Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New shared parenting initiative

N. Dakota has a shared parenting initiative on the Nov. ballot:
North Dakota Shared Parenting for Kids (NDSP4K) has one goal - To provide children the opportunity for a full relationship with both parents regardless of the parents present marital status. To accomplish this objective NDSP4K has gathered more than enough signatures from our state's citizens to put the measure on the November ballot.

Here is the NEW language the measure will add to our existing child custody statutes:

1. It is the policy of the State of North Dakota that no requesting biological or adoptive parent shall be denied equal parental rights and responsibilities, equal parenting time, equal primary residential responsibility, and equal decision making responsibility of a child in a custody case. It is the policy of the state of North Dakota to presume that parents are fit and an award to both parents of equal parental rights and responsibilities, equal parenting time, equal primary residential responsibility, and equal decision making responsibility of a child is in the best interest of the child. The presumption of fitness as a parent shall only be rebutted upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence. The court shall support departures from equal parenting time with written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Fit parents may petition the court for a hearing which the court shall grant to support this statute. The provisions of this section control other provisions of state law that conflict with or are contrary to its provisions.

For the purpose of parental rights and responsibilities, the best interests and welfare of the child is determined by the court's consideration and evaluation of all factors affecting the best interests and welfare of the child. These factors include all of the following when applicable:
a. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and child and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance.
b. The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
c. The child's developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet those needs, both in the present and in the future.
d. The sufficiency and stability of each parent's home environment, the impact of extended family, the length of time the child has lived in each parent's home, and the desirability of maintaining continuity in the child's home and community.
e. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. f. The moral fitness of the parents, as that fitness impacts the child.
g. The mental and physical health of the parents, as that health impacts the child.
h. The home, school, and community records of the child and the potential effect of any change.
i. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the court may give substantial weight to the preference of the mature child. The court also shall give due consideration to other factors that may have affected the child's preference, including whet her the child's
preference was based on undesirable or improper influences.
j. Evidence of domestic violence. In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall consider
evidence of domestic violence. If the court finds credible evidence that domestic violence has occurred, and there exists one incident of domestic violence which resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the use of a dangerous weapon or there exists a pattern of domestic violence within a reasonable time proximate to the proceeding, this combination creates a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has perpetrated domestic violence may not be awarded residential responsibility for the child. This presumption may be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child require that parent have residential responsibility. The court shall cite specific findings of fact to show that the residential responsibility best protects the child and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence. If necessary to protect the welfare of the child, residential responsibility for a child may be awarded to a suitable third person, provided that the person would not allow access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court. If the court awards residential responsibility to a third person, the court shall give priority to the child's nearest suitable adult relative. The fact
that the abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse may not be grounds for denying that parent residential responsibility. As used in this subdivision, "domestic violence" means domestic violence as defined in section 14-07.1-01. A court may consider, but is not bound by, a finding of domestic violence in another proceeding under chapter 14-07.1.k. The interaction and interrelationship, or the potential for interaction and interrelationship, of the child with any person who resides in, is present, or frequents the household of a parent and who may significantly affect the child's best in terests. The court shall consider that person's history of inflicting, or tendency to inflict, physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, on other persons.
l. The making of false allegations not made in good faith, by one parent against the other, of harm to a child as defined in section 50-25.1-02.m. Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular parental rights and responsibilities
dispute.
2. In any proceeding under this chapter, the court, at any stage of the proceedings after final judgment, may make orders about what security is to be given for the care, custody, and support of the unmarried minor children of the marriage as from the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case is equitable.
3. “Equal parenting time” is defined as a rebuttable presumption of approximate and reasonable equal time-sharing of a child with both of the child’s parents or a mutually agreed and signed parenting plan between the parents.
This is better than I expected. I hope it passes. This is a good sign. It has some support from shared parenting organizations.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The bitter ex-wife of Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D’Souza made a couple of anti-Obama movies, and then the feds charged and convicted of a felony for over-donating to a political campaign. I don't have any opinion about that, but I was struck by the this letter attempting to get him a stiff sentence:
Dear Judge Berman:

I write in response to the sentencing memorandum and attachments submitted by my former husband, Dinesh D'Souza, in support of his upcoming sentencing hearing, currently scheduled for September 23, 2014. I was married to Dinesh D'Souza for more than 20 years and together with him for over 26 years. I know Dinesh better than anyone and can attest to his flawed character and lack of truthfulness. Please accept this letter as my effort to correct the record Dinesh creates by his false and misleading submissions to the Court regarding me, the extent and nature of his criminal conduct, and my relationship with our daughter, Danielle D'Souza. I trust the Court will carefully consider my letter and impose a fair, appropriate and just sentence. ...

The most painful part of his conduct is his use of our daughter to bolster his character. Dinesh has allowed, and perhaps encouraged, her to submit a letter to a federal judge that he knows is patently false. I am hurt and dismayed by untrue statements in our daughter's letter.

Contrary to the statement made in Mr. D'Souza's sentencing memorandum, it is my former husband who has an abusive nature. In one instance, it was my husband who physically abused me in April 2012 when he, using his purple belt karate skills, kicked me in the head and shoulder, knocking me to the ground and creating injuries that pain me to this day.

Further, it was Dinesh who filed the dissolution-of-marriage proceeding on October 4, 2012 - not weeks but several months after he committed the federal offense for which he is to be sentenced. And while he justifies his criminal behavior due to being overly stressed from our marriage, it was Dinesh who admitted to having an affair with Ms. Joseph and getting engaged at that time, while we were still married - all before he filed for divorce. We were not separated or legally separated as he has made these false claims in public and to the media. Dinesh lied to me, he lied to the government, he encouraged others to lie for him, and now he has allowed our daughter to submit multiple false statements to a federal court in order to avoid punishment. Dinesh D'Souza is not a truthful person.
There ought to be a law against spouses and ex-spouses testifying. Note that she goes so far as to call their daughter a liar.

So she dated him for 6 years and then married him for 20 more. That makes her an expert on his flawed character?! If she knew his flawed character better than anyone, why did she marry him?

I have heard other women rant endlessly on how their ex-husband is a horrible psychopathic scoundrel, and how they don't understand why others do not recognize how bad he is. He is really good at fooling people, they say.

Sorry, not convinced. The more scathing the attack, the more it convinces me that Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.

There are also thousands of comments on the net about a female game designer who got trashed by an ex-boyfriend. Supposedly she betrayed him and seduced a reviewer in order to get a favorable review. And she is a social justice warrior. And her game is depressing. And she is a woman encroaching on a man's world. I don't want to pile on here. I very much doubt that she deserves the all the shaming. For details see #GamerGate.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Study shows memories can be false

Domestic disputes often involve dubious recollections of long past events. This science study shows that such recollections are dubious, and can be manipulated:
As you might already know, it’s pretty easy to give people false memories. It’s why “past life regression” sometimes seems to work, and why even eyewitness testimony can be called into question in court. Here, a group of scientists attempted to introduce false beliefs to make college students wary of the Disney character Pluto. To do so, they used survey results to make some of the subjects think they were likely to have had a creepy encounter with someone dressed up as Pluto: “For Bad Pluto subjects, the profile first described a number of likely childhood fears (loud noises, receiving public displays of affection, and getting into trouble) and then informed subjects that on the basis of their profile, the following excerpt might be relevant to them. The excerpt was in the form of a newspaper article that told of a Pluto character who abused hallucinogenic drugs and ‘developed a habit of inappropriately licking the ears of many young visitors with his large fabric tongue’ in the 1980s and 1990s.” They found that the people who thought that Pluto had ‘violated’ them were less willing to pay for a Pluto souvenir, while those who were made to think that the ear-licking incident was positive were willing to pay more. That’s okay, Pluto — just like Mickey, I can’t be mad at ya!

