Monday, April 30, 2012

Movie shows mom lose kid

The Lifetime Channel shows movies for women, and last week it was showing child custody related movies. I happened to see The Good Mother (1988):
The Good Mother is a 1988 American drama film and an adaptation of Sue Miller's novel of the same name. Directed by Leonard Nimoy, the film stars Diane Keaton and Liam Neeson in the leading roles. The Good Mother explores feelings and beliefs about children's exposure to adult sexuality and challenges society's growing reliance upon courts to settle complex private and ethical matters. Plot summary - Anna Dunlap (Diane Keaton), is a piano teacher who works part-time at a college laboratory and a recent divorcee who has custody of a four-year-old daughter. She meets and falls in love with Leo (Liam Neeson), a sculptor who helps her to find true passion and fulfillment. But her sexual liberation comes at a very high cost: her ex-husband Brian (Naughton) questions her new lifestyle. Worse, he accuses Leo of sexually molesting Molly and sues Anna for custody of their daughter.
The IMDB rating is only 5.7 out of 10 stars, so I am not recommending it. I don't know how women can stand to watch this stuff. I had to fast-forward thru much of it. (Spoiler alert.) The mom ends up getting a 2-weekend a month visitation deal, and it is portrayed as a great tragedy. Millions of dads get a deal like that, even without any wrongdoing. To me, it seems obvious that the court had no business prying into a private matter that probably showed bad judgment, but what was ultimately harmless. But then I come to that conclusion whenever I am in family court watching other cases. I wonder what others think. My guess is that the women sympathize with the mom in this case, but do not realize how destructive these cases are. In the movie, everyone told the truth and was very sincere. In real cases, there are disputed facts, and no way to be sure about who is lying.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

International Child Abduction

NBC TV Dateline had a show Friday on the Goldman child abduction case and the Bring Sean Home Foundation. A dad was reunited with his son after his wife kidnapped the boy, took him to Brazil, got divorced and remarried, and got Brazillian custody in violation of international treaties. The mom died in childbirth and the dad still could not get the boy back until the dad got a lot of favorable publicity and a Brazilian shrink wrote a report in his favor. Congress is considering a law to help other parents like him.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kid cheats, daddy sues school

A reader caught this letter to the editor of the S.J. Mercury News:
Son's cheating should be a lesson, not a lawsuit

Regarding your article (Page A1, April 27) on cheating: There is a reason for having students and parents sign academic honesty policies.

Cheating is very prevalent in our schools and thanks to parents like Jack Berghouse, many students feel that there's nothing wrong with copying from other sources and taking credit.

Instead of using his son's transgression as a valuable lesson, he's acting like a spoiled child and demanding that his son be reinstated in a class to which he clearly does not belong. What makes Berghouse think his son belongs in an Ivy League college if he can't handle a sophomore English class?

Does he realize that by suing the district, he is not only taking valuable funds away from the education of all students in the district but calling attention to this situation?

Our children need to learn that their actions have consequences -- both good and bad -- and letting them learn from their mistakes is part of responsible parenting.

Marcia Chron
Math teacher Sunnyvale

The story was also in yesterday's Santa Cruz Sentinel, p.C5, but without the father's occupation. Can you guess? Was he a dentist? truck driver? cop? insurance agent? No, of course not.

Here is the Mercury News followup story:

Jack Berghouse doesn't dispute that his son, a sophomore at Sequoia High School, copied someone else's homework. But the Redwood City father believes the school district was wrong to kick his teenager out of an English honors class for the offense, and his decision to sue has embroiled the family in a public, opinionated debate.

"I'm getting a lot of hate calls at my office," said Berghouse, who practices family law. "I had no freaking idea this would happen."

Berghouse's son and three other students were removed from a sophomore honors English class at Sequoia in Redwood City for copying and sharing homework. In response, Berghouse filed a suit last week in San Mateo County Superior Court, claiming his son's due process rights were violated. ...

All four students involved in the incident were transferred to regular English classes. Berghouse believes the punishment is disproportionate to the offense and will jeopardize the academic future of his son, who he said has a chance at attending an Ivy League school.

With the stakes and pressure high for students to get into selective colleges, children's grades and courses have become paramount for many parents.

"There is the possibility this will cause permanent harm. What university will it keep him out of? Will that have far-ranging consequences in what kind of job he can get?" Berghouse said.

Wow. Berghouse advises clients and goes into court every day arguing for the best interest of the child (BIOTCh), so he thought that he could bully the school officials with his stupid legalistic arguments. He "had no freaking idea" that people would hate him for it.

Lawyers are mostly evil, and family court lawyers are the worst. They thrive on exploiting human misery. His Yelp review says:

This is the unscrupulous attorney who is suing his sons' school district because they are holding the son responsible for cheating. The son admits to cheating and both he and family were notified in writing about the stern consequences of plagiarism. He evidently feels a sense of entitlement that allows his son to cheat in an honors class and not be held accountable for it. I notice that somehow several very negative reviews of this attorney have been deleted today - how did that happen? Several of the remaining reviews are overly positive and obviously fake. I would not trust this person. If he can't raise his own son to be honest how would he treat his clients? How did he influence Yelp to delete all the negative reviews about him?
Maybe he threatened to sue Yelp. If I had my way, people like Berghouse would not be allowed to argue the BIOTCh in court. If there is any justice, the court will send the boy out for a psychological evaluation, and then his Ivy League chance might depend on the whim of some creepy shrink.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Banning child psychotherapy

A NY Post essay says:
The apparent epidemic of autism is in fact the latest instance of the fads that litter the history of psychiatry.

