Friday, August 31, 2012

Why taxi drivers need cameras

Northern Ireland has a reputation for being a dangerous place with terrorist killing civilians all the time. In reality it is quite safe, with the biggest hazard being false rape accusations! The Belfast Telegraph reports:
Security cameras look set to be installed in taxi cabs in Londonderry to protect drivers from false rape allegations — as well as assault and robbery.

The move comes after footage from a camera led to the successful prosecution of a man found guilty of attacking a taxi driver.

This success prompted other drivers to follow suit, installing the equipment at their own expense. ...

He added: “I know a lot of drivers who will not work at night because of fears of being attacked or robbed but the biggest fear they have is of being falsely accused of rape.

“Drivers are very vulnerable and have genuine concerns about their own safety — especially at night, but not just at night — and we have a few drivers who have already installed CCTV.

“Anything that offers protection to drivers is welcome and I can certainly see the sense in having a camera installed in a taxi.

“All our drivers are thoroughly vetted before they start work for us so while a camera may make female passengers feel safer, it would be the driver who would benefit most from them.”

In Derry last December a taxi driver was accused of rape but it was not until March this year that all charges against him were dropped.
Since ungrounded accusations from a woman can ruin a man's life, we may be getting to the point where men have to wear video cameras just to protect against false accusations. Many police cars now have video cameras, partial to protect against accusations of abuse.

A Missouri politician recently got into trouple for using the term "legitimate rape" (and giving a faulty explanation of why pregnancy from rape is rare). Apparently it is politically incorrect to even suggest the possibility that an accused rape might not be a genuine rape. It could be a false accusation or a Julian Assange rape.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Modern debtors prison

The St. Louis newspaper reports:
Wakita Shaw's troubles started with a $425 payday loan, the kind of high-interest, short-term debt that seldom ends well for the borrower.

But most of them don't end up in jail. So Shaw was surprised in May of last year to hear that the St. Louis County police were looking for her. She and her mother went to the police station.

They arrested her on the spot.

They told her the bail was $1,250. "And I couldn't use a bail bondsman to get out,” Shaw recalled.

The Bill of Rights in the Missouri constitution declares that “no person shall be imprisoned for debt, except for nonpayment of fines and penalties imposed by law.” Still, people do go to jail over private debt. It's a regular occurrence in metro St. Louis, on both sides of the Mississippi River.

Here's how it happens: A creditor gets a civil judgment against the debtor. Then the creditor's lawyer calls the debtor to an “examination” in civil court, where they are asked about bank accounts and other assets the creditor might seize.

If the debtor doesn't show, the creditor asks the court for a “body attachment.” That's an order to arrest the debtor and hold him or her until a court hearing, or until the debtor posts bond.

The practice draws fire from legal aid attorneys and some politicians. They call it modern-day debtors prison, a way to squeeze money out of people with little legal knowledge.

Debtors are sometimes summoned to court repeatedly, increasing chances that they'll miss a date and be arrested. Critics note that judges often set the debtor's release bond at the amount of the debt and turn the bond money over to the creditor -- essentially turning publicly financed police and court employees into private debt collectors for predatory lenders.
I thought that debtors prisons were some medieval practice that never happened in America. I was wrong. Dads get imprisoned every day for being unable to pay child support.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

California banning a psychotherapy

Reuters reports:
California's state Assembly approved a bill on Tuesday to prohibit children and teenagers from undergoing a controversial therapy that aims to reverse homosexuality, moving the state closer to becoming the first to impose such a ban.

The 51-21 vote in the Democratic-controlled Assembly marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say the so-called conversion therapy has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.
That is nonsense. The psychiatrists declared homosexuality to not be a disorder based on a political vote, not medical reasons.

Most psychotherapies have no medical basis, and are directed at purposes other than treating disorders. Maybe we ought to go further, and ban all such psychotherapies.
Several openly gay legislators championed the bill in emotional speeches during the floor debate, citing their own childhood experiences.

"One of our No. 1 priorities in this house is to protect the next generation of Californians," said Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Los Angeles County. "And some of those are sissy boys. And some of those sissy boys grow up to be Assembly members. And some of those sissy boys need help. And we are here to stand with those sissy boys."
I am adding that to my list of reasons for moving out of California.
Assembly member John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California's lower house, said during floor debate that "it is inappropriate for anyone, including parents, to subject anybody to dehumanizing activity," referring to the therapy.
Then we should also ban the family court from sending parents to parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling, and other dehumanizing activities.
Republican opponents of the measure said politicians should not step in and regulate what they consider to be a matter for medical boards to decide. They also said the bill encroaches on the rights of parents to make choices for their children.

"That's why parents have children -- to hand down their legacies, their belief systems, the way they want their children raised," Assembly member Shannon Grove, a Republican from Bakersfield, said during the floor debate.
Glad to see Republicans stick up for parental rights. Some day, parents will be subject to a CPS investigation or a child custody loss if they teach their kids to be straight.

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Jewish ethics book

I posted before on Traditional Jewish Ethics, but now I am trying to decipher the opinions of Randy Cohen. He was just on NPR plugging his new book:
Have you ever boarded a train seeking a little quiet reading time, only to be disrupted by the incessant cell phone chatter of a fellow passenger? What do you do? The answer to queries like this one and many more questions of scruples are found in Randy Cohen's new book "Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything." It's based on his years as "The Ethicist," writing for The New York Times Magazine. He began that very popular column and wrote it for 12 years. ...

COHEN: ... Here was the question that provoked by far the most response.

A woman goes to hire a real estate agent. And she meets the guy and she thinks, Wow, he's great, he's honest, he's confident. And she goes, you are my guy, and sticks her hand out for a handshake to seal the deal. And he will not shake her hand. And she instantly understands why. She sees that, oh, he's an Orthodox Jew and there's a religious stricture against physical contact across the gender line, except for close relatives.

Her question is: Should I work with this guy? And she crystallized it beautifully. She goes: On the one hand, I truly respect religious tolerance. This does me no actual harm and it's not meant in an unkind way. On the other hand, I hold my feminist principles in as much esteem as he holds his religious principles. All I'm asking for is to be treated with the same courtesy and respect as anyone else would be, in an ordinary business deal. Hire the guy or fire the guy?

My position was fire the guy. And the way I worked towards this conclusion was by making an analogy to race. That if this person had said, I can't touch you 'cause you're black, we would not put up with that for two minutes - nor should we. And in my case, I felt that your religious values which manifested you being part of a voluntary community cannot be imposed on other people.
Cohen is a secular Jew, and not orthodox, of course. He used to be married to a famous feminist poet. The NY Times caters to its Jewish readers.

This is wacky Jewish advice from Jews who do not even believe in Judaism. Would anyone here really fire the agent because of his handshaking scruples?

If a Catholic or a Mormon were giving advice, I might assume that the advice is based on church teachings. Or they might explain the basis of their advice. But not Jews. Many of them like to give bad advice to non-Jews, and not explain it.

I post this because I was subjected to court-ordered bad advice from a psychologists named Ken Perlmutter. He could never explain anything he was saying. It was just his opinion. The whole field of psychology is corrupted by creeps like him.

Maybe you think that it is unfair for me to draw attention to Cohen's Jewishness when he is not really a practicing Jew. But he's the one who goes around giving bad ethical advice to everyone, and failing to explain his premises. His advice is obviously influenced by Jewish thinking. I think that it would be strange to discuss his ethical advice without mentioning the Jewish influence.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another psychology professor dies

A local psychology professor died a couple of weeks ago, and now another one died:
Aaronette M. White, a professor of social psychology at UC Santa Cruz, who wrote and spoke widely about issues of race and gender, died of a cerebral aneurysm Aug. 13 at her Santa Cruz home. She was 51.

White was a gifted teacher who loved teaching and was beloved by her students, her family said. She was an exceptional scholar who believed in putting theory into everyday life. In July, White was named associate dean of equity and social responsibility for the UCSC Division of Social Sciences.

Named after her father, White was born in 1961 in St. Louis, the fourth of five sisters. According to her family, she began speaking out against injustice in elementary school, a trait she attributed to her mother and one she maintained for the rest of her life.

White earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri, and her masters and doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis.