Pluto behaving badly: false beliefs and their consequences.

“We exposed college students to suggestive materials in order to lead them to believe that, as children, they had a negative experience at Disneyland involving the Pluto character. A sizable minority of subjects developed a false belief or memory that Pluto had uncomfortably licked their ear. Suggestions about a positive experience with Pluto led to even greater acceptance of a lovable ear-licking episode. False beliefs and memories had repercussions; those seduced by the bad suggestions were not willing to pay as much for a Pluto souvenir. These findings are among the first to demonstrate that false beliefs can have repercussions for people, meaning that they can influence their later thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.”
Here is a recent recovered memory prosecution in Iowa:
A Bettendorf woman accused of molesting a 5-year-old boy at least 10 times a decade ago is being held in the Scott County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Chesna Lipkowitz, 36, was arrested Thursday night and appeared Friday in Scott County District Court. She is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of lascivious acts with a child.

The victim, now 15 years old, recently reported the alleged abuse to authorities. He said he was about 5 or 6 years old when the incidents occurred.
In this case, the woman admitted it. Otherwise, I would not know what to believe.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Not much debate on surrogates

The NY Times has been reporting on the surrogacy baby-making business, as I have commented here and here, and now it reports:
Surrogates and Couples Face a Maze of Laws, State by State ...

While surrogacy is far more accepted in the United States than in most countries, and increasing rapidly (more than 2,000 babies will be born through it here this year), it remains, like abortion, a polarizing and charged issue. There is nothing resembling a national consensus on how to handle it and no federal law, leaving the states free to do as they wish.

Seventeen states have laws permitting surrogacy, but they vary greatly in both breadth and restrictions. ...

California has the most permissive law, allowing anyone to hire a woman to carry a baby and the birth certificate to carry the names of the intended parents. As a result, California has a booming surrogacy industry, attracting clients from around the world.

In many states, surrogacy remains a political third rail, drawing opposition from anti-abortion groups, opponents of same-sex marriage, the Roman Catholic Church, some feminists, and those who see surrogacy as an experiment that could have unforeseen long-range effects.
Then the paper has a debate on Hiring a Woman for Her Womb
People unable to bear children have increasingly turned to women who bear children for them, often by transferring an embryo created by in-vitro fertilization. Because legal and social views on surrogacy vary from nation to nation (and even state to state), prospective parents often engage surrogates in the United States and in developing countries. Controversy has clouded this issue.

What can be done to insure that birth surrogacy is safe, ethical and protective of both the birth mother and the intended parents?
It is not much of a debate. A reproductive issue lawyer says that it is fine as long as the law requires lawyers to be in on the action. A bioethics professor says:
Some say just let women choose if they want to be a paid surrogate. I agree.
He has concerns about poor people, but he mainly does not believe we should have any poor people, and surrogacy has little to do with it. A psychiatrist says that surrogacy is fine as long as everyone has counseling. A Japanese-American female law professor says:
At the least, surrogacy should only move forward when children born of surrogacy will have legal parents and citizenship assured, when surrogates’ health, well-being and daily lives are prioritized, and when intended parents are protected against discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation, or other status.
So as long as the LGBTQIA lobby has full access to the baby factories, then what other ethical issues could there be?

There are people who object to the whole business as immoral baby selling, but they did not make it into this debate.

At 2,000 babies per year in the USA, the number is not large enough to have a significant social impact. By comparison, we have about a million abortions per year. As surrogacy is legal in some states and illegal in others, people are free to compare the effects of those laws.

Most people have little knowledge of this business. The laws are being shaped by lawyers and physicians in the business, with occasional opinions from the gay or pro-life lobbies.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Divorce Corp conference on family law

I posted the Divorce Corp movie trailer in January. Now the same guys are hosting a Family Law Reform Conference in Virginia on Nov. 15-16. One of the topics is "Are Family Courts the New Mafia?".

I don't know the backstory here, but the more attention they draw to the issues, the better.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Child victim has to pay child support

I did not know that a man could be liable for back child support for a child that he did not even know about. Or that he could be liable even if he was a child statutory rape victim.

Helen Smith writes in USA Today:
Imagine that your 14-year-old daughter engaged in sex with the 20-year-old man down the street. Anger would hardly begin to describe your feelings, but then imagine how you and your daughter would feel if she became pregnant and the man who abused her got custody of the child and your daughter had to pay him child support for the next 18 years.

This would not only be unthinkable in our society but most people would say that it bordered on abuse or worse. Yet, as reported in a recent Arizona Republic news story, this is what happened to Nick Olivas, who happened to be 14 at the time he had sex with a 20-year-old woman. The difference, of course, is he's not a girl.

At the age of 21, Olivas found out he had a child and that he owed over $15,000 in back child support plus interest. He was rightfully upset, stating: "It was a shock. I was living my life and enjoying being young. To find out you have a 6-year-old? It's unexplainable. It freaked me out."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Best interests of the dog

I frequently complain about the BIOTCh, but this case is so ridiculous it sounds like a joke. UCLA law prof. Eugene Volokh writes:
Generally speaking, family courts have been quite reluctant to consider “pet custody” arguments; they much prefer to treat pets as property, to be allocated as part of a property settlement (like a car or a house), than as akin to children, for whom a custody decision should be made. But Hamet v. Baker (Vt. Apr. 25, 2014), from the Vermont Supreme Court, essentially endorses a “best interests of the dog” standard, much like the best interests of the child standard used in custody cases, albeit in the context of a property division. (The court also endorses consideration of whether the dog was one spouse’s property before the marriage — mentioned in a passage that I exclude from the excerpt — and the emotional connection between the dog and each spouse, but those seemed to be equally applicable, or equally inapplicable, in this case, as they would be in many cases.)

I wonder, though, whether the court’s decision was really based on any objective evaluation of the dog’s best interests (or how that could be determined, short of cases of outright abuse or neglect), as opposed to the judge’s personal view of how he feels a dog should be treated. Read it yourself, and see what you think:
At the conclusion of the hearing, the court awarded the dog to husband. It found that either party would provide the dog with a good life. It gave a slight edge to husband because the dog is accustomed to the routine of going to the clinic every day. The court balanced that factor against the dog’s familiarity with the marital home, which the parties agreed wife would receive as part of the property settlement.

It found that husband “treats the dog like a dog,” while wife is more doting and treats the dog like a child. The court concluded that the dog would do better with husband’s balanced attitude towards the animal.
Of course the judge was applying his personal prejudices, with Vermont supreme court endorsement. It is like saying, "The boy is black, and the dad treats him more like a black boy while the mom treats him like a white boy, so I am giving custody to the dad."

The Vermont supreme court explains:
Because a pet is property, the family division must assign it to one party or the other. Like other aspects of the property division, the assignment is final and generally not subject to modification….

An order of property division is final and not subject to modification. In contrast to enforcement of other kinds of property division orders, enforcement of an order requiring ongoing sharing of a family companion animal would require the power of modification, since the animal’s well-being in the context of changing circumstances could be a substantial factor in the analysis.

Unlike child custody matters, there is no legislative authority for the court to play a continuing role in the supervision of the parties with respect to the care and sharing of a companion animal.
The term "sharing of a companion animal" is only used by the animal rights crowd. It sounds as if the court really wants the authority to take over the best interests of the dog as if it were a human child.

Under the law, the dog is just a piece of property. The usual way to divide an indivisible property in divorce court is to give each party an option to buy out the other's interest. They should also have the opportunity to agree to a contract to share the property if they wish, as presumably a contract to share a dog would be enforceable with the possibility of a civil lawsuit. But the judge did neither of those things. He quite literally ruled in the best interest of the bitch.

