Points MemoA Senate report revealed that Donald Rumsfeld, by failing to launch a rapid assault on Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001, allowed bin Laden to escape capture.Talking Points MemoChildren were finding work as food smugglers along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “I want to have an easy job,” said eight-year-old Sabar Mina, a Pakistani girl who earns 20 cents per trip to support her family. “A job where nobody hits us or hurts us.”CNNA survey found that 10 percent of Americans under the age of 35, facing financial difficulties, had moved back in with their parents.New York TimesObama pardoned Courage the turkey.New York Times

Florida police were searching for a 35-year-old man who after Thanksgiving dinner fatally shot his aunt, his twin sisters, and his six-year-old cousin who was in bed resting before her performance in “The Nutcracker” the next day.BreitbartPolice in Washington state were searching for a man who shot and killed four police officers as they worked on their laptops inside a Forza coffeeshop.New York TimesScientists found that drinking a cup of Brazilian mint tea can alleviate pain.BBCA Quebec woman who was on paid sick leave after being diagnosed with depression said that her insurance company denied her health benefits after it found photos on her Facebook page that purportedly prove her capable of having fun.Time MagazinePhotographs on the Facebook page of Michaele Salahi, a Virginia woman who hopes to become a star on the upcoming reality show “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” revealed that she and her husband, Tareq, crashed Obama’s first state dinner, where they shook hands with the president and received a warm hug from Vice President Joe Biden. Washington PostThe University of California, Santa Cruz, was seeking a librarian to catalog the Grateful Dead archive.UC Santa Cruz University LibraryLeeds University was searching for a researcher to study lap dancing, and Copenhagen was worried about sex slavery, with women on sale for as little as 15,000 kroner.AnanovaThe Copenhagen PostA crowd gathered outside a Sydney clock tower to watch an Australian couple have intercourse,Ananovaand Vincent Van Gogh’s complete letters were published. “Eat well,” Van Gogh wrote to a fellow painter. “Don’t fuck too hard; if you don’t fuck too hard, your painting will be all the spunkier for it.”The Guardian

Scientists counted more than 17,000 species of creatures living at least three miles below the world’s oceans, 5,600 of them previously unknown, including Enypiastes, a translucent sea cucumber.Washington PostLucky, the world’s oldest sheep, succumbed to heatstroke and died, toothless and arthritic, at the age of 23;BBCzookeepers at the Chongqing Wild Animal Park, China, were dismayed to find that the zoo’s five white tigers had become so domesticated they were scared of the live chickens they were meant to eat;Ananovaand fifteen firefighters went to an Australian home to look for a reported gas leak but found instead a fat farting pig.ABC NewsHundreds of thousands of Hindus converged in Nepal for the world’s largest animal sacrifice festival, a two-day event in honor of Gadhimai, a goddess of power, during which more than 250,000 animals were slaughtered, including 15,000 male water buffalos and at least 100,000 goats.CNNWild camels in search of water overran a small Australian town, trampling fences and smashing water tanks; authorities planned to corral about 6,000 of the animals with helicopters and gun them down.USA TodayA Pittsburgh man told police that he killed Flip, his girlfriend’s 13-week-old puppy, because the pit bull would not behave before the start of a Steelers game,Pittsburgh Post Gazetteand Tiger Woods hit a tree in his SUV.The New York TimesThe Swiss banned further construction of minarets;Swiss Vote to Ban New MinaretsChristians in Jerusalem wanted Jews to stop spitting on them;Haaretzand ten Florida middle schoolers were suspended for participating in Kick a Jew Day.Naples 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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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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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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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

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

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