While completing her master's degree in clinical psychology, White observed that one reason that helped maintain an imbalance of power between men and women was that women kept experiences of sexual assault and rape private. By 1993, White became an anti-rape activist and began speaking openly about her experiences of sexual assault and rape.
Again, I hate to speak ill of the dead, but my tax money pays for these creeps to brainwash the next generation with bogus hate theories.

UCSC has a lot of goofy jobs, but I did not know that they had an "associate dean of equity and social responsibility". She was not married and had no kids. She had her tubes tied.

Here is her web page, and you can see for yourself that it is all race-feminist politics, and is not advancing social science. Here is her main book:
Ain’t I a Feminist? presents the life stories of twenty African American men who identify themselves as feminists, centering on the turning points in their lives that shaped and strengthened their commitment to feminism, as well as the ways they practice feminism with women, children, and other men. In her analysis, Aaronette M. White highlights feminist fathering practices; how men establish egalitarian relationships with women; the variety of Black masculinities; and the interplay of race, gender, class, and sexuality politics in American society. ...

White conducted the first empirical examination of African American male feminism.
Feminism has succeed in destroying marriage among African-Americans. About 75% of all their babies are born out of wedlock.

I posted Thursday about an accusation that a girl walked in on her uncle masturbating, and touched his hand for a few seconds. Supposedly the girl was bothered by it 40 years later.

This might be a question for these professors who study the psychology of rape. Is there any evidence of harm from such an incident? Is there any example of psychotherapy ever improving such a situation? I say that the answer is no, but I am open to being proved wrong. Show me the paper that says that I am wrong.

A reader says that he has more empathy than I do, because he says that the incident was not a minor incident. That is not empathy. That is just an opinion.

ABC TV 20/20 just showed an interview of Jaycee Dugard. There is a situation where a girl was really abused. The show said that she is in psychotherapy, reliving everything that happened. My guess is that the psychotherapy is making her worse.

My problem with the family court judge is that he issues orders every day that separate kids from their parents, and punish parents in other ways. These actions cause real measurable harm to kids on a daily basis. If he is going to be fired, he should be fired for that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Asperger test

Family court judge Heather Morse accused me of possibly having Asperger syndrome, even tho her expert psychologists testified that I did not. She accused me of lacking empathy. I am posting a test to show how silly the issue is.

Consider these two alternatives:
The Free-Cup Case
Joe was feeling quite dehydrated, so he stopped by the local smoothie shop to buy the largest sized drink available. Before ordering, the cashier told him that if he bought a Mega-Sized Smoothie he would get it in a special commemorative cup. Joe replied, ‘I don't care about a commemorative cup, I just want the biggest smoothie you have.' Sure enough, Joe received the Mega-Sized Smoothie in a commemorative cup. Did Joe intentionally obtain the commemorative cup?

The Extra-Dollar Case
Joe was feeling quite dehydrated, so he stopped by the local smoothie shop to buy the largest sized drink available. Before ordering, the cashier told him that the Mega-Sized Smoothies were now one dollar more than they used to be. Joe replied, ‘I don't care if I have to pay one dollar more, I just want the biggest smoothie you have.' Sure enough, Joe received the Mega-Sized Smoothie and paid one dollar more for it. Did Joe intentionally pay one dollar more?
This is a psychological test. Please read and answer the questions before you read the answers.

Most normal people say that paying an extra dollar was intentional, while getting the commemorative cup was not. A study by Edouard Machery (2008,pdf) found that 95% of subjects said that paying the extra dollar was intentional.

People with Aspergers supposedly have a brain impairment that prevents them from reading and understanding the intentions of others. In this case, they say that neither the dollar nor the cup was intentional. They just cannot understand that Joe intended to pay the extra dollar.

The people with Aspergers say that they are correct, and not impaired. They say that the neurotypical folks are duped into making some false and unnecessary inferences about Joe's intentions.

Who is right? You tell me in the comments. I don't see how this could have anything to do with a child custody decision, but that may be just another symptom of my alleged Aspergers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NY family court judge removed

The NY Times reports:
A former family court judge in Syracuse should be barred from returning to the bench, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled Wednesday, after an investigation into an act of sexual misconduct 40 years ago with his niece, 13 years before he became a jurist.

The judge, Bryan R. Hedges, was 25 and a student at Syracuse University’s law school when, during a visit in 1972 to his mother-in-law’s house in Albany, his niece, then age 5, entered a bedroom where he was masturbating, according to a report released by the commission.

The girl, now 45, testified that Mr. Hedges gestured for her to place her hand on his. He denied encouraging his niece, but acknowledged she touched his hand for a few seconds, after which, he said, he quickly rolled over to end the encounter.

The commission faulted Mr. Hedges for the encounter and for not telling the parents of the girl, who was deaf and could barely communicate, about what had happened so that they could help her deal with it. ...

Late last year, Ms. Warner told her mother she was still bothered by what had happened. ... “There is a stigma associated with this type of activity, and the victims often don’t understand what happened.”
This is really sick. While I am inclined to believe that family court judges are twisted perverts anyway, it is crazy to make such a big deal out of such a trivial incident 40 years ago.

My guess is that Warner (the girl/woman) has been damaged much more by psychotherapy than by this incident. How much does she need to understand?

The reader who sent me this story also says:
Hmm. For one thing, Hedges might have been a typical crooked family court judge who took away parents' custody rights for frivolous reasons. For another, I wonder why the state judicial commission couldn't have taken him down on real misconduct on the bench. In fact the California judicial commission actually rejected your complaint about Irwin Joseph based on his extrajudicial activities influencing his rulings.

Speaking of complaints, I wonder if you've heard from the CA Board of Psych regarding your complaint against Ken Perlmutter, which i think was very well grounded. The state board guidelines state: "If your complaint involves a more serious violation, such as an allegation of sexual abuse, gross negligence, or incompetence, it will be immediately referred for formal investigation by a trained peace officer employed by the Medical Board of California. You will be informed of this step and will later be interviewed by the investigator assigned to the case...If the investigation finds evidence to support your allegations, the Board will submit the case to the Attorney General for consideration of formal disciplinary action against the psychologist's license. You will be notified of this referral." Has the state done this yet, and if so are you banned from discussing the case publicly?

If Perlmutter is actively fighting your complaint, then your case may end up before an admin law judge, and the board of psych says (same link): "The administrative disciplinary process may take up to two years."
The state board did nothing. I have no idea whether they even read my paperwork. I do not think that they are serious about investigating violators, because they should have taken Ken Perlmutter's license away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rihanna still wants Chris Brown

In news about the most famous celebrity domestic violence case:
A tearful Rihanna told Oprah Winfrey Monday that she and ex Chris Brown are "still close" and "will always love each other" following the 2009 attack that included punching, biting and choking. Now, after the candid interview, domestic violence organizations and fans have blasted the singer for "normalizing" domestic abuse.
The show yielded the second-best ratings in the network's history. A celebrity site says:
What does Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kate Major, Michael Lohan, Pamela Lee Anderson, and Tommy Lee have in common? ...

All these relationships have the same thing in common: they fought, argued, and made headlines, but they also loved the person they fought with, and more often than not went back to them. Of course, the ideal in these situations is that the women run for the hills when they get out of these abusive relationships. However, more often than not, they run back to the person that has caused the pain.

Why do some women do this? Is there something in their DNA that makes certain women more prone to run back into the arms of men that has caused them pain? That answer we may never know.

Rihanna is an adult. You are looking at human nature. I am not here to tell her what to do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Punished for a beauty pageant

A reader send this ABC News story:
The woman who dressed her young daughter as Dolly Parton - complete with a padded bra and sculpting underwear - for a child beauty pageant that aired on TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras" could lose custody of the girl after her estranged husband claimed she sexually exploited their daughter by allowing her to dress so provocatively.

Her father, Bill Verst, has asked a Kentucky court to grant him sole custody of his daughter, who is now 6.
During a court proceeding Saturday, a judge threw reporters out of the courtroom, closed the hearing and placed a gag order on mother Lindsay Jackson. The judge also imposed a ban on any pageant activity for Maddy or her mother for the duration of the trial.