We have a strong urge to find labels for disturbing behaviors; naming things gives us an (often false) feeling that we control them. So, time and again, an obscure diagnosis suddenly comes out of nowhere to achieve great popularity. It seems temporarily to explain a lot of previously confusing behavior — but then suddenly and mysteriously returns to obscurity.

Not so long ago, autism was the rarest of diagnoses, occurring in fewer than one in 2,000 people. Now the rate has skyrocketed to 1 in 88 in America (and to a remarkable 1 in 38 in Korea). And there is no end in sight. ...

The apparent epidemic of autism is in fact the latest instance of the fads that litter the history of psychiatry.

We have a strong urge to find labels for disturbing behaviors; naming things gives us an (often false) feeling that we control them. So, time and again, an obscure diagnosis suddenly comes out of nowhere to achieve great popularity. It seems temporarily to explain a lot of previously confusing behavior — but then suddenly and mysteriously returns to obscurity.

Not so long ago, autism was the rarest of diagnoses, occurring in fewer than one in 2,000 people. Now the rate has skyrocketed to 1 in 88 in America (and to a remarkable 1 in 38 in Korea). And there is no end in sight. ...

Dr. Allen Frances, now a professor emeritus at Duke University’s department of psychology, chaired the DSM IV task force.

So they are now deciding that Aspergers is not a disease or disorder after all.

Meanwhile, California is considering a bill to outlaw certain psychotherapies:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) An individual’s sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. ...

(b) Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources. ...

(c) Recognizing that there is no evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation and that sexual orientation change efforts may cause serious and lasting harms, ...

These are not scientific facts. What is or is not a disease/disorder depends mainly on the latest psychiatry fads. And these findings do not match what the cited sources say. The Amer. Psych. Assn. report says:
The task force conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates.
It says "unlikely to be successful" but fails to mention that most psychotherapies to change behavior are unlikely to be successful.

The leading study on gay conversion found that it was successful in about half of the (non-random) sample. But some Californians would rather say that it is impossible.

After this fact-finding, the bill attempts to preserve the next generation of gay kids:

The bill is SB 1172, and it bans “psychotherapy” of under-18-year-olds “aimed at altering the sexual or romantic desires, attractions, or conduct of a person toward people of the same sex so that the desire, attraction, or conduct is eliminated or reduced or might instead be directed toward people of a different sex.” This so regardless of whether the patient or the patient’s parents want the therapy to take place.

The bill also regulates such psychotherapy for adults, but the outright prohibition applies only to under-18-year-olds.

This is a gross invasion of parental rights. If I discover that my child has developed some kinky sexual interest, I ought to be able to take measures to discourage those interests.

While this bill is based on false findings, nanny state thinking, and homosexual promotion, maybe it will be good for California to ban dubious psychotherapies. All of the child psychotherapies are dubious. I don't think that there is one single child psychotherapy that has been shown to work any better than the ex-gay (reparation) psychotherapy. Maybe they all ought to be banned. I would favor the banning of court-orded child psychotherapy, as I have never even heard of a documented case where it did any good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

America’s false autism epidemic

A NY Post op-ed by "Dr. Allen Frances, now a professor emeritus at Duke University’s department of psychology, chaired the DSM IV task force", says:
The apparent epidemic of autism is in fact the latest instance of the fads that litter the history of psychiatry.

We have a strong urge to find labels for disturbing behaviors; naming things gives us an (often false) feeling that we control them. So, time and again, an obscure diagnosis suddenly comes out of nowhere to achieve great popularity. It seems temporarily to explain a lot of previously confusing behavior — but then suddenly and mysteriously returns to obscurity.

Not so long ago, autism was the rarest of diagnoses, occurring in fewer than one in 2,000 people. Now the rate has skyrocketed to 1 in 88 in America (and to a remarkable 1 in 38 in Korea). And there is no end in sight.

Increasingly panicked, parents have become understandably vulnerable to quackery and conspiracy theories.

The TV show Touch seems to have the popular perception of autism. The 11-year-old autistic boy has never spoken, except to narrate the show about the nature of the universe. He scribbles numbers all day which turn out to be puzzles for his dad to find coincidences that connect and transform scattered strangers. And a CPS agent keeps trying to take the boy away and institutionalize him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Senate debate bill against free speech

Free speech UCLA law prof E. Volokh writes:
Senate Considering Outlawing Anonymous Online Speech That’s Supposedly “Intended to Harass” the Person Being Criticized

This is happening in § 1003 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011, which is apparently being debated tomorrow. ...

And of course there’s every reason to think that the revised statute could be used not just to go after criticism of private individuals — though I think it would be unconstitutional even then — but also government officials. As you can see in these posts, these sorts of broad “harassment” statutes have recently been used to silence, prosecute, or try to unmask critics of prominent religious leaders, city commissioners, police officers, and candidates for elective office. Why is the Senate considering broadening federal speech restrictions to make such prosecutions easier?

