Weekly Review — April 7, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]
An American cattleman.

A 6.3 earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy damaged buildings in 26 towns, destroyed numerous historic monuments, left tens of thousands of people homeless, and killed at least 92 people, including an 82-year-old nun who died of shock. Seismologist Giampaolo Giuliani, who for weeks had warned of the earthquake, demanded an apology from the Italian government, which had forced him to remove his predictions from the Internet. “Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it,” said Enzo Boschi, the chairman of Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology. “It is not possible to predict earthquakes.”New York TimesNew York TimesPresident Barack Obama traveled to Europe with his wife, Michelle, for the G-20 summit and the sixtieth anniversary of NATO, and met a number of foreign leaders for the first time, including Queen Elizabeth II (who, the press noted, actually touched the First Lady), Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and Chinese President Hu Jintao. When Hu and French President Nicolas Sarkozy quarreled and refused to sign the summit’s communique, Obama resolved their argument. “I’d suggest,” said one senior official, “we’d still be in there had he not done this.”Washington PostEWABCNATO leaders promised Obama only 5,000 more troops for Afghanistan. “No one will say this publicly,” said one European diplomat speaking on the condition of anonymity, “but the true fact is that we are all talking about our exit strategy from Afghanistan. We are getting out.”New York TimesNew York TimesJournalists hoping to speak with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the NATO gathering were accidentally directed by the White House to call a phone-sex line.Fox NewsA piglet in China was born with three eyes and two noses.Ananova

Jiverly Wong, a 41-year Vietnamese immigrant who had recently been laid off from a Shop-Vac factory in Binghamton, New York, barricaded himself inside the town’s American Civic Association with two handguns and killed thirteen people (most of them immigrants attending English classes) and himself. “He was going to take the police on–or at least try to stop us from stopping him,” said police chief Joseph Zikuski. “He must have been a coward.”New York TimesNorth Korea defied United Nations resolutions and launched a rocket over the Pacific Ocean, prompting President Obama to call for a world without nuclear weapons. “I’m not naive,” he said. “But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’”BBCPoliticoThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 663,000 jobs were lost in March, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent,New York Timesand a study found that workers who are allowed to surf the Internet are more productive. University of MelbourneHome prices were 19 percent lower in January than a year ago, and the Obamas declined the $100,000 allowance allotted to each president to redecorate the private quarters of the White House, opting instead to finance the redecoration on their own. “It is politically astute in terms of symbolism,” said Carl Anthony, historian of the National First Ladies’ Library. “It is also really thoughtful when people are losing their actual houses.”New York TimesWashington PostA British soccer player was given a yellow card for passing gas during the opposing team’s penalty shot,The Guardianand a St. Petersburg statue of Vladimir Lenin was bombed, leaving a crater in its rear.BBC

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Sweden, and in Iowa, where the state’s supreme court declared that a 1998 ruling limiting marriage to opposite-sex partnerships was unconstitutional. “We are blessed,” said lesbian Kate Ventrum, “to live in Iowa.”ReutersNew York TimesResearchers found that people with sisters are happier than people with brothers.BBCBBCPeople in 109 cities celebrated World Pillow Fight Day,ctvbc.ctv.caThe News & Observerand in honor of Genital Integrity Awareness Week, 50 “intactivists” demonstrated against circumcision in front of the White House, where a group of eighth-graders on a class field trip got mixed up in their rally. “It’s gonna be their favorite souvenir,” the children’s teacher said. “They got a picture that says ‘penis’ on it.”Washington PostThe star of a popular Swedish TV show for children was hospitalized after he chopped off the tip of his finger on air,UPIand a deckhand aboard the chartered boat Gale Force died in front of 20 Los Angeles elementary school children when he choked on the bait fish he had stuck in his mouth in order to make the visiting kids laugh.Washington PostTwo British boys, aged 10 and 11, were arrested for nearly killing two other boys, beating them with a brick, slashing them with a knife, and burning them with cigarettes.BBCPhotographer Helen Levitt, famous for her photos of children playing in the streets of New York, died. “Children used to be outside,” she once said. “Now the streets are empty.”New York Times

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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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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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