Monday, September 01, 2014

Foster system drugging our kids

The San Jose Mercury News has a special report:
With alarming frequency, foster and health care providers are turning to a risky but convenient remedy to control the behavior of thousands of troubled kids: numbing them with psychiatric drugs that are untested on and often not approved for children.

An investigation by this newspaper found that nearly 1 out of every 4 adolescents in California’s foster care system is receiving these drugs — 3 times the rate for all adolescents nationwide. Over the last decade, almost 15 percent of the state’s foster children of all ages were prescribed the medications, known as psychotropics, part of a national treatment trend that is only beginning to receive broad scrutiny.

“We’re experimenting on our children,” said Los Angeles County Judge Michael Nash, who presides over the nation’s largest juvenile court.
Followup stories said:
With pressure on California's foster care system to curb the rampant use of powerful psych meds on children, concern is mounting about the doctors behind the questionable prescribing.

For months, the state has adamantly refused to release data that this newspaper sought to expose which physicians are most responsible. Now, in response to a request from state Sen. Ted Lieu, California's medical board is investigating whether some doctors are "operating outside the reasonable standard of care."
And this:
Some of the state's most influential lawmakers on Monday called on California's foster care system to stop the reckless prescribing of psychiatric medications to troubled children, demanding the state quit spending tens of millions of tax dollars on such risky therapies.

The demand for action comes a day after this newspaper published "Drugging our Kids," an investigation that found nearly one in four adolescents in the nation's largest child welfare system is prescribed at least one psych med -- 3 1/2 times the rate of all teens.

Almost 60 percent of foster youth prescribed psychotropics in California are being given antipsychotics, the most dangerous and expensive class of the drugs, which can result in rapid-onset obesity, diabetes and uncontrollable tremors. Lawmakers expressed outrage over the newspaper's findings that many of the medications are prescribed for behavior management -- not the mental illnesses they are approved to treat -- and have little, if any, science supporting their safety and effectiveness in children.
This reporter has written several exposes of the foster care system, but she does not seem at all interested in similar problems in family court and elsewhere.

I have posted on this blog the extensive use of psychiatric drugs on foster kids in a 2011 post and a 2012 post, and also complained about dubious use of such drugs on other kids.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Britain makes emotional cruelty a crime

I have mentioned British nanny state laws, including its Cinderella law and expanding domestic violence laws, and the nonsense continues:
Men and women who trap their partners in a cycle of emotional cruelty would be prosecuted and jailed under tough new laws proposed by ministers.

In a dramatic shake-up, Home Secretary Theresa May today launched a consultation on creating a specific criminal offence of domestic abuse.

Police and prosecutors would be expected to take action against those who trap their partners in a ‘living hell’ through a campaign of psychological and financial control.

People who bully their partners by verbally abusing them, controlling their money or isolating them from friends and family could find themselves hauled before the courts.

At the moment, domestic abuse is widely taken to refer to acts of physical violence, and usually prosecuted under charges including assault, battery and actual bodily harm.

Controlling, threatening and intimidating behaviour can be covered by stalking and harassment legislation, but this is difficult to prosecute when it applies to intimate relationships, such as a husband and wife who live together.

Mrs May believes it does not properly protect victims who suffer ‘terrible’ non-violent harm, including coercive, threatening or intimidating behaviour, often for years, at the hands of so-called loved ones.

Research has shown that 30 per cent – or 5million – women and 16 per cent of men, around 2.5million, will experience domestic abuse during their lives.

Campaigners who work to tackle domestic abuse welcomed the proposals, which would carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.
I am sure feminists see this as progress, but I am not sure they have thought it thru. This makes nagging a crime, and wives nag their husbands a lot more than husbands nag their wives. Also, I suspect that wives are more guilty of trying to isolate from friends and family.

More women are also guilty of rape, if the definition is expanded:
When Lara Stemple, a researcher at UCLA looked at the latest National Crime Victimization Survey, she was shocked to see that men experienced rape and sexual assault almost as frequently as women, and that women were often the perpetrators. Once the definition of rape was expanded to include more than just penetration, it became clear that men and women were equally likely to be raped, and more importantly, equally likely to be rapists. Researchers from the University of Missouri got the same results, finding that “43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feds defend Indians against CPS

NPR radio reports:
As part of the lawsuit, the state had to turn over rarely seen transcripts of 120 recent court hearings. In every one, the Native American children were taken into state custody.

Not a single parent was allowed to testify at the hearings. Most were not allowed to say anything except their names.

"These were virtually kangaroo courts," Pevar says. "There was nothing, nothing that any of the parents did or could have done. It was a predetermined outcome in every one of these cases."

