Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vox Day advice

Vox Day has a couple of blogs with unusual advice:
As one can hardly be surprising, Dear Prudence comes down heavily on the side of advising men to remain in ignorance of their prospective wife's sexual history:

This is horrifically bad advice. ...

Claiming disease as the reason for sexual disclosure is like claiming hunting as the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

This guy dodged a bullet. And you don't tell a man who dodged a bullet to close his eyes so that the next one is more likely to hit him. Sexual history is important because it is the best predictor of an individual's future sexual behavior. It's not perfect, but it is more reliable than anything else.
It is often claimed that sex abuse causes permanent psychological damage. I doubt it, but it is a common belief. If so, then a man ought to investigate the sexual history of any woman he is interested in marrying.

I do think that a man is foolish to listen to these female advice-givers.

I had no idea that women travel to Jamaica for sex tourism:
Over the past decade, I have been researching the increase in female sex tourism in underdeveloped and poorer countries. I made contact with Barbara through a social networking site where I had discovered women exchanging details about long-distance romances with men in Jamaica. Not one of the women used the phrase ‘sex tourism’, but most of them discussed how they had sent money to their ‘boyfriends’ to pay an urgent debt or to rent accommodation in time for their next visit.
Vox concludes:
It should be readily apparent that if 80-IQ male prostitutes can convince women that their money-for-sex relationship is a romantic one, you should be able to convince her of anything she wants to believe. The key to directing female behavior is simply determining what it is that she wants to believe, then giving her an excuse to believe it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Irwin Joseph rejected for judgeship

I am pleased to report the announcement that Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph has been rejected for a judicial appointment:
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Sunil R. Kulkarni and Lori E. Pegg to judgeships in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. ... The compensation for each of these positions is $178,789.
The state had previously announced that Joseph was being considered for one of these positions, and was soliciting comments about his fitness to be a judge. I sent my comments, and many of my readers did also.

Joseph had previously been fired as Santa Cruz county commissioner, and had been passed over for Santa Cruz county judgeships.

Joseph has wanted all his life to be a genuine family court judge. He would rather be one in Santa Cruz county, as that is where he lives, but Santa Clara county is just "over the hill", as the locals say, and would be the next best thing.

If he were only incompetent, he would not be so bad. He is worse than that, and should never be a judge anywhere.

Thanks to everyone for sending info about Joseph. Obviously the governor depends on recommendations to make these appointments, and his staff probably had no way of knowing how bad Joseph is without our comments. I am glad to see that their system of soliciting comments actually worked.

Court upholds California psychotherapy ban

I have posted before about a California law limiting psychotherapist free speech, and now there is an appealls court ruling. AP reports:
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court sided with California on Thursday and upheld the first law in the nation banning a psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay youth straight.

In a resounding, unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the state law barring the so-called gay aversion therapy legal in every respect.

The judges said trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation through intense therapy appeared dangerous, and that California lawmakers properly showed that the sexual orientation change efforts were outside the scientific mainstream and have been rejected for good reason.

“One could argue that children under the age of 18 are especially vulnerable with respect to sexual identity and that their parents’ judgment may be clouded by this emotionally charged issue as well,” Judge Susan Graber wrote for the court panel.
Sound convincing? Here is what the opinion actually said about Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (“SOCE”):
In particular, the legislature relied on a report created by
a Task Force of the American Psychological Association. That report resulted from a systematic review of the scientific literature on SOCE. Methodological problems with some of the reviewed studies limited the conclusions that the Task Force could draw. Nevertheless, the report concluded that SOCE practitioners have not demonstrated the efficacy of SOCE and that anecdotal reports of harm raise serious concerns about the safety of SOCE.
I do not have any personal knowledge whether SOCE works or not. But lets compare this to other therapies. A local child get put on Risperdal, but order of family court quacks. That drug is so dangerous that late-night TV has ads from law firms seeking users for class action lawsuits. (Update: They say to dial 1-800-BAD-DRUG.)

Most, if not all, of the common psychotherapies have not had their efficacy demonstrated, and have anecdotal reports of harm. I would not mind seeing them all banned. No one ever showed that SOCE is any worse than the others.

