Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time to be solemn?

Memorial Day is our moment for solemnity.

Across America, we celebrate our lives, and in our own way, pause to reflect upon what others gave up in support of our way of life.

But that can be reflected in a myriad of ways.

From the humor of the Rhode Island taxi driver, who turns his tour in the 82 Airborne some 50 plus years ago into a series of running gags over the course of a drive to the airport.

To the merchants and marketers, who take yet another opportunity to ply us with a sense of want and desire for yet another item, another bauble, a discount on a purchase intentionally held off until just this sale.

To the Europeans living in the United States, not entirely familiar with all our habits and customs, but are quick to embrace an opportunity for a get-together, for a party.

And it's that confluence which makes for interesting moments. For example, this afternoon, at a party thrown by a friend from Belgium for friends, colleagues, and neighbors, there were guests from eastern and western Europe, central America, west Africa, and the mid-Atlantic.

Perhaps it's the uniqueness of a place like Washington where you can talk about the qualities of freshly made gelato with the Armenian man who proudly presented this treat to the partygoers. Or to hear from an African women of her concern for her daughter, about to attend an American college as a freshman. Then there's all the French people smoking, but there's no tie-in or analogy for that one.

In a way, the amalgam of people we can come across, all in one place, happens because of the sacrifice made by thousands over the years, continuing to allow our grand experiment in democracy to serve as a guide and a sense of hope for others across the world.

Happy Memorial Day. However you recognize it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

some weekend thoughts

From our friends at CBS News, one of the MSM baddies, but still among those paying the big bucks for surveys and polls.

On the 50th Anniversary, the golden anniversary, of the birth control pill, some very interesting findings on attitudes and perspectives on this life changing med.

Read down to note, at the end of this cheat sheet, what CBS found on the hypothetical question on whether men would take an equivalent pharmaceutical.


--52% of Americans say the birth control pill has been one of the most significant medical developments of the last 50 years. Both women and men think the birth control pill has been an important medical development.

--Four in five Americans think the birth control pill has had at least some effect on American society overall, including 41% who say it’s impacted society a great deal.

54% think the pill has had a great deal of impact on women’s lives in particular.

--Most Americans (56%) say women’s lives were changed for the better because of the birth control pill. Only a quarter think it made no difference, and even fewer say the pill made women’s lives worse. Among women, 54% say women’s lives improved as a result of the pill.

--57% say the pill made it easier for women to have jobs and careers outside the home. Older Americans are especially likely to say this.

Among working women, 55% say the birth control poll has made it easier for women to enter the workforce.

--Most (83%) think the birth control has affected Americans’ attitudes toward sex, including more than half who say it had a great deal of impact on attitudes toward sex.

--In 1966, six years after the pill was approved by the FDA, fewer than half of Americans - 43% - told a Gallup Poll that birth control pills could be used safely without danger to a person’s health. That number has risen to 64% today.

--A majority of women (54%) do not think most men would take birth control pills if they were available. In contrast, two-thirds of men think most men would take the pill if it were available.

Poll story on CBSNEWS.COM