In one case cited in the lawsuit, children were taken away from a mother who the state said was neglectful. Their father, who was divorcing the mother, appeared at the hearing and said, "I am here. Please give custody of my children to me." The judge placed the kids in foster care.

In another example, a mother returned home from work to find her children had been taken away when her babysitter got drunk. She went to the hearing to explain she was the mother. Her children were also placed in foster care.
A case under the federal Indian custody recently went to the US Supreme Court, with a bad outcome.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Domestic violence fuels immigration and NFL protests

There is a sudden exaggeration an hysteria about domestic violence. Steve Sailer notes:
From the Huffington Post:
U.S. To Consider Spousal Abuse In Immigration Claims

A government immigration board has determined for the first time that domestic violence victims may be able to qualify for asylum in the United States. The ruling comes in the case of a Guatemalan woman who crossed into the U.S. illegally in 2005 after fleeing her husband.
Are there no other countries closer to Guatemala than the U.S.? Why is the U.S. assumed to be the natural rectifier of domestic dramas around the world?

A reader suggests:
I would imagine if both spouses claimed to be victims of each other, they could both move here at the same time.
After this gets going and people all over the world figure out how to get in on it, I wonder what percentage of spousal abuse asylees will then petition to have their husbands admitted to the U.S. under “family reunification?”
The feminists are agitated about football players also:
Ravens running back Ray Rice is sitting out two games for domestic violence. A positive marijuana test triggered a yearlong ban for Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, costing him the 2014 season.

Critics of the NFL's arbitrary policy toward domestic violence point to the contrast between the punishments and say it's time for the league to crack down on players who hurt women.

Three members of Congress wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to reconsider Rice's suspension, the governor of Maine says he'll boycott the league, and numerous groups that advocate for women and families condemned the penalty as too lenient.

League officials may soon take action on the matter. A person familiar with the NFL's plans says the league is looking into increasing punishments for players involved in domestic violence.
The marijuana ban seems extreme to me, but I guess the NFL is trying to avoid the image that the game is corrupted by drugs.

Sure enuf, the league caved in:
The NFL announced on Thursday that it will institute harsher punishments for players who commit domestic violence.

In a letter to team owners, NFL commissioner Roger Goodall said that the penalty for a first offense is a six-game ban under the personal conduct policy. Players who commit a second offense will be banned for life. ProFootballTalk tweeted that the new domestic violence policy was announced without input from the NFL Players Association. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Goodell can "act unilaterally" on the new domestic violence punishments because it lies under the league's personal conduct policy.
A problem with all of this is that the term domestic violence is used for a wide range of activities from life-threatening crimes to trivial rude behavior.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wife uses porn to frame husband

Don't believe women can be vindictive? It is not enuf for this wife to get some phony restraining order to kick her husband out of the house. She tries to send him to prison. Newsday reports:
A Pennsylvania woman has been found guilty of downloading child pornography in a failed attempt to frame her estranged husband.

Meri Jane Woods, of Clymer, was convicted Wednesday in Indiana County.

District Attorney Patrick Dougherty says the 43-year-old Woods downloaded 40 images to the family computer, took it to police last August and blamed Matthew Woods for the material.

But when police examined time stamps, they determined the images had been downloaded more than two weeks after Meri Woods had her husband kicked out of their home with a protection-from-abuse order.

Woods' attorney had argued the time stamps were unreliable.

The Indiana Gazette says Woods faces up to nine years in prison when she's sentenced Dec. 15. She may also have to register as a Megan's Law offender.
The local Penn. paper has a little more info.

In other child porn news, one of Barack Obama's main Obamacare computer guy was just convicted:
As the acting cybersecurity chief of a federal agency, Timothy DeFoggi should have been well versed in the digital footprints users leave behind online when they visit web sites and download images.

But DeFoggi—convicted today in Maryland on three child porn charges including conspiracy to solicit and distribute child porn—must have believed his use of the Tor anonymizing network shielded him from federal investigators.

He’s the sixth suspect to make this mistake in Operation Torpedo, an FBI operation that targeted three Tor-based child porn sites and that used controversial methods to unmask anonymized users.

But DeFoggi’s conviction is perhaps more surprising than others owing to the fact that he worked at one time as the acting cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
You might think that he ought to know about cybersecurity, but the current White House cybersecurity chief is proud to know nothing about cybersecurity. We have the most incompetent White House since Jimmy Carter. They are still covering up the security problems with HealthCare.gov.

Update: Here is another story of a woman framing a man, from England:
A nurse has been struck off after being jailed for falsely accusing her grandfather of rape in a bid to claim his inheritance money.

Natalie Mortimer, from Aberdeen, was disciplined at a one-day standards hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in London.

