Weekly Review — April 12, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

A kinkajou, 1886.

Less than an hour and a half before a budget-negotiation stalemate would have necessitated the first U.S. government shutdown since 1995, Democrats and Republicans worked out a compromise. The stopgap agreement, which will fund government operations until Thursday, April 14, proposes a $38-billion reduction in annual spending, the largest ever budget cut, achieved by slashing mainly health and education allocations, including public housing, as well as Pell grants for low-income college students. The military, however, would receive $5 billion more than it did last year.NYTProtesters had planned a demonstration during which they would deposit trash outside the home of John Boehner, but cancelled it in the wake of the budget deal.WPNPRWSJWLTXFox NewsAmid word that he will announce his candidacy for president, Donald Trump continued to search for Barack Obamaâ??s birth certificate by sending a team of investigators to Hawaii. “I donâ??t like to talk about this issue too much,” Trump said on CNN, “because I really would rather talk about China.”Fox NewsResearchers concluded that liberals have larger anterior cingulate cortices than conservatives, indicating a greater ability to deal with conflicting information; that conservatives have larger amygdalae, indicating a greater ability to recognize threats; and that members of Congress spend 27 percent of their time taunting one another.CNNScience DailyWP

Muammar Qaddafi agreed to a peace plan, proposed by the African Union, that calls for a cease-fire and the disbursal of humanitarian aid, but Libyan rebels rejected it. “From the first day,” said rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil, “the demand of our people has been the ouster of Qaddafi and the fall of his regime.”BloombergSeventy-five-year-old Hayastan Shakarian, who is accused of disabling Internet service in Armenia and Georgia by accidentally cutting through a fiber-optic cable while searching for scrap metal, pleaded innocent. “I have no idea what the Internet is,” she said.SMHAFPScientists discovered what they claimed to be the first known gay caveman; others said he was neither gay nor a caveman.Daily MailScientists also hypothesized that feathered dinosaurs had lice and determined that yawns are contagious among chimpanzees.Discovery NewsBBCIn Sweden, an anteater at a zoo broke into the flamingo compound and murdered ten flamingoes, and the country’s National Board for Consumer Disputes fined the organizers of a Hawaiian colon-cleanse course after insufficient toilets forced one participant to empty her bowels outside, with spectators. “The vast majority would prefer,” wrote the Board in its decision, “the possibility to defecate in private.”The LocalThe LocalAn F/A-18 fighter jet crashed into a field in central California, and a Royal Navy serviceman shot two people onboard the HMS Astute, a nuclear submarine.ABCGuardianThe Obama Administration announced its decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a military commission rather than in a civilian court, and New York representative Peter King, who last month led hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, received a severed pig’s foot in the mail.NYTNYDN

Oceanographers mapped the course of the “island of debris” that resulted from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Ships, houses, cars, and human remains are expected to wash up on Hawaiian shores within a year, and on Californian shores within three years.CNNAfter sixty-six days at sea, Anthony Smith, an 85-year-old sailor, completed with three friends a voyage across the Atlantic in a raft. Smith was able to pay for the raft after a van accident broke his hip and he received compensation. “Some people say it was mad,” he said of his journey. “What else do you do when you get on in years?”Daily MailMSNBCA Mesquite, Texas, police officer caused outrage after repeatedly administering pepper spray to a baby squirrel that had been following students around a middle school, and a teenager was arrested after trying to smuggle five pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the United States hidden in the seat of a wheelchair.FoxKTLAKristen LaBrie, whose nine-year-old son died of leukemia in 2009, stood trial on the charge of attempted murder for withholding from him at least five months of chemotherapy medications. “I didn’t actually see the cancer make him very sick,” she told the prosecutor. “What I saw make him very sick was the two weeks they blasted him with chemotherapy.”Cw56A fifth grader with no hands won a penmanship award in the National Handwriting Contest.CNN

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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.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

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:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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