Why Scientific Research May Rot Your Brain

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I'm sure a huge chunk of you saw the news earlier this month that research from the University of Washington shows Baby Einstein videos will actively rot your kid's brain (the exact words from the press release: "over-use of such productions actually may slow down infants ... when it comes to acquiring vocabulary").

And quite a few you probably plugged in to the brouhaha that followed. Disney -- the folks who own the Baby Einstein franchise -- have gone into full-on attack mode (and not without reason), arguing that the study's limited findings were exaggerated and hyped far beyond what the science would suggest. The Mouse has asked for a full retraction.

My point is not to take on the television debate -- that's for others who are far more steeped in all of this than I -- but to raise the general point that any time you see parenting advice that is set in stone, even advice that is backed up by research, be very, very skeptical.

Exhibit A, which we've discussed before, is the excellent NICHD longitudinal study of child care. It's very carefully run, but every time data from that study is released, all sorts of people with all sorts of agendas (including one of the highest-profile researchers involved) begin looking for data to support their message (Stay at home! Go to work!). The end result is hyperventilating press coverage.

I don't fault the researchers for trying to quantify the impact of TV, even if it's in a very narrow way, and I appreciate the decades of thoughtful study into the best way to raise strong, smart and confident kids. I am fully in support of the net result of those decades of literature on child-rearing: the general idea that children should receive plenty of love, positive discipline and intellectually engaging settings.

But no single study, comprised of data gathered from carefully defined subjects using pinpoint-specific methods, ought to be taken as generally applicable gospel. We have enough to worry about without poring over scientific journals for hints of what we're doing wrong.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  August 23, 2007; 6:40 AM ET  | Category:  Research
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First!

I agree, we shouldn't freak out over every study. But we can't just dismiss all research as biased, either. There has to be a middle ground.

Posted by: taylor.amy | August 23, 2007 7:29 AM

I totally disagree, most studies now are so politicized that they are essentially worthless. Don't surrender your common sense to any of the "oprah" experts.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 7:48 AM

some of the comments here rot my brain! (not speaking about you Brian!)

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 8:01 AM

"Don't be afraid to trust your own common sense."

Dr. Spock's simple, honest, plain spoken adive (from 1968) still applies today.

http://www.cnn.com/US/9803/16/spock.excerpts/index.html

Posted by: chemguy1157 | August 23, 2007 8:05 AM

While it's true that no single study should be taken as gospel, when we see that a study fits with other general research trends and in this case, some common sense, there's no reason we should toss it because someone with an agenda wants us to.

A lot of this stems from the tobacco companies. They orchestrated a careful attack on science and scientific studies for many years, and contributed both a general sense that science was a matter of "opinions", and to the specific approach of attacking studies which didn't fit their agenda. The media is a contributor, both in sensationalizing single studies, and in finding someone, anyone, with a contrary opinion on every topic, and giving their off-the-cuff remarks as much weight as a multi-author, peer-reviewed scientific paper.

Posted by: lherrou | August 23, 2007 8:12 AM

I'll agree that it is ridiculous how two supposedly sound studies will have contradictory results. And, that common sense and parental instincts go a long way. But I think, when we resist something strongly, it suggests a nerve has been hit. I'm going to post this and leave, partly because I don't want my own nerves battered, but I'm one of those who thinks TV does rot little brains. We don't like to hear it, because the box is the cheapest sitter, but I believe we need to think twice before parking kids there for hours on end. Just my opinion.

Posted by: taylor.amy | August 23, 2007 8:20 AM

Dr. Spock is responsible for thousands and thousands of infant deaths worldwide due to SIDS because he suggested parents lay their babies on their stomachs to sleep.

Dr. Phil and Dr Laura are idiots too.

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 8:25 AM

Parenting is scary, and that fear makes people susceptible to panic induced by these studies. They can't listen to our parents, since they didn't believe in sunscreen or abstaining from alcohol or cigarettes during pregnancy, and fear makes them doubt their common sense. The end result is paying way too much attention to every tiny little study the press gets ahold of.

I LOVE the Dr. Spock quotes. I think I might include them in every baby shower card.

Speaking of common sense... That we're alive is proof that our ancestors were the strongest and/or smartest and/or had the most common sense. A pediatrician friend of mine works with low-income, no-income people. Apparently, in at least one case, their baby's soft spot was severely sunken, an indicator of dehydration. Their solution was to use a vacuum attachment to try to suck it out. I wonder how many family members it took to come up with this ingenious solution. Altruism is trumping darwinism these days. Common sense is no longer a prerequisite for survival.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 8:30 AM

I agree with pATRICK and I pretty much don't pay attention to any of these studies. I find it makes me second guess my parenting even more than I normally would. I try very, very hard to focus on what I'm doing right, and not beat myself up over the fact that I let my kids watch 30 minutes of TV a day or that they eat the occasional McNugget.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 8:35 AM

Mako- Don't confuse SIDS with suffocation. Dr. Spock can't be responsible for SIDS deaths, as it seems to be an issue with neural regulation of breathing. And people put their babies on their bellies to sleep long before Dr. Spock was a twinkle in his Daddy's eye.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 8:37 AM

". . . any time you see parenting advice that is set in stone, even advice that is backed up by research, be very, very skeptical."

By Brian Reid | August 23, 2007; 6:40 AM ET

I agree with Brian.

We did not raise our children according to "research." We figure that we are good people, mostly because our parents taught us to distinguish good from bad, as our grandparents taught our parents to distinguish good from bad. Research in the physical, mathematical and biological sciences is good because its fruits generally make our lives longer and better. "Research" in the so-called social sciences deserves to be regarded "very, very" skeptically because the hired man always serves his master who is paying him. Dante Alighieri was being paid by one Italian family of nobles, so he put the deceased members of his patron's rival family into Inferno ("hell"). The patron of today's researchers is almost always someone with an axe to grind, either a corporate capitalist or a redistributionist socialist or the Government. It is not too strong a statement to say that social "science" is bunk. If you believe you are a good person, raise your children the way you were raised, raise them to tell good from bad, and they, too, will be good people.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."
--J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 8:41 AM

Total pet peeve of mine. The real problem is our crappy science education that leaves people in the dark about the most basic concepts. And with 83 different "discoveries" every day, if you don't have those tools to distinguish good science from hype/politics, or to understand the limitations on even good science, it becomes instant information overload.

The problem is that you can't just tune it all out, either, because we are finding out significant things (SIDS? smoking?). So I pretty much ignore the first discovery of a hot new "thing," but pay more attention if/when a mass of data starts piling up. I also don't trust epidemiological studies much absent evidence of causation, although again, when a bunch of good data seems to show the same thing over time, I'll pay more attention. Observational studies of subjective, unverifiable behaviors, studies with a small data set, and studies where they haven't properly accounted for confounding factors are pretty much right out -- may be something interesting to keep an eye on as the science develops, but no more.

Posted by: laura33 | August 23, 2007 8:42 AM

I think that one of the big problems is that studies are usually looking at a couple of small factors that may increase or decrease something by some small percentage (e.g. TV viewing and vocabulary). What most Americans don't understand is that this is just ONE factor and that there may be lots of other factors that are much stronger.

For example, in the daycare vs. SAH debate, there is a mixed bag of findings, but again, most people don't realize that the relative contribution of daycare or SAH to whatever measure the study is looking at is quite small. That is, other factors, such as parenting, genes, etc., are MUCH stronger and have a MUCH greater contribution to whatever measure is being taken.

So, Rebeldad, this doesn't mean the studies are wrong or flawed -- it just means you have to think about how important the actual finding is to the overall issues at stake.

