Monday, April 27, 2015

Child support is modern debt slavery

Vox Day writes:
And the South Carolina prison system is essentially debtor's prison:
A recent MSNBC investigation highlighted that in South Carolina, noncustodial parents can be held in contempt of civil court if their child support payments are just five days late, which means a judge can send them to jail.

Libba Patterson, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and a former director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, has been a vocal supporter of an ongoing effort to reform the way South Carolina punishes those who owe child support payments -- an effort that has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 2009, Patterson conducted a survey of 33 county jails in South Carolina, which found that one out of every eight inmates -- or 13.2 percent of the inmate population -- was behind bars for contempt of civil court after falling behind on child support payments. In Charleston County, where Walter owed his back payments on child support, Patterson’s survey found that over 15 percent of inmates had been imprisoned for not paying child support. In a handful of the other counties studied, the figure was as high as 20 percent.
This is further evidence that feminism, in all its forms, lunatic, liberal, and conservative, is intrinsically anti-societal and anti-civilizational. It's not a simple matter of left and right, because the conservative form of feminism is more insidious, and may actually be more damaging, in some cases, than the overt outrages of lunatic and liberal feminism.

When you read Dalrock talking about Churchians, and The Only Man in the Room leaders, and Man Up and Marry Those Single Mothers, you're seeing conservative feminism. The liberal feminist fallacy is to claim that women deserve more rights than men because men are oppressive. The conservative feminist fallacy is to claim that women deserve more rights than men because women are purer of spirit and it is a man's noble right and duty to preemptively sacrifice himself for the pure sex.
The liberal Democrats are more dangerous because they have built their whole party out of being anti-family, pro-dependency, anti-man, and anti-parental-rights. But conservative feminists are also damaging.

A NY Times comment says:
Simple Solution. Make Shared Parenting LAW where NO child support is paid. The parents each get 50-50 custody requiring each parent to pay for the child when with them. FORCE "alleged" Domestic Violence cases into criminal courts where PROOF must be shown and custody stripped of False Accusers. This is the literature currently inserted into every Shared Parenting Bill in which bias usually occurs and False allegations made to take Fathers out of the picture and reduce him to a wallet. The reason support orders are initially set high is because the Feds push States ( and Judges ) to make them high for a better reimbursement rate of 2-1. This ensures the Judge and the State get a cut of the man's income before its passed to yet more State initiatives such as yet more Domestic Violence shelters in which only women can use. These shelters encourage more divorcing moms to make yet another false allegation to get custody and.........more child support.
That's right. Making 50-50 shared parenting the law would get rid of the vast majority of child custody trials and other family court disputes.

What would likely happen is that many dads would pay the moms to take the kids 5+ days a week, thru a voluntary negotiation. Even if the result turned out to be identical to what a court might order, I would still say that it would be better because the parents would be in control of their own lives. I would likewise say that it is better for salaries to be negotiated between employers and employees, rather than dictated by government bureaucrats and formulas.

However I do not see any politicians on the right side of this issue. Maybe Hillary Clinton will be elected President, and the Democrats will be more clearly the mommy-socialist-dependency party.

Here are some sensible letters to the WSJ:
Involved Fathers’ Rights Are Poorly Protected in Divorce
State divorce laws should mandate that family-court judges divide physical custody time 50/50.

Regarding the article “Fathers Seek Parity in Custody Cases” (U.S. News, April 17), opponents of 50/50 physical custody of children invariably trot out the old argument that shared custody works only for parents who can cooperate. As a veteran of a six-year child-custody battle, I’ve learned that it is the litigation itself that causes friction between parents. Parents demonize each other to win custody, which causes them to mistrust each other, and the downward spiral begins. In addition, as a legal strategy, whichever parent begins with the upper hand in the legal proceedings has an incentive to not get along with the other parent. That way, he or she can tell the judge: “Your honor, we don’t get along; therefore sharing custody won’t work.” If we had a legal presumption of 50/50 physical custody, suddenly there would be nothing to fight over and most separated parents would cooperate well.

Josh Gonze
Santa Fe, N.M.

Our 50-state divorce-court system isn’t designed for judges to force negotiated settlements that are arrived at and honored by both parents. It isn’t uncommon for American fathers to undergo financial ruin, emotional fatigue and physical collapse through time-consuming litigation. The money I was forced to burn up in litigation would have been better spent on my children’s college educations. Absent overriding fact-specific considerations in individual cases, state divorce laws should mandate that family-court judges divide physical custody time 50/50 to allow fathers the ability to exercise a more active and permanent role in their children’s lives. But that isn’t enough. State divorce laws need to be amended to force the parties to pay their own attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses. The laws should impose severe financial sanctions on attorneys and parties filing meritless post-dissolution motions. The laws also need to be amended so that both parents share in the equal financial responsibility of raising their children.

Alan Jay Koshner
St. Louis
Yes, 50/50 physical custody of children is all the more important if the parents disagree. Then neither can force decisions on the other.

The original WSJ article is behind a paywall, but is mirrored here and here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Defending child support enforcement

C-SPAN TV had a program in child support enforcement, and you can watch the video online.

The guest defends the enforcement processes. Many callers complain about some of the problems.

From an opinion cited yesterday:
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement itself has said that “the average incarcerated parent with a child support case has $10,000 in arrears when entering state prison, and leaves with $20,000 in arrears. Not only is this debt unlikely to ever be collected, but it adds to the barriers formerly incarcerated parents face in reentering their communities.”
Just scanning comments on this subject, there is a distressingly large number of people who accept the principle that the system should extract as much money as possible from the dad, but no more. Those who favor less punitive measures usually just make the argument they would extract more money.

And there are a distressing number of man-haters who are happy to punish the man. They say he won't produce more illegitimate kids while in jail.

I once an interview of a college president who argued that the colleges should be able to extract as much money as possible from the parents of students. Well, she did not phrase it that way, but she strenuously argued that it was unjust that a student might attend a different college because he got a better financial deal. She wanted the colleges to have an exemption from anti-trust law so that they could collude in price-fixing tuition, and prevent students from shopping around different colleges.

Obamacare is also based on using income information to extract as much money as you can be reasonably expected to pay for pre-paid medical care.

And taxation schemes are usually designed to extract as much money as possible

We are told that what we pay for college or medical care has very little to do with actual costs. And child support is designed to have almost nothing to do with child costs.

I don't agree with any of this. Colleges and medical providers should have to compete. A man should have the choice of paying child support or taking care of the kid himself.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Followups on child support and parents rights

I cited a law professor saying that Free Range Parenting is a Constitutional Right. Now he admits that, as a practical matter, it is nearly impossible for parents to assert those constitutional rights.

I posted last year Old Iowa man charged with raping his wife because prosecuted said that her dementia was bad enuf to prevent her from legally consenting. Now he has been acquitted of all charges in a jury trial. Remember that whenever someone tells you that the jury system is obsolete. Sometimes the jurors are the only ones in the justice system with any common sense.

