Thursday, March 31, 2005

Jane Fonda on Ted Turner Divorce

Drudge reports on Jane Fonda's new autobiography:
Fonda tells TIME: "I was 62 years old and I made a deal with myself that I was not going to live my third act with regrets. So I came to a point that was utterly terrifying. I told the man I loved, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, that changes needed to be made. It doesn't matter what they were. What matters is it took me so long to break the silence," she tells TIME.

Fonda insists that what the public saw in her divorce from Ted Turner was not the confused end of yet another phase, but the assertive debut of her complete feminist self, a project that had been quietly flourishing while the marriage deteriorated, TIME reports.
She was probably happiest in her first marriage, when she did whatever her husband wanted.

To become her complete feminist self, she had to give Ted Turner an ultimatum with a set of demands that he change, and then walk out on the marriage. She's probably right. Now I hope someone will tell me how to tell whether a woman is itching to become her complete feminist self, so I can make sure I am not around when it happens.

Confidential joint counseling

My wife just called, and threw a tantrum on the phone because I had not paid her my April 1 payment yet. I said that I would drop it off tomorrow, and she accused me of violating the court order. I figured that I must be mistaken about the day, and that it was already April 1, so I said that maybe I'd drop it in the mail at the end of the day. She was not happy about it.

I told her that I wanted to meet with her to discuss several issues, such as our tax return and co-parenting counseling. She said that she had no need to discuss tax issues. I asked her if she wanted to file a joint return or a separate return. I explained to her that we are still married, and we have a choice. She insisted that because we were separated, it would be illegal for us to file a joint return. She is a lawyer, and does not take legal advice from me.

Then she asked about making a co-parenting counseling appointment. I told her that we should first meet and discuss some issues, so that we'll have an agenda when we see the counselor. I think that it is very unlikely that we will get any benefit otherwise.

Previously, we went once to a co-parenting counselor at the suggestion of the court. At the beginning, the counselor said that he only does confidential counseling, and required us to sign an agreement promising not to take any counseling issues into court.

But when I was on the witness stand in court last week, my wife's lawyer tried to make an issue out of the counseling by asking me why I didn't make a second appointment. I had to explain to the judge that answering the question would require me to break my written confidentiality promise. After some discussion, the judge agreed that I should not answer.

I still cannot figure out why my wife would so blatant abuse the process by trying to break a confidentiality agreement in court. Even if she had succeeded, it would have only made her look bad, because I had good reasons for doing what I did.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Atlanta judge killer may not have raped anyone

We may never know the full story about Brian Nichols, the Atlanta judge killer. He deserves the death penalty, and will probably get it, for going crazy in the court. But I wonder what drove him over the edge.

Nichols was being tried for raping his girlfriend, and the news reports all implied that he was guilty and headed for prison. But he was tried before, and got a hung jury. I just saw Jack Liles, the jury foreman, on Fox News. He said that the jury deadlocked on a 8-4 vote. He said that the case was pretty much just a case of her word against his word, and in his opinion there was no proof at all.

I am suspicious about these girlfriend rape cases. It is much too easy for a vindictive girlfriend to send a man to prison. Maybe Nichols saw his life being ruined by false charges.

Witchcraft, coercion alleged in lawsuit

Here is a story from suburban Chicago:
A second woman has filed a lawsuit against Delnor-Community Hospital claiming a former psychologist there subjected her to witchcraft under the guise of therapy. ...

Deanna Whetstine, formerly of St. Charles, filed a lawsuit in Kane County Monday asking for more than $50,000 because she was exposed to witchcraft, threats and sexual advances at the St. Charles campus of the hospital from July 2002 to December 2004, according to the suit.

According to the lawsuit, Whetstine went to Libman for treatment of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a neurological syndrome characterized by disabling pain.

During the treatment, Whetstine claims she was taught spells, told her current religion of Buddhism was bad and falsely told her medical condition was terminal.

Whetstine divorced her husband at Libman’s behest and moved in with the doctor at her home on Elm Street in St. Charles, where she was forced to take care of the house and take nude photos of Libman, the lawsuit contends. ...

Stavins said Whetstine felt threatened into continuing to see Libman. According to the lawsuit, Libman threatened Whetstine with a gun, told her she was an expert in poison, and said the hospital relied upon her to decide which patients should live or die.

