Thursday, October 23, 2014

N. Dakota fight over shared parenting

I previously mentioned a N. Dakota shared parenting initiative, which seems like good common sense to me, but here is a politician opposing it:
In 90 percent of divorces, parents peacefully agree to a division of parenting time. Mothers usually end up with the major responsibility for primary residential parenting.

Measure No. 6 has been proposed by folks who are unhappy with the apportionment of parenting time refereed by the impartial judiciary.

So they are proposing a new rule — equal parental rights and responsibilities, equal parenting time, equal primary residency and equal decision-making, unless the non-custodial parent can be proved unfit beyond a reasonable doubt.

Equality sounds good, but Measure 6 would change the impartial system now in place. And because over 80 percent of parents with primary residential care are women, the burden imposed by this measure would fall primarily on them.
The burden? I think he means that the child care burden is already on women.
To fight an unfit parent, women would have to pay for the lawyers and investigators to prove the unfitness of a hostile parent. Unless they can come up with the money, they will have to live with the constant harassment of a disgruntled ex-spouse.

We don’t know what would constitute”unfit” under the standard of “clear and convincing evidence.” Would abuse make a parent unfit? Would an alcohol or drug addict be unfit? How about a convicted sex offender? Or a parent who terrorizes spouse and/or children?

All unfitness, such as mental cruelty or spouse abuse, can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Under the present system, the impartial judiciary takes into account the degree of fitness, meaning that parents already get the opportunity to demonstrate their fitness for equal involvement.
Actually the term "unfit" has a well-understood legal meaning, as courts have been finding parents unfit for centuries.

His main point here is that the moms should not have to prove their accusations against the dads, in order to win child custody in family court.

I post this as yet another example of people being against basic principles, like innocence until proven guilty.

The ND politician is also criticized by Robert Franklin.

The Intellectual Conservative blog argues:
In one of my blog posts on Measure 6, the North Dakota initiative that would establish a presumption of equal parenting in the state, I pointed out that any monetary support given to the opposition (or proponents) by the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) would violate the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Keller vs. State Bar of California. Keller holds that a mandatory state bar association’s activities are limited to those directly related to the regulation of the legal profession in the state. To do otherwise would be to violate the free speech rights of members who are required to pay dues, but disagree with the position taken by the state bar. Justice Rehnquist outlined to what expenditures mandatory bar associations (like that of North Dakota) were limited:
Thus, the guiding standard must be whether the challenged expenditures are necessarily or reasonably incurred for the purpose of regulating the legal profession or “improving the quality of the legal service available to the people of the State.”
Needless to say, equally shared parenting by divorced parents in North Dakota has nothing whatever to do with regulating the behavior and education of attorneys in the state. About that there can be no serious dispute.
Custody trials over the BIOTCh make a lot of business for lawyers. A presumption of joint custody would simplify a lot of legal disputes.

The author of that seems to be Rachel Alexander, who also wrote Guide: How Fathers Can Win Child Custody. It has many useful tips. She is also part of Leading Women For Shared Parenting. I think that she is someone's second wife, and thus understands the male view in this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Child support official busted for corruption

The San Jose California newspaper reports:
SAN JOSE -- Santa Clara County supervisors Tuesday announced they have fired the director of child support services after looking into his alleged abuse of travel privileges for personal gain.

The dismissal of John Vartanian came less than a month after county officials suspended him with pay following a TV news report in which he was criticized for his use of a personal credit card for official travel that allowed him to benefit from accumulated airline and hotel credits. ...

The county launched its probe following a scathing report on Vartanian's travel payments by NBC television's local investigative unit in early September. The station reported that he had charged more than $55,000 in county travel and hotel costs for himself and other county employees to his own credit card and then collected the travel and hotel points earned for his private use. County policy states that "frequent flier credits earned by county employees for travel on county business should be applied toward future county travel."
and adds:
As I searched for more info about this person, I found this website showing he got paid $300k last year. This is the local NBC station's investigative report into the director's travel funds. Meanwhile, the county child support services dept gets lots of negative yelp reviews. Gotta say...a corrupt and lousy director.
Wow, a salary of $300k is at least twice what I would have expected. And yes, the reviews are pretty bad. (I did not even know that Yelp reviews govt agencies.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time-outs allegedly cause brain damage

The current dogma among child shrinks is that time-outs are good, and spanking is bad. However some say that spanking is physical abuse, and a time-out is emotional abuse. Here is a Time magazine article:
In a brain scan, relational pain — that caused by isolation during punishment — can look the same as physical abuse. Is alone in the corner the best place for your child?

Time-out is the most popular discipline technique used by parents and the one most often recommended by pediatricians and child development experts. But is it good for kids? Is it effective? Not according to the implications of the latest research on relationships and the developing brain.

Studies in neuroplasticity — the brain’s adaptability — have proved that repeated experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain. Since discipline-related interactions between children and caregivers comprise a large amount of childhood experiences, it becomes vital that parents thoughtfully consider how they respond when kids misbehave. Discipline is about teaching – not about punishment – and finding ways to teach children appropriate behavior is essential for healthy development.

So what about time-outs? In most cases, the primary experience a time-out offers a child is isolation. Even when presented in a patient and loving manner, time-outs teach them that when they make a mistake, or when they are having a hard time, they will be forced to be by themselves—a lesson that is often experienced, particularly by young children, as rejection. Further, it communicates to kids, “I’m only interested in being with you and being there for you when you’ve got it all together.”
Here are some psychologists disagreeing:
Unfortunately, none of the authors’ conclusions regarding the rejection of time-out or the use of “time-in” are directly supported by research evidence, nor do they reflect a clear understanding of correctly implemented time-out.

Decades of carefully controlled studies support the efficacy of time-out when used correctly with regard to the child’s developmental and emotional status and in the context of a broader behavioral management program. Time out appropriately used involves explaining to the child during a non-crisis time how and why the procedure is being used. At the end of the time out the child should be praised and rewarded for following the procedure, a parent hug works well at this point—akin to what Siegel and Payne Bryson refer to as Time In.
Maybe so, but Decades of carefully controlled studies also support the efficacy of spanking when used correctly.

