Patterico's Pontifications


Drinking and Breastfeeding

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The result: “A North Dakota woman accused of breast-feeding her 6-week-old baby while drunk has pleaded guilty to child neglect.”

Sounds like an easy case, but it’s not:

“Since [the woman’s] arrest, blogs have been abuzz with comments questioning whether breast-feeding mothers could risk criminal charges if they drink even modest amounts. Authorities insist police were right to make the arrest, even if the mother had not been breast-feeding, out of concern for the child’s welfare.

“Since when is breast-feeding while drunk a crime?” said Dr. Amy Tuteur, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston who has been following the case on her Web site, the Skeptical OB.

If the 26-year-old woman had been bottle-feeding her baby, “no one would have bothered to check what was in the bottle,” Tuteur said. “You can do a lot more damage by mixing formula wrong.”

Dr. Tuteur’s comments sound shocking but, in fact, there is little or no medical research on drinking and breastfeeding because “[r]esearchers cannot ethically conduct controlled research on intoxicated women who breast-feed.” Instead, experts rely on anecdotal evidence to advise against breastfeeding after drinking or drinking to the point of intoxication, but it’s not clear what the risks really are.

In addition, the police in this case did not do a breathalyzer test because an arrest on a charge of child abuse and neglect is based on all the circumstances and does not require a test. That means we don’t know how intoxicated the breastfeeding mother actually was. A further complication is that the police were at her house because the breastfeeding mother had called them to report her boyfriend had assaulted her. “A police report said she had swelling on her nose and chin and a small scratch on her left cheek.”


Obama, the Russians, and Missile Defense (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports Barack Obama and Russian President Medvedev have agreed to allow the U.S. military to use Russian land and airspace to access Afghanistan and to work together in Afghanistan [Note from DRJ: The Afghans should love that]. But the centerpiece of the meeting is an agreement to reduce nuclear weapons in a replacement to the START I treaty:

“The planned START replacement pact – the centerpiece summit agreement – calls for each side to reduce strategic warheads to a range of 1,500 to 1,675, and strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500 to 1,100. Current limits allow a maximum of 2,200 warheads and 1,600 launch vehicles. The new treaty, as conceived, would run for 10 years. Each side would have seven years to reach reduction goals with the final three years used for verification.”

However, the parties have not agreed on Eastern European missile defense. The Americans apparently think missile defense won’t be a deal-breaker but the Russians don’t sound so sure:

“While Medvedev insisted on Monday that a replacement to the keystone START I nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires Dec. 5, must be linked to Russian concerns about the U.S. missile defense program in Eastern Europe, it remained unclear if the Kremlin was prepared to scuttle the negotiations over that issue.

Gary Samore, Obama’s chief adviser on weapons of mass destruction and arms control, told reporters he did not believe the Russians were prepared to walk away.

“I think at the end of the day – because our missile defense does not actually pose a threat to Russia’s strategic forces – I think they’ll be prepared to go ahead without trying to extract a price on missile defense.”

How does Obama plan to resolve this stalemate?

“Hoping to ease Kremlin concerns, Obama promised that an assessment of whether the missile defense would actually work would be finished by late summer, earlier than expected, and that he would share initial U.S. thoughts with Medvedev.”

This is beyond naive, it’s foolish.

UPDATE: The Anchoress nails it.


Ace’s “special comment” on Palinistas

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:51 am

[Cross-posted from HotAir by Karl, though some of the choicest responses are found in the Greenroom.]

Edited only slightly, so there will be some profanity:

It’s this insane idea that if you want something to happen, you will also of course agree that it will happen, and if you don’t agree it will happen, obviously you don’t want it to happen.

In other words, if you’re cheering for one side, you must of course believe that side will win, and if you suggest our side won’t win, well, gee, you must be cheering against us.

It’s insane. I wanted the Giants to win against the Eagles in the playoffs, but I predicted they’d lose, because the Eagles had their number and they were coming apart at the seams. They did lose, for the reasons I guessed (I think). That did not mean I wasn’t “on their side,” I’ve been on the Giants’ side all my life.

But there is a mentality in the nutroots that if you dare to post a poll showing Republicans down and say “we’re in trouble, we need a game-changer,” well, that means you’re secretly rooting against our side.

And if you say that Fred Thompson isn’t catching on as hoped, well, you hate Fred Thomson.

And if you do not believe that Sarah Palin has some double-secret probation plan for the presidency, you must hate her too, and you’re rooting against her, and cheering for the other side.

This is fucking insane and it must stop. I will not be bullied by this ludicrous magical thinking brigade who insists that only Nice and Positive Words must be uttered or else one is contributing one’s Evil Energy to the Wrong Side.

It’s insane.

