Weekly Review — December 14, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

After eating a bowl of oatmeal and drafting ten talking points, Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind., Vt.) spoke for nine hours in opposition to the tax-cut deal struck between President Obama and congressional Republicans. “We should be embarrassed,” he said, “that we are for one second talking about a proposal that gives tax breaks to billionaires while we are ignoring the needs of working families, low-income people and the middle class.”WPCBSNYTMark Madoff, son of Bernard L. Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment while his toddler slept in a nearby bedroom; court documents filed last year suggest that Mark Madoff made almost $67 million through his father’s Ponzi scheme.NYTWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London on charges of sexual assault. “That sounds like good news to me,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.AP via WPState Department cables leaked this week revealed that Saudi media executives, over coffee in a Jeddah Starbucks, extolled the power of American television in the fight against Islamic extremism, while Saudi diplomats expressed their admiration for the movies Insomnia and Michael Clayton.GuardianTaymour Abdelwahab, a Swedish citizen, set off a car bomb and then blew himself up in Stockholm on Saturday, injuring two in what authorities believe was a botched attempt at a larger attack, and imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Online discussion of the chair symbolizing his absence from the ceremony in Oslo prompted authorities in China to censor the phrases “empty chair,” “empty seat,” “empty stool” and “empty table” from the country’s major social networking sites.AFPTelegraphTelegraph

Sarah Palin made a brief trip to Haiti, Halliburton prepared a plea bargain in a $180 billion Nigerian corruption case against Dick Cheney, and the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a third of all United States aircraft had “questionable” registration. “Anybody with a roll of duct tape can put any number they want on an airplane,” said a pilot whose tail number was replicated by cocaine traffickers.TimeGlobalpostAP via CNBCTo celebrate the Dutch holiday of Sinterklaasvond, Saint Nicholas appeared in street parades with the Zwarte Pieten (“Black Peters”), a gaggle of “assistants” wearing blackface and Afro wigs.Deutsche WelleA judge in Massachusetts ruled that prosecutors in a manslaughter trial could display video of an eight-year-old boy accidentally shooting himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun.AP via Boston GlobeEbizo Ichikawa XI, one of Japan’s preeminent Kabuki performers, apologized for participating in a drunken bar brawl. Fans of the actor, whose left cheekbone was fractured in the fight, worried that the injury might mar his nirami, a signature cross-eyed glare for which the Ichikawa family is famous. AP via MSNBCGuardian

Researchers discovered that gambling behavior is “intensified by reptile-induced arousal.”NCBIPaleontologists on the island of Flores uncovered the fossilized remains of a giant marabou stork, which stood 6 feet tall and may have preyed on Homo floresiensis, a hobbit-sized hominid.BBCA bird doctor in Nashville donned a billowy white suit in order to tend to an injured whooping crane. “You learn very quickly how to communicate dressed as a marshmallow,” he said.TennesseanOperation MigrationChineseconservationists in Sichuan Province reached their goal of breeding 300 pandas in captivity, despite the fact that pandas have disproportionately small penises, show poor knowledge of the only position in which they can successfully copulate, and are capable of conceiving for a maximum of one day a year.BBCTelegraphNear Montana’s Scape Goat Wilderness Area, a “very secluded” parcel of land that once belonged to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski went on sale for $69,500.CBSNorthwest NationalPhysicists began putting the finishing touches on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica, where they hope blue flashes from muons will help them triangulate the origins of neutrinos. “If IceCube observes separated pairs of particles, they might be supersymmetric,” said one researcher. “That would be extremely exciting.”Pop SciEmails released by the California Department of Corrections described officials’ attempts to procure sodium thiopental, a drug used in lethal injections. They eventually borrowed some from Arizona. “You guys in AZ are life savers,” wrote one prison official. “Buy you a beer next time I get that way.”AP via WP

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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.

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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

Months after Martin Luther King Jr. publicly called the U.S. the “world’s greatest purveyor of violence ‚” that he was killed:

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