I posted about a proposed California vaccine law, and now:
Vaccine laws across the nation may be toughened, observers say, if California passes a fervently debated bill that would strip parents' rights to exempt kids from immunizations based on personal beliefs.

A potential end to California's opt-out provision gained ground Wednesday when the state senate's education committee voted 7-2 to require full vaccinations for almost all public school students. ...

But some experts see California as the most potent social and medical laboratory, the state where such legislative action could create national waves. ...

That's a roadmap that worries some parents like Shtein, who describes herself not as anti-vaccination but as "pro-health" with deep concerns about any government dictating any child's vaccination schedule.

And she believes the momentum from California, should the bill become law, could color future immunization laws for Americans of all ages.
The ACLU is against it because:
If the bill passes, vaccine-resistant parents will have to home-school their children.
They are left-wingers who are probably against home-schooling. I would rather oppose the law on the grounds that parents should have the right to direct the medical care of their kids. The measles outbreak was caused by Filipinos visiting Disneyland, so it would make more sense to vaccinate Filipinos visiting Disneyland.

I have posted about kids arrested for walking home unsupervised, and the usual response is that kids did this a generation ago, but the world is more dangerous today. A Wash. Post article debunks this notion:
The first thing to note is that the overall child mortality rate in the United States has literally never been lower. In 1935, for instance, there were nearly 450 deaths for every 100,000 children aged 1 to 4. Today, there are fewer than 30 deaths for every 100,000 kids in that age group -- more than a tenfold decrease. ...

Part of that decline is a drop in child homicides. As of 2008, the homicide rate for kids under the age of 14 stood at a near-record low 1.5 cases per 100,000, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the homicide rate for teens ages 14 to 17 plummeted from 12 homicides per 100,000 in 1993 to just 5.1 in 2008, another near-record low.

Long story short: for a kid between the ages of 5 and 14 today, the chances of premature death by any means are roughly 1 in 10,000, or 0.01 percent. ...

The FBI has several decades of data on missing persons now, and those numbers show that the number of missing person reports involving minors has been at record low levels in recent years. Overall, the number of these reports have fallen by 40 percent since 1997. This is more impressive when you consider that the overall U.S. population has risen by 30 percent over that same time period, meaning that the actual rate of missing person reports for children has fallen faster than 40 percent. ...

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that between 1993 and 2013, the number of child pedestrians struck and killed by cars fell by more than two-thirds, from more than 800 deaths to fewer than 250. The number of traffic-related pedestrian injuries in this age group fell by a similar percentage over the same period. Again these are raw numbers, and as the population has grown over that period, the actual rate has fallen even faster.
So being a child is safer than ever before, whether at home or in public.

I posted Idaho against federalized child support, and a week later the NY Times got excited about it:
It took five years for negotiators to work out the details of a multinational treaty on child support that would make it easier to track delinquent parents around the world. It took only a couple of minutes for a committee of the Idaho Legislature to endanger America’s participation.

In a 9-to-8 vote in the closing hours of the legislative session, the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee killed a bill that state and federal officials had said was crucial to the finely crafted choreography of the child support treaty reached at The Hague. All 50 states must approve the mechanics of the treaty for American ratification to proceed, and 19 have signed off thus far.

A major factor seems to be Idaho’s ornery streak, the part of the state’s identity that does not like the federal government — or, worse still, foreign governments — telling it what to do.
Idaho's action would make more sense if foreign countries were imposing onerous child support orders. But the USA is by far the worst country in the world, as documented by this draft book: Real World Divorce. It has a wealth of info about differing state child support laws.

Most people think that child support is purely a matter of state law, but this story shows how federal policy and money drives much of what the states do. See this article for more detail. Here is the official federal and Idaho sides to the story.

It is true that some legislators expressed concern about foreign countries imposing onerous child support orders, but what Idaho really did was to resist the United States government imposing onerous child support rules and regulations on Idaho -- even though the government's position is that no state can operate its own child support system (or enforce its own child support orders) without the supervision and assistance of the federal child support agency.

So now, the federal agency is threatening to exclude Idaho from the entire system unless Idaho passes this bill. This proves that the whole child support system is controlled and managed by the federal government under rules passed by Congress, and states have no significant discretion to vary those required rules and procedures.

THere is more fallout in Idaho on Allgov.com and Idaho TV.

I posted on Why Scott was running from the police, and 11 days later the NY Times said similar things in a front page story titled Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat. It was sympathetic to the black man who was killed while in child support arrears. I guess the liberal NY whites can side with a dad if he is a black fugitive in the South, and his problems can be blamed on white people. The article drew over 1000 comments, and an editorial opinion debate.

The NY Times calls it a debate, but all the debaters are in favor of extracting more money from dads and giving it to moms.

Most of the comments agree that the child support system has many inequities that should be reformed. But there are a distressing number of comments that say that there should be no limits to the punitive measures imposed on deadbeat dads. Here is one of those solicited debate opinions:
As a single mother who has raised a child with virtually no assistance from the biological father, I feel strongly that child support enforcement measures are not strong enough. ...

He is one of many parents who avoid child support obligations, by working under the table jobs such as yard work, or by obtaining fake Social Security numbers to work under a different identity, or by dealing drugs. Many of these individuals may already have criminal records that may act as very real barriers in obtaining legitimate employment. But this does not mean that they should be absolved of their responsibility to their children. ...

A noncustodial parent's financial hardship should not absolve them of responsibilities to the children who they choose to create. The custodial parent often has an even harder time.
So she had a kid with a criminal drug-dealer who cannot get a legitimate job, and she complains about the child he chose to create? And his lack of money should not be any excuse for his lack of money?!

Unfortunately these dopey single mom opinions intimidate politicians against doing anything to solve the problem. Unless you agree that women have an unrestricted right to choose an abortion at any time and for any reason, and to choose to have sex with any man at any time, and to freeload off welfare, and to cut the dad off from even seeing his kid, then you are part of the war on women. And if the man does not want to spend all his money on the child he supposedly chose to create, then no punishment is too severe.

This country is doomed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The gay test cases before the Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court uses every excuse to avoid cases on parental rights, child custody, or family court due process. These family court issues are the biggest civil rights issues of our day, but the justices are scared to touch them. But it leaps to the chance to mandate same-sex marriage.

Left-wing law reporter Nina Totenberg of NPR Radio was promoting the upcoming cases, by describing the actual couples in the big test case in order to convince you that they have a compelling need:
But there was nothing they could do to ensure that if one of them died, the other parent would get custody of the two children adopted by the deceased partner. They could put their wishes on paper, but that paper would have little legal status.

"A judge could award that child to someone else," Jayne observes, effectively making the surviving parent "a legal stranger to the child that they've helped raise since birth."

So DeBoer and Rowse went to court to challenge the state's adoption law. The judge told them they would lose and suggested that they instead challenge the marriage ban.
That's the argument? Any single parent or married couple could say practically the same. State law allows them to name legal guardians for their kids in their will. Technically, I guess some judge has to rubber-stamp it. I don't know what the standards are, but this has very little to do with gays.