The 25-year-old was jailed for 22 months at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in January after being convicted of wasting 175 hours of police time by fabricating claims that her grandfather Gordon Ritchie sexually abused her.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard at the time how she had falsely accused her grandfather of raping her when she was a child so she could get her hands on inheritance money.

She eventually admitted she had made up the sex attack claims - but only after her innocent grandfather had spent time in a police cell following the allegations. ...

‘What you did to Mr Ritchie was truly evil and despicable and there is only one appropriate sentence for this behaviour and that is imprisonment.’

During her sentencing, she showed no remorse as she left the court dock in handcuffs - smiling at her friends in the public gallery.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Public says all kids should be supervised

We are becoming a nanny state, and unfortunately most people are in favor of it. Lenore Skenazy, who is probably the last sensible mom, explains:
A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.

What's more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).

Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities—we have lost all touch with reality.

"I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children's abilities more than we North Americans do today," says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.
Meanwhile, teenagers commonly trade naked pictures of themselves, without knowing that anything is wrong with it. Here are some Virginia panicked parents:
DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. — A Dinwiddie mother got a nasty shock when she went through her daughter’s cell phone and tablet. The pictures she discovered were so disturbing that she turned the girl in to sheriff’s deputies.

The parents discovered their 13-year-old daughter, who is about to enter the eighth-grade, had been sending and receiving naked pictures of other teens using her tablet.

And the deeper they dug, the worse it got. In fact, things got so bad they called in the sheriff’s department to investigate.

“What scares me is, this is much bigger than we realize. How many others are doing this and you don’t realize it,” asked the Dinwiddie County mother of two.

CBS 6 News is not revealing her name to protect her family’s identity.
We have draconian laws that require possessors of child porn to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives, and we have millions of teenagers who see nothing wrong with sexting.

I cannot agree with what these parents did. The child porn laws are so strict that there is no safe way to report it. The parents themselves could be charged with possessing child porn. I would just delete the pictures, lecture the girl, and monitor the situation. The idea that she is safer while at the mercy of a prosecutor is crazy. But read the comments, and you will find most of them agree with the parents.

Paranoia has been extended to high school students:
When a South Carolina student was given an assignment by his teacher to create a Facebook-type status report telling something interesting about himself, he allegedly wrote “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.”

School officials were alarmed by 16-year-old Alex Stone’s words and called police. Now Stone and his mother Karen Gray are speaking out to media as they feel the school overreacted.

“I could understand if they made him rewrite it because he did have ‘gun’ in it,” Gray told the NY Daily News. “I mean first of all we don’t have dinosaurs anymore. Second of all, he’s not even old enough to buy a gun.”

The cops took Stone in for questioning and searched his locker and backpack for guns. None were found.

Police told My Fox Chicago that Stone was difficult during questioning and they arrested him and charged him with disturbing the school. Stone was also suspended from Summerville High School for a week.
It should have been obvious that he wrote about a dinosaur in order to make the story clearly fictional.

An Arizona TV station reports:
Many Americans believe kids as old as 12 need adult supervision if they're going to play in public places, indoors or outside, according to a new poll that found a high number of people would support laws making it illegal to allow a 9-year-old to play unsupervised at the park.

The polls come as news outlets like U.S. News and World Reports are noting an uptick in parents arrested for letting their children do things without supervision.

Writes Tierney Sneed, "Mothers arrested in Florida and South Carolina in recent weeks are the latest in an ongoing trend of parents seeing legal punishment for letting their children play or travel in public unsupervised. The former was charged with child neglect by local authorities for letting her 7-year-old son walk to a park half a mile from their home by himself (the mother later told WPTV that a Florida Department of Children and Families official informed her the charges would likely be dropped). In South Carolina, the woman — a single mom who let her 9-year-old daughter play in a nearby park unattended while she worked her shift at McDonald's — served 17 days in jail and, if convicted of felony child neglect, could face 10 years in prison."

The recent Reasons-Rupe survey, conducted by phone in August, asked 1,000 adults about child safety issues. The pollsters found 82 percent of Americans would support a law to require supervision of kids 9 and under playing in public parks. And 63 percent said that 12 years old is too young to play without supervision.

Asked whether kids face more or fewer threats to their physical safety than when respondents were growing up, 62 percent of those polled said that the world is more dangerous today, while 30 percent said the threat level is about the same.

In reality, studies show that crime has been going down consistently for more than 20 years. In 2012, the Christian Science Monitor noted that "the last time the crime rate for serious crime — murder, rape, robbery, assault — fell to these levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon and the average income for a working American was $5,807."
The public is seriously deluded about kids and risk.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Britain subsidizing sperm for lesbians

The UK Daily Mail reports on the latest efforts to eliminate dads:
Britain is to get its first NHS-funded national sperm bank to make it easier for lesbian couples and single women to have children.