The lawsuit comes a little more than a week after a similar lawsuit was filed in federal court by Shelley Standau, a North Carolina resident formerly from Woodstock. Standau claimed she was coerced during therapy into acts of nudity and self-mutilation and into joining a Wiccan coven while receiving treatment from September 2001 to June 2004. Standau’s lawsuit seeks more than $1 million from the hospital, claiming the therapy increased her depression and sparked three suicide attempts.
The whole field of psychologists is overrun with wackos like this. I am trying to comply with the expectations of the family court, but it is difficult. The court supplied the names of five psychotherapists that I could consult. I tried contacting them, but two of them have already called me back and told me that they do not take parents who are engaged in custody disputes. Sigh. Why are they even on the court list? The remaining ones could very well be Wiccans for all I know.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Defining loss of temper

My deposition, vol. I, p. 47-48, had this exchange:
Q. Have you ever lost your temper with [your wife]?
A. No.
Q. Never?
A. Never.
Q. Have either of your children ever attended counseling?
A. You mean psychological counseling?
Q. Yes.
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. Going back to losing your temper, what do you describe as losing your temper?
A. And you want me to describe what I didn't do?
Q. I would like to know in your mind what it means to lose your temper.
A. Well, I -- I would define it as getting sufficiently angry as to lose control of one's rational thought processes.
Q. Does it mean raising your voice?
A. It often includes that.
Q. But it doesn't have to?
A. No, not necessarily.
Q. So you have always had rational thoughts with [your wife].
A. I am saying that I haven't lost my temper.
Q. In your description of losing your temper -- you can correct me -- that means losing your ability to think rationally; is that right?
A. You could ask the court reporter to read back what I said. I would rather not try to quote myself.
Q. Based on your definition, that never occurred in your relationship with [my wife] for you.
A. In your question does the word "that" refer to losing my temper?
Q. Correct.
A. Asked and answered.
Q. And you can answer.
A. That's correct, I have not lost my temper with [my wife].
I have no idea why my wife's lawyer pursued this line of questioning. She couldn't possibly have any evidence that I lost my temper, and didn't confront me with any.

In court on Friday, she asked me similar questions. She asked me if I lost my temper, and then asked me to define what it was that I didn't do. I objected to be asked to give a definition, but the judge ordered me to do it. I don't know why anyone would want me to define a term that she was introducing, and that I hadn't even used at all. I don't know why she was asking any of the questions.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Another brutal day in court

Yesterday I faced the worst day of my child custody dispute. My wife brought in a parade of witnesses to badmouth me. Then I had to take the stand for a couple of hours and endure a brutal cross-examination from my wife's lawyer on how I supposedly endangered my kids.

One witness was Dr. Jason Camera who teaches chemistry at the local junior college. He told a story about how he supposedly rescued my kid at a Toys R Us store. He said that he found her in the bicycle section where she was in serious danger of being kidnapped. He claimed that she was missing, but admitted that he really didn't know whether she was missing or not. He had me paged and tried to make a big scene in the store. I was a couple of aisles over in the doll section. He complained that I did not thank him for finding my kid!

In fact, no child has ever been kidnapped in a Toys R Us store. There are literally millions of kids going in and out of all those stores every month, and a kidnapping has never happened. The kidnapping risk is extremely close to zero. It would be more reasonable to worry about being struck by lightning.

Being a chemistry professor, I figured that if he was going to testify about risk, then he ought to be willing to quantify that risk. But when I asked, he looked like a freshman who hadn't done his homework. The judge then spared him the humiliation, and said that he didn't have to answer.

I'll post more later about my testimony. It was torture. In the end, the judge did not find that I did anything wrong, but he was unwilling to make a decision either. We'll have to go back to court in a couple of months.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Adulterous wife gets $24 million

Here is big divorce case:
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Howard and Susan Sosin had everything that money could buy. They took exciting vacations, owned numerous homes, 18 cars and surrounded themselves with fine art.

But money, as the saying goes, doesn't buy happiness. Their divorce, granted Wednesday by a Bridgeport Superior Court judge, is the largest award in a state divorce case that has gone to trial, attorneys say. Legal experts said the case ranks among the largest in the nation. ...

