Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin has a son named Trig. Trig was born roughly four months ago. Trig has Down's Syndrome. Sarah and her family have a tough road ahead of them, as my grandparents did when my uncle was diagnosed with what is, apparently, a much more severe case than Trig has.

Sarah Palin is pro-life, and unabashedly so. Given that ninety percent of children diagnosed with Down's are murdered in utero, and that she is a woman in her mid-forties staring at a challenge for which she must plan not only the rest of her life, but beyond -- Trig will need certain kinds of medical and everyday life assistance for the rest of his existence -- she is rather walking the walk.

Sarah Palin is, by all accounts, a devout, or at least a frequently-church-attending, Evangelical. This probably influences, or at the very least, overlaps with, her pro-life views.

Sarah Palin is a Republican, and she is about to be formally nominated for the Vice Presidency of the United States. That alone would make her a hate object for the mouth-breathing Left. That she's a Christian, an ardent pro-lifer, and had the temerity to withstand the eugenicist impulse that animates the modern Left has driven them to apoplexy.

Sarah Palin has, based on what we know, three weak points for attack in the modern political world. The first is her relative lack of significant political experience. Given the empty suit at the top of the Democrat ticket, this is a profoundly unwise avenue on which to launch a frontal assault. The second is a "scandal" in which her husband apparently said mean things to a corrupt Alaska politician to coerce said corrupt Alaska politician into doing damage to the career of a police officer who, married to Ms. Palin's sister, had taken it upon himself to beat the living Hell out of her. If the Democrats and their pet yard apes in the media and blogosphere want to finish off the Lifetime-viewing demographic as Democrat votes, they are welcome to do so; if not, they'd probably need to stand clear of that.

So now it's family, everyone's weak point -- well, everyone not named Kennedy, anyway. The eliminationists cannot bring themselves to blame her publicly for not murdering her son in the womb, so they've decided instead to assert that (1) Trig is not her son but (2) her teenage daughter's and (3) Mrs. Palin chose to hide this from the world and lie about Trig's parentage.

As proof, they offer the following (no links; I don't generally link hate sites): Ms. Palin's pregnancy was not revealed until she was seven months along with Trig; she "doesn't look pregnant" with Trig in photos around that time; 43 year-olds have a hard time getting pregnant; and Mrs. Palin's daughter was out of school for mononucleosis for five months around Trig's birth, and everyone knows that mono only lasts three months, tops.

Pretty much all of these "facts" stem from a combination of basic scientific illiteracy and unfamiliarity with childbirth. Given that the average reader/diarist at Daily Kos is in her seventies and spent her entire life making sure that the percentage of the population that buys into Lefty fantasies decreases as a result of differential birthrates, the latter cannot be helped. The former is simply yet another reflection of the American public school system, and indeed, how science is taught and portrayed in our culture. Fortunately, some of us paid attention to science in high school (and college!) and some of us still have children.

It falls upon us to teach the barren, frigid Left a few things.

First, let's deal with how much Mrs. Palin was "showing." You folks may not be aware of this, but different women carry different ways. Generally speaking, for a healthy, full-term, ~8 pound baby, the mom is going to add an average of twenty-five pounds -- baby, amniotic fluid, placenta, breast engorgement, and, yes, some fat. Folks differ, though. My wife puts on around forty pounds, no matter how much she exercises or controls her diet. My mother put on fifty. My longest-running female friend has had three children, with add-ons of 15, 17, and 16 pounds. Her children came in at almost exactly 7.5 pounds each time, well within the healthy range.

But this is her fifth child, they say. Surely that would make her show more! The answer is Probably, but not definitely. By all accounts, Mrs. Palin is a determined athlete even in middle life. A big part of why women show more with more children is that their abdominal muscles get detached during their first pregnancy. (I'm sparing the science because I try not to confuse the reality-based community with things more elementary than a third-grader can comprehend. I'm therefore pushing them to reach up a grade.) However, as my wife, who was on a vigorous martial arts and exercise program well before our latest (our fifth) started coming along will attest, exercise can help correct this somewhat; and with a little rest and a break from childbearing, the situation is corrected even more.

Regardless of all that, if Mrs. Palin carries low and inside generally -- or even carried low and inside this time -- then this is a nonsensical point. Indeed, and this is ungentlemanly of me (even though I think it quite attractive): You'll note that photos of Mrs. Palin from around the time she announced Trig's incubation show a, er, softening under the chin and jaw. This happens to pregnant women, and rarely happens to other women without fat gain elsewhere.

So, um, given that her waist looks a scotch wider that before and now in those photos, and she gained that extra tissue under the chin, and that her activity level remained high, and that she looked like about fifteen percent of women look when having a child, we're going to have to chalk those remarks about her appearance to ignorance.

Now, the next one is going to skirt dangerously close to a human biology lesson, so any Lefties reading this, I strongly advise you to pop a couple of Excedrin before we start. Come back and read after you've given them about twenty minutes to take effect.

The next "fact" is that forty-three year olds have a hard time getting pregnant, ergo, it is unlikely that Palin spontaneously got pregnant with her fifth child. It is true that women trying for the first time to get pregnant in their forties encounter enormous difficulties. It is true that some women trying on their second, or third, child, have trouble conceiving in their forties. It is not true that women with multiple children have a hard time conceiving in their forties. This was a well-known thing just a couple of generations ago, as my grandmother could have attested when she bore my aunt at the age of forty-three, her twelfth child; as one of my oldest friends' mother could have attested when he, her third, was a pleasant surprise at age forty-four; or, throughout history, when women would find themselves with a fifteenth, a twentieth, or a twenty-seventh child on the way in her forties. Multiple long- or full-term pregnancies prolong a woman's fertility.