Posted by: rlalumiere | August 23, 2007 8:46 AM

My sister had a baby this year, and it is amazing to me that in the course of just a few years (my first child is 5), so much has changed. I was told by my pediatrician to start my son on solids between 5-6 months, and she has been told to wait for at least 6 months and possibly longer until her baby "shows interest". She was told to completely avoid caffeine, alcohol, and soft cheeses, and my OB told me up to 12 oz. a day of caffeine was okay as was the occasional glass of red wine and even a piece of brie here and there. I was told to use sunscreen on my kids after they were 2 months old, she's being told to wait until the baby is 6 months old before applying the Coppertone. (Is the child simply supposed to stay inside for half of her first year?)

And forget about the difference between raising a child now vs. 15 years ago -- lay them down on the belly, start cereal at 2 months, give them narcotics to sleep . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 8:52 AM

Give them narcotics to sleep? Um, I'm older than 15 and my mother certainly never did that to me. Who in the world told you that was an acceptable way to get babies to sleep?

Posted by: rlalumiere | August 23, 2007 8:57 AM

"Common sense is no longer a prerequisite for survival." Ain't that the truth.

I don't agree with Matt today (that's rare) re: "Research in the physical, mathematical and biological sciences is good..."Research" in the so-called social sciences deserves to be regarded "very, very" skeptically because the hired man always serves his master who is paying him."

There is plenty of scientific research that is skewed in favor of the money. Did anybody read the WHO study that shows absolutely no correlation between second-hand cigarette smoke and lung cancer? How many of you believe that?

And there's plenty of social science research that is useful and practical and not motivated by money. What's better is that most of these studies are longitudinal, which means more solid data.

For me, I discount any survey that relies on self-reporting. That's total BS. I do pay attention to other studies that involve real data. I do agree, though, that's it's important to know who funded the study.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 9:00 AM

Anyone that needs a study to tell them not to park their child in front of videos all day (regardless of how "educational" they might be) should not be a parent. Everyone else has enough common sense to understand what most studies are - some scientific information spun whichever way best serves those that present it.

Posted by: jjtwo | August 23, 2007 9:02 AM

1. Scientific studies show that Vitamins are good for you.

2. The Pop Tart box is marked with "8 essential vitamins"

Therefor, Pop Tarts are good for you!

Make sure you feed them to your kids everyday!

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 9:05 AM

I think the whole BHA plastic bottle thing is important-- I'm seriously considering throwing out all my old Avent bottles that my first child used and buying-- I can't believe I'm really considering this-- glass bottles instead. Following common sense, it does seems like plastic could cause problems, and now there is research that backs it up. My first child is fine, but I also didn't use bottles that much anyway since I stayed home while he was an infant. With this next child, I imagine I'll go back to work much sooner so I'll need bottles-- but glass? That seems so dangerous-- are there glas bottles that have the outside dipped in some polymer or something to make them at least shatterproof? Are there stainless steel baby bottles?

Posted by: baby-work | August 23, 2007 9:06 AM

rlalumiere -- I was wrong about 15 years, it's more like 25. I can't remember the name of the narcotic, I think it started with a "p". I'll call my mom and see if she knows.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 9:06 AM

to change the subject for a minute.

several of a certain person's comments were removed from yesterday's blog.

(if you don't know what i am talking about, don't worry, you missed NOTHING!)

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 9:12 AM

It is true that science is so politicized now it is hard to know who to trust. Whatever the data suggests doesn't matter because it is going to be distorted to support the view of whoever is speaking. People need to worry less and use common sense.

Posted by: michelewilson | August 23, 2007 9:13 AM

I think it started with a "p". I'll call my mom and see if she knows.


Paragoric

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 9:14 AM

Yes! Thank you, anon. That's the one.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 9:16 AM

"Give them narcotics to sleep? Um, I'm older than 15 and my mother certainly never did that to me. Who in the world told you that was an acceptable way to
get babies to sleep?"

We brought our 6 week old baby to the doctor when she was suffering from collic. We got a prescription for some medicine that had a warning on the label that read, "Do not operate any heavy machinery..."

So, my answer is the doctor told me that administrating a mind/mood altering substance to my baby is OK.

The only difference though, is that I did it so *I* could get some sleep.

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 9:16 AM

you are welcome!

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 9:16 AM

baby-work- You can use the "milky" plastic bottles, as they aren't made of the same material as the Avent, etc. Gerber makes them, and they're WAY cheaper than Avent, Dr. Brown's, etc. Glass is fine as long as you're holding them.

WorkingMomX- It's pretty crazy, isn't it? My ped and OB sound more like what you experienced. Some are more conservative than others. I was "allowed" a glass of wine, caffeine, and all foods but mercury-laden fish, though I chose not to do listeria-risky foods, because of my cousin's loss at 6 months. I did wait until 6 months for sunscreen. It's a surface area issue. You just keep them in the shade with a hat and long-sleeves, if possible. The food thing is/should be "decided" by the baby. If the kid stares at your food and drools, give him some rice cereal! We started at about 4.5 months.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 9:18 AM

Gripe water has belladonna in it. Plenty of people use it still.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 9:20 AM

So, Rebeldad, this doesn't mean the studies are wrong or flawed -- it just means you have to think about how important the actual finding is to the overall issues at stake.

Posted by: rlalumiere | August 23, 2007 08:46 AM

Ya know, clear thinking and common sense will get you banned from this site ;-)

Posted by: Catwhowalked | August 23, 2007 9:22 AM

why are the choices between, on the one hand, ignoring potentially valid research results, and, on the other hand, being a Stepford Parent who follows whichever way the headlines point? This is not a parenting issue, it's a matter of personal responsibility. You have an obligation to yourself and your family to use all that pricey education you got plus the grey matter which you were born with, and apply it to headlines and ALL news. Look for the original publication of the study results, examine how the study was structured, the size of the sample, the nature of the control group, and THEN decide whether its conclusions have applicability to your life. Anyone who thinks that ignoring research or taking headlines at face value is a smart way to live life probably is deciding what he thinks about the war by listening to the smartest people in the office or asking his spouse.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 9:31 AM

"It is not too strong a statement to say that social "science" is bunk. "

Wow.

See Hax for reference.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 9:39 AM

Great topic. I am a researcher in this field, and am always struggling with this question. When is research helpful and when is it harmful? It's publicly funded, so we have a duty to get it out, but HOW do we do that in a way that's helpful?

A single study should never be presented in a vacuum -- that's part of the problem. And I also think the media --and interest groups -- hype single findings way beyond what is appropriate. Case in point: I've been trying for days to get a balanced perspective on the BPAs in bottles/cups issue, and simply can't find it. I either get reports from industry groups or reports from enviromental groups, each of which is terribly biased on this issue.

I think it would help if the public were made better consumers of research, also, so they can have a sense of how to interpret what they see/hear. I saw a quote in the post yesterday (again, the BPAs and bottles thing) noting that "Headline parenting" isn't good for anyone. I'd agree wholeheartedly.

Posted by: sciencemom | August 23, 2007 9:46 AM

"There are questions that are interesting, and there are questions that we can answer, and the intersection of those two categories is probably a lot smaller than any of us would like. This doesn't seem to be a realization that has crept into the media as of yet, so it is no surprise that studies that purport to give answers to interesting questions will get more coverage than those pointing out why those answers probably don't mean very much."

-- the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard website: http://www.iq.harvard.edu/blog/sss/archives/2007/06/statistics_and_3.shtml

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 9:49 AM

well, anon, most people want the headlines, they don't want to do more 'research' when someone else has done it - and most people don't know what they're looking for anyway.