In addition to the $24 million payment, Susan Sosin also keeps $6 million in her brokerage accounts, eight cars, and $2.9 million in jewelry, including a ruby piece her husband had bought for her but hadn't given to her prior to their divorce.

The couple met in 1978 when Howard Sosin was an assistant professor at Columbia University. At the time, she was married to another man and working in retail. ...

While Howard Sosin was working, according to trial testimony, his wife took up heli-skiing, which involves ascending to a peak via helicopter before skiing down, and rock climbing.

While rock climbing in 1996, Susan Sosin admitted in testimony she became intimate with a guide. She testified it was a spontaneous and isolated occurrence.

During a flight to China in 2000, she met a married man, and that led to a lengthy affair, according to testimony.

Howard Sosin learned of his wife's relationships in February 2003 when, during an upgrade of their computer system, he found hundreds of e-mails between his wife and her lover, according to testimony.
It sounds like his first mistake was to date a married woman. His second was to think that she would be different from him. His third was to expect justice from the courts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Some Mexican men aren't feeling so macho

The men's movement has reached Mexico:
MEXICO CITY — Lorenzo da Firenze and his followers, a group called the Masculine Circle, say the arrival of feminism is making wimps out of the modern Mexican man. They are calling for the men of Mexico City to take to the streets.

On Sunday afternoon dozens — or perhaps thousands — of men will gather in the capital's main plaza to demand their rights in the country that virtually birthed the idea of machismo.

"It's time to stop the belligerent stand women have taken against men," says da Firenze, a 49-year-old author and recording artist, who was born in Italy and came to Mexico as an infant.

... da Firenze insists that men are the victims. "The Feminist Conspiracy" is the title of his latest book, which he hopes will lay the foundation for a movement to reclaim men's rights. Subtitled "Encyclopedia of the Third World War: Women Attack Men," the cover features a series of female figures with the heads of animals, including snakes and alligators.

The group's initial demands are fairly straightforward: they want an international men's day (as women have on March 8), an international men's year (2010 is the preferred choice) and a hospital for men, to attend to male medical problems.

Included in its orthodoxy, spelled out on its Web site, is the belief that erectile dysfunction is an invention of feminists to terrorize men.

"If you don't want more misogyny," warns the group's official hymn, "then little girls, stop attacking us."

A central tenet of the movement is the idea that women abuse men, something Da Firenze, now married, says needs serious study.

"Why are women so quick to (unleash) verbal and psychological violence on men?" he said. "When a woman goes to trial and tells the jury her husband hit her, O.K., what came before that? It's what we would classify as female verbal violence."
Yes, what came before that? Funny.

Psycho expert in Jackson case

Yesterday had expert testimony in the Michael Jackson case:
The expert, Anthony J. Urquiza, who runs a medical and mental health treatment center for abused children in Sacramento, provided a portrait of a child sexual abuse victim that seemed intended to bolster the prosecution's case by explaining why such a victim might lie and not immediately disclose such incidents.

Dr. Urquiza cited research on what he called the "child sexual assault accommodation syndrome," in which the victim is enticed into sexual activity by threats or favors and is warned of dire consequences if he discloses it. The child feels helpless and learns to cope with the abuse because the child believes there is no alternative to acquiescence and silence, he said.

Abused children, particularly boys, Dr. Urquiza said, often become aggressive and lie about the abuse to cover their shame. Mr. Jackson's accuser admitted on the witness stand last week that he had had discipline problems at school and had denied to the authorities that he had been molested.

If the child eventually does disclose the sexual abuse, the information often comes late and in a piecemeal and at times unconvincing fashion, Dr. Urquiza said.

Mr. Mesereau, in cross-examining the witness, repeatedly raised the possibility that a child could be lying about sexual abuse either in retaliation or to win money in a court case. Dr. Urquiza said he had little experience with such cases. He said that most false claims of abuse arose from divorce and custody disputes.
Having seen court-appointed psychologists who are incompetent kooks, I am very skeptical of such testimony. The accuser gives conflicting accounts of what happens, and a supposed expert tries to say what is true and what is not?! I don't think the expert knows any better than anyone else.

