Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Under the care of a team of shrinks

The NY Times is pushing psychobabble about its embarrassing candidate for mayor:
As Anthony D. Weiner tries to repair the damage left by new revelations about his online behavior with women, one question nags at voters and those who once supported him: Why did he do it? ...

His pattern of behavior is intriguing to mental health professionals and experts on sexual behavior, who — while they emphasize they cannot offer an authoritative diagnosis without examining him — discussed a variety of possible explanations for such conduct.

Some suggested the indiscretions might be an addiction with neurological roots. Others theorized that Mr. Weiner, a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York, could be meeting sexual needs unsatisfied in a marriage. And still others said he might be driven by a combination of a mood disorder and feelings of inadequacy to seek reassurance about his masculinity from women he had never met. ...

Mr. Weiner has shared only limited details about his treatment. In an interview during the early stages of the campaign, he said that, after his resignation, he had sought help at a mental health clinic in Texas and hired a therapist. Last week he suggested that he still had a team of people caring for him.
That last item would be the biggest negatives for my vote. Anyone under the care of a team of shrinks is unfit for office.

People say that he is disrespect to women, but the dark truth is that women love a jerk like him. US News reports:
Anthony Weiner loves the ladies, and apparently they love him back.

Sugar daddy dating website found that 78 percent of female clients aged 18-26 approve of Weiner.

20130724__0728nokids~4Here is some anti-child advice:
Cheryl and Ellis Levinson believe they made a very grown-up decision not to have kids.

It was early on in their 28-year relationship when the San Jose couple conceived their emotional choice. While Cheryl, a psychotherapist, had never yearned to give birth, Ellis, who worked in entertainment and journalism and now has a consumer blog, had once dreamed of having his own offspring.

Yet, as they matured together, they began to observe the risks of bringing children into the world -- everything from dangers to the children themselves to the risks to a planet already burgeoning with overpopulation, suffering exhaustion of its natural resources and tainted by climate change and pollution. ...

The Levinsons recently published, "Enough of Us: Why We Should Think Twice Before Making Children" (iUniverse), a book that advocates for being "childfree" ...
I agree. There are too many people in the world, and psychotherapists should not be having kids. We need mentally stable and productive people.

The Thinking Housewife reports:
FOSTER parents in Massachusetts must undergo ten hours a year of “LGBT sensitivity training” and state workers are “weeding out” foster and adoptive parents who disapprove of homosexuality.
And weed out those who disapprove of transgenderism also, I guess.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tow truck takes car and kids

I posted advice to never leave kids unattended in a car, and now here is another reason:
HOUSTON - Neighbors said Victor Ruiz parked his car in a no parking zone when he briefly went to his apartment with groceries Thursday and left his two young daughters in the car.

According to neighbors, a tow truck driver quickly latched onto the family's car and took off.

Court documents show the tow truck driver made the discovery and stopped about two miles away on Wheatley. Neighbors said he should have realized much earlier.

"When he pulled into the apartments, he hurried up and hooked his thing on the car," said Sade Jones, neighbor. Jones told Local 2, "I'm like wait! Them kids in the car. He snapped the picture and hurry up and sped off with these peoples' cars."

Ruiz was charged with two counts of abandoning a child because the kids were left without supervision.

Jones asked, "How did he abandon a child if a whole bunch of people was around watching his car?"

Ruiz sat in jail on a $4,000 bond.

No one answered at the family's apartment Friday night.
The child abandonment charge is ridiculous. I could not find a specific law against abandoning a child in a car, but the Texas family code Title 5 Chap. 261 says:
Sec. 261.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Abuse" includes the following acts or omissions by a person:

(A) mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning;

(B) causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning;

(C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;

(D) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child; ...

(4) "Neglect" includes:

(A) the leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child;

(B) the following acts or omissions by a person:

(i) placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child;

(ii) failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child;

(iii) the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused; ...
These statutes generally require some willful harm to the child. Even if you think that this dad was lazy or irresponsible, he was not criminal.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marriage-hater to get married

I have mentioned men who claim that marriage is a bad deal, but now one of the advocates is defecting:
Naturally, there have been accusations of hypocrisy. How could someone who has denounced marriage in strong terms turn around and get engaged to a woman?
The woman is a single mom. I guess marriage has some advantages after all.

Here is the Doogie Howser guy, talking marriage:
[Neil Patrick] Harris, 40, is the highly praised song-and-dance emcee of this year’s Tony Awards and plays the womanizing Barney Stinson on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. However, fatherhood is his most important role. His twin toddlers, daughter Harper and son Gideon, who will be 3 in October, are never far from his thoughts.

Especially today, which kicked off at 6:15 a.m. “I got to wake them up and get them dressed and be that guy, which is unusual,” Harris says, sounding proud of himself. “David does that more often.”

David is actor/chef David Burtka, 38, his fiance. The kids, who were born via surrogate, call Harris “Poppa” and Burtka “Daddy.”
I wonder if the "fiance" is also a legal father to the kids. Or what the child custody fight would look like if the wedding plans fail.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Woman confuses rapist with TV shrink

A major problem with court testimony of traumatic events is false memory syndrome. As example is Jodi Arias, who supposedly blocked out deadly events under PTSD, and then recovered memories later. She sounded sincere and her shrinks backed her up, but the objective evidence said otherwise, and she was convicted of murder. (She still awaits a new jury for sentencing.)

Most people would say that a woman making a rape accusation is surely telling the truth, and correctly identifying her assailant. But such a woman can be sincerely quite mistaken, as the amusing story below proves.

A leading science journal, AAAS Science, reports on mouse memory research in the current issue:
So, in other words, there could be a false association of what you have in your mind rather than what is happening to you, so this is a way we believe that at least for some form of strong force memory observed in humans could be made. Because our study showed that the false memories and the genuine memories are based on very similar, almost identical, brain mechanisms. It is difficult for the false memory bearer to distinguish between them. What we hope our current and our future findings along these lines will further allot researchers and legal experts how unreliable memory can be.

I can give you one extraordinary example of a false memory. You know, there was a person apparently, I did not know him, but someone called Donald Thompson who is a psychiatrist and he had a TV show. A woman was watching this program, and all of a sudden a man broke in and raped her. After that terrible incident, she claimed it was this Donald Thompson who raped her even after she was told that Thompson was in the studio, but she was not convinced. Because in other words, she had real false memory of associating this guy Thompson with this terrible event of raping.

In other words, her brain network made, just like this mouse, artificially associated two things that are not related. She liked this program. She was thinking about this program, and therefore, when she was thinking about it, the rape occurred and these two things got associated. So there are conditions which influence the relative strengths of our false and genuine memory, and we do not know very much about what parameters will influence how whole memory formation versus whole genuine memory formation. So we can study this, because we have a mouse model now.
I am trying to imagine the policeman telling the woman that Thompson had an iron-clad alibi -- he was on live TV at the time -- and yet the woman persists with her allegation!

Think about that the next time you hear about some woman making some abuse accusation against a model citizen. She might be completely convinced of some story that is completely false.

I assume that men can have false memories also. I say women just because all the examples I know involve women. According to the above scientist, even a mouse can have a false memory. Maybe someday he will have a mouse model of the family court, and figure out why it is so dysfunctional.

Here is the MIT story about the research:
The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.

In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice. They also found that many of the neurological traces of these memories are identical in nature to those of authentic memories.

