Weekly Review — August 28, 2017, 5:19 pm

Weekly Review

A storm brews

Days before the Mexican government offered to send aid for the victims of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in eastern Texas and caused catastrophic flooding in up to 50 counties and drove an estimated 30,000 people from their homes, one-time pornographic-film extra and current U.S. president Donald Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County who, during his 24-year tenure, held inmates in Korean War tents that reached temperatures of 141 degrees; referred to those tents as a “concentration camp” and the place “where all the Mexicans are”; called complaints from Latinos “civil rights crap”; said it costs more to “feed the dogs than it does the inmates,” whom he fed rotten green bologna; ran on his office’s website a “Mugshot of the Day” contest inviting visitors to vote for their favorite inmate images; shot footage of female inmates that could be viewed online; forced hundreds of inmates not yet convicted of any crime to march from one jail to another in pink underwear; oversaw guards who referred to Latino inmates as “wetbacks” and “Mexican bitches,” strapped to a chair a paraplegic inmate and then tightened the restraints until his neck broke, and forced a female inmate to give birth in shackles; said he was the “first in the world” to put women in a “chain gang”; admitted that his counsel had hired a private agent to investigate the wife of a judge who ordered him to stop racially profiling Latinos, a ruling he was later found in contempt of court for ignoring; claimed that all people crossing the Mexican border had swine flu; said he was “doing something good” because the Latino community was “leaving town”; asked a Latino waitress if it was “safe” to drink a glass of iced tea she had given him; was found to have inadequately investigated or ignored hundreds of sex crimes; opened a rape investigation into a political opponent and investigated for child molestation a former Phoenix mayor who disagreed with his treatment of Latinos; oversaw deputies who threatened to arrest a reporter for viewing public records and forced a man’s dog back into a burning house that they had set on fire; ran a jail with four times the suicide rate of county jails for Chicago or Miami; banned his inmates from drinking coffee and possessing pornographic magazines, and created an in-house radio station that broadcasted songs by Frank Sinatra; referred to his Italian-American bodyguards as his “mafia”; and chained together teenage inmates and forced them to bury the corpses of poor people. “More rain coming,” tweeted Trump.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

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Destroyer of Worlds·

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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.

Illustration by Richard Mia
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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

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
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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

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The case was assigned to a Trump-appointed judge, who ruled that, despite the 2010 legislation, the acting director was Mulvaney, who received about $475,000 in contributions from the financial, insurance, and real estate industries during his 2016 congressional campaign, including $9,200 from JPMorgan Chase, which was fined $4.6 million by the CFPB for failing to provide consumers with information about checking account denials.

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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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