Notice especially the court complaint about a lack of "legislative authority for the court to play a continuing role in the supervision of the parties". I say that the court should have no such authority over parents, either. The way I read the law, the judge is supposed to make a final child custody determination, and then the parents are supposed to go about their lives with full authority as parents.

Apparently not. Parents under the jurisdiction of the family court are like prisoners on parole, with some bossy judge having a continuing role in their supervision. I am talking about supervision of the parents here, not the kids. The only free parents are the single parents with sole custody.

This case is very revealing for its attitudes towards parents and dogs. It also helps convince me that the system is not reformable. Do any politicians, judges, or other authority figures even object to the family court exercising a continuing role in the supervision of parents? We are doomed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Harry Potter girl rants at the UN

A dopey Harry Potter girl now speaks for UN Women:
Watch Emma Watson Deliver a Game-Changing Speech on Feminism for the U.N.

Earlier this summer, fresh from college graduation, Emma Watson, was named a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. ...

The actress gave an impassioned speech on feminism and gender at the U.N. headquarters in New York this weekend to launch the “HeForShe” campaign which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally.

Watson’s speech, which was met with a thunderous standing ovation, ...
Here is her speech:
I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents — but the boys were not.

When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.

When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”

When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.

Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
She says that feminism means equal rights and opportunities, but that has little to do with her gripes. Do boys complain about being called bossy or being sexualized? Did those girls have an opportunity to play sports? Does she really want those 18yo boys to express their feelings?

Here is the video.
In 1997, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.

But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?
I am surprised that the male attendance was as high as 30%. Why would some Chinese man want to hear Hillary Clinton babble about women's rights?

Her web site says:
A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality

Now it’s time to unify our efforts. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.
So gender equality means that one half the planet supports the other half?!

She does give some lip service to men's rights, but this UN group is not going to do anything about that. It is all about promoting special privileges for women.

If you like female rants, there are women's sites that are orders of magnitude more popular then the men's sites. Here are some recommended articles from one:
Bra Company May Finally Have Your Boobs Figured Out

You've Been Pooping All Wrong

We Need to Talk About Women Who Regret Motherhood

Over 22 Years Old? Men Find You Less and Less Attractive Every Day.

What Former Sluts Tell Their Daughters About Sex

Your Boobs Are Poised for a Major Breakthrough

Out With the Old, In With the New

​How to Get Over an Ex By Obsessing About Them Even More

Dear Men: Having a Daughter Does Not Make You a Girl Expert

You Prefer to Date Fat Guys So You Don't Feel So Bad About Yourself
There is some crazy stuff there.

Update: Dilbert criticizes her.

So does CH:
The first quote, from this past Tuesday’s gender equality speech (guffaw), reads “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive.”

(Never mind that this assertion makes absolutely no sense if you think about it for longer than a second.)

The second attribution, from two years ago, reads “But now Emma Watson has said she doubts she will date a British man ever again – because they are too shy. [...] Instead an American will come up to her straight away and suggest a date – a boldness she finds attractive.”

#HeForShe? More like #HeForHeadCases. ...

DON’T LISTEN TO WHAT WOMEN SAY, WATCH WHAT THEY DO.
He is right about that. Female advice is very often contradicted by behavior.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The perverted side of spanking

I have wondered why spanking upsets some people so much. Now I have an explanation.

Jillian Keenan writes in Slate:
I have a spanking fetish. In my case, that means I like to be spanked, usually with a hand, belt, hairbrush, wooden spoon, switch, or paddle. It sexually gratifies me. I’ve had submissive fantasies for as long as I can remember, and it’s part of my identity. I consider my kink to be my sexual orientation. ...

So I have a question: If it’s “somewhat pedophilic” when my adult husband consensually spanks me in a simulated “punishment,” what should we call it when parents do the same physical thing to actual children in an actual punishment?

I realize that many well-meaning parents will disagree with me, but spanking kids is gross. ...

A fresco at the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping, which dates back to approximately 490 B.C., depicts an erotic spanking. ...

It disturbs me that when I Google the word spanking, I find far more websites about sex than I do about parenting, yet most people still think the act is appropriate to inflict on children.
Okay. Live and learn. I guess if I had a kink erotic obsession with spanking, then I'd be against spanking kids also. Weird.

I wonder what she thinks about breast-feeding infants.

I knew that millions of women read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I didn't know that they associate sexual fantasies with child discipline. We live in a nation of perverts.

I wonder if our VP Joe Biden knows that some women like to be hit. He recently said:
It's never, never, never the woman's fault. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman. No means no ... The one regret I have is we call it domestic violence as if it's a domesticated cat. It is the most vicious form of violence there is, because not only the physical scars are left, the psychological scars that are left. This whole culture for so long has put the onus on the woman. What were you wearing? What did you say? What did you do to provoke? That is never the appropriate question.
He has aligned himself with the anti-equality feminists. Some feminists used to advocate equality, but it appears that most of them today do not want women held responsible for their behavior in the same way as men.

Even the CDC admits that domestic violence is the woman's fault about half the time. How does he explain the lesbian-on-lesbian or Hope Solo domestic violence? Worse violence includes murder, stranger muggings, and serious injuries. Yes, I know Biden is always saying stupid things.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stable marital homes have better behaved kids

The UK Telegraph reports on the obvious:
Children raised in stable marital homes are better behaved than classmates brought up by unmarried parents, according to a major government-backed study.

An analysis of 3,000 children from the early years to the age of 16 has shown those with married parents are more confident, kind and responsible while showing lower levels of anti-social attitudes and hyperactivity.

The study, led by academics from Oxford and the University of London, said there was a “significant tendency” for poorer behaviour management among children from single-parent families and those brought up by unmarried mothers and fathers.

Researchers said it suggested married parents were able to provide a more stable domestic environment to nurture children’s social attitudes.

It also emerged that pupils from large families – three or more siblings – were worse behaved than only children.
The leftist-feminist-LGBTQIA lobby try to deny this stuff, but all the studies show it.
But researchers said “family influences” and financial income were the “strongest predicators of exam success” at all key stages of children’s education – from five to the age of 16.

Pupils whose parents had university degrees earned 141 total GCSE points more than students whose parents had no qualifications at all – almost three times the effect of pre-school education.

The study – part of the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education project – also found that “family factors influenced behaviour and dispositions as well as attainment”.
Yes, family factors determine a lot. (I think they mean "predictor", not predicator.)
In terms of “self-regulation”, researchers said that being raised by unskilled parents had the biggest effect (-0.61) compared with those with professional parents.
How do they compare "unskilled parents" to "professional parents"? Do they mean parents doing unskilled labor, and parent employed doing professional services?
The Coalition said the findings reinforced policies designed to encourage more parents to enrol their children in some form of childcare. Currently, all three and four-year-olds can receive 15 hours a week free early education, while the entitlement is extended to the poorest two-year-olds.

Sam Gyimah, the Childcare Minister, said: “Before they have even worn their school uniform for the first time, a child’s life chances are being decided. Early education not only sets a child off on the right foot at school but, as this extensive research shows, has effects that last right into the workplace.

“No child should start school behind their peers.”
Sure, that is the socialist do-gooder message. But the reality is that some children start school behind, for "family factors" reasons that are determined 9 months before birth. That early education is a lot less significant, and maybe of no significance.

In other obvious research:
When it comes to a happy marriage, a new Rutgers study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials.
Yes, if the wife is unhappy, she will usually find a way to destroy the marriage. If the husband is unhappy, he is more likely to think that is his own problem. That is why marriage counselors are more likely to try to make the husband change in order to make the wife happy.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

He may be right, but her feelings matter

If your wife seeks marriage counseling, she is likely to get anti-man advice like this from Ask Amy:
DEAR DISTRAUGHT: When it comes to this kind of behavior and the way it makes you feel, does it matter who is "right"? (Hint: You get to define the boundaries of the marriage you want to be in.)