For as little as £300 – less than half the cost of the service at a private clinic – they will be able to search an online database and choose an anonymous donor on the basis of his ethnicity, height, profession and even hobbies.

The bank, which is due to open in October, will then send out that donor’s sperm to a clinic of the client’s choice for use in trying for a baby.

Heterosexual couples will also be able to benefit, but the move – funded by the Department of Health – is largely designed to meet the increasing demand from thousands of women who want to start a family without having a relationship with a man.

Critics last night called it a ‘dangerous social experiment’ that could result in hundreds of fatherless ‘designer families’. ...

Britain has a major shortage of sperm donors, whose anonymity is preserved until any children they father reach the age of 18.

Women who want to have a baby using donated sperm have been routinely waiting for up to two years, with many eventually forced to seek donors abroad.

Heterosexual couples with fertility problems who need donations as part of IVF treatment will be among the customers of the new bank.

But a large percentage are predicted to be professional, single females who decide to have a baby without a man.

And based on current trends, more than a quarter of all the recipients are likely to be gay women. ...

Ms Witjens rejected suggestions that children suffer adverse consequences from lacking a father figure. ‘There is no evidence to suggest that children are better off with or without a father,’ she said. ‘There’s never been a call – from us or the Department of Health – to reduce the access to sperm for same-sex or single women. That’s a non-issue.’

Ms Witjens pointed to the removal of the reference to a ‘need for a father’ in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, when taking account of a child’s welfare when providing fertility treatment.

She added that the National Sperm Bank would also help prevent desperate women using murky unregulated services and going online to buy sperm.
There is plenty of evidence that kids are better of with fathers. But soon it will be considered homophobic to say so.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The crazy wife defense

Wash. Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes:
How far would you go to stay out of jail? Would you publicly humiliate your wife of 38 years, portraying her as some kind of shrieking harridan? Would you put the innermost secrets of your marriage on display, inviting voyeurs to rummage at will?

For Robert McDonnell, the former Virginia governor on trial for alleged corruption, the answers appear to be: “As far as necessary,” “Hey, why not?” and “Sounds like a plan.”
He had no choice. The feds are trying to send him to prison, and they nearly always succeed. He is accused of a corrupt conspiracy with his wife. He is a conservative Republican governor who publicly defended his crazy wife, but continuing to do so would send him to prison.
McDonnell testified that Maureen McDonnell was so volatile that the entire staff at the governor’s mansion signed a petition threatening to quit if her behavior didn’t improve. “She would yell at me,” he told the court. “She would tell me I was taking staff’s side, that I didn’t know what was really going on over there.”

He said he believed his wife needed professional counseling, though it was unclear whether he tried very hard to convince her to seek it. He spoke of the family’s severe financial problems, which included large credit card bills, and said that “it just seemed like there was too much stuff that she was buying.”
Sounds like a crazy bitch to me.
It is sad that a politician with a reputation as a Virginia gentleman would mount such an ungallant defense. And it is clear that in this case, at least, it took two to make a dysfunctional marriage.
Ungallant? Must he goto prison for his crazy and disloyal wife's behavior?

No, it is not take two to make a dysfunctional marriage. It takes two to make a successul marriage, but only one to ruin it.
A jury will decide whether McDonnell was an honest public servant. By his own account, he wasn’t much of a husband.
Maybe he is a saint for putting up with her for 38 years.

I have no idea if they will be found guilty or not. As usual, I believe they should be considered innocent until proven guilty. The feds have a history of trying to unjustly frame politicians like this, such as what they did to Ted Stevens. (He was convicted and run out of office on phony charges, and was eventually acquitted on appeal.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Italian divorcee cannot post wedding pics

C-Net reports on Italian divorce law:
In Naples, Italy, one husband decided to take a stand against his wife posting their intimate marital photos on Facebook. Well, when I say "intimate," there were one or two hugging and kissing pictures.

These, you see, were their honeymoon photos from 10 years ago.

He was so miffed that she'd bared them to the public that he took her to court. This was clearly a happy marriage.

As The Local reports, relying on the extremely local Il Mattino, the husband objected that the photos had been displayed "without his permission."

I can feel the worldwide rolling of eyes and snorting through noses at the concept that a wife needs her husband's permission to do anything.

Some, though, might find the woman's argument a touch troubling. Her lawyer offered that "the use of social networks is now so advanced that we can consider a Facebook wall to be not unlike a private photo album."

We can debate the "advanced" nature of social networks until our third marriages have gone stale.

However, Mark Zuckerberg's constantly changing notions of privacy -- summarized as "whatever suits Facebook's business at the time" -- have meant that Facebook has often seemed far more like the town square than a private photo album.