This is a direct attack on parents being able to use their own judgment in the upbringing of their kids. California schools how require teaching LGBT history and values in all grades, and soon it will be illegal for a parent to tell his own child that it is better to be straight.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Low bar for PTSD and dementia

I restarted my newspaper subscription, and here is yesterday's bad advice:
Dear Annie: Earlier this year, I was caught up in a liability issue with my high school track coach. I had a knee injury and was being treated by a sports chiropractor, with the full approval of the superintendent of the school district. My coach, however, rejected the note from the chiropractor and caused me horrible stress and anxiety with the unnecessary demand that I see an internist. The principal said I had to do it. ... How can I move on? My mind is taking a beating. — Still Reliving the Misery

Dear Still: Any trauma can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which causes the sufferer to relive the event over and over.
A "liability issue" is a euphemism for a bogus personal injury claim. And "chiropractor" is a euphemism for physician wannabe. So the school refused to pay her for her questionable knee injury unless she documented it with a second opinion. And that caused PTSD for months? It only causes anxiety if the claim is bogus.
Dear Annie: Last week, I walked into our computer room to see my husband trying desperately to hit the delete button and get rid of an email he did not want me to see. I managed to glance at the woman's name, however, and asked him who it was. Well, she is the one I suspected he hooked up with at his 50th class reunion. There were about five hours during the weekend that he could not account for.

His 95-year-old mother knows this woman and says, "She's such a nice girl and married. She would never do such a thing." And she says the same about my husband. I don't believe this. My husband suddenly can't keep his hands off of the waitresses at our favorite restaurant, and he ogles every woman who walks by.

I won't be going to my 50th class reunion. I can't leave him alone for a second, and I certainly don't want him running off with one of my classmates. I don't want to go out of my house anymore. What should I do? — Humiliated Wife
Wow, I don't know how any man managed to stay married for decades to such a jealous, possessive, and controlling bitch.

Annie's diagnosis this time is not PTSD, it is dementia. Because only a demented or senile man would send an email to an old classmate after a reunion, or notice a pretty waitress.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New law against causing emotional distress

The NY Times reports:
A proposal, to be debated Tuesday in the Assembly, could let victims of so-called revenge porn see their vindictive ex-lovers go to jail for up to a year.

The bill passed the state Senate earlier this summer. It would make it a criminal misdemeanor to post nude or revealing pictures that may have once been taken with a subject’s consent. The practice has become increasingly common, victims’ advocates say. And it poses a vexing legal question, pitting the rights of victims against the principles of free expression. Making matters more complicated is the fact that sites that host these user-generated images are usually immune from civil liability under federal law.

The California proposal is among a few state measures meant to designate revenge porn as a specific crime. New Jersey has one on the books. Florida floated a similar bill earlier this year, which free-speech advocates decried as overly broad. The California proposal, in its current form, differs in that it has been amended to specifically address people who distribute images “with the intent to cause serious emotional distress.”
I am wary of any law based on an intention to cause emotional distress. Once a woman bails out of a marriage or relationship, she sometimes gets it into her head that everything was done just to cause her emotional distress. Seems hard to prove or disprove.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not yet free to say intellectually bogus

I have reported on a court case that has a bearing on whether I can use this blog to call psychologist Ken Perlmutter the Sandusky of the family court, and intellectually bogus. The law clearly favors my free speech right to tell the truth, but I would like to know that the courts uphold that right.

The case is in DC and involves global warming, not the family court. But the DC law is extremely similar to California. Unfortunately the plaintiff has won the first round of the libel lawsuit.

This is distressing, because I was counting on getting any libel lawsuit dismissed on the first round. I do believe that Ken Perlmutter, Faren Akins, Bret Johnson, Irwin Joseph, Heather Morse, and various other family court officials are intellectually bogus and worse than Jerry Sandusky. However, I do not want a libel lawsuit, so I may have to go easy on these creeps until the global warming lawsuit is resolved. Fortunately, that case is getting a new judge who is not as incompetent as the first judge, and I think that the new judge will dismiss the case.

So in the meantime, I am going to play it safe, and not imply that Ken Perlmutter is a child molester.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Psychology bias

Americans identify as conservatives much more than liberal, according to polls:
Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.
While university professors tend to be liberal, psychologists are among the most extreme, with 84% liberal and 8% conservative. Psychology research shows the most bias, because it is the easiest to fake results.

Two of the most distinguished psychology professors, Diederik Stapel and Marc Hauser, have been disgraced for faking research. The field still worships Sigmund Freud, who was also a scientific fraud who faked his research and built his career on bogus claims. The current Nature magazine reports:
For many psychologists, the clearest sign that their field was in trouble came, ironically, from a study about premonition. Daryl Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, showed student volunteers 48 words and then abruptly asked them to write down as many as they could remember. Next came a practice session: students were given a random subset of the test words and were asked to type them out. Bem found that some students were more likely to remember words in the test if they had later practised them. Effect preceded cause.
The NY Times just reported that psychiatrist Robert Spitzer has published an apology for one of his research papers. He has been called "arguably the most influential psychiatrist of the 20th century", but he is horrified that his work has been cited by social conservatives. No one has shown that the research was wrong, but only that it answers “Not a very interesting question” and that it does not advance the political causes of his fellow leftists.