This is elementary medicine. My wife and I -- we try to be devout Catholics, though God alone knows if we're succeeding -- are trying to figure out how to stop having children before our forties hit. My solution is quiet contemplation. Hers is Smith & Wesson. Regardless of which method we choose, given how many we've already had, and how young we were when we started, an age basically identical to Mr. and Mrs. Palin's when they first got running, we know that births in our forties are not a small likelihood if we don't find some other way to channel our energies.

That leads to a point missing in all this: The older a woman is, the more likely she is to conceive a child with Down's. The statistics are skewed on live births, with the majority of Down's children being born to younger mothers, but this is influenced by (1) higher overall births to younger mothers, (2) the lower rate of conception among older mothers overall, (3) the higher affinities for abortion among the older segment relative to the younger, and (4) relatedly, a stronger cost:benefit ratio to those already inclined to exercise abortion, given the difficulties attendant in raising a retarded child with numerous physiological impediments. But when conception occurs, older women are significantly more likely, starting around thirty-five (decreasing somewhat with more prior children) to conceive a child with Down's Syndrome.

So, just to summarize this in one sentence: Is it really more likely that a seventeen year old girl raised in an extremely healthy environment with no history of fragile X or any other inherited condition of which we're aware would conceive a child with Down's than her forty-three year-old mother?

Now, this might be -- and will be, by the illiterate -- dismissed as ascientific ranting by some wingnut Quiverfull (or whatever they're called -- we're Catholic, not Protestant) theocrat. Concededly, I haven't bothered to cite or link anything in all of this, because I'm already spending valuable time offering basic science and human biology lessons to yard apes. But, as a sign of good faith, I'm going to offer you a resource that will show you that all of this is pretty elementary: Williams Obstetrics. Concededly, it's right-wing propaganda cloaked as the most-used obstetrics textbook of the last 100 years, updated every few years in a new edition. But check it out, just for giggles.

That leads to the third point: Mrs. Palin's daughter was out of school for mononucleosis for five months, and that's way too long, ergo, this is something like the average Daily Kos reader remembers from her youth in the Roaring Twenties, when diseases like that were used as cover for when a girl got herself in a family way.

I had mono. I was twenty-two years old and in law school. At the time, this was my daily regimen:

Wake up. Eat breakfast and two Snickers bars. Run two miles. Wind sprint one mile. Lift weights and do weighted situps for forty-five minutes. Jog a mile to cool down. Go to class, eating a candy bar or Power Bar on the way. Class, then lunch, then class, then home to read/study/play a video game/whatever. One hour of martial arts. Dinner. Read Shakespeare. Do 200 situps. Sleep. Repeat.

I was in, if I dare say so myself, damned good shape. I hadn't even had a cold in a year and a half.

I got mono just as I was writing on to journal at the end of my 1L year, so around May 20th or so. I weighed 170 pounds. I felt kinda feverish, a little tired, couldn't seem to muster enough energy to do everything I needed to. No big deal. Finished my write-on (and got my first pick!), went home.


I don't remember most of that summer. I remember losing twenty-five pounds. I remember sleeping and watching The Bold and the Beautiful. (TAYLOR!) I remember trying to pick firms to interview with when I got back to school. I remember breaking up with my girlfriend of the time.

I got back to D.C. in early August, and was still sleeping around 19 hours a day. I could barely eat. I started classes in August. I don't remember most of that. I remember meeting the woman who is now my wife. I remember our first dates. I was barely back up to 150 pounds. I ran fevers at odd hours. I was soaked walking half a mile in the cool mornings. This went on through November, six months later. I was never able to get back in the kind of shape I'd been in before.

Mononucleosis, more even than most infectious diseases, has a lifespan based on a host of factors. It is not a rote disease. It is not the common cold.

And more importantly than that, if anyone thinks folks in rural America are still using the "she went to the country" excuse to hide a teenage girl's pregnancy, well, that leads to the next point.

I know Lefties are very bitter, still clinging to their BUSH LIED sandwich boards and their Alinsky, but I have to offer them a warning nevertheless: It is a profoundly bad idea to attack Mrs. Palin on this route, even if it's true. Out beyond the limits of whatever city or suburb they're currently in, there are still a lot of Americans who live in unincorporated areas, or who live in cities of 20,000 or fewer. Many, many of these people are Democrats. Many, many of them, perhaps as a result of their own clinging, urge their daughters not to murder their grandchildren in the womb. Frequently, their daughters, obviously filled with false consciousness, heed this urging. Those rural Democrats then go on to raise said grandchildren either as their own, or virtually as their own.

Now, the bad part: A lot of those rural Democrats are -- in the parlance with which Daily Kos readers are most familiar from their upbringing -- Negroes. Coloreds. Darkies. (I'm trying, and failing, to remember what you people called blacks in the 1910s, without using the N-word or the equivalent. Comments are open. Help me out, if you can clear the cobwebs from your minds.) Your entire electoral strategy this year is to energize blacks and stupid college students/young professionals who haven't lived as adults long enough to realize how stupid voting for "change" really is. Do you really want to shave a few points off the former? How about those young voters who maybe had their idiot grandparents and parents save them from the abortionist?

And don't forget the Lifetime voters who might do the exact same thing you allege that Mrs. Palin did. Probably don't want to lose those, either.

(I presume you guys are cool losing poor white voters. God knows you've thumbed your noses at them every other way possible.)

Eh, then again, continue down this path. I love our odds this way. Life always beats death, in the end.