“Whether it’s a false or genuine memory, the brain’s neural mechanism underlying the recall of the memory is the same,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and senior author of a paper describing the findings in the July 25 edition of Science.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shunning the adulterous wife

Yesterday's bad advice column:
Dear Annie: A year ago, our son, "Don," discovered that his wife of eight years was cheating on him. It came as a shock to all of us. Don was devastated and angry, and quickly divorced his wife and got full custody of their three young children.
What state is that? Here is California, adultery is not a consideration for child custody.
Don won't let her near the children. He says he doesn't want them to think cheating is OK. ... What do I do? — Confused Grandma
I cannot agree with the sole custody and alienation, but the wife' betrayal should not tolerated. We don't have the whole story, of course.
Dear Annie: I have a question regarding interracial attraction. Some of my friends have said they aren't attracted to men of certain races. For example, my white friend says she simply isn't attracted to black men.

... Are such comments acceptable? — Nebraska

Dear Nebraska: No. At the very least, these comments are offensive because they stereotype. ... People who make such remarks are bigoted, ... If nothing else, they will realize they cannot say such things without repercussions.
All women have ethnic and racial preferences in attraction. The way things are going, we will soon be considered bigots if we express a preference for romance with the opposite sex.

Here is a new documentary film:
FOR ALL THE STUDIES on how divorce impacts kids, no one seems to ask the most important people of all what they think about it — the kids themselves.

Ellen Bruno did.

The longtime San Francisco filmmaker interviewed a handful of children, aged 6 to 12, about their feelings about their parents' divorce for her new documentary, "Split." ...

There were a few common themes they heard from the children: they hate the fighting; they often continue to hope that their parents will get back together — even if one or both are repartnered; and many believe on some level that the divorce was their fault.

Divorce has become so normalized for adults, Bruno says, that "there's a misconception that it's also normalized for the kids. It's a profound change for children, even in the best circumstances. So this is really about getting kids to talk, and getting parents to listen."

Friday, July 26, 2013

No unlicensed advice in Kentucky

The WSJ reports:
Was Dear Abby a career criminal? Can "The Dr. Oz Show" show be censored? Absolutely—at least according to the Kentucky attorney general and the state's Board of Examiners of Psychology, which just banned one of the most popular advice columns in the United States from all of Kentucky's newspapers.

This act of censorship has forced a showdown in federal court over one of the most important unanswered questions in First Amendment law: Can occupational-licensing laws—which require the government's permission to work—trump free speech? Some government licensing boards, which function increasingly as censors, certainly think the answer is yes.

Consider the facts of this particular case, which involves an advice columnist named John Rosemond, who is also a licensed family psychologist based in North Carolina and the best-selling author of more than a dozen books on parenting. Since 1976, Mr. Rosemond has written a column on parenting that is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers across the country, including some in Kentucky.

In February, Mr. Rosemond wrote a column responding to a question from parents about their 17-year-old son, whom they described as a "highly spoiled underachiever." Mr. Rosemond, who believes that children need clear boundaries and discipline, wrote that their son was in "dire need of a major wake-up call" and advised that they suspend his privileges until he shapes up.

The day after Mr. Rosemond's column ran in the Lexington Herald-Leader, a retired Kentucky psychologist contacted the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology to complain. Astonishingly, the Kentucky attorney general and the board sent Mr. Rosemond a letter ordering him to stop publishing his column in the state.
A psychologist writes:
State licensing boards are designed to protect the public from any "Tom, Dick or Harry" who decides to hang out his shingle and call himself a psychologist. Feel free to keep dispensing what sounds like good advice, Mr. Rosemond. Just don't call yourself a psychologist in a state that stipulates that you must have a doctorate and the relevant training to do so.
To me, licensed psychologists are the last people to give child-rearing advice. The Kentucky AG might be contacting me, since this blog reaches Kentucky and I do not have a license there.

I guess the problem is that a Kentucky newspaper is labeling Rosemond a psychologist, when he is not licensed in Kentucky as a psychologist. He has a masters degree (MS), and is licensed as a "psychological associate" in the State of North Carolina. He says that he is no worse than Dr. Phil.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lohan wants a baby reports:
Lindsay Lohan seems to have realized her life is a disaster, and to “fix” this, she has decided to have a baby! According to a close friend of Lindsay’s, the star of Mean Girls is determined to “stay sober and thinks the best way for her to achieve that goal is to get pregnant.”

Lindsay wants to imitate what Nicole Richie did a few years ago: getting pregnant and subsequently getting her act together.

LiLo’s friend added:
She needs to be around someone nearly 24 hours a day. She thinks having a baby could straighten out her life.
Lindsay Lohan was a famous and well-respected child actress, who is now more famous for her bad behavior.

Another source says:
Lohan is currently asking around amongst her group of male friends to provide a seed for a child.
This is an excellent idea. I am contacting her agent to volunteer my seed. My only condition is that she continue to test clean for drugs. If she fails to stay sober, then I get custody of the baby and maybe the baby will fix my life. If it is a boy, I would name him George Alexander Louis after the new British royal baby. It is win-win.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why you should not marry women before 35

Sunday had this Dilbert cartoon. Yes, men are increasingly unnecessary to modern educated women. And the porn, robots, and virtual reality are getting better and cheaper all the time. I think that the day will come that men find robots preferable to women.

I found this anonymous rant:
The Female Brain: Why you should not marry women before 35

A pre-nup is a written contract. So is a handshake agreement. Anyone who will break a handshake agreement will also break a written contract. Women FEEL absolutely no compunctions whatever about breaking contracts of any sort. They do whatever they FEEL like then find justifications for their actions later. Their FEELINGS are their reality. Check out the new book The Female Brain for an extensive, scientific, discourse on the subject.

Monogamous marriage was created by the Judeao-Christians as a way to provide wives to most men. Women naturally go to the harem system that prevails in the rest of the world. They really do NOT want to spend much time with any particular man. They just want a man around for a short time to get them pregnant and to support them and their brood. By being in a harem they get all the advantages of having a man around without having to spend much time with the actual human being that he is. They only get hot for a small percentage of men, and they care not if he is doing other women. They actually prefer to have him doing other women, it lessens their time requirements with him. Look at Tom Jones, Mick Jagger, Bill Clinton, Casanova as examples of this process at work.

Women don't stay because they get married and they don't leave because he refuses to marry them. All marriage does in this age is allow them to take half of his success with them when their FEELINGS flip for hormonal reasons that have nothing to do with anything he ever said or did. Look at what Heather Mills is doing to Paul McCartney. She actually thinks she is entitled to half of Paul's lifetime success and the results of all his creative genius and hard work getting it out to the world just because she was married to him for the last six years. She never helped him write a song or record it or go on the road to perform it, yet she still wants half of all his ca$h.

In The Grapes Of Wrath Steinbeck makes a great analogy about men and women. Think of a creek. Men are the rocks in the creek, women are the water that flows around the rocks. Nothing a man does can prevent a woman from moving on.

Protect yourself, men, and NEVER get married. Be nice to them, enjoy their company when they FEEL like granting you some time. Even have children with them (The woman I used to be "married" to and I raised five together). Just don't sign away half your worldly success to her with a contract that has no true meaning to her.

Bottom line: just FORGET ALL ABOUT MARRYING HER in the first place. That makes the whole problem of pre-nups irrelevant, just like her wedding "vows" are to her.
There is some truth to this. The Judeo-Christian monogamous marriage is being dismantled and being replaced with a feminist-hedonist model. If you are considering marriage, then please learn about these changes before you make the plunge.

Marriage is even declining in Japan, where the population is contracting. The BBC reports:
Tamaki Saito was a newly qualified psychiatrist when, in the early 1990s, he was struck by the number of parents who sought his help with children who had quit school and hidden themselves away for months and sometimes years at a time. These young people were often from middle-class families, they were almost always male, and the average age for their withdrawal was 15. ...