Pychologists do not have the beliefs and values that other Americans have. The family court should not use them as experts because they just apply their prejudices instead of any genuine expertise. They are quacks. And their prejudices are anti-American and anti-family.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

European couples rear kids without marriage

I sometimes see this anti-marriage argument:
European countries today have even lower marriage rates than the US. I think something like 80% of Swedish children are born out of wedlock. Yet society has not collapsed. It just evolves.
Dalrock looks at the data, and concludes:
The other thing which stands out in both charts is that there is a huge variation across Europe in out of wedlock birth rates and a much smaller variation in the percent of adolescents living with both parents. Greece has an in wedlock birth rate of 94%, while only 36% of children in Iceland are now born in wedlock. The percent of adolescents in the respective countries living with both parents is a much closer 86% and 70%.

Also, note that no country in Europe is evidence that a collapsing two parent family is no cause for alarm. The most recent data available shows that all European countries have a higher percentage of adolescents living with both parents than the US*; it isn’t Europe that is leading in the area of broken homes, it is the US! Nearly all of the European countries listed have 70% or more of their children raised in an intact home, whether the parents had married prior to the birth of the child or not. Given the continuing fall in out of wedlock birth rates, the results will certainly look worse for adolescents ten and fifteen years from now. The costs to our society are in many ways baked in, even though we won’t fully experience them for many years.
I don't know what the Swedes and other Europeans have against marriage, but they have not rejected the idea that kids need both parents.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New book on foster care

There is a new NY Times book review on foster care:
Early in Cris Beam’s remarkable new book, she outlines what she calls the core questions at the heart of America’s foster care system: “Who decides the correct way to raise a child? Who makes the moves on the moral chessboard where a family’s right to privacy opposes a child’s right to protection from harm? And who should get to keep a child: the parents who nurse and tend to him, or the parents who brought him into this world?”

But as Beam discovered in the five years she spent tracking dozens of foster children and their families, those questions apply only to best-case situations. “To the End of June” finds a truth far more complicated and heart-wrenching at the center of America’s broken, maddening foster care system.
There are also a podcast interview, and favorable Amazon reviews.

Beam explains how she became a foster parent without the required licenses, by tricking the authorities, She then raised a boy as a girl, and brags about she thwarted the social workers who wanted the child be in a household with a man. I fail to see how her prejudices are any better than anyone else's.
Though foster parents understand that their parenting responsibilities are usually temporary, some can’t help falling for their foster kid — and believing that they would do a better parenting job than the child’s biological parents. ...

As Beam explains it, the most important philosophical divide in the world of foster care is between those who believe that “kids are better off with their parents and the state’s job is to provide and regulate security,” and those who think that “kids are better off safe and the state’s job is to provide and regulate a new family.” Though Beam is thorough and fair in her reporting on both sides, she makes clear where she stands. “I know the statistics,” Beam writes. “Children do better with their (even marginal) birth parents than with foster parents.”
Yes, there is a huge problem. The system is filled with do-gooders who believe in intervention, in spite of the evidence that intervention usually makes things worse.

Modern liberalism is grounded on judging programs by their intentions, not their results. If you point out that the programs are only exacerbating the problems, they will argue that the programs need more money and better training. Then you have a self-perpetuation program with social workers and foster parents who are in it mainly for the money, and little accountability.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Law to let sperm donors sue

I posted about the Hollywood actor who was a sperm donor to his girlfriend, and now wants to be the legal father. I have some more info.

Here is the proposed California law that would give family court judges discretion to decide paternity in cases like his:
SB 115, as amended, Hill. Parent and child relationship.

Existing law, the Uniform Parentage Act, sets forth the circumstances under which a man may be presumed to be the natural father of a child. Under existing law, those circumstances include if he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child and if the child is in utero after the father’s death and specified conditions applicable with respect to determining rights to the property to be distributed upon the death of the decedent are satisfied. Existing law authorizes any interested party to bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship that is presumed under those circumstances. The Uniform Parentage Act also provides that the donor of semen provided to a licensed physician and surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank for use in artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the natural father of a child thereby conceived, unless otherwise agreed to in a writing signed by the donor and the woman prior to the conception of the child.

This bill would instead provide that notwithstanding the treatment in law of the sperm donor under those circumstance circumstances, any interested party may bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship presumed under the previously described circumstances parentage of a man presumed to be the father because he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child.
Normally I speak up for fathers rights, but I find it hard to see how any good can come from giving family court more discretion and letting "any interested party [may] bring an action at any time".