I too was amazed that within the three years between my kids, things changed so much. Don't put alcohol on the belly button, don't do this, don't do that (the alcohol thing my sister argued with me about since she did it for *her* two).

People see a study and panic. but really, yes, we are trying to be safer with our kids (car seats) but sometimes waiting and being patient are better for the kids.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 9:54 AM

"several of a certain person's comments were removed from yesterday's blog."

all of baba's posts are there, so the purge didn't have much value.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 9:55 AM

Meesh -- you say that all self-reported data are BS. But isn't that a little too simplistic? I think it depends upon what you are trying to measure. Self-report measures of weight, for instance, are terrible. But self-report measures of depressive symptoms are essential. They are not free of measurement bias, but most measures have some element of bias and we have statistical methods to address that bias in many cases.

I am believer in using the best measure of whatever construct is of interest, and preferably using multiple measures to try to triangulate. But for some constructs, self-report is critical and far less "BS" than "objective" measures (which can have really poor measurement qualities.

Posted by: sciencemom | August 23, 2007 10:01 AM

well, anon, most people want the headlines, they don't want to do more 'research' when someone else has done it - and most people don't know what they're looking for anyway.

I too was amazed that within the three years between my kids, things changed so much.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 09:54 AM

If you are going to parent based on headlines without taking a moment to look at what is behind them, I can only imagine how you determine which candidate deserves your vote.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 10:01 AM

It probably also depends on what country the report is coming from. There was an interesting op ed piece in the NYT not too long ago about how different countries deal with eating during pregnancy--wine & soft cheese are considered ok in France, sushi is considered ok in Japan etc.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/opinion/15shaw.html?ex=1188014400&en=b120ae348720d55d&ei=5070

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | August 23, 2007 10:03 AM

several of a certain person's comments were removed from yesterday's blog."

all of baba's posts are there, so the purge didn't have much value.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 09:55 AM

no, you are incorrect. several of her more offensive post were removed.

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 10:04 AM

p.s.

offensive being a real relative term in her case!

Posted by: anonthistime | August 23, 2007 10:05 AM

anon: I wasn't talking about me, I was talking in general. It is definitely appalling the lack of math/stat education most people have, in addition to the lack of logical thinking skills most people have.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 10:06 AM

"I think it depends upon what you are trying to measure."

dcmom, you're right. "BS" is too strong an initialism. I should have written that for the issues I'm most interested in, objective measures mean more to me than subjective measures.

But I like when self-reporting supplements emperical data. I have no problem with triangulation. Note that I wrote "a survey that relies on self-reporting."

Part of the problem is that I only took one STAT class, and we didn't cover how to adjust for self-reporting. I'm sure it's done, but I just don't know the methods. So perhaps if I saw the method I would respect the results more.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 10:27 AM

The NIH study on bisphenol A and baby bottles conducted last month is another research study that has gotten some press and alarmed many families with children. The revisited study examined whether the chemical, used to make polycarbonate products, leaches out of baby bottles and harms young children. The compound has been found to cause cancer and reproductive damage in some animals.


Plastics harm hasn't been proven, though the panel said exposure to the chemical raises "some concerns" for children. Plastic manufacturers have mounted a counter-campaign to defuse concern about the compound.

What are parents to do when there is no definitive answer? I imagine there are plenty of frustrated parents out there who have tossed those plastic bottles for glass ones.

Posted by: zr500 | August 23, 2007 10:37 AM

Meesh: I suspect that there isn't any 'adjusting' going on.

One way to 'adjust' I've seen is to ask respondents different questions and using techniques to determine whether or not they are true (can't recall the exact way it's done, but something along the lines of asking people a two part question as one, as in: Do you take drugs *or* is your birthday in January through June? - then they use statistical methods to determine that - assuming that 50% of people have their birthday in the first half of the year and 50% have it in the second half - this is supposedly done for questions of this type where someone might not be willing to answer truthfully).

Personally, it seems that few people take enough statistics courses to some work that is asked of them. Most people don't ask the follow up questions when they read a survey - they just believe the numbers, which, depending on the methodology and/or the actual questions, might be dubious at best. People rarely read extra to find out exactly what a study was studying, or exactly what the 'differences' were in the two groups, etc. I mean, just because it was statistically significant, doesn't necessarily mean it's significant to you.

I hope this helps...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 10:41 AM

Or we can just relax and parent. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time.

We did use Baby Einstein videos. The child started using complete words at 8 months, walking unassisted at 8.5. I'm not going to beat myself over the head with the research-induced guilt stick. What, perhaps she could have been talking at 7 months without them? Unlikely.

Posted by: SolontheGreat | August 23, 2007 10:42 AM

Re plastic bottles: There's a great article in Slate that will be discussed here today. The author was looking for reusable plastic bottles that didn't leach BPA. He actually found a corn-based clear plastic bottle. No petroleum products were used to make it, other than as an energy source, of course. I'm buying a few for my house.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 10:44 AM

I personally hate "studies'. They always smack of elitism. "Hey you idiots, we at haavvaaarrd have concluded that letting your child watch a baby einstein video is haaarrrrmmmfull and you peons should stop". Then the caveat, this study was done based on the assumption that the baby was left watching 20 hours a day etc etc.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 10:48 AM

Here's another idea for a blog topic: balancing buying organic with not having unlimited funds (if this is something you care about). This recent op-ed in the Denver Post has got me thinking.

http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_6474474

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 10:58 AM

I agree with anon and many of the other posts here that it helps (a lot) to know some basic research principles, particularly when trying to evaluate the press coverage that follows any controversial-leaning findings. I took a great class in college that left me questioning every single news report.

When I see research headlines that interest me now, I generally look to the source (often difficult to do because subscriptions are usually required) or for a good summary that seems to be fairly balanced.

The National Library of Medicine (from NIH) has an on-line list of recent studies and includes a brief summary that I've found interesting (though my quick scan of the current list didn't bring up info about this particular topic). Slate also does a quick run-down of recent studies, includes some of their strengths and weaknesses, and even manages to be funny some of the time.

But even with these as a resource, there really is no substitute for a solid understanding of research (and a good helping of common sense, too).

Posted by: nicole | August 23, 2007 11:02 AM

balancing common sense and the purchase of organic groceries that keep falling off your lap during the busride and Metro-ride home to your environmentally-efficient townhome.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2007 11:04 AM

Thanks altmom for the explanation.

The other big problem is that most people (including me) only hear about studies through the filter of whatever media outlet they're using. For example, my independant newpaper reported a study done on gassing animals and how inhumane a form of euthanasia it was. Of course, the paper put their spin on it. And because few people seek out the media outlets they don't agree with (not many liberals watching Fox news), they don't see other interpretations of the same study. So people just take it at face value. I myself am guilty of this. When I read about the gassing study I said "well duh!" and left it at that, but I'm sure it's not as clear cut as it was presented.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 11:05 AM

MESA, Arizona -- Officials at an Arizona school suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he did not intend for the picture to be a threat.

Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days.

The boy's father, Ben Mosteller, said that when he went to the school to discuss his son's punishment, school officials mentioned the seriousness of the issue and talked about the 1999 massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, where two teenagers shot and killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves. Mosteller said he was offended by the reference.

Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the crude sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and that threatening words or pictures are punishable.