Essentially the expert's argument is that kids (claiming abuse) frequently lie, that most of the lies occur in custody disputes, that the Jackson case is not a custody dispute, and therefore the accuser was telling the truth when he said that abuse occurred, and lying when he said that no abuse happened.

I don't buy it. I think that Jackson is going to get acquitted.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Lazy Husband

From a new book, called The Lazy Husband:
Our view of parenthood has also been changed by the fact that many parents of today have gone through their own psychotherapy and gained a thorough understanding of the ways that their parents harmed, neglected, or mistreated them. As a result, they know firsthand the damage that can be done through parental errors, and feel terrified that they'll hurt their children in the same way that they felt hurt by their parents. Knowing the mistakes of their parents may cause them to be fiercely committed to be the kind of parent that they never had. Unfortunately, many pursue this entirely noble task at the costs to their own health and the health of their marriages.

While men are hardly immune to these worries, women are bearing the major brunt of this child emphasis. This is because this increased consciousness occurs at a time when, among other things, mothers are less likely than ever to have the time, resources, and energy to do what they would like to be good mothers.
Author Joshua Coleman perpetuates a number of silly myths about men and women, and gives full-time housewives advice on how to get their working husbands to do the laundry, cooking, and cleaning.

As you may have guess, Coleman is a psychologist. No one else would think that psychotherapy has helped anyone learn all the good and bad parenting habits.

My wife probably thought that I was a lazy husband. Of course he never did any laundry for me, and hardly ever did any cooking or cleaning for me either. She would say, "I am not your maid" to remind me.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The missing father in Hollywood movies

Ebert and Roeper reviewed Ice Princess on their tv show today, and said:
Roeper: Neither [mom] has a husband. Neither of the kids ever mentions a dad. ...

Ebert: ... The problem with the missing father is epidemic in Hollywood movies.

Roeper: But there are two missing dads here!

Ebert: We are just as happy that they are not there because if there is a father usually he is either a meanie, a child abuser, an authoritarian, or some sort of a monster.

Roeper: I know, but Roger ...

Ebert: Hollywood has a great deal of trouble giving us a positive portrait of a father.

Roeper: I understand, but usually there is a scene where the little skater will
like pick up a photo and [say] "I miss dad".
I think that it is weird to have a feel-good story about young skating stars, and not have fathers in the picture.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Wearing pajamas

Michael Jackson got away with wearing pajamas to court. According to this Boston Globe story, the practice is more common than I realized:
Passing off pajamas as an acceptable outfit is not a new concept, especially to college women, who for decades have perfected the art of rolling out of bed and heading to class. They might know better when it comes to court appearances, but Howe manages to wear her pajama bottoms almost everywhere she goes -- to eat, to run errands, not just for early-morning classes.

''Mine aren't that bad. They're black, dark colors. But my roommate's, hers are obviously pajamas with little designs on them," she said of Brittany Wallace. ''She doesn't care."

Nicole Schiffer, 21, a Boston University senior, said that throughout her college years she has grown accustomed to a campus full of pajama bottoms. The relaxed look has actually evolved, she explained. There is now pajama couture.
If I wear a coat and tie to court, I get people in the hallway trying to hire me as a lawyer. Wearing pajamas should solve that problem.


Bob sent this. It is also online here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Divorce takes husbands by surprise

News from Australia:
More men than women say they are surprised when their marriages end, according to a new report on household dynamics, suggesting women are the ones instigating separations.

Of people who married in 2002 and then separated or divorced, 55 per cent of men but only 38 per cent of women reported relatively high levels of relationship satisfaction during the year.

"Presumably, for many of these individuals, the marriage break-up was a shock," the report released yesterday suggested.

"Note also that it is men who are much more likely to be surprised. This almost certainly reflects the fact ... that it is women who are more likely to initiate marital separations."
In the USA, the large majority of divorces are initiated by women. Even in ordinary dating relationships, it is usually the girl who terminates it.

Forthcoming book on domestic violence

Trudy sends this:
The DesertLight Journal is gathering material for a book to be published later this year on domestic violence. This book will focus on the currently underserved people affected – the male victims, female abusers, serial victims, and those addicted to violence.
Her blog has a lot of info on the subject.