I am just trying to follow the science here, and from what I see, there is very little evidence that any one parenting strategy is better than any others. I have my preferences, but I cannot prove that they are best. The so-called experts who try to tell us what is best are not following the science.

This NPR This American Life podcast discusses a related problem in schools:
Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.

Monday, October 20, 2014

British man cannot publish memoir

The British do not have free speech:
A British performing artist has been forced to shelve a book based on his experiences of childhood sexual abuse after his ex-wife obtained an injunction to prevent their young son from reading it. In a case that is alarming freedom of speech campaigners and which publishers say is deeply disturbing, the court of appeal has ordered that the artist cannot publish key sections of the book until the issue has been decided at trial.

However, his ex-wife’s lawyers dispute claims that the case could set a precedent undermining the rights of other authors, arguing that it is concerned only with the rights of one child, who has a number of health problems, who they say would suffer catastrophic psychological distress were he to read parts of his father’s work. ...

Let me flesh this out for you a bit. A well-known artist in the UK is publishing a memoir, including sections that deal with the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. His ex-wife obtained the injunction on publishing that factual account of his life because she believes it will harm, by her lawyer's own admission, a single child the two had together. That child is suffering a wide range of health problems, including Asperger's Syndrome, and the ex-wife is suggesting that reading the father's account would cause further harm.
This could not happen in the USA, right? We have a First Amendment for free speech.

As a comment notes, Asperger Syndrome is not even a health problem, and not an indication that a kid is going to suffer from a book being published.

One of our free speech protections is the anti-SLAPP laws that California and other states have passed. Here is how we pass such laws in our great country:
It is said that politics make strange bedfellows; so what could be stranger than Democratic State Senator Justin Jones, a Mormon with family values, and Marc Randazza, a porn attorney and a speech advocate for pedophiles whose client list includes Phillip Greaves author of "The Pedophile's Guide”, Kink.com, Bang Bus and Milf Hunter. So what brings these two opposite personalities together: money and politics.

"Two years ago, my partner, Ron Green, introduced me to a guy. That guy’s name was Justin Jones. Justin was running for State Senate in Nevada. … I shook his hand and said “if you will sponsor an Anti-SLAPP bill, I’ll vote for you, and I’ll contribute to your campaign.” He promised me that he would do so. Within days of taking office, he made good on his promise. Today, Nevada has the strongest Anti-SLAPP law in the country"
Okay, not the best example. Maybe the lawmakers were going to pass an anti-SLAPP bill anyway.

Here is another British anti-free-speech law:
British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stated his intentions today to raise the criminal penalty for cyber trolling in the UK up to a maximum two year sentence, in an attempt to halt the spread of online abuse happening on social media and other sites.
Image via The Next Women

The Malicious Communications Act, which was passed 10 years ago, allows for a maximum penalty of only six months against cyber trolls and other internet troublemakers. Under the law, cyber trolls are defined as "Those who subject others to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material online."

This includes harassment and stalking, but each broadly defined case is decided by a magistrate or, in severe cases as proposed under the new bill, a crown court -- which means that cyber trolling is open to subjective definition on a case-by-case basis.
Under American law, it is a crime to directly and credibly threaten bodily harm to someone, but not just to use offensive language or name-calling.

We have a special law against threatening to kill the President, and sometimes seemingly frivolous cases get investigated and prosecuted. (Christine Wright-Darrisaw was upset about a child custody case, but just look at her picture and you can see that she is just a loon.) I was surprised when the Santa Cruz Sentinel ran this cartoon on page A9, Oct. 10, 2014. DeCinzo gets a lot of complaints about his mocking local officials, so obviously the newspaper gives him a lot of freedom, but this cartoon begs for a call from the Secret Service. But the agency has been taken over by incompetent affirmative-action feminists who cannot do their jobs, so I guess they are too busy with their own scandals to call.

If any SS agents are reading this blog, please don't call me. I do not believe in threatening the President. You should have called the newspaper 10 days ago. The cartoon shows Obama looking like Abe Lincoln when he got shot, but Leon Panetta just wrote a book detailing Obama incompetence in foreign policy. Since you apparently did not call the newspaper, I assume that you consider this cartoon a non-threatening joke.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Choosing male therapist over dad

Slate's Prudie advice column says:
Q. ... I am a single mother with a 14-year-old son. ... I am losing sleep and I don’t want to succumb to letting his father deal with this, but what should I do?

A: First, watch the coming of age movie, The Squid and the Whale, then read Portnoy’s Complaint for some background on teenage boys ... Your son should see a male therapist—he needs intervention with someone who can be a trusted, calm, helpful adult.
I am skipping the details, because they are implausible, but I agree with CH:
Prudie’s (aka Emily YOFFE’s) answer is mostly anodyne, though she can’t resist the femtard compulsions to demonize the biological father and rationalize cutting him out of the picture, and to suggest “therapaaaaaah” for the boy. Yes, that’s the answer to all the problems that boys cause empowered, independent women: Therapy. While you’re at it, why not pry his eyeballs open and have him watch 48 hours of uninterrupted footage of suffrage marches and The View?

“I don’t want to succumb to letting his father deal with this”

Gotta love the pathological, unrelenting selfishness of single moms. Yes, don’t succumb to letting the kid have a talk with his real dad about something that his dad would intuitively understand. Better to yell at him for soiling your cuntrags.
I post this as an example of today's simple mom mindset. Not only does the mom avoid the dad, she gets advice to prefer a male therapist for the boy.