I do criticize govt officials such as Irwin H. Joseph and Ken Perlmutter for their malicious and vindictive abuse of children with their family court powers. If speaking out against the govt becomes a federal crime, then I would have to shut down this blog.

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I hope someone points this out in the Senate debate. Volokh points out that the bill is titled, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. Taken literally, it means that Congress is reauthorizing violence against women!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are men stupid?

Here is a CNN columnist opinion:
Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer/correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television."

(CNN) -- Are men stupid? How else can we explain the endless parade of otherwise successful individuals, who by all appearances seem intelligent and competent, and yet risk destroying their careers and their personal lives over the chance to have a sexual escapade? ...

The question has baffled women, mostly, since biblical times. ...

Some try to explain it as biology, testosterone's fault, they say. Others blame complex psychological needs. "The appeal of hookers lies in the temporary psychic relief they supply to men struggling with conflicts about guilt and responsibility," wrote psychologist Michael Bader.

But I believe the common denominator, the proximate cause of the irrational behavior, is arrogance; the belief by some powerful men that they can get away with it.

Her examples are most left-wing, anti-family politicians, and they are usually lawyers or married to lawyers.

Her first example is John Edwards. He seemed to me to be the phoniest politician I've seen in a long time. The stupid people are the tens of millions of Democrats who treated him as a serious presidential or vice presidential candidate. Some of the other men had wives who were bitches. The men wanted something that they were not getting at home. It is not real complicated. Have women really been baffled by this since biblical times?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Discussing Problems Is a Waste of Time

ScienceDaily reports:
A new University of Missouri study finds that boys feel that discussing problems is a waste of time.

"For years, popular psychologists have insisted that boys and men would like to talk about their problems but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak," said Amanda J. Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. "However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn't express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys' responses suggest that they just don't see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity."

The article goes on to suggest strategies for getting boys to discuss their problems more, and girls to discuss their problems less.

Maybe the boys are right that discussing problems is usually a waste of time because the problems do not get solved that way. And maybe girls like discussing problems anyway.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Debtors prisons not abolished yet

CBS Moneywatch reports:
How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs." Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP. Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.
Most of those in debtors prisons today are fathers. There are reportedly thousands of fathers sitting in jail because of allegations that they did not pay child support. Usually they do not even get a trial, because of that "contempt of court" loophole. Debtors prisons should be truly abolished.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can’t a ho change her ways?

Thew Huff Post reports:
The Brooklyn DA's office sat on a rape recantation for nearly a year while two men accused of the crime sat behind bars, documents reveal.

Last June, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett were arrested for forcing a 13-year-old Jewish Orthodox girl into prostitution in 2003, and then raping, assaulting and sexually trafficking her for the next 8 years.

Two other men, Jawara Brockett and Darrell Dula, were also arrested and charged with raping the girl.

A day after accusing Jawara Brockett and Dula, however, the girl, then 22-years-old, went back to the police, and told detectives she was simply a prostitute for 5 years and made up the allegations against Brockett and Dula.

From The New York Daily News:
“I once again asked [her] if she was raped,” a detective wrote in a police report after the interview. “She told me ‘no’ and stated to me, ‘Can’t a ho change her ways?’ ”

The woman also signed a recantation, but the case proceeded and in spring 2011, a grand jury voted to indict Dula, Crooks and two others who were allegedly part of the crew.
Defense attorneys for the men didn't receive the woman's recantation until April 2012, when prosecutor Rebecca Gingold, who replaced Assistant District Attorney Abbie Greenberger, discovered the documents and turned them over.
Apparently a ho can change, drop a false accusation, and not suffer any consequences.

The real criminals here are the prosecutors like Abbie Greenberger. The ho only maintained a false accusation for a day. The DA maintained a false accusation for a year.

Update: A reader says that Greenberger was a scapegoat, according to this
NY Daily News story:
Greenberger said she found inconsistencies in the 22-year-old accuser’s account, but couldn’t convince her boss there was a problem.

“When I brought the inconsistencies to Lauren Hersh (chief of the sex-trafficking unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office), I was told that I didn’t do my job right and that I’m trying to dismiss the case and that I should work harder,” Greenberger told the Daily News.
I think that the problem is systemic. They should not be holding an accused man in jail unless there is some corroborating evidence. His freedom should not depend on some boss telling someone to "work harder". He should have seen a judge the next day, and judge should have released him for lack of evidence.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Other Woman trashes husband

Here is today's advice column letter:
Dear Annie: My friend "Steve" has been married for 10 years. Six months ago, he had an affair. The other woman became pregnant, so Steve left his wife. But within a few months, he realized he had made a terrible mistake. The new girlfriend was verbally abusive and controlling and interfered with his relationship with his other children. He finally ended things and returned to his wife.

Now the Other Woman is refusing visitation with the new baby. Steve and his wife have hired an attorney to fight this. I know Steve has tried very hard to put his life back together and wants to do the right thing. But I was disheartened to see the new mother badmouth him on Facebook, calling him a deadbeat dad and telling horrible lies about his family. Steve pays regular child support and has already added the baby to his insurance. Meanwhile, throughout her pregnancy, this woman drank and smoked, even though Steve pleaded with her to take better care of herself. ...