The Naples court, indeed, sided with the husband. It decided that his privacy had been violated and his delicate self-worth had been immolated.
In the USA, you don't need someone's consent to take a picture. It is the photographer who pushes the button who has all the rights, not the subject. If the picture is used to endorse a commercial product, then the subject's permission is needed.

Dilbert argues:
There are only two reasons to have privacy and both of them involve dysfunction. You might want privacy because...

1. you plan to do something illegal or unethical.
or
2. to protect you from a dysfunctional world.

I think we can agree that if the ONLY reason for privacy were to make it easier to get away with crimes and unethical behavior, society would be better off without privacy. So let's ignore the first category because it is only useful to criminals and scumbags.

The second category is more fun. My hypothesis is that in every situation in which you can think of a legitimate use for privacy you will find that the root problem is a lack of information about something else. My hypothesis is that if you fix the root problem, society no longer needs nor cares about privacy, and that is the best situation of all.
I don't really agree with him, but I do think that is where we are headed, whether we like it or not.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Psychology research not replicated

I have posted many times on the sorry state of psychology research, and Slate has an article on a hot controversy over widely publicized social psychology results that cannot be replicated:
The researchers found that priming subjects to think about cleanliness had a “substantial” effect on moral judgment: The hand washers and those who unscrambled sentences related to cleanliness judged the scenarios to be less morally wrong than did the other subjects. The implication was that people who feel relatively pure themselves are—without realizing it—less troubled by others’ impurities. The paper was covered by ABC News, the Economist, and the Huffington Post, among other outlets, and has been cited nearly 200 times in the scientific literature.

However, the replicators — David Johnson, Felix Cheung, and Brent Donnellan (two graduate students and their adviser) of Michigan State University — found no such difference, despite testing about four times more subjects than the original studies. ...

In countless tweets, Facebook comments, and blog posts, several social psychologists seized upon Schnall’s blog post as a cri de coeur against the rising influence of “replication bullies,” “false positive police,” and “data detectives.” For “speaking truth to power,” Schnall was compared to Rosa Parks. The “replication police” were described as “shameless little bullies,” “self-righteous, self-appointed sheriffs” engaged in a process “clearly not designed to find truth,” “second stringers” who were incapable of making novel contributions of their own to the literature, and—most succinctly—“assholes.” Meanwhile, other commenters stated or strongly implied that Schnall and other original authors whose work fails to replicate had used questionable research practices to achieve sexy, publishable findings. At one point, these insinuations were met with threats of legal action.

Brent Donnellan apologized for his use of “go big or go home” and “epic fail,” and another researcher apologized for comments that seemed to imply that Schnall’s original work might not have been “honest.”
Wow. I guess those social psychologists hate to be held accountable for the accuracy of their findings.

I don't know who is right here. From what little I read, there are some good points on both sides. And good reason to be suspicious of the conclusion of both sides. When you read a news item about psychology research, be wary.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Appeal reverses anti-homeschooling opinion

UCLA law professor likes to post about child custody issues, and now he writes:
When parents split up, and there is a dispute over who is to get primary custody, judges generally decide this based on what they see as “the best interests of the child.” One recurring question is whether a judge may consider the ideology that a parent is teaching the child — for instance, may a judge say, “It’s in the child’s best interest to be raised by parent A, because parent B would raise the child to be racist / homophobic / pro-homosexuality / Communist / jihadist”? Another is whether a judge may prefer the parent who is more religious, on the theory that it’s better for a child to be raised with religious beliefs (or whether a judge may likewise prefer the parent who is less religious, on the opposite theory).

Some cases, though, ask whether a judge may prefer one parent over another because the preferred parent would send the child to a school (or perhaps even specifically to a public school), and the other parent would instead home-school them. I’ve blogged about this before; some cases have endorsed this non-home-school preference (see these cases from North Carolina and New Hampshire), one has expressly rejected it (this Pennsylvania case), and one is complicated (see the opinions in this Michigan case). I’ve just come across one more rejecting the non-home-school preference, Rocha v. Rocha (Kan. Ct. App. Aug. 8, 2014): ...

The trial judge also allegedly said — and this is the appellate court’s paraphrase — “that [the mother] is educating the girls for the Fifteenth Century, not the Twenty–First Century.” Here is the appellate court’s response:
The trial court’s statements that socialization and interaction with other students cannot be achieved by homeschooling are unsupported.
The judge's decision for giving one parent child custody is nearly always unsupported by the law and the facts.

In this case, the judge could have just omitted the anti-homeschooling opinion, and made the same decision, citing BIOTCh. This is a rare reversal that only happened because the judge said too much, and the homeschooling lobby wrote an appeal brief refuting his opinion.