This bill only affects kids resulting from physician-assisted reproduction. Under those circumstances, the parties can put their intentions in writing, and those intentions are binding. That seems reasonable to me. Jason Patric's problem was that he did not put in writing his intention to be the legal father, and now there is no proof that it was his intention.

The sperm banks are opposed:
This bill has moved quickly without challenge through the state Senate positioned as a "technical change" to the Family Code. In fact, it is far more impactful than it appears. SB 115 would grant any sperm donor (although not egg donors or surrogates) the right to sue for custody regardless of the mother's intent, regardless of any signed agreement between the recipient and donor, and regardless of the donor's lack of any financial or legal obligations to the child.

"Sperm donors are assured, and the laws have previously upheld, that a donor will have no legal obligations to provide child support and in turn they agree to waive all parental rights, unless they sign a co-parenting agreement. This bill threatens these standards by allowing a donor to claim parentage at any time," said Dr. Charles Sims, CEO, California Cryobank.
For a more thorough discussion of the pros and cons, listen to this radio show on SB 115.

Here is the official analysis:
DIGEST : This bill clarifies that notwithstanding current law, any interested party may bring an action for the purpose of determining a parent and child relationship at any time.


Existing law:

1.Provides that the child of a wife who lives with her husband, who is not impotent or sterile, is conclusively presumed to be a child of the marriage. (Fam. Code Sec. 7540)

2.Provides that a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child in any of the following instances:

A. He and the child's mother are married to each other when the child is born, or the child is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;

B. Before the child's birth, he and the child's mother attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination, or if the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order and the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation; or

C. After the child's birth, he and the mother have married or attempted to marry and with his consent he is named on the birth certificate as the child's father, or he has obligated to support the child in writing. (Fam. Code Sec. 7611 (a)-(c))

1.Provides that a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child. (Fam. Code Sec. 7611 (d))

2.Authorizes any interested party to bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship presumed because either he had received the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child, or the child was in utero after the death of the presumed parent and specified conditions are satisfied. (Fam. Code Sec. 7630 (b))

3.Provides that if two or more paternity presumptions arise, the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. (Fam. Code Sec. 7612)

4.Provides that a donor of semen to a licensed physician or sperm bank for use in artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization of a woman other than the donor's wife is treated in law as if he were not the natural father of the child thereby conceived unless otherwise agreed to in a writing signed prior to the conception of the child. (Fam. Code Sec. 7613 (b))

This bill allows any interested party, regardless of treatment under the law as a sperm donor to a licensed physician or sperm bank, to bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship presumed because the presumed father received the child into his home and openly held the child out as his own.


It is the policy of the State of California to establish paternity for all children. The establishment of paternity provides children with equal rights and access to benefits such as health insurance, child support, and inheritance. (Fam. Code Sec. 7570) Under existing law, a child born during a marriage to a wife who lives with her husband is conclusively presumed to be the child of the marriage. (Fam. Code Sec. 7540) For a child born outside of a marriage, paternity may be established by a voluntary declaration of paternity or through another legal presumption of paternity. (Fam. Code Sec. 7573, 7611) In the event that two or more presumptions of paternity arise, the court is required to find in favor of the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic. (Fam. Code Sec. 7612)

For most heterosexual couples, conception is achieved with the woman's own eggs and the sperm of her male partner, making parental identity straightforward. However, individuals and couples are increasingly using assisted reproduction technology, which can rely upon donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos, and host wombs, thereby impelling the legal concept of parentage to evolve.

Generally, donors of genetic material are treated under law as though they are not the parents of a child conceived from that material. For example, California's Family Code treats sperm donors who are not married to the woman who conceives using the donor's sperm as "if he were not the natural father of the child thereby conceived, unless otherwise agreed to by the woman and donor in writing prior to conception of the child. (Fam. Code Sec. 7613 (b)) In most of these cases, the law instead looks to the "intended parents," as defined by the California Supreme Court in Buzzanca v. Buzzanca (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1410, which held that, regardless of who provides the eggs, sperm or uterus, the intended parent(s) are "the first cause, prime movers, of the procreative relationship." (Id. at 1424) Therefore, a parental relationship is often established when medical procedures are initiated and consented to by the intended parent(s), even in the absence of any biological relationship between them and the child(ren) created. In other situations, courts will look to an adult who has functioned as a parent to the child, and determine whether he or she fits an existing presumption under California law.

The definition of what constitutes a family, or how a family is created can create legal tensions. AB 1349 (Hill, Chapter 185, Statutes of 2011) sought to address a number of these tensions and, among other provisions dealing with voluntary declarations of paternity, distinguished between known sperm donors who planned to co-parent with the mother and more traditional sperm donors who gave their genetic material without any expectation of parenting the child conceived. This bill seeks to further clarify how presumptions of parentage work in situations where an individual is both a presumed father and a sperm donor.