The average age of hikikomori also seems to have risen over the last two decades. Before it was 21 - now it is 32.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Free to criticize meddlesome lawyer

Here is a New Mexico case where a family court ordered a dad to stop criticizing a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). The appeals court ruled that the order infringed his constitutional free speech:
Because the district court did not make factual findings regarding defamation but rather simply restrained Father’s publication based on a constitutionally impermissible rationale, we must reverse. We remand for the district court to consider the GAL’s arguments and evidence regarding defamation in light of the facts of this case, should Father wish to persist in his publication efforts.
This is a victory for free speech, but not a clean one, because of the defamation issue.

A Guardian Ad Litem is a lawyer appointed by the court and serves only to meddle in the lives of parents. Some lawyer, who may know nothing about kids or your kid or your parenting style or anything relevant, gets paid to file legal motions against the parents. Some NM dad didn't like it and criticized her.

I don't see that it is any business of the family court to try to prevent defamation. If the lawyer thinks that she is being defamed, she can file an ordinary civil libel lawsuit. The family court only got involved to protect itself from publicity about its bad decisions.

Some parents get suckered into thinking that a Guardian Ad Litem might be a neutral help to a case. It is nearly always a bad idea. I once had a local bozo named James M. Ritchey named to represent my kids in court. He was irresponsible, cruel, and greedy. I posted info about him that I am sure that he thought was damaging to his reputation. He could have sued me, but truth is a defense and he would lose. At least Cmr. Irwin Joseph did not try to stop me from commenting on him.

On the subject of freedom, I just heard an anti-smoking advocate say:
In three fourths of the states we have court orders prohibiting smoking in the homes where child custody is at issue. In 12 states they ban smoking in homes where they have foster children. Increasingly they are also banning smoking in cars. There is no right to smoke in the home. [Tibor Machan, Chapman U. professor, Fox News Stossel, July 12]
I don't care about the right to smoke, but I do care about parents being second-class citizens if they are in the family court. It is grossly unjust to say that parents somehow lose the right to criticize a lawyer or smoke in his home just because he has joint custody of a child.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sweden wants gender equality in child-rearing

A NY Times essay reports:
In Sweden, where 8 in 10 fathers take parental leave, it has become “very uncool” for middle-class dads to depend on moms’ help in consoling a crying baby, Petra Persson, a Swedish economist at Stanford University, told me recently. “Being seen as an equal parent is now a badge of pride for men,” she said.

The Swedish government is experimenting with more incentives to stop traditional gender roles from taking hold right after birth. Not only are 2 of the generously paid 13 months’ parental leave reserved for each parent, families also get a bonus for sharing the leave more equally. The maximum payment — about €1,540, or $2,000 — goes to those working a 50-50 division.

A small but growing number of Swedish couples now work part time right from birth, building child-care expertise jointly as they go along.

Sweden wants a gender reset for a whole country, yet the view that mothers are more important for children than fathers dies hard.
She says that she abandoned her small kids to take a job at Harvard, and they did just fine.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Child abuse reports are going down

The NY Times reports:
DURING the Great Recession, child abuse and neglect appeared to decline. Incidents reported to local authorities dropped. “The doom-and-gloom predictions haven’t come true,” Richard Gelles, a child-welfare expert at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press in 2011.

The real story about child maltreatment during the recession is a grim one. I spent months studying this topic, using a number of different data sources, including Google search queries. I found that the Great Recession caused a significant increase in child abuse and neglect.
No, this is nonsense. The above chart is the Google Trends chart for "child abuse". As you can see, it is going down, not up. Not that I think Google Trends is a reliable measure, but it shows a bogus scare story.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Obama could have been a teenaged thug

Pres. Barack Obama has been avoiding the pressing national and international issues of the day, such as failing ObamaCare, Detroit bankruptcy, Egyptian coup, etc, but he has taken the extremely unusual step of intervening in a petty criminal case. He just have this speech:
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
So Obama could have been a dope-smoking juvenile delinquent who likes to beat people who look at him wrong.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
I have been similarly profiled many times myself.
The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.
Yes, this is old news. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1961: “Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that.”
I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.
Dishonors? No, aggression, violence, and torture against innocent symbols of civilization is what Trayvon Martin was all about.
I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
This is extremely offensive. Martin is the one who had a chance to exit. He went back to the house his dad was visiting, when girl on the phone goaded him into "whoop-ass" against the "creep-ass cracka". Then Zimmerman was being beaten senseless into the sidewalk, and had no opportunity to exit (as long as Martin was alive).

Obama is saying that it is okay for black people to beat up anyone who treats them with suspicion, and if the non-blacks don't like it, then they should just stay in their cars.

For 45 seconds Zimmerman cried for help while his head was being pounded into the pavement. Two witnesses came out of their homes to help, but their wives persuaded them not to get involved. So they called 911 instead.

In the USA today, most rich white liberals denounce racism in all its forms, but they move to predominantly white neighborhoods where they do not have to deal with black crime.

No politician is willing to say that Trayvon Martin was doing anything wrong. Like Obama, blaming the innocent man is the politically expedient thing to do. Likewise, no politician is willing to blame the single mom who sue for all the child support and welfare they can get. They don't want to be accused of being anti-black or anti-woman. It appears that there are common sense bits of advice that can only be said in private.

Update: Sailer points out that Obama seems to be saying that Zimmerman would ahve been a racist if he had locked his car and stayed in, and is also a racist for leaving his car.

Crazy child search in New York

The NY Times reports on a child hysteria story:
In cases of child abduction, law enforcement officers often rush to alert as many people as they can since the grim reality is that the odds of finding a child worsen with each passing moment.

So countless bleary-eyed New Yorkers were jolted upright just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday when their cellphones suddenly started blaring with a message about a 7-month-old boy who had been abducted hours earlier by his mother, who had a history of mental illness, from a foster care agency in Harlem.

It was a watershed moment in the intersection of law enforcement and technology: the first mass Amber Alert sent to cellphones in the city since a national wireless emergency alert system was established. And, the police later said, it directly led to the child’s being located.
So what was it that got everyone in New York out of bed? It was a mom visiting her own son!
In the case of the mass alert on Wednesday, the events started unfolding after the authorities said that Marina Lopez, 25, of Queens, had abducted her son, Mario Danner Jr., on Tuesday afternoon.

The baby had been placed in foster care within the last three months. ...

By Wednesday afternoon, the police said that they had found Ms. Lopez and her son in “good condition.” Ms. Lopez was arrested and charged with custodial interference. The police said she was found after the Amber Alert led to a tip to the department’s Crime Stoppers hot line.

The child was abducted from New York Foundling, a foster care agency. “While stringent protocols are in place, we are thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event,” the agency said in a statement. “Our agency monitors over 50 supervised visits a week with the children in our care and only two such incidents have occurred in the last 20 years.”
Most of those kids on milk cartons are child custody disputes. If you read the fine print, the kid was last seen with the mom or dad.

I got one of those reverse-911 calls a couple of months ago. A recording said that a fugitive was in my neighborhood, and gave a description. So I check that my gun was loaded and handy. Another call a couple of hours later said that he had been apprehended.

The AMBER Alert was passed because of sensationalized stories about stranger kidnappings. However I only ever see it applied to petty child custody disputes. The system is being abused so badly, that I don't think that I would call it in if I had the evidence wanted by an Amber alert. I would risk danger to stop a true kidnapping, but I resent being called to take sides in a child custody dispute when I do not know who is in the right.

So maybe some stupid meddlesome NY social worker or shrink decided that Lopez was bipolar and her baby belongs in foster care. I have no confidence in that decision. I have the impression that putting a child in foster care is a mistake most of the time. It is rare that a baby is harmed by her mom, even if she is bipolar. Babies get harmed in foster care all the time. I would be annoyed if I was awoken at 4am just because some random Puerto Rican mom across town overexstended her visit with her baby.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The relevance of Stand Your Ground

The George Zimmerman case continues to cause controversy, with much of the debate over the Florida Stand-your-ground law. The Democrats say that the law must be repealed, and legal experts saying that the law had nothing to do with the case.

