The Montreux Palace Hotel was built in an age when it was thought that things would last. It is on the very shores of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, its balconies and iron railings look across the water, its yellow-ocher awnings are a touch of color in the winter light. It is like a great sanitarium or museum. There are Bechstein pianos in the public rooms, a private silver collection, a Salon de Bridge. This is the hotel where the novelist Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and his wife, Véra, live. They have been here for 14 years. One imagines his large and brooding reflection in the polished glass of bookcases near the reception desk where there are bound volumes of the Illustrated London News from the year 1849 to 1887, copies of Great Expectations, The Chess Games of Greco and a book called Things Past, by the Duchess of Sermoneta.
Last month we published a package of stories marking the fortieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. It had a few moving parts but I’ll just go over some of them briefly here.
How it started
This summer you probably heard the story about the last abortion clinic in Mississippi that was threatened to close due to stricter state laws. Allison Yarrow, who sat across from me at the time, was covering the story and it got us thinking: the line “The Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi” is attention grabbing, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. That is to say, what you really want to know is how far are people away from their nearest clinic, regardless of state boundaries. One state may have five clinics but if they’re all in the southwest corner of the state and you live in the northeast corner, and your adjoining states have multiple clinics but only at their borders farthest from you, then you’ll have a hard time getting to a clinic, even if you had many in your state. To see where this might be the case and where access to services was compounded by new restrictive provisions (over 150 nationally in the past two years) we made as close to a comprehensive database as possible of every abortion clinic. Our goal was to see what parts of the country were farthest from a clinic. From start to finish, this process took about six months…
Things to think about.
The filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that some blame for the Middle East riots, was taken into custody. Is this the end of the First Amendment as we know it? Find out on this Trifecta.
This seethes every bit of rage I feel over this.
Some interesting commentary from the right on Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Obama for your afternoon. For reference, here’s our cheat from when Nakoula was taken in for questioning:
A California man widely believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was taken in by police shortly after midnight Saturday to be interviewed about his involvement in an anti-Muslim film, Innocence of Muslims, that has sparked widespread violence throughout the Middle East. He was not arrested or detained, but taken in voluntarily to speak with police. Nakoula, who claims to have been the film’s logistics manager but not its director, has in the past been convicted on bank fraud charges and may have violated his probation in uploading the controversial movie to YouTube.
Basically, due to strict laws on the media, British tabloids didn’t want to publish the actual naked photos of Prince Harry. Yesterday morning, we wondered what they would do. Now we know at least one response.
The Sun has used two stand-ins to recreate the photo: their photo editor Harry Miller and a fashion intern Sophie Henderson. Both Miller and Henderson were “happy to strip,” but just in case that wasn’t enough to calm readers, here’s their full statement made Thursday:
“For anyone worried about whether we were forced against our will to strip off, we are pleased to be able to set the record straight. Please be assured, there is no cover-up at Wapping. It was a bit of harmless fun and we were delighted to have played our part in making the readers laugh,”
Right now, if you want to know how the country feels about Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have to rely on pundits’ intuitions or traditional opinion polls, conducted as they always have been — by phone, over the course of hours or days. There’s no direct way to check the pulse of millions of actual people, simultaneously and directly, second by second.
Twitter is launching a tool today that it says will fill that gap, and sort through the 400 million tweets a day from 140 million active users. Twitter and real-time search engine Topsy are launching the “Twitter Political Index,” a daily assessment of how Twitter feels about Obama and Romney, in an election cycle that’s being played out moment-to-moment on the social service.
But it doesn’t have the Bieber Scale™…
Seventeen Magazine’s Pledge to Girls
(via The New York Times)
Seventeen magazine, which in recent months has been inundated by pleas from teenage girls to publish photographs of models that don’t look touched up, said on Tuesday that it would be more transparent about its photo shoots and promised to “celebrate every kind of beauty.”
Ann Shoket, the magazine’s editor in chief, wrote in the editor’s letter in the August issue that the magazine had drafted what it called a Body Peace Treaty, after she heard from girls “who were concerned that we’d strayed from our promise to show real girls as they really are.”
They have also announced in the spirit of transparency to start publishing candid behind the scenes images from the magazine’s photo shoot on their Tumblr.
It is a good day when one teenager can affect positive change on a large media company.
For more on airbrushing check outNewsweek’s Interactive Unattainable Beauty
Good for them! Will be watching their Tumblr.