Weekly Review — November 11, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Barack Obama was elected the 44th president, and first African-American president, of the United States, receiving 365 electoral votes in an election that saw perhaps the highest turnout among registered voters in a century. “If there’s anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible,” Obama told supporters, “tonight is your answer.” “The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly,” said John McCain in a teary-eyed concession speech. “What an awesome night for you,” President Bush said to Obama. “His choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam… or Uncle Tom,” said Ralph Nader, who received roughly 1 percent of the popular vote.New York TimesNew York TimesWashington PostNew York TimesNew York TimesBreitbartDallas Morning NewsIndependent Political ReportDemocrats added to their majorities in both houses of Congress, while Senate races in Minnesota, Georgia, and Alaska remained undecided.New York TimesCalifornia,Florida, and Arizona passed propositions banning same-sex marriage,New York TimesArkansas passed a measure preventing unmarried couples from adopting children,New York Timesand San Francisco voters rejected Measure R, which called for the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to be renamed the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.Associated PressThe Treasury Department announced plans to buy $40 billion worth of AIG stock, bringing to $150 billion the amount the government has lent to or invested in the insurance company;U.S. Provides More Aid to Big InsurerGeneral Motors warned that it would run out of cash early next year without a merger or a government bail-out;We’ll go bust without bail-out of merger, says General Motorsunemployment rates reached their highest level in 14 years;Jobless Rate at 14-year High After October Lossesand sales at major retailers declined sharply, increasing expectations of the worst holiday shopping season in decades.Retailers Report Sales CollapseFormer Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta was named the head of Obama’s transition team, former Clinton political director and House Democratic caucus chairman Rahm Emanuel accepted an offer to become Obama’s chief of staff, and it was reported that top Obama aide Robert Gibbs would be named White House Press Secretary.Washington PostWashington PostPolitico“It??s important that everybody understands that this is not going to happen overnight,” said Gibbs about reversing the damage done by the Bush Administration. “There has to be a realistic expectation of what can happen and how quickly.” “We’re in deep trouble,” said Georgia Representative John Lewis.New York TimesNew York Times

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev warned Obama against continuing Bush’s plans for missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe and threatened to move short-range missiles into the Baltic near Poland and “to neutralize, when necessary” American installations there, but Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insisted, “I don’t see problems for Medvedev to establish good relations with Obama who is also handsome, young, and suntanned.”Washington PostReutersSouth African singer and longtime anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba, known as “Mama Africa,” died at 76.New York TimesChina announced a $585 billion economic-stimulus plan,New York TimesAmerican officials revealed that since 2004 the U.S. military has conducted around a dozen previously undisclosed attacks in Syria, Pakistan, and other countries on the authority of a classified order signed by Donald Rumsfeld,.New York Timesand a series of blasts in northern Baghdad killed 28 people.New York TimesU.S. missiles fired into a village in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan killed at least ten people,New York Timesthe Iraqi government continued to press for a firm withdrawal date for U.S. troops before signing a status-of-forces agreement,Washington Postand Iran’s parliament voted to impeach Interior Minister Ali Kordan after it was discovered that he had lied about receiving a Ph.D. from Oxford University. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the impeachment illegal, adding, “I do not care for a torn-up piece of paper.”CNN

The Secret Service revealed that a spike in death threats against the Obama family coincided with Sarah Palin’s attacks against Obama’s patriotism in the final weeks of the campaign, and McCain campaign insiders suggested that Palin lacked rudimentary understanding of civics and geography. “Those guys,” Palin said, “are jerks.”The TelegraphA study found that men who read “lad magazines” like Maxim and FHM are more likely than their peers to have body-image problems,Live ScienceDemocratic New Jersey councilman Steven Lipski was charged with assault after urinating off a balcony onto a crowd at a Grateful Dead tribute show in Washington, D.C.,New York Daily Newsand the United States attorney in Manhattan declined to press criminal charges against former New York governor Eliot Spitzer despite finding that “on multiple occasions, Mr. Spitzer arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.”New York TimesBritish researchers found that obesity may be socially contagious,The Guardiana council in London banned the placing of foster children in households with smokers,Reutersand 700 couples were married in a mass wedding in the Eurasian separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.EurasiaNetScientists in Japan produced clones of dead mice, a feat they say brings them closer to resurrecting extinct species,CNNand author Michael Crichton died.New York TimesSpanish authorities deported one of Osama bin Laden’s sons after denying his asylum application,New York Timesmonks brawled at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christ was crucified and buried,CNNand Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the destruction of parts of an ancient Muslim cemetery, where some of Saladin’s warriors are buried, to make way for a new Frank Gehry-designed $250 million Museum of Tolerance.BBC

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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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