A court-appointed psychologist has sided with Maddy's father, condemning the Parton costume and recommending that a judge make Verst the girl's sole custodial parent.
It appears that the dad would not be getting any custody but for this pageant. On the video, psychologist Wendy Walsh says "it is absolute emotional child abuse ... it's shameful." The mom says:
If that Maddy needs to live with her dad because she does pageants with me, then that opens the door for any parent to challenge anybody on any activity that a kid does, period.
Yes, that door is wide open, I am afraid. That is probably how the mom got custody of the girl in the first place.

These TV shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Dance Moms seem pretty sick to me. But I know moms like that. Those activities are legal and not shown objectively to be harmful, as far as I know.

Note how the judge does not have the guts to let reporters see what he is doing. When judges are doing something indefensible, their first impulse is to cover it up.

This case will probably generate some controversy over whether the pageants are good for kids. But the real issue here is whether judges should be second-guessing every parental decision and child activity, and jerking child custody around according to his prejudices or the prejudices of some stupid psychologist.

The phrase "legitimate rape" has been misinterpreted. Those who are against abortion are usually in favor of allowing abortion in case of rape, but only if it is legitimately a rape. They do not want any women to be able to just tell the abortion clinic it was a rape, without any consequences for lying.

In a genuine case of a violent rape by a stranger, the woman reports it immediately, and she gets medical treatment to prevent a pregnancy. That is what I've been told, anyway. In that sense, I believe that it is correct to say that pregnancy from legitimate rape is rare.

There are feminists who refuse to distinguish different kinds of rape, for ideological reasons. So they hate phrases like "legitimate rape". They say that stranger rape, date rape, and marital rape are all the same. They are the ones with the extreme views.

This case will probably generate some controversy over whether the pageants are good for kids. But the real issue here is whether judges should be second-guessing every parental decision and child activity, and jerking child custody around according to his prejudices or the prejudices of some stupid psychologist.

I usually defend dads, not moms, on this blog. But I defend any parent's right to make decisions about legal activities. If the pageants are so harmful, then pass a law against them. Get the TV shows off the air. But apparently the pageants have broad public approval.

I don't blame the dad, because bringing this motion is probably the only way he can see his kid.

Family court judges have way too much power. The law should just let both parents have joint custody. If the mom wants to do beauty pageants on her time, and the pageants are legal, then it is none of anyone's business.

Update: TV legal analyst Lis Wiehl sides with the dad. She just divorced her second husband. I don't know about her child custody.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Psychologists blacklist conservatives

Bob Unruh writes:
A recent study by Tilburg University is gaining attention for its stunning conclusion that among psychologists, conservatives have reason to fear negative consequences should their political beliefs be revealed.

“In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues,” the authors, Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, wrote.

“The more liberal respondents are, the more willing they are to discriminate.”

The study was done by the two members of the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. They warned specifically that conservatives who fear harm if their colleagues discover their leanings “are right to do so.”
Here is the paper:
A lack of political diversity in social and personality psychology is said to lead to a number of pernicious outcomes, including biased research and active discrimination against conservatives.
Psychologists are overwhelmingly liberal, and they are carrying on a war against conservatives.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A nation of head cases

The NY Times reports:
The number of practicing psychologists in Argentina has been surging, to 196 per 100,000 people last year, according to a study by Modesto Alonso, a psychologist and researcher, from 145 per 100,000 people in 2008. That compares with about 27 psychologists per 100,000 people in the United States, according to the American Psychological Association.

Those numbers make Argentina — a country still brooding over its economic decline from a century ago — a world leader, at least when it comes to people’s broad willingness to bare their souls.

“There is no taboo here about saying that you see a professional two or three times a week,” said Tiziana Fenochietto, 29, a psychiatrist doing her residency at the Torcuato de Alvear Hospital for Psychiatric Emergencies, a public institution. “On the contrary,” said Ms. Fenochietto, who has been in therapy herself for the past eight years, “it is chic.” ...

After all, ordinary Argentines readily employ psychological terms that in other countries would be the preserve of psychology majors, and can hold forth on the difference of Freudian and Jungian methods.
I had no idea that a nation could be more nuts that the USA. Freud and Jung were crackpots, and did nothing of scientific merit. They were exposed as frauds a century ago.

America embraced Freudian ideas more than Europe. Only in the last 10 years have American professors turned against Freud. The majority view is probably now that Freud was wrong about most of what he said. But people are weird about stuff like this, and there are still Freudians everywhere.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New local judge

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports:
SANTA CRUZ - Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Tuesday that local court commissioner Stephen S. Siegel has been appointed a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge.

Siegel, 63, has served as a commissioner since 2001. He lives in Eastside Santa Cruz. ...

Siegel has been hearing family law cases in Watsonville and said his assignment wouldn't change for now. He said he can hear any case if attorneys agree to it, but that now he will join a rotation to get calls from police needing search warrants.

Siegel said he sought the appointment in large part because he thought it would be better for someone with experience and a good relationship with others on the bench to fill the vacancy.

He fills a seat created by the 2010 retirement of Commissioner Irwin Joseph, whose seat was then converted to a judgeship. Court officials said they don't expect that Siegel's commissioner's position will be filled any time soon....

Siegel and Joseph were appointed commissioner in 2000. Both were described in a past Santa Cruz Sentinel story as loving golf and baseball and having married their high school sweethearts. Siegel once coached Santa Cruz High's mock trial team.

Other applicants for the judgeship included County Counsel Tamyra Rice, Public Defender Nancy de la Pena, Santa Cruz attorney Robert Patterson and San Jose appellate attorney Helen Williams.

The salary for the position is $178,789. The salary for a commissioner is $160,910.
With benefits, the salary is probably about $220,000.

Siegel and Joseph are both Jewish surnames. There is no reason a Jew cannot be a good judge if he follows the law, but the local family court judges do not follow the law. They apply their own personal anti-Christian prejudices, and tolerate unethical practices by lawyers and shrinks.

Funny that it says that Joseph "retired". He always wanted that judgeship, but was repeatedly passed over. I reported here that he was fired. Last I heard, he was a commissioner in the county over the hill.

Eugene Volokh writes:
Last year, I blogged about Moore v. Hoff, a Minnesota case in which a jury ordered a blogger to pay $60,000 to a university official because the blogger blogged the truth about the official, intending to get him fired. I am told that Monday morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals will hand down a decision in the appeal of the verdict; I hope that it will reverse.
If the Minnesota decision is upheld, Joseph might think that I owe him $60k. I did blog the truth about him, and I did hope that his superiors would stop him from carrying out his malicious personal vendettas from the court bench. And he was eventually removed. That just seems like American free speech for me to hold a public official accountable for the damage he was doing on the job.

Update: The Minnesota case was reversed. A victory for free speech.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tadpoles retain personalities

I sometimes post research that informs us about childrearing. AAAS Science magazine reports:
Some of our personality traits from childhood stick with us for the rest of our lives. An early shyness on the playground doesn't always go away in the boardroom, for example. But what if your entire body changed as you aged, transforming you into a completely unrecognizable creature? Would you retain the personality of your youth? A new study in frogs suggests that you would.

In the past decade, scientists have shown that a broad range of animals—from dogs to sea anemones—display consistent personalities throughout their lives. ...

Few researchers have attempted to study personality before and after metamorphosis, ... It was hard, Wilson says, to find personality tests that would work well for tadpoles and frogs, which are like two distinct animals. "[They] reach a certain stage of their life and then, bam! They change into something completely different."
I did not know that tadpoles had personalities. I did not even know that frogs had personalities. I guess this means that my kids are going to grow up with the same personalities they had in the crib. If you believe this stuff.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sheriff before commission again

The San Fran sheriff saga continues:
Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will return one last time in front of the city's Ethics Commission early Thursday when the commission will make a recommendation on whether he should be removed from office.

