Weekly Review — October 20, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

President Obama appeared likely to surge 40,000 troops into Afghanistan, thus adopting the key military tactic that the Bush Administration defined as successful in Iraq.NY TimesIn Afghanistan, a country with no duly elected president, citizens were turning to Taliban “shadow courts” for justice, and, in a series of unannounced government actions, an additional 13,000 U.S. military engineers, medical personnel, military police, and intelligence officers were already deploying.VOA NewsmNY TimesWashington PostThe Pakistani military embarked on its own escalation, sending 28,000 troops into South Waziristan in a failed attempt to defeat entrenched Taliban militants.NY TimesThe White House was at war with the FOX News Channel.NY TimesRush Limbaugh, who was deemed too racist to own a professional football franchise, publicly thanked the Lord for his enemies.NY TimesCNNA Baptist Church in North Carolina was scheduling a Bible-burning for Halloween,The Telegraphand Ellen van Wolde, a noted Old Testament scholar, confirmed that the Bible had been mistranslated and that God did not create the Earth.Telegraph

Health-care lobbying efforts entered a “new, more frenzied stage” with the passage of a reform bill by the Senate Finance Committee. “This is now roller derby. It’s very fast, lots of elbows, and people are playing for keeps,” said Nancy LeaMond, an executive vice president of the AARP.LA TimesIt was reported that some people in North Carolina liked John Edwards, some didn’t, and others were indifferent, and that politicians weren’t actually cursing in public more often but media outlets have become more likely to quote them doing so.LA TimesPolitico via DrudgeConservative protestors in Burlington, New Jersey, heckled eight-year-old schoolchildren as they sang a tune in praise of President Obama,Breitbart via Drudgeand Steve Wynn, a casino and resort owner in Las Vegas, said that Obama has allowed the financial crisis to persist because he hasn’t cut taxes enough.Rush Limbaugh via DrudgeThe Dow “flirted” with 10,000 points, comforting the rich.CNNGoldman Sachs reported earnings of $3.19 billion in the third quarter of this year, donated $200 million to its educational foundation, put aside $5.35 billion for salaries, bonuses, and employee benefits, and promised a 35-cent per share dividend to holders of its common stock. NY TimesThe salaries of American workers were being cut at a rate not seen since the Great Depression.NY Times

A woman dressed as a rasher of bacon harassed Muslim food vendors in Manhattan. “Don’t you like bacon?” she asked. “Bacon is so good. Do you ever put bacon on these hot dogs? ‘Cause they’d taste really good wrapped up in delicious bacon. Maybe sprinkled with bacon. Or stuffed with bacon. Come on, don’t you love bacon?”Vanishing New York via Grub StreetFerran Adria, a molecular gastronomist in Spain, was accused of using poisonous additives to flavor the food at his restaurant El Bulli,Times Online via eater.comand sports bars were passing off deep-fried chicken-breast chunks as “boneless chicken wings.”NY TimesResearchers in Amsterdam confirmed that living near grass is good for your health.BBC NewsA program to plant 1,000,000 trees in New York City continued despite the objections of local residents. “I don’t want it,” said a woman who was forced to accept a ginkgo. “I don’t like it. It can stay there and die for all I care.”LA Times via BrownstonerBunnies culled from public parks in Stockholm were being used to fire a Swedish heating plant,The Local via Drudgeand the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state was found to be peppered with radioactive rabbit droppings, all of which must be scooped.The New York TimesReverend and “True Parent of all Mankind” Sun Myung Moon married 10,000 couples in Seoul, in what is believed to be his final expression of “trans-religion, trans-national, trans-racial” harmony.NY TimesA Mayan religious leader declared that the world will not end in 2012, that his religion did not claim that it would, and that he was “fed up” with being asked about it.My Way News via DrudgeTwo thousand box jellyfish swarmed Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach, stinging nearly 200 people,KITV via CNNand fishermen off the coast of Jersey netted a rare parasitic isopodal louse that attacks a fish, eats its tongue, then lives on in the fish’s mouth.TreehuggerWilliam Wayne Justice, a federal judge in Texas, known as “the law east of the Pecos,” whose rulings integrated public schools, reformed prisons, and helped educate illegal immigrants, died at age 89.NY TimesA justice of the peace in Hammond, Louisiana, refused to issue a marriage license to an inter-racial couple.Bloomberg via DrudgeChina created a small black hole,FOX Newsand a glowing halo was spotted in the skies over Moscow.The Sun via Drudge

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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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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:

$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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