Both sides are wrong. The Florida stand-your-ground law has two main parts: to allow self-defense without a duty to retreat, and to immunize that against criminal and civil court action. Zimmerman never had an opportunity to retreat, according to his own story, so the first part did not apply.

But the political uproar over the case last year was over Zimmerman not being charged for 6 weeks. The police and prosecutors figured that the case would be dismissed under stand-your-ground immunity. The Martin family wanted to sue for a million dollars, but such a lawsuit would almost certainly be dismissed.

The pro-Martin argument was that Florida should, out of respect for Trayvon's death, prosecute Zimmerman whether a conviction is likely or not. They argued that anyone who shoots a man in self-defense should endure a jury trial. The stand-your-ground law was passed largely to avoid prosecuting people known to be innocent, just to appease the family of the dead.

So yes, the stand-your-ground law had a lot to do with why Zimmerman was not charged right away, and for the political uproar that cause Pres. Obama and the Florida governor and AG to force his prosecution.

Stand-your-ground was also mentioned in the jury instructions:
If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
But even without the SYG law, the instruction would have had the same effect, as retreat was not an option.

One of the problems with family court is that one parent will make a bunch of outrageous accusations (of abuse, neglect, violence, threats, etc.), and expect the court to fully litigate. The mindset of the court is often to say that every difference between the parties must be resolved. We need more law to permit dismissal of dubious claims. Unless there are police reports, witnesses, objective evidence, etc that can potentially prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, then the accusations ought to be dismissed.

Thus I do not agree with the Obama administration push to repeal SYG laws. Obama's purpose is to prosecute people like Zimmerman, even if they legitimately acted in self-defense. Not that Zimmerman is a Republican; he is a Democrat who voted for Obama.

The Obama administration has interviewed dozens of Zimmerman's neighbors, and so far only found one willing to say that he is a racist. So now they are asking the world:
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday afternoon appealed to civil rights groups and community leaders, nationally and in Sanford, for help investigating whether a federal criminal case might be brought against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one advocate said.

The DOJ has also set up a public email address to take in tips on its civil rights investigation. ...

That email address, which is now in operation, is
I thought this was a joke at first. I also thought that electing a black (or half-African) President would improve race relations. I was wrong. He made them worse. Obama signed the federal hate crime law in 2009, and it is vague and it has no statue of limitations when there is a death. So go ahead and tell Obama who you think the racists are. I am tempted to report Angela Corey.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sex ratio consequences

Girls outnumber boys in college today, and Mark Regnerus wrote this popular essay about it in 2011:
If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we'd be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on. Instead, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (which collects data well into adulthood), none of these things is occurring. Not one.The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. And it's all thanks to supply and demand. ...

And yet despite the fact that women are holding the sexual purse strings, they aren't asking for much in return these days—the market "price" of sex is currently very low. There are several likely reasons for this. One is the spread of pornography: Since high-speed digital porn gives men additional sexual options—more supply for his elevated demand—it takes some measure of price control away from women. The Pill lowered the cost as well. There are also, quite simply, fewer social constraints on sexual relationships than there once were. As a result, the sexual decisions of young women look more like those of men than they once did, at least when women are in their twenties. The price of sex is low, in other words, in part because its costs to women are lower than they used to be.

But just as critical is the fact that a significant number of young men are faring rather badly in life, and are thus skewing the dating pool. It's not that the overall gender ratio in this country is out of whack; it's that there's a growing imbalance between the number of successful young women and successful young men. As a result, in many of the places where young people typically meet—on college campuses, in religious congregations, in cities that draw large numbers of twentysomethings — women outnumber men by significant margins. (In one Manhattan ZIP code, for example, women account for 63 percent of 22-year-olds.)

The idea that sex ratios alter sexual behavior is well-established. Analysis of demographic data from 117 countries has shown that when men outnumber women, women have the upper hand: Marriage rates rise and fewer children are born outside marriage. An oversupply of women, however, tends to lead to a more sexually permissive culture. The same holds true on college campuses. In the course of researching our book Premarital Sex in America, my co-author and I assessed the effects of campus sex ratios on women's sexual attitudes and behavior. We found that virginity is more common on those campuses where women comprise a smaller share of the student body, suggesting that they have the upper hand. By contrast, on campuses where women outnumber men, they are more negative about campus men, hold more negative views of their relationships, go on fewer dates, are less likely to have a boyfriend, and receive less commitment in exchange for sex.
The NY Times just printed an article about how today's college girls want casual sex:
These women said they saw building their résumés, not finding boyfriends (never mind husbands), as their main job at Penn. They envisioned their 20s as a period of unencumbered striving, when they might work at a bank in Hong Kong one year, then go to business school, then move to a corporate job in New York. The idea of lugging a relationship through all those transitions was hard for many to imagine. Almost universally, the women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early 30s.

In this context, some women, like A., seized the opportunity to have sex without relationships, preferring “hookup buddies” (regular sexual partners with little emotional commitment) to boyfriends.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crazed Baseball Wife

The NY Post reports:
Crazed “Baseball Wife” Anna Benson dressed like a ninja and armed herself with a gun, ammo and bullet-proof vvest to break into the home of estranged hubby and ex-Mets pitcher Kris Benson, demanding dough and calling him a “p---y,’’ a police report shows.

The former Playboy Playmate and mom of four, 37, ambushed her stunned husband, 38, Sunday night as he exited the bathroom in the master bedroom of the home they once shared in Marietta, Ga., the document says.

She also had on her a black Taurus handgun and red “Batman” folding knife, authorities said. ...

She told the officers “she didn't think that she did anything wrong and didn’t understand why we were making such a big deal out of this,’’ according to the report.

The couple’s tumultuous relationship finally went sour for good last year, when Anna filed for divorce.

Anna, who starred on VH1’s “Baseball Wives” in 2011 and 2012, was infamous for her sideshow antics while her husband was a starting pitcher at Shea Stadium about a decade ago.

She made her most infamous headlines in 2004, when she made her threat to bed all the Mets in an interview with shock jock Howard Stern.
It is amazing what a woman can get away with if she has a body like that. I thought that they get a little less crazy after age 37 and 4 kids. Maybe not.

If she were a man, she would be considered a sexual predator and put in jail. As it is, she is a source of amusement. I am afraid that if I met her, she would take sexual advantage of me and drain me of all of my sexual energies before discarding me. I would be helpless to resist her charms. Lock her up before she causes more trouble!

The same paper has lots of other wacky stories, such as this celebrity gossip:
Tiger Woods’ former mistress is back on the market – Rachel Uchitel and Matt Hahn are divorcing after a year and a half of marriage.

According to TMZ, Hahn filed for divorce from the “Celebrity Rehab” cast member, citing "cruel and inhumane treatment" as his grounds for the split.

The two had “many explosive, verbal arguments,” the gossip site reports. Sources said that the 38-year-old nightclub promoter would allegedly slap her husband after he allegedly called her names.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What I learned from the Zimmerman trial

If I just came to the USA from elsewhere and watched the George Zimmerman trial coverage, I would conclude:
Black folks will always side with another black in a fight, regardless of the merits. That includes President Barack Obama and US attorney general Eric Holder.

Even after the jury acquitted Zimmerman, Obama and Holder attacked Zimmerman, praised Martin, and threatened to prosecuted Zimmerman again.

The authorities will send an innocent man to prison, if it reduces the chances of race riots. Judges and prosecutors will lie and cheat to destroy people.