Next couple:
And in February of 1995, these two preppy-looking white men rushed to the hospital to begin caring for their newborn African-American twin boys. ...

The adoption, however, was not final, and again, only one of the two parents could actually adopt. ...

"It was a dream come true to actually become parents," says Randy. "Our lives have revolved around that role since that day over 20 years ago." ...

In 2008, when gay marriage was briefly legalized in California, the couple got married there, but their marriage is still not recognized in Kentucky. ...

And when Paul was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago, they had to shop for a doctor who would recognize Randy as his full partner with decision-making power should Paul's health make that necessary.
So these gay white men raise two black boys to adulthood, without problem, and now issue is just to sign a medical form for a prostate treatment?!

There are lots of single people who sign forms naming an emergency contact or even power of attorney. It is a routine matter that does not require any change to marriage law.

Next case:
Sophy Jesty is a specialist in animal cardiology. Her spouse, Val Tanco, is a specialist in animal gynecology and fertility. They were married in New York in 2011 and began looking for a place they could both have jobs as academic veterinarians. That's a tall order in academia, and they were elated when both were offered posts at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where they now teach, do clinical work, and conduct research.

But Tennessee does not recognize their New York marriage. ... Especially when Val got pregnant, through artificial insemination, with their daughter, Emilia. ...

Because Emilia was born in the short window of time when there was a court order requiring the state to recognize their New York marriage, Sophy Jesty is listed on the birth certificate as Emilia's father.

"I'm definitely not a father," Sophy says, "but the state on the birth certificates has only two slots; one is for mother and one is for father. So my name occupied the father slot."

That could change. If the state wins its case, it could try to reissue the birth certificate.
So this non-mother is on the birth certificate as the father, which is nearly her ideal, and her only concern is that the state might re-issue the birth certificate without her name?! Her complaint is about a pure hypothetical that has never happened.

Next case:
Friends and family quickly raised the $13,000 for a medical charter to Maryland, and soon the couple was off, with a nurse, medical technician, two pilots, and John's aunt, Paulette Roberts, who had been ordained online so she could marry them. ...

Through a friend, a civil rights lawyer came to Jim and John's home to explain that Ohio would not recognize the marriage.

Jim recalls what happened next: "He pulled out a blank death certificate and said, now, do you realize when John dies, the state of Ohio will say he's single, and this blank here for surviving spouse name will be blank. Your name won't show up there, Jim." ...

Three months and 11 days later, John Arthur died. The death certificate listed Jim Obergefell as his surviving spouse.

If the state wins its case in the Supreme Court, it can reissue a death certificate without Jim Obergefell's name.
So John is dead and Jim got exactly what he wanted.

I always thought that you had to have some sort of damages to get a court to hear your case. These same-sex couples are not even alleging any actual damages. All they can do is present some hypothetical scenario in which they might dislike how some document is worded, or be inconvenienced by having to write a will or power-of-attorney form.

For this, marriage law is being destroyed.

I don't want to give the impression that same-sex marriage is the main thing wrong with family law. It is not even in the top 10 things wrong. But the raw exercise of the power of this leftist-gay-feminist alliance that is scary.

Totenberg keeps saying things like:
The adoption, however, was not final, and again, only one of the two parents could actually adopt.
No, the black twin babies had 2 black parents, and were then legally adopted by one gay white guy. She could have "only one of the two gay men could adopt". But one man was not a parent in any sense of the word, and the other was only an adoptive parent after the adoption was legally finalized.

Somehow the Left is taking over the word "parent" and redefining it to meet their ideological purposes. Soon "parental rights" will CPS rights, or child support enforcement, or supervised visitation, or other such nonsense.

The US Supreme Court ruling is due June 30, and is widely expected to read same-sex marriage into the Constitution by a 5-4 vote.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dopey fat CPS agent tortures a dad

Ever wonder what it is like for CPS to give some ordinary dad the third degree? Watch this video.

The CPS woman is fat, ugly, and stupid. She complains that he gave his kid a soda with caffeine. He explains that it was zero calories and no caffeine. She then argues that "zero calories" means that the soda had "empty calories". He tries to explain, but it is hopeless.

She also objects to him being concerned about the daughter's weight. The CPS agents insists that his concern should be that the kid become a happy adult, and only the pediatrician should have an opinion about her weight.

I would have said, "I watch her weight because I don't want her to become a fat slob like you."

The kid is on some psychiatric drug, and the dad wants to know what it is and what the effects are. The CPS agent says that he has no right to that info. She says that he just has 8 hours of visitation each Sunday, and he can call an ambulance if there is a medical emergency. Otherwise he should shut up and ignore the problem.

There is more to the guy's story here and here. I did not read it as I was mainly interested in the behavior of the CPS agent. She is a disgrace, but probably doing what she was trained to do.

Robert Franklin comments on the Meitiv case:
The lesson is that CPS can and will do what it likes regarding your children. Caseworkers and their supervisors don’t like parents who fail to kowtow to CPS power. The Meitivs are learning that the hard way and countless other parents are attending to their travail. They too will learn the lesson CPS seeks to teach – parents, regardless of how responsible and loving, go their own way at their own risk. Do you think you know best about how to raise your kids? Think again. CPS makes the rules and those who fail or refuse to abide by them do so at their peril and that of their children. It matters not that your children aren’t harmed or placed in danger.

One of those rules is that you can never believe the facts about children’s safety in this country and act accordingly. Those facts demonstrate that, on average, the risk of harm to children, particularly from strangers, is vanishingly small. In neighborhoods like the Meitivs’, it’s even smaller. So parents like them are perfectly safe in sending their kids off to the park to play, particularly given the children’s careful upbringing.

But to an astonishing degree, the issue is not about children’s safety; the issue is about CPS’s power. Parents must conform or pay the price because Big Sister knows best.
Yes, CPS is all about bullying people with its power.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Men who want better than shared parenting

One of the Men Going Their Own Way writes:
The same idea can be applied to the issues of relationships simply by asking, "Is there a way to do this with less government rather than more? And if so, is it simpler?" If the answer to those questions are yes then it is almost assuredly the better solution.

For example, much of the Men's Rights Movement (MRM) is focused on the plight of divorced fathers and the shrieks for shared-parenting are deafening. Shared-parenting though, is pretty much asking for the government courts to take 100% custody of the child and then dole out baby-sitting duties to the parents on this day and that day. If one parent loses a job and needs to move across the country to find employment, he will have to beg the court for permission to relinquish his duties to shared-parenting. Such a person has thus surrendered their right to move freely about the country. What if the two parents decide to follow vastly different religions? Well, the court will decide whether the child is to be Jewish or Muslim, not the parents. Furthermore, when shared-parenting becomes the norm, a woman's only way to get on the current alimony/child-support gravy train will be to claim abuse as the reason for her getting sole custody, and the amount of men falsely accused of abuse will rise.
He supports the MGTOW Manifesto.