Here is another letter:
Q. Last Week’s “Want to Go Alone”: I’m the woman from last week’s chat who took a promotion and transfer without telling my husband. My husband is a big fan of yours, and he correctly guessed who had written that question. He’s upset, but our marriage has been shaky for so long that I think we’re both relieved. I wanted to mention that I did get help and a diagnosis of post-partum depression after our daughter was born. The meds I took only numbed my dark thoughts toward the baby. Even though I continued therapy after my maternity leave finally ended, I was still unable to develop positive feelings for her. I feel that my moving will be good for us all.
Huhh? This woman is so insane that she has to take anti-psychotic drugs to prevent her from killing her own baby. And she tells strangers than she is leaving her husband and daughter before telling them. No therapist tells her how sick she is.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teenage sexting illegal

Hanna Rosin has been writing about the end of men, and now she takes on teenage sexting:
In her report on the Louisa County scandal for The Atlantic, Rosin set out to address the question, why are so many teenagers sending each other nude photos? How much does teen sexting have to do with actual sex? How should parents, and communities, respond? And how do child pornography laws apply?
We do have the peculiar situation of extremely harsh child porn laws, and yet millions of teenagers violate them every day, and do not see anything wrong with it.

Rosin says that all attempts to bring the law into line with common practice have failed, as prosecutors and others want to be able to impose severe punishments for the slightest offenses.

Here is a recent jury conviction:
A 56-year-old man with a history of child molestation, convicted last month of viewing child pornography at the Santa Cruz Public Library, was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison.

The ruling by Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann was not popular with the about 26 people gathered in the court, many associating themselves with the community group Take Back Santa Cruz.

In order to reach the 14-year sentence, Volkmann set aside consideration of seven out the previous eight sex molestation-related convictions of Matthew Graham.
Apparently the public wanted a stiffer sentence. 14 years in prison for some naughty web browsing on a library computer seems extreme to me. (This guy did other bad things in the past, but presumably he was already punished for those.)

It is hard to explain to kids:
Santa Cruz police officer Brent Northrup has been trying to make kids aware of the dangers inherent in social media for years.

Sometimes, Northrup said, kids can be the victim and the perpetrator of crime.

"Kids generally do not think that the activity they're doing is a crime, so I built an awareness campaign for kids," Northrup said during a presentation Wednesday. "I found that kids didn't care, in one ear and out the other, until it directly affected them."

Wednesday, Northrup found a much more receptive group in his 60-plus member adult audience gathered in the Santa Cruz Police Department's Community Room.
Sure, the retired folks can see that sending naked pictures is a bad idea.

Here is another opinion that laws are extreme (in the UK):
'We've gone nuts locking up sex offenders': Celebrated author John Grisham, 59, has claimed that some men who viewed child porn online are 'not real pedophiles' and 'would never harm anybody', but are still called sex offenders and sent to prison
Rosin tells the story of a small time cop that investigated some school sexting, and then discovered that following the law would put every kid in town on a sex offender list for the rest of his or her life.

Most criminal law is based on mens rea, the concept hat the criminal has a guilty mind and knows that he is doing something wrong. We should either convince teenagers that this is wrong, or change the law to only criminalize the really perverted child porn.

Update: Grisham forced to apologize. You just cannot say that we have gone too far, I guess.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Statistics on stable marriages

Some of this may be obvious, but here are the tips:
Randy Olson, a Computer Science grad student who works with data visualizations, writes about seven of the biggest factors that predict what makes for a long term stable marriage in America. Olson took the results of a study that polled thousands of recently married and divorced Americans and and asked them dozens of questions about their marriage (PDF): How long they were dating, how long they were engaged, etc. After running this data through a multivariate model, the authors were able to calculate the factors that best predicted whether a marriage would end in divorce. "What struck me about this study is that it basically laid out what makes for a stable marriage in the US," writes Olson. Here are some of the biggest factors:

How long you were dating: (Couples who dated 1-2 years before their engagement were 20% less likely to end up divorced than couples who dated less than a year before getting engaged. Couples who dated 3 years or more are 39% less likely to get divorced.); How much money you make: (The more money you and your partner make, the less likely you are to ultimately file for divorce. Couples who earn $125K per year are 51% less likely to divorce than couples making 0 — 25k); How often you go to church: (Couples who never go to church are 2x more likely to divorce than regular churchgoers.); Your attitude toward your partner: (Men are 1.5x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner's looks, and women are 1.6x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner's wealth.); How many people attended the wedding: ("Crazy enough, your wedding ceremony has a huge impact on the long-term stability of your marriage. Perhaps the biggest factor is how many people attend your wedding: Couples who elope are 12.5x more likely to end up divorced than couples who get married at a wedding with 200+ people."); How much you spent on the wedding: (The more you spend on your wedding, the more likely you'll end up divorced.); Whether you had a honeymoon: (Couples who had a honeymoon are 41% less likely to divorce than those who had no honeymoon)

Of course correlation is not causation. For example, expensive weddings may simply attract the kind of immature and narcissistic people who are less likely to sustain a successful marriage and such people might end up getting divorced even if they married cheaply. But "the particularly scary part here is that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is well over $30,000," says Olson, "which doesn't bode well for the future of American marriages."
A commenter once said that atheists have good marriages, but this study favors church goers.

Biggest lesson here is to have a large cheap wedding. Altho I suspect that the wedding has nothing to do with it, but is just an indication of the sort of community support that makes for a better marriage.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Harvard professors protest feminist policy

I mentioned that liberals and feminists were attacking basic American rights of due process, and now it is too much even for the leftist Harvard law faculty, the Boston Globe reports:
In July, Harvard University announced a new university-wide policy aimed at preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. ...

In response, 28 members of the Harvard Law School Faculty have issued the following statement: Among our many concerns are the following: ...

Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation. Here our concerns include but are not limited to the following:

■ The absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense at an adversary hearing.

■ The lodging of the functions of investigation, prosecution, fact-finding, and appellate review in one office, and the fact that that office is itself a Title IX compliance office rather than an entity that could be considered structurally impartial.

■ The failure to ensure adequate representation for the accused, particularly for students unable to afford representation.

