Weekly Review — September 14, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]

An American cattleman.

At the World Trade Center site, bells tolled at 8:46 a.m. to commemorate the exact moment that the first plane struck the north tower, and the names of nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks were read. Many victims’ relatives used the occasion to protest plans to build a Muslim community center near the site. “A mosque is built on the site of a winning battle,” said Nick Chiarchiaro, whose wife and niece worked in the north tower. “They are symbols of conquest.”New York TimesNew York TimesIn Amarillo, Texas, 23-year-old skateboarder Jacob Isom stole a Koran from David Grisham, director of Repent Amarillo, before Grisham could burn the book. “I snuck up behind and told him, â??Dude, you have no Koran,â?? and took off,” Isom said. Think ProgressReligious leaders held an emergency summit in Washington, D.C., to denounce the “anti-Muslim frenzy.” “We know what it is like when people have attacked us physically, have attacked us verbally, and others have remained silent,” said Rabbi David Saperstein. “It cannot happen here in America in 2010.”New York TimesThe House of Representatives was evacuated after an unidentified white powder was found in the chamber. Some thought the substance was yellow.Talking Points MemoTea Party activists rallied in front of the Capitol. “When we got here last year, at Union Station we could hear the roar,” said Tea Party supporter Rob Pittman, who traveled from Long Island. “Iâ??m not hearing the roar this year.” PoliticoAn invasive species of predatory shrimp, which often leaves its prey uneaten after killing it, was found in the waters off England.BBC

In his first press conference since May, President Obama argued that tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 should be allowed to expire, announced that he would name Austan Goolsbee to be the next chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, and admitted that he failed to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. “It’s not for lack of trying,” he said. “It’s because the politics of it are difficult.”Associated PressThe media noted that Obama was not wearing his wedding ring at the press conference. PoliticoEmployees of the London Tube walked out at rush hour in the first of a series of 24-hour strikes; Greek unions in Thessaloniki staged a 20,000-person march to protest the government’s austerity program; and a 24-hour national strike in France closed schools and disrupted train and airplane service, coinciding with rallies to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. “Slave-driving?” shouted protestors in Paris. “No, no, no.”New York TimesBBCBBCFormer Cuban leader Fidel Castro said that the “Cuban model” doesn’t work; when international media took this to be a repudiation of Communism, he said that he meant “exactly the contrary” and was “amused” by those who took his remark “literally.” The Raw StoryRichard M. Daley, Chicago’s “Mayor for Life,” announced that after 22 years he would not run for re-election. New York TimesRoger Federer lost in 5 sets to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semi-final, and the Liberace Foundation said that it would close the Liberace Museum.New York TimesLas Vegas Sun

A 54-year-old, 30-inch steel gas pipeline in San Bruno, California, ruptured, causing a fireball that killed 4 people, leveled 37 homes, destroyed the subdivision of Crestmoor, and melted the fleece jacket of neighborhood resident Gayle Masunu onto her back. New York TimesSheyla Hershey, who had the largest fake breasts in the world (38KKK, also known as 38M), had her implants and almost all her own breast tissue removed after a severe infection nearly killed her. “I just want a normal size like a housewife has,” said Hershey.GawkerContestants prepared for Miss Mafia, a Hungarian beauty contest for women who have been convicted of mafia-related crimes.AnanovaItalian mattress company Sogniflex released a mattress for lovers, which includes straps, handles, extra-strong springs, and a trench near the foot of the bed where knees can be placed. “I wanted to invent something that could really help them,” said company president Paolo Tonelli, “because most beds are designed for sleeping, not for making love.”AnanovaScientists found that women are attracted to men who can dance well, and speculated that good dancing could be a sign of virility.BBCBritish scientists said that a firm handshake could predict a long life, and researchers in New Zealand found that female snails exposed to the chemical TBT were growing penises from their heads.BBCStuffThe Guinness Book of World Records declared Colombian Edward Nino Hernandez, who used to dance in department stores for money, the shortest man alive, at 27 inches tall. “It bothers me,” said Hernandez, “when people touch me and pick me up.” AnanovaA 90-year-old man who bludgeoned his 89-year-old wife to death with a hammer after 68 years of marriage was sentenced to 17 years in prison, and a man at a mobile-home park in Kentucky shot his wife, stepdaughter, two neighbors, and then himself, after his wife did not cook his eggs to his liking. “I have to admit, a little grin came across my face when I saw his brains go flying,” said neighbor Steve Smith. “He’s been trouble ever since he’s been here.” Daily MailLexington Herald-Leader

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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.

“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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