Dear A Friend: ... But we caution you not to say unkind things about the Other Woman. Steve has his hands full, and there's no reason to make the woman more defensive and angry than she already is.
The Other Woman and her sympathizers are ruining America. Yes, there is every reason to shame her as a slut, home-wrecker, and evil mom.

Most of the online comments want to blame Steve for not wearing a condom, or some related sin. Blame him all you want, but it is tolerance for women like the Other Woman who are destroying the next generation.

It has become politically incorrect to shame such women. They are just exercising their lawful choices, liberals say. We would all be better off if such women were considered unfit to win child custody battles.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Feds admit flawed forensic work

The Wash. Post reports:
Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.

Officials started reviewing the cases in the 1990s after reports that sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab was producing unreliable forensic evidence in court trials. Instead of releasing those findings, they made them available only to the prosecutors in the affected cases, according to documents and interviews with dozens of officials.

In addition, the Justice Department reviewed only a limited number of cases and focused on the work of one scientist at the FBI lab, despite warnings that problems were far more widespread and could affect potentially thousands of cases in federal, state and local courts.

As a result, hundreds of defendants nationwide remain in prison or on parole for crimes that might merit exoneration, a retrial or a retesting of evidence using DNA because FBI hair and fiber experts may have misidentified them as suspects.
Of course many thousands, if not millions, of parents are restricted from seeing their own kids because of bogus work by forensic psychologists. Officials have known about the flaws for decades. Nearly everyone knows that the psychologists and other forensic experts working for the family court are corrupt to the core.

Forensic experts should only be giving opinions that are objectively verifiable based on the evidence and the scientific literature. And yet the quacks like Ken Perlmutter do not do that at all.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ex-wife gets embryos

A Penn. appeals opinion just said:
In November 2003, Wife, at the age of 36, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result of the diagnosis and proposed recommended cancer treatments, the parties … [went through] in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) to preserve Wife’s ability to conceive a child…. Following fertilization, the pre-embryos were then cryopreserved and presently remain frozen ….

Wife, now age 44, has no children. Wife seeks all thirteen pre-embryos for implantation…. In this case, because Husband and Wife never made an agreement prior to undergoing IVF, and these pre-embryos are likely Wife’s only opportunity to achieve biological parenthood and her best chance to achieve parenthood at all, we agree with the trial court that the balancing of the interests tips in Wife’s favor.
The appeals court seemed to believe the wife's promise not to seek child support payments, but unfortunately no such promise is binding under the law. A comment explains:
If the appellate court did this (and I don't doubt they did), then this is a nice, clear example of the duplicity bred by judicial arrogance. There is no doubt whatsoever that the judges [even the stupid one ;-) ] know that her promise is wholly worthless. In 3 years, if she has a baby, she'll be back asking for child support (perhaps in the guise of a guardian ad litum) and these SAME judges will climb all over themselves to give it to her.

At this point it's her interest against his. Equals. Once the child is born it will be the STATE against him and there will be no evenhanded justice because the kid always wins.

This is the gender-biased unfairness problem of divorce law writ large. She can "stack the deck" so he's screwed. Proving to all men that no good deed goes unpunished in W-O-M-E-N-'S court.

It's no wonder that every year more young men are saying "no".

Abortion laws are justified by arguing that the woman has a right to refuse being a mother. Why not the father? Shouldn't he also have a right to refuse, if the mother does?

The sickening thing about this is that under the law, men are reduced to just sperm and support checks. There is no consideration at all to the fact that this ex-wife is going to bring a child into this world who will have to grow up without a father.

Drug test or no child support

A leftist-feminist web site reports:
The idea of forcing those who want unemployment benefits or government subsidize like welfare or food stamps to first pass a drug test is nothing new.

But forcing a custodial parent to pee in a cup to get child support payments? Well, that definitely is.

Drug testing for child support is the brainchild of Iowa Republican Senator Mark Chelgren, who thinks it’s the next logical step after testing anyone getting public assistance. ...

But Chelgren is a huge fan of parental rights. In fact, he even sponsored “A concurrent resolution urging the members of the Congress of the United States to propose a parental rights amendment to the Constitution of the United States for submission to the states for ratification.”
I guess the author is suggesting a contradiction here, but there is not. Child support has become part of the welfare system. No self-respecting parent would accept court-ordered child support, unless she was part of the welfare class. The money is not even to be spent on the kids.

Yes, parents have a right to rear their kids as they see fit. But that should not include the right to use the welfare system to collect money to buy alcohol and recreational drugs.

The site also has complaints about studies claiming to show that Many Women Would Trade IQ Points For Bigger Breasts and foreign women approve of beating misbehaving wives.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tot-grab son cites RFK slay

The NY Post reports (under the above headline):
The son of slain Sen. Robert Kennedy invoked his dad’s 1968 assassination yesterday as he explained why he tried to snatch his newborn son from a Westchester County hospital.

Douglas Kennedy was arrested in February after grappling with nurses who tried to stop him from taking the 2-day-old infant from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco.

“It is OK for a father to hold his son in his arms ... my father was taken away from me when I was a baby,” Kennedy said after an appearance in Mount Kisco Town Court. “The only thing I wanted to do that night was to be with my son and hold him in my arms.”