Here is the NPO pdf report card on shared parenting laws in the 50 states (also pdf summary and USA Today article). While some states encourage it, it is always under the authority of a judge to micro-manage the parents lives, and to adjust parenting time according to the BIOTCh.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Free Range Parenting is a Constitutional Right

I have followed the Maryland Meitiv kids, who keep getting arrested for being alone a few block from home.

Libertarian Russian-American law professor Ilya Somin writes:
The bottom line is that the CPS’ actions here seem to be the result of exactly the kind of “mere disagreement” with parental choices that the Supreme Court specifically barred as a basis for overriding parents’ constitutional right to direct their children’s upbringing. Economist Bryan Caplan, an expert on child safety data, sums it up well: “it’s crazy, people are being persecuted for doing things that are extremely statistically safe just because other people disagree.”

As Megan McArdle points out, today’s controversial “free-range” parenting largely consists of practices that were considered perfectly normal throughout most of American history. When I was growing up in the 1980s in a suburb similar to the one where this incident occurred, elementary school kids routinely walked all over the neighborhood by themselves. By the standards of today’s Montgomery County, I would have been detained by child welfare officials almost every day.

Sadly, incidents like this one now happen with some regularity, as “helicopter parents” and officious bureaucrats have promoted unrealistic parenting norms that have no real basis in legitimate safety considerations. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need constitutional litigation to put an end to such abuses. Simple common sense should suffice.
I am tempted to hope that this case gets litigated to the US Supreme Court, and it makes a broad declaration for parental rights just as it is about to mandate same-sex marriage.

But that would not work. The public has to be somehow convinced that routine parental decisions are not the business of CPS, unless there is some demonstrable serious harm.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CPS Has Outlived Its Usefulness

I looked for some objective evidence that CPS does some good, and I could not find any. This seems surprising, as these agencies spend billions of dollars and must have to justify their budgets somehow.

I did find this 2010 NY Times article:
Child Protective Services investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007, but a new study suggests that the investigations did little or nothing to improve the lives of those children. ...

In an editorial published with the study, starkly titled “Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” Dr. Abraham B. Bergman suggests some essential changes: child abuse, because it is a crime, should be investigated by the police; public health nursing services should be the first to respond to concerns of child neglect; social workers should assess appropriate living situations and work with families to obtain services, and not be engaged in law enforcement. But Dr. Bergman, who is a pediatrician at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, expressed considerable skepticism that such changes would happen.
I agree that crimes should be investigated by police. We now have CPS, family courts, and colleges investigating and adjudicating criminal abuse of various sorts, and they are incompetent to do so. They do not respect the rights of the accused, or understand the unreliability of hearsay, or follow innocence until proven guilty.

When the state decides that something is a crime, then accusations belong in the criminal justice system. It is evil to punish people who have not even been charged.

I also agree that CPS is not going to change, no matter how many times it is proved that they are ineffective at helping kids.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Infants being put on child abuse registry

Many people are falsely put on the state child abuse registries, but you would think that some attempt would be made to eliminate obvious errors. Apparently not. A Nebraska newspaper writes:
In August, Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash sent a question to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

How many youths have been placed on the department's central registry of child abuse and neglect because they are considered offenders?

The answer surprised him, and the ages of some of those youths stunned him further.

Between 1985 and 2013, nine of those placed on the registry were infants. Nine were toddlers, 10 more were preschoolers and nine were kindergarten age.

In total, 128 children 12 and younger and 2,227 aged 13 to 18 were on the registry as of Sept. 15.

"It was unbelievable to me that any child just a few months old can be listed as a perpetrator of an abuse or a crime," Coash said.

He set to work crafting a bill (LB292) that would ensure no child 11 or younger would be put on the registry and that all minors on the registry would get a mandatory hearing to consider expunging the record within six months of turning 19.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Idaho against federalized child support

Idaho is threatening to opt out of federal child support enforcement:
An Idaho House panel voted 9-8 on Friday to kill legislation to bring the state into compliance with federal child-support collection rules after some lawmakers said they were concerned about Sharia law influencing Idaho's enforcement authority.

Idaho child support program director Kandace Yearsley said the committee's decision has placed Idaho at risk of losing nearly $46 million in federal child-support funding as well as access to the federal enforcement tools used to collect child-support payments from parents living in other states.

But some members of the House committee said they were concerned the bill was tied to an international convention regarding cross-border recovery of child-support payments. Rep. Heather Scott and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, both Republicans, said they feared the bill could force Idaho to enforce child-support rulings made under Islamic law or foreign tribunals.

"There is no specific language in the bill that would protect the rights of those dealing with parentage, child support and support orders from a foreign country that would contradict our laws here," Nuxoll said, adding she would change her vote on the bill to "no" if she could. "There are other countries listed in the treaty —France, Belgium— that have recognized sharia courts as quasi-courts. So I just feel that you should be aware of those facts."
Also here:
Idaho Health and Welfare Department officials plan to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services representatives this week. They expect to have 60 days to find a solution from that point.

"This is a new experience for Idaho," the department said in a statement Monday. "We have been told the federal support for Idaho's Child Support Program will end if Idaho is not in compliance."

Without federal tools, parents who are owed child-support payments will have no means to receive them. Idaho uses federal programs to process child support payments.

About 80 percent of payments are taken from paychecks, but noncompliance would prevent Idaho from making such collections.
There are about 50 things wrong with American child support, and the possibility of enforcement relating to Sharia law is way down at the bottom of the list. Eg, Walter Scott being shot by a cop. Millions of people get screwed by it, and no one cares.

Sharia law? Are they joking? I understand not wanting to comply with Sharia law, but I am not sure they even have child support.

This news item demonstrates that the federal government provides most of the funding for child support collection agents in every state and county. These bureaucrats are nominally employed by state and county government, but their budgets are funded by the federal government, under uniform rules passed by Congress and administered by a federal agency.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Divorce notice on Facebook

I was once in family court when a woman claimed that her husband moved to Canada, and she wants a divorce, but she has no current address. The judge suggested that she put a classified ad in a Canadian newspaper, and that might be considered legal notice of the divorce action.

In view of that, this is not so silly:
Want to divorce your husband or wife but can't give them the papers in person? Just use Facebook. No, apparently this isn't a late April Fools' joke. The New York Daily News reports Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper has allowed 26-year-old Ellanora Baidoo to serve her husband Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku divorce papers via a Facebook message. In fact, Baidoo won't even be the one sending the message. Her lawyer has been granted permission to message Blood-Dzraku using her account. "This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff's attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged," the ruling states.
Meanwhile, in case you thought that lawyers will do anything for a buck, there are apparently some limits, according to the NY Times:
The stacks of Supreme Court briefs filed on both sides of the same-sex marriage cases to be heard this month are roughly the same height. But they are nonetheless lopsided: There are no major law firms urging the justices to rule against gay marriage.

