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    Ultrasound parties? Let’s confront this culture of oversharing
Jean Hannah Edelstein writes:

I’ve only once had an ultrasound, for a suspected kidney infection, not a pregnancy. Because of this lack of experience, I concede that I may not be qualified to say that I am certain I would never invite my friends and family around to my home to view my child-in-progress live on a screen. But what I can say with confidence is that it’s not something that I would like to witness in some other expectant mother’s living room.
Unfortunate news, then, that a recent fashion for non-medical ultrasound shindigs means that this is a scenario in which many of us may one day be invited to participate. More and more American mothers-to-be are taking advantage of opportunities to showcase their unborn children at specially arranged, at-home, imaging festivities, perhaps thinking that if it takes a village to raise a child, the village might as well get intimately involved in the pregnancy too. It’s all thanks to enterprising imaging technicians who are taking their scanners on the road, offering these house-call examinations (apparently this is not a compromise of medical ethics) for a price that’s competitive with what it costs to hire other, very good, party entertainment, like clowns or magicians or those butlers who don’t wear any pants.
"Only in America!" you might be thinking and not without reason.

(read the rest here)
Photograph: Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

    Ultrasound parties? Let’s confront this culture of oversharing

    Jean Hannah Edelstein writes:

    I’ve only once had an ultrasound, for a suspected kidney infection, not a pregnancy. Because of this lack of experience, I concede that I may not be qualified to say that I am certain I would never invite my friends and family around to my home to view my child-in-progress live on a screen. But what I can say with confidence is that it’s not something that I would like to witness in some other expectant mother’s living room.

    Unfortunate news, then, that a recent fashion for non-medical ultrasound shindigs means that this is a scenario in which many of us may one day be invited to participate. More and more American mothers-to-be are taking advantage of opportunities to showcase their unborn children at specially arranged, at-home, imaging festivities, perhaps thinking that if it takes a village to raise a child, the village might as well get intimately involved in the pregnancy too. It’s all thanks to enterprising imaging technicians who are taking their scanners on the road, offering these house-call examinations (apparently this is not a compromise of medical ethics) for a price that’s competitive with what it costs to hire other, very good, party entertainment, like clowns or magicians or those butlers who don’t wear any pants.

    "Only in America!" you might be thinking and not without reason.

    (read the rest here)

    Photograph: Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

  2. Quote

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    After 2002, Argentina reversed the austerity measures promoted by the IMF, renationalised key productive sectors like aviation, pensions and most recently oil, increased social protection and income transfers to the poor, and reduced poverty substantially. Real wages have increased, and wage inequalities have been reduced.

    This is a dangerously successful story. It shows that there is life after a default, and that austerity is not the best way out of a crisis. These are two lessons that clearly frighten financial markets and their allies within the judicial system, and obviously there is concern that other countries in financial distress could seek to emulate this example. Hence the eagerness to show that this is not a success story after all, and to keep the pressure on Argentina through court rulings, downgrades and similar measures.

    Why Argentina is now paying for its dangerously successful economic story, by Jayati Ghosh and Matías Vernengo

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    I met a Kentucky car mechanic who offered insightful analysis of domestic French politics. A rightwing columnist in Maine who wished he were French, he said, if only to meet more women. In an old Texas gas station I found a restaurant with a menu of Franco-Western dinners: pan-seared trout with lobster cream sauce, and “cowboy coffee crème brulee”. Not for nothing did Woody Allen’s recent film Midnight in Paris become his top-grossing ever. Cheese eating surrender monkeys? Writer Rosecrans Baldwin toured small towns in the USA to ask ‘normal’ people what they thought about the French. Some of the answers may surprise you …
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    Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s said barely a controversial thing in four years (diplomats rarely do), and that she appears to be the hardest-working, least-camera-chasing member of the Obama administration. After so many years in the harsh glare of the electoral spotlight, she’s managed to build a little mystery about what’s behind those sunglasses and on that BlackBerry, and everyone likes a little mystery. on how Hillary Clinton turned herself into a web phenomenon.
  5. Santorum’s 5 Biggest Campaign Blunders

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    Republican candidate Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race for his party’s nomination, vowing to continue to fight for the values of socially conservative Americans.

    To mark the end of Santorum’s campaign, we look back over some of the gaffe-prone candidate’s more controversial remarks:

    1) In a moment that almost buried his campaign, Santorum sparked international outrage when he bit his tongue, apparently on the verge of calling Barack Obama an ‘N-word’ at an address in Janesville, Wisconsin. Santorum’s campaign denied that he had almost uttered a racial slur, but the incident set off an internet storm that sullied his reputation as a wholesome, family man.

    2) In a faux-pas worthy of his Republican presidential forebear, Santorum boasted: ‘I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be – it doesn’t matter to me’. He later attempted to defuse the situation by appealing for a ‘do-over’.

    3) In another racially incendiary soundbite, Santorum appears to tell an audience in Sioux City, Iowa, that he didn’t ‘want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money’. He tried to explain away the blunder by claiming ‘what I started to say was a word, and then it sort of changed, and ‘blah’ came out. And people said I said ‘black and I didn’t’.

    4) In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the former Senator accused the gay community of waging a ‘jihad against Rick Santorum’. The slip came after an influential gay columnist, Dan Savage, launched a campaign to associate the word ‘Santorum’ with a vulgar sex act.

    5) The candidate further enraged liberal viewers by declaring in an interview that birth control is ‘harmful to women’. He added that it was ‘harmful to our society, to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated’.

  6. Gallery

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    • Presidents need to look right, and Mitt Romney does not, argues Jonathan Jones:

    Is it fair to describe his cheesy grin as forced? It certainly does not look quite right. Romney’s weaknesses as a politician are all too evident in this photograph. Trying to project joy in a partial triumph (his people had to issue figures that demonstrate no other candidate can seriously hope to defer him now, mathematically) he manages to come across as both bland and baffling.

    This is the opposite of an infectious grin. It is off-putting. His eyes slide towards the photographers, and the effect is to look unfortunately conspiratorial and calculating. Probably the sense of false pleasure is exaggerated by the heavily groomed hair and skin, the smoothly expensive suit. He looks like what he is – a very rich man – and visually, as in other ways, he fails to project a charisma that transcends an identity – that of rich guy – which is currently unloved even in the United States, which has so long made wealth its ideal.

    Read his entire analysis here.

    Photographs: Gerald Herbert/AP; Getty; Alexander Gardner/Bettmann/Corbis; Corbis

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    In a grim irony which marks a new low even for the lethal injection business, drugs that were meant to save lives in one of the world’s poorest countries are set to be used to kill in US.

    Nebraska is fighting to be allowed to carry out an execution using drugs manufactured in India, which the manufacturer believed were bound for sub-Saharan Africa for legitimate medical use. When this event takes place it will be the first execution in Nebraska since 1997, and the first ever in the state by lethal injection. You’d think the Nebraska department of correctional services would be anxious to see all go smoothly. That they’d leave no room for error, no reason to query their new execution procedure. Not so. Their blundering attempts to procure execution drugs over the past 12 months have drawn criticism from the courts, sanctions by the drugs enforcement agency, public opprobrium and ridicule from the press. It would be farcical were it not so tragic.

    Maya Foa on how a drug made in India to save lives is to be used for the lethal injection of Michael Ryan in the US, against the company’s will

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