Welcome to the world of stupidity and overreaction. The "GUN' barely even resembled a gun. Hope they don't do that at my son'r school, because he loves to draw grenade launchers and is pretty good for a 6 year old.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 11:08 AM

Actually, Meesh, I watch Fox News from time to time, and I'm definitely a liberal. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. I like to yell at Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 11:09 AM

pATRICK and Solon, the problem for me is that other people were telling me I was being a BAD parent because I WASN'T using Baby Einstien. Those were the elites, pATRICK-- the Ivy grads who looked down on me because I couldn't afford to pay the hundreds of dollars for the DVD sets. I didn't (and still don't) believe that the Baby Einstein series does much harm, but my suspicion/hope that I wasn't harming my child by denying him exposure to the pricy Baby einstein series seems to be validated by the study.

Solon, my child did not advance as quickly as yours-- do think if I had used Baby einstien, that would have helped? I don't think so. I think your baby and mine would have followed the same, innate track that they were born with regardless of whether or not Baby Einstein was on in the background. If your baby becomes in fact more intelligent than mine, I imagine that has far more to do with who YOU are rather than the fact that you put Baby Einstien on occassionally. Hope you give yourself some credit there!

Posted by: baby-work | August 23, 2007 11:13 AM

working mom X: wow, great article. Very interesting.

We are part of a community co-op that is going extremely well. We started getting food in May or so - we all paid the farmer, and he delivers it to a central location. It's fruits and vegetables - so no chemicals on those. I really *do* believe that is healthier.
No rain in the last few weeks, so no deliveries starting this week. The awesome farmer is EXTENDING the 'season' though, so we actually will get what we paid for. But the whole reason for something like this is to lay the risk off the farmer and have the risk be taken by the people who paid into the cooperative - and yet, even so, the farmer is taking the risk *back* by extending our season. He's just so awesome. They are going to have another season starting in the fall, and we are definitely joining. One of the benefits is trying new and different vegetables we haven't seen before, or I haven't bought before because they are unfamiliar. It's really good, and the kids are getting to learn about new veggies, as well as at least trying them. My DH took the older one to the farm, so we tell him: try this, it came from Neil's farm. So he's more likely to eat it.

However, some of the other information in the article was interesting.
I guess I'll have to look into it. However, I have read stuff about unpasteurized milk and how the FDA has some sort of war on people who want their milk that way. And the people who drink it say it's healthier, etc, and that those who are lactose intolerant are only so because of the pasteurization process, that they are not allergic to milk straight from the cow.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 11:14 AM

*clap* *clap* baby work - so true.

Of course, we all need to just loosen up.

Years ago, people weren't able to spend one minute with all this worrying - they had however many kids they had (no planning) and they had to go to WORK. Chores had to get done, people had to eat, etc.

We have fewer and fewer kids these days, we have so much invested in them, we (global we) think that they say something about us (global us) that everyone is getting so crazy about all this stuff!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 11:17 AM

atlmom, we participate in a locally grown, organic CSA and love it. I have to admit that my research in this area is sketchy: I rely mostly on what my sisters in law tells me (they both work in holistic/alternative medicine) and articles I read from time to time, but I don't actively seek out opposing views on organics or anything like that. The op-ed really got me thinking, though.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 11:17 AM

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 11:09 AM

You are a better man than me, I tried to listen air america and it only succeeded in making me pissed off for the whole day at their stupidity. I can take most of the mainstreet liberal outlets without blowing a gasket usually.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 11:18 AM

Yeah, I would listen to rush for a while, and want to throw stuff at the radio, since some of what he was doing was lying.

Oh, and pATRICK, I'm with you re: air america. It was horrible.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 11:21 AM

I don't understand why people who think of themselves as intelligent would accept any news from any source at face value. One poster mentioned not knowing whom to trust. If you approach news or parenting with the attitude that you can trust someone else to tell you what is "true", you've already made your first mistake. Neither you nor your mother nor your pediatrician nor your favorite political candidate knows everything. Ask questions. Verify supposed truths.

Look at the size of the study, the purpose of the study, the statistical significance of the results, the source of the funding, and the expertise of the researcher who ran the study. Act like a grown-up. That goes for those who say, ignore all the research and follow your common sense, too. Most parents' version of "common sense" is just another way of saying, how was I raised? I lived so it must be okay to repeat it for another generation.

pATRICK, a colleague's son was arrested Tuesday afternoon for wearing his paintball mask into a convenience store. He's 14 and we all now know that wearing a mask, even if anyone would know it's not connected to any sort of threatening behavior, is a threat. When will we stop looking for easy and unreliable markers of unacceptable / illegal behavior? Our current approach to security in schools is like the average commercial fisherman's approach to tuna fishing: we're willing to sacrifice sea turtles, sharks and dolphins in order to catch a tuna every now and then, even though there are better ways to achieve security AND avoid the collateral damage of kicking kids out of school for non-threatening acts.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:23 AM

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:23 AM

well put. What I hate about the gun post is that really it is more CYA against being sued then keeping anyone safe. Last time I checked, drawing an object was not against the law.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 11:29 AM

I'm with you pATRICK.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 11:32 AM

you're right, pATRICK, about the CYA component; however, I think it's only one component. Such policies also appear to be driven by the excessive handwringing over the potential psychological impact of the slightest encounter with any weapon on other children in a school. Will they have nightmares because they saw that drawing? Will it make them fearful? and so on.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:34 AM

You are a better man than me, I tried to listen air america and it only succeeded in making me pissed off for the whole day at their stupidity.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 11:18 AM

I used to listen to 10 minutes or so of Michael Savage on the way home from work, just for balance. I had the same reaction as you to air america. Awareness isn't worth a stroke.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:36 AM

Really with Savage or Air America, what you are listening to are the attack dogs of the left or right.Proceed with caution

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 11:39 AM

LOL, WorkingMomX. Actually, me too. If I recall, you're here in NC. I listen to Bill LaMay (sp?) and other AM talk radio personalities. They crack me up! And sometimes we agree, which is surprising.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 11:43 AM

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

And some does not.

Posted by: katman13 | August 23, 2007 12:00 PM

" . . . any time you see parenting advice that is set in stone, even advice that is backed up by research, be very, very skeptical."

take that, breast is best dictators.

Posted by: gcoward | August 23, 2007 12:01 PM

"Most parents' version of 'common sense' is just another way of saying, how was I raised? I lived so it must be okay to repeat it for another generation."

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:23 AM

Why, yes, MN. That's just what I was saying at 8:41 this morming:

"If you believe you are a good person, raise your children the way you were raised, raise them to tell good from bad, and they, too, will be good people."

"'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men.'"
--J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 12:15 PM

"There is plenty of scientific research that is skewed in favor of the money. Did anybody read the WHO study that shows absolutely no correlation between second-hand cigarette smoke and lung cancer? How many of you believe that?"

Anyone here remember the Bloom County strip with the tobacco lobbyist & Opus, discussing "creative omissions"?

"Guess where we're buying some creative ommisions next. Go on, guess!"

"Umm, the funny pages? Naw..."

Final panel was blank.

I still find myself thinking about radioactive twinkies from time-to-time.

Posted by: maryland_mother | August 23, 2007 12:21 PM

"Most parents' version of 'common sense' is just another way of saying, how was I raised? I lived so it must be okay to repeat it for another generation."

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 11:23 AM

Why, yes, MN. That's just what I was saying at 8:41 this morming:

"If you believe you are a good person, raise your children the way you were raised, raise them to tell good from bad, and they, too, will be good people."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 12:15 P

Matt, you were saying it's a good thing to mindlessly repeat what your parents did, without any analysis or investigation of alternative approaches. I take the opposite view, that repetition without analysis is not "common sense", it represent a certain insecure, ostrich-like approach to life that results in, "That's how I was raised so it must be right."

