Monday, February 28, 2005

Parent teacher conference

I went to a parent-teacher conference today, and got report cards for our 2 kids. They got the equivalent of straight As. The aced all their tests, and the teachers said that they were each reading at 2 grades above their current grade level. They had no behavior or other complaints.

I don't think that it means much. It is an easy school. But I do think that when the objective indications are that the kids are doing very well, the court should figure that maybe both parents had something to do with it.


I am finding a lot of confusion about what psychologists are supposed to be doing. For the most part, clinical psychologists diagnose and treat the mental disorders listed in a big book called the DSM-IV. You can find a summary of those disorders on Psychologynet. A better summary has been made available by James Morrison.

There are a lot of disorders listed, but most custody issues don't involve any of them. That is one reason why psychologists should not even be involved in the typical custody dispute.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Courts on the side of women

I just found this on John Kerry's campaign web site:
Now more than ever, we need a president who will put the American government and legal system back on the side of women.
The courts are already on the side of women. Before my court appearance on Friday, I sat thru another case of a couple with a custody fight. The judge received an evaluation requiring the father to attend sobriety classes, drug testing, and I don't know what else, just to get one hour of supervised visitation per week. The father accepted it, and was browbeaten into confessing guilt and remorse. Just when it looked like a done deal, the mother asked for a custody trial! The judge had to explain to her that the deal was extremely favorable to her, and that it was hard to imagine getting a better deal, except maybe to terminate the father's rights altogether.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Cross-examining the evaluator

I just got out of a court hearing. Dr. Bret Johnson, the court-appointed custody evaluator was on the witness stand for two hours. He said that he was surprised that I objected so strongly to his recommendations!

I raised my two kids jointly from birth. I taught them to walk, read, do arithmetic, roller skate, bicycle, etc. For one year after my wife moved out, I shared 50-50 custody. Then Johnson interviewed me for an hour, my wife for an hour, and the kids for 20 minutes each. Based on an assortment of petty gripes ranging from brushing hair to eating oatmeal, he took my kids away and limited me to 2 weekends a month, plus Wednesday dinners.

Then he said that I was to be ordered to attend re-education, consisting of 6 months of parenting classes, and a minimum of 6 months of psychotherapy, with progress reports to the court, until released. If I successfully complete the reeducation, I was to be rewarded with 2 extra days a month with the kids.

I was told that Johnson was a very experienced and strong witness, but he was actually quite weak. Several times he had trouble answering questions, and the judge had to answer for him! Apparently he is used to getting his way, and not used to being forced to justify what he is really doing.

The judge seemed to be a little unhappy when he found out that the issues were so petty. He lectured us on how most all of his cases have much more serious allegations, and how we are good parents who ought to be able to co-parent. He set a conference for next week to discuss resumption of the custody hearing. My wife's lawyer said that she wants me to pay for her to hire some more experts to take her side! I guess that she was unhappy with Johnson's performance. Johnson was all she needed to win the case, if Johnson could have backed up his recommendations.

My guess is that the judge is going to pressure us to settle. I doubt that we will, but it does appear that we have narrowed the issues somewhat. I hope that is progress.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Interviewing a child

I just talked to my 5-year-old daughter Jenny on the phone, and heard her blame her older sister Mary for the custody schedule. When Mary was interviewed by the court-appointed psychologist, he badgered her to express a preference for one parent over the other. To her credit, she apparently refused. To try to get a preference out of her, he asked her about emergency procedures. Mary told me that she didn't know what to say, so she eventually decided to tell a story about how my wife once instructed her to jump out the window in case the house was on fire! This discussion got written up in the custody evaluation as follows:
This evaluator asked if there was an emergency who would handle it better. She stated Mother would know what to do and Father "really doesn't listen." They have talked to Mother about emergency procedures.
I'll have to explain to Jenny next week that this really isn't Mary's fault. It seems clear to me that the evaluator has grossly misinterpreted what Mary said. Either he was deliberately twisting what Mary said, or he has no idea how to interview a 7-year-old child. (He is an out gay man with no experience with children, as far as I know.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Pope recognizes evil

Here is news from the Vatican:
ROME (Reuters) - Homosexual marriages are part of "a new ideology of evil" that is insidiously threatening society, Pope John Paul says in a new book published Tuesday. ...

The 84-year-old Pontiff's book, a highly philosophical and intricate work on the nature of good and evil, is based on conversations with philosopher friends in 1993 and later with some of his aides. ...

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man," he writes.
I'm glad someone is still willing to say that something is evil. American family courts do indeed pit human rights against the family and against man.

Mike sends another quote from a pro-homosexual magazine:
In a speech to foreign diplomats, Pope John Paul II gave opposition to pro-gay laws as one of his top priorities. “Today, the family is often threatened by social and cultural pressures which tend to undermine its stability,” said the pope. “But in some countries, the family is also threatened by legislation which — at times directly — challenge its natural structure which is and must be that of a union between a man and a woman.” He also said that the family structure “must never be undermined by laws based on a narrow and unnatural vision of man.”
I agree.

