Weekly Review — August 27, 2012, 5:28 pm

Weekly Review

astonisheddispproval350 As Tropical Storm Isaac accelerated northward through the Gulf of Mexico, officials at the Republican National Convention in Tampa postponed the formal nomination of Mitt Romney as the party’s presidential candidate from Monday to Tuesday, and Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency. “Preparation is a key to success,” said Scott. “Cigarettes,” said one resident. “I’m stocking up on those.” The storm, which killed several people as it passed over Haiti and temporarily halted ferry service to the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, was expected to become a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall along the Florida panhandle and Louisiana coast.[1][2][3][4][5] Supporters of Ron Paul, who was denied a speaking slot at the Republican convention after refusing to fully endorse Romney or allow Romney’s team to vet his speech, held a rally on Sunday near the site of the Republican convention. “Isaac is a distraction,” said the master of ceremonies. “This is liberty.”[6][7] Senate candidate Todd Akin (R., Mo.), who recently said that women’s bodies are capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” affirmed that he would not bow out of the race despite calls for him to do so by prominent Republicans.[8] Romney told supporters during a campaign rally in Michigan that “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” in reference to President Barack Obama. “Humor,” Romney later explained. “We’ve got to have a little humor.”[9] The United Nations denied that it would invade Texas in the event that Obama was elected and a second U.S. civil war broke out, following speculation by a Lubbock County judge that it would. “Not even the United Nations,” said a spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “would ever mess with Texas.”[10] In Nepal, a man bit to death a cobra that had bitten him, and in Delaware, three employees of the Hands of Our Future Daycare were arrested after police obtained video showing the workers encouraging two toddlers to fight one another. “He’s pinching me!” complains one child in the video. “No pinching,” responds a worker. “Only punching.”[11][12]

A Norwegian court declared Anders Behring Breivik sane and sentenced him to indefinite “preventative detention” for the massacre of 77 people last summer. “I wish to apologize to all militant nationalists,” Breivik told the court, “that I wasn’t able to execute more.”[13] Activists reported that hundreds of Syrians had been killed during a government assault on a suburb of Damascus.[14] Nineteen people were shot in seven incidents during a single night in Chicago, and in New York City, police inadvertently wounded nine bystanders in the course of shooting down a suspected murderer outside the Empire State Building.[15][16] Ethiopian president Meles Zenawi died at 57.[17] Police in Nicaragua caught 18 people smuggling $7 million while disguised as a crew from Mexico’s Televisa television network.[18] Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa announced that the United Kingdom had withdrawn a purported threat to enter his country’s London embassy and arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltered there for two months while facing extradition to Sweden.[19] The website TMZ published photos of a nearly nude Prince Harry carousing in Las Vegas. “The real scandal,” said London mayor Boris Johnson, “would be if you went all the way to Las Vegas and you didn’t misbehave.”[20][21] A young male mountain lion tried to enter a casino in Reno, but was foiled by a revolving door.[22]

A California jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion for infringing on six of Apple’s patents for mobile devices, a Massachusetts judge upheld an order requiring a former Boston University student to pay $675,000 in damages to the Recording Industry Association of America for pirating 31 songs in the mid-2000s, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of all titles he won after August 1, 1998, citing evidence that the cyclist had used performance-enhancing drugs.[23][24][25] A Los Angeles comedian confessed to having been drunk and on magic mushrooms when he appeared as a contestant on The Price Is Right in May. “We go to local high schools,” he told host Drew Carey after claiming he worked as a skateboard rabbi, “and try to turn religious extremism into religious X-TREMEism!”[26][27] Researchers discovered that hermaphroditic Siphopteron quadrispinosumsea slugs engage in self-harming nonreproductive sex.[29] A study of Icelandic nuclear families showed that men pass on nearly four times as many new genetic mutations to their offspring as do mothers, and that older fathers pass on more such mutations than do younger ones.[30] White-handed gibbons who were observed calling out after inhaling helium were found to display operatic vocal technique.[31] Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon, died at age 82. “May his vision for our human destiny in space,” said Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin, “be his legacy.”[32][33] On Mars, the rover Curiosity lifted its robotic arm for the first time and went for a test drive across the planet’s surface.[34][35]

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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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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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