According to the author's office:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, California has more fertility clinics than any other state in the nation. Unmarried individuals in California are increasingly making use of assisted reproduction to conceive children with the intent to raise those children jointly. Current law is unclear about the relationship between the statutes within the Family Code, which govern both the treatment of a man who provides his semen to a licensed physician for use in assisted reproduction, and the ability of any interested party to bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the presumed father and child relationship.

This [bill] is necessary because California trial courts are interpreting existing statutory language governing the treatment of donors of semen for use in insemination or in vitro fertilization of a woman other than a donor's wife to find that it precludes further examination of the presumed father and child relationship. Courts are finding it difficult to harmonize the two relevant code sections, even when doing so is in the best interest of the child, and would preserve an ongoing relationship between a child and his/her known, biological father.
The reasoning loses me in the last sentence. The existing law is to respect marital status, physician declarations, and birth certificates. The intent of this bill is to throw all that out the window if some silly judges decides that it is in the "best interest of the child" (BIOTCh). This is yet another bill that is anti-marriage, anti-contract, and anti-freedom to manage our own lives.

For centuries, civilization has been built on marriage and the family. Laws like this chip away at family autonomy, and give judges power to intervene. I am not against new technologies like sperm banks, but note that the sperm banks are against this law. The purpose of the law is not to allow new technologies, but to use the power of judges to redefine families.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ads for co-parents

The UK Daily Mail reports:
The rise of 'co-parenting': How broody, single women are advertising online for men to help them have and raise babies... but they don't want a relationship

With their biological clocks ticking, time poor and cash rich 40-something singletons are turning to the internet to find their man.

But these broody women are not looking for a relationship - instead they are looking for someone to father their child. More and more people across the U.S and UK are opting for the so-called 'co-parenting’ relationships – biological parents who have an otherwise platonic relationship, but who both contribute to raising the child. ...

Rachel Hope, 42, is a property developer from Los Angeles. She is attractive, successful…and wants to be pregnant by January 2014. After 18 months of searching for a potential baby father, she has signed up to a website giving her access to thousands of men across the world who, like her, aren’t looking for a relationship, but want a child with someone who’ll take their parenting role seriously. Instead of strings attached, there’s an umbilical cord. ‘I’m in serious talks with three men – one from India, one from Germany and a gay man from the US,’ says Rachel.

Melani, 42, a senior sales consultant from New York, has also joined ‘Ideally, I’m looking for the whole package – love, man and a child – but I’m also 42 and, although I’m in great shape, my biological clock has almost finished ticking. I need to be as proactive as I can.’ Melani is looking for 50:50 involvement with a co-parent, providing equal emotional and financial commitment to the child. Ideally, she’d like her son or daughter to live with her, with the co-parent nearby. None of her three previous boyfriends wanted children and she’d also dabbled in internet dating. ‘I found online dating more like a “virtual bar” and not a place to meet people with a big interest in family life. People on Modamily have no problem voicing the desire for children.’ ...

Far from being confusing for the child, there can be emotional benefits of co-parenting. ‘The child has two people who love them and who are – hopefully – friends, with no fear of divorce,’ says
Katy Regan. ‘As a co-parent you have support and a child, yet also your freedom, so it can work really well.’
I reported on this so-called trend in Feb. 2013.

No, this will never catch on. Anonymous sperm donation has been banned in the UK, so the aging narcissist women there can get particularly desperate. But the idea that this somehow avoids the troubles of divorce court is crazy. But for the men, this is like going straight into divorce without ever being married. Maybe the men are gay or something. Very few are actually doing this, and it is just a media curiosity.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mom stabs stranger to steal car to get kids

Here is a child custody dispute gone bad, from Missouri:
A woman armed with a knife attacked a homeowner Friday night in Jefferson County after she broke into his home looking for car keys to steal a car from the driveway, authorities say.

Christina Fudge, 21, of Ironton, Mo., is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and armed criminal action. Bail is set at $250,000.

Police say Fudge stabbed a 52-year-old man at about 10:30 p.m. Friday in the 3600 block of Morgan Way in Imperial. The man was stabbed several times in the upper torso and seriously injured.

Lt. Col. Steve Meinberg of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department gave this account:

Fudge was staying on the same street but didn't know the victim. There was no connection between her and the man she attacked, Meinberg said.

She had seen several cars parked outside his home and wanted to steal one to drive to Iron County, where she planned to kill her ex-boyfriend and two of his relatives in an effort to get her children back.

