At press time, Melinda Arnold, 34, was waiting to hear whether her mother would be accepted as an organ donor for her daughter–with the organ being the mom’s womb. Melinda (a nurse from Melbourne, Australia) was born without one (though with healthy ovaries and eggs), and if the transplant by Swedish surgeon Mats Brannstrom of Gothenburg University is successful, and Melinda later conceives, her baby will be nurtured in the very same uterus in which Melinda, herself, was nurtured. Womb transplants have been performed in rats and, with limited success, from a deceased human donor.
A British manufacturer, BCB International, is flourishing, buoyed by sales of its Kevlar underwear, at $65 a pair, to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. But soldiers and marines must buy them directly; the “Bomb Boxers” are not supplied by the Pentagon even though nearly 10 percent of battlefield explosive-device injuries result in catastrophic genital and rectal damage. According to an October report in Talking Points Memo, the Pentagon’s currently issued protection is inferior to BCB’s but is less expensive. Although the Pentagon fully funds post-injury prostheses and colostomies, it could purchase about 7,700 Bomb Boxers for the price of a single Tomahawk missile.
A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV investigation revealed in September and October the astonishing result that Illinois laws passed in 1997 and 2007 at the behest of organized labor have given at least three former union leaders lifetime government pensions as if they had been city or state employees, totaling an estimated drain on public budgets of about $7 million. Two teachers’ union officials were allowed to teach exactly one day to qualify, and an engineers’ union official was hired for one day, with the remainder of the service of the three having been on the payroll of the respective unions. A September Tribune report estimated that 20 other union officials might have been eligible under similar provisions.
MMM… BACON PANTS
It was haute couture meeting haute cuisine at the Communication Museum in Berlin in November, as prominent German chef Roland Trettl introduced his fashions (displayed on live models) made from food, including a tunic of octopus, a miniskirt of seaweed, a trouser suit made with lean bacon, a scarf of squid ink pasta, and a hat woven from lettuce. The museum director said the items were “provocative” and “raise[d] questions.”