Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Miscellanea

A former Guantanamo prisoner describes the experience as "Kafkaesque" and sues the U.S. government.

Senator Jim DeMint thinks that sexually active unmarried women and openly gay individuals should not be allowed to be teachers. Apparently single, sexually active, straight men can totally pull it off, though.

A shift to HTML 5 will give marketers unprecedented access to the info on your computer. Sing it with me
marketing makes the world go 'round
it makes the world go 'round
some marketing firm soon will target you
if no one's targeting you now ...

In North Carolina a court ruling curbs zero-tolerance school policies, which are all too often extreme and over-reaching, and serve to further marginalize the very students who most need help and support from their schools and communities.

And in other news mainstream American obstetrics confirms that research has little or no impact on how they practice medicine. In spite of a new study (which confirms a number of previous studies, incidentally) showing that light consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is not only not harmful to the child but may in fact involve some benefits, American obstetricians remain committed to their anti-alcohol dogma. Among other things, the study found
Boys whose mothers were light drinkers during pregnancy were 33% less likely and girls 31% less likely to have behavioral, emotional or intellectual problems than nondrinking mothers.

Both boys and girls in this category were also less likely to have hyperactivity: 27% and 29%, respectively, and scored higher on measures of cognitive functioning.

The opposite was true of children born to mothers who were heavy drinkers. These children were more likely to have problems across the board.
Of course, European doctors and moms have known this for years decades centuries. But why would we let the facts intrude upon our practices? Everyone knows that pregnant women are not to be trusted. If alcohol in excess is harmful to a developing fetus, then we must forbid pregnant women from alcohol consumption altogether. The poor dears won't be able to grasp the concept of "light drinking." And even if they could process such a subtle concept with their delicate lady brains, they probably wouldn't be able to limit their consumption of alcohol once they started drinking anyway. Everyone knows that self-control is not a female characteristic.


  1. My wife grew up in Switzerland, and she was puzzled and amused by many of the standard OB guidelines for pregnant women here in the U.S. Needless to say, we had a midwife-attended home birth.

  2. Meg'n10/11/2010

    I thought this was really interesting, and it reminded me of your post last year: Pink Ribbon Fatigue.

  3. Funny, they can tell you how much tuna you can consume per week while pregnant, but they can't do that same simple thing with alcohol. I think it has more to do with our cultural fear of the sight of pregnant women drinking than a belief that women can't be moderate or grasp the concept.

  4. Lisa,

    Now that you mention it I totally agree. And I think it's tied up with the whole you-must-be-entirely-pure-now-that-you're-a-mom thing. Like how you suddenly become asexual and people act like they're not supposed to swear around you. Ironic, isn't it? It's not about protecting women and fetuses - it's about protecting the rest of us!

  5. Anonymous10/12/2010

    well there is no exact known limit for the amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy that will have no effect on the fetus. so until there is evidence of what the limit is and it's better understood, it's a perfectly reasonable choice for the women who decide to take a "better safe than sorry" approach.

  6. Heather10/12/2010

    Except that the study linked here did demonstrate a safe level, and if you read the post, it's not about women choosing a better safe than sorry approach, it's American OBs refusing to adjust their guidelines. And this is a serious issue. If you choose to consume small amounts of alcohol while pregnant, you could find yourself in a custody battle in some jurisdictions, even though repeated studies have proven that light alchol consumption is not dangerous to a fetus.