Weekly Review — March 28, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Devil Spanker, 1875]

Thirty beheaded corpses were found in Baquba, Iraq, and 10 more bodies were found in Baghdad, where the homicide rate had reached 33 per day. Shiites were abducting Sunnis in bright daylight on crowded streets. “If the Americans leave,” said one Sunni man (whose brother had recently been executed after being tortured with power tools), “we are finished. We may be finished already.”The New York TimesThe New York TimesIn Miqdadiya, near Baquba, militants attacked a prison, killed 20 people, and freed 30 prisoners.BBC NewsA doctor in Baghdad admitted to killing 35 policemen and soldiers who were being treated at his hospital.The Washington PostAmerican and Iraqi forces said they had killed 17 Shiite militiamen at a mosque in Baghdad; Iraqi television showed corpses in a prayer room.The New York TimesPresident George W. Bush denied that Iraq was in the midst of a civil war, although when asked about the possibility of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq he said: “That will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.”BBC NewsOmar Pimentel, the mayor of the violence-plagued town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, resigned nine months after being elected; his predecessor had been shot dead hours after being sworn in. “Something inside a man,” said Pimentel, “tells him when he should come and when he should go.”The New York TimesBoth Democrat and Republican strategists agreed that if midterm elections were held now, the Democrats would gain control of the House of Representatives.TimeIt was revealed that prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri had, for a fee, provided the United States with detailed assessments of Iraq’s military capabilities. Sabri’s assessments of Iraq’s nuclear and biological weapons capabilities proved, in hindsight, to be far more reliable than the CIA estimates used to justify the invasion; the CIA had no comment on why the data was ignored.MSNBC via CommondreamsU.S. Sergeant Michael J. Smith was found guilty of using a dog to terrorize prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. He was also found guilty of indecency for directing his dog to lick peanut butter from the genitals of a fellow male soldier and from the breasts of a fellow female soldier.The Kansas City StarA poodlerapist in Phoenix, Arizona, remained at large.KOLD

President Bush attended a naturalization ceremony in Washington, D.C. “Our Constitution,” he said, “does not limit citizenship by background or birth.”The White HouseThe Supreme Court voted to refuse Puerto Ricans the right to vote in U.S. Presidential elections,BBC Newsand a half-million people protested in Los Angeles against changes to U.S. immigration law.The Los Angeles TimesIn Spain the Basque separatist group ETA declared a permanent ceasefire.BBC NewsThe United Nations celebrated World Water Day by noting that 40 percent of the world’s population lacked basic sanitation,ABC News Onlineand it was reported that the World Bank’s plan to privatize water supplies in impoverished nations had largely failed. Of the $25 billion invested in clean water, only 1 percent had reached sub-Saharan Africa, and much of the money had gone to providing clean water to the wealthy.The GuardianColgate announced that it would buy Tom’s of Maine for about $100 million.The Boston GlobeThe World Health Organization reported that 103 humans had died from bird flu since late 2003, mostly in Vietnam and Indonesia.BBC NewsAt least 127 people drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Cameroon.BBC NewsIt emerged that the Bush Administration had quietly issued a “signing statement” on the Patriot Act; the statement indicates that the President intends to ignore oversight requirements built into the act, such as the requirement that the President inform Congress of how the FBI was using its new spying powers.Boston.comThe President also approved H.J. Res. 47, increasing the public debt from $8.184 trillion to $8.965 trillion.The White HouseEighty-seven percent of the world’s opium was made from poppies grown in Afghanistan,St. Louis Todaythe world health community was close to eradicating Guinea worm,The New York Timesand scientists in Wisconsin announced that they could convert cheese waste into ethanol.Wisconsin Ag ConnectionA tortoise named Adwaita died in India from complications brought on by a cracked shell; he was between 150 and 250 years old.BBC NewsCecilia Fire Thunder, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, vowed to use tribal land to provide abortions to South Dakotans, despite the state’s near-total ban on the procedure. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land,” said Fire Thunder.Indianz.comSt. Louis talk show host Dave Lenihan, discussing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a potential NFL commissioner, said: “She loves football. She’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon.” He repeated: “A big coon.” Lenihan apologized, said that he meant to say “coup,” and was fired.FOX NewsA group of U.S. senators visited China to push for an increased valuation of the yuan; without such a change the Senate plans to vote for tariffs on Chinese imports. “We would like to get an idea from our Chinese hosts,” said Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), “what the future is going to be like.”BBC NewsChina announced a new 5 percent tax on disposable chopsticks.ABC News Online

Stanislaw Lem died.ReutersAmerican researchers found that whale songs have a hierarchical structure, but there is no evidence that whales can discuss distinct or abstract objects.New ScientistIt was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an unspecified amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with instructions that the money be given to Ignite Learning, an educational software company owned by her son Neil.The Houston ChronicleA ruptured British Petroleum oil pipeline in Alaska had leaked over 240,000 gallons of oil, much of it into the Arctic Ocean.The Independent via CommondreamsKurdish author Kamal Karim was sentenced to 18 months in jail for accusing Kurdish leaders of corruption,The New York Timesand a Los Angeles judge ordered David Hasselhoff to stay at least 100 yards from his estranged wife, Pamela Bach.AP via Yahoo! NewsJapanese researchers analyzing water trapped in minerals discovered that the microbes that generate methane existed about 3.49 billion years ago.Science News OnlineAn Arkansasscience teacher was ordered not to tell his students the actual age of stones.Arkansas TimesA poll found that Americans trust atheists even less than Muslims, recent immigrants, and lesbians,UMN Newsand a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, found that confident, self-reliant children tend to grow up to be liberals, while whiny, annoying children tend to grow up to be conservatives.The StarTresa Waggoner, an elementary school music teacher in Bennett, Colorado, was suspended from her job after local parents complained that she was a lesbian devil worshiper; the parents drew this conclusion after learning that Waggoner showed her classes a videotape of the opera Faust performed with sock puppets.The Los Angeles TimesIn San Francisco over 25,000 teenagers gathered at AT&T Park for an evangelical Christian rally. “The devil’s a pimp,” said one 18-year-old attendee. “Don’t be his ho.”SFGate.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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A Window To The World·

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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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With Child·

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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:

$39.50

A loggerhead turtle in a Kobe aquarium at last achieved swimming success with her twenty-seventh set of prosthetic fins. “When her children hatch,” said the aquarium’s director, “well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.”

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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