The only sensible solution to this is to get judges out of the business of trying to decide a preference in religion, ideology, or any other routine parenting matter.

Volokh also cites a Florida case:
[W]e agree with the father that the trial court abused its discretion in granting [the mother] … ultimate authority over the children’s religious upbringing and in prohibiting the father from “doing anything in front of the children or around the children” that “conflicts with the Catholic religion.” …

Restrictions upon a noncustodial parent’s right to expose his or her child to his or her religious beliefs have consistently been overturned in the absence of a clear, affirmative showing that the religious activities at issue will be harmful to the child…. “[A]lowing a court to choose one parent’s religious beliefs and practices over another’s, in the absence of a clear showing of harm to the child, would violate the [F]irst [A]mendment [of the United States Constitution].” …

[Footnote:] We find no error in the trial court’s directive that neither parent disparage the other parent’s religion in front of the children.
Again, these prejudicial ruling occur all the time, and no one can do anything about it, when the judge delegates to a so-called expert who keeps the unconstitutional reasoning off the record.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thailand bans commercial surrogacy

I mentioned Australian and Chinese couples going to Thailand for surrogate mom babies, and now that is banned:
BANGKOK: -- The Medical Council has endorsed amendments to the announcement regarding surrogacy services by banning commercial surrogacy services and advertisements about the availability of donated eggs for assisted reproduction, of surrogate mothers or of those in need of surrogacy services.

The amended announcement means that from now on commercial donation of sperms or eggs for surrogacy services are prohibited.

Medical Council secretary-general Dr Samphan Komrith said that the amended announcement would also ban married couple of the same sex or single persons to seek surrogacy services.

Clinics or doctors who perform treatment using assisted reproduction technology will not be allowed to offer, acquire import or export of donated eggs or embryos or arrange for women to become surrogate mothers, he added.
If the ban is enforced, the couples will probably go to India instead. They can also do it on the black market, but they usually want a place that will uphold their contracts.

Update: The NY Times reports:
Officials say at least 24 women out of a population of about 13,000 people have since become paid surrogate mothers. ...

The baby boomlet here was just one of several bizarre and often ethically charged iterations of Thailand’s freewheeling venture into what detractors call the womb rental business, an unguided experiment that the country’s military government now says it is planning to end. ...

Officials estimate that there are several hundred surrogate births here each year, in addition to the foreign surrogates, including many hired by Chinese couples, who come to Thailand for the embryo implantation, then return home to carry out the pregnancy. ...

Officials estimate that there are several hundred surrogate births here each year, in addition to the foreign surrogates, including many hired by Chinese couples, who come to Thailand for the embryo implantation, then return home to carry out the pregnancy. ...

Commercial surrogacy has operated in a legal gray area. There are no laws banning it, but there are some hurdles. Thai law defines a mother as the person who gives birth, so in order for the biological parents to gain custody, the surrogate mother must renounce her parental rights — a concession that may require legal wrangling. ...

“Giving birth to a human is not like breeding animals,” he told a Thai newspaper.
A few hundred births on a continent of 3 billion people is miniscule.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stupid Lifetime movie Betrayed

I watched the made-for-TV movie Betrayed on the Lifetime channel last Sunday. It was terrible.

I realize this junk is aimed at women, but this seemed worse than usual. I didn't pay enough attention to recite the plot, but I'll try. The hero was a pregnant woman who was stringing along her rich husband as well as an adulterous lover. She told her lover that the kid was his and kept promising to run off with him, but first she needed to convince her husband that the baby was his and get millions in a divorce settlement. They both foolishly support her while she is dishonest with both of them.

Another guy tries to extort money out of them. She selfishly lets the three guys fight it out, and the extortionist ends up dead. In the end, she threatens to frame the other two (her husband and lover), and abandons both of them. She vows to raise the baby herself, and proudly tells them it is a girl, not a boy. If they try for custody or visitation, she will accuse them of murder. And she will have her husband's money to raise her lover's kid.

The movie title seems to imply that she was betrayed, and justified in her action. Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I didn't see it. She was betraying them. And the typical Lifetime viewer was probably saying "yo girl!".

It is just a stupid movie, and may only reflect the view of the producer or director. But I assume that they did some market research, and they decided that the movie fulfills a fantasy of the women who watch the Lifetime channel. Scary.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lawsuit over an archaic medical code

I have complained about psychologists making bogus diagnoses, and here is someone suing about it:
A Los Angeles man is suing his doctor and a Southern California healthcare network, saying they ignored his request to remove a notation describing "homosexual behavior" as a "chronic problem" on his medical records.

