Weekly Review — June 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

Weekly Review

americanmastiff350 Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared the winner of the election to succeed ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, thereby becoming the country’s first democratically elected leader. Tens of thousands of Egyptians celebrated the announcement in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where they had assembled to protest recent decrees by the country’s high court and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that dissolved parliament, implemented martial law, and stripped the presidency of most of its powers. “The onus now is on the new president to unite the nation,” said a military source, “and to rebuild the country economically and politically.” Protesters vowed to continue occupying the square until parliament was reinstated, and analysts expressed skepticism that Morsi, who earned the nickname “spare tire” during the campaign, would be able to govern effectively. “Meet Egypt’s next non-president,” said one scholar.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Egyptian media reported that Mubarak was comatose, on life support, clinically dead, and much improved.[8][9] In Pakistan, the chief justice of the supreme court fired the prime minister and dismantled the country’s cabinet.[10][11] In Paraguay, Congress fast-tracked impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo and voted to remove him from office.[12] In Greece, it was announced that newly elected prime minister Antonis Samaras and his incoming finance minister would miss an upcoming European Union summit because of eye surgery and hospitalization for fainting, respectively.[13] Greece was defeated by Germany in the quarterfinals of the Euro 2012 soccer championship. “Without Angie,” chanted Germany’s fans, referring to German chancellor Angela Merkel, “you wouldn’t be here.”[14]

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts related to his sexual abuse of ten boys. After the jury was sequestered, Sandusky’s youngest son revealed that he had also been sexually abused by his father.[15][16] North Carolina’s state legislature aborted plans to compensate victims of the state’s forced-sterilization program. “If you start compensating people who have been victimized by past history,” explained a state senator, “I don’t know where that would end.”[17] An online weapons dealer who sold a handgun and other equipment used in three U.S. mass shootings since 2007 was found to have ceased operations; the Florida police chief who failed to arrest George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin was fired; and Ron Barber, the former congressional aide who almost died in the shooting that wounded Gabrielle Giffords, assumed her seat in the House of Representatives.[18][19][20] A House panel voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to divulge documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-trafficking investigation during which federal agents lost track of more than 2,000 weapons that were eventually obtained by drug cartels.[21] The Mexican government accidentally arrested a used-car-dealership employee it had misidentified as the son of the country’s top fugitive drug lord, and a New Mexico district judge ruled legal Southwest Companions, a prostitution website run by a retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor and a former president of the University of New Mexico.[22][23] The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5–4 to reverse a Montana Supreme Court decision preventing the Citizens United decision from being applied to state campaign-finance laws, and struck down several key provisions of a controversial Arizona immigration law while sustaining a requirement that law-enforcement officials review the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. “I would have preferred,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of the Arizona decision, “to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less.”[24][25][26]

Romney turned down an invitation to speak at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a Politico reporter was suspended for saying Romney is comfortable only around white people.[27][28] The Vatican hired a Fox News correspondent as a media adviser.[29] A Wisconsin woman attacked her husband for having copies of The Onion newspaper in his car, and a Massachusetts cyclist was attacked by a man wielding sausage links.[30][31] Some 20 Zimbabwean legislators were circumcised in the country’s parliament building, and President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade, known in Zimbabwe as “Bob and the Wailers,” was involved in its third fatal crash of the past two weeks, smashing into a commuter bus and killing at least one person. “It was a minor crash& we regret death of few who died,” tweeted a spokesman for Mugabe’s political party.[32][33][34] An online campaign to create a vacation fund for a Rochester, New York, school-bus monitor who was seen being verbally abused by teenage boys in a widely circulated cell-phone video raised about $600,000, while a thank-you campaign for the man who organized the fund raised $4,000.[35][36] A Michigan lawmaker who was barred from speaking on the floor of the state legislature after she used the word “vagina” during debate performed The Vagina Monologues on the statehouse steps, and a Chinese TV news program apologized for reporting the discovery of a rare double-headed mushroom known as taisui lingzhi after the object was revealed to have been an artificial vagina and anus. “Our reporter is still very young and unwise to the ways of the world,” read the show’s apology. Confusion was found to be beneficial to learning.[37][38][39]

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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.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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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

Minimum square footage of San Francisco apartments allowed under new regulations:

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A Disney behavioral ecologist announced that elephants’ long-range low-frequency vocal rumblings draw elephant friends together and drive elephant enemies apart.

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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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