Your husband's characterization of his activities as just being "a guy" is an insult not only to you but to guys in general.
You think that you are in the right and that the shrink will back you up? Forget it. Even if the shrink does think that you are right, she won't say so. Instead she will say that the wife's feelings are paramount, that the wife has a right to define her needs to suit her own narcissism, that the husband has a duty to cater to those selfish feelings, and that it is an insult for a man to act like a man.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Every Southern black parent to be jailed

Yahoo reports:
On Sunday, Charles Barkley, speaking about Adrian Peterson's arrest for beating his four-year-old with a switch and leaving welts and bruises, said this: "I'm from the South. Whipping -- we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances." You can watch the full video below.

In a story published Monday, USAToday.com's Josh Peter writes that Peterson and childhood friend David Cummings still talk about one whipping in particular Peterson, then in middle school, received from his father.

Nelson Peterson received a call from school officials after Adrian had been disruptive in class. The father waited for the two boys near the school parking lot.

"His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him," Cummings said. The elder Peterson then removed his belt and whipped Adrian in front of more than 20 students, according to Cummings.

"We still talk about it to this day," Cummings said. "My dad was tough, but his dad was real tough."

"When Adrian showed out or was bad, he got a whupping," his uncle, Greg Peterson told Peter....

"I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make."
Traditionally a criminal conviction usually requires showing mens rea, and that is probably absent in this case.

The news media loves jumping on some stupid case like this. I just watched the Comedy Channel's Jon Stewart babble about Peterson, and he said:
This ain't Fermat's Last Theorem, which I may say is a notoriously difficult numerological proof concerning integer theory. I'll just give myself a wedgie.
It is a difficult number theory proof, not a numerological proof. He was just babbling nonsense.

Sometimes I cannot tell whether Stewart really is a foolish racist liberal Jew, or he just pretends to be one for comedic appeal.

Now that the NFL is supposed to do its own prosecution of bad behavior, so are universities. The Obama administration is forcing colleges to abolish the notion of innocence until proven guilty, and here is the WSJ describing the latest:
Princeton University looks set to become the latest campus to curtail the due-process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct, including rape and other violent assaults. ...

Such allegations would instead be handled by a three-person team acting as both investigators and jury. That trio would conduct separate interviews with the accuser, defendant and any other witnesses. Defendants would have no right to confront the accuser or other adverse witnesses. In a nod toward due process, the proposal stipulates that an accused student (as well as the accuser) would have the right to a lawyer, which is not the case under current policy. But the lawyer would be permitted to speak only to his client, not on his client's behalf.

The investigators would decide guilt or innocence, and a pair of deans would impose a sentence. The investigators would "have training in investigating and evaluating conduct prohibited under the policy," although precisely what kind of training is unspecified. We asked a university spokesman, who replied by email: "At this time it would not be appropriate to discuss what will or will not happen until the process is complete."
There is no need for this. If a crime has been committed on campus, just report it to the police like everyone else.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prosecuting the innocent

I used to think that everyone believed that citizens are innocent until proven guilty. Now I am worried that I am the only one.

Wash. Post columnist Dana Milbank writes:
McCulloch’s office has declined so far to recommend any charges to the grand jury. Instead, McCulloch’s prosecutors handling the case are taking the highly unusual course of dumping all evidence on the jurors and leaving them to make sense of it. ...

Proving a case of excessive force against a police officer is difficult, and I’m not in any position to determine Wilson’s guilt. But that doesn’t justify declining to prosecute such cases. ...

And McCulloch won’t have his prosecutors recommend even involuntary manslaughter? If he persists and if the governor won’t intervene, their behavior will confirm suspicions that justice is rigged.
This was the rational for prosecuting George Zimmerman -- pacify the angry black mob by bringing charges that you know to be probably false.

Feminists and liberal race-baiters are ganging up on the NFL with cases like this:
McDonald is out on bail while the case is under investigation by the district attorney's office. He is due in court on September 15 and has yet to be charged.

But none of this stopped McDonald from playing on Sunday in the 49ers season opener, a decision the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just denounced. They've called for McDonald to be sidelined (with pay) pending the outcome of the September 15 court appearance.
And this:
Peterson was held out of the Vikings' game on Sunday, a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots, following his indictment last week in Texas for negligent injury to his 4-year-old son, the latest domestic violence case to rock the NFL.
What do all these cases have in common -- no one has been convicted or proved guilty.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NY law still favors parents over unmarried lesbian lovers

The LGBTQIA assault on the American family continues, with a long NY Times article about some trashy irresponsible lesbians who want to change centuries of law to suit their twisted child custody demands.
The Marriage Equality Act, which New York State passed in June 2011, allowed Jann Paczkowski to marry her partner, Jamie, with the assurance that “the marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples” would “be treated equally in all respects under the law.” But when the couple separated and Ms. Paczkowski sought joint custody of the 2-year-old boy they were raising together, she discovered the limits of that assurance. On June 30, 2014, a judge in Nassau County family court ruled that Ms. Paczkowski did not have legal standing to seek access to the boy — because even under the Marriage Equality Act, she was not his parent.

In his decision, Judge Edmund M. Dane acknowledged “inequity” and “imbalance” in the law, adding that if Ms. Paczkowski were a man in the same position, the law might point toward a different ruling. But in the end, he left Jann with no contact with the boy.

The decision devastated Ms. Paczkowski, 36. “You can see how angry and upset I am,” she said on a recent afternoon, seated beside her court-appointed lawyer after a morning spent moving cars for an auction house. She had not seen the boy since a brief visit on Mother’s Day.
No, there is no “inequity” or “imbalance”. If she were a man and the biological father, she could request a DNA test in order to prove paternity. As it stands, she has no biological relationship with the boy, and she had not a legal relationship with the mom at the time of birth.

New York law provides a way for kooky lesbians like them to jointly have a child, if that is what they want. They could have gotten a same-sex marriage license before birth, or gotten a legal adoption. The issues don't even have much to do with lesbianism. As far as I know, a step-father is not considered a legal father unless some legal process to effect that is undertaken.
Beyond her pain, the ruling also illuminated a snarl in New York’s treatment of same-sex couples, three years after the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, according to some legal scholars.

“This is a troubling ruling because it leaves a same-sex parent as a legal stranger to her child,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University law school. Family law, she said, “has not caught up with the way families live their lives, or the rest of New York law. And that gap is causing tremendous damage.”
No, there is no snarl. The boy is with his mom, the only known legal parent. Or he would be, if the mom (Jamie) did not turn out to be unfit:
She had taken up with a volatile boyfriend, who was subsequently given a court order to stay away from Jamie and J. In February, as lawyers were preparing papers, a judge deemed Jamie neglectful for, among other things, failing to protect J. from her new boyfriend. ...

In July, J. appeared at day care with “red marks and bruising on both sides of his face” that were “consistent with hits by a hand on both sides of the child’s face,” according to court documents. Jamie told child protective workers that neither she nor her boyfriend had hit the boy, but the hospital found that his injuries were “not consistent with” her explanation, according to records.

The court removed J. from Jamie’s home and placed him in foster care. ...

Jamie is also pregnant.
Remind me, who thought that it was a good idea for lesbians to have babies?

Yes, I know that sometimes married, opposite-sex, church-going couples turn out to be lousy parents. But the vast majority are good parents. But in the case of lesbians, the gay lobby's best examples for changing the law are all people who should never have been parents in the first place.