She planned to burglarize the house on Morgan Way Drive to take car keys. She carried a knife in case she confronted anyone inside the home.

The man heard noises in his home and confronted Fudge, who stabbed him several times. As the man and Fudge were scuffling, the man's son heard the noise.

The son, 23, had been packing his guns to go squirrel hunting the next morning. He grabbed one of the guns and held the woman at gunpoint until police arrived.

Meinberg said Fudge was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both. She did not have a criminal history, he said.
This may be one of those rare cases where the dad gets child custody.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Psychotropic pills peak before divorce

Discover mag Neuroskeptic reports:
People are almost twice as likely to be taking antidepressants or other psychotropic medication just before getting a divorce.

This striking graph, from a new paper out of Finland, shows the data.

The vertical bar represents the divorce date. The solid curve is the divorcees, and the other two are comparison individuals who were either married throughout the period, or not married at all.

In both the male and the female divorcees, rates of psychotropic use began to climb about four years before the divorce date, peaking a few months before the event.
As usual, it is tricky to deduce the causation from the correlation.

Maybe bad marriages are driving the couples to depression and then divorce.

Maybe the drugs are raising the self-esteem and outlook of depressed spouses, so that they have the courage to file for divorce.

Maybe the drug side effects kill libido, so they divorce when their sex life is no good anymore.

Maybe they stop the pills after the divorce because their are no longer on the spouse's health insurance.

Maybe people seek lifestyle changes that include getting rid of the spouse and the pills.

Maybe squabbling couples foolishly seek marriage counseling, where their complaints get passed off to someone to give them feel-good pills.

Did I miss any possibilities? Maybe you can think of some more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Texas towns extort cash to avoid CPS

I have heard stories of tourists in Mexico having to pay ransoms to crooked cops to get out of town. According to a New Yorder story, it happens in Texas and it is legal:
Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services.

“Where are we?” Boatright remembers thinking. “Is this some kind of foreign country, where they’re selling people’s kids off?” Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.

Later, she learned that cash-for-freedom deals had become a point of pride for Tenaha, and that versions of the tactic were used across the country.
I had heard of seizing cars from drug dealers, but the CPS angle is a new one to me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old movie about father and son

TCM TV just showed The Champ (1931 film), about a declining boxer and his 8-year-old son. He has sole ccstody, but the ex-wife decides that she wants him after she marries a rich man. She promises money for fancier clothing and schools, but she cannot replace the bond the boy has with his dad.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sperm donor is not a legal parent

ABC TV 20/20 last night was on famous parents, including child custody disputes. It reported:
Jason Patric is best known as the star of "The Lost Boys," a prince of Hollywood who has dated some of the most glamorous starlets of the past two decades.

But it's his role as a father that has most recently launched public scrutiny into some of the most private aspects of his life.

Watch the full story on "20/20: Famous Parents, Famous Problems" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET.
The trouble began three years ago, when his former girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, asked him to help conceive a baby.

"I've been in a lot of relationships," Patric said in an interview with "20/20" anchor David Muir. "I was always worried about having a child. ... But I was with someone, and I was at a certain age, [with] someone that I trusted and I loved. And so I said, 'Well, we can try this route.'"

A year later, their son, Gus, was born through the miracle of in vitro fertilization.

For the next two years, Patric said, he was at the house every day.

"Absolutely," he said. "I play music. I scratch his back. I help him articulate his fingers. I speak Shakespeare into his ear, 'cause I think that he should know that one day."

But while the love for his son only grew, the relationship between Patric and Schreiber grew strained.

Patric had every intention that his parenting relationship with Gus would continue, he said.

"Of course. I mean, it's not just me," Patric said. "The two most important words in a child -- the two most important visions, ideas -- are Mama and Dada. It means safety, support, food, love. That's there. I mean, that was always going to be the case." But, Patric said, when he filed for joint custody, he discovered something shocking.

"My lawyer said to me, 'They're saying you're not the father.' And I said, 'What?'" Patric said, laughing. "'You're not the father.'" In California, a sperm donor has no paternity rights. Without a marriage or a written agreement with Schreiber, Patric was not the father in the eyes of the state.

Asked if he ever said he would help but didn't want to be the child's father, Patric said, "No."
Normally I would side with the dad and say that they should have joint custody. But Patric was not married to the mom, and failed to secure his legal rights when the child was born. He is not the legal father under California law, and the judge should have no discretion over the matter.

I always like The Lost Boys, as it was filmed in Santa Cruz and captures the spirit of the town's roller coaster, comic books, ageing hippies, batty women, and teenaged vampires.