Kennedy, a Fox News reporter, is the second-youngest of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s 11 children.

He was charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child after his Jan. 7 run-in with nurses. The hospital also reported Kennedy to the state’s Child Protective Services.

“Our lives have been turned upside down simply because my husband wanted to take a walk with our son,” said his wife, Molly Kennedy.

Kennedy’s lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, blasted the prosecution as a “disgrace” and claimed two nurses have retained lawyers in a cash grab.
I don't get the connection to his dad getting shot, but he ought to be able to hold his baby in the maternity ward without CPS interference.

No more male pediatricians

AAAS Science magazine reports on trends among pediatricians. Apparently they used to be all hard-working and dedicated men, but men have bailed out of all child-related occupations because of prejudices that they might be perverts and because the false accusations are so devastating. So the field was taken over by women who have their own kids, and they cannot be bothered with working overtime. The article explains:
A physician I’ll call Tom recalls that when he finished medical school in the late 1960s, his class was almost entirely male. When he joined a private pediatrics practice in the early 1970s, his two partners there were both men. Today, as the senior member of that practice, he is one of two men among five physicians.

The changes he has witnessed in medical practice are vast, from the days when his pediatrician father made house calls equipped only with his black doctor’s bag to today’s high-tech office, like the one where Tom and his colleagues record case notes and write prescriptions on tablet computers. Tom says, however, that some of the biggest changes happened not because of technology or scientific advances, but because, for a couple of decades now, the great majority of the young doctors entering pediatrics have been women. These board-certified specialists refused to accept the working conditions that the formerly all-male profession considered normal. Practices seeking to attract top talent had to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of a new kind of colleague.

The main issue for female pediatricians is not timing, but time, Tom says -- specifically, the long hours, unpredictability, and constant interruptions to family life that were customary when pediatricians had wives to manage their homes and families. Pediatrics involves a lot of after-hours phone calls from anxious parents. In the days of the all-male practice, Tom and his partners were on call every third night and every third weekend and would meet patients after hours at the office or the hospital. They also visited hospitalized patients daily, further lengthening their work hours.
So when you cannot find a decent pediatrician, blame child abuse hysteria.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sperm is the new export

Only part of this is online:
In this week’s edition of TIME Magazine, Jay Newton-Small explores why America has become the largest exporter of sperm.
It cites various factors, mostly involving laws and quality control. It says Sweden, Austria, and the United Kingdom abolished anonymous donations and that fair-haired donors are preferred, even in South America, Africa and Asia. Israel requires non-Jewish sperm for its Jewish women, as Judaism is passed down through the mother. Mediterranean women come to the USA for sperm, if their own country frowns upon single motherhood. Top donors can be paid $500.

Time says:
While it would be hard for foreign offspring to claim U.S. citizenship -- unless their genetic fathers helped them -- it's possible that sperm-donor fathers might be forced to take responsibility for them.

"Someone could show up -- say, a 16-year-old whose parents died in France," says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. "He may know his sperm father and say, 'I think you should support me.' American courts decide [such] issues to the child's best interest. They're not interested in promises from sperm banks. It may not make the child a citizen, but it sure makes the donor a dad."
Is this the future of fatherhood?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sterilizations Without Parental Consent at Any Age

NaturalSociety reports:
Following the call by ethicists for after-birth abortions and the press explosion surrounding the ‘Euthanasia Coaster‘, new legislation from Australia is now paving the way for children of any age to consent to sterilization — without parental consent. That’s right, if a psychiatrist determines that a child under the age of 18 years is ‘sufficiently mature’, they will be sterilized without any say from the parents. Again, there is no age minimum, as long as they are ‘mature‘ enough.

The legislation, known as the ‘Draft Mental Health Bill 2011', also allows for 12-year-olds to consent to psychosurgery and electroshock. You can view the bill for yourself on the Australian Mental Health government website.
I would like to think that ethical shrinks would not go along with this. But shrinks are evil. I doubt that I will even hear about any shrinks objecting to this law.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brewington appeals his conviction

A fellow angry dad is appealing his conviction:
Most of Brewington’s allegedly threatening statements were essentially name-calling. Brewington called Dr. Connor (the custody evaluator) and Judge Humphrey “child abusers.” Brewington used the term “child abuse” to refer to what he believed was the improper denial of his participation in his children’s upbringing, which he thought would have detrimental effect on his children. ...

The State introduced a comment from Brewington’s Facebook page, in which he stated, regarding the divorce proceedings, “This is like playing with gas and fire, and anyone who has seen me with gas and fire know that I am quite the pyromaniac.” ...

The State also introduced a letter that Brewington sent to Dr. Connor in which he wrote: “The game is over for Dr. Connor.” (Tr. Ex. 49). This was not a threat of violence. This letter requested that Dr. Connor release his entire case file. Brewington’s only threat was to file a petition for contempt against Dr. Connor. ...

The State introduced a blog post in which Brewington discussed watching Dr. Connor testify in a different case in Kentucky. (Tr. Ex. 200). Brewington described Dr. Connor as “surprised” to see Brewington there, and “a little nervous.” ...