New York used to be considered the most progressive state, but the NY Times liberals have long complained that its family law is too retro, as it was the last state to adopt no-fault (unilateral) divorce. Meanwhile California has laws that make it easy to put non-parents on the birth certificate, and even for kids to have 3 or more parents.

Look at this rant against court decisions that follow laws saying that the parents are the parents:
New York’s highest court addressed the question of a non-biological mother’s rights in 1991, ruling that a woman named Alison D. did not have standing to seek visitation rights to the child born to her former partner, Virginia M., even though she had been involved with the child since before birth. The court held that to allow Alison D. access to the child would infringe upon Virginia M.’s right to decide with whom her child associated. Simply acting as a mother to the boy did not make Alison D. a parent, the court ruled.

Even if it would be “beneficial to a child to have continued contact with a nonparent,” the judges said, they could not compel the other parent to grant that contact.

The decision was hotly contested at the time. In her dissent, Judge Judith Kaye — who later became the top judge in the state — wrote that in defining parenthood solely by biology, the decision unfairly hurt children by severing ties that might be crucial to their development. She warned that the ruling “may affect a wide spectrum of relationships — including those of longtime heterosexual stepparents, ‘common law’ and non-heterosexual partners such as involved here, and even partners in scientific reproduction procedures.”

Judge Kaye proved prescient. The Alison D. ruling affected “countless cases across the state,” wrote another appeals court judge, Victoria Graffeo, in a 2010 decision. Though other states passed laws to recognize de facto parents, New York’s did not, allowing non-biological parents only one route to legal status, by adopting their partners’ children.

At the same time, though, in cases involving heterosexual couples, various courts treated husbands as de facto fathers, even if they were not biologically related to the children. Judges weighed the best interests of the child in granting the men custody or visitation, or in ordering them to pay child support.
I say that parents should have parental rights. Non-parents should not. People should have the freedom to define their lives and responsibilities. Judges should have little or no discretion over who is a legal parent. Adoption, for example, should be a voluntary act by parties involved, and not an imposition by a judge based on the BIOTCh and the 2-year-old calling "Daddy" to the bisexual mom's current lesbian lover.

The lesbian fake daddy's plan is to use the same-sex marriage license to try to get custody of the second kid, and then trade it for the first kid. Or persuade an appellate court to change NY law.

The above NY Times story is a news story, not an opinion piece. All of the arguments are anti-family, and no reasons are given for the existing law that has apparently had wide public approval for centuries.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Feminized advice on being a gentleman

NPR Radio has a series on How To Be A 21st Century 'Gentleman':
"I can open my own door," says college freshman Chiamaka Njoku, 18. "I don't see the point of opening up the door; most of these doors are automatic anyway."

Njoku has a different very attitude when it comes to the check.

"If a man wants to pay for the whole meal, I will not stop him," she says.
My problem with this show is that all of the opinions offered were from women, except for one guy offering tips based on same-sex relationships.

If you are listening to NPR to learn how to be a man, you should check your pants to see whether you still have two testicles.

Okay, I am belaboring the obvious. NPR is leftist feminist radio. Real men would not listen to it, or would not take it seriously if they did.

I say that if you want advice on being a man, then read stuff written by men for men. Women say that craziest things on this topic.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Conservative Christian mommy blogger gets divorce.


Jenny Erikson, a conservative Christian mommy blogger, recently attracted the attention of the manosphere when she posted posted an attack on her pastor for “spoiling the surprise” of her divorce by telling her husband before she could.

When Jenny talked to a friend about leaving her marriage, the news made its way to Jenny’s pastor, who contacted her husband, Leif, to let him know what was coming. Her husband went home, and the following conversation transpired:
“I want to know what My Pastor told you,” I [Jenny] repeated.

He paused. Dried his hands. Took a deep breath. Sighed. “That you were planning on filing for divorce on Friday,” he finally admitted.

So there you go. My Pastor had actually told my husband, based on a fourth-hand rumor, without talking to me first, that I was planning on leaving him. That. Just. Happened.

“I filed for divorce last week,” I told him flatly. “I was planning on telling you this Friday.”
Jenny accuses her pastor of repeating a “rumor” that he heard “fourth-hand” while freely admitting she had already filed for the divorce a week ago. She wants to blame him for something, but was just mad she got caught.
My husband defended him as doing his pastoral duty. I looked him straight in the eyeballs and said, “The fact that you are defending this man’s actions yesterday is one of a thousand reasons I cannot stay married to you.”
Someone should compile of book of these divorce stories, as told by the wife. No one would believe the stories, if from the husbands. I previously posted Elon Musk's wife's story. It would be considered misogyny, if it were not straight from the wives themselves.

Here is another relationship gone bad:
Representative Mark Sanford, whose extramarital affair destroyed his marriage, roiled South Carolina politics and gave new meaning to the phrase “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” turned to Facebook on Friday to announce the breakup of his engagement to the Argentine woman he once called his soul mate.

In a rambling post that ran 2,346 words, Mr. Sanford said that the “agony of divorce” and a custody fight with his former wife, Jenny, had put such a strain on his relationship with his fiancée, María Belén Chapur, whom he called Belén, that they decided to part ways.

“No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belén and I have decided to call off the engagement,” wrote Mr. Sanford, 54. ...

It all unraveled when he tried to cover up a trip to Argentina with Ms. Chapur, telling aides that he had been unreachable for five days because he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” a phrase that has become a euphemism for infidelity. ...

His ex-wife has been less forgiving than voters seem to have been.

Ahead of last year’s special election, Mrs. Sanford filed a lawsuit claiming that he violated the terms of their divorce by trespassing on her property.

The legal proceedings grew more contentious this month, when Mrs. Sanford tried to curb his visitation rights with their 15-year-old son. She also wanted Mr. Sanford to be required to have psychological counseling and take anger management classes. (The Sanfords also have three other sons.)

Before publishing his Facebook post, Mr. Sanford had filed a legal motion for a gag order to prevent Mrs. Sanford from disparaging him publicly.
I might have predicted that the Argentine soul mate would not last. I am surprised it lasted this long.

There is no excuse for the family court dragging this out to a 5-year divorce and child custody fight. Trespassing accusation? Counseling? Classes? There is no need for any of this nonsense. The judge should have just ordered joint custody 5 years ago.
Sanford's Facebook rant says:
In this light I have struggled in how to respond since being contacted little more than a week ago regarding yet another lawsuit by yet a new, and third, lawyer retained by my former wife Jenny. I first learned of it through the media and I didn’t want to respond at all, but given the level of accusation after waiting a day I gave a brief response. ...

Two, I am going to get a lawyer to defend me on this case. I will instruct them not to fight back, to work to de-escalate and defuse and to look for measured justice and an end to controversy. At the time of the divorce I did not get a lawyer because I could not imagine standing in a court room with one in some adversarial form against the mother of our boys. Since then, and almost as clock work over the last four and one half years since the divorce, unfortunately there has been either the threat of lawsuit or actual lawsuit about every six months. In every instance I have either settled, represented myself or gotten two longtime friends to help me in responding. I have always tried to quiet the matter because at so many different levels I wanted to do anything to avoid conflict. ...

Three, let’s recognize the degree to which what’s being done seems designed to embarrass me rather than change anything. As mentioned I never hired a lawyer at the time of the divorce which in practical terms means I just folded all the cards in giving Jenny what she wanted at that time. ...

Jenny’s attorney’s newest summons asks that the visitation schedule be changed to limit my visitation with our youngest son Blake. The question is how do you change what does not exist? There is no visitation schedule. She has full custody. Over the last five years she has determined the visitation schedule and informed me at the beginning of this year that I would not be given one. I pleaded otherwise, pointing out that no boy wants to be put in the place of having to pick between their mother and dad. ...