Harvard has inappropriately expanded the scope of forbidden conduct, including by:

■ Adopting a definition of sexual harassment that goes significantly beyond Title IX and Title VII law.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CPS goes after acquitted Nigerian

I regularly defend the concept of a man being innocent until proven guilty, but the concept is under assault on many fronts. Here is a man who wrongly spent 2 years in jail, was acquitted, and still considered guilty by CPS. A Las Vegas newspaper reports:
Victor Fakoya can finally go home.

For months, the Nigerian immigrant and, as of last Friday, U.S. citizen has battled Clark County prosecutors for the right to live with his family. He previously spent two years in jail before a jury acquitted him of abuse and murder charges.

On Thursday, after five months of legal wrangling, a Family Court hearing master allowed Fakoya to be reunited with his wife and two daughters and to move into his Las Vegas home.

Attorney Kristina Wildeveld, who represents Fakoya, said case workers from the Department of Family Services will observe the Fakoyas over the next seven weeks. A final hearing to close the case is set for June 30.

Fakoya said he was relieved he now could be with his family. He said he is still bothered that he was targeted by the district attorney's office, and he believes his rights were violated.

Since Fakoya's December acquittal in the death of a 2-year-old boy, prosecutors have refused to let him live with his family unless he admitted to their accusations in a related Family Court child protection case.

But Fakoya refused to admit to something he didn't do, vowed to fight the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and spent every night for the past five months away from his wife and two daughters.

Earlier this month, after weeks of public scrutiny of the matter, the district attorney's office agreed to resolve the child protection case.

Fakoya pleaded no contest to a Family Court petition that stated he did not call 911 in a timely manner after realizing 2-year-old Daniel Jaiyesimi was unconscious.

The delay was a couple of minutes. When Fakoya saw Daniel had become unconscious, his first phone call was to the boy's father. A minute later, he called his wife, who told him to call 911. He then immediately called 911.
Law prof E. Volokh adds:
Note that, in principle, it’s quite possible that if, for instance, there’s a 90% chance that someone was guilty of murdering a child living in his home, he would (1) be rightly acquitted (since his guilt can’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt) but (2) rightly have his parental rights terminated (since he could be shown to be an unfit parent by clear and convincing evidence). And even if there’s only, say, a 60% chance that he was guilty, he could well have his parental rights sharply curtailed, for instance by being limited to supervised visitation or some such.
Under this sort of standard-of-proof reasoning, a man could be innocent of domestic violence or child abuse in the eyes of the criminal justice system, but still get blamed for it in family court or with CPS. Indeed there are several prominent football players with this problem, where they face punishment by the NFL, NCAA, or the college.

It is possible to explain the OJ Simpson verdicts that way. Maybe he was acquitted in the criminal trial because there was not proof beyond reasonable doubt, and had to pay in the civil trial because there was evidence meeting the lower standard. Yes, that is possible, but unlikely. A better explanation is that the trials were handled very differently.

The Nigerian man is trying to sue for his persecution, and got a judge to say:
As the Ninth Circuit recognized in Brittain v. Hansen, “It is long-settled that custodial parents have a liberty interest in the ‘companionship, care, custody, and management’ of their children.” This interest does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the state. In Smith v. City of Fontana, the Ninth Circuit panel wrote that § 1983 permits parents to challenge “a state’s severance of a parent-child relationship as interfering with their liberty interests in the companionship and society of their children.” “This constitutional interest in familial companionship and society logically extends to protect children from unwarranted state interference with their relationships with their parents” because “[t]he companionship and nurturing interests of parent and child in maintaining a tight familial bond are reciprocal, and we see no reason to accord less constitutional value to the child-parent relationship than we accord to the parent-child relationship.”
He has done well to get that opinion, but it is still very unlikely that he will collect damages.

You would think that CPS and the DA would back off, once the jury voted not guilty. The man spent 2 years wrongly in jail. Isn't that enough?

No, that is not how they think. They had to vindicate themselves by forcing the guy to admit to something wrong. That is, to make him admit that it was a mistake to call they boy's dad before calling 911.

Here is another case that is contrary to the principle of innocense until proven guilty. Apparently it is common for a prosecutor to try a man on a long list of charges, get a jury conviction on just a couple of the counts, and then convince the judge to sentence the guy as if he were guilty of everything. But only 3 of our 9 US Supreme Court justices stand squarely in favor the concept of only being sentenced for the actual crime convictions:
Today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Jones v. United States. At issue was whether a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights are violated when a court imposes a sentence that, but-for a judge-found fact, would be unreasonable. Here the defendants were acquitted of a conspiracy to distribute drugs charge, but the judge nonetheless made a finding that the defendants had participated in such a conspiracy when determining their sentences for other drug offenses.

The Court’s denial of certiorari in Jones drew a dissent from three Justices — Scalia, Thomas and Ginsburg. This may seem like an odd lineup, but all three have adopted a fairly uncompromising approach to the Sixth Amendment, arguing repeatedly that the Amendment’s jury trial right requires that all elements of a crime and sentencing facts be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus all three were understandably troubled by the lower court’s decision in Jones. Interestingly enough, they could not get a fourth justice to support a cert grant.
I doubt that we will see another President with the guts to appoint another Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crying rape to win child custody

There are feminists who claim that family court are so pro-male that abuser usually win child custody. Their real complaint is that a mom's phony allegation does not always win. Here is a recent New York case, where the mom was not believed:
[Mother] testified that [Father] threatened to advise Ms. J that he could possibly be the father of the child and not the donor that she and [Mother] chose. [Mother] testified that Ms. J first found out about [Father] when [Mother] received the Petition for Paternity and their relationship ended after the DNA results.

[Mother] testified that during the paternity proceedings she testified that there was another man, B. B., hereinafter “Mr. B,” who could be the father of the child. She testified that she and Ms. J chose Mr. B as their donor, and that Mr. B signed a contract. [Mother] testified that in the contract with Mr. B, he agreed to relinquish all rights to the child and to donate his sperm.

[Mother] testified that after the results of the DNA test, she tried to deny [Father]‘s paternity and informed the Court that [Father] raped her. [Mother] testified that she never filed a criminal complaint against [Father] in relation to the alleged rape.