Brewington’s allegedly perjured statements were made during his grand jury testimony. Brewington was asked a series of questions about Internet postings wherein he urged readers to write letters concerning Judge Humphrey’s handling of his divorce case to Heidi Humphrey — identified as an “Ethics and Professionalism advisor” to the Indiana Supreme Court “Ethics and Professionalism Committee — and listed her home address. Brewington testified that he found all of this information on the Internet: ... Brewington testified that he was not certain that Heidi Humphrey was married to Judge Humphrey.

I mentioned this conviction below. The fix is in. The authorities don't like his blog and they are sending him to prison for it. Maybe there is more to the story, but this all looks like free speech to me.

I am sure the judge and his wife did not like their names and addresses posted on his blog, but they are public officials and they should be willing to receive mail complaining about their official duties. I don't see where Brewington did anything criminal. It appears to me that he was within his rights in complaining about his mistreatment in court, and about bad testimony by a dubious expert.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

London lawyers want no-fault divorce

The NY Times reports:
LONDON — In her 30-odd years as a divorce lawyer, Vanessa Lloyd Platt has heard it all. The woman who sued for divorce because her husband insisted she dress in a Klingon costume and speak to him in Klingon. The man who declared that his wife had maliciously and repeatedly served him his least favorite dish, tuna casserole.

“It’s insane,” Ms. Lloyd Platt said. “These things should not have any part in the procedure.”

But they come up all the time in England, which unlike every state in America does not have a no-fault divorce law.

In one recent case, the husband accused his wife of spitefully tampering with the TV antenna and throwing away his cold cuts. She said he usurped her control of the washing machine and failed to appreciate her revulsion for “intensely farmed meat.” ...

How petitions are worded can make a huge difference. Sharon Bennett, a divorce lawyer in London, said that she advises her clients to use anodyne language or inoffensive trivialities. In one petition, a client said her husband was “obsessive in attention to detail and used to comb the fringes of the rug.”
It is misleading to say that the USA has "no-fault" divorce. Yes, the family courts will grant divorces unilaterally when one spouse alleges that there are irreconcilable differences, and the other spouse has no say in the matter. But if they have kids, then the court will scrutinize the most trivial charges, or as the NY Times says, "picayune matters", and try to determine who is at fault. It is unilateral divorce and judge-micromanaged parenting plans.

We have it backwards. There should be just cause for divorce, but no court interference of child-rearing. A marriage contract is not really a contract if either party can bail out at any time and for any reason. Usually it is the wife who files for divorce, and her reasons can be as trivial as the fringes on the rug. But if there is a divorce, the court has no business making child-rearing decisions.

In my case, my ex-wife had a complaint that the vegetables I usually served our kids were broccoli, potatoes, and asparagus. She asked the court-appointed gay shrink to investigate it, and he had no idea whether that was reasonable, so he wrote a proposed court order that I be required to consult a nutritionist about it.

There seems to be a widespread misunderstanding that American no-fault divorce laws of the last 30 years have taken picayune matters out of court. No, it has been the reverse. It has increased wives filing for divorce, destabilized marriage law, and turned the courts into arbiters of who eats broccoli.

Monday, April 09, 2012

CPS causes murder-suicide of cops

This tragic story happened 4 years ago, but it is just now being made public. The HuffPost reports:
In 2008, 36-year-old William "David" O'Shell, a police officer, and his wife 25-year-old Tiffany Cuin-O'Shell, were found dead in the couple's Lakewood Colorado home, victims of an apparent murder-suicide late on a Sunday night. Less than a month earlier, the couple's 3-month-old daughter had been removed from their care under suspicion of child abuse, after a visit to the hospital revealed multiple unexplained fractures and a broken leg.

According to 9News, Dave O'Shell became the prime suspect for his daughter's "serious injuries" and likely faced arrest for felony child abuse. Reports indicate Dave--presumably mortified by allegations of child abuse--proceeded to shoot his wife while she slept, then took his own life.
The Denver Post reports more details:
Mistaken allegations of child abuse lead to murder-suicide before baby's rare genetic disorder found ...

Two weeks before, on June 17, 2008, Adams County child protection
workers had taken Alyssa and handed her to a foster mother. They did so after a hospital found 11 broken bones in Alyssa's 3-month-old legs, but no bruises or other signs of abuse.

Dave and Tiffany had been allowed to see their daughter just once in those two weeks. Tiffany's lawyer was advising her to divorce her husband if she ever wanted her baby back. Clouds of suspicion swirled around Dave. Police were about to arrest him, he thought, for felony child abuse. He had grown more despondent day by day.

Nobody seemed to hear the family's pleas that there must be some other explanation for all those broken bones. ...

Three and a half years later, Paul and Jackie Cuin shared their account of a family tragedy, hoping to broaden knowledge about a genetic killer of infants and to spare someone else from mistaken accusations of child abuse. They also want Colorado to give accused parents better ways to appeal if a child protection agency balks at performing tests that could disprove abuse.
Lawsuits go nowhere in a case like this. The fundamental problem here is that (1) parents do not go around deliberately breaking the legs of their baby, (2) there would be no prosecution if CPS were to admit this, but (3) CPS could not justify its existence if it were to admit that it ruins lives for the sake of preventing something that never happens anyway.

There are tribes in New Guinea where a witch doctor has the responsibility of keeping the evil spirits away. If anyone questions his rituals, then he reminds them how bad evil spirits could be.

