Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Reading

Elaine Tyler May — Celebrating Mother’s Day with The Pill.

Forget the single girl and the sexual revolution. The pill was not anti-mother; it was for mothers. And it changed motherhood more than it changed anything else. Its great accomplishment was not in preventing motherhood, but in making it better by allowing women to have children on their own terms.

Today, we celebrate both motherhood and the pill. It is Mother’s Day, and it is the 50th anniversary of the day the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would approve the pill — though the dream of an oral contraceptive is much older. The birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger first envisioned such a “magic pill” in 1912, two years before Congress established a national Mother’s Day. She wanted to do more than honor mothers: She wanted to change their lives.

Continued below the fold.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. — Learning to live with the risks.

Obviously, we must do everything practical and possible to thwart terrorists and protect lives. But the bitter fact is that, though we succeed a hundred times, eventually we will fail. This is the thing no one says as they go about ‘‘fixing” what went wrong. The idea seems to be that if we can just perfect the system, we guarantee nothing bad will ever happen again.

This was the subtext of all those people lauding President Bush because he “kept us safe” after Sept. 11. It was an unbearably naive assertion, born of a stubborn refusal to learn what the rest of the world already knows.

Which is that senseless violence is not an aberration of life but a part of it. So no matter how you tweak the system, we will always be vulnerable. Indeed, more so because we are free. And no system consistent with that freedom could have stopped a fanatic from driving a bomb into Times Square. Note that even the questions being raised now concern what happened after Shahzad allegedly placed his bomb.

There’s a saying: I’d rather be lucky than good. Last week, we were both. But at some point, we will be neither.

So what can you do? The answer is that you do the best you can, take what precautions you can, and then you get on with it, learn to live with the risk freedom entails. You accept that risk because freedom is worth it.

And because living in fear is a contradiction in terms.

Show Business for Wonks — The power couple of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski make the news.

LAST week on the north lawn of the White House, the morning after the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski held court on the grass, presiding over a special Sunday edition of their MSNBC daily news program “Morning Joe.” As they sat beside one another in directors’ chairs — Mika in a black evening gown with a plunging neckline; Joe in a dinner jacket (sans tie), both of them wearing dark sunglasses — they exuded the reckless, easy glamour of old-style Hollywood stars: Rock Hudson and Doris Day (but Doris Day with a tan and killer abs).

A few hours before, at the MSNBC after-party, they’d hobnobbed with the actors Alec Baldwin and Bradley Cooper; and as they received guests for the dinner post-mortem (Jon Meacham of Newsweek, Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, Rick Stengel of Time), Joe teased their younger co-host, Willie Geist, that his sunglasses looked like the BluBlockers from Mr. Cooper’s movie “The Hangover.”

It was hard, for a moment, to remember that these cinematic presences were established journalists and political wonks who spend three hours every morning debating the news of the day with an Elysium of commentators. When their colleague David Gregory flashed onto the screen to give a preview of “Meet the Press,” he stared at Mika and Joe, abashed. “You two do so much to glam up the joint here,” he said. Mika laughed, shook her blond bob and looked over at her fellow anchor. “Glamorous is not the word I think of when I think of Joe,” she said.

Make it stop.

Jon Stewart wraps up the week.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap – Week of 5/3/10
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Doonesbury — Lack of material.