[Mother] also testified, at the May 17, 2013 paternity hearing that she did not want to ruin [Father]‘s life, however she did not think it was fair that he be a part of the child’s life when she planned to have this child with her partner, Ms. J. [Mother] testified there was not supposed to be a father in the child’s life, and [Father] was not supposed to be the child’s father.

Subsequently, at the June 24, 2014 hearing, [Mother] testified that she did not want someone who raped her, specifically the [Father], to be a part of the child’s life. During the May 17, 2013 hearing, [Mother] also testified, and affirmed during her testimony on June 24, 2014 that [Father] is a “good guy” and a mentor to her. [Mother] testified she lived with Ms. J in a one bedroom apartment, in Staten Island, while they dated. ...

The Court did not find [Mother]‘s testimony credible. [Mother]‘s demeanor was inconsistent with the seriousness of what she was alleging and testifying to in Court. In speaking of the alleged rape, and the child’s visitation with the [Father], she often smiled and laughed; showing a lack of seriousness for the situation at hand.

[Mother] also made many contradicting statements regarding the [Father] and the importance of the relationship between the [Father] and child. The Court finds [Mother]‘s testimony incredulous. ...

The Court finds that the child enjoys a loving relationship with both her parents and ought to continue to have frequent contact with both parents.

Wherefore, based upon the foregoing, this Court finds that given the factors enumerated above, the child’s best interests warrant that sole legal and physical custody of the subject child, C.J., be granted to [Father], P.P., with parenting time granted to [Mother], C.G., in accordance to this Court’s Final Order of Custody and Visitation that follows.
I expect feminists to cite this case to say that rapists win custody of the result of the rape. They are expanding the definition of rape:
With an effort also underway by the American Law Institute to reconsider when an assault becomes rape, some legal experts predict that changes to criminal laws in many states may not be far off.

As a social issue, sexual assault has seen a significant uptick in attention over the past year or so. There have been a flurry of federal actions, for example, aimed at countering rape in the military, prisons, immigration detention centers and on campuses.

But there is still little uniformity on how to define rape, which makes counting rapes, and countering and even discussing the issue, difficult. In many contexts, such as the major federal law on prison rape, “sexual assault” is used instead of “rape” because it covers nonconsensual acts like kissing and groping that fall short of many people’s definition of actual rape. Until 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation still considered rape a crime committed solely against women, a definition that has since been expanded.

Over all, states have broadened the definition of rape and assault more than the federal government, according to a survey of the legal system conducted by AEquitas, a nonprofit group that provides prosecutors with resources on violence against women.
Even the French have protestors against a statue of an American sailor kissing a girl:
French feminists are demanding that a giant statue of a sailor kissing a nurse – based on an iconic photo of a kiss in Times Square at the end of World War II – be removed from a war memorial site in Normandy because it allegedly depicts a sexual assault.

The 25 foot, 13 tonne sculpture, titled 'Unconditional Surrender', is based on a picture by Alfred Eisenstaedt that shows a sailor on VJ-day in 1945 kissing a woman with one arm around her waist and another behind her neck.
Someday a lecherous glance is going to be considered rape.

There are women who argue that a woman's accusations should always be believed. Here is another that it hard to take, from celebrity Amanda Bynes:
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Amanda Bynes' claim that a microchip implanted in her brain made her tweet bad things about her father could be key evidence in keeping the actress in a mental facility, according to experts.

Bynes, 28, was admitted to a Pasadena, California, facility on an involuntary emergency psychiatric hold Friday, but a probable cause hearing must be held this week if her doctors want to keep her there.

Her admission to Las Encinas Hospital came hours after Bynes posted a series of tweets alleging her father verbally, physically and sexually abused her. However, she disavowed responsibility for the accusations in a tweet a short time later: "My dad never did any of those things The microchip in my brain made me say those things but he's the one that ordered them to microchip me."
She needs a microchip in her brain. Too bad the technology is not available yet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vote against bad judges

Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian is on the ballot for reelection as a California appeals court judge in San Jose. She is the worst, as reported by the San Jose newspaper:
Even in a district known for rejecting appeals by criminal defendants, Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian stands apart.

In the history of the 6th District Court of Appeal, no justice has defended convictions more consistently. Bamattre-Manoukian votes for reversal only in about 1 percent of the cases she considers, a Mercury News analysis shows. In the opinions she has written, the reversal rate drops below 1 percent. ...

It is not just that Bamattre-Manoukian votes so often for convictions. Repeatedly, her opinions arouse controversy for the way she arrives at her conclusions. ...
I had her on an appeal, and I can personal attest for her being an evil witch, and is unfit to be a judge. I have criticized her here and previously.

I will vote against her. Most of the other judges on the ballot are pretty bad also. If in doubt, just vote against them all.

Unfortunately, judges almost always get re-elected. Rose Bird got kicked out in 1986, but that was possible because she made some high-profile unpopular decisions, and there was an organized campaign by political and business groups against.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Incapacitated by emotion

A popular new book, The Rosie Project: A Novel, has this in the free first chapter:
I decided it would be helpful to provide an example, drawing on a story in which emotional behavior would have lead to disastrous consequences.

“Imagine,” I said, “you’re hiding in a basement. The enemy is searching for you and your friends. Everyone has to keep totally quiet, but your baby is crying.” I did an impression, as Gene would, to make the story more convincing: “Waaaaa.” I paused dramatically. “You have a gun.”

Hands went up everywhere.

Julie jumped to her feet as I continued. “With a silencer. They’re coming closer. They’re going to kill you all. What do you do? The baby’s screaming –”

The kids couldn’t wait to share their answer. One called out, “Shoot the baby,” and soon they were all shouting, “Shoot the baby, shoot the baby.”

The boy who had asked the genetics question called out, “Shoot the enemy,” and then another said, “Ambush them.”

The suggestions were coming rapidly.

“Use the baby as bait.”

“How many guns do we have?”

“Cover its mouth.”

“How long can it live without air?”

