Weekly Review — September 24, 2012, 6:19 pm

Weekly Review

eye_350x382 Mother Jones magazine posted online a leaked video in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tells guests at a fundraising dinner that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on federal aid and see themselves as victims. “My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney says. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney also reminds guests that his father was born in Mexico: “Had he been born of Mexican parents I’d have a better shot of winning this,” he says. “I say that jokingly, but it’d be helpful to be Latino.”[1] Two days later, Romney was accused of appearing in “brownface” for an interview on the Spanish-language TV channel Univision. “If we can’t win this election,” said Obama campaign co-chairman Ted Strickland, “God help us.”[2][3] As violent protests against an American film mocking the prophet Muhammad spread throughout the Muslim world, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo published cartoons depicting the prophet naked, including one captioned MUHAMMAD: A STAR IS BORN, in which a prostrating man displays his genitals and anus. “What are we supposed to do when there’s news like this?” asked editor-in-chief Gérard Biard. “Are we supposed to not do that news?”[4][5] The French government closed schools, embassies, consulates, and cultural centers in 20 countries, Interior Minister Manuel Valls banned domestic demonstrations, and the Louvre opened a new wing dedicated to Islamic art.[6][7] In Pakistan, at least 20 people were killed at rallies honoring a new national holiday, Love for the Prophet Day.[8][9] Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued that America’s protection of derogatory religious imagery as free speech is “clearly a deception,” and Iran’s government planned to block access to Google and build the country’s own internet.[10] A court ordered New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display controversial ads sponsored by conservative blogger Pamela Geller in the subway system. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” read the ads. “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” “We recognize the free-speech issues,” said a representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “And her right to be a bigot and a racist.”[11]

Belarus held a parliamentary election in which opponents of notoriously corrupt President Alexander Lukashenko urged constituents not to bother voting and suggested instead that they pick mushrooms or make beetroot soup.[12] Singer Fiona Apple threatened to expose the perpetrators of “inappropriate and probably illegal” treatment she claimed to have received in a Texas jail after being arrested for possession of hash. “I’ll make you fucking famous anytime you ask,” said Apple. “Honey,” replied Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Rusty Fleming, “I’m already more famous than you.”[13] Pink Floyd’s old house was put up for sale, and former Duran Duran bassist John Taylor told the press he had decided to start thinking of himself as middle-aged. “It was actually a really good decision to make,” said Taylor, “because I’d been feeling like a very tired young man.”[14][15] British researchers found that a significant percentage of headaches are caused by pain-relief medication, climatologists explained that the hole in the ozone layer keeps Antarctic ice from melting, and a police officer from the South Pacific nation of Kiribati claimed that a shark saved his life while he was stranded at sea.[16][17][18] The Teachers Foundation of Malaysia began hosting seminars for parents and educators on how to spot homosexual tendencies, noting that gay men favor V-necks and “big handbags,” and an Italian study revealed that penis size has shrunk by 10 percent in the past 50 years. “Has to be the feminazis,” said conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh of the statistic. “I mean, the chickification, everything else.”[19][20][21]

Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced that a fourth-century scrap of papyrus given to her by an anonymous donor contains a line written in Coptic in which Jesus, heretofore believed to be unmarried, refers to “my wife.” “There are thousands of scraps of papyrus,” said Coptic linguist Wolf-Peter Funk, “where you find crazy things.”[22] An Akron, Ohio, woman revealed that she had been married unknowingly for several years to her own father, and in Sweden two women were implanted with their mothers’ wombs.[23][24] Less than an hour after giant panda Mei Xiang sounded a distress honk in her den at the Smithsonian zoo, her cub died unexpectedly. “We’re going to make it a point,” said one visitor, “to buy as [many] panda things as we possibly can today.”[25] A man who was mauled by a tiger and suffered a collapsed lung and broke a shoulder, a rib, an ankle, and his pelvis after jumping from the monorail into the tiger den at the Bronx Zoo was charged with trespassing. “The tiger,” said the zoo’s director, “did nothing wrong in this episode.”[26][27] Two hunters, one in Utah and another in Bordeaux, France, were shot by their own dogs. “It wasn’t the dog’s fault,” said the French sportsman, whose hand had to be amputated. “He’s adorable!”[28] In Largo, Florida, a woman named Hope O’Kelley pieced together $300 that her beagle had eaten out of her purse following “relentless” scrutiny of his excrement. “We found a pile of vomit,” said O’Kelley, “and I was like, ‘Yes.’”[29][30]

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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:

$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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