August 4th, 2010

Ichabod Crane's banshee widow

I'm watching last night's Colbert Report, wondering once again what the hell a conservative (in this case, Laura Ingraham, called the subject line by Colbert in an earlier show) is doing making an appearance on this program. She brings up the "Ichabod Crane's banshee widow" thing (doesn't get it right, either). Stephen corrects her. Then she calls that "very controversial" and "Native American viewers might be". I can't figure out what she means. Banshee, unsurprisingly, is a corrupted spelling of bean sidhe -- not really Native American in any universe I can imagine. And I can't find any indication that Ichabod Crane or his widow were Native American.

So where does Native American come in?

Oh, wait. This is _Laura Ingraham_. She's an idiot.

NYT article about breastfeeding

On the one hand, it ends with this comment:

"please breast-feed.”

How much can I really hate that, right? But it includes this remark:

"The complex sugars were long thought to have no biological significance, even though they constitute up to 21 percent of milk."

Really? I'm not complaining about the author; I'm prepared to believe the author was correctly describing the state of understanding of breastfeeding in science-y/medicine-y circles. But really? 21% of breastmilk is a mystery to you, so you conclude "no biological significance"? That's right up there with, hey, it's DNA that doesn't code for protein. Must not do anything at all, right?

Here it is:

The news is basically, hey, look, this stuff the baby doesn't digest coats the baby's gut (surprise? I thought we already knew that?) and nasty things that might make the baby sick instead latch onto this stuff and the baby doesn't get sick. Yay. Some anomalous commentary that I cannot make any sense of:

"The complex sugars, for instance, are evidently a way of influencing the gut microflora, so they might in principle be used to help premature babies, or those born by caesarean, who do not immediately acquire the bifido strain."

I thought the babies got this stuff from the boob? What has _that_ got to do with preemies or c-section babies? I nursed A. while they were closing. Preemies receiving kangaroo care nurse. Preemies unable to nurse can be given expressed breast milk. What's the problem? Well, I mean other than poorly run hospitals adhering to practice standards that have been proven less than optimal for decades...