As I had expected, all the ideas came from the Asperger’s “sufferers”. The parents made no constructive suggestions; some even tried to suppress their children’s creativity.

I raised my hands. “Time’s up. Excellent work. All the rational solutions came from the aspies. Everyone else was incapacitated by emotion.”
While this is meant as humor, there is research indicating that high empathy is a predictor for low socio-economic status:
Recent research suggests that lower-class individuals favor explanations of personal and political outcomes that are oriented to features of the external environment. We extended this work by testing the hypothesis that, as a result, individuals of a lower social class are more empathically accurate in judging the emotions of other people. In three studies, lower-class individuals (compared with upper-class individuals) received higher scores on a test of empathic accuracy (Study 1), judged the emotions of an interaction partner more accurately (Study 2), and made more accurate inferences about emotion from static images of muscle movements in the eyes (Study 3).
This is plausible. To get ahead in life, sometimes you have to shoot the baby, metaphorically. A lot of people are incapacitated by emotion.

People think that empathy is a good thing. In others. Because they want others to understand and sympathize with them. For a lot of people, empathy is a handicap.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

How universal is empathy?

I had a court psychologist say that I lack empathy. In deposition I tried to find out exactly what he meant, and it turned that that empathy was just a meaningless buzzword that he used against people. He could not even define what he meant.

It turns out that the word has several quite distinct meanings, and it is culturally dependent. Anthropologist Peter Frost writes about whether empathy is universal across cultures:
The question is tricky because empathy has three components:

1. pro-social behavior - willingness to help people out, hospitality to strangers, acts of compassion.

2. cognitive empathy - capacity to see things from another person's perspective and to understand how he or she feels.

3. affective or emotional empathy - capacity not only to understand how another person feels but also to experience those feelings involuntarily and to respond appropriately. Failure to help a person in distress can trigger a self-destructive sequence: anguish, depression, suicidal ideation.

Pro-social behavior is very widespread among humans and may even be universal. It isn't unconditional, however. It can be used strategically and is often influenced by previous experiences with the person in question.

Cognitive empathy seems much less universal. In Oceanic cultures, for instance, there is both an unwillingness and an inability to know what other people feel. A person's inner feelings are said to be private and unknowable (Lepowski, 2011).

Affective empathy has an even more restricted range. If the range of empathic guilt is indicative, it may reach its highest incidences in the "guilt cultures" of northwestern Europe. In these cultures, guilt outweighs shame as a way to enforce social rules. What's the difference between the two? You feel shame when someone from your community sees you breaking a rule. With guilt, no witnesses are needed. You feel guilty when no else is watching or even when you merely think of breaking the rule. ...

In short, the Chinese participants could see things from another person's perspective and understand how that person felt. There is much less indication, however, that they involuntarily experienced the feelings of other people, especially feelings of distress. This is not to say they were incapable of such emotion transference, but rather that it seems limited in scope, perhaps being confined to family members and not extended to strangers.

In general, empathy is perceived in China as a moral duty and not as an involuntary emotional response.
In my experience, the people who talk about empathy have the least amount of it. For example, among the court psychologists and other shrinks who talked about empathy, none of them ever showed a capacity to see things my perspective or to understand how I feel. They showed no signs of the other kinds of empathy either.

While it may seem better to have more empathy, some of our prevailing norms say the opposite:
It’ll seem counter-intuitive* to some, but lower class people in this study were more empathic. When you have fewer resources, the external environment exerts more influence on your life outcome. A well-off person can insulate himself from trouble (hi, Cheap Chalupas!) in ways that a poorer person can’t. So the poorer person needs to be more aware of potential dangers (and benefits), and that means being better at reading people to determine if they will hurt or help him.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Facebook threats might be free speech

Fellow angry dad Dan Brewington served about 3 years in an Indiana prison for his blog complaining about the family court judge and psychologist who took his kids away. It seemed obvious to me that he was just trying to hold them accountable for their unjust and incompetent actions. The prosecutor claimed that his behavior could be perceived as threatening. I think that he is currently awaiting action on a US Supreme Court petition, but he is very unlikely to succeed.

The Supreme Court hates family court cases, but they like free speech cases, and it just decided to hear a case on Facebook threats, as I mentioned in June:
Another free speech case involves the question of what constitutes a threat on Facebook. The facts are pretty hairy. Anthony Elonis was convicted of making threats against his estranged wife and an FBI agent. His posts said things like, "I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts."

Soon he moved on to suggest that he might make "a name" for himself with a school shooting. "Hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class. The only question is ... which one?"

At that point, a female FBI agent paid him a visit, which provoked a post in which he said that he'd had to control himself not to "slit her throat, leave her bleeding from her jugular in the arms of her partner."

At Elonis' trial, the judge instructed the jurors that to convict, they had to conclude that this was not merely exaggeration. His Facebook posts needed to be statements that a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of an intention to inflict bodily injury. Elonis contended that he was just mimicking rap songs — indeed, he often linked to songs with his post. He argued that he should not be convicted without actual proof that he intended to threaten, intimidate or harm.

The intent standard that Elonis argued for might make it much more difficult to win a conviction for making illegal threats. But whatever rule the justices come up with, observes University of Virginia law professor Leslie Kendrick, it will likely apply not just to Facebook and Twitter, but to all forms of communication — including people speaking face to face or publishing in the newspaper. In other words, says Kendrick, when crafting a rule, the justices will ask if the standard "is going to chill people who engage in speech that is borderline but ultimately protected."

Protected, that is, by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Most court experts seem to believe that Elonis may win because of the culture of today's social media. "The context of rap music these days suggests that what Elonis put out there really isn't all that unusual for what's going on on Facebook and what's going on in the popular culture," says professor William Marshall of the University of North Carolina School of Law.

After all, the current Supreme Court may be viewed as conservative, but it has, with little or no dissent, already upheld a fair amount of "fringe speech" — whether it's crush videos, demonstrations at military funerals or the sale of violent video games to kids.