Mirkarimi was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee in March after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he grabbed and bruised his wife's arm during an argument.
Mirkarimi is a leftist kook who seems to be only getting support from the Greens. Andrew commented:
Another thing, why do you keep defending Mirkarimi's actions, even though he pled guilty to the crime anyway? Even if the victim doesn't complain, the domestic violence is still inherently illegal, so should the law be relaxed or what? Just because the victim doesn't complain doesn't make a crime non-prosecutable. That is why California kept pursuing Roman Polanski for the past 3 decades even though his rape victim (age 13 at the time) later personally decided against having Polanski extradited to the US. And I've read stories in the news about people getting prosecuted for robbing dead people's homes (like this case where the robbers got 8 years each for robbing the home whose residents all died in a car crash) or more recently an arrest for robbing Steve Jobs's house.
Roman Polanski was pursued for statutory rape. That means that it was a crime regardless of the 13yo girl's opinion of the matter. We do not expect 13yo girls to make adult decisions. Murkarimi's wife is an adult, and she is certainly capable of consenting to her arm being gripped.

Yes, it is a crime to steal from Steve Jobs' house because his property is owned by his estate, and hence his heirs. If they were to announce that they do not object to thieves stealing from the house, then such thieves would not be prosecuted.

I do say that Mirkarimi should not have been prosecuted because no complaint was made by an interested party. He and his wife are adults. Whatever happened between them is their business, not the mayor's and not the public's.

The liberal Democrats who control San Francisco are completely opposed to civil liberties. It is their policy to intervene is people's lives and try to ruin them, if they have some personal disapproval of their behavior.

Here is an example of the bigoted hatred that those people generate:
(AP) WASHINGTON - A man suspected of shooting and wounding a security guard in the lobby of a Christian lobbying group had been volunteering at a community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The LGBT groups have disavowed such violence, but they are incredibly hostile, provocative, spiteful, hateful, and oppressive towards Christians. They do not respect free speech.

I don't know how anyone can compare Mirkarimi to Polanski. That 13yo girl was raped. The Mirkarimi-Lopez incident was completely trivial, with no one being hurt and no one complaining.

Update: An SF Chronicle editorial piles on, and urges ousting him:
Nothing has changed the heart of the charges against Mirkarimi. His rough and bruising treatment of his wife, Eliana Lopez, and his subsequent actions to tamp down the incident make him unfit to be sheriff. ...

Mirkarimi, of course, could have spared the city a legal spectacle by quitting. He originally took a plea deal, accepting a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment that originated from an argument with his wife while their child watched.

Then Mirkarimi went into political overdrive, declining to cooperate with police and hiding behind lawyers. His subsequent protestations of regret aren't enough. ...

The next stop before the supervisors will be the final act. It will take nine of 11 votes to dismiss Mirkarimi, a former supervisor and member of the board's progressive flank. ... It's time to remove a discredited figure. Mirkarimi should be dismissed.
What? He pled guilty to the charge and then declined to cooperate with police? What did the police want? After the plea bargain, the criminal case was over and there was no reason to talk to the police. You can get a video of his story here. I don't know what more anyone wants to know.

San Francisco politics is dominated by leftists, progressives, gays, lesbians, Jews, Greens, and other fringe groups. It is the most intolerant place on Earth. I have never heard of any other city doing anything like this.

In my opinion, Ivory Madison should be disbarred for betraying an attorney-client privilege. Lopez went to her for a confidential legal opinion, and Madison used that info to make a police complaint detrimental to the wishes of Lopez.

Update: The LA Times reports on the day-long hearing:
After 10 hours of emotional public testimony and difficult deliberation, the city Ethics Commission on Thursday found that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi had engaged in official misconduct by inflicting "physical violence" on his wife during an argument and pleading guilty to falsely imprisoning her.

But at the end of the day, his fate was no clearer.

The commission did not explicitly vote on whether Mirkarimi — who has been suspended by Mayor Ed Lee — should be permanently removed from his job. ...

Mirkarimi is more than a third of the way through 52 weeks of domestic violence training mandated by his plea agreement. The most persuasive evidence in the case, many commissioners said, was a video depicting a tearful Lopez displaying a bruise on her arm, the result of the New Year's Eve argument with her husband.

Still, much of the commentary and questioning Thursday revolved around exactly what constitutes domestic violence.

"I believe that domestic violence is a serious offense and, as such, am glad that the allegations in this case were brought forth and taken seriously," said a Mirkarimi supporter named Danielle. "But I do not believe any serious offense was committed here."

Another supporter said: "I can tell you about domestic violence. It's when I had an infant in my arm and my husband shoved me, not a little tug on the arm.... Some people bruise quickly and easily. That's no proof of violence."
He was not convicted of domestic violence.

A comment says:
The prevalence of domestic violence can be traced to the abuse of children. Specifically, that corporal punishment is allowed. Once you teach a child it is okay to be hit by a parent, hitting your wife becomes a logical extension.

Anyone who believes it's okay to hit your child for "discpline" should have no problem with hitting your wife for the same lame reason. There will only be justice in the world when parents are arrested for hitting their children.
That is the totalitarian world that the leftist-feminist-psychos are leading us to.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Single moms are bad

Katie Roiphe is a famous writer about the female angst of dealing with reality about being raised by a Jewish atheist feminist. Now she writes this NY Times op-ed:
In a season of ardent partisan clashing, Americans seem united in at least one shared idea: Single mothers are bad. A Pew Research Center poll on family structures reports that nearly 7 in 10 Americans think single mothers are a “bad thing for society.”

Conservatives obsess over moral decline, and liberals worry extravagantly — and one could argue condescendingly — about children, but all exhibit a fundamental lack of imagination about what family can be — and perhaps more pressingly — what family is: we now live in a country in which 53 percent of the babies born to women under 30 are born to unmarried mothers.

I happen to have two children with two different fathers, neither of whom I live with, and both of whom we are close to. ...

It’s useful and humbling to remember that no family structure guarantees happiness or ensures misery: real life is wilier and more fraught with accident and luck than that. ...

With the steep rise of children born to unmarried parents, America’s prevailing fantasies of family life no longer match the facts on the ground. ...

All of the liberal concern about single motherhood might more usefully be channeled into protecting single mothers, rather than the elaborate clucking and exquisite condescension that get us nowhere. Attention should be paid to the serious underlying economic inequities, without the colorful surface distraction of concerned or judgmental prurience. Let’s abandon the fundamentally frothy question of who is wearing a ring. Young men need jobs so they can pay child support ...
As WF Price points out, these feminist arguments always boil down to justifying their immorality and forcing men to pay more money.

Yes, single moms are bad for society. 70% of the public says so, and so do all the academic studies. Sometimes the obvious truths are correct.

Roiphe tries to explain away the obvious by saying silly things like "no family structure guarantees happiness". We don't need the NY Times to tell us that.

The purpose of the article is to argue for social policies that make the problem worse. She argues that we should abandon marriage, protect single moms, subsidize illegitimacy, and make men pay more child support. Those policies are what caused this problem in the first place.

Wonder how anyone got such a warped view? Roiphe's mom is a famous feminist who once upset the Jewish NY Times readers by writing that she was a Jew who preferred to celebrate Christmas with her various husbands:
A few years ago, The New York Times printed an article called ''Christmas Comes to a Jewish Home'' in which Anne Roiphe, the novelist and author of ''Up the Sandbox,'' celebrated the joys of Christmas trees, Dickens, singing carols and Santa Claus. She infused the article with a passion for her subject, told how one Passover, she heard the story of the plagues on the Egyptians and their fate in the Red Sea and out of sympathy for the victims left the table. ''And through eighteen years of combined marriages,'' she wrote then, ''there has always been in my house a Christmas, no longer any seders, no more High Holy Days at the temple, no masses, no born again conversions, just Christmas, a sacred event in our family life.'' The article brought an avalanche of letters of protest to The Times, which printed almost a page of them, charging her with ''tooth-fairy theology,'' suggesting she study ''Jewish texts rather than Frosty the Snowman.''
There are many things wrong with this picture. Jews who actually believe in Judaism support marriage. But for the Jews who write for the NY Times, being Jewish is an ethnic identity, not a religion. And they cleverly think up of contrived arguments for destroying the American family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Binge eating disorder

Here is a NY Times article about psychologists trying to pathologize eating:
Mr. Walen is one of an estimated eight million men and women in the United States who struggle with binge eating, defined as consuming large amounts of food within a two-hour period at least twice a week without purging, accompanied by a sense of being out of control. ...

But while binge eating is challenging for women who suffer from it, the perils are perhaps greater for men, who rarely seek treatment for what many believe is a “women’s disease.” Unlike bulimia and anorexia, binge eating does not even have a distinct listing in the current D.S.M., as the diagnostic guide for mental health professionals is known. ...