Leading law firms are willing to represent tobacco companies accused of lying about their deadly products, factories that spew pollution, and corporations said to be complicit in torture and murder abroad. But standing up for traditional marriage has turned out to be too much for the elite bar. The arguments have been left to members of lower-profile firms. …
They will defend terrorists, but not traditional marriage. I can only assume that the law firms are scared of some sort of gay retaliation.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

California Democrat is like Hitler with measles

I am always glad to see people stick up for parents' rights. AP reports:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California bill that would sharply limit vaccination waivers after a measles outbreak at Disneyland has generated such an acidic debate that the proposal's author was under added security this week.

Authorities said wouldn't specify the extra protections around state Sen. Richard Pan on Friday, but the level of anger over the measure has been clear.

Opponents have flooded the Capitol to stand up for parental rights, and images that compare Pan to Adolf Hitler have circulated online.

"Unfortunately, there is a sub-segment of the group that seems to want to engage in vitriol and intimidation and bullying in order to get their way," said Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento.

Sen. Carol Liu, chair of the Education Committee, which will hear the bill next week, said through a spokesman that the proposal has generated more calls to her office than any other this year, including measures on immigration, doctor-assisted suicide and police shootings. ...

If it becomes law, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such strict vaccine requirements.
Bullying?! No other country mandates vaccine, and only 2 states refuse reasonable exemptions. This Democrat want to force parents to make a minor medical choice, and he accuses the voters of bullying when they object!

The Disneyland outbreak was caused by people who just got off the boat from the Phillipines, and most of those infected were adults. Unvaccinated kids had nothing to do with it. It might have been prevented by requiring foreigners and adults to get measles vaccines, but no one is proposing that. They always blame the kids.

Even tho the vaccine exemptions are currently easy to get, well over 95% of California kids get vaccinated. Passing oppressive laws to raise the rate to 98% seems ill-considered and anti-freedom to me.
Critics, however, have turned out in force. Before the bill's first legislative hearing this week, hundreds of opponents attended a rally that featured an appearance from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has said the number of children injured by vaccines amounts to "a holocaust." During the hearing, an opponent threated [threatened?] to ask God to curse legislative supporters.
That is a little extreme. It is very unlikely that the vaccines will do your kids any good or any harm.
Brian Stenzler, president of the California Chiropractic Association, has testified against the bill and condemned the threats against lawmakers as unacceptable. But even though opposition leaders are focused the merits of the legislation, there are some things they can't control, he said.

"It's kind of like a mother bear," he said. "You come near a cub, that mother will do anything they have to do."

"Right now," he added, "these parents are running on pure emotion and pure adrenaline."
Where are these people on other parents' rights issues?

My guess is that these are a bunch of hysterical paranoid moms who do not understand or believe the studies.

My concern is over parental rights. Even if we assume that the vaccines are beneficial, those benefits are probably less, on average, than the benefits of brushing teeth. But we do not have a law requiring kids to brush teeth everyday, no matter how many people recommend it. We just don't believe in the nanny state being that intrusive.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Judge ships kid to out-of-state boarding school

Law prof. E. Volokh writes:
Many parents are reluctant to send their children to boarding schools, because they think that spending more time with their children is good for the children (as well as good for the parent). But what if the parents have split up, and one wants to send the child to boarding school and the other doesn’t? That’s the subject of an interesting decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals last week, in Baker v. Meyer:
The dad persuaded a family court judge to break the shared parenting agreement and send the kid to an out-of-state boarding school. The appeals court reversed, saying that the mom's central concerns were ignored.

There are lawyers who love to gloat about cases like this, because they say that shared parenting can never work unless it is supervised by a judge.

The unfortunate fact is that it is impossible to agree to a binding parenting plan because one side can always break it later if he convinces a meddlesome judge. And that it exactly what happened here, until the appeals court stopped it.

I wish I could say that the appellate decision upheld parental rights, but the judge can just make the same decision anyway, and explain the reasoning a little differently.

One commenter argues that the dad's choice of school is a "better school", and adds:
I have complete respect for parental rights; ...

And I would have a lot more respect for all parties if they would just agree on something and get it out of the court system. They are wasting their time and money.

That said, you are right about one thing; the world would be a better place if I was the dictator. ...

"You side with the judge because of your own opinion about the better school."

I side with no one. My opinion in these matters is always the same- people need to settle their issues. 99.99% of the time, it isn't worth the time and money. It is a waste of the family's resources to bring this before the court, and the only people to benefit are the attorneys. More often than not, it is a continuation of a dysfunctional dynamic- often, the same one that made the divorce. Get over it. Nobody- not you, not the other person, and certainly not the child, wins in family court.

"You are like a medieval serf who cannot imagine life without a king."

I appreciate the sentiment, but I am closer to the King than the serf.
The family court is infested with worms like this guy. He has contempt for parents and likes dictating their lives. He claims to believe that people are better off outside family court, but he strenuously argues for the policies that bring them into court. That is, he wants one parent to be able to break an agreement by appealing to the prejudices of a judge.

If it is really true, as he says, that the child never benefits from these legal actions, then the logical conclusion is for the court to refuse to hear them. The court has no business holding a hearing on which school is better.

Thomas Paine wrote a book in 1776 called Common Sense that convinced the American colonists that they did not need a king. Is there anyone today who can convince Americans that we do not need judges and experts micro-managing our families? Can that lawyer quoted above be convinced?

Hillary Clinton is announcing her candidacy for President, and her most famous book is It Takes a Village. It advocated government control of child rearing, and an end to family autonomy. Barack Obama campaigned on The Life Of Julia, and incorrect portrayal of government dependence and male elimination. No self-respecting man would vote for either one of these creeps.

We had more common sense in 1776.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Obama pushes for more LGBT kids

The LGBTQIA attacks on the civil liberties of everyone else continue. Now Pres. Barack Obama wants to censor private counseling sessions.

The NY Times reports:
A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.

In a statement that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.
The White House statement says:
When assessing the validity of conversion therapy, or other practices that seek to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is as imperative to seek guidance from certified medical experts. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.
No, it is not true that the scientific evidence is against conversion therapy.

A dirty secret of the profession is that psychotherapy hardly ever changes or cures anyone. The success rate on most problems is very low, unless the patient is motivated the change in the first place. Mostly counseling just talk to patients to make them feel better about their problems.

I've looked at the supposedly scientific statements against conversion therapy. They go like this: If you assume that sexual orientation and identity are innate and immutable, and that a determination has been made of a particular orientation and identity, then anecdotes suggest that trying to change either is often harmful or unproductive.

There are also anecdotes claiming conversion therapy can be successful, and no good scientific studies comparing them.

In short, there is no good scientific evidence that conversion therapy is any worse than any other psychotherapy.

As a practical matter, the consequence of a law like what Obama proposes would be that if someone is confused about his sexuality and seeks counseling, the counseling will have to encourage him to be gay or transsexual.

You might say that no one should have to endure psychotherapy to change their fundamental beliefs. I would go further, and say that no one should be forced to endure psychotherapy at all, as I believe the whole field does more harm than good, and that forcing it is an abuse of human rights. But the family (and juvenile) court do it all the time. Judges order parents off to counseling because it is supposed to help everyone, or to change behavior in response to dubious complaints, or as punishment, or as some weird fitness test. That is, if the dad does not do the ordered counseling and get a good report, then the judge has an excuse to cut off child custody and visitation.