It is normal for black people to go around calling a non-black person a creepy-ass cracka.

Blacks adamantly assert that black kids have a right to beat up anyone they perceive as following them.

Blacks say that they are mistreated in our society, but their poster boy is a dope-smoking juvenile delinquent who sneaked up on a man, sucker-punched him, and tried to beat him to death while he screamed for help.

Blacks see nothing wrong with starting fights like that, and torturing a man after giving up the fight.

The jury system is essential to our justice system.
Polls also indicated that black people were overwhelmingly in favor of acquitting O.J. Simpson for murdering his ex-wife.

I hope I am wrong about this. There are surely millions of American blacks who think that Trayvon Martin did something wrong. I just haven't seen any of them on TV.

At any rate, this case convinces me that our highest political and legal authorities, in that they can willfully prosecute an innocent man in order to placate the masses. The black masses, anyway.

Part of the purpose of the Florida Stand Your Ground law was to avoid subjecting an innocent man to a trial, if he has a clear-cut case for self-defense. Obviously the law was not strong enough.

When I tell people about bad decisions by the family court, they usually refuse to believe that the court officials are evil. They assume that the judges and shrinks are doing the best they can, but maybe they are overworked or gullible to one side's arguments, or something benign.

No, officials like Irwin Joseph, Heather Morse, Ken Perlmutter, Bret Johnson, and Faren Akins are truly evil people who malicious destroy lives for their own personal profit and career advancement. If we ever had a French Revolution, their heads would being going in the guillotine.

I wonder what would happen if any court-ordered deviation from joint 50-50 child custody had to be approved by a jury of peers. The judges and psychologists would lose their power, and we would have a lot more common sense.

Update: I hear a lot of people saying that Zimmerman's biggest mistake was not identifying himself as a neighborhood watch captain. But it seems possible that Martin beat him up because of a belief that he was acting like some sort of security guard. According to a post-verdict interview of Martin's friend:
Morgan asked Jeantel about the term "creepy-ass cracker" that she testified Trayvon used to describe Neighborhood Watch volunteer Zimmerman as he followed the teen in Zimmerman's gated community.

Jeantel replied that, in her neighborhood, the term is "cracka" and it means a person who acts like a police officer.

Jeantel had suggested to Trayvon that Zimmerman might have been a rapist, she said.
She clearly said cracka and not cracker. She also distinguished between a nigga and a nigger. Maybe she is trying to say that Trayvon wanted to beat up a gay cop wannabe. I do not take what she says too seriously.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Silly inkblot tests

Fusco Brothers had this comic. It reminds me of this movie joke:
Bob Wiley: [telling a joke] The doctor draws two circles and says "What do you see?" the guy says "Sex."

[everybody laughs]

Bob Wiley: Wait a minute, I haven't even told the joke yet! So the doctor draws trees, "What do you see?" the guy says "sex". The doctor draws a car, owl, "Sex, sex, sex". The doctor says to him "You are obsessed with sex", he replies "Well you're the one drawing all the dirty pictures!"
I actually had Commissioner Irwin Joseph order me to get a Rorschach inkblot test for the family court. A local psychologist did the tests on me and my ex-wife, and supplied a computer-generated personality profile to Joseph. There is, of course, no scientific evidence relating this nonsense to any parenting ability. It is like going to a local psychic or astrology for a reading.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Local shrinks demand more money

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports:
Santa Cruz County has been turning to psychiatrists who take temporary assignments to fill gaps left by those on staff who retired or left for private practice.

The shortage of psychiatrists means patients with mental issues must wait for an appointment.

"It takes two months to get the evaluation scheduled," said Dr. Patrick Teverbaugh, a psychiatrist who has worked for the county for 21 years. "There's this incredible turnover, which is not the best psychiatric care to change one's doctor every few months."

Nine doctors -- six psychiatrists and three physicians -- have left since 2011, according to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which negotiated a one-year contract that expired in November.

Talks reached an impasse in May and mediation is planned for this month.

The sides are at odds over pay and benefits.

The psychiatrists and physicians are asking for a cost-of-living increase and a retiree health stipend the same as other county retirees.

According to Teverbaugh, physicians voluntarily lowered their retiree health stipend 10 years ago in order to offer a pay differential for a child psychiatrist, which he called a "rare" specialty.
Really? Is it hard to find child psychiatrists? It seems like a trivial specialty to me.
She said the median salary for a psychiatrist in Santa Cruz County is slightly less than $220,000, citing figures from

If the comparison is narrowed to psychiatrists in the public sector, Santa Cruz fares well, according to county personnel director Michael McDougall.

He said a January survey found Santa Cruz County pays psychiatrists 1 percent over market compared to eight Bay Area county governments.

"We compensate at a higher rate than all of them except Santa Clara (County)," he said.

The 2012 Santa Cruz County government pay database shows one psychiatrist earned $239,000, with six earning $147,000 to $208,000.
They are making a lot of money to be complaining. But then so are the BART workers.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Zimmerman trial closes

I am following the George Zimmerman trial to see the extent to which the President, the governor, the attorney general, and other govt authorities will prosecute an innocent man to avoid race riots.

Geraldo Rivera said:
I see those six ladies in the jury putting themselves on that rainy night, in that housing complex that has just been burglarized by three or four different groups of black youngsters from the adjacent community. So it's a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did. This is self-defense.
If you were getting beaten up by Trayvon, how many times would you let him pound your head into the sidewalk while you were crying for help, before pulling the trigger. 1? 2? 10? 20? Different people would give different answers, I guess, but I say most people would have pulled the trigger.

CNN keeps lying about the case:
This murder trial, in and out of the courtroom, has been boiled down to one question: Was Zimmerman in fear for his life and thus justified in defending himself by shooting and killing Martin?
No, the question is whether Zimmerman had a reasonable fear of great bodily injury. He was likely to be only brain-damaged, not killed.
Some people have forgotten that Zimmerman was not even arrested initially. It took more than a month for the special prosecutor to bring the second-degree murder charge.
Not true. Immediately after the shooting, Zimmerman was arrested, handcuffed, and taken to the police station (while not given medical treatment) for thorough questioning. He cooperated fully, without asking for a lawyer.
At the same time, we are told that Martin, who had far greater reason to fear Zimmerman, practically and for reasons of American history, did not have the right to confront his stalker, stand his ground and defend himself, including by using his fists.
No, Martin does not have the right to sneak up on a stalker and use him for a punching bag. And certainly not "for reasons of American history", whatever that means. Is he trying to say that blacks have a right to beat up non-blacks as payback for slavery 160 years ago?
Years after the movie came out, Lee told an interviewer, "White people still ask me why Mookie threw the can through the window. ...Twenty years later, they're still asking me that."

"No black person ever, in 20 years, no person of color has ever asked me why," he said.
Okay, I guess he is saying that random black violence against innocent bystanders is completely reasonable.

Let's look at the actual evidence. To me, the most convincing evidence is:

* Zimmerman cooperated fully with a plausible story, and all subsequent evidence corroborated him.

* The many wounds to Zimmerman's head, and none to Trayvon. Zimmerman was getting beat up badly.

* 911 tapes show Zimmerman crying many times for help.

* The state gunshot experts conclusively proved that the gun was up against the hoodie, and 3 inches from the skin. That means that Martin was on top of Zimmerman, with the hoodie hanging loose.

* Martin had 4 minutes to go home after Zimmerman lost him, and must have come back deliberately for a fight.

So what is the prosecution evidence? It is very thin:
But prosecutors said that Mr. Zimmerman profiled Mr. Martin as he was headed home in the rain to the house where he was a guest. Mr. Zimmerman got out of the car with a gun concealed in his waistband and chased him so he would not get away. He was the aggressor in the fight, they said.