Those men who do seek treatment often have difficulty finding a facility or therapist to work with them — even the literature is predominantly female-centric. ...

Many binge-eating men do not even recognize that anything is wrong. ...

“There’s nothing wrong with a college guy eating a whole pizza by himself, but with women they would be horrified,” said Roberto Olivardia, a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of body image disorders and eating disorders in men and is an author of “The Adonis Complex.”
They want to make binge eating a new disorder in the DSM-5. The DSM-IV lists diagnostic criteria, but does not make it a separate disorder.

The family court sent me several times to psychologists to see if I have any psychological disorders. They all said that I did not. Binge eating was the closest to me having a disorder. Yeah, I see nothing wrong with eating a whole pizza by myself.

Other criteria include "Eating until feeling uncomfortably full" and "Eating much more rapidly than normal".

Of course men do not seek therapy for this. Only a woman would eat a lot of food, feel guilty, and then talk to a therapist.

So what if some stupid shrink said that I had a binge eating disorder? Would that be grounds for taking my kids away? What difference would it make to anyone if I like to eat a lot of food at once?

There are judges who act as if these psychological disorders have some relevance to the court. In the vast majority of the cases, they do not.

Meanwhile, here is the sorry state of our President:
Obama campaigns in Iowa, talks about visiting the state fair: "I think that I'm going to end at the state fair. Michelle has told me I cannot have a fried twinkie. But I will be checking out the butter cow and I understand this year there is a chocolate moose. I'm going to have to take a look at that if I can. The last time I went to the state fair the Secret Service let me do the bumper cars, but they said this year -- I wasn't president yet so I could do that, but not this time."
My kids introduced me to deep fried twinkies with chocolate syrup, along with corn dogs and sno cones. These foods are better than they sound. They are just the things to eat before a roller coaster or bumper car ride.

Our President is pathetic. We need a man in charge at the White House. You didn't hear Pres. Bush saying that he was eating broccoli on his wife's orders. I want a President who has the guts to play bumper cars, even if the Secret Service says that it is too dangerous.

Michelle reprimanded an Olympic champion on the Jay Leno show last night for eating an Egg McMuffin:
Gabby Douglas admitted indulging in post-Olympics fast food to the wrong person: First lady and healthy eating advocate Michelle Obama, who teased the gymnastics champion.

"You're setting me back, Gabby," Obama told Douglas during a taping Monday for NBC's "Tonight Show," according to a network transcript.

"Sorry!" replied the 16-year-old athlete, who confessed to chowing down on a McDonalds' breakfast sandwich after winning two gold medals at the just-ended London Olympics.
Does she really think that there is something wrong with an athlete eating an Egg McMuffin? She lectured Leno on eating a pizza. How can any man stand to be married to a wife who nags him about what he eats? I am tempted to compared one ethnic group to another here, but maybe I better not.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rational basis for marriage

A gay lawyer announces:
In Hawaii, gay couples may enter civil unions with all the state-based rights and legal protections of marriage, but without the official designation of being “married.”  Same-sex couples sued to have the status of marriage, urging that they had a fundamental right to marry under the Due Process Clause and that the state could not discriminate against them under the Equal Protection Clause.  Last week, a federal district court in Hawaii denied their claims.  In a lengthy opinion in Jackson v. Abercrombie, Judge Alan C. Kay rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that he had no choice to do otherwise under binding Supreme Court precedent and that, even if he did, the plaintiffs’ claims failed on the merits.  The judge argued that the Ninth Circuit’s decision striking down Prop 8 in Perry v. Brown was distinguishable because, as Judge Reinhardt ruled, the Perry case involved only the narrow circumstances where a state has granted marriage to same-sex couples and then taken it away.  Hawaii, on the other hand, is a state where couples never had the right to marry.
Same-sex marriage is somewhat off-topic for this blog, but I do track political activists manipulating the courts to undermine relations between parents and kids.

Marriage law is normally written by the state legislature, and the federal courts are only intervening because of the argument that our marriage law has no rational basis, and hence unconstitutional. The Hawaii federal judge ruled:
Specifically, the legislature could rationally conclude that defining marriage as a union between a man and woman provides an inducement for opposite-sex couples to marry, thereby decreasing the percentage of children accidently [sic] conceived outside of a stable, long-term relationship. ...

The legislature could also rationally conclude that other things being equal, it is best for children to be raised by a parent of each sex. Under rational basis review, as long as the rationale for a classification is at least debatable, the classification is constitutional. Both sides presented evidence on this issue and both sides pointed out flaws in their opponents’ evidence. Thus, the Court concludes this rationale is at least debatable and therefore sufficient. ...

Finally, the state could rationally conclude that it is addressing a divisive social issue with caution. ...
For similar arguments for the rationality of marriage law, see the Connecticut dissent and the 2009 Obama DoJ position. (Obama has now disavowed his previous views.)

In order for the gay lobby to get what they want, they must either convince the legislature in states lime New York, or convince the voting public in states like California, or convince the courts that marriage law is irrational. The US Supreme Court is likely to soon be soon hearing a marriage case, and the gay lobby will have to argue that it is irrational for state policies to encourage kids to be raised by their moms and dads.

That is where I differ from the gay lobby. They are out to kill parental rights, and any other rights that stand in the way of their political objectives. They are allied with other leftist anti-Christian groups that seek to destroy American culture. They oppose Chick-fil-A and Boy Scouts having First Amendment rights. They require California schools to teach homosexuality.

They push for laws to let a judge declare that a child has several moms, and for ordering intact families to be busted up. These laws are direct attacks on the family, on Christianity, and on American culture.

There are 3 feminists on the US Supreme Court. Pres. Obama appointed 2 of them. They are likely to say that marriage is irrational.

It is entirely rational for states to have laws encouraging kids to be raised by their moms and dads. Every civilization has had such laws. We should have stronger laws requiring kids to be raised by their moms and dads. Our society may crumble if we do not.

If trends continue, dads will have no rights to their kids. It will all be subject to the discretion of a family court judge, and his opinion of the BIOTCh (defined by ABA). Thank the feminists, leftists, gays, and their allies.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Parental paranoia

Cartoon is from F-Minus.

Jay Leno has a feature on the NBC TV Tonight Show that he calls The Difference between Moms & Dads. See this video of a mom doing a safe bicycle ride while a dad does a dangerous one.

The voice of sanity on the subject is the Free Range Kids blog, aka World's Worst Mom. She crticizes this sort of paranoia:
as a mother I would not want my child seating next to a strange man on a plane.

The fact is 99% of paedophiles are male. I’m sure this man is a lovely person but the fact is he is 100 times more likely to rape a child than a woman.

Are we now going to sue the insurance companies who charge men more in insurance because men are 100 times more likely to have an accident?
Here in California, insurance companies are required to charge men and women the same rates. This liberal blindness will soon extend to the whole country, as Obamacare requires men to pay for birth control pills and pregnancy coverage.

It is crazy to worry about a passenger raping a child on a commercial airplane.

Dads tend to be more adventurous, while moms are overprotective. Kids need a balance. Sometimes moms claim that they deserve child custody because they are more protective. Maybe so, but not better.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Researching parents in the wild

The striking thing about social science on parenting is that there is a huge difference between what parents say and what the supposed experts say. About 80% of parents says that spanking or some other corporal punishment is necessary, and about 80% of experts say that parents should never spank.

California liberal do-gooders have tried to outlaw spanking, but it remains legal. Some European countries have banned it.

So many parents are closet spankers. They spank at home but not at Wal-Mart.

CBS News reports on a new study:

Nearly one in four parents or caregivers randomly observed by researchers publicly settled disputes with their child by hitting, spanking or some sort of physical contact, a new study shows.

Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing covertly camped out at public areas to get a realistic idea of how children are disciplined outside of a laboratory setting. ...

Led by Dr. Kathy Stansbury, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Michigan State, researchers anonymously observed 106 instances of discipline in a public place between a caregiver and a young child who was between the ages 3 and 5 years old.

After recording everything they saw and analyzing the date, the researchers determined that 23 percent of the youngsters received "negative touch" - including arm pulling, pinching, slapping and spanking - as discipline in public places such as restaurants or parks.