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 12:26 PM

Yes, gcoward, I'm very skeptical that breast is best. Duh. MILK that comes out of a HUMAN breast? Surely baby humans weren't meant to drink THAT.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 12:27 PM

"There is plenty of scientific research that is skewed in favor of the money. Did anybody read the WHO study that shows absolutely no correlation between second-hand cigarette smoke and lung cancer? How many of you believe that?"

Actually, I disagree. Were we to pull back the curtain, I don't think we'd find 10 scientists who would skew the results of a study to favor the grantor. On the other hand, many more studies are done than are reported. If the research is conducted by a university, the decision to publish the results of that research is up to the researcher. So - o , if we're going to question anyone's ethics, perhaps we should start asking academics how they make their choices about which results to publish and which to bury.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 12:32 PM

I raise my kids by a decision process that favors whatever is convenient for me at the time and simply apply a rationalization to my poor parenting techniques.

Every parent does the same thing, only most don't have the honesty about themselves to admit it.

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 12:37 PM

Well, MN, I disagree about going after the academics. I don't think that they have a moral obligation to publish anything they've researched. If their research did no support their hypothesis, they don't have to publish that; it would give them a bad name.

It is absolutely up to the researcher to publish whatever he or she wants (or, more precisely, the university publishing house who decides what's interesting what's not). Telling them that they are required to publish everything they research sounds like something they would do in a communist country.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 12:46 PM

. . . any time you see parenting advice that is set in stone, even advice that is backed up by research, be very, very skeptical."

atb, when you are tempted to type, "duh", you may want to re-read the original post. Breast is best is the ultimate example of parenting advice that is set in stone, in some minds, including yours.

Posted by: gcoward | August 23, 2007 12:49 PM

Matt, you were saying it's a good thing to mindlessly repeat what your parents did, without any analysis or investigation of alternative approaches. I take the opposite view, that repetition without analysis is not "common sense", it represent a certain insecure, ostrich-like approach to life that results in, "That's how I was raised so it must be right."


Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 12:26 PM

Well, I guess I find myself on the MN bandwagon today. As someone who learned how to aprent by doing the opposite of my parents I would end to agree. Your parents are simply people who may or may not have tried their best. They ahd np corner on the market of parenting.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 12:50 PM

Meech- They will not get more funding if they don't publish. It's that simple. And very rarely does a "wrong" hypothesis prevent someone from publishing. It's just as valuable to find something you didn't expect, and I've never heard of it ruining someone's reputation. I guess some researchers have personal agendas and huge egos that can't stand their pet theories to be disproven, but mostly they're just happy to publish. It's competetive. Wanting to publish and being published are not the same thing.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 12:51 PM

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 12:37 PM

I thougt you sharks just ate them with a side of tartar sauce?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 12:51 PM

my typing is terrible today..

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 12:53 PM

Meesh: I do agree with you a bit, but really, if you have a hypothesis, and you prove it wrong, there's nothing *wrong* with that - you've proven something, and that something *should* be told to people, right?

Why hide it. That's all I'm saying.

If your findings are inconclusive, then there's less of a compelling reason to print those findings, but sometimes, those findings are relevant as well.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 12:53 PM

First, I am not a scientist or a researcher, but I did work in a plastics plant for about five years. A lot of people in that plant had cancer along with a high occurance of lupus, and I don't think it was a coincidence either.

The smell of burning plastic is one I will never forget as long as I live. So, with that in mind, I never put warm milk in my daughter's bottles or heated it up in the microwave or even on the stove. For this baby I will try ATB's suggestion or use glass.

I am not exactly sure at what point the plastic would release its chemicals, but it is safe to say that it does. The same thing goes for Tupperware.

I figure between the five years in the plastics plant and all the coal dust I have sucked up in my life, I will probably be eligible for black lung by the time I am 40.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 12:57 PM

Every parent does the same thing, only most don't have the honesty about themselves to admit it.


Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 12:37 PM

with all due respect, Mako, you are all wet with this one and should limit your comments to talking only about yourself. Every parent does not do as you. Take a look at the parenting approaches you see in use every day, and the differences in approaches and opinions on this blog alone, and you know there are many parents striving for something other than convenience and rationalization. Whether they have better results is the battleground.

Meesh, I wasn't suggesting any sort of mandate to publish, but I also consider it rather simplistic to blame the sources of funded research grants for the content of what is published. FWIW, I've not seen a research agreement that didn't leave the decision of what to publish entirely at the discretion of the researcher. So if someone disagrees with the validity of a second-hand smoke study, maybe the question should be asked: are there other studies the results of which were not published or were withheld from the public? Were they conducted by institutions of higher learning? Who made that call and who generally makes the call about what results are and aren't published? Without tossing around inflammatory references to communism, don't you consider those to be fair questions to ask?

thanks, pATRICK, I appreciate that it's a bumpy ride on the bandwagon some days, LOL.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 12:57 PM

gcoward- Ya know, you can be skeptical, and still agree with the medical establishment. I believe breast is best. I have a hard time believing that manmade artificial human milk replacement is as good. It's sufficient. And, BTW, it was a joke, which clearly upset you. What you don't know is that my child is on 100% formula, but that's a whole other story.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 1:00 PM

I think hillary is Childless By Choice....

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 1:02 PM

Baby-work, I think that our kids wouldn't have spoken a minute sooner or later whether or not they had Baby Einstein. Different things drive different kids. Mine happened to have been very intent on talking and walking early. We probably helped her a long just a bit by talking to her a lot and not using baby talk.

I do believe that neglect and lack of stimulation will retard a child's development. Neglect can come in the form of Baby Einstein videos if a child is parked in front of them for hours instead of spending a good part of his or her waking hours interacting with humans.

On the other hand, a child who watches Baby Einstein nestled in a parent's arms, accompanied by adult commentary along the lines of "that's a toy duck" isn't likely to suffer from watching the videos. But do you need Baby Einstein? Hell no. Talk to your kid. Show your kid items, identify shapes, colors, items, size, and you will have done a lot more than Baby Einstein could ever do toward development.

Posted by: SolontheGreat | August 23, 2007 1:05 PM

Parenting here is a career; you sacrifice everything and hope for the best.

Posted by: lourd | August 23, 2007 1:06 PM

pATRICK- I don't think so. Hillary's more ironic and even a bit funny. CBC didn't have one lick of humor in her. Didn't someone have a theory yesterday?

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 1:06 PM

pATRICK,

anything is possible, but hillary seems significantly less long-winded, and there's not yet any evidence of a 4-piece matching set of baggage.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 1:07 PM

When and Why a Child Really Needs to Speak (No DVD Needed)

A man and woman got married and had a little boy who was very healthy, but as he got older his parents noticed that he never spoke. This concerned his parents greatly. They took their son to several doctors who ran series of tests and told them that the boy was perfectly healthy but would probably never speak. Resigned, the parent took their son home and did everything in their power to keep him happy.

One night seven years later while eating dinner, the little boy looked up from his plate and said in a clear voice, "These peas are cold."

Overjoyed, his parents celebrated and hugged and kissed him. "Oh," they said. "Were so happy. We thought you couldn't speak. Why haven't you spoken until now?"

The boy looked at his parents and said, "Well up until these peas, everythings been fine."

Posted by: nonamehere | August 23, 2007 1:14 PM

I'll toss another possibility into the pot: is Hillary Lizzie?