In their summons I am “restrained” from the following:

“Consuming or being under the influence of illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol in the presence, or while responsible for, the care of the minor child.” ...

"Exposing the minor child overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related by blood who could be reasonably construed as a paramour.” Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists.
I can relate to some of this. I similarly did not hire a lawyer or go on the counter-attack. I was always playing defense while enduring many years of bogus attacks against me. You would think that the judge would give us some credit for being the reasonable one, but it does not work that way. Sanford has no child custody rights, and still gets motions against him.

In another marriage gone sour, the Dilbert cartoonist announces that he is separated from his wife, and is re-evaluating the concept of marriage:
I don't think traditional marriage is going away anytime soon. But it probably isn't a coincidence that there are more single and divorced people than ever. Traditional marriage is the biggest obstacle to happiness in the United States. I give it twenty years before society acknowledges it to be a bad fit for modern times.

In the future I think you will see organized groups of "friends" that share duties to make all of their lives easier. One friend might enjoy raising kids and hate working a traditional job, so that friend stays home and does childcare for several single parents in return for a share of the collective income of the group. That is just an example, but you can see how one might engineer a better system than marriage.

If you disagree with anything I've written today, look around the next time you are on vacation. When you see couples vacationing with friends they usually look happy. When you see a married couple having dinner together - just the two of them for the ten-thousandth time - they both look like they came from a funeral.

Marriage is probably a great solution for 20% of the public. The rest of us need better systems.
Of course he is wealthy, has no kids, and married a woman who already had a couple of kids from a previous marriage. So presumably she kept the kids and got a huge financial settlement from him. He is also an original thinker who is willing to map out his life his way.

Is he right? Is marriage outmoded? Marriage is being redefined to suit LGBTs, feminists, lawyers, welfare queens, and others. As that happens, it is not so much meeting the needs of people like Scott Adams. He says that he has an amicable split, but I bet he does not marry a woman with kids again.

Friday, September 12, 2014

CPS core value: the state knows what’s best for kids

I posted about British CPS and nanny, but I just learned that initialism is confusing. The term "CPS" stands for Children Protective Services in the USA, altho most states have renamed it as Dept. of Children and Families or something like that as their authority expanded beyond children. In Britain CPS stands for something else, as explained below.

Here is a British essay that places the blame squarely on what I call the BIOTCh:
For the past week, the British public has watched in horror as the British state tore a dying child from his family. On Saturday, Brett and Naghmeh King were arrested for removing their son Ashya, who has a brain tumour, from Southampton General Hospital and fleeing abroad. Only today are the family set to be reunited. For decades, defenders of the legal framework around children have boasted of its abilities to manage a child’s ‘best interests’. Yet on Saturday afternoon, a five-year-old child with a brain tumour was removed from the only people with whom he is familiar and thrust into an alien environment while his parents were locked in prison. Whatever the eventual outcome of this case, we can say with certainty that no legal system which claims to be concerned with the ‘interests of the child’ should have allowed this to happen.

While the decision-making processes of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Hampshire police will no doubt be analysed in minute detail in the coming weeks, with statement after statement delivered to explain why certain decisions were made and who will be held accountable, it is important to remember that no one person or organisation can be held solely responsible. Rather, what happened was the logical climax of a series of trends in criminal and family law, which have disregarded the authority and autonomy of parents in favour of official intervention at any cost.

Yesterday, the CPS finally withdrew the European arrest warrants which had been issued for the Kings. It said in a statement that ‘the necessary element of wilful neglect to support a charge of child cruelty had not been made out’. While the CPS was discovering that its original case for the warrants was complete nonsense, the Kings had been arrested and detained in Spain and Ashya had been taken into protective custody. He had already been made a permanent ward of the court the day after he was taken from hospital, meaning, effectively, that his parents had already lost all of their rights to care for him. ...

When Ashya’s parents struck out and asserted their own judgement over that of the state, they offended a core value at the heart of both government and the child-protection industry: that the state knows what’s best for kids. For the government, and those involved in advocating greater child protection, the rights of parents are often treated as mere legal obstacles to be overcome in the process of intervention.

What is needed following the Ashya King case is a fundamental shift in culture away from assuming the worst about parents. If anyone deserves the blame for what happened to the Kings, it is the interventionist politicians and child-advocacy groups, which consistently encourage state bodies to ignore the judgement of parents. We should stop assuming that any act of defiance against state intrusion in favour of parental judgement is an act of neglect. We should learn from the Kings’ example that often such defiance can demonstrate compassion, love and an unapologetic commitment to a child’s welfare.
Both the British and American CPS are the enemies of good parents.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Defending Ray Rice

The second biggest news story this week was Pres. Barack Obama getting us into another illegal war caused by his own incompetence. Butthe biggest story was Ray Rice being kicked out of football over an elevator video. And the only difference of opinion is over whether others should be fired for not blackballing him earlier. And whether it is acceptable to blame the victim for apologizing and sticking with her husband.

I may be the only one defending him.

First, I don't see why his private marital relations are anybody's business. They could be sodomizing each other for all I know or care. The elevator incident is no more a concern to others as sodomy.

Second, the matter has no relevance to football. Over 30% of NFL players have been charged with a serious, violent crime. In an ideal world, everyone would be well behaved, but the quality of professional athletics would be diminish if they kicked out every offender.

I can understand disciplining players who take performance-enhancing drugs or bet on their own games, because that undermines the sport. But if charged with a non-sport-related crime, they can just let the criminal justice system handle it.

Third, Rice has not committed any crime. I know the video looks bad, and Rice was indicted. But Janay may have started the fight, for all we know, and the video shows her striking him. No one was seriously hurt, as far as we know. Janay appears unconscious, but it is not clear whether a punch did it, or it was her head hitting the rail. At any rate, she has not made a criminal complaint, and it is not clear that he could be convicted of anything.

Broadcaster Ted Robinson was suspended for saying that Janay was pathetic for sticking with Ray. To keep his job, he was forced to say:
I understand that the cycle of abuse keeps people in unhealthy relationships. No blame or responsibility should ever be placed on a victim.
He also has to attend sensitivity training, aka re-education camp. I guess this is currently the feminist party line, but I consider it more offensive than his original remarks.

He is essentially saying that Janay is too incompetent to be responsible for what she says and does. If that is really true, maybe she should be committed to an insane asylum. But it is not true. She has chosen to stay with the man she loves, and that is not a crazy thing to do.

You are probably going to say that pro football is just entertainment; that public figures should learn to behave themselves in public; and that Ray cannot make a living playing football if no one wants to watch him. Okay I can accept that. Likewise I could accept it if Jennifer Lawrence had to abandon acting because her naked selfies got leaked and the public did not approve.

My quarrel is witht Pres. Obama, VP Biden, and everyone else who are actively trying to destroy Ray and Janay Rice. They are unnecessarily sticking their noses into private affairs. They are peddling dubious psychology. They are saying a woman should not stand by her man, and she should not be criticized for it either. They are saying a footballer should live a nonviolent life. They are full of contradictions.

Call me insensitive, if you wish, but I think that the world has gone made over trivial incidents like this.

Update: The nonsense only gets worse:
As calls for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign grow, a bipartisan group of 16 female senators wrote a letter to league urging a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence. The letter, which brings up the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, calls on the league to "institute a real zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence that will ensure that this type of violence and abuse has no place in the NFL."

The letter, also sent to the Baltimore Sun, notes that the Rice incident isn't even the first case of domestic violence in the NFL this year and argued that the league's new policy isn't strict enough. "If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL," the senators wrote.
What's next, nonviolent football games? Zero tolerance for off-sides?