Matthew Moore, 46, who is openly gay, said he was shocked to see his sexual orientation still described as a chronic condition more than a year after he complained about the use of the archaic medical classification.

"It was infuriating. It was painful," he said of his decision to sue. "It was another attempt by this doctor and this medical group to impose their agenda of discrimination and hate onto a gay patient." ...

The diagnosis was coded as 302.0, an archaic classification from The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (commonly known as the ICD). Code 302.0 "homosexual behavior" was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973. ...

The association also issued a media statement saying the designation had been used as a result of "human error" and claiming that "upon notification by the patient the record was corrected."
He has no real grievance here. He told them that he was homosexual, and they noted that on his records. What did he expect? It is not as if they asked the court to take his kids away, as many dads face all the time with family court psychologists.

The lawsuit will be dismissed because he has no damages. He is only complaining about an obsolete medical record that no one saw but himself, and he is openly gay anyway.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tales of a Jewish matchmaker

Some cultures have different attitudes towards marriage, and the NY Times reports on a Jewish matchmaker:
Women can be superficial — “A lot of women don’t like bald men,” Ms. Weinberg said — but men are worse. “I’ll have a singles party, they’ll come into the room, look around, say, ‘Bye!’ They don’t even get to know anybody. They don’t look at the neshama,” the soul, she said.

Some of the men have mommy issues, too.

“I have this one man,” Ms. Weinberg said, “whose mother used to be a ballerina, so he is looking for a woman with long legs, no chest. And he’s a rabbi!

Ms. Weinberg will work with any client as long as he or she is Jewish by the traditional standard of maternal descent: “I work with everyone whose mother is Jewish. The father could be the pope.” And she will work with clients who are gay, as long as they are looking for a straight marriage.

“They have same-sex attraction,” Ms. Weinberg said, “but they don’t want to pursue that line. They want to marry a woman, and they want me to tell the girls they are homosexual but they don’t want to act on it.” Such a man “wants to have a normal house; he wants a house and a family.”

And even for these men, Ms. Weinberg said, there are women.

“I have to tell the woman” about the man’s situation, she said. “But there are women who are asexual, and there are women who don’t need to be — hugged and kissed, sure, but. ...” She trailed off. “I have made matches like that.”

Ms. Weinberg will take extraordinary measures to help put a man and woman together for life. She told one of her sons she would give him $10,000 if he found a husband for his sister, and he did. She will also take certain liberties in the service of love.

“Something you should know about Tova is she creatively alters the truth under certain circumstances,” said Beverly Siegel, a documentary filmmaker from Chicago. Widowed after a long first marriage, Ms. Siegel met her second husband through Ms. Weinberg.

“She told Howard some things about me that were not exactly true,” Ms. Siegel said.
Hmmm. Okay with me, up until the point where they start imposing their twisted values on me.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mom Arrested for Swearing

It used to be that Southern women learned good manners, and behaved themselves in public
Mom Arrested for Swearing in Front of Kids

Danielle Wolf was not having a good night at the Kroger grocery store in North Augusta, SC, where she moved with her family just three weeks ago. She says her husband kept squishing the bread in their cart by putting frozen pizzas on top of it, and Wolf expressed her displeasure at the situation. That's when her night got really bad. A fellow shopper approached her and accused her of using the F-word in front of her kids. "I'm like, 'When did I say this to my kids?'" Wolf tells WJBF. "I said that to my husband, that he was smashing the bread." But somehow the police were called, and Wolf ended up getting arrested in the incident late Sunday. ...

disorderly conduct is defined as "riotous conduct of any kind," "cry[ing] out in a noisy, scandalous, or abusive manner" in a public place, or "utter[ing], while in a state of anger, in the presence of another, any bawdy, lewd, or obscene words or epithets."
Her defense is that she was swearing at her husband about the pizzas squishing the bread, not at her kids. But it is disorderly conduct either way.

Disorderly conduct is one of those vague charges when a cop does not like your attitude.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Other countries have different parenting practices

NPR reports:
If there's one thing have in common with those , it's that they both show us just how varied parenting styles can be.

Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; and Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat.

Some might make American parents cringe, but others sure could use a close study. Vietnamese mothers, for instance, get their kids out of diapers by 9 months.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Alimony contributed to suicide

The late Robin Williams had personal problems:
Robin Williams will return to TV after nearly three decades – because two divorces have left him short of cash.

The comic’s breakups cost him £20 million and he claims to need a ‘steady job’. He is also selling his £20 million California ranch due to his sizeable alimony payments.[...]

The 62-year-old, said: ‘Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it “all the money”, but they changed it to “alimony”.