Update: Now Howard Dean says, "This is a struggle of good and evil."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Water my plants

My daughter left a sign on my wall saying, "Water my plants". I am glad I didn't get her a dog.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The 7 divorces

My 5-year-old daughter just read the Snow White story to me. She read it pretty well, until she got the 7 divorces. I tried to tell her that they were dwarfs, and not divorces, but she couldn't seem to say dwarfs. She explained to me that they are divorces, just like my divorce. Sigh.

I am still trying to figure out how it is that she thinks that a lesbian couple can have a baby. Her school is apparently trying to teach her tolerance for the boy in her class who is being raised by lesbians. Tolerance is fine, but I suspect that they are misinforming her about the role of fathers.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fishing for money

A long-time business client writes:
Marnie got a call from Jennifer Gray, claiming to be your wife's lawyer. She seemed to want to know your address -- which seems awfully strange! -- and said something about needing information about your pension plan.

Marnie said she wasn't allowed to give out any employee information, but thought you'd want to know.
Yes, it is strange. I just got out of a deposition in which the lawyer could ask anything she wanted. She didn't ask about any pension plan, but she has all my financial papers anyway. I have no idea why she would ask about my address.

Super Nanny

Hammertime comments on a TV show:
However, while Super Nanny did her usual great job of ironing things out, I noticed that every single episode has something in common. Well, a couple things are in common - faily well-off families who can't control their kids - but one was glaring. In every case, there is an uninvolved father. He was there, he mayhave even occasionally contributed, but as a whole, the fathers were passive and detached from the children.
A reader responds:
I have watched that program as well as the similar one, "Nanny Central" (which actually I liked better than Super Nanny). While I would agree (somewhat) regarding your comment about the 'uninvolved' parent, another thing that I've observed is that in some of the cases - the 'uninvolved' parent is that way (somewhat) because the mother is a bit on the overbearing/controlling type. As a result, when the father does try to do something - boom, she comes in and either gives him some flack and/or undoes what the father is/has been doing. Thereby undermining his effectiveness - I seen this in many, many of the episodes.
I thought that the little brat needed a good spanking, but that is not allowed on TV.

Mike writes:
I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that Dave Matthews expressed the same opinion last night on Leno's show. But then he also admitted that his favorite way of amusing his kids is by farting.
Matthews is lucky that he is not in family court.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hiding her boyfriend

I told my kids that I had to drop them off at my wife's apartment promptly at 7:00 pm because she was going to take them to a restaurant. The 7-year-old said, "we're probably just going to Bruce's house. We are supposed to call it the restaurant instead of Bruce's house."

Bruce is my wife's secret boyfriend. I wasn't supposed to know about him, but I had to admit in deposition that I knew about him, and that she and the kids sleep over with him on a regular basis. Apparently my wife had thought that she had sufficiently brainwashed the kids to conceal what was going on.

Blog cloaking

This C-Net story tells of a blogger who solved a problem:
Jay Allen considered his ex-girlfriend a "rabbit in the pot" stalker for the repeatedly nasty comments she posted to his blog.

So he tried passive resistance by drawing a virtual curtain around his Web site. The trick, called cloaking, made his blog appear seemingly abandoned to her, while his regular postings were available to anyone else with a Web browser.
My wife is welcome to post comments on this blog, as long as she does not abuse it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Woman who killed baby ordered sterilized

Another mother who killed her baby:
Published on: 02/09/05 A Fulton County judge has ordered sterilization for a woman who killed her 5-week-old daughter.

Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes said Carisa Ashe, 34, has 90 days to have the tubal ligation that would prevent her from conceiving.

Ashe had been charged with murder in the Dec. 16, 1998, death of Destiny Ashe. An autopsy indicated Destiny had been shaken and hit so badly her brain swelled and hemorrhaged.

After two days of trial on the murder charge, Ashe pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter, according to the district attorney's office.

Barnes gave Ashe five years on probation and said she must have a tubal ligation within 90 days or prosecutors can reinstate the murder charge.
So get these facts: she killed her own child, prosecutors let have more babies for over 6 years, she will not serve any jail time, and she might even get to keep her other 7 kids!

Compare this to how quickly and easily a father will lose his kids.

Another day of deposition

I sat thru another 3.5 hours of deposition. It was boring. I was worried that my wife's lawyer would present some evidence that is embarrassing or difficult to explain. Maybe she is saving it for trial.

She got me to admit that my wife buys the kids' clothes, that I don't always bathe the kids before putting them to bed, that I have driven the kids in my driveway without seat belts, that I have let them roller skate without helmets or wristguards, and that I sometimes tell the kids that they have to finish some task before dinner.