If the shrinks had any ethics, they would refuse all court-ordered counseling.

Here is a typical response to Obama:
So, this is where we are now.

A mentally ill person wants to be the opposite sex. A counselor suggests that the person consider accepting the natural sex. Mental patient commits suicide and blames counselor’s suggestion of just going natural.

n=1

Based on this sample size, the President (not a psychiatrist nor a peer committee of such) suggests as a matter of public policy and professional practice that mental patients not be counseled to accept their natural sex rather to embrace their delusions of being the opposite sex.

Are we serious?

This is at least as stupid as any religion.

Is the president now some kind of high priest who advises all people on all matters whatever without regard to being entirely unqualified?
This is one of the sickest opinions to come out of the White House. Here is what former VP Dick Cheney says, about other policies:
I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had.
I do not agree with anything Obama has done.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Why Scott was running from the police

The race-baiting leftist news media finally have a story of a white cop unjustifiably shooting a black man. The cop has been fired and is likely to be charged with murder, so the system seems to be working. I doubt that the story will stay in the news, because it does not fit the narrative.

People are saying that the video exposed the cop, but he might have been charged anyway. The autopsy will show that the cop shot Scott in the back at a distance. It is hard to justify that.

But why was the black man running? What crime had he committed that made him so afraid of the cops after being pulled over for a broken tail light?

He was afraid of being jailed for unpaid child support.

Philip Greenspun writes:
Four children lost their father and a woman lost her companion when Walter Lamer Scott was shot on April 4. The Wikipedia article on Mr. Scott notes that he had been repeatedly arrested for failure to pay child support. News articles linked to by the Wikipedia posting indicate that Scott was running away from the police officer who murdered him due to fears about being incarcerated for being behind on child support.

How common is it for an American to be on the wrong side of the law due to our child support system and how realistic were Scott’s fears? The “Post-Divorce Litigation” chapter of our book cites some statistics indicating that roughly 1 in 7 men who are ordered to pay child support will eventually be imprisoned. As they are being imprisoned for contempt of court rather than a criminal offense they are not entitled to an attorney nor do they enjoy a presumption of innocence.

The media coverage of the event stresses the fact that Mr. Scott was in conflict with the police due to his skin color. Yet they could equally have stressed that he was in conflict with our justice system due to the fact that he had children and, for whatever reason, was not living with their custodial parent(s).

This was a sad event, obviously, but I am not sure that it must be interpreted as a black-white event.
I do not agree with jailing anyone for a debt, or taking away licenses. That latter idea has spread to student loans:
In 22 states, defaulters can have the professional licenses they need to do their jobs suspended or revoked if they fall behind in their student loan payments, licenses for things like nursing or engineering. The percentage of Americans defaulting on their student loans has more than doubled since 2003.
If you lose a judgment over a debt, your wages can be attached. That ought to be enuf.

Update: This suggests that Scott fired the taser at the cop. If so, then the cop is not as guilty as everyone thinks.

Update: The NY Times has finally picked up this story on its April 20 front page, and gotten 1000 comments.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Parents organization attacks single dad

Shared parenting advocate Robert Franklin Esq writes:
I’ve been researching family issues since 1998, and that of straight men turning to in vitro fertilization or surrogacy to have children without a partner is about as rare as they come. But this article wants us to believe that the practice is becoming commonplace (HLN TV, 3/17/15). It’s not. And there are a couple of good reasons why.
He is right, it is not going to become commonplace. The guy in the photo had two failures in India before getting a birth in Panama. Very few men will do that sort of thing.
But missing from any of the happy talk is the concept, long known to most people, that children with only a single parent tend to fair far worse than those with two, particularly biological, parents. What’s been studied almost exclusively of course have been single mothers. That’s because there are a lot more of them than single fathers, since it’s so much easier for a woman to produce a child without a partner than it is for a man to do so.

But there’s no reason to suspect that the outcomes for children of single fathers would be much different than those of single mothers. Yes, single fathers with custody tend to earn more than do single mothers, and money is important when it comes to providing for the needs of children.
Money is not really so important. Public schools are free. The basic needs of food and clothing are quite cheap, and even the poorest families usually have sufficient care in that area. Nannies and private schools are expensive, but not important to success in life.

I think that there are reasons why single dads might do better than single moms, but I will leave it to the social scientists to report on that.

I am all in favor of kids being reared by their two biological parents, but not one of our 50 states has a law assuring that as a matter of right.
And, just like women, whatever urge men feel to have children without a partner should be resisted. His desire to have a child is understandable, but, starting before he does so, a man needs to put the child’s best interests first. And that may well mean not having one in the first place. Frankly, Dr. Cean looks very much like a man who didn’t get that memo.

Finally, if a man just can’t manage to live life without a child of his own, why not adopt? I know it’s harder to do if you’re single (there’s a reason for that), but the fact is that the world doesn’t need more people and there are millions upon millions of children who desperately need parents. For them — the children in Chinese orphanages who receive tragically little attention from adults — one parent is indeed better than none.

Whether or not there’s a trend toward single men creating children without long term partners, those who do need to think again about what they’re intending to do. They need to set aside their vanity-driven need to have a child who looks vaguely like them and dial the number for an agency that handles foreign adoptions. Or they could adopt a child out of foster care or one with special needs. There are too many children in the world for those men to spend $100,000 to create a new one of their own without a partner.
No, it is a big myth that there are millions of orphans who desperately need parents. Adoptive parents spend years traveling to the other side of the world to find available babies, and there are often problems. We do have an excess of 16yo juvenile delinquents that nobody wants, but they have already missed their chance for decent parenting. Adoption is not an easy answer, and China doesn't want to send its kids to American single dads anyway.

American adoptions of overseas kids in only a quarter of what it was 10 years ago. The popular countries, in order, are: China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and South Korea. Russia and Guatemala are not sending us kids anymore. I can understand not wanting to go begging to those countries for their unwanted kids.

I thought that his organization, National Parents Organization, was pretty good about sticking up for dads. But he seems to be falling for the same nonsense about kids needing a mom, and about the Best Interest Of The Child (BIOTCh) overriding the wishes of the parents.

I am also baffled how someone working for a Parents Organization can make an argument about how we have too many people. That is like telling horse breeders that we have too many horses, or telling artists that we have too much art.

I think we do have too many people (and too many horses and artworks). Here in California, our water is being rationed because the state is overrun with immigrants. But I also think that my kids are making the world a better place, and probably most NPO members and readers feel the same way. Maybe I am wrong, but if he really feels that parents should not have kids, he should work for Planned Parenthood instead.

There are autistic people who are unhappy that their major advocacy group views them as a disease to be eliminated. Ouch.

Now I find out that the leading parents rights group thinks something similar about men wanting to have kids.