The study is published in the August 3 issue of Behavior and Social Issues.

"I was very surprised to see what many people consider a socially undesirable behavior done by nearly a quarter of the caregivers," Stansbury said in a written statement. "I have also seen hundreds of kids and their parents in a lab setting and never once witnessed any of this behavior."

The researchers also observed 35 incidences of "positive touch" as discipline, including hugging, tickling or gentle patting. Male caregivers were more likely to touch a child during discipline than female ones, and the majority of the time it was in a positive manner.

Stansbury said that too was surprising because dads are stereotyped as disciplinarians while moms are nurturers.

"I do think that we are shifting as a society and fathers are becoming more involved in the daily mechanics of raising kids, and that's a good thing for the kids and also a good thing for the dads," she said.

And the dads might be onto something - kids disciplined with positive touch were more likely to comply more often and more quickly with less fussing than those punished by negative touch. Even if a child complied after being slapped, they often pouted or sulked afterwards, the researchers observed.

This is funny. Apparently researchers have been studying parenting in the lab like lab rats, and it never occurred to them that parents might behave differently in the wild. If biologists just studied animal behavior in zoos, they would get a distorted picture also. I am sure a lot more caregivers apply "socially undesirable behavior" when they are not being watched in public.

Note that the professors have put the researcher paper freely on the web, at the above link. Someone tried to tell me last week that this was impossible. It is what all honest researchers do.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Women Love Drama

From the most insightful blog on male-female relations, Roissy writes:
YET ANOTHER scientific study confirms gender stereotypes and validates core game concepts.
Research finds women feel happy when their husband or partner is upset.

The detailed study found that wives or girlfriends were pleased when their partner showed emotion because they believed it demonstrated a healthy relationship.

The survey, carried out by Harvard Medical School, also found that when men realised their wife was angry, the women reported being happier, although the men were not.

It revealed women most likely enjoyed spotting when their partner was dissatisfied because it showed his strong “engagement” or “investment” in their time together.
In short, women love to instigate relationship drama, and to wallow in drama, because it reignites the romantic spark. A stoic, self-satisfied, dutiful, honorable, provider beta male is BORING to women because he doesn’t show enough tingle-generating emotion or “connection” that makes women swoon. This explains why guys like Chris Brown can repeatedly nail hot strumpets like Rihanna.
Women even like the drama after a split. The UK Sun reports:
A staggering 88 per cent of users have checked up on ex-partners on the social networking site, new research has found. And 74 per cent use it to keep tabs on their ex’s new love interests.

This is despite only 48 per cent staying “Facebook friends” with their ex-lover after the split, which allows each person to view each other’s updates and photos.
This is all stuff that you will not hear in marriage counseling. Women will not tell you either.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Local psychology professor dies

The Santa Cruz (California) Sentinel reports:
A UC Santa Cruz professor whose research and testimony contributed to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education decision died Saturday.

M. Brewster Smith, a professor emeritus of psychology, was 93 years old. ...

In 1952, Smith testified as an expert witness against segregation in a case before a Richmond, Va. federal appeals court, one of four lower court cases that led to the Supreme Court's decision to ban school segregation in Brown vs. the Board of Education. Smith, who testified that segregation harmed a child's self-esteem and thus affected their ability to learn, considered his testimony to be among his greatest contributions to society.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) is a liberal sacred cow. According to the US Supreme Court itself, it is one of two 20th century staked out an extreme position, and then clung to it in an attempt to shut down political debate. Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) said:
Where, in the performance of its judicial duties, the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe and those rare, comparable cases, its decision has a dimension that the resolution of the normal case does not carry. It is the dimension present whenever the Court's interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.

The Court is not asked to do this very often, having thus addressed the Nation only twice in our lifetime, in the decisions of Brown [v. Board of Education] and Roe. But when the Court does act in this way, its decision requires an equally rare precedential force to counter the inevitable efforts to overturn it and to thwart its implementation.
The merits of these judicial opinions are off-topic for this blog, but I want to note that both took extreme political positions, and the court had to expand its power in order to maintain its position. Brown brought us forced racial school busing, and Roe brought a woman's unquestioned right to an abortion during the whole 9 months. About 80% of Americans have a more moderate view.

Brown was also ineffective at stopping school segregation. The overall racial segregation of the public schools today is about the same as in 1954.

But my real complaint here is with the court's reliance on dubious social science expert testimony. Clarence Thomas is the most sensible justice on the Supreme Court, and he wrote in Missouri v. Jenkins (1995):
Segregation was not unconstitutional because it might have caused psychological feelings of inferiority. Public school systems that separated blacks and provided them with superior educational resources making blacks "feel" superior to whites sent to lesser schools — would violate the Fourteenth Amendment, whether or not the white students felt stigmatized, just as do school systems in which the positions of the races are reversed. Psychological injury or benefit is irrelevant ...

Given that desegregation has not produced the predicted leaps forward in black educational achievement, there is no reason to think that black students cannot learn as well when surrounded by members of their own race as when they are in an integrated environment. (...) Because of their "distinctive histories and traditions," black schools can function as the center and symbol of black communities, and provide examples of independent black leadership, success, and achievement.
He is right. Smith's theory seemed to be that a black kid cannot learn unless he sits next to a white kid in school, and acquires some of his self-esteem. The theory is ridiculous, and not appropriate for the court. Besides, the evidence is that black schoolkids have high self-esteem:
our results suggest that the average black young person’s self-esteem is higher than that of about 56 percent of white young people ...

The psychologists became interested in the topic because much research already has been done on racial differences in self-esteem. Many people assumed that blacks would have lower self-esteem because they belonged to a disadvantaged minority, and some research supported that view, while other work did not.
I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Smith was a no-good commie psychologist who twisted the research to promote his leftist ideology. His own UCSC obituary says:
A youthful flirtation with radical student politics and the Young Communist League while at Reed in Portland in the mid 1930s, led him to be subpoenaed in the 1950s by the "Jenner Committee," the U.S. Senate counterpart of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The National Institutes of Mental Health blacklisted him for 10 years, he later learned.

In "McCarthyism: A Personal Account" in the Journal of Social Issues (1986), Smtih wrote that he and his friends "began to see things differently" and cooled to the communist movement in the late '30s. However, he never lost his activism, arguing in recent years for research that addresses contemporary social issues and advocacy based on psychological analysis.
No, he did not wise up in the 1930s. Those who wised up in the 1930s or 40s were never blacklisted. He must have been an unrepentant commie when he testified in the 1950s. The commies were probably very much in favor of forced racial busing because it had the potential to cause race riots and other racial unrest.

I post this to show that leftist psychologists have a long history of using bogus research to influence the courts for their ideological purposes. And not just Jews, as Smith is not a Jewish name. Hardly anyone even questions this junk, except for a few independent thinkers like Thomas and this black psychologist.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

British judge orders baptism

UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh reports on a British family court dispute over religious upbringing:
English Court Lets 10-Year-Old Girl Choose to Be Baptised, Over Jewish Mother’s Objections (but with Christian Father’s Permission) ...

The parents were nonobservant Jews for most of their marriage, but at the very end of the marriage, the father converted to Christianity (Anglicanism, specifically). The parents seem to have what in America would be treated as joint physical and legal custody, with the daughter spending roughly equal time with each, and with each having equal authority over the daughter’s upbringing. The daughter, who is apparently a quite intelligent 10½-year-old, decided she wanted to get baptised, which in the Anglican church involves taking baptism classes as well as going through the baptism ritual. The father had encouraged the daughter’s interest in Christianity, but the court concluded that the daughter genuinely did want to go through the baptism, and had been seeking to do so for about ten months; nor did the court note anything that it saw as undue pressure by the father that would bring this about (though of course it’s very hard to figure out what counts as undue pressure in such a situation).
Volokh gives several choice for what the court could have done, but not the most obvious. As someone commented:
The court should refuse jurisdiction over a question that is personal, religious, and of no public consequence. Courts dismiss cases for lack of jurisdiction all the time.