She asked what I thought of Melissa Berrenge, the court mediator. I had to admit that I thought that she was in over her head. For example, at the beginning of a court-ordered session with Berrenge, I asked her whether she was doing mediation or arbitration. She could not give me a straight answer. I think that she pretends to do mediation, but she is really doing nonbinding arbitration.

She asked what I thought of Bret Johnson, and I had to say that I had a low opinion of him also. I said that his custody report is not competent evidence, and that it fails to meet minimum standards for such a report. She asked a bunch of questions on how the report might be fixed, and I had to say that, after reading 4 books on the subject, I didn't see any way to fix it. It is just completely hopeless from beginning to end.

I half expected that either my wife or her lawyer to have found this blog, and to confront me with it during the deposition. I present some strong opinions here, and they would probably think that they could use them against me somehow. But no one mentioned it.

Sitting for a deposition

My wife's lawyer just deposed me. I was expected a lot of financial questions, but instead she asked a lot of child care questions. Several times she asked questions like, "when you were married, ...". Each time I had to answer, "we are still married".

She seemed to be trying to prove that I was not actively involved in raising the kids. She got me to admit that while I regularly took the kids to dancing, gymnastics, art, swim, and other lessons, I was not the one who actually enrolled them in those classes. I am not sure what that is supposed to prove, but I guess I'll find out.

3 hours was not enough. I have to go back for more this afternoon.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Gay parenting studies questioned

Mike writes:
You wrote:
Maybe so, but this survey says:
Research by Dr J Bailey and colleagues found in 1995 that the children of homosexual parents are about three times more likely to become homosexual.
However, if you check out this sample essay you'll find that the author of that site has drawn exactly the opposite conclusion from Bailey's research.

Why quote garbage from a gay-bashing website that clearly has intentionally misrepresented the research???? To quote Bailey himself: "...there has been no clear demonstration that parental behavior, even a parent's homosexuality, affects children's sexual orientation."

Actually, the guys seems to have gone nuts. I light of this, I can't believe you quoted ANYTHING related to his "research."
Mike quotes a 1991 Bailey article about a lack of research in an attempt to contradict Bailey's 1995 research! Maybe Bailey did the research in order to answer the question. I would be worried if Bailey somehow knew in 1991 what his 1995 research was going to show.

The sample essay is from a site that sell term papers to college students. Apparently they know that students get the best grades if they express politically correct views about homosexuality. Nevertheless, it says:
It has been found that about 90% of sons of gay fathers are heterosexual (Bailey 124). It was also found that 90% of daughters of lesbian women are also heterosexual (Golombok 4).
That means that the children are about 10% homosexual (or bisexual or something else). This should be compared with studies of the general population which usually find about 2 to 3% of men are homosexual, and about 1% of women.

Mike's last cite is to a transgendered professor who says, "Joan and I urge all GLBT people everywhere to get this 'scientist' on your radar screen." Their complaint seemed to be mainly that Bailey uses humor in his lectures, and that his research might interfere with the homosexual political agenda. They do not present any evidence that Bailey is wrong about anything.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Another strange female crime thwarted

Here is another strange crime story:
Police: Pregnant woman kills attacker
Knife-wielding woman may have been trying to steal fetus

FORT MITCHELL, Kentucky (AP) -- A nine-months pregnant woman fought off and killed a knife-wielding woman who may have been trying to steal the baby, according to police.
There is no mention of any father or alleged father.

Update: It turned that at least three men have been identified as possible fathers.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Mom lies to dispose of her baby

CNN reports:
A Florida woman who reported seeing a newborn tossed out of a moving car made up the story and is actually the boy's mother, Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne said Friday.
No mention of the father, or whatever rights he may have.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I am watching Evelyn, a 2002 movie about an Irish father who tries to retrieve his daughter from an orphanage. His lawyers tell him that his case is hopeless, and one of the authorities says:
You lose because if you were to win this case, the whole basis of family law would be undermined, and believe me, that will not be allowed to happen.
The is supposedly based on a true story from 1950s Ireland, as was later written by the daughter in a book.

Woman hides testicle in mouth

Here is a domestic dispute:
Woman jailed for ripping off lover's testicle
Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:51 PM GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - A woman has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for ripping off her ex-lover's testicle with her bare hands during a drunken brawl after he refused her sex.

Amanda Monti, 24, flew into a rage in May last year after Geoffrey Jones, 37, who had ended their long-term relationship, rejected her advances.

She grabbed him by the genitals, tearing off his left testicle, then hid it in her mouth before a friend of Jones handed it back to him saying "that's yours".

Monti, of Birkenhead, near Liverpool, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing.