Patric wants to change the law:
As a result of that case and others brought to his attention, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, put forward legislation that would allow a man whose sperm was used to conceive a child through artificial insemination to seek parental rights if he can show a certain level of involvement in the child’s life.

Among the bill’s supporters are Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which say the bill strikes the right balance by requiring a donor seeking parental rights to have lived with the child and presented the child as his own.

Opponents — including the state’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers — say the measure is too broad and could unintentionally affect the rights of single mothers or same-sex couples who use sperm donors.
So there are lesbians on both sides of this issue, and they are bickering about how to best cut out dads from their kids' lives.

For the men out there who want to be a legal father, let this be a lesson. Get the necessary legal papers done in advance.

Update: A comment refers to Calif. Family Code sec. 7613:
7613. (a) If, under the supervision of a licensed physician and surgeon and with the consent of her husband, a wife is inseminated artificially with semen donated by a man not her husband, the husband is treated in law as if he were the natural father of a child thereby conceived. The husband's consent must be in writing and signed by him and his wife. ...

(b) The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician and surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank for use in artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization of a woman other than the donor's wife is treated in law as if he were not the natural father of a child thereby conceived, unless otherwise agreed to in a writing signed by the donor and the woman prior to the conception of the child.
So Patric would be the legal father if they were married; otherwise he had to have the necessary paperwork in writing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Was she prettier than I was?

Alpha Game has insights into the female mind, quoting this story:
The disappearance and death of her best friend never left Kathy. Nothing could fill the space where Maria once was – the games, the laughter, the shared secrets. She was left with survivor's guilt and the social stigma of being connected to a notorious crime.

"It robbed me of my childhood," she said recently. "I was labeled. I was the girl who was with Maria. A lot of parents wouldn't let their girls play with me. They were afraid he'd come back and take their child.

"I couldn't wait to get out of Sycamore. It bothered me my whole life why he took her and not me. For years I would ask myself, 'Was she prettier than I was?'"
I am not criticizing. This is human nature. No man would think this way. Live and learn.

Meanwhile, a White House press conference gives us an insight in the hen-pecked man:
Before going on vacation tomorrow, President Obama assured Americans that there's really nothing to worry about when it comes to NSA surveillance. But since everyone's so concerned, he said at a press conference this afternoon, he's taking a few bureaucratic steps to make privacy advocates feel better about Edward Snowden's disclosures. ...

Asked about people who might not trust his assurances about tweaking the system, Obama insisted, "Well, the fact that I said that the programs are operating in a way that prevents abuse, that continues to be true without the reforms ... If I tell Michelle that I did the dishes — now, granted, in the White House, I don't do the dishes that much, but back in the day — and she's a little skeptical, well, I'd like her to trust me, but maybe I need to bring her back and show her the dishes and not just have her take my word for it."
Again, I would have said that no man with two testicles would think this way. The man is President of the USA. He not only has to do the dishes to please his wife, he cannot expect her to take his word for it, and has to ask her to supervise to make sure he does it right. I don't know how we elected someone so psychologically unfit for executive responsibility. It could be worse -- all the pundits now say that Hillary Clinton is going to be elected in 2016.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

General Clark suffers general indignities

The NY Post reports:
Gen. Wesley Clark claimed he’s the victim of “general indignities” by his wife, in divorce papers that blame her for their marriage’s breakdown -- and not his alleged fling with a much-younger woman.

The 68-year-old former NATO Supreme Commander is filing for divorce in Arkansas against Gertrude Kingston Clark, in hopes of ending their 46-year marriage.

Clark cited “general indignities” for the reason behind the divorce, according to the Daily Mail.

Under Arkansas Supreme Court guidelines, “general indignities” is a catch-all term that could include: “Rudeness, vulgarity, unmerited reproach, haughtiness, contempt, contumeliousness, studied neglect, intentional incivility, injury, manifest disdain, abusive language, malignant ridicule and every other plain manifestation of settled hate, alienation, and estrangement.”

Legal experts said “general indignities” is the equivalent of the standard, blame-less “irreconcilable differences” used in most states.

Arkansas divorces require the moving side to state reasons for the split.

The former Democratic presidential hopeful has been spotted this year, romancing 30-year-old New York fashion executive Shauna Mei.
Ah yes, general indignities. The wife resents him dating a girl less than half his age. No man should have to suffer such indignities. He is not running for President any more, and there is nothing like a hot young Chinese babe to feel young again.

Yes, someone filing for divorce must state a reason, but it is just boiler-plate buzz-words. The law allows anyone to bail out of marriage at any time and for any reason.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mom cannot change kid's name

The New Jersey Supreme Court has just ruled that a custodial mom can name a newborn baby, but may not rename child later. A dad with joint legal custody objected.