Contradictions in Mr. Zimmerman’s story abound, they said, citing these assertions from the defendant:

How could Mr. Martin have grabbed for the gun and not left DNA on it? How could he have even seen that tiny gun in Mr. Zimmerman’s waistband in the dark? Why would Mr. Zimmerman get out of the car and follow Mr. Martin if he was scared of him? How could Mr. Martin have been punching Mr. Zimmerman, covering his mouth and reaching for his gun at the same time? And wouldn’t Mr. Zimmerman have suffered more grievous wounds to his head if Mr. Martin had slammed it against the pavement 25 times?

“Is he exaggerating what happened?” asked Mr. de la Rionda, calling the statements lies, a ploy to pad his self-defense case.
Yes, Zimmerman did profile Martin in the sense of sizing him up as a suspicious character and calling 911. Even the prosecutors concede that is what good neighbors are supposed to do, and there is nothing wrong with it.

The defense made the excellent point that the minor contradictions indicate that Zimmerman is telling the truth, not lying. When someone lies, he often has a rehearsed story, and sticks to it to the letter. It is when people are honestly trying to tell the truth that there are minor discrepancies. They might tell the story several times, and some retelling may leave out details. If Zimmerman kept telling the story over and over with the exact same number of punches, I would be suspicious. No one counts punches during a street fight.

The above questions have obvious answers. If I were on the jury, I would conclude that the prosecution has an incredibly weak case.

Here is another prosecution summary:
“He went over the line,” Mr. de la Rionda told the jury. “He assumed things that weren’t true and, instead of waiting for the police to come and do their job, he did not. He, the defendant, wanted to make sure that Trayvon Martin didn’t get out of the neighborhood.”

“In this defendant’s mind he automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal,” Mr. de la Rionda added. “And that’s why we’re here.”
Maybe I missed it, but I did not see where the prosecutor ever described the line that Zimmerman crossed, or showed that Zimmerman assumed anything that was not true, or that he did not wait for police to do their job.

Zimmerman reported Martin as a suspect, not a criminal. Even if it were true that Zimmerman assumed that Martin was a criminal, he would be exactly right. As the defense said in closing, if Martin had lived, he surely would have been charged with aggravated battery, a serious crime. Martin was indeed up to no good that night.

Even if Zimmerman falsely assumed that Martin was a criminal, it would not help the prosecution case. The jury decision hinges on Zimmerman's perception of the danger to himself. If Zimmerman was convinced that Martin was a criminal, then that is all the more reason to have a justified fear of what might happen.

Update: The former police chief said:
Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, told CNN's George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.

"It was (relayed) to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn't care if it got dismissed later," he said. "You don't do that." ...

I'm happy that at the end of the day I can walk away with my integrity.
He was apparently fired for not agreeing to a scheme to frame Zimmerman for murder. The driving force behind all this is leftist race-baiters on MSNBC and the President saying, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." [Mar23, 2012]

Update: The prosecution final argument was:
"A teenager is dead," Florida state prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury in closing arguments of the murder trial. "He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions. Because his assumptions were wrong, Trayvon Benjamin Martin will no longer walk on this Earth."
No, that teenager beat up Zimmermon instead of going to the house that his dad was visiting. It is false to say that Martin was without fault.

Update: Zimmerman was acquitted. He can think the jury system, because the fix was in against him. Without a jury, an innocent man would have gone to prison.

Update: MSNBC still has blacks and leftists arguing that Trayvon Martin had a right to beat up someone who was following him.

Big increase in single dads

The WSJ reports:
The number of American households headed by single fathers has ballooned over the last five decades, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Single-father-led households in the U.S. have risen about nine-fold from less than 300,000 in 1960 to over 2.6 million in 2011, Pew says. A record 8% of households with minor children in the U.S. are headed by a single father, up from just over 1% in 1960, according to Pew, which analyzed Census data. Single-mother households have increased four-fold in the same time period.
This sounds like a lot, but half of these single dads are not really single:
Gretchen Livingston, the study’s author and a senior researcher at Pew, defines “single fathers” as people 15 and older who head their household and report living with their own minor children, including step-children or adopted children. Out of those single fathers surveyed in 2011, 41% were living with a cohabiting partner; 52% were separated, divorced, widowed or never married; and 7% were married but didn’t reside with their spouse. Ms. Livingston was unable to determine whether in some instances the unmarried cohabiting partner was the biological mother of the children in the household.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zimmerman charged with child abuse

The prosecution could not prove murder at the trial of George Zimmerman, and now it charging him with felony child abuse!

Trayvon was a 17yo 5-11 dope-smoking juvenile delinquent sneaking around a strange gated neighborhood in a hoodie while serving his third suspension from school. Zimmerman thought that he was behaving suspiciously, and called 911, as there had been a rash of burglaries. Zimmerman followed him in his car, lost him, and briefly left his car to get an address for the 911 operator. While going back to his car and waiting for the cops to show up, Trayvon attacked him, knocked him to the ground, and relentlessly began punching his head into the sidewalk. Zimmerman was helpless to fight back, and cried for help about 12-15 times over the course of about 45 seconds. Zimmerman suffered a broken now, a concussion, and at least 6 identifiable injuries to the head. People heard his cries, but offered no help and the punches continued. Zimmerman says Trayvon said he was going to kill him. Then Trayvon saw Zimmerman's gun, and there was a struggle for the gun. Zimmerman pulled the trigger and Trayvon died.

Every single piece of objective and witness evidence corroborates Zimmerman's account, except for Trayvon's mom saying that Trayvon was the one calling for help. No one has explained why Trayvon would be calling for help. He was on top of Zimmerman the whole time, and suffered no marks, bruises, or injuries, except for a scratch to his punching hand.

The reason for the child abuse charge is that it is the most legally ambiguous possible charge. No one ever defines what is or is not child abuse. The jury is all women, and are subject to emotional arguments about children. To many women, abuse is just a catch-word for any behavior with which they disagree.

This just is biased against Zimmerman. Yesterday she bizarrely put Zimmerman under oath and forced him (over his lawyer's objections) to testify about whether he intended to testify under oath, and whether he had discussed the matter with his lawyers. The defense had not finished presenting witnesses, and Zimmerman does not have to make that decision until the end. The judge was way out of line.

Update: The prosecution closing arguments did not mention child abuse, so I guess that was not allowed. His main arguments were that Zimmerman made some faulty assumptions about Trayvon, and that there were inconsistencies in Zimmerman's story.

The trouble is that the prosecution never showed that any assumptions were invalid, and that the point does not lead to guilt anyway. If Zimmerman mistakenly believed that Trayvon was more of a troublemaker than he was, then that is all the more reason that Zimmerman could have genuinely believed that it was necessary for him to act in self-defense.

Next, there really weren't any significant inconsistencies in Zimmerman's account. The prosecutor said: Zimmerman left the car to get a house number, but he overlooked a house number. He said that he was afraid when he lost Trayvon, but was not afraid enough to draw his gun. He said he was struggling to get out from under Trayvon, but it is hard to see how he could have fought back and drawn his gun at the same time. He had a bloody head, but Trayvon had no blood on his hands. If he had been beaten as much as his head injuries indicate, it is hard to see how he would be conscious enough to fire a gun.

I don't know how anyone would say that Trayvon did nothing wrong. Had Zimmerman not pulled the trigger, Trayvon would have surely been arrested and charged with felony assault and battery.

Advice to never leave kids unattended

Santa Cruz columnist Ramona Turner writes:
"Leaving a child unattended for even a minute can lead to heat stroke and even death," said Christopher J. Murphy, the agency's director. "It is imperative that everyone take steps to safeguard their children by remaining alert and ensuring that no child is left unsupervised."