Her lawyer said on Thursday her client had little memory of the night.
I am glad I never refused my wife's sexual advances!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Some shrinks admit that evil exists

This NY Times story says that some shrinks now think that some people can be evil:
Among themselves, a few forensic scientists have taken to thinking of these people as not merely disturbed but evil. Evil in that their deliberate, habitual savagery defies any psychological explanation or attempt at treatment.

Most psychiatrists assiduously avoid the word evil, contending that its use would precipitate a dangerous slide from clinical to moral judgment that could put people on death row unnecessarily and obscure the understanding of violent criminals.

Still, many career forensic examiners say their work forces them to reflect on the concept of evil, and some acknowledge they can find no other term for certain individuals they have evaluated.

"I think the main reason it's better to avoid the term evil, at least in the courtroom, is that for many it evokes a personalized Satan, the idea that there is supernatural causation for misconduct," said Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist in Newport Beach, Calif., who examined the convicted serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted of murdering their parents in Beverly Hills.
I do think that some of the court-appointed psychologists are evil. They deliberately misrepresent facts and research in order to ruin the lives of kids.

Bob writes:
Anyone who is honest has trouble with the concept of evil. It is easy for me to imagine doing something which is motivated by loyalty, patriotism, or any number of reasonable sentiments which upon reflection turns out to be evil. Even the cases which seem clear cut can be hard. One of my friends tortured people in the most horrible ways imaginable and is not an evil person. I would not hesitate to torture someone to save my wife. Evil is an intellectual problem. You know it when you see it isn't much of a solution.
Christianity has a long history of distinguishing Good and Evil. I think that there are theologians who can do it as well as psychologists can identify mental disorders. Admittedly, there are borderline cases where a layman like myself cannot tell whether someone is going to Hell or not.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Watching a lesbian kiddie cartoon

I watched the PBS kiddie show Postcards From Buster this afternoon with my kids (aged 5 and 7). The show openly promoted acceptance of a lesbian couple raising 3 kids. I was a little reluctant to let the kids see such blatantly pro-homosexual propaganda, but I figured they were probably getting it anyway. I was right. After the program, they each told me that they have a classmate being raised by lesbians.

The pro-lesbianism wasn't the only offensive thing. The show promoted motherhood and devalued fatherhood at every opportunity.

I suppose that if my kids have to attend school with kids being raised by lesbians, then they as might as well learn the truth. But they are not. My kids seemed to be under the impression that 2 lesbians could make a baby together without any help from a man. I had to explain that it was likely those kids have fathers somewhere, and that the lesbians had probably used the courts to eliminate the fathers from the lives of their children.

Our local public high school even has 2 openly lesbian teachers who are raising a child. The school promotes tolerance of homosexuality with classes and posters, and the principal seems to think that such propaganda is required by California state law.

Update: The NY Times complains that most stations did not show the Postcards From Buster show. It also reveals that the show was made with most federal govt money in order "to highlight diversity". It also says:
A few days earlier, the president, questioned in an interview with The New York Times about gay adoption, said, "Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman." Experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples fare any worse than those raised in more traditional households.
It is trying to imply that Pres. Bush is ignorant of the scientific research that proves that homosexual parents are just as good as others.

According to this story, "most of the research on homosexual parenting is politically contaminated". The research studies find significant differences, but they try to twist their conclusions to make it sound like the sexual preferences of the parents do not matter:
For example, one 1996 study concluded that "The majority of children who grew up in lesbian families identified themselves as heterosexual in adulthood."
Maybe so, but this survey says:
Research by Dr J Bailey and colleagues found in 1995 that the children of homosexual parents are about three times more likely to become homosexual.
Here is an academic criticism of the homosexual parenting studies.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Seeing a goofy shrink

On my attorney's advice, I went to see a psychologist who might rebut my court-ordered custody evaluation. The shrink turned out to be useless.

I told him that there is nothing in the report that can justify the conclusions. He kept saying, "you have to read between the lines." When pressed, he pointed to a line that suggests that I take the kids to school late, and asked if that was true. I said, "I took them to school late exactly once in the last year, and that was only 5 minutes late. But so what? Even if I was a half-hour late every day, would that justify a custody change?" He said "no".

He may have agreed with me that the report was bad, but he wouldn't admit it. At one point, he said, "That's why I don't do such brief evaluations. I only do in-depth evaluations where I do much more extensive interviews -- 6 hours with each parent, interviews with the kids, observations of the parents with the kids, psychological tests, ..."

At another point, he said, "The court cannot really do custody evaluations. What would you do?" So I explained to him how a psychologist could do his job without violating either the law or his professional ethics. He had no response. He just wanted to get rid of me at that point.

These shrinks make a lot of money doing custody evaluations and court-order psycho-therapy. I think that they know how bogus the evaluations are, and they just won't admit it. Despite my repeated requests, this shrink could not even come close to connecting the dots from the data to the conclusions. I think that he really wanted was for me to come back to him for a $10k in-depth custody evaluation.