Not everyone, however, agrees that the Facebook threat case is in the same category. Former Solicitor General Gregory Garre notes that Elonis' posts "ticked off all the boxes" — domestic violence, school shootings, violence against a federal officer. Garre says he "wouldn't be surprised if [Elonis' Facebook posts] struck the justices as something very problematic."
So I guess that this is a borderline case under current court precedents.

Brewington did not post anything about slitting anyone's throat. I do not agree with posting such hostility, altho I have not seen the context so I cannot really judge. If someone posted a comment on this blog about wanting to slit someone's throat, I would delete the comment.

Nevertheless we need a strong Supreme Court statement in favor of free speech, as long as honest men like Brewington are being prosecuted for merely using the internet to hold public officials accountable for their bad actions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

New hearsay exception for CPS agents and teachers

The US Supreme Court rarely hears any case related to family law, parents rights, child abuse, or anything like that. It just agreed to hear a case related to CPS powers.

First some background. The 6th Amendment to the US Constitution says:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In particular, you cannot be convicted on hearsay. If someone claims that you robbed a bank, then the actual witness with first-hand knowledge has to testify at your trial, and answer whatever questions you have about what he saw. A police report is second-hand info, and is considered inadmissible hearsay.

Here is the case:
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear an appeal from Ohio in a case in which a Cleveland man's conviction for child abuse was overturned.

Prosecutors from Cuyahoga County appealed to the Supreme Court in May after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against them in October 2013.

The case centers on whether a child's out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher's questions about potential child abuse qualify as statements subject to the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause.

The case involved Darius Clark of Cleveland, who was convicted in 2010 of four counts of felonious assault, two counts of child endangering resulting in serious physical harm and two counts of domestic violence.

Prosecutors charged Clark in March 2010, saying he injured his girlfriend's 3-year-old boy and the boy's 22-month-old sister. Authorities were notified after teachers at the boy's day school saw his injuries and questioned him about who had hurt him.

At trial in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the young boy was found incompetent to testify, but the court permitted his statements to be admitted through testimony of the teachers.

Clark ultimately was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals overturned Clark's conviction, holding that the use of the boy's statements violated Clark's right to confront his accusers.

The Ohio Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, agreed.
That seems right to me. If the only evidence is some teacher hearsay about the incoherent babbling of a 3yo child, then the man should go free.

In most real cases, there would be other evidence as well. Such as medical reports on the injuries, and testimony that the kid was in his care.

In recent years, there has been pressure to make exceptions to the 6A right. To make domestic violence convictions easier, 911 tapes have been admitted on the grounds that they are "nontestimonial", even tho they are hearsay. Apparently there are now at least 4 votes on the US Supreme Court to create another exception:
The 4-3 decision by the state supreme court prompted a sharp dissent from Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor who wrote that “the very people who have the expertise and opportunity to recognize child abuse are now prohibited in Ohio from testifying about any out-of-court statements that a child makes about abuse or neglect when the child, for whatever reason, is unable to testify,” adding that children in Ohio “will go unprotected.”
Occasionally a witness gets murdered and a gangster goes free. No 6A exception for that. But now an exception for teachers to give hearsay because they are child abuse experts? That's crazy. This is what we get from women judges.

I had a CPS child abuse expert testify at my trial that I repeatedly ran my car over a sleeping dog, without injuring the dog. No, she never saw it. No one ever saw it because it is impossible. Dogs don't do that. But she claimed to have confirmed it by asking a child.

She writes:
Child abusers often evade prosecution ... Children in Ohio will go unprotected. ... I can only hope that four justices [of the US Supreme Court] vote to accept that invitation [to reverse the Ohio decision, and allow kindergarten teacher hearsay].
She now has those 4 votes to consider the appeal, and I am all in favor of locking up child abusers, but I really don't think that we need kindergarten teacher hearsay and an exception to the Bill Of Rights to do it.

The 6A does not say:
the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him, unless some recognized expert like a kindergarten teacher has hearsay to make it unnecessary.
I have no confidence in our US Supreme Court. We now have three liberal women on it, and the next appointment might be from Hillary Clinton.

Here is the current version of the exception:
Statements are nontestimonial when made in the course of police interrogation under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. They are testimonial when the circumstances objectively indicate that there is no such ongoing emergency, and that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to establish or prove past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.
This seems like an outrageous distinction to me, but it is even crazier to say that a kindergarten teacher interrogating a child is just like a policeman meeting an emergency.

The US Supreme Court briefs for this case are being posted.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Physician mom arrested for fight with daughter

Here is a St. Louis arrest:
A high-ranking physician at St. Luke's Hospital has been charged with two counts of felony child abuse/neglect and one count of misdemeanor assault, authorities said.

Dr. Carrie C. Morrison, 53, was charged Wednesday with the offenses that stem from an incident Sept. 21 at Morrison's home in the 17000 block of Sugarberry Court, Chesterfield police Lt. Michael Thompson said.

The incident involved Morrison and her daughter, a teenager under 18, Thompson said.

Thompson said the daughter alleges that Morrison pushed her down steps, and shoved her into a wall and a metal table at their Chesterfield home.

Morrison is director of breast imaging and mammography at St. Luke's, also located in Chesterfield. She has no discipline record with the state medical board.

Hospital officials, Morrison and her attorney all were unavailable for comment. She is free on $5,000 bond and set to appear Dec. 2 in St. Louis County circuit court.
The comments are skeptical:
It's really sad that we cannot discipline our children without getting charged with child abuse!

Nathan E Wolins I do NOT believe she wanted to harm her daughter... Like I said the teen probably pulled away from her and lost her balance and fell back .... then tumbled down the steps thinking her mom pushed her....

Of course it could be made up. I've never heard of a respected professional losing their temper, have you? Then again, it may not. Authorities will decide. Why is everyone jumping to the mom's defense. Most parents I've seen are.....not competent.

I'm quite sure all these allegations are not true and I bet with out a doubt that teenager is and has been acting out of control

Dr. Morrison is an outstanding, compassionate physician, and I am certain she will handle this difficult situation with the grace for which for she is well-known by her colleagues.

