Weekly Review — November 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Wire Master and his puppets, 1875]
The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

After seven years of litigation, more than 10,000 firefighters, police officers, and other workers who sued New York City over health damages they suffered during the September 11 recovery efforts approved a settlement worth at least $625 million, with individual payouts ranging from $3,250 to $1.8 million, depending on the severity of the illness.New York TimesSalvatore Giunta, an army sergeant who ran into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2007, became the first living service member to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. The honor was questioned by Bryan Fischer, a conservative columnist, who lamented that the famed prize has been “feminized” by celebrating acts of rescue instead of fighting: “When are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?”ReutersWashington PostPolitics DailyPresident Obama announced plans for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, though NATO representatives predicted the country would still be facing “eye-watering” levels of violence, and Target, a dog rescued from Afghanistan after she alerted troops to a suicide bomber and saved dozens of soldiers, was accidentally euthanized at an Arizona shelter.AP via MSNBCThe GuardianCNNIn Inspire, its online magazine, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared its commitment to a strategy “of a thousand cuts,” in which it would continue to force the U.S. to spend billions of dollars to guard against inexpensive, small-scale attacks such as the mailing of parcel bombs from Yemen to America last month. “It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy and keep him on his toes in exchange of a few months of work and a few thousand bucks.”ReutersAhmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court, was acquitted of all but one of 280 charges of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania.New York Times

A Chinese woman was seized by police on her wedding day and sentenced to a year in a labor camp for retweeting a post that mocked Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products during a recent demonstration, and in Egypt, Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 26-year-old blogger, was released after serving four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam.ReutersCNNReutersPope Benedict XVI conceded that in exceptional circumstances, such as when a male prostitute is infected with HIV, condom use can be acceptable. Reuters via Yahoo NewsU.S. Roman Catholic bishops held an emergency workshop to train clerics to perform exorcisms.ReutersBill Clinton filmed a cameo for the movie “The Hangover 2,” and scientists warned that wild tigers, of which only 3,200 remain, could become extinct in a dozen years if protective measures were not taken.The Baltimore SunReutersAP via MSNBCNorth Korea revealed a new, sophisticated nuclear facility capable of enriching uranium to a visiting American scientist, and an international team of physicists announced that for the first time they were able to trap antimatter, 38 anti-hydrogen atoms, for one-tenth of a second.AP via Fox NewsAPAlaska Senator Lisa Murkowski won re-election, becoming the first write-in candidate to win a Senate seat since Strom Thurmond’s victory in 1954.Washington PostNancy Pelosi was elected House minority leader, pointing out that incoming Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner “is known to cry.”The GuardianCBS NewsFox NewsBritish scientists discovered that, like gangsters running a protection racket, drongo birds in the Kalahari Desert act as lookouts for other birds in order to steal a cut of their food catch. Instead of keeping a low profile, though, drongos advertise their presence by issuing a call known as a “twank” every 4 or 5 seconds.Science DailySarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, admonished a Facebook friend who criticized her mother’s new reality show: “Haha your so gay. What I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting . . . stfu. Your such a faggot.”TMZMark Twain’s 760-page autobiography was released 100 years after his death, per his instructions, and immediately became a bestseller.New York Times

A British gamer who took out a mortgage in 2005 to buy virtual real estate in Entropia, a massive multiplayer game, sold his make-believe nightclub for $635,000, and Oxford University researchers discovered that the game Tetris can help prevent the flashbacks associated with the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder, calling it a “cognitive vaccine” if played soon after exposure to trauma.The Daily MailLos Angeles TimesIn Haiti, relief workers were seeking donations of soap to curb the current outbreak of cholera; a bar of soap costs about 50 cents, but because most Haitians live on less than $1.25 a day, they often choose to buy food instead. ReutersWashington PostFor only the second time, the U.S. government approved a test on human subjects of a treatment using embryonic stem cells, in this case to combat a disease that causes vision loss. AP via Yahoo NewsNearly 2,000 fetuses were found at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, where they were buried in plastic bags after having been illegally aborted over the past year, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reflected that the best age for girls to get married is between 16 and 18.MSNBCReutersA Minnesota couple were asking visitors to their website to vote on whether they should keep or abort the wife’s fetus; 80 percent of the 75,000 respondents wanted Alisha Arnold to give birth to the 17-week-old male fetus she calls “Wiggles.”Reuters via Los Angeles 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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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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