It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet.’
The joke is that it is a contraction of "all his money". There is also a story that he had Parkinson's disease, so divorce probably isn't the main story. CH quotes this and rants:
If America is fated to be a post-Malthusian, r-selection reproductive free-for-all, then let it be in every way. That means, women are cut loose from the male alimony and child support teat to fend for themselves and accept the consequences of their decisions. Relying on men for support, pre- and post-marriage, is a luxury afforded K-selection societies, and that luxury comes with certain duties that modern women have largely chosen to abandon. If justice is fair and not wholly rigged against the interests of men, the divorce rape culture will be dismantled and an ex-husband’s life may be saved.
Williams starred in Mrs. Doubtfire, as I remarked before:
I happened to watch two big divorce movies on cable TV channels last week, Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

These movies must have been made by people who experienced a nasty divorce. Otherwise, the stories are not very plausible. Particularly hard to take, in both movies, is the attitude of the wife/mother in seeking child custody, and the action of the family court in ignoring the merits of the father's case.
Williams is a pathetic character in the movie. Apparently he was about to make a pathetic sequel:
Robin Williams resented having to do a second Mrs Doubtfire film but felt compelled in order to keep money coming in, a close friend of the actor has told the Telegraph.

Williams, who had been working on four projects when he was believed to have taken his own life this week, was said to have been dreading making more films as they “brought out his demons”. …

“Robin had promised himself he would not do any more as he invested so much in his roles that it left him drained and particularly vulnerable to depressive episodes,” the friend told the paper.

“He signed up to do them purely out of necessity. He wasn’t poor, but the money wasn’t rolling in any more and life is expensive when you have to pay off two ex-wives and have a family to support.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Popular exaggeration of risk

Security expert Bruce Schneier agrees with Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids:
But, "What if a man would've come and snatched her?" said a woman interviewed by the TV station.

To which I must ask: In broad daylight? In a crowded park? Just because something happened on Law & Order doesn't mean it's happening all the time in real life. Make "what if?" thinking the basis for an arrest and the cops can collar anyone. "You let your son play in the front yard? What if a man drove up and kidnapped him?" "You let your daughter sleep in her own room? What if a man climbed through the window?" etc.

These fears pop into our brains so easily, they seem almost real. But they're not. Our crime rate today is back to what it was when gas was 29 cents a gallon, according to The Christian Science Monitor. It may feel like kids are in constant danger, but they are as safe (if not safer) than we were when our parents let us enjoy the summer outside, on our own, without fear of being arrested.
One comment says:
This nonsense is what happens when society gives women the right to vote.

Some will immediately point out the it is a woman who is quoted in the article from Free Range Kids but that is the exception that illustrates the rule. People keep talking about "irrational fears" ignoring that most of those irrational fears steam from women, particularly post-menopausal women. The West may be going to hell in a handbasket, as a friend of mine stated, but how much of such dissatisfaction directly coincides with the rise of women in public life and the need for politicians to cater to their fears?
Skenazy is a sensible woman about risk, so clearly it is possible for women to be sensible. And some men are irrational about risk. But for the most part, women are much more likely to choose their foolish instincts over common sense.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Right to record cops

More and more, courts and others are affirming a citizen's right to video-record police officers doing their jobs. Here is the latest:
In a statement of findings and recommendations filed last week, a US Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of California affirmed that a woman on searchable probation had the right to videotape three officers who came to her home to search it.
From the court opinion:
The complaint alleges that defendant violated plaintiff’s rights under the First Amendment when he took her laptop away after she informed him that she was recording the search of her residence. As early as 1995, the Ninth Circuit has recognized a “First Amendment right to film matters of public interest.” Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 439 (9th Cir.1995). Other circuits have similarly held that the First Amendment protects an individual’s right to record police officers in the course of carrying out their duties. See Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78, 82 (1st Cir.2001) (“The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within [the First Amendment].”); Gilles v. Davis, 427 F.3d 197, 212 n.14 (3rd Cir.2005) (“[V]ideotaping or photographing the police in the performance of their duties on public property may be protected activit[ies]”); Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332, 1333 (11th Cir.2000) (“The First Amendment protects the right to gather information about what public officials do on public property,” including the right “to photograph or videotape police conduct.”). ...

There simply is no principled bases upon which to find that although the right to record officers conducting their official duties only extends to duties performed in public, the right does not extend to those performed in a private residence. The public’s interest in ensuring that police officers properly carry out their duties and do not abuse the authority bestowed on them by society does not cease once they enter the private residence of a citizen.

To the contrary, there appears to be an even greater interest for such recordings when a police officer’s actions are shielded from the public’s view. Further, there is no reason to believe that plaintiff’s status as a probationer would diminish the public’s interest in how police exercise their authority in a private citizen’s homes….
Similar reasoning should apply to other govt officials, such as judges, CPS, forensic psychologists, etc.