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 1:15 PM

"If you believe you are a good person, raise your children the way you were raised, raise them to tell good from bad, and they, too, will be good people."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 12:15 P

"Matt, you were saying it's a good thing to mindlessly repeat what your parents did, without any analysis or investigation of alternative approaches. I take the opposite view, that repetition without analysis is not 'common sense', it represent a certain insecure, ostrich-like approach to life that results in, 'That's how I was raised so it must be right.'"

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 12:26 PM

Uh, I don't believe I used the word, "mindlessly." I said we are good people because our parents taught us to distinguish good from bad. This has two ramifications. One is that we should teach our children to distinguish good from bad. The second is that we should distinguish good ways of raising our children from bad ways. (Maybe this is what you mean by "analysis.") These "alternative approaches" you mention might turn out to be good, or they might turn out to be bad. On the other hand, since we turned out to be good people, the approach our parents took to raising us comes with a presumption that it was good, so why take a chance on some alternative approach that might ruin our children's lives? I do not mean to say that the presumption of goodness is irrebuttable. The very fact that we were taught to distinguish good and bad means that we are to use all our faculties, including observation and reason, to make the distinctions. It may be that we find that particular practices our parents used were actually dangerous, and we turned out OK in spite of those practices. In that case, the presumption has been rebutted with respect to such a practice, and we don't do it. We are to use our minds to distinguish good from bad, which is the opposite of acting mindlessly.

Notice that I say *our* faculties, including observation and reason. We will certainly take cognizance of hard science results, like "don't put babies to sleep on their stomachs." But we are for shizzle not gonna consider alternative approaches based on social "science," which is bunk.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 1:42 PM

No way, Hillary was an anon before. Just think of the term Queen Bee. There were a lot of anonymous posts with the same phrase before. Hillary just said she was a regular and had been reading since the beginning. A regular contributor could be anonymous as well.

Posted by: foamgnome | August 23, 2007 1:44 PM

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 01:07 PM

you're on a roll today.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 1:45 PM

She could be a anon, picking a different name, like born free,newhere etc. Just the latest incarnation.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 1:50 PM

Foamgnome,
Where have you been hiding?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 23, 2007 2:05 PM

Matt,

If the ability to distinguish good from bad were all it took to make a person "good", 95% of the criminals in our country would be deemed good people. Possessing the ability to distinguish good from bad doesn't indicate whether a person chooses the good option once it is identified.

Saying that social science is bunk twice in one day doesn't make it any more true. That statement is nothing more than an unsupported value judgment.

foamgnome -- good to have you back, and I agree with you.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 2:06 PM

We need blog stats to run "Queen Bee" and "cheerleader."

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 2:07 PM

I have had a lot of work to do. My data came in. I will be very busy for the next two years or so.

Posted by: foamgnome | August 23, 2007 2:09 PM

I think Hilary = Elaine

Posted by: noname1 | August 23, 2007 2:10 PM

I think Hilary = Elaine

Posted by: noname | August 23, 2007 02:10 PM
Now that has some merit, but hillary doesn't think everything is a gay porn thing

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 2:17 PM

mn: right you are. I definitely know people who are raising kids and think they are a little insane. But, that's the way it is. Of course, we all think *we* are correct/right/whatever. many people just disregard 'studies' by saying they are bunk so that they're personal theories will hold up.

Like a friend who has three kids and when I mentioned to her that yes, there is something to that middle child thing and she should just watch out for it disregarded me out of hand. We've all seen it (my DH and I more than others), but she just wants to live in her own fantasy world.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 2:18 PM

Maybe, but the person posting as "hillary" hasn't mentioned her sagging garbanzas yet.

foamgnome - I recall that your data came in, but had also thought you were seeking a new job. I'd hoped, for your sake, that your absence was tied to a positive employment change.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 2:19 PM

I think hillary is Childless By Choice....


Nope, not a chance. CBC is mean and bitter, Hillary is alright, but she doesn't usually like the topics and doesn't like Texas dad of 2. I will say she is Elaine.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 2:20 PM

I think Hilary = Elaine

Posted by: noname | August 23, 2007 02:10 PM
Now that has some merit, but hillary doesn't think everything is a gay porn thing

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 02:17 PM

Does that have something to do with gay porn?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 2:21 PM

MN-No, I decided to stay because I have been placed on a better project. I have a lot of interesting data. In fact, I need to jump off now and start working again. Missed all of you.

Posted by: foamgnome | August 23, 2007 2:21 PM

Maybe Hillary just wants a fresh start?

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 2:23 PM

Does that have something to do with gay porn?

it always does with ELAINE/HILLARY

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 2:26 PM

pATRICK, maybe it's a cultural thing, LOL.

scarry, if she wants a fresh start, she took an interesting approach yesterday.

Thank God for small things: bababooey's/abu's network must be down, or he finally picked up that prescription from CVS.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 2:35 PM

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 02:35 PM

I have another theory. It involves a giant butterfly net, some big guys in white clothes and a naked bababooey running for her life before being caught..........

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 2:41 PM

MN, those are quite valid questions to ask. Very well put. I don't disagree, but I also don't think there are a lot of sinister reasons for publishing only a handful of results. I believe the reasons are mostly practical.

My communist comment was not meant to be inflammatory, like you condone communism or anything. It was an observation that struck me as I was typing. I'm sorry if it was offensive.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 2:42 PM

MN, I always imagined bababooey/abu as a shut-in. So maybe the prescription package was rerouted and recently arrived at his/her doorstep.

pATRICK, that's a great image.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 2:45 PM

Speaking of gay porn. Apparently The Ft. Lauderdale public library (near a park, with a children's section) has been forced to keep hardcore gay porn in a library exhibit as a result of some lawsuit. There is no hardcore straight porn. That's just not fair.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 2:49 PM

Well, maybe she was annoyed because everyone wanted to know who she was. There are like ten posts asking her her old name.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 2:50 PM

Balance would suugest that taking academics with a grain of salt is wisdom. As is taking advice from a grandmother... Common sense, engaged involved parents generally know their kids best. Medication, devices, operations etc are all a last resort.

On the other hand taking you wife's advice/counsel is often in hubby's best interest whether an informed/logical/rational opinion or not...
Fo3

Posted by: btpduc748 | August 23, 2007 2:51 PM

Speaking of gay porn. Apparently The Ft. Lauderdale public library (near a park, with a children's section) has been forced to keep hardcore gay porn in a library exhibit as a result of some lawsuit.

HUh? Life, liberty and porn. Who was the lawyer who lost that case.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 2:52 PM

As a researcher who has published (and, BTW, I'm not in social sciences -- I'm in biological sciences), I'll tell you what determines whether we publish something. The overriding factor is whether we got positive results. If all you keep getting is negative results (i.e. no effect -- no difference between your experimental and control groups -- or no correlation or whatever), then it's very difficult to publish. In fact, even if you want to publish negative results, most journals will not accept it.

Are there other factors? Sure, but they tend to be much more specific to the circumstances. For example, sometimes, small findings when we're really busy may get pushed to the back-burner and end up not being published.

Also, for those of you who have become cynical about money influencing results, I'll tell you this: Most research at universities is not funded by those pushing an agenda or even those who might have a particular financial stake in the outcome (e.g. drug companies funding research). This is not to say that findings from research supported by a drug companies should be suspect. It's just to say that the conflicts of interest that have made many of you cynical are less common than you may realize.

Posted by: rlalumiere | August 23, 2007 2:53 PM

Boy-o-boy, I leave for a few hours and next thing I know I miss the gay porn discussion. I have nothing to contribute on that score, although at my last firm, someone was fired for repeatedly looking at stuff like that on the internet.

