Weekly Review — January 12, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

President Barack Obama addressed the nation with the results of a security review he ordered after the failed Christmas Day underwear bombing. “We are at war against Al Qaeda,” he said, noting also that when it comes to security matters the buck stops with him. Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during the September 11 attacks, said that Obama’s response to terrorism was inadequate. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” said Giuliani.CNNPoliticoThe White House sought to reassure Americans that it had no intention of invading Yemen or Somalia, and also that the State of the Union address would not conflict with the season premiere of “Lost.” “I don’t foresee a scenario in which the millions of people that hope to finally get some conclusion in ‘Lost’ are preempted by the president,” said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.New York TimesAP NewsSenator Harry Reid apologized for saying, during the 2008 presidential campaign, that Obama was a viable candidate because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” G.O.P. Chairman Michael Steele called on Reid to step down as Senate majority leader over his “anachronistic language”; Steele also called the current Republican platform “one of the best political documents thatâ??s been written in the last 25 years,” adding, “honest Injun on that.”New York TimesChicago TribuneAn effigy of Obama was hanged over a sign that celebrates Jimmy Carter in Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia.New York Times

Seven coalition soldiers and one embedded British journalist were killed in attacks in Afghanistan. A military spokesman said that an increasing number of such deaths were likely in the future. “We are making more contact with insurgents in places where they had sanctuary before,” he said, “and there will be more of that kind of activity.”New York TimesNorth Korea announced that it would not give up nuclear weapons until the United States signed a peace treaty bringing a formal end to the Korean War after 60 years,New York Timesand Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only confirmed survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic attacks, died at the age of 93. Washington PostMuslims in Malaysia firebombed at least half a dozen churches in the wake of a court ruling that allows the nation’s Christians to refer to God as “Allah,”Asia Timesand Brit Hume encouraged Tiger Woods to convert to Christianity.Washington PostA Massachusetts man was convicted of animal cruelty for raping his roommate’s pet rabbit.Boston Herald

A parliamentary panel in Iran blamed Tehran’s prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, for the beating deaths of three protesters in a detention center last summer, but called charges that protesters were raped by guards “illusions of a mother.”New York TimesThe website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was hacked. “Dear God, In 2009 you took my favorite singer–Michael Jackson; my favorite actress–Farrah Fawcett; my favorite actor–Patrick Swayze,” read a message on the site. “Please, please, don’t forget my favorite politician–Ahmadinejad; and my favorite dictator–Khamenei in the year 2010.”Radio Free EuropeThe Supreme Court ruled that a federal judge in California could not broadcast over YouTube a trial challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8, the California ballot initiative that banned gay marriage.San Francisco ChronicleDemocratic Senators Christopher Dodd and Byron Dorgan and Governor Bill Ritter announced that they would not seek re-election in 2010.LA TimesIt was revealed that Iris Robinson, the 60-year-old wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson, had a months-long affair with a 19-year-old man, acquired $80,000 in loans for him, and called him “the other son I would have loved to have been a mother to.”LA TimesBritish researchers said that the G-spot does not exist.BBC 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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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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