If these women get their way, then any football wife will know that she can end the career of her husband by making a 911 call. And end the marriage too, probably. So only the vindictive will call 911, or the ones who do not mind losing the big money lifestyle of an NFL player. These zero tolerance policies are nearly always foolish.

Update: More recent figures show that 2.5% of NFL players are arrested each year.

Update: Of course Biden says dopey things all the time. For example, see this video of him saying J O B S is a 3 letter word. He made Sarah Palin seem like a genius in the 2008 election.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My moms don't have any rings

Same sex marriage is gaining legal acceptance more and more. Not because of popular acceptance, but because our elites are imposing it on us. The surprising thing is the argument that is winning the day.

The gay lobby used to be convinced that their best argument was that LGBT folks are born that way. However that has turned out to be a lousy argument in court, and it has been largely abandoned.

People used to be against gay and lesbian adoptions, in part because children might be stigmatized by having perverted parents. Now the conservatives have quit making this argument, and the LGBTQIA lobby is making it. Here is a LGBT legal brief in support of same-sex marriage:
Feelings of stigmatization, inferiority, and de-legitimization are common themes heard by the amici who work every day with children raised by same-sex parents. The former program director of amicus COLAGE told the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission that many children with whom she has worked have had their peers “question[] the validity of their families because their parents aren’t able to get married.”35 This, in turn, can lead children to have insecurity about their parents’ relationship, including the fear that somebody is going to come and break up their family.”36 They do not understand the distinction that the Marriage Laws make between their families and other families headed by different-sex couples, leaving them feeling vulnerable and confused.
Also:
My friends are starting to get engaged and married. We talk about what we want our weddings to be like, and how we want our engagement rings to look. We are in our mid-twenties, but you might think we were about twelve years old if you heard the way that my friends describe having always coveted their mothers’ rings or telling stories of their parents’ proposals. My moms don’t have any rings.
Also:
Excluding same-sex couples from marriage tells their children that the most important relationships in their lives are inferior, unworthy of state validation and protection. To children of same-sex parents, marriage inequality is “hurtful,”39 and it makes them feel “angry,”40 and “devastated,”41 and that their family is “less valued.”42 Same-sex marriage bans like those in Indiana and Wisconsin tell children that their families are “not legitimate” and “not welcome.”43 They create an insecurity — “a corrosive feeling of doubt” — in the perceived stability of their family.44
This is the argument that seems to persuade Judge Richard Posner, who is supposedly our smartest federal appeals judge.

Here is what Posner and the gays think is the killer argument:
Posner homed in on the impediments created for same-sex couples who adopt children. Observing that such children would benefit if their parents got the benefit of the breaks and other legal marital benefits, he asked, “These children would be better off if their parents could marry, no? It’s obvious.”

Posner noted the documented psychological stress suffered by the adopted offspring of unmarried same-sex couples, like wondering why their schoolmates’ parents were married and theirs were not. “What horrible stuff,” Posner said. What benefit to society could possibly be gained in barring gay marriage, he asked, that “outweighs that kind of damage to children?” “These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law,” Posner said of same sex couples. “The question is what is the offsetting benefit of your law. Who is being helped?” Samuelson offered the generality that “society as a whole” benefited by preserving marriage as it has long been defined. Posner asked if anyone would be harmed if same-sex couples were allowed to marry. He did not get an answer, because there isn’t one, but you would think the lawyers would have had an answer to it prepared.
The argument is fallacious, and Posner is a moron. First, legal legitimacy is not the same as public acceptance or social respectability. California has gone back and forth on issuing same-sex marriage certificates, and I haven't noticed any effect on anyone's views.

Second, the state does not automatically change policy just to boost the self-esteem of insecure and psychologically troubled folks. If it did, then it would wipe clean criminal arrest and conviction records, as those stigmatize folks also.

Third, our schools are about half illegitimate kids already, or children of divorce. Having unmarried parents is not much of a stigma anymore.

Fourth, the main thing wrong with the argument, is that it misunderstands how government incentivizes behavior. The govt recognizes marriages in order to encourage parents to take care of their kids. On balance it does that, regardless of complaints from those not getting the benefit.

Another govt policy is to give a tax deduction for home mortgage payments to incentivize home ownership. (I happen to think it does a lousy job of that, but that is beside the point.) One could easily find examples of where someone did not need the deduction, or someone deserved a deduction even tho he doesn't qualify, or other alleged imperfections. All tax policy is that way. So are most govt laws and regulations. These aspects do not make the policies unconstitutional.

Instead we have a huge assortment of anti-family policies, such as welfare to single moms. We have more illegitimate kids as a result. We have family courts that bust up families. We have onerous child support. Read this blog for many other examples.

Now we have judges like Posner who deny that the state has any legitimate interest in promoting nuclear families. At the hearing, he babbled endlessly about how elderly people are allowed to marry, even if they cannot have kids, about how there are thousands of kids in the foster care system who might be adopted by same-sex partners if they were allowed to marry, and about how a kid with two lesbian mommies might feel better if those lesbians wore rings.

I am not sure the kid does feel better if he has two lesbians as legal parents, thereby nullifying the biological dad. But even if he does, the same argument to a kid with polygamous or incestuous parents. Legalizing the arrangements might make a few people happier, at the cost of encouraging a lot of behavior that is detrimental to society.

We have a shortage of suitable kids for adoption. That's why couples try to get them from China, Russia, or Ethiopia. Encouraging marriage among the 1% or so of LGBTQIA folks is not going to help anything.

The gay lobby has succeed in making it politically incorrect to criticize homosexuality. We have gay tv shows winning lots of Emmys, and gay companies selling lots of iPhones. But I am not sure that getting the votes of a few elite intellectuals like Posner is going to remove the stigma. It is hard to force respect. Everyone knows that same-sex marriage was against the will of the California people, and against most major religions.

Update: Here is a gay site praising Posner:
Posner homed in on the impediments created for same-sex couples who adopt children. Observing that such children would benefit if their parents got the benefit of the breaks and other legal marital benefits, he asked, “These children would be better off if their parents could marry, no? It’s obvious.”

Posner noted the documented psychological stress suffered by the adopted offspring of unmarried same-sex couples, like wondering why their schoolmates’ parents were married and theirs were not. “What horrible stuff,” Posner said. What benefit to society could possibly be gained in barring gay marriage, he asked, that “outweighs that kind of damage to children?” “These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law,” Posner said of same sex couples. “The question is what is the offsetting benefit of your law. Who is being helped?” Samuelson offered the generality that “society as a whole” benefited by preserving marriage as it has long been defined. Posner asked if anyone would be harmed if same-sex couples were allowed to marry. He did not get an answer, because there isn’t one, but you would think the lawyers would have had an answer to it prepared.
And here is the more recent 9th Circuit appeal argument:
It was clear that Stewart had no real evidence to show the harm that is caused by gay marriage. All he could do is predict horrible things will happen if Idaho has gay marriage, such as the state will see a rise in "dad-less" or "mom-less" families. When Judge Berzon challenged him to cite evidence, Stewart fumbled through that question, citing numbers that showed that only about 58% of the state's children came from a mom-dad family unit. Judge Gould grew weary of the "child's bonding right" argument, and asked Stewart where that "bonding right" came from since it was not in the Bill of Rights. Stewart then admitted that he made up the phrase to collectively describe his argument that a child does best when it has a mother and a father who are married. Judge Reinholdt said if the state was so worried about marriage, shouldn't it ban divorce? Stewart then launched into a diatribe against no-fault divorce, again veering far off the issue at hand. Judge Berzon summed it up best when she told Stewart that the "train has already left the station" on marriage being redefined, using historical milestones to rebut his argument.
Yes, the anti-marriage train has left the station, and our ruling elites to eliminate kids having a right to a mom and a dad.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

How Divorced Parents Lost Their Rights

I mentioned psychology professor Robert E. Emery in 2005 and 2008 because he co-authored an article on how child custody evaluations are unscientific voodoo.