I wonder if bababooey has been blocked. Not that it matters, as a person could just get another WaPo ID. But his/her silence today given yesterday is somewhat deafening.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 3:07 PM

Meesh, Not a problem. It just struck me as ratcheting up the emotion on a topic I find pretty interesting.

pATRICK - I like that image immensely, LOL.

WorkingMomX - I wish, but since Leslie finds baba / abu interesting, I doubt it. His lack of input has restored the ambience.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:15 PM

Well, didn't bababooey say that he/she wasn't coming back until Monday?

I'm not looking forward to that.

rlalumiere, thanks for the explanation. That helps.

Posted by: Meesh | August 23, 2007 3:16 PM

Perhap Thursday is bababooey's group therapy day. She did say she'd be back Monday. Perhaps a final trip with the kids before school starts?

Oh, and the gay library hasn't gone to court. It's just something they have, and the mayor is upset about it. He also would like people to stop having sex in public restrooms. This has greatly upset the gay community, which is apparently huge in Ft. Lauderdale, and everyone is concerned it might affect the gay tourism industry.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 3:16 PM

"I wonder if bababooey has been blocked. Not that it matters, as a person could just get another WaPo ID. But his/her silence today given yesterday is somewhat deafening."

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 03:07 PM

It's deafening only for people who did not read what Baba Booey '02 MPP posted yesterday afternoon:

"In all seriousness, that is about 20 personal attacks for the day. More than enough to cover an entire week. So enjoy your blog everyone. I'll be back next Monday. Unless Leslie sees the light and bans me permanently."
Posted by: bababooey666 | August 22, 2007 02:24 PM

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 3:17 PM

He also would like people to stop having sex in public restrooms.

The NERVE of him! what a right wing homophobic loonie. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 3:18 PM

The words "queen bee" or "cheerleader" have appeared in 94 submissions by 44 posters. Top 10 listed below.

2 CMAC
2 KLB SS MD
2 Laura
2 Megan's Neighbor
2 NC lawyer
2 pATRICK
2 Texas Dad of 2
2 Trixie
2 WAMC
3 momof4
3 Product of a Working M
3 single mom
3 the original anon
3 WorkerBee
4 aa
4 foamgnome
7 scarry

Posted by: BlogStats | August 23, 2007 3:19 PM

I thought you'd like that pATRICK.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 3:19 PM

We are all forced to read his drivel, Matt, but we don't put the credence in it that you do.

Blog Stats, your day job isn't to post as bababooey / abu, is it?

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:22 PM

BlogStats- Thanks. Not too illuminating.

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 3:23 PM

Speaking of gay porn. Apparently The Ft. Lauderdale public library (near a park, with a children's section) has been forced to keep hardcore gay porn in a library exhibit as a result of some lawsuit. There is no hardcore straight porn. That's just not fair.

Posted by: atb | August 23, 2007 02:49 PM

there's lots of stuff at the library that I wish my tax dollars didn't support and I hope my children never see: romance novels, The Bernstein Bears, anything by Dean Koontz. Alas, the sky hasn't fallen yet because publications of which I don't approve are stocked there. I suspect that Fort Lauderdale, South Beach and the rest of the State of Florida will withstand the presence of gay smut.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:26 PM

Here is one list that I am happy NOT to be on!

The words "queen bee" or "cheerleader" have appeared in 94 submissions by 44 posters. Top 10 listed below.

Posted by: fred | August 23, 2007 3:30 PM

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6461138.html

a quick google search reveals that, Bill O'Reilly's sensationalism aside, the gay materials are housed in a separate library that is leasing space in an arts center which is adjacent to the Public Library. Geez.

This fits nicely into the point of the original column. Following up behind the headlines is often a good idea before you pass on, or act on, inaccuracies.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:30 PM

btw, pATRICK is in the running for FQOTD, if indeed there is one posted today.

(FQOTD is not necessarily daily!)

Posted by: fred | August 23, 2007 3:31 PM

«But no single study, comprised of data gathered from carefully defined subjects using pinpoint-specific methods, ought to be taken as generally applicable gospel. We have enough to worry about without poring over scientific journals for hints of what we're doing wrong.»
«By Brian Reid | August 23, 2007; 6:40 AM ET »

Gospel, that is crusader scripture, not the last word. Prophet Issa ibn Maryam (alayhi salaam!), his Gospel says, «turn the other cheek» and if someone sues you to take away your tunic you should give him your cloak too. Brian Reid says, do not take a single study result as «gospel», but I say to you, do not take either science or Gospel alone as the last word. Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, he was a great philosopher in Persia 900 years ago, he said experience (which includes Divine Revelation), this is a better source of knowledge that mere human reason. A man, he may have three wives and thirty children, does he or the wives have time to read scientific studies? The Qur'an and the ahadith, they will tell you how to be a parent, they are the last word, they are based on Divine Revelation. And teach your children, if someone sues them to take away their tunic, let them hire Miles and Stockbridge to defend them in court.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 23, 2007 3:32 PM

I hoep i win for my bababooey post, i am quite proud of the imagery.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 3:34 PM

MN - What's wrong with the The Bernstain Bears?

Posted by: noname1 | August 23, 2007 3:34 PM

Hi, foamgnome! Sorry I missed you today. Best wishes on your new project. Type with you later.

mehitabel, formerly known as catlady.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 23, 2007 3:35 PM

Fred, your name appeared once, and 44 were made by the notorious blank poster.

Posted by: BlogStats | August 23, 2007 3:35 PM

Nope, not that one.

Altho, I did snort a bit of the soft drink that I was drinking!

Posted by: fred | August 23, 2007 3:36 PM

B.S.

I am still glad that I am not on the top ten for that list!

But I am still inconsolable that I am only the No. 2 overall poster. (Maybe that will change by Monday.)

Posted by: fred | August 23, 2007 3:40 PM

Fred: is it this one: "Hey you idiots, we at haavvaaarrd have concluded that letting your child watch a baby einstein video is haaarrrrmmmfull and you peons should stop".

noname, pick up any Berenstain Bears book and read it some time and you'll understand why some children get turned off to reading at a young age. If, on the other hand, we'd opt to return as a culture to reading them stories written in other than the NEA-approved one-syllable vocabulary 200 words, and the stories including a little peril, a little danger, a little risk, books might start to seem like page-turning fun again.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:45 PM

Fred, are you trying to tell us that you just snorted a little Coke?

Posted by: BlogStats | August 23, 2007 3:47 PM

no joke, MN, I like the older books MUCH better. We read winnie the pooh (yes, to my now 5 YO, but been reading it to him since he was 4 or younger - yes, he sits still for it - the original). We love curious george, even though it has him getting into trouble and sometimes not getting punished (like when he escapes from jail). The kids know right from wrong, and a little fantasy is good - not everything has to be some life lesson.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 3:49 PM

atlmom, LOL, I suspect the reason we have yesterday's statistic of 1 in 4 adults reading a single book last year is that we have a couple of generations now whose parents didn't read to them about Hansel and Gretel because they thought it was too scary. Now adults, these kids reject the fake sappiness of these sanitized, moralistic, next generation books, but they don't know that there's anything better, e.g., that these don't represent children's literature at its best.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 3:58 PM

so Blog Stats, are you abu and Lil' Husky as well? I refuse to believe that you are baba, but you could convince me.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 4:00 PM

"... we have a couple of generations now whose parents didn't read to them about Hansel and Gretel because they thought it was too scary."

Don't forget the folks who think "The Wizard of Oz" and "Harry Potter" books are crypto-satanic, or worse.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 23, 2007 4:04 PM

MN I read my son's illustrated bible to him each night. It is very interesting the questions he asks and his favorite stories. Number 1 being david and goliath, the cutting off of the head is a perennial
favorite...sigh, little boys.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 4:07 PM

mn, I did follow it up with accurate information that I got from the Sun Sentinal, their newpaper.