Moms who try to remove or hyphenate the dad's surname are just trying to alienate the dad. There are good reasons why kids get the dad's surname.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Baby girls cause divorce

Some economics research hasshown, according to a new Freakonomics podcast:
Couples who conceive a child out of wedlock and find out that it will be a boy are more likely to marry before the birth of their baby.
Parents who have first-born girls are significantly more likely to be divorced.
Fathers are significantly less likely to be living with their children if they have daughters versus sons.
In any given year, roughly 52,000 first-born daughters younger than 12 years (and all their siblings) would have had a resident father if they had been boys.
Divorced fathers are much more likely to obtain custody of sons compared to daughters.
A 2003 Slate article also said daughters cause divorce.

I found this surprising at first, but there is a plausible evolutionary psychology explanation. Boys require much more investment for their eventual success. A mom is apt to think that she can raise the girl to be a marriageable woman without the dad. A boy is more difficult. See also this 2010 summary.

To the evolutionist, "survival of the fittest" really means survival of whatever results in more grandkids. If your purpose in life is to have grandkids, it is much easier if you have girls. You can be a terrible parent, and your girls turn out to be narcissist sluts, and you will probably still have grandkids. In fact, if you send the girls to graduate school to prepare them for some elite career, you are less likely to have grandkids. On the other hand, boys usually have to have a successful career to attract a mate and have kids.

It sounds unjust, but from this evolutionary view it makes much more sense for a family to invest in the boys, and not the girls. In particular, the parents need to stay married to do it right.

Schools and others in the USA treat girls much better than boys. Boys have more obstacles, and rearing a boy is more work. Moms are more likely to understand that they cannot do it alone, and want the dad investing in the boy's future so that he will successfully marry and reproduce some day.

The theory of evolution does not depend on anyone consciously using this reasoning, any more than it depends on fishes consciously deciding to crawl out of the water and live on land 100s of millions of years ago. The point is that if some people have genes and behaviors that lead to more grandkids, then those genes and behaviors will increase every generation.

To my surprise, the podcast did not mention this explanation. The research economist said that he could only think of three explanations, mostly having to do with dads not wanting daughters. But his three seem unlikely to explain anything. First, parents in the USA want daughters as much as sons, if you look at adoptions and other situations where the parents have a choice. Second, it is usually the mom who files for divorce, not the dad. If daughters are causing divorce, it seems likely that the moms are the ones deciding that the girls do not need dads.

Steven E. Landsburg wrote this followup to his Slate article:
A number of readers offered the comment that, evidence be damned, they would simply never believe that the children's gender could be relevant to a divorce decision. My favorite of these came from a therapist in Iowa — it would probably be inappropriate to mention her name, so let's just call her "Bozo the Therapist" — who took me to task for the "archaic notion" that children ever have anything to do with divorce. Unless she's been practicing not in the state of Iowa but on the planet Iowa in some distant solar system, Bozo must win the prize for "least observant therapist in human history." The fact is that children do affect divorce decisions; if we didn't know this from statistical evidence, we'd still know it from common sense. And to a smallish but non-negligible extent, girls cause more divorces than boys do. Ignoring those facts won't make them go away.

The facts are clear and worth reporting, but there's legitimate controversy about what they mean. There are three key facts: 1) Parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than parents of sons; 2) in multichild families, parents of daughters are more likely to try for another child than parents of sons; 3) divorced mothers of daughters are less likely to remarry than divorced mothers of sons.
I would not be surprised if most therapists are out-of-touch on this issue. They usually say that the cause of most marital problems is a lack of communication. Often it is kids, money, habits, values, etc. And sometimes it is too much communication.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Calif. Prop. 8 still on the books

The California Family Code still says:
308.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
This is from California Proposition 8, as passed by 7 million voters in 2008. It is also in the California constitution, art. 1, sec. 7.5.

I do not see how this can change legally without another initiative amending the constitution, or an appeals court decision declaring the sentence unconstitutional. Neither of these seems likely anytime soon.

And yet California is issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Are we a nation of laws or not?

One of my readers commented:
Same-sex marriage would probably have passed in California in 2012, not even 2014. I asked state Senator Joe Simitian last year if we call ourselves Democrats why not have the state legislature put it on the ballot last year. He sat the LGBT groups wanted a Supreme Court ruling rather than a vote of the people. Now based on the reasoning in the Court's opinion, we got neither.
How many other statutes get ignored? We have laws against discriminating between men and woman. We have laws favoring joint custody. We have laws against a judge delegating a decision to a psychologist or other non-judge. We have laws requiring experts to follow generally accepted published wisdom