Weekly Review — July 16, 2012, 5:08 pm

Weekly Review

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Journalists uncovered Bain Capital securities filings identifying G.O.P. presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the head of the company until 2002—three years longer than he has previously claimed. If the filings are accurate, Romney would have controlled the investment firm during a controversial period when several companies it managed went bankrupt and others laid off thousands of employees. “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, “or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.” Romney—who, according to one of his campaign advisers, “retired retroactively” from Bain in 2002—called on Obama to apologize for Cutter’s remarks. “It’s disgusting, it’s demeaning,” said Romney. “Stop whining,” said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. “What are you going to do when the Chinese leader says something to you or Putin says something to you? Going to whine it away?”[1][2][3][4][5] Members of Congress sparred over an Obama Administration proposal to increase taxes only on those making more than $250,000 a year, Romney was booed during a speech before a convention of the NAACP in which he said he’d be better than Obama for black Americans, and elected officials were indignant over the revelation that Ralph Lauren’s U.S. Olympic uniforms were manufactured in China. “I think they should take all the uniforms,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), “put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”[6][7][8][9] Phoenix, a golden eaglet who survived the massive Utah “Dump Fire” in June, was reportedly clawing his handlers as they gave him antibiotics. “He’s not grateful,” said one.[10]

More than a hundred people were killed in a Syrian military attack on a small farming community near Hama, and the Red Cross classified the country’s conflict as a civil war.[11] U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton met with Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi in Cairo, in an attempt to convince Egypt’s military to cede political control of the country to civilians and to ease tensions with President Mohamed Morsi. Egypt “is for all Egyptians, not for a certain group,” said Tantawi hours after Clinton’s departure. “The armed forces will not allow that.”[12] The painter of a mural at Penn State University covered up the halo he’d drawn over the head of late football coach Joe Paterno following new revelations about Paterno’s role in covering up the sexual abuse of minors by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. “Sue Paterno had been quoted as saying [her husband] was not a saint,” said Michael Pilato. “That made this difficult decision easier for me to execute.”[13][14] Hans Kristian Rausing, the billionaire heir to the Tetra Pak drink-carton fortune, was arrested on drug-possession charges, then rearrested for the murder of his wife, Eva, whose body may have lain in the couple’s London mansion for a week before detectives found it.[15] A Michigan woman came under investigation after police discovered the neatly dressed body of her companion, who was thought to have died in December 2010, sitting in a living-room chair. “It’s not that I’m heartless,” said the woman, who would talk to the corpse while watching NASCAR. “I didn’t want to be alone. He was the only guy who was ever nice to me.”[16][17] In India, the village of Asara banned love marriages.[18]

Swedish public-relations agency Studio Total released 90 minutes of footage documenting its airdrop of a thousand teddy bears over the Belarusian town of Ivyanets in a display of solidarity with pro-democracy groups. “I think that when this gets out enough,” said the plane’s pilot, “there will be changes in the Belarusian government.”[19][20] Scientists determined that hornworm caterpillars metabolize more efficiently when eating in the presence of predators, and that the sex ornaments of male swordtail characins appear to females like food.[21][22] Veterinarians were baffled by the deaths of 512 well-fed Magellanic penguins found on the beaches of southern Brazil, and Joschka the ostrich, who was to portray the bird who pulls Josephine Baker in a reenactment of a famous 1926 photograph taken outside Berlin’s Hotel Adlon, died on a German circus farm after colliding with Henry the South American nandu.[23][24] A middle-aged man assaulted an 18-year-old woman by sucking her big toe in a Georgia Walmart, and 29 Papua New Guineans were arrested for cannibalizing the brains and penises of high-priced witch doctors who had been demanding sex, in addition to money, pigs, and bags of rice, as payment for black-magic services. “It’s against our traditional ethics and morals,” explained a local cult leader, “for a sorcerer to have intercourse with a man’s wife or teenage daughter.”[25][26]

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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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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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