In 2001, Kaitlyn's Law was enacted, making it illegal to leave children unattended in a vehicle.

Here are some reminders for parents, guardians and childcare providers on keeping children safe when the weather warms up: ...

If you see a child left unattended in a car, immediately call 911.
No, this is crazy. Leaving a child in a car for a minute does not cause harm.

Santa Cruz rarely even gets hot. You probably think it is hot because it is a sunny California beach town. But the water is so cold that the locals refuse to swim in it. The surfers wear wetsuits. A couple of weeks ago we had a big heat wave, and the temperature topped out at about 85 degrees. Everyone was complaining as if global warming were causing the end of the world.

The main hazard to leaving your kid in a car for a minute is that some busybody will call 911 and trigger a stupid investigation. The cops will probably be smart enough to realize that your kid was not in any danger, but will have to take the complaint seriously because of the law and your disregard for common paranoid advice.

I post this just to try to help people stay out of trouble.

Update: A reader suggests that I consult the law, according to the DMV website. My point was more about how you could be hassled by busybodies, regardless of the law. I followed his suggestion, and consulted the website. The simplest explanation is this:
Unattended Children In Motor Vehicles

It is illegal to leave a child six years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle.

The court may fine a violator and require him or her to attend a community education program. Also, DMV and court penalties for leaving an unattended child in a vehicle are more severe if the child is injured, requires emergency medical services, or dies.

Note: The child may be left under the supervision of a person 12 years of age or older.
This is misleading, as the reader pointed out, as it is not always illegal. Here is a better explanation:
Leaving Children or Pets Unattended in a Car

It is illegal to leave a six years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle when:

There are conditions that present a significant risk to the child's health or safety. Example: Leaving a child in a closed car on a very hot day.

The vehicle's engine is running, the keys are in the ignition, or both. Children can start or move the car causing injuries and/or deaths to themselves or others. An opportunist may (and many have) seize the moment to jump in and drive your car away, child still strapped in.

Violators may be fined and required to attend a community education program. If the child is injured, requires emergency medical services, or dies, then the penalties become more severe.
Also remember that pets also deserve the same care and should not be left unattended in a vehicle on a hot day.

If you see an endangered child or pet, call 911 and stay by the vehicle.
Note that it recommends that busybodies call 911. Here is the actual California statute:
Prohibition Against Unattended Child in Vehicle

15620. (a) A parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child inside a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a person who is 12 years of age or older, under either of the following circumstances:

(1) Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to the child's health or safety.

(2) When the vehicle's engine is running or the vehicle's keys are in the ignition, or both.

(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged and the court, instead, refers the defendant to a community education program that includes education on the dangers of leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles, and provides certification of completion of that program. Upon completion of that program, the defendant shall provide that certification to the court. The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant described in this section to attend an education program on the dangers of leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles.

(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 192 of the Penal Code, or Section 273a of that code, or any other provision of law.

(d) (1) Subdivision (b) and Section 40000.1 do not apply if an unattended child is injured or medical services are rendered on that child because of a violation described in subdivision (a).

(2) Nothing in this subdivision precludes prosecution under any other provision of law.
So yes, it is legal to leave your sleeping baby in the car while you run into a 7-11, but it is probably not worth the risk that some jerk will call 911.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Emasculated men supporting contemptible women

Chateau Heartiste likes to make fun of men who put up with emasculating wives and girlfriends, and posts:
Is it really good for the children to see their father so pathetically emasculated on a daily basis? That’s the question that swirls around July’s Beta of the Month candidate, a broken man who continues living under the same roof (for which he likely foots the full bill) with his happy ex-wife in a refitted “divorce house” that’s partitioned down the middle. ...

Everyone in this family is smiling except for the house eunuch: ...

The only sure cure for an ex-wife is moving out of the country and covering all your tracks. Or, you can be all the beta you wanna be and share an exquisitely demarcated home with an ex-wife who loves taking photos of your hang-dog face to show the world how much she has your balls in a vise.

In related news, the West is still collapsing. Event horizon endgame should be any day now.
He is right. No man should put up with this sort of nonsense. Too often men are praised for sacrificing their manhood for the sake of a contemptible woman. CH admires men being men and women being women.

I question whether supervised visitation is good for the children.

Bad as this man is, a reader sent me a worse example:
Julia Charlene Merfeld said she wanted her husband killed because “it was easier than divorcing him.”

That explanation came in a meeting with a man Merfeld thought she was hiring to do the murder.

Merfeld, 21, of Muskegon didn’t know the man was really an undercover police detective, or that she was being recorded on a hidden videocamera.

“When I first decided to do this … it’s not that we weren’t getting along,” she says on the video. “But … terrible as it sounds, it was easier than divorcing him.

"You know, I didn’t have to worry about the judgment of my family, I didn’t have to worry about breaking his heart, all that stuff like this. It’s, like, how I got a clean getaway.”

Another motive, authorities have said, was the 27-year-old husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy. Julia Merfeld told the fake hit man he’d be paid $50,000 from the proceeds, in a series of weekly $9,000 installments to avoid suspicion from her bank.

Merfeld pleaded guilty June 27 to solicitation to murder.

Her husband and intended victim asked that she get no jail time at all, the sentencing judge said in court at the time of her guilty plea. Instead, Chief Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti committed to cap her minimum sentence at six years. The maximum can be anything up to life in prison, depending on Marietti’s decision at her sentencing July 30.
You can also watch the video on the NY Daily News or on Yahoo News.

I used to think that men were always admirable when they took extreme measures to support their families. I was wrong. These men are enablers of bad behavior, and are despicable.

Here is Monday's newspaper advice column:
Dear Annie: I am 15 and the oldest of four boys. During one of many fights between my parents, my mom left the house with my brothers and me, and we spent the night at a shelter.

Our grandparents told our father that we have no values because we went with our mom. They say we are old enough to know better. This makes us feel guilty about the fights. Now my grandparents refuse to see us even for our birthdays, because they say we are not loyal to the family and don't deserve them.

Annie, we are losing our family and our grandparents all at once. Our school guidance counselor tells us it's not our fault, but we feel like outcasts.
The kids were disloyal to go to the shelter. There was no reason for them to do. They should listen to their dad and not the stupid guidance counselor.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Expert witnesses answer hypothetical questions

I have been following the trial of George Zimmerman. Today, pathologist Vincent Di Maio testified for the defense. On July 1, and mid-trial, Florida switched from the Frye to Daubert standard for the admissibility of expert testimony.

I am not sure whether the prosecution is cruelly and dishonestly trying to put an innocent man in prison, or if it is trying to throw the case so Zimmerman gets a public acquittal. It is baffling. It reminds me of family court where I often think that officials cannot really believe that nonsense that they are espousing, except that I never think that they are deliberately throwing the case.

Di Maio is an excellent witness, in contrast to the medical examiner Bao. He is clear, unambiguous, and convincing. He sticks to his expertise. He backs up what he says with explanations of the relevant science and medicine, and how the evidence backs that up.

A regular (fact) witness just tells what he say, with no opinions or conclusions. An expert witness is allowed to give opinions and conclusions.

A bad expert witness gives opinions and conclusions, and demands that you accept them because of his credentials and experience. A good expert witness teaches the relevant science or medicine to the jury, as it is generally accepted in the textbooks, and then the jury understands the conclusion as does not need to trust the expert's impartiality or judgment.

I was amazed at how badly the prosecutor misunderstands the role of the expert. From the trial today:
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda: In order to give an opinion, when someone gives you a hypothetical, it has to based on facts that are accurate and truthful, correct?

