Weekly Review — June 25, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Edward Snowden’s travel itinerary, a Christian ministry’s ex-ex-gay therapy, and the apocalypse gets a golf course.

ALL IN MY EYE.The U.S. Department of Justice charged former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property for revealing the details of NSA global surveillance programs, and requested Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong, where he had been in hiding. The government of Hong Kong claimed the request lacked necessary documentation and allowed Snowden to leave the country for Russia. Snowden, who celebrated his 30th birthday with his lawyers in a Hong Kong safe house over a dinner of pizza, fried chicken, sausages, and Pepsi, reportedly had plans to continue from Moscow to Cuba and on to Venezuela or Ecuador. “The freedom trail,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), “is not exactly China–Russia–Cuba–Venezuela.” The Russian government, which claimed not to know of Snowden’s whereabouts, said it did not have a legal responsibility to block his departure. “I am not,” said Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, “in charge of tickets.” [1][2][3][4][5][6] Russia’s Emergencies Ministry sent a medically equipped state aircraft to fly Mikhail Kalashnikov, the 93-year-old creator of the AK-47 assault rifle, to Moscow for treatment of a pulmonary embolism, and the South African government admitted that an ambulance carrying 94-year-old former president Nelson Mandela to a Pretoria hospital had broken down, stranding Mandela and his doctors on the highway for 40 minutes. Officials denied that Mandela’s health had been jeopardized by the incident and said he was recovering. The following day South African president Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela had slipped into critical condition, but said his illness would not affect an upcoming meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. “I don’t think you stop a visit,” said Zuma, “because someone is sick.”[7][8][9][10][11]

Brazilian protests in response to a nine-cent increase in bus fares grew into widespread demonstrations against government corruption, high taxes, and extravagant spending on sports stadiums. “I can live,” chanted protesters, “without the World Cup.”[12] Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that claimed it could cure homosexuality, announced the disbanding of the organization. “I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions,” explained Chambers in an apology to the gay community. “Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop.”[13] The Council on American-Islamic Relations requested that a Virginia woman named Jennifer Crabbe, who called 911 to report that her taxi driver was “very Muslim,” be charged with a hate crime, and zoologists theorized that the hairy-chested Hoff crab, named after actor David Hasselhoff, had migrated from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Drake Passage.[14][15] A pet alligator named Gucci visited an Alaskan beach, designers Dolce and Gabbana were each sentenced to a year and eight months in prison for tax evasion, and bovine-bedding specialist Amy Throndsen described the growing popularity of waterbeds for cows. “It takes a lot of trust,” said Throndsen, “to let someone onto your farm to talk to them about your cow comfort issues.”[16][17][18] Porky Hefer, a South African designer who makes high-end nests for humans, was reportedly at work on a Namibian supernest outfitted with a wine cellar, and California company Vivos was constructing an underground doomsday resort in Kansas, with an indoor golf course, a bowling alley, and a swimming pool. “We’re not capitalizing on fears,” said Vivos’s CEO. “We’re resolving them.”[19][20]

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James Vernon McVay, on trial for slitting an elderly South Dakota woman’s throat and stealing her car as part of a plot to assassinate President Obama on a golf course, complained of media misrepresentation. “I’m tired of it being conveyed to the public as if I’m some kind of a monster,” said McVay, who claims to have been under the influence of alcohol, cough syrup, and satanic prayer. “It feels like a joke.” [21] Brian Percy, a paramedic with East of England Ambulance Service, was fired for accusing a patient of faking a seizure. “You again,” Percy had said to the man. “Go and have a fag and a drink.”[22] The solstitial moon reached peak lunar nearness and achieved perigee-syzygy, resulting in an astronomical phenomenon known as a supermoon.[23] James Gandolfini, the actor who played the fictional New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, died in Italy of a heart attack, and three female judges sentenced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to seven years in prison for paying for sex with an underage dancer known as “Ruby the Heart-Stealer.”[24][25] Caloundra Christian College in Queensland, Australia, distributed a list of 101 suggested activities for students to enjoy as alternatives to sexual intercourse, including blowing bubbles and playing ball without the ball.[26] In Glastonbury, England, a woman dressed as a vagina attempted to calm a man wearing a penis costume who had gotten into a scuffle with a stranger. “I wasn’t looking for a fight,” said the costumed man, “but he grabbed my hat.” [27]


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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.

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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

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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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

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