My biggest complaint about domestic violence is how the family courts exaggerate the significance of petty allegations, and use them to make custody decisions that ultimately punish the children.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Women With Boys

This blog lists women who got caught molesting young boys.
Since last December, the following women made news. Most are teachers, many are married, more than a few have children, and they all have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys. Links are to individual posts with all the prurient and salacious details.
27 cases are listed.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Parent coaches

This NY Times article describes a new trend where parents hire coaches to help them cope with various problems. It is cheaper that psychotherapy, but the psychologists don't like it.
But those relationships are rare. And some psychologists and child development experts are skeptical.

"These guys are really risking giving bad advice, even though it may well be well intended," said Dr. Mark W. Roberts, a psychologist and director of clinical training at Idaho State University. He added, "Any time you try to do therapy on the phone it can easily blow up in your face." Dr. Kazdin of Yale said: "If parent coaches are here to comfort and support parents, that's wonderful, as long as they don't think they're doing more. If you really need to change a child in any way, this is not going to do that."
If this catches on, then I expect that family court judges will soon be ordering fathers to hire coaches.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Advice from Fred Reed

The Fred Reed essay advises men not to get married:
Willy Bill very likely will get divorced, which will very likely be Sally's idea, and she will get the kids with virtual certainty. Further (and he won't believe it in the full flood of hormonal misjudgment) she will in all likelihood use them against him. Even if not, she'll remarry and move to the other end of the country, and he will be lucky if he sees the kids a week at Christmas. Willy Bill now faces fifteen years of child support for children he will barely know. At best Sally will be heartless about it, at worst vengeful. The courts will support her every step of the way.

If you think this doesn't happen, regularly, think again. Think several times.

The way to avoid the morass is simply not to marry. Thanks to the Sexual Revolution, guys don't have to. Find one you like and live with her. If you get along, keep on living together. Maybe you will have a long, happy life together. It happens. However, most women give the marry-me-or-leave ultimatum in about two years max, which means that you'll have to find another. This is unpleasant, but then the variety is nice. Serial monagamy isn't too bad. (I personally prefer parallel monogamy, but it isn't real practical.)

Once you tie the knot, your house is toast. But the for-keeps breakpoint, the one that really hurts, is children. Dead serious, guys, watch this one. Here, Sally holds all the high cards. I talk to a lot of men who are going crazy because the ex just remarried and went to Oregon with the kids. They do this. All the time.

Remember that after the divorce, Sally is going to hate you. The divorce will have been your fault. You will have failed her in every way. You won't have met her expectations. That's the opening hand.
Ouch. I wouldn't have believed him. Check out his other essays. He has many good essays on many topics.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bad juju

Bob warns about "bad juju":
I just noticed that your court date is on Good Friday, which coincidentally this year is Satan's Ball which is on the night of the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
Should I wear a crown of thorns to the courtroom?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Court hears domestic violence case

The US Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a domestic violence case.
In Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales, No. 04-728, the high court will consider whether a civil rights remedy is available to domestic violence victims whose pleas to enforce protection orders go unheeded by local police departments.

The high court case has at its core a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, which provides a civil remedy, including damages, when a person is deprived of his or her constitutionally protected property interest without due process.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held last year that Castle Rock could be liable under §1983. The divided en banc court ruled that the combination of a protection order and a state statute mandating arrest of the person restrained when police have probable cause to believe the order has been violated creates a property interest in enforcement of the order.
I am assuming that the Supreme Court is just hearing the case to overrule the wacky 10th Circuit ruling. If women really have a constitutional property interested in having their husbands promptly arrested, and can sue the police dept. if the police do not immediately comply, then domestic relations could get a whole lot nastier.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Domestic violence industry

The Desertlight blog says:
On this International Women’s Day, it is time to consider the roots of the women’s movement of the 1960s. Back then, the issues were focused on equal rights for women. In 2005, most if not all, the issues have been successfully resolved, in terms of literal equality in western industrialized nations. The movement has evolved over time into something more about female supremacy rather than equality.
It goes on to make some sensible comments about domestic violence. I no longer take domestic violence claims seriously, as it appears to me that most claims are false or exaggerated, and that there is a domestic violence industry that is spreading misinformation.

