Reasons To Be Cheerful

With most of our coverage this week centered on the Republican Party’s, you know, declaration of total war on our democratic system of government, we could use some good news:

1. HIV/AIDS infections are going down:

new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has … reviewed the progress made against HIV infections since the start of this century and found a lot of encouraging data. Annual infections among children, perhaps the most tragic demographic to be affected by the spread of the AIDS virus, have fallen to 260,000 in 2012, 52 percent lower than 2001′s 550,000. When adults are included as well, the reduction is smaller in relative terms, but greater in absolute numbers: there were 3.4 million new HIV infections in 2001 compared to 2.3 million in 2012.

2. Support for legal cannabis in California is going up:

Six out of ten likely California voters support making cannabis legal, according to survey data released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters also believe that the US government should not enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved the plant’s use. The percentages are the highest ever reported by the polling firm in favor of allowing adults to possess and consume cannabis socially.

3. A near-centenarian just graduated from high school:

A 99-year-old Iowa woman who dropped out of high school over 80 years ago despite needing only a single credit to graduate has just received her diploma. … Audrey Crabtree — grandmother of five [and] recipient of the Callie Beusman Award for Most Outstanding Grandma Name — was given her diploma in a special ceremony at Waterloo East High School. “And I feel so much smarter,” said Crabtree wryly as she grasped the slip of paper.

4. Eating just got easier for those with Parkinson’s:

A new spoon from Lift Labs may help others who suffer from hand tremors that make eating difficult. The spoon (which down the road will also have knife and fork attachments) counteracts the movements of a wavering grip, reducing the shaking by 70%

5. And George H.W. Bush served as a witness for a same-sex wedding:

While the first President Bush never expressed much animosity towards the gay community, my first response was a bit of surprise. And then I thought that the Bushes are people, and we often say that we welcome the evolution of thought of people on the issue of equality. So I definitely welcome this.