Weekly Review — March 19, 2012, 5:28 pm

Weekly Review

humbug_350x387 A gunman killed a teacher and three children on the playground of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France, and then fled on a black scooter. “We all know each other in this school, do you understand?” said one mother. “All the children here are a family.” A ballistics analysis showed that one of the weapons used at Ozar Hatorah was used in similar attacks targeting French soldiers of North African and Caribbean descent around Toulouse in the preceding week. “The entire Republic is mobilizing in the face of this tragedy,” said President Nicolas Sarkozy, who called on schools to observe a minute of silence.[1][2][3][4] A year and two days after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake killed 16,000 people in Japan and crippled the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear facility, a series of aftershocks struck the northeast of the country, prompting officials in the town of Otsuchi to issue a coastal evacuation order. In nearby Kamaishi, residents honored the efforts of Atsushi Chiba, a retired undertaker who cared for and performed Buddhist rites on almost 1,000 bodies following the 2011 quake. “I dreaded finding my mother’s body, lying alone on the cold ground among strangers,” said a local woman. “When I saw her peaceful, clean face, I knew someone had taken care of her until I arrived. That saved me.”[5][6]

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the U.S. Army soldier accused of killing sixteen Afghan villagers last week, was put in solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he met with his legal counsel, which will be led by the attorney who defended serial killer Ted Bundy.[7] Emails leaked to Britain’s Guardian newspaper by Syrian dissidents showed that the day after government forces began attacking the city of Homs, President Bashar al-Assad sent his wife the lyrics to Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You,” whose first verse reads, “I’ve been a walking heartache/ I’ve made a mess of me/ The person that I’ve been lately/ Ain’t who I wanna be.” Another email, sent to Assad, reportedly contained the image of a cartoon camel in thigh-high boots and bondage gear.[8][9] A pair of cigarette-smoking Slovak tweens inadvertently burned down a fourteenth-century Gothic castle, melting three bells, and an Iowa teenager faced arson charges after he set fire to several bags of beef jerky.[10][11] The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided that schools throughout the country would no longer be obliged to serve “pink slime,” a form of lean beef created with leftover cuts that are ground up, demulsified in a centrifuge, and sprayed with ammonium hydroxide.[12] State officials in Peru, New York, set out dried corn and Jell-O-laced doughnuts in an effort to capture feral swine, which were foraging intensively on upstate farms. “I’ve never worked with an animal this smart,” said one wildlife biologist. “They’re the most destructive mammal out there.”[13] After finishing second in the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries, Newt Gingrich continued to ignore outside calls to suspend his presidential campaign. “Our political system,” he said in Illinois, “is so methodically and deliberately stupid.” Rick Santorum, who won both states, spoke to Mississippians about climate change. “The dangers of carbon dioxide?” he asked. “Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is.”[14][15][16]

Botanists at Cornell University waited for a corpse flower to bloom, primatologists were conducting an emergency study of the endangered Malagasy silky sifaka, herpetologists identified a new species of leopard frog near Yankee Stadium, neurobiologists found that sex-starved fruit flies take solace in alcohol, and ornithologists recommended creating “vulture restaurants” to lure griffon and African white-backed vultures, which cannot see directly ahead while flying, away from wind turbines. “These are big birds with big beaks,” said ornithologist Graham Martin. “I did lose a bit of my thumb.”[17][18][19][20][21] Actor James Van Der Beek announced the birth of a son on Twitter, and on the outskirts of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, a cat was found frozen into a block of ice at the Mile Zero Trailer Park.[22][23] Former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney canceled a trip to Canada over concerns the country was too dangerous, and a Colorado man was killed by a 20-foot avalanche of pinto beans.[24][25] Apiologists observed increased neural activity in the brains of Japanese honeybee workers taking part in hot defensive bee balls, and bee rustlers stole several beehives from a Houston-area restaurateur. “Someone that does bees,” said chef Randy Evans, “stole these bees.”[26][27] Scottish psychologists, after failing to find evidence that humans could see into the future, urged their colleagues “not to venture too far down the rabbit hole,” and Til, a rare earless rabbit born at a small zoo in eastern Germany, was crushed under a cameraman’s shoe shortly before a press conference that had been scheduled in the rabbit’s honor. “We are all shocked,” said the zoo’s director, Uwe Dempewolf. “No one could have foreseen this.”[28][29]

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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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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.'"
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