Friday, March 04, 2005

No settlement in sight

My wife and I appeared in court again, and the judge tried to get us to settle. My wife is completely intransigent.

I made an appointment for a co-parenting session with my wife. It will probably be a waste of time, but I am spending $140 in the hope that it will do some good.

The judge scheduled a hearing on safety issues on March 25. Yes, that is Good Friday. I guess it is not a court holiday. The judge judge apparently thinks that the most substantial charges against me involve safety, and that resolving them could resolve the whole case.

I am still not sure what my wife thinks that she has to gain by this hearing. Every single preventable accident or medical problem with the kids has occurred on her watch, not mine. Her claims against me are things like taking the kids roller skating. Roller skating is a safe and worthwhile activity.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Court can alter visitation to punish parent

John sends this Boston article
The [Mass.] state Supreme Court has upheld a judge's decision to award a father more child visitation because his ex-wife had interfered with his previous visitation schedule. ...

Writing for the high court majority, Associate Justice Linda Dalianis said that while judges must consider the children's best interests when awarding or modifying custody, they do not have to rule on the children's interests when changing visitation. ...

Chief Justice John Broderick disagreed, saying the children's best interests should always be front and center. He said he saw "no meaningful difference" between changes in custody and visitation that would have allowed the family court judge to ignore that issue.

"Children have independent interests in divorce proceedings and may not be used as pawns to punish a non-cooperative parent," he wrote.
This exposes one of the dirty little secrets of the family court. They are supposed to be acting in the best interests of the children, but they routinely withhold child custody and visitation rights in order to punish parents for alleged sins.

The common examples involve domestic violence. If a man beat his wife, and they are now divorced, then it is not clear that the issue has anything to do with the children at all. And yet the courts routinely punish the children by denying them contact with their fathers.

If the father is a threat to the mother, then we have more than enough laws for dealing with the problem. It is very easy for the mother to get a restraining order, and to enforce it. But when the court uses the issue to punish a parent, then it is punishing the children as well, and not acting in their best interests.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Contradictory psychologist opinions

It is not just the family court that has trouble with confusing and unscientific arguments from psychologists. In yesterday's Supreme Court decision banning the juvenile death penalty, Scalia dissented:
The American Psychological Association (APA), which claims in this case that scientific evidence shows persons under 18 lack the ability to take moral responsibility for their decisions, has previously taken precisely the opposite position before this very Court. In its brief in Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U. S. 417 (1990), the APA found a "rich body of research" showing that juveniles are mature enough to decide whether to obtain an abortion without parental involvement. Brief for APA as Amicus Curiae, O. T. 1989, No. 88-805 etc., p. 18. The APA brief, citing psychology treatises and studies too numerous to list here, asserted: "[B]y middle adolescence (age 14-15) young people develop abilities similar to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas, understanding social rules and laws, [and] reasoning about interpersonal relationships and interpersonal problems."
The 5-4 majority just picks and chooses whatever psychological expert opinion happens to match their personal poltical prejudices.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

No divorce privacy

John sends this AP story:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge struck down a California law that allowed billionaire investor Ron Burkle to seal some records related to his divorce proceedings, saying it is unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge Roy L. Paul ruled Monday that the law that went into effect last summer violates the public's constitutional right to access civil court proceedings and records. The law had been challenged by lawyers for Burkle's wife and by attorneys for the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press.

Paul wrote that, under the statute, "a 100-page pleading filled with legal argument of genuine public interest must be kept sealed if a party's home address appears even in a footnote."
If I had known about the statute, I would have put my home address in some footnotes. (Actually, I think my home address is on all the court papers already.)

Mind readers

It is amazing how many of my friends and relatives are amateur mind readers. They keep offering me advice, and it is nearly always based on unsupported hypotheses about what other people are thinking. They claim to know what the judge is thinking, what the psychologist is thinking, what my wife is thinking, what her lawyer is thinking, and what the average person would think.

In my experience, none of these people seem to have any mind-reading abilities at all. When they try to tell me what someone else is thinking, they nearly always turn out to be wrong.

So when they tell me that the judge will disapprove of some particular practice, then I usually ask if they themselves disapprove, and why. Usually they are unwilling or unable to give their own opinions, and yet they persist with the view that they can predict the judge's opinions. It is bizarre.