Di Maio: A hypothetical doesn't have to be true. A hypothetical is just "suppose this and this happened ...".

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda: So we would be speculating, I guess, or potentially speculating?

Di Maio: It is not even speculating. You are giving a presentation and asking what it is.
Di Maio is correct. An excellent expert witness could testify entirely by answering hypothetical questions, and never even look at the facts of the case. For example, a witness might be useful just answering these hypothetical questions: "What does a gunshot would look like if the gun is pressed against the skin? If the gun is 3 inches away? 12 inches? 24 inches? How is that known?" The jury could then apply his knowledge to the facts of the case.

Di Maio focused on one question: Is the objective evidence (autopsy report, pictures, etc) consistent with the reenactment that Zimmerman gave to the police? The answer is yes. The gun was up against the fabric of Trayvon's hoodie and 2 to 4 inches away from his chest. Apparently Trayvon was leaning forward with the hoodie 2-4 inchies down. Zimmerman had at least 6 identifiable injuries to the head, and probably a broken nose and a mild concussion.

In family court, psychologists will sometimes testify as experts and recommend a child custody schedule. That is allowed, but is worthless unless the witness can explain why the generally accepted knowledge facors that schedule over alternative schedule. The psychologists are usually not able to do that. He should also answer hypothetical questions, such as "if the parent drank less beer, you would that affect your schedule?" Again, they are unable or unwilling to spell out their prejudices.

Update: Lou Dobbs compares the trial to a "Soviet show trial", and says, "there is no doubt that Florida authorities are now fear-struck by threats of mob violence if that trial does not go their way." They are making a video to persuade the blacks not to riot. He also says the lack of evidence against Zimmerman shows a "travesty of political corruption, pandering, and disregard for the rights of an American citizen."

Man divorces over pictures making him look bad

What is a man to do with if his wife fails to show loyalty? Here is one rich man's response, in a minor British scandal:
The multi-millionaire art collector, 70, said he made the “heartbreaking” decision to formally split from his wife of 10 years because she refused to defend his reputation after he was seen grabbing her outside Scott’s restaurant in London.

He told the Mail on Sunday: "I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced.

"I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."

Mr Saatchi is said by the paper not to have spoken to his wife since the pictures were published.

The advertising tycoon said: "This is heartbreaking for both of us as our love was very deep, but in the last year we have become estranged and drifted apart... The row photographed at Scott’s restaurant could equally have been Nigella grasping my neck to hold my attention – as indeed she has done in the past."
This picture looks bad, and you can judge the others for yourself. I certainly do not believe that he was trying to strangle his wife in a public restaurant. She could have screamed or made a complaint, and she has not.

I am in no position to judge their marriage, of course, but it is a bad sign that she was unwilling to publicly defend her husband. For her to refuse is almost the same as saying she wants a divorce.

Here is another rich man problem:
An heir to the Levi Strauss fortune promised his girlfriend he would give her $300,000 if she aborted his child - but then didn't pay her the money when she went through with it, she has claimed.

Daniel S. Haas, a descendant of the Haas brothers, allegedly pressured Christina Helm, 45, into getting a termination because he was worried having a child out of wedlock would shame his family.

He also feared what impact the baby would have on his life - and didn't want to stop taking extended ski-trips to Lake Tahoe or long surfing trips to South America, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

At one point, he became so panicked about Helm keeping the baby that he smacked her across her bare stomach with her hand and demanded that she carry out the abortion, the complaint says. ...

When she told him, he allegedly demanded she have an abortion, but she said she needed to take time to think about it as she was 45 and feared it could be her last chance to get pregnant.

But the complaint claims that Haas was under the control of his family who pressured him to end the relationship and the pregnancy because upholding the family's image was of 'paramount importance'.

'Due to the family's wealth, the man never had to work,' the complaint says. 'Throughout time, the man became complacent and never stood up to the family.

Monday, July 08, 2013

NJ weakens marital privilege

One of the advantages of marriage used to be that you and your spouse were a legal unit, and had this legal privilege:
Spousal privilege (also called marital privilege or husband-wife privilege[1]) is a term used in the law of evidence to describe two separate privileges: the communications privilege and the testimonial privilege. Both types of privilege are based on the policy of encouraging spousal harmony, and preventing spouses from having to condemn, or be condemned by, their spouses.
The WSJ reports:
A bill introduced in New Jersey would make it easier for prosecutors to force a newlywed to testify against a spouse.

If enacted, a spouse could be forced to testify against a husband or wife if, before getting married, the person was a “witness in the criminal action” of the partner and was aware of an investigation.

Introduced by Republican Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr., the legislation would also deny spousal privilege to someone who handles “evidence related to the criminal action in a manner that changes the nature of the evidence or disrupts its chain of custody.”

Under New Jersey’s spousal privilege law, a spouse or civil-union partner cannot be compelled to testify “except to prove the fact of marriage or civil union.” (The privilege has been around for a while, as fans of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”. ...
Here is the law's stated rationale:
The bill responds to the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in State v. Mauti, 208 N.J. 519 (2012). The Court considered whether the existing spousal/partner privilege against testifying, as set forth in section 17 of P.L.1960, c.52 (C.2A:84A-17), could be pierced to force a witness, who at the time of an alleged criminal sexual assault, was the girlfriend of the accused, and who had provided testimony before a grand jury concerning (1) the alleged criminal act and (2) her handling of evidence related to that act; soon after, the girlfriend and the accused got married, and the day after the marriage, the former girlfriend, now wife of the accused, invoked spousal privilege and refused to testify in the trial of the accused. The Court determined that the invoking of the spousal privilege by the former girlfriend could not be pierced for the trial, based upon the existing statutory scope of the privilege. Although the accused had been indicted for four crimes, including first degree aggravated sexual assault (under N.J.S.2C:14-2), without the benefit of testimony from the witness, the jury only convicted the accused of third degree aggravated criminal sexual contact (under N.J.S.2C:14-3).
So let me get this straight. A man and woman have sexual relations and get married. The police and prosecutors somehow decide that there was something wrong with the pre-marriage sexual relations, and prosecute the man. The wife does not cooperate, and they only get a conviction on a lesser charge. So the NJ legislators want to amend the law to force her cooperation!

This may seem minor, but it is one of a long sequence of legal changes that are redefining marriage for the worse. More and more, the state is regulating inter-spousal relations and child-rearing. Usually these laws are pushed by Democrats. This law's sponsor is a Republican. The purpose is to give the state the authority to bust up what would otherwise be a happy marriage.

Here is the NJ case, where a man was accused of doping and assaulting his girl-friend's sister:
On July 28, 2007, Jeannette and defendant announced their engagement and scheduled their wedding for October 28, 2007. Based, in part, on the results of various lab tests—revealing the presence of “chloral hydrate,” a date-rape drug in Joanne's urine—the State filed a criminal complaint against defendant on August 16, 2007, charging him with first-degree aggravated sexual assault. It also filed an application to enjoin Jeannette and defendant from marrying until the pending criminal charge was resolved. The State's application was denied on the ground that there was no proof that what was scheduled to take place was a “sham marriage.” Thereafter, the Appellate Division rejected the State's emergent application to bar the marriage. Thus, on October 28, 2007, Jeannette and defendant were married. On October 29, 2007, Jeannette's attorney informed the State that she would be invoking the spousal privilege pursuant to N.J.R.E. 501(2) for any future proceedings, and would be seeking to preclude the State from using her testimony during the grand jury proceedings.
I never heard of a state trying to stop a marriage to avoid a privilege.

If the facts are correct as presented, the court ruled that the prosecutors do not need the wife's testimony. So it upheld the privilege, but probably would have broken it if the prosecutor made a good argument that it needed the testimony.