I disagree with you. I have tried to do so pleasantly but I am tired of the imputation of bad motive simply because I am more realistic and less prone to flights of hopeful fancy than you.

If you think I’m wrong, say so. I do not mind being called wrong. I do, however, greatly mind being called a traitor, of harboring a secret agenda I hide from you in order to advance the MSM’s interests, etc., and all the rest of this insane bullshit.

Someone can be wrong honestly, without the need of claiming he’s wrong dishonestly, wrong because he’s actively intending to subvert the cause (so he can of course get invited to these famous DC dinner parties, etc.)

Stop jumping to claim some one is not just wrong but actively malicious.

It’s insane. It’s fruit fucking loops. and it’s tiresome.

And I do think I am taking off the week. You guys only seem to want to talk about Sarah Palin and furthermore you only want to hear the same thing — she’s running, this is a great move, she’s now perfectly poised for the race, etc.

It’s nonsense. And I hardly need to blog about it, because you all seem to know the words to the song. So you don’t need me as part of the chorus. You can sing the same words well enough without me.

I am really tired of this relentless nonsense and occasional nastiness whenever someone is believed to have departed from the conservativey correct line.

To anticipate some of the responses that comments like this have already generated, for the purpose of this discussion, I really do not care what Ace wrote about Palin’s resignation, any more than I care about what Ed Morrissey wrote about it, any more than I care about the advice Jonah Goldberg was offering Palin before her announcement. I can disagree with any part or all of their opinions without irrationally jumping to the conclusion that they hate Palin, or have thrown in their lot with David Frum and Colin Powell.

Indeed, I can point out what I think are some of the flaws in Goldberg’s piece. He overstates how much Palin has been out of Alaska since the election, while understating the degree to which her profile these days has been dictated by David Letterman, Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, and disgruntled McCain campaign officials dragging her (and her daughters) into the spotlight. But consider some of the over-the-top reactions against Goldberg’s writing and person when the piece was linked here at HotAir (Obviously, not all of the critical comments were over-the-top, but if you read them all, you’ll find a fair number of them). To grasp how off-kilter some of the vitriol was, consider that Goldberg argued that Palin can match Romney’s ability to talk policy if she wants to, but Romney will never have Palin’s charisma. How that qualifies as heresy eludes me. The notion that Goldberg is somehow “blowing up the conservative movement” by stating his opinion also seems to impute to him influence far beyond that which he actually has (and I would say the same of Charles Krauthammer, let alone a handful of conservative bloggers).

As for her resignation, my analysis would be closer to that of Mark Halperin than Ace or Ed. But I can disagree with them on Palin’s future prospects while utterly agreeing with Ace’s comment about Palin’s most rabid supporters, who are probably doing her no favors. I suspect that some of the reasons the Left has a special loathing for Palin are the same reasons why some on the Right seem to have an absolutely blind love for her. Should she decide to run for president, the Left will likely enjoy the prospect of using her most devoted followers to highlight her most polarizing qualities.

Granted, the knee-jerk defense of Palin is also a product of the sheer volume and bile of the attacks on her from the Left. But the unfair attacks of the Left will not go away, so long as Palin remains in politics. Nor do those unfair attacks justify unfair attacks by Palin supporters against others on the Right who have supported Palin, or simply called the balls and strikes as they saw them. It is possible to be mistaken without being evil.

Finally, consider this from R. A. Mansour’s profile at Conservatives4Palin:

Make no mistake, the beating she took during the campaign was wounding. She’s not as confident as she once was. You can see it in the difference between her pre-campaign interviews and her post-campaign interviews. There’s a stuttering nervousness about her now. She’s trying to get back on her game.

That could be read more than one way. Presuming that Mansour did not intend to paint Palin as someone who can be beaten down by the likes of Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, it suggests that Palin recognizes that she needs to raise her game to meet The Narrative likely to be built against her — should she seek a national leadership position. If so, Sarah Palin and Jonah Goldberg really are not all that far apart.


An aside: I may or may not chime in the comments at HotAir, but wanted to note the following as a bonus (given that Patterico asked me to cross-post this, despite his post on the same general topic yesterday).  My commentary was carefully constructed as an experiment.  I point out my general disagreement with Ace and Ed Morrissey on reaching any snap judgment about Palin’s future.  I specifically criticize parts of Jonah Goldberg’s article, while noting its pro-Palin aspects.  I suggest that whatever pundits and bloggers may have to say about Palin probably does not amount to a hill of beans in the real world of politics.  The only thing in the post even remotely critical of Palin is the quotation from a “featured post” at C4P.  The subject is a segment of Palin’s support, not Palin.  As such, I think it’s a handy test for measuring reading comprehension.  Or fanatacism.


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