I hesitated to post this because the NPO has been a leader in lobbying for shared parenting, and has done a lot of good work in that area. I do not want to undermine that. And maybe they would be less politically effective if they were more solidly in favor of parental rights. I have praised them many times. Franklin just posted an excellent article on how CPS uses secrecy to cover up its own incompetence.

I have become pessimistic that the system cannot be reformed. I would love to be proved wrong, but even the parents organizations cannot truly stand up for parental rights.

Monday, April 06, 2015

This moral panic will pass

Razib Khan writes:
…Kidnapping by strangers is wildly uncommon; in New York State, for instance, the Division of Criminal Justice Services announced that 20,309 children were reported missing statewide in 2011; exactly one of those children was confirmed abducted by a stranger. Most — 94 percent — were runaways, most of them teenagers. ...

Free range being what used to be called normal parenting as far back as the 1980s. Looking at the statistics above this is a clear case of moral panic. It will abate. Too many cultural forces, from overtaxed working mothers to libertarians and Christian parents’ rights sorts, object to the dominant ethos.
Khan was hired as a part-time opinion columnist for the NY Times, but then fired when some liberals complained that some of his articles on genetics were not quite politically correct.

I have read his columns off and on for years, and I have not seen anything as offensive as the NY Times columnist telling Christians that they must be forced to change their beliefs about what is sinful.

Speaking of moral panic and the NY Times, the paper pretends to correct earlier phony stories about a Rolling Stone hoax:
Rolling Stone magazine retracted its article about a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after the release of a report on Sunday ...
No, there was no rape of any kind. A girl was catfishing a fellow student she wanted as a boyfriend.
“Ultimately, we were too deferential to our rape victim,” Mr. Woods, the article’s editor, said in the report. ...

Ms. Erdely, Mr. Wenner said, “was willing to go too far in her effort to try and protect a victim of apparently a horrible crime. She dropped her journalistic training, scruples and rules and convinced Sean to do the same. There is this series of falling dominoes.”
No, Jackie was not a victim. The only victims were the students and fraternities who were falsely accused. Also:
Teresa A. Sullivan, the president of the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, issued a statement late Sunday.

“Rolling Stone’s story, ‘A Rape on Campus,’ did nothing to combat sexual violence, and it damaged serious efforts to address the issue. Irresponsible journalism unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.
Sullivan was a chief offender, as she punished the fraternity in spite of overwhelming evidence that nearly everything the article said about the fraternity was false. Erdely and Sullivan are not even apologizing to those they falsely accused.

Sailer is all over this story. These stories pretend that the problem was just that the details were not verified according to journalistic standards. No one wants to admit that the whole thing was a hoax. The accused rapist, Haven Monahan, does not even exist. The fraternity was not even having a party. Erdely and Sullivan are not being fired.

Instpundit comments:
One person who shouldn’t get off the hook here is UVA President Teresa Sullivan. She essentially found the fraternity guilty based on a story in a music tabloid. She could have told the University community that “we don’t convict people based on stories in the media,” that she was going to independently investigate the accusations, and that people named in tabloid stories should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty in the American tradition. She did no such thing. She hastily imposed a group punishment on the entire Greek system, and pretty much stood by while angry crowds mobbed and vandalized the fraternity house. (Faculty members didn’t help by staging their own marches; they may want — especially now — to characterize those marches as “anti-rape” or “pro-woman,” but there’s no getting around the fact that they were perceived at the time, and probably meant, as targeting the accused. In this case, the falsely accused.) As I’ve said before, there’s no place in America today where the authorities are more likely to be found siding with (or at least enabling) a lynch mob than on a university campus, and that’s a disgrace. ...

“Sullivan, in her statement Sunday, made no apology to those fraternity members she treated as guilty without evidence.”
Also the Erdely and the Rolling Stone seem pretty adamant about not apologizing to the falsely accused. In spite of everything, Erdely still claims that something bad happened to Jackie that night.

This is disgusting. I am waiting for anyone in the major news media to say the obvious -- that this story was a hoax, that it was wildly implausible, that almost every checkable assertion turned out to be false, that the main perp turned out to be a fictional character invented to make another boy jealous, that Jackie is unlikely to have even ever set foot in the fraternity, and that nothing in this story shows any true evidence of a rape culture at UVa.

Update: This whole UVa story was manufactured by Jews who hate white Christians.

Update: Dr. Helen notes:
I am struggling to come to terms with this new reality wherein sticking to an objective view of the facts is considered a conservative trait. The campus left’s complete unwillingness to adjust their opinions of these cases to fit with the facts shows a thought process completely devoid of reason.
It got me thinking about the whole UVA case and the lies that the reporter so easily swallowed from “Jackie,” the woman who was supposedly raped. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the Rolling Stone Magazine article and the facts are being picked apart but that is not the real story. The real story is that liberal rags like the Rolling Stone mag, the liberal media, and liberal politicians in general are so used to getting away with lies, exaggeration, and twisting the facts to suit their agenda that they don’t even bother to conceal it anymore (if they ever did is perhaps debatable).
Yes, the Right focuses on facts and results, and the Left on feelings and intents.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter

NY Times columnist Frank Bruni celebrates Easter with an anti-Christian rant:
But in the end, the continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. It prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since — as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing.
Really? These are the folks who are always insisting that homosexuality is not a choice, but now faith, disgust, and God's law are all choices now?

There are no advances of science and knowledge that have any bearing on whether homosexual behavior is a sin. All he cites is someone with a gay re-interpretation of the Bible:
Evaluating its sparse invocations of homosexuality, he notes that there wasn’t any awareness back then that same-sex attraction could be a fundamental part of a person’s identity, or that same-sex intimacy could be an expression of love within the context of a nurturing relationship.

“It was understood as a kind of excess, like drunkenness, that a person might engage in if they lost all control, not as a unique identity,” Vines told me, adding that Paul’s rejection of same-sex relations in Romans I was “akin to his rejection of drunkenness or his rejection of gluttony.”
It seems to me that drunkenness and gluttony can be as much a part of someone's identity as homosexuality. Same with a lot of other sins.

Here is where the NY Times gets nasty:
Gold told me that church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.”

His commandment is worthy — and warranted.
So it is not enuf that Indiana has same-sex marriage and that its only major city has LGBTQIA-friendly anti-discrimination laws. If there is any florist, baker, pizza maker, or church leader who still thinks that homosexual behavior is sinful, then he "must be made" to change his beliefs.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Sodomize Intolerance

A NY Times article on gay intolerance had this picture, showing a protester with the sign saying "Sodomize Intolerance". Sailer has located previous usage of such a sign in 2008.

“Sodomize Intolerance” is brilliant. Sodomy can be good or bad, depending on whether you believe in that sort of thing. Intolerance is usually a bad thing, unless you are being intolerant of someone’s intolerance, and not being intolerant of someone’s intolerance of intolerance. Put the words together and they sound profound and stupid at the same time. You cannot tell if it is supposed to be ironic. Best slogan I have heard in months.