By hearing and deciding this case, the court has unreasonably intervened in a private matter, has undermined the authority of the parents, and given the child a power and responsibility that she is normally not given under the law. The decision is terrible. I would hope that the First Amendment would prevent such a decision in the USA.
Volokh is a Russian atheist Jewish lawyer professor father, so I would expect him to favor the court staying out of the decision. But he does not even understand that staying out is a possibility.

The court quoted an advocate of Jewish law:
It was extremely disturbing to hear last night of the proposed baptism of the two young children named above [A and C] in clear contradiction to the wishes of their biological mother and all four grandparents — all of whom are proudly Jewish.

In Judaism we don’t encourage conversion either way as it is unnatural for a person to change the religion they are born into and which thus is ingrained in their soul in a deep way. Although conversions are performed they must be worked at over a number of years when a real change can realistically take place.

It is unfair to any child to put them under this pressure and to do something unnatural to their soul.

What was even more disturbing in this case was the fact that the children have been enrolled in a baptism program without the knowledge or consent of their mother…
This illustrates how Judaism is not really a faith-based religion like Christianity. Jews say that the 10yo child must be Jewish if the "biological mother and all four grandparents ... are proudly Jewish." The dad is emasculated and has no say in the matter.

I had a Jewish family court judge and psychologist apply their anti-father and anti-Christian prejudices against me. They were following Jewish stereotypes, and not the law or the facts.

A comment said that Moslems also do not allow converting out of the religion, even if the parents favor the conversion. Moslems do allow converting in, but not out. Jews oppose converting in or out. Christians allow converting in and out. I would also be objecting if Mohammedan judges and psychologists were applying Islamic law to strip parents of their rights and to intervene in child-rearing.

A Jewish commenter objects to this paragraph of the decision:
While the mother has the care of C she receives no instruction in the Jewish faith, she does not attend the synagogue on any regular basis and only experiences minimal exposure to Jewish religious practises in the home. I fully accept that by virtue of being born of as Jewish mother C has acquired a Jewish heritage which she will never lose, but that is fundamentally different to her acquiring a Jewish faith. I do not accept the implied assertion in the letter from Rabbi Brandon that these are one and the same thing.
He says that the paragraph is contrary to this Canadian case on churches doing same-sex marriage. I don't see the connection, but it does illustrate how Jews attempt to manipulate the family court in favor of the mom. This mom was not even teaching the kid to be a Jew, and yet the argument is made that the court must order the child to stay within the Jewish faith just because the mom was born a Jew and there are proud Jewish grandparents.

In another case involving child custody and religion, the NY Times reports:
The curious involvement of an Amish-Mennonite sect in a high-profile case of international parental kidnapping will be on display — and perhaps become clearer — in a courtroom in Burlington, Vt., this week.

Jury selection is to begin Tuesday in the criminal trial of a pastor charged with helping Lisa A. Miller flee the country with her young daughter to prevent the girl from staying with Ms. Miller’s former partner in a civil union.

Kenneth L. Miller, 46, the leader of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church in Stuarts Draft, Va., is accused of helping Ms. Miller, who is no relation, violate custody orders, aiding her in her flight with her daughter, Isabella, to Nicaragua, where they were sheltered by missionaries of the sect. The pair have been missing since September 2009 and are believed to be in Central America.
I mentioned this case back in 2006. The core problem here is that a couple of lesbians thought that they could make a baby without a dad. And the mom thought that her maternal rights outweigh any court order.

Update: Here is an example of a Jewish site bragging about a swimmer being Jewish just because she has Jewish grandparents:
Dear Rebecca [Soni], First of all, congratulations on your terrific showing in London. Two golds and one silver to add to a three-medal tally from Beijing. Wow! You truly are a great champion.

We are, however, a little disappointed in you. No, not because you couldn't win that third gold, but because you have been hiding your Jewishness.

Until last week, dear Rebecca, there was nothing anywhere on the Internet of you being Jewish. In fact, when a Hungarian correspondent sent us proof that you were, we were shocked, and we don't shock easily. Yet there it was, Jewish grandparents, deported from Romania to Hungary during World War II. Parents emigrated to the US in the 1980s.
Update: A comment on Volokh's blog says:
This case is probably as good an argument as any against pure 50-50 joint custody with no agreed method to resolve disputes, since if the parents disagree, as they inevitably will, and cannot resolve the matter themselves, that will inevitably mean the court will continually have to be brought back in to decide matters. Such an approach is a waste of civic resources. And it becomes an even bigger problem when it comes to matters that judges really shouldn't be deciding to begin with.

Better to have established a decision or dispute resolution method in the first place that doesn't require continually going back to the judge to break impasses.
Really? This is the best argument against 50-50 joint custody? This is a case where there was no need for the judge to do anything! The outcome was about the same as if there had been no court action.

Update: Here is another exchange:

Yes, the judge intervened because, and SOLELY because, one parent asked the judge to do so. Yes, the judge may again intervene because, and SOLELY because, one parent may ask him to do so again. You seem to believe that judges have the magical power to create custody arrangements that will automatically avoid or resolve all future problems, even ones than might arise as far as 10 or more years in the future. Your aversion to intervention is inexplicable and, given the inability of the parents to resolve their differences, judicial intervention when sought by the parents strikes me as superior to parents either acting behind each others' backs or resorting to more extreme self-help measures.

The Constitution forbids a judge from choosing a religion for a child in the USA. That is the simple fact here that no one seems to grasp. So no matter how much a parent might "believe that the child's soul is at stake", he or she cannot get relief from the court.

In this British case, the judge intervened for TWO reasons: the mom asked him, and he had personal opinions about Judaism and Christianity that he wished to impose on the parents and the kids.

No, I do not believe that judges have the magical power to resolve problems. Just the opposite -- I believe that judges have no such power. By pretending that he has the power, this judge has made things worse than if he had refused to hear the case.

I don't know how anyone could be so foolish as to believe that some stupid family court judge could resolve a difference between Judaism and Christianity.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Question-dodging may go undetected

A reader quotes:
Harvard Business School, Working Paper No. 09-048 ...

Question-dodging is a common tactic used by politicians and public relations officials. Here’s how it works: If you don’t like the question you were asked, answer the question you wish you had been asked. Politicians are notorious for using this strategy during public debates, ...

Question-dodging may go undetected when the answer is related to the question asked and is given with confidence and conviction.
I agree with this. Politicians regularly get asked questions of sort like: When will you stop beating your wife? Why do you hate poor people?

If the politician takes the loaded question literally, then he appears weak and incompetent. And rightfully so, because the question is not a serious question. It is just a slimy debate tactic.

I get comments on why I hate gays and Jews, and make personal attacks on them. I do not. Gays and Jews are only about 2% each of the USA population. I do not care what they do, as long as it does not bother me.

BTW, I allow comments that disagree with me, but there are some limits to my tolerance. I do sometimes delete rude personal attacks. I also use Google to filter out spam, and it has occasionally blocked comments that I would have permitted. I don't know whether Google blocked it because it was a duplicate, or the commenter resubmitted it when he saw that it did not show up online. At any rate, comments are occasionally held up for technical reasons.

I do object when gain official govt power, and then use that power to enforce their own personal prejudices to separate me from my kids, and to bust up other families. When that happens, I criticize what they do, and I criticize their personal prejudices underlying their actions.

Some readers ask whether I can be 100% of their motivations. I cannot be. But some things are obvious. When an expert witness testifies in court, and he is unable to cite any expert knowledge in support of his opinion, then how many possibilities are there? Maybe he is corrupt. Maybe he is applying his personal prejudices. Maybe the truth is some combination. No matter what, it is not good.

I have a reader who keeps making excuses for psychologist Ken Perlmutter. He suggests that maybe Perlmutter is not really a practicing Jew, but maybe applied his anti-Christian prejudices because a Jewish judge hired him to do that. Yes, I guess that is possible, but it is just as bad as anything that I have said.

Perlmutter was paid $28,000 to explain himself. He should have been able to say something besides his anti-Christian anti-father bigotry. If he or anyone else wants to post facts in his defense, go ahead. I would be glad to post his side. But he is an evil coward, and he will not admit to his motivations. So draw your own conclusions.

In an unrelated matter, I see the hot news story (besides the Martian landing and the Bolt sprint) is that the Milwaukee Sikh shooter was an Army "psychological operations specialist":
The gunman who opened fire in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and killed six people has been identified as Army veteran Wade Michael Page.

