Weekly Review — January 13, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]
A Christian martyr.

Former secretary of the treasury Paul O’Neill revealed in a new book that President George W. Bush was already looking for an excuse to invade Iraq during the first few weeks of his presidency. “It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it,” O’Neill said. “The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’”CBS NewsO’Neill said that the very first meeting of the National Security Council involved discussions of a “post-Saddam Iraq,” peacekeeping troops, and war-crimes tribunals. O’Neill provided the book’s author, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, with 19,000 internal documents ?? one of which, from March 5, 2001, was entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts” and included a map of Iraqi oil fields listing contractors and countries with interests there.CBS NewsO’Neill also said that Bush was disturbingly disengaged (“like a blind man in a room full of deaf people”) during cabinet meetings, and that many high-ranking administration officials have no idea what the president wants them to do and that they operate on “little more than hunches about what the president might think.”New York TimesThe Carnegie Endowment for International Peace issued a report concluding that Iraq did not in fact possess any weapons of mass destruction. The report, which drew on intelligence material and documents discovered by weapons inspectors after the war, criticized the United States government for its deliberate exaggerations of Iraq’s military capabilities.New ScientistThe Bush Administration withdrew a 400-member weapons-inspection team from Iraq because they are no longer needed, andNew York TimesSecretary of State Colin Powell admitted that he never saw any hard proof of Iraqi links to Al Qaeda but failed to explain why he lied to the U.N. Security Council last February.New York TimesPresident Bush was preparing to announce plans to colonize the Moon and to send astronauts to Mars, officials said, but they were vague about how he intends to pay for the scheme.BBCLockheed Martin and Boeing were said to be enthusiastic.New York TimesThe International Space Station seemed to have sprung a leak.Associated Press

The International Monetary Fund published a report warning that the United States’ budget and trade deficits threaten to destabilize the entire global economy; Bush Administration officials dismissed the report and said that lots of countries run huge budget deficits.New York TimesThe head of the Army Corps of Engineers waived federal contracting requirements for Halliburton’s operations in Iraq that would have required the company to submit cost and pricing information on its gasoline imports even though Halliburton was recently accused of overcharging the government $61 million for gasoline.New York TimesThe United States Transportation Security Administration decreed that passengers may no longer line up to use the toilet on airplanes.Sydney Morning HeraldThe Department of Homeland Security handed out three $2 million contracts to build a missile-defense system to prevent civilian aircraft from being shot down by surface-to-air missiles.New ScientistAnother U.S. helicopter was apparently shot down in Iraq, and 35New York Timessoldiers were wounded when Iraqi guerrillas shelled a U.S. camp west of Baghdad.New York TimesAmerican soldiers killed two Iraqi policemen in Kirkuk, and theNew York TimesTaliban were still killing people in Afghanistan.New York TimesThe United States granted Saddam Hussein status as a prisoner of war.New York TimesThe Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy created only 1,000 new jobs in December.New York TimesScientists found that some people are capable of deliberately suppressing memories.New York Times

General Wesley Clark was wearing argyle sweaters at campaign appearances in an attempt to appeal to women voters. The retired general told a reporter that some women have “an impression that the armed forces is a male-dominated, hierarchical, authoritarian institution.”New York TimesSenator Hillary Clinton apologized for joking that Mahatma Gandhi used to run a gas station in St. Louis.CNNMikhail Saakashvili was elected president of Georgia in a huge landslide; early projections showed him winning 96.7 percent of the vote.New York TimesThe prime minister of Greece announced his resignation and said it was time for younger, more daring politicians to take over, andNew York TimesGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was chased from a building in Leipzig by a mob of student demonstrators chanting “First education, then games!”BBCThere was a 50-car pileup in Pennsylvania.New York TimesIsrael began building a wall around Jerusalem, using mostly Arab workers, andNew York TimesBritain released plans for new emergency powers that will permit government authorities to ban public gatherings and to destroy or confiscate private property without compensation.New York TimesIt was reported that 18 people died of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow disease, last year in Britain, one more than died in 2002.New York TimesAmerican researchers found that farm-raised salmon have ten times the PCB, dioxin, and pesticide contamination of wild salmon. Using EPA risk estimates, the scientists suggested that people eat no more than 110 grams, or about half a normal portion, of Maine salmon a month; Scottish salmon, among the most contaminated in the study, which analyzed fish from all over the world, should be limited to 55 grams a month.New ScientistA large new study found that up to half of all plant and animal species on land could face extinction by 2050 because of global warming.New ScientistThe popularity of herbal medicines, environmentalists warned, threatens to wipe out thousands of wild medicinal plant species.New ScientistChinese authorities were drowning civet cats in chemicals, electrocuting them, and burning them in hopes of preventing further SARS cases; rats, raccoon dogs, and hog badgers are also being exterminated.New York Times, Associated PressBrigitte Bardot was not amused.Associated PressA second case of SARS was reported in China, in a waitress who works in a restaurant that serves civet; the first SARS patient, who has apparently recovered, has had no known contact with civets, but there were reports that he had recently thrown a mouse out his window using chopsticks.New Scientist, New York TimesA wild boar invaded a Berlin apartment and bit the owner on the leg.New York TimesA man wearing a chicken>suit robbed a grocery store in Columbus, Ohio.NBC5.comAustralian physicists concluded that the high notes sung by opera singers are often hard to understand, and aBBCpolitical scientist in New York City perfected the science of cutting cakes.Nature.com

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Brian Frank
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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Artwork by Imre Kinszki © Imre Kinszki Estate
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The Lords of Lambeau·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Balazs Gardi
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"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley

Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:

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In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Year’s Eve party.

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