Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Contraceptive Habits" survey

From the "Contraceptive Habits" survey (.pdf) commissioned by Schering-Plough, the pharma behind NuvaRing and Implanon:

All Women:

· 92 percent of all women surveyed did not know that 50 percent of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur with couples that used some method of birth control.

· The majority of all women surveyed (64 percent) worry about something having to do with sex. The order of worries is:
o Satisfaction (partner and self): 23 percent
o Body image: 19 percent
o Contracting STDs: 8 percent
o Getting pregnant: 6 percent

· Sixty-two percent of all women indicated they discuss birth control with a potential partner.

Women 18–34:

· Four in five (80 percent) women aged 18-34 who currently use birth control say they primarily use it to prevent pregnancy.
o Ninety-three percent of women aged 18-34 (both on and off birth control) do not know that half of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur with couples that used some method of birth control.

Women 35-44:

· [S]eventy-one percent of 35- to 44-year-olds surveyed reported never or rarely having difficulty remembering to use their birth control method versus 68 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds.

Current Contraceptive Users:

· Almost half of women who currently use birth control (46 percent) would agree (strongly/somewhat) that they often feel relieved to get their period if they’ve been sexually active.

· Fifty-three percent of women who have ever used hormonal birth control said a physician’s recommendation was among the top five attributes that are most important to them in choosing a birth control method.

· Sixty-two percent of women who currently use a hormonal contraceptive method reported they would agree (strongly/somewhat) that having sex increases their stress levels when they have not used their birth control correctly.

· Seventy-six percent of women who have ever used a hormonal birth control have had concerns about their birth control method.

· Thirty-nine percent of women currently on birth control have used their chosen method for 5 or more years.

· Sixty-three percent of current contraceptive users reported that prevention of pregnancy is their primary reason for using birth control.

· Nearly 80 percent of current contraceptive users (79 percent) agreed (strongly/somewhat) that it is very important to have sex without having to stop and think about birth control.

For me, the most surprising finding of the survey was that a majority of those surveyed did not know that 50% of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur with couples that used some method of birth control. This fact has been known for quite some time and has been well popularized (or so I thought).

So, in the interest of reality-based discussions about birth control, unintended pregnancies, and abortion, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go out there and insure that as many people as possible are aware of the fact that ~50% of unintended pregnancies occur in couples who use some method of birth control.


AP vs. Politico

NEW YORK Since the Associated Press announced its controversial rate change last year, many newspapers have started considering other content options. And things are not likely to calm down any time soon.

A handful of dailies — including several who admit their AP rates actually fell — have given notice to drop the service, editors in several states are forging content-sharing alliances, and Politico and PA SportsTicker are quickly positioning themselves to help replace the 160-year-old news cooperative in daily news pages.

According to Jim VandeHei, Politico's executive editor:

If enough papers seek to drop AP altogether, Politico could serve as an even more viable alternative, at least in part..."We think we have a pretty distinctive voice."

Well, if this story about Biden's medical records is any indication of Politico's distinctive voice, we're in for a rough, not to mention inaccurate, ride.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

President Bush: Religious Groups Are Above the Law

Photo by Image Editor

If you are a religious person who does things others might find objectionable (not to mention illegal), like discriminate against people of other faiths in your hiring practices, President Bush says it's not fair to force you to give up your identity in order to compete for government handouts grants.

On the other hand, if you are a woman of reproductive age who does things others might find objectionable, like make a medical decision to terminate a pregnancy, it's not only fair to force you to give up your identity but your bodily integrity, and the right to be considered competent to give consent, as well in order to be permitted to receive medical care.

Because there's Sky Fairy believer fairness, and then there's female patient fairness.

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Feasting on the Miami Real Estate Market

Photo by BobMacInnes

Here's one way to produce an 8% cash flow on your investment in these troubled economic times; become a vulture investor:

Across the bay, vulture investors, that other breed of migratory scavenger, are feasting. South Florida is in the throes of a truly hellish real estate bust. Home prices are down 24% in the past year, with many places changing hands for less than half their height-of-bubble values. The region has seen foreclosures on more than $14.2 billion worth of property this year—a record. Developers can't sell enough units to pay construction loans. Condo boards are trying to keep the stairwells of their half-empty buildings clear of vagrants. Landlords are renting out units at daily rates to makers of porn films.

The bleak tableau is exactly what vulture investors have been waiting for. Having sat out the bubble, they're flocking to the Magic City to make lowball, often all-cash offers for numerous properties at once. Some members of this motley assortment of foreign professionals, U.S. money managers, and retired corporate executives learned how to prey by picking through the detritus of the U.S. savings and loan bust. Others earned their stripes in emerging- market financial crises. They differ in their tactics; what unites them is their absolute insistence on paying bottom dollar.

Consider the hard bargains being driven by Beverly Hills banker Joel Heffron. On a humid October morning he ventures into Miami's Brickell Avenue financial district to meet with Peter Zalewski, principal at Condo Vultures Realty, a Miami real estate brokerage and consulting firm catering to distressed-property investors. The two are looking for real estate for Heffron's personal portfolio. They size up the luxe lobby of a waterfront high-rise that was the first building on mainland Miami to break $500 a square foot. Now it anchors what Zalewski has christened the Foreclosure District.


Not since a hurricane devastated Miami in 1926 has the city offered so much property at such steep discounts. "You're not going to see a new condo go up in this town for seven years, minimum," says Zalewski. "The common Joe can't get a mortgage, and a 40% downpayment is becoming the rule for anyone who can. But if you have the cash, you can feast like a king."

Especially foreign cash. Esteban, a doctor from Colombia who requested that his last name be withheld, has seen his buying power boosted by the strong Colombian peso, which he swapped for U.S. dollars this summer when it hit a decade high. On a recent Tuesday he inspects a new two-bedroom condo with a wraparound balcony overlooking the port of Miami, one of several purchases he wants to make. The unit's absentee owner paid $650,000 pre-construction, tried to sell it for $515,000, and is now asking $489,000. Esteban is confident he can close on a deal near $425,000 before Christmas, having just spied a foreclosure notice on a neighbor's door. "I don't care if they tell me to f--- off," says the Colombian. "They have to face the bank, not me."

A mile south, Frank Marrero, a snowbird from Hoboken, N.J., is three luxury bayfront condos into a campaign to buy 15 by 2010. "If you have cash down here and say you'll close in two weeks, you're golden," says the 31-year-old mortgage broker. Marrero is targeting the nonrefundable 20% cash deposits that buyers have put down on properties still in development. He offers to repay the buyers some portion of their deposit to entice them to back out. Then he plays hardball with the developers. So far he has pulled off this maneuver twice, he says. His goal is to buy places so cheaply that he can rent them out for enough to cover the entire monthly nut and still produce 8% cash flow on the investment—with the option of selling the units at a profit if the market comes back.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg 4 Ever

Mayor Bloomberg
Photo by CarbonNYC

The essence of democracy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (aka little Napoleon) and Council speaker Christine Quinn style: use a crisis to try to keep yourself in office beyond the expiration date set by term limits.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Utah Legislators Propose Abortion Ban

Utah abortion ban
Photo by piston9

Q: When is the "slaughter of innocents" not so much the "slaughter of innocents"?

A (courtesy of a group of conservative Utah legislators): When politicians deem the patient sufficiently beaten up and debased to merit proper medical care.

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