I'd send the teenager away.... Boarding school

She looks guilty

LOL...How embarrassing.

I'm gonna go with impossibly hot theory.

Be reasonable folks why would a prominent physician, well respected never had any other arrests or problems with the law suddenly get a child abuse charge. I think the "child" is using the new laws to create trouble.

This is news why? Is it because the woman charged is a prominent physician thus a respected member of the community, or is it because she's impossibly hot and you wanted a photo of her to draw clicks and views? I'm just plain not impressed that the PD chose to publish this as if it is any of their or anyone else's business. This is a private family affair at this point, ...

I don't believe this story... The kid could have slipped or pulled away from her mother when she slipped and fell... I don't buy this crap.. When a teen is in a argument with a parent they pull away and back up when your mad and coming towards them... Teen's are ridiculous and want attention..

The Post Disgrace does it again. $10 says the kid got drunk, fell down the stairs and bonked her head, then felt the need to make up a story to cover it up. She will likely soon find out just how irresponsible her actions were. The PD has zero business pre-judging and printing articles like this.

What - news is not, you know, news?
The P-D did not pre-judge. WAIT - you knew that and yet...

The Paper post's these stories when they do NOT have all the facts...
They post what the police tell them..

Thug

That teen can kiss her designer jeans and that state of the art cell phone goodbye! And maybe that car her mother provides for her, also!

Are we sure its not a disgruntled teen making up stories. I wouldn't judge her too fast.

Claims? Perhaps you should have waiting until something concrete like evidence shows up before you start sniping at the Doctor.

Adrian Peterson just called, he wants his rod back.
I don't know about this. I would not say that she is innocent just because she is a good looking woman with a respectable job taking pictures of women's breasts all day. But it seems likely that the bratty kid was misbehaving, with no need for police intervention.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

French say kids need mom and dad

The French approve of politicians having extramarital affairs and of babies out of wedlock, but they are not ready for lesbians raising test-tube babies. Today they are protesting:
The French are mobilizing for October 5, as article after article condemns the recent Appeals Court decision on medically assisted procreation (PMA) and surrogate motherhood (GPA). ...

There is indeed a violation of French law when two women go to Belgium or elsewhere to undergo artificial insemination with a donor, such insemination being forbidden in France. This violation is real but it isn't the only one or the most serious. In today's case, the violation consists mainly in the action of conceiving a child in such a way as to deprive him of a father, not to be burdened with a father and to replace the father with the mother's female partner. The child is thus deprived of his paternal heritage in order to become adoptable. So they are not asking for an adoption, they are hijacking an adoption, and it is this violation of adoption that the Appeals Court has today validated. It had until now refused to validate these procedures for making adoptable babies even when they involved heterosexual couples.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Iceland-Suriname men discuss women

I mentioned how the UN was using a Harry Potter actress to promote feminism, and now here is the result:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iceland is announcing a U.N. conference on women and gender equality — and only men and boys are invited.

The country's foreign affairs minister told the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders on Monday that the January "barbershop" conference will be unique, "as it will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only men leaders to discuss gender equality." ...

Iceland and Suriname fall at nearly opposite ends of global rankings on women's rights. The Global Gender Gap Report 2013 compiled by the World Economic Forum ranked Iceland top in gender equality in economic, health and other matters. Suriname, the tiny South American country, was ranked 110th.
This is all so silly, it sounds like a joke.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Lesbians hate going to black barber

A couple of small-town white lesbians get some mail-order sperm from the big city, so what could possibly go wrong?
A white Ohio mom is suing a sperm bank for sending her vials from a black donor, saying her biracial 2-year-old will be stigmatized by her family and the "intolerant" town where they live and has to travel to get her hair done. ...

After she got pregnant, Cramblett called to order eight more vials that her partner, Amanda, would use to try to get pregnant with a sibling for Payton.

It was during that conversation that she learned the bank had previously sent No. 330 to her doctor, who then confirmed that donor had been used.

"Jennifer was crying, confused and upset. All of the thought, care and planning that she and Amanda had undertaken to control their baby's parentage had been rendered meaningless. In an instant, Jennifer's excitement and anticipation of her pregnancy was replaced with anger, disappointment and fear," the court papers say.
She could have terminated the pregnancy when she got the bad news at 5 months, and demanded the Grade A blue-eyed blond-hair white sperm she bought. Under Roe v Wade, an unexpectedly black baby can be aborted thru-out the 9 months of pregnancy, just like a Downs baby.

No, they kept and loved the baby, and everything was fine until age 2, when the white lesbians discovered that half-black girls have black hair that is a nightmare to maintain. And to lesbians raising a girl, nothing is more important than hair.
The child, Payton, is now 2 years old and already experiencing prejudice in Uniontown, where 98 percent of the residents are white, court papers say.

"She carried her daughter Payton for nine months. She has bonded with the child and she loves Payton very much," her lawyer, Thomas Intili, told NBC News on Wednesday.

"But she lives in an all-white community in eastern Ohio. She did not encounter any African-American people until she entered college. Not all her friends and family members are racially sensitive."

As an example of the difficulties the family faces, the suit cited hair care for the toddler.

"Getting a young daughter's hair cut is not particularly stressful for most mothers, but to Jennifer it is not a routine matter, because Payton has hair typical of an African American girl," the suit says.

"To get a decent cut, Jennifer must travel to a black neighborhood, far from where she lives, where she is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome."
It used to be that cultural norms were against lesbians having a baby, and against white rearing a black or mulatto child. There were probably about 50 reasons for those norms. Add this to the list: White lesbians might be uncomfortable going into a black neighborhood for a haircut.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Silly fatherhood promotion

I found this ad in my local Santa Cruz newspaper, Nov. 23, page A7. I guess it had some space to fill, and did not have a paid ad.

What does it mean? The link is to www.fatherhood.gov. That fatherhood is all about tic-tac-toe? I appreciate that someone is trying to recognize the importance of dads, I guess, but I do not think this helps.