Update: Another Indiana protester sign said, “You can’t clarify hate.” Really? So once these leftist bigots think that you are a hater, then nothing you say or do will make any difference. You cannot clarify your opinion.

A TV network had to apologize for this:
In a transcript provided to Business Insider, McGuirk calls Cook "this hypocrite, this bigot hypocrite," referring to the Apple chief's statements against religious freedom laws expressed in a Washington Post editorial and a series of Twitter statements. ...

"He sells products to Iran," McGuirk explained. "He sells products to Saudi Arabia where they execute people if they're gay."

McGuirk argued that Cook "won't allow these religious people to exercise their freedom," and challenged Cook to stop selling products in countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Iran, where "they not only dump on women and treat them as second class citizens, but as I said, they would execute gay people."

The apology was delivered on-air by McDowell earlier today.

"The Fox Business Network would like to make it clear that we in no way believe that [Cook is a bigot]. Mr. Cook runs a company that is an American success story and Apple has become a worldwide brand," she said.
I agree that Cook is a bigot. Yes, Apple is an American success story, but that makes his bullying all the more despicable.

If a baker were asked to bake a cake with Nazi or Commie or Ku Klux Klan symbols on it, then I would say that he should not have to do it. Yes, you can call it discrimination, but it is also freedom to associate with your beliefs. There used to be landlords who would not rent to opposite-sex couples living in sin. That is probably not even legal anymore, but it ought to be legal to make such decision without being second-guess by govt bureaucrats.

A small Indiana pizza restaurant got tricked into answering a press hypothetical question about catering a gay wedding, and now they are fleeing for their lives.

On the subject of free speech, here is another leftist feminist trying to suppress it:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote on her website that the 1971 book on bomb making, which may have aided the terror suspects in some small way, should be "banned from the Internet.”

The senator seems to fail to realize that not only has The Anarchist Cookbook been in print for decades (it’s sold on Amazon!), but also has openly circulated online for nearly the same period of time. In short, removing it from the Internet would be impossible.
The book does have bomb-making recipes, but I am told that some of them are quite dangerous, and would require a lot of experimentation if you really want to make a substantial bomb and not kill yourself. But if you are willing to do the experimentation, then there is no way to suppress the info on the chemistry of explosives. Fortunately, bombs are not that easy. The 2 Boston Marathon bombs only killed 3 people.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Quantity or quality parenting time

I follow the scientific evidence on parenting practices, and the sad fact is that there is barely any evidence for some practices being better than others. Nearly all parents believe that their nurturing is making a positive difference, but we cannot prove it, so the difference is almost surely a lot less than you think.

Here is the latest, from economist Justin Wolfers in the NY Times:
The latest salvo in the mommy wars is that all that time you spend parenting just doesn’t matter. But it’s a claim that, despite the enthusiastic and widespread coverage by news media outlets that include The Washington Post, Vox, The Guardian, The Independent, The Globe and Mail, NBC News, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times’s Motherlode, does not hold water.

The claim that parenting time doesn’t matter is the bottom line of a single recent study by a team of sociologists who suggest that child outcomes are barely correlated with the time that parents spend with their children. It’s essentially a nonfinding, in that they failed to find correlations that could be reliably discerned from chance.
This nonfinding largely reflects the failure of the authors to accurately measure parental input.
Wolfers hires a high-end nanny to take care of his kids, so he is convinced that the extra money is worth it.

This study has been reported as reassurance to moms that quality time can substitute for quantity time.

His main complaint is that the study used statistical sampling. Of course all the other social science studies do also. Wolfers is just an economist, and not an expert on child-rearing.
This is why most high-quality studies of parenting time focus instead on how often parents read to their children, play with them or help them with homework over a period of a month or longer — long enough to represent their different approaches to parenting.
Those high-quality studies have never been able to show any benefit for parents reading to kids or helping with homework.

For the evidence that nurturing is irrelevant, see the book, The Nuture Assumption. excerpted here and discussed on PBS TV.

For evidence that genetic influences are much more important, see JayMan.

In animal studies, it has been noted that some species invest a lot of resources into a small number of offspring (K-selection), and others just produce as many offspring as they can (r-selection). You see these differences in people also. This is quality v. quantity again.

These trade-offs now are a lot different than for primitive societies. Today almost all kids get enuf nutrition, care, and schooling to become prosperous adults. Rich families prefer to have very few kids, and to spend a lot of money on nannies and private schools. It is debatable whether all that money is of any significant long-term benefit to the kids. As JayMan explains, the major influences appear to be genes, then maybe the external non-family environment, and then random unexplained factors.

Parents are more eager than ever to get their kids into an elite college and pay immense tuitions, but NY Times columnist Frank Bruni has a book out on how this is all a foolish waste.

Razib Khan also cites The Nuture Assumption, and writes:
But one thing bothers me about these treatments in the press: the totally confounded nature of causality. Consider:
The one key instance Milkie and her co-authors found where the quantity of time parents spend does indeed matter is during adolescence: The more time a teen spends engaged with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores.
The implication above is that “time engaged with mother” → “less delinquent behavior.” But we don’t know that that’s causal at all. Rather, it could be a correlation between a third factor, term in “prosociality,” and these two variables. More generally if you look for references to genetics in the original paper you won’t find it. It strikes me that one of the reasons that parental investment doesn’t seem to matter so much is that there are many outcomes they just aren’t effecting, because their primary contribution in heritable, with a major secondary contribution to the environmental context in which children grow up (the “non-shared environment”).
Yes, the causality is probably backwards. The lesser dilinquent personality is causing the greater engagement with the mother.


Update: The Dilbert cartoonist has some sensible comments, and a link to the original study:
Today I read an opinion that I didn’t understand, criticizing the media for not understanding a study. So I read that study. I didn’t understand it. And I still have an opinion. Because this is the Internet, damn it.

The topic of the study is whether or not the amount of time a mother spends with a kid matters to the outcome. Seems important to know, right?

Maybe not.

It might be better NOT knowing the truth in this case. Because the truth is about an average. And no individual is average.

If you tell mothers that the average mom does X to get a good result, peer pressure causes all moms to do X, or to feel guilty for not. Even if it kills the kid. Music lessons are a valuable learning experience for some kids and torture for others.

What are the odds that one flavor of parenting will be the right fit for every culture, every kid, every parent, and every situation? I’m going to say zero.

Let’s try this experiment: If your kids are well-behaved and mine are not, let’s switch kids for a month and see what happens. Will your awesome parenting fix them? Good luck with that, sucker!

The sameness illusion is what makes most management fads start out smart and morph into pure ridiculousness. The thing that worked for Apple is not necessarily going to work for… well, anyone else.

Career advice has the same limitation. I could tell you every trick I used to become a famous cartoonist but it would not help you become one. You and I are different people in different times and different circumstances. Your strategy needs to be crafted for your situation.
I am a big believer in scientific research, and we have some legitimate resarch on parenting methods. But most of it is nearly worthless for giving practical advice to parents.