Now he has a NY Times op-ed on how family courts should allow parents to make agreements to let special masters settle disputes.

This would be a big bonanza for divorce psychologists like him, but the whole idea of psychologists running the lives of parents is a terrible idea. People would only agree to it if they were convinced that family court is worse (as it might well be).

Nevertheless the article makes several good points.
How Divorced Parents Lost Their Rights

MY wife and I disagree, sometimes vehemently, about how best to raise our four children. She’s a lawyer, and I am sure the thought of suing me has crossed her mind once or twice. But she cannot. American courts consistently refuse to entertain child-rearing disputes between married parents.

In 1936, the New York State Court of Appeals explained the reasoning: “Dispute between parents when it does not involve anything immoral or harmful to the welfare of the child is beyond the reach of the law. The vast majority of matters concerning the upbringing of children must be left to the conscience, patience, and self-restraint of father and mother. No end of difficulties would arise should judges try to tell parents how to bring up their children.”

Married parents cannot sue each other. Divorced parents (or those who never married) can and do. Judges routinely decide where the children of divorced parents will attend school, worship and receive medical care; judges may even decide whether they play soccer or take piano lessons.

Judges do this because the law assumes that divorced parents’ interests in their children, unlike the interests of married parents, are not aligned. This is an outdated idea. The view of exes as opponents dates from an era when divorce and childbearing outside of marriage were rare. It is reflected in the legal language of a bygone time. One parent won custody, care and control of the children. The other became a visitor.
So far so good. Married parents should not be able to sue each other, and unmarried should not be able to sue over routine parental decisions either.
Surprisingly, even when unmarried parents agree on a plan, judges can overrule it. For example, a judge may not like a complex joint custody schedule. If so, she can decide when the separated parents spend time with their children, even though they agreed otherwise.

This makes no sense. We may need judges to decide some divorce disputes. But when it comes to parenting, as much as possible, the law should treat unmarried people more like married people. Instead of telling parents how to bring up their children, we should honor — and encourage — agreements between parents.
To my knowledge, judges nearly always approve parenting plans if the parents stipulate (agree). So this is not an issue.

The problem is that if the parents disagree later, the judge may not enforce that parenting plan.
By honoring parental agreements, our laws would allow parents living apart to make enforceable contracts. Parents could make a deal, for example, that a parenting coordinator could make decisions for them in the future if they fail to agree. Currently, the legal status of such agreements is questionable, because judges, not divorced parents, hold decision-making authority over children. In an extreme move, Pennsylvania recently outlawed this practice, ruling that only judges could make decisions in custody cases.
It does make sense. Here is what I wrote about that Penn. decision:
One of the worst ideas to come out of the family court was to appoint some expert to micro-manage parenting decisions, without recourse to the courts. It sounds appealing to have some neutral objective child psychologist in charge because dumb parents don't know how to raise kids and might be influenced by antagonism towards the other parent. The idea would be a horrible nightmare even if it did work. But it has not worked wherever it has been tried.

National Parents Organization. reports: "Pennsylvania just eliminated the Parenting Coordinator role that it began five years ago. According to The Legal Intelligencer, its demise is related to a couple of high profile cases." ...

I had a $28,000 evaluation from psychologist Ken Perlmutter, and his main recommendation was for the court to appoint a parenting coordinator who would have the authority to make all parenting decisions until the kids turn 18 years old, with no recourse or appeal if he is making bad decisions. This was in spite of the fact that he had evaluated our 4 years of joint custody, and could not find a single bad decision that we had made.

The kind of people who do these evaluations and become parenting coordinators are the worst sort of creeps. You would never want anyone like Perlmutter near your kids. I don't know who ever decided that psychologists were good for this sort of thing. There has never been a study showing that psychologist rear kids any better than anyone else.
In the big majority of cases, the parents are pressured to accepting the evaluation recommendations. If my ex-wife and I did that, our kids lives would be run by some a**hole like Perlmutter.

Kids have two parents. No one has found a better way. It is my understanding that the Santa Clara court and some other California family courts have abolished these parenting coordinators.

Emery continues:
Allowing parents to make contracts would help solve another thorny problem: sharing care of very young children. Experts are debating how much time babies should spend with just one parent versus with both parents. Many believe that babies need to form a secure attachment to one parent (most often the mother) and that too much separation will undermine a baby’s sense of security. Others worry that too little contact will weaken the second parent’s attachment, potentially leading him to drop out of his child’s life.

A logical solution is for parents to make a plan that will grow and change along with their child. A baby might stay mostly with one parent, and time with the other parent could increase during the toddler and preschool years. Perhaps the parents would share 50-50 custody when their baby is of school age.

Sadly, this common-sense approach is undermined by laws that do not honor such agreements, and push parents to fight instead. Lawyers wisely tell breast-feeding mothers to fight for full custody. Judges are likely to be sympathetic to a nursing mother. Yet lawyers also wisely tell the fathers of babies to fight for their custody share. The father’s case will be weakened if he waits until his baby is older, because he will have a record of relative uninvolvement.
There is some merit to this argument, and the law used to favor the breast-feeding mom under the Tender Years Doctrine, but now that is considered sexist and disciminatory. His proposal will not solve that problem.
Our legal system has always seen the wisdom of encouraging married parents to work together. Now it needs to recognize that divorced and never-married parents are not so different. After all, partners with children are tied together forever.
This is a strange comment because his main proposal is for divorced parents to get parenting coordinators, and he is not suggesting that for married parents.

California and many other states already treat divorced and never-married parents the same for child custody and support. These laws are anti-marriage when they treat marrieds and unmarrieds the same.
Your emotional impulse in divorce is to hurt back, because you hurt so badly. Our legal system should work against that impulse, not encourage it. That, truly, is in the best interest of the child.
I just posted a study claiming to show that the children do not benefit at all from the parents holding back that impulse. That study may be wrong, but Emery is relying heavily on unproven assumptions.

At least Emery clearly explains part of what is wrong with the family court. Too bad his ideas for reform are so stupid.

Emery frames his argument in terms of consenting adults making a binding contract. I guess I would have to agree, if that is what the parents really want to do. But it appears that I am in a minority. President Barack Obama just released a statement about some black football player who had a fight with his fiancee in an elevator:
The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society. Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors. Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football — and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it.
Apparently everyone agrees that Ray Rice should not be allowed to play football. The video looks incriminating, but we don't know what the fight was about and the woman decided to marry him even after he was indicted for the incident. I really don't see why Obama or the NFL should be interjecting themselves into a private incident between a husband and wife with neither of them complaining. In today's politics, domestic violence is everybody's business I guess.

Update: The NY Times published this letter in response:
I am a member of Gov. Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts Working Group on Family Law. After two years of work, we crafted a bill very similar to the points raised by Mr. Emery. The bill, not yet passed, does away with the term “visitor” and replaces it with “parent.” The bill encourages parents to cooperate, share parental responsibilities and come up with a parenting plan.

Married and divorced parents are not different. The “emotional impulse” in divorce “to hurt back” hurts the children only more. There is no greater pain than to be alienated from one’s children after separation and divorce, and most children wish that “parents would stop putting me in the middle.”

Children benefit from having contact with both parents after separation and divorce. Massachusetts and other states should pass shared parenting laws so that children can grow up knowing and loving both parents.

PETER G. HILL
Weston, Mass., Sept. 8, 2014
I doubt that his bill is any good, if his main point is changing some terminology. What is needed is a bill that recognizes parents rights, and not just using different terms.