Image via CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Even in his death, Osama Bin Laden has been able to stir up a little bit of controversy. The infamous terrorist was killed by the United States government just a few weeks ago. The nation, who had been terrorized by his plot that was successfully executed on September 11, 2001, celebrated his death in a variety of ways.
While some choose to weep with the remembrance of lives lost in the World Trade Center collapse, there were those who had a much more joyful reaction. Some choose to view the event as a treat or a prize. Thy choose to see it as a the cherry on top of their day. There were celebrations in front of the White House that involved beach balls.
The nation, even in its time of happiness, questioned if the celebration was the right thing to do. There were plenty of voices that believed celebrating the death of any man, no matter what he did to someone else, was wrong and painted a bad light on our country.
There were those who believed that it deserved to be celebrated. Whether it was in the privacy of ones own home, or in the middle of a casino bonus, that they had the right to be happy and express that joy however they want.
The end result was an overwhelming wish to let the subject die for the greater good of saying goodbye to one of the most hated men on the planet. Still, it shows that the country can have healthy discussion even in times of great joy. That is real progress.
It’s no secret that businesses are struggling in today’s bad economy. If your online business is having some trouble holding on, you may be able to turn things around by finding out more about what your customers need and want from you. If you don’t know what they really look for when they come to your site, you’re doing yourself and your customers a disservice. Instead of wallowing in self pity and slow sales, take the time to find out what your customers and potential customers think about client interaction, your overall website, and the products and/or services that you offer.
You can do all of that through free online surveys. You won’t have to pay anything to create them, and a lot of websites use them. They’re popular on sites like CNN, where readers are often surveyed about their opinions on popular topics, and they’re also popular with big chain retailers like Wal-Mart, which really wants to know whether you had a good experience shopping with them, and if there was something that they could have done better – so that they’ll know for next time. You can incorporate surveys onto your website, as well, and find out the information you need to know to better serve your customers.
If you want to retain customers, you have to know when you’re doing things right and when you’re doing things wrong. It’s impossible to please all of your customers all of the time, of course, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to correct any large issues quickly. If you’re getting a lot of complaints something has to change, especially if you want to keep your business afloat in a difficult economy. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple survey to ask how you’re doing and what customers would like to see changed. People like to feel valued, and surveying them can be enough to keep them coming back.
Each year, the St. Petersburg Times selects the PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year from the many lies, exaggerations, and misrepresentations that have appeared in the news over the past year. Many of these lies have become so ingrained in the world’s view and so common in the press, that it’s hard to determine what is the truth and what is the lie.
For 2010, PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year is “government takeover of healthcare.” The phrase used by many in the Republican party to describe President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan was first used in spring of 2009.
Where Did it Come From?
Its origins are attributed to political consultant Frank Luntz who has often been instrumental in assigning names and phrases that are sure to help swing opinion and impact the public discourse on an issue. Lutz felt that “government takeover” would be just scary enough to get people’s attention and make them feel as though their healthcare has been taken away from them in some sort of hostile act.
What Has it Done?
While much of President Obama’s healthcare plan made it through, the process was long and the dialogue harsh. The phrase “government takeover of healthcare” certainly impacted the debate, causing Tea Partiers and many in the Republican Party to protest and go to extreme measures to stop the plan. To this day it continues to help chip away at the legislation and add to fear about the changes to healthcare.
The phrase was selected as lie of the year because of its staying power and its outright incorrect implications. A government takeover would imply a system where the government is in control of hospitals and doctors. While this is the case in many countries with national healthcare programs, this was never the case in the US and was never part of the discussion.
Recently, news spread of a HIV patient in Germany who had been cured of the disease. While the medical community and the public were hoping that someone had found a cure, there was a general sense that it was too good to be true.
In actuality, it was. The patient had received a bone marrow transplant in 2007 as a treatment for leukemia. Dr. Gero Hutter at Berlin’s Charite-Medical University in Berlin followed his progress and reported on developments.
Why It’s Not the Cure
In the case of the German HIV patient, it turned out that the bone marrow donor had a genetic mutation that prevents HIV from getting to the body’s cells. It is estimated that 1 in 100 people in Central Europe have this rare mutation, but it is very difficult to isolate these people within a pool of bone marrow donors.
While yes, this transfusion seems to have cured the patient, at this point, there is not a way to make the treatment available or practical for the average HIV patient in the world today. Bone marrow matches are difficult to find and the procedure comes with many risks. It is also an extremely expensive process.
There’s Still Hope
In recent years, anti-retroviral therapies have become a much more practical way to control HIV. While they are expensive and often call for large doses of daily medications, people do find that they can control their condition and live a relatively normal life with HIV.
While the reported HIV cure turned out to not be a reality, it does offer hope to many who are waiting for the day when a cure exists. There’s always the chance that this discovery leads to something else on the horizon. With HIV becoming more manageable, the risks and costs of the potential cure just don’t make it worthwhile at this point in time.
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