Weekly Review — August 3, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Small Family, May 1874]

A Small Family.

Monsoon rains caused the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history, wiping out entire villages and killing more than 1,100 people. “We saw destruction during the three years of the Taliban and then during their fight with the army,” said Fazal Maula, whose house in the Swat Valley was destroyed by the flooding. “But the destruction we have seen in the last three days is much more.” The United States said it would provide Pakistan with $10 million in humanitarian assistance.CBSTaking advantage of the mass migration in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where law enforcement agencies had temporarily halted identity searches, militants reportedly tried to enter Peshawar disguised as flood victims. “Things generally are the best they have been with Pakistan in a long time,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). “And this is one area where President Obama doesn’t get enough credit.”The NationCNNIslamist militants burnt effigies of British Prime Minister David Cameron after he gave a speech linking Pakistan to the export of terrorism, and Pakistan’s president, Asif Zardari, threatened to cancel an official visit to Britain. “Like a cuttlefish squirting out ink,” said Labor Minister David Miliband of Cameron, “his words were copious and created a mess.” DTIJoint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen responded to the release of 90,000 secret military documents on WikiLeaks with a tweet: “Appalled by classified docs leak to WikiLeaks & decision to post. It changes nothing on Afghanistan strategy or our relationship w/Pakistan.”The HillIt was revealed that suspected leaker Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old army intelligence analyst who is currently being held in a military prison, was depressed after a breakup. According to his Facebook page, he didn’t “have anything left,” was “beyond frustrated,” and considered “military intelligence” an oxymoron.TelegraphFollowing her return to Moscow, Russian spy Anna Chapman and Vladimir Putin sang patriotic songs.Daily Mail

BP began offering payouts to individuals affected by the Gulf oil spill who promised to waive their right to sue.The GuardianTo permanently seal the Macondo well, engineers were preparing a “bottom kill,” to be preceded by a “static kill” in which mud and cement would be fired through the well’s blowout preventer, a measure not unlike the “top kill” that failed to seal the well in May. Retired Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen said, “We should not be writing any obituary for this event.” The Washington PostBP replaced chief executive Tony Hayward (who said he could not go to a Senate hearing because he had a “busy week”) with Bob Dudley, a choice that the media heralded as “a top kill that works.”The GuardianThe GuardianU.S. District Court judge Susan Bolton blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, and China ended the practice of publicly shaming criminal suspects by parading them through the streets. “There are more modern tools for law reinforcement,” said Mao Shoulong, a professor of public policy at Peopleâ??s University in Beijing.ReutersNYTimesChurchill’s dentures, which were specially constructed to preserve his natural lisp and so important to him that he carried two pairs at all times, sold at auction for more than $24,000, and the sister of 31-year-old Oscar, the world’s first recipient of a full face transplant, said he was looking forward to the “little things, like walking down the street without anyone looking at him.”The GuardianNew York Magazine

With 400 guests in attendance, Chelsea Clinton wed investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in a ceremony that was co-officiated by a rabbi and a Methodist minister.ABCThe Anti-Defamation League announced its opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque two blocks north of the World Trace Center site. Referring to the loved ones of September 11 victims, ADL director Abraham Foxman said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”GuardianParis Hilton denied that she had made the Nazi salute on a luxury yacht in St. Tropez. “Paris was dancing and having fun with her arm up in the air as she always dances,” said her spokesperson, “and was scratching [her] face when a photo was taken.”New York MagazineThe cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice accompanied Aretha Franklin on the piano at a gala benefit for arts education, and while visiting a Michigan auto plant to promote the government’s bailout of the auto industry, Barack Obama drove ten feet in a battery-powered Chevrolet Volt. “I hope it has an air bag,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said.Huffington PostThe Washington PostWSJThe Russian Grain Union predicted that the country’s grain harvest may fall by 26 percent this year due to the worst drought in decades, and two branches of British supermarket chain Budgens were inundated by shoppers anxious to try gray squirrel meat. “Squirrel tastes similar to a rabbit,” said Henry Atwell, a butcher from Walton, Somerset. “Some people say they taste a bit nutty but I don’t know if it’s in the mind.”Ria Novosti

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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.

— 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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