Page, 40, opened fire outside the temple before entering around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning and killed six people. He served in the Army from April 1992 through October 1998. ...

While in the Army Wade served as a sergeant, and later as a specialist based in Ft. Bliss in Texas and at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Wade's job was as a Hawk missile system repairman, and he then became a psychological operations specialist, defense official confirmed to ABC news.
The Army psychologists are probably the craziest people in the Army.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bad advice for women

Here is Friday's bad advice column:
Dear Annie: Many years ago, I suspected my ex-husband of sexually abusing our daughter, "Mary." There was opportunity and some evidence. I didn't actually see anything. In and out of denial, I didn't know what to do, and so I didn't do anything. But it's tormented me.

Several years ago, Mary told me she believed she was sexually abused as a child, but didn't know exactly who the perpetrator was. Her details were hazy, ...

Since then, she has read a book on sexual abuse and is trying to fill in the blanks. At her request, I also read the book. Now she feels she knows who it was, but the person she holds responsible could not possibly be the right one. I believe she is having false memories. ...

Dear Anonymous: ... But this was a terrible betrayal of your daughter. You were supposed to protect her. Please don't compound your culpability by withholding information ...
This is really sick. Fathers do not sexually abuse their daughters. No wonder this woman is divorced. She was always suspecting her husband of evil deeds because "there was opportunity", even tho she never saw anything. Women like that are never happy.

The daughter almost certainly has false memory syndrome. Much of 20th century psychiatry was based on the Freudian idea that neuroses stem from repressed childhood memories of trauma, such as sexual abuse. These memories fester in the unconscious mind until some shrink recovers them in psychoanalysis.

There is no scientific evidence for any of this. It is obvious from the letter that a messed-up mom and daughter are just looking for someone to blame for their personal problems. By making baseless accusations and dwelling on the past, their problems are about to get a whole lot worse.

The next letter was also bad:
Dear Annie: My 28-year-old sister has been dating a 36-year-old guy for two years. They have frequent breakups because he's commitment phobic. A month ago, he finally proposed, and she said yes.

Two weeks ago, she was invited to go overseas on a special program. Her fiance doesn't want her to be away for six months. I suggested she postpone the wedding and that her fiance could visit while she's there. ...

Dear Brother: Your comments were valid, ...
Apparently marriage commitment is something that the man is supposed to make to the woman, but no one expects any commitment from the woman. In this case, she said that she would marry the guy, but then she wants to go overseas for 6 months. Her fiance could visit. Marriage commitment is a one-way street.

I post this not just for the bad advice, but for examples of some attitudes of American women today.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Accused of lacking empathy

A reader asked:
Didn't you have a problem with the family court Judge suggesting that you lacked empathy?
The context for this was a posting trivializing the San Francisco sheriff's wife's bruise. I guess the point is that if I do not sympathize with the wife about the bruise, then maybe the judge was right that I lack empathy, and was justified in taking my kids away.

First, the wife (Lopez) also says that the bruise was trivial. She never complained about it. She did have some other complaints about her husband (Murkarimi, the SF sheriff), but was only talked into photographing the bruise because the lawyer-neighbor-friend gave her an argument that pictures would be needed as blackmail to counteract corruption of the family court.

Someone with strong empathy would understand the Murkarimi-Lopez complaints about how leftist-feminist-LGBT officials are destroying their marriage, and that the marriage and the child are a lot more important than the bruise.

Admittedly, my argument is primarily against the meddling officials having the power to destroy marriage, and is not based on empathy (my capacity to experience the feelings of Murkarimi and Lopez). I don't really care about their feelings. They are left-wing kooks. They say they want to be married, and that is good enough for me. I do not require an inquiry into their feelings in order to have an opinion about their rights.

In my case, there was an allegation of a lack of empathy. I was sent out for several evaluations to see if I had some psychological disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR. Some disorders relate to empathy, such as Asperger syndrome, narcissistic personality disorder
psychopathy, and antisocial personality disorder. All of the psychologists, including Ken Perlmutter, testified that I did not have any of these disorders.

The relevance of the empathy issue was never clear. The law and public policy of California is not to discriminate against the handicapped in family court. Even if I had some psychological disorder, the family court judge is prohibited from taking away my kids just because I have the disorder. See In re Marriage of Carney, Calif. Supreme Court, 1979. Perhaps the court could order that our parenting plan make allowances for what adverse impact the disorder was having on the kids, but that is all.

But no one made any allegation that anything I did had any adverse impact on my kids, whether from lack of empathy or any other cause. Even Perlmutter, the witness with the most negative opinion of me, admitted in his testimony that I was just as good a parent as my ex-wife and he knew of no example where I ever did anything detrimental our kids.

Among child-rearing experts, there is no consensus that it is better for parents to have more empathy. Women are more likely to have a higher-empathy personality type than men, but most of the academic studies say that men make better parents than women.

If empathy were really so important for deciding child custody, then we would have laws telling the family court to give empathy tests, and award the child to the parent with more empathy. But nobody advocates that.

There is not even any agreement on what empathy is. The Wikipedia article on empathy quotes 18 different experts with 18 different definitions. Perlmutter used the term in his report, but he did not use the term consistently, and could never explain what he meant by the term.

Perlmutter asked me if I would take my daughter to any dance class or event she wanted, regardless of distance, expense, or inconvenience. I answered that I had taken her 100s of times to such events, but no, I would not necessarily take her to anything. He put in his report that my answer showed that I lacked empathy.

To me, Perlmutter was just using a buzzword to cover up sloppy reasoning. I know fully well how much my daughter enjoys dance. That was not the question or the issue. If he wanted to argue that my daughter was not getting enough dance somehow, or that I was being unfair to her, or something like that, then he would have to collect some facts and explain why my family needs to look like an episode of the TV show Dance Moms. By saying I lack empathy, he can feign expertise and avoid saying anything substantive.

Judge Heather Morse seems to have gotten her idea of Aspergers from TV shows. TV writers seem to like those characters, as there is currently one on the TV show Alphas. These characters are like comic book characters.

The Jewish-Quaker turned atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris is giving away his ebook on why people should never lie free this week, because a Jewish magazine exposed the famous neuroscientist journalist Jonah Lehrer as lying about quoting Bob Dylan in his latest book. I guess Lehrer and Dylan are Jewish, as well as a lot of New Yorker readers. The article does not related the incident to traditional Jewish ethics. Lehrer's book was probably the biggest-selling science-related book of the last year. The NY Times reviewed it twice, not counting stories about the recent scandal. A NY Times article says that Dylan was a also a "master fabulist", with many lies in his 2004 memoir.

It is funny to see atheists grapple with simple moral questions, and then give contorted rationalizations that carefully avoid religion. If Harris is really so much against lying, then I suggest that he start by talking to his fellow neuroscientists who pathologize Aspergers. One common trait of Aspergers, which you can even learn from the TV shows, is that they tell the truth more than any other group. Psychologists commonly consider truth-telling a symptom of Aspergers. There are many plots on those TV shows (Bones, The Big Bang Theory, Alphas) where the Aspergers character refuses to lie, and the supposedly-normal characters have to withhold info from him or her in order to perpetrate some lie.

Truth-telling is considered to be a sign of low empathy, because many people do not want to hear the truth. Harris discusses that in his book, but argues for telling the truth anyway. There is a movement to remove Aspergers from the DSM-5, but there is money at stake, as a phony diagnosis can be profitable.

Perlmutter attacked me for telling the truth to my kids. When they asked me why I don't do more for them, I told them that I was constrained by their mom and the court, but that I was sending 1000s of dollars in child support. He asked me why I said that, instead of telling that I was just doing what had been determined to be best for them, and omitting the court and the money. I told him that I consider that to be a lie, that I had always been truthful with them, that I believe in being truthful, and that all the research indicates that it is harmful for kids to think that their dad had abandoned them. I did not want my kids to think that I had abandoned them. So he put in his report that this was more evidence that I lacked empathy.

So yes, I do have a problem with the family court judge suggesting that I lacked empathy. There was no evidence for it, nor any explanation as to why it was relevant. It was just prejudice on the part of the judge.