I quote myself: "Oh, and the gay library hasn't gone to court. It's just something they have, and the mayor is upset about it. He also would like people to stop having sex in public restrooms. This has greatly upset the gay community, which is apparently huge in Ft. Lauderdale, and everyone is concerned it might affect the gay tourism industry"

Posted by: atb2 | August 23, 2007 4:08 PM

"We read winnie the pooh (yes, to my now 5 YO, but been reading it to him since he was 4 or younger - yes, he sits still for it - the original). We love curious george, even though it has him getting into trouble and sometimes not getting punished (like when he escapes from jail). The kids know right from wrong, and a little fantasy is good - not everything has to be some life lesson."

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 03:49 PM

Yes, the "kids know right from wrong," and isn't that the most important thing we can teach them? We used to read our children the Babar books -- stories like "Babar sur la planète molle" and "Babar à la fête de Célesteville" and as many others as we could find". Babar is orphaned early on (violence!), but the dear Old Lady teaches him enough so that he becomes a good person and later, a virtuous king of the elephants. After he commissions the building of a beautiful capital city, Célesteville (named aftrer his queen), he falls asleep. He has a nightmare about loathsome creatures labeled Misfortune, Fear, Despair, Spinelessness, Stupidity, Anger, Sickness, Ignorance, Discouragement, Cowardice and Laziness. In the dream, "graceful winged elephants" labeled Kindness, Intelligence, Hope (holding a bouquet of flowers), Love, Health (holding a trumpet), Work (holding a hammer), Knowledge (holding a lit candle), Patience (holding a pocket watch), Courage (bearing a sword and shield), Perseverance (holding a saw) and Joy appear. The winged elephants chase Misfortune and the other loathsome creatures "away from Célesteville and bring back Happiness -- At this point he wakes and feels better." These Babar stories taught our kids what is to be sought after and what is to be avoided (as well as simple French).

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 23, 2007 4:10 PM

my point, partially, was how much trouble george gets into (and he smokes a cigar!) - and sometimes (but rarely) gets punished. but my kid isn't learning how to be bad from that, he knows that what george is doing is bad - he knows he doesn't want to be doing those things, but it's still fun to read the silly ways he gets into trouble.
He knows all that, but still loves the stories.

today's kids books are so much about trying to teach kids some moral values. There is nothing out there anymore, it seems, that's just for FUN. Like the cat in the hat. Again, another FUN story, but my kids aren't about to go doing all that stuff.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 4:17 PM

Actually, I distinctly remember trying to take off with a wheelchair so my sister and I could be like Curious George in "Curious George Goes to the Hospital". I think that was the name of the book. Anyway, we got in trouble. I definitely got ideas from books for a lot of the fun and trouble I got up to. But that's part of life!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 23, 2007 4:21 PM

Well, I love the Richard Scarry books and I inherited a bunch of Bernstein Bear books from my BIL. They annoy me too, but my daughter does like them. My favorite one is where mama goes to work and no one knows what to do at the house.

Gee, nice try, but you can't make me feel guilty about working and not being able to cook dinner every night. My answer is eat a peanut butter sandwich.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 4:22 PM

absolutely, atlmom. Kids want to read about someone who is getting away with being a little bit naughty, or someone bad getting their just deserts, or some real peril. You don't read TCITH for the chastising fish. You read it for the naughty Thing 1 and Thing 2. All of these new books read as though they are written by committee.

pATRICK: my son's favorite is Daniel in the Lion's Den. He's a little distraught, though, at the end of the story, about the families of the bad guys getting tossed to the hungry lions.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 4:23 PM

scarry - that's about how I felt yesterday when a recipe exchange was mentioned. the peanut butter jelly sandwich approach is working fine, LOL.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 4:25 PM

MN,

When my mom, who was a SAHM, was busy doing something, we always had fried potatoes and eggs.

For me, I get out the bread and say here you go.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 4:29 PM

I *do* feel guilty that we're making lunch for my son to take to school and *I* still get to buy lunch.
Of course, not *that* guilty.

Oh, how wonderful my au pair is. She's been cooking dinner almost nightly. I almost feel guilty about that, too.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 4:31 PM

pATRICK: my son's favorite is Daniel in the Lion's Den. He's a little distraught, though, at the end of the story, about the families of the bad guys getting tossed to the hungry lions.

He also like it when peter jumps in the water in all his clothes to swim to jesus on the shore. It cracks him up every time. you know what 6 year old humor is like.

.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 4:35 PM

pATRICK, Does he like Peter cutting off the ear of the high priest's servant? That's another fave at our house. The Bible: if the MPAA Board read it, it would be rated R for sex and violence.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 4:40 PM

"the peanut butter jelly sandwich approach is working fine, LOL."

There you go again MN.188, striving for convenience?

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 4:40 PM

No, I'm striving to spend my time with my kids instead of cooking. I'd rather be doing I Spy with my daughter while she eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because that's a better expenditure of our time together. Convenience isn't part of the analysis, Fred - oops, Mako.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 4:42 PM

well, convenience is nice. It's, well, convenient.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 4:44 PM

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 04:40 PM

He likes the genesis story because the story says that God put fishes of all kinds in the ocean and the picture shows some eels. He thinks eels are really cool.lol

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 4:44 PM


Fred - oops, Mako

BUSTED!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 4:46 PM

Have a nice evening!!

Posted by: pATRICK | August 23, 2007 4:52 PM

Gee, nice try, but you can't make me feel guilty about working and not being able to cook dinner every night. My answer is eat a peanut butter sandwich.


Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 04:22 PM

Thats interesting, because my reaction was "why is everybody but mom assumed to be too incompetent to make a simple meal?"

Posted by: daves000 | August 23, 2007 5:12 PM

Thats interesting, because my reaction was "why is everybody but mom assumed to be too incompetent to make a simple meal?"

Haha, I see your point. It is sexist at both ends.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 5:15 PM

Haha, I see your point. It is sexist at both ends.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 23, 2007 05:15 PM

Or not at all? Sometimes a story is just a story.

Posted by: daves000 | August 23, 2007 5:23 PM

"I'm striving to spend my time with my kids instead of cooking"

Mn.188, I expected a rationalization from you, and got it.

Don't feel bad though, every parent does it. :-)

Posted by: Mako | August 23, 2007 5:47 PM

Mako, I doubt you have any idea what to expect from me, but since you are stuck on some point about rationalization, what's being rationalized? A choice of a menu item doesn't bear rationizing for me, but perhaps each meal is a major life choice for you. Human? Fish? Baba? Fish?

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 5:59 PM

why is it rationalizing to say that a peanut butter sandwich is fine? It *is* fine! A four course meal for dinner is not obligatory. If someone wants to make it and does, well, great, but if you *don't* do that, then it's also okay. Really.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 23, 2007 6:07 PM

I should have also withdrawn my innaccurate guess at Mako's identity. Mako's can't be Fred. Fred has a sense of humor.

My apologies to my favorite owner of a Creepy Van.

Posted by: mn.188 | August 23, 2007 7:56 PM

Chiming in very late.

I loved Babar, The Little Prince, etc. as a child. Hell, you should see my collection of folk tales and the blood-and-gore Brothers Grimm. But my favourite by far is Eloise. I have a soft spot for her.

I once worked in a building with a mail slot and I never passed it without thinking about Eloise.

Posted by: maryland_mother | August 24, 2007 8:41 AM

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