CPS is no better than the witch doctor. Denver get O'Shell a gun and trusted him to use it to enforce the laws. And yet CPS did not trust him to hold his own baby! No good ever comes from these interventions.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Advice to get checked for ADD

I canceled my newspaper subscription and its stupid advice column, but I happened to read a couple issues. Thursday's paper had this:
Dear Annie: I've been with my husband for 15 years. ...

We are both in our mid-30s and recently had our first baby. I am resentful and angry that I had to return to work and put the baby in day care. I missed my baby's first steps and first word. I feel robbed of time with my child.

I never wanted to be "Mrs. Career," and now I feel trapped. ...

My father worked two jobs, and he says there's something wrong with a man who can't provide for his family. ... — Sad Wife

Dear Sad: ... Please insist that your husband be evaluated for adult ADD, and also that he get some career counseling as well as therapy to work on his negative, self-defeating attitude.
The writer wants her husband to work two jobs so she can stay home and play with the toddler. So Annie suspects ADD? This is wacky advice. Dads who work two jobs don't get to see their kids much. Maybe he wants to see their child also.

Saturday's advice:
If there is a chance she has contracted an STD from her philandering husband, she should be told. Otherwise, please stay out of it. ...

To our Jewish readers: A happy and healthy Passover.
I guess I knew that Ann Landers and Dear Abby were Jewish twin sisters, but I did not know that this was a Jewish advice column. Passover did start on Friday, but that was also Good Friday and today is Easter. Surely there are many more readers who celebrate Good Friday and Easter.

Perhaps I should have guessed from the amorality of the advice given. They act as if marital infidelity is simply a matter of STD risk. I guess the reader is supposed to do her own investigation of condom use, and choose to meddle in the marriage accordingly.

Oops, I see today's column says "Happy Easter to all our Christian readers." So I guess I jumped to a faulty conclusion, and it is not a Jewish advice column.

For my readers, Happy Easter, Spring Break, Passover, March Madness, or whatever else you are celebrating.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Mom faces jail for baptizing kids

Fox News reports:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Shelby County mother faces contempt-of-court charges and possible jail time for baptizing her two children without the knowledge or consent of her ex-husband.

This week the Tennessee Court of Appeals said Lauren Jarrell must face a criminal contempt hearing for violating a court order that said major decisions regarding the religious upbringing of her two children should be made jointly with the children's father.

Both parents are Christian. Emmett Blake Jarrell, the father, is a member of the United Methodist Church, and she's a Presbyterian.
Of course the court can always find an excuse for intervening in family decisions.
"Mother is correct that courts `must maintain strict neutrality in cases involving religious disputes between divorced parents' and they may not `prefer the religious views of one parent over another unless one parent's religious beliefs and practices threaten the health and well-being of the child," Judge Alan E. Highers wrote. "However, simply put, this is not a religious dispute." Highers said the court is only being asked to determine whether the mother can be found in contempt for failing to follow the court order.

Nashville attorney Helen Rogers says the courts ought to stay away from these kinds of decisions.
Yes, the court ought to stay out. Highers is dishonest here. The well-being of the child is not threatened. This is a religious dispute.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Bogus shaken baby cases

I posted below about an example of dads being falsely accused and convicted of some crime that never happens. A similar thing happens to moms.

The LA Times reports:
New reports from the Los Angeles County coroner's office and a prominent UCLA pediatrician have cast doubt on the reliability of forensic evidence used to convict a grandmother of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death in Van Nuys 15 years ago.

The reports have emerged as Gov. Jerry Brown weighs whether to grant clemency to Shirley Ree Smith, who spent 10 years in a California prison for the mysterious death of baby Etzel Glass on Nov. 30, 1996.

As part of the clemency process, Los Angeles Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley asked for a fresh review by three experts of autopsy reports, evidence and testimony given at Smith's 1997 trial. While Cooley said his office remained persuaded that the forensic evidence was reliable, the two senior deputy medical examiners and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center pediatrics vice chairwoman Carol Berkowitz offered new theories on the possible cause of death that Smith's attorneys contend "clearly undermine and contradict the medical evidence which was presented at trial."

Smith, now 51, has been free since the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out her conviction in 2006, saying there was "no demonstrable support" for the prosecution's theory that Smith must have shaken the baby to death to silence his crying.
The problem with this is that there is no proof that is even possible to shake a toddler to death.

There are cases where a toddler dies of unexplained causes. It is often called crib death. The scenario is that a toddler goes unconscious or dies. The mom shakes the kid in a revival attempt, and calls 911. An autopsy fails to find the cause of death, but the mom admits to shaking the kid, and some prosecution expert testifies that internal pathology is consistent with shaking and shaken baby syndrome. The mom gets convicted of manslaughter.

It is crazy to be convicting parents for things that never happen. These are like Salem witch trials.

Update: Calif. Gov. Brown commuted the sentence on April 6. The details are here.

School picture replaces face

Schools are always asking parents to sign permission slips. Here is what can happen if a parent fails to sign. The HuffPost reports:
A second grader at Sawgrass Elementary School in Sunrise, Fla., who didn't have the parental consent form to be in his class photo was nevertheless included, but in a way that has shocked school officials and the boy's parents, WPLG TV reports.

Per the elementary school's request, The Huffington Post blurred the faces of the other students in the photo, but the second grade boy can still be seen with a crude, brown-colored, smiley face placed over his face.
I don't get it. If they were being strict about the consent forms, why didn't they leave the kid out of the picture? Or get the consent after the picture? And why is it okay to pixelate the faces of the kids whose parents did sign the consent form?

Maybe there is some sort of racial angle here. The kid's parents might have thought that they were being punished by making fun of his brown skin with a caricature of his face.

We live in the Facebook age of no privacy anyway. Probably all of these kids have been to birthday parties where group pictures have been posted on FB without anyone signing consent forms. Maybe it is rude and invasive, but get over it. Facebook is going to get worse before anyone does anything about it.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Insulting ads for men just posted The 5 Most Insulting Ways Products Are Advertised to Men. The site has a lot of funny lists, with trivia that is hard to find elsewhere. If you think it is sexist, it also has 8 TV Ads That Hate Women.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

False accuser is not charged

AP reports:
LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The Cowlitz County prosecutor says she won't charge a Longview woman who admitted she lied when she said her father raped her -- sending him to prison for more than nine years.

Prosecutor Sue Baur says charging Cassandra Kennedy might discourage girls from reporting sexual assaults.

Now 23 years old, Cassandra Kennedy says guilt prompted her to tell police in January that she lied as an 11-year-old in 2001 in Kalama.

The Daily News reports her father, Thomas Edward Kennedy, denied the allegation but was convicted by a jury and sentenced in 2002 to more than 15 years in prison.
Now 43, Thomas Kennedy was released last week and all charges against him were dismissed.

Cassandra Kennedy says she lied because she was disappointed in her father after her parents divorced.
The real problem here is that a father can be sent to prison based on the sayso of an 11yo daughter who is disappointed with her parents' divorce. The article doesn't say, but the mom surely put the kid up to do this, and lied about it.

Dads don't rape their daughters. These accusations are nearly always bogus, if not always bogus. They should not even be considered unless there is physical evidence. This case says a lot about how dads are devalued, while women get away with serious crimes without being punished.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Two states do not provide lawyers

NPR news reports
In most places in the U.S., if a parent is charged with abuse or neglect of a child and can't afford a lawyer, he's appointed one. That lawyer's job is to defend the parent and reunite the family if possible. But faced with a budget shortfall, New Hampshire has taken the unusual step of eliminating that funding. ...

Parents who are unable to adequately defend themselves make state attorney Peter Brunette's job — arguing against the parents — easier. But he doesn't feel good about it.

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel sometimes. And it's not fun," Brunette says. "Without a lawyer, there's no way they can navigate this system in a way that ensures that their rights are being adequately protected. That's the problem we are all struggling with right now."
This is crazy. Lawyers will not solve the problem. There is very little law involved. If the system is somehow rigged to make lawyers necessary, then they should fix the system.
"One of the topics that we are going to go through today is making sure you have an understanding of what the potential consequences of this type of case are to your parental rights and responsibilities," she tells the man, whose name has been withheld because the case is sealed.

"If the court made a decision that your parental rights should be terminated, it would be at that point [that] you would no longer have any legal rights, duties or obligations," she says. "Do you understand that's a potential consequence to this type of a case?"
One reason the judges like the defendant to have a lawyer is so that the judge will not have to explain "the potential consequences of this type of case". The judge can just presume that the lawyer explains it. Of course no one really explains it, but it gets the judge off the hook.

A couple of days ago, NPR also reported:
A senior pathologist in the Los Angeles County coroner's office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict a 51-year-old woman of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, identifying a host of flaws in the case.

The new report by the pathologist, James Ribe, details eight "diagnostic problems" with the coroner's 1996 ruling that the child had died from violent shaking or a forceful blow to the head. Ribe wrote that he saw little evidence that the infant had been attacked, noting "the complete absence of bodily trauma, such as face trauma, grab marks, bruises, rib fractures or neck trauma."

Shirley Ree Smith was convicted of felony child endangerment — a charge equivalent to second degree murder —­ in the case, and she's garnered national attention over the course of a long legal campaign to clear her name. Smith insists that she never harmed the infant, Etzel Glass, who died in an apartment in Van Nuys, Calif.
There is not much a defense lawyer can do, when the prosecution can get away with bogus expert testimony that frames the defendant.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Mom puts 7yo girl on diet

Here is the lastest bad mom story:
The newest mom-we-have-to-hate is Dara-Lynn Weiss, the New York woman currently earning widespread opprobrium for having put her 7-year-old daughter, Bea, on a weight-loss diet and having pushed, prodded and shamed the little girl into losing 16 lb. Her account of this quest, which appears in April’s Vogue, can’t be accessed online, so I will summarize it briefly:

When Bea turned 7, Weiss discovered, at a pediatrician checkup, that her daughter was technically obese, with a weight in the 99th percentile for her age and height. She decided to take matters in hand. She visited an obesity specialist. She cut her daughter’s portions. She counted each and every calorie. She signed her up for karate. She tried to get her to walk stairs. She deprived her of dinner one night after learning that Bea had consumed “nearly 800 calories” of Brie, filet mignon, baguette and chocolate at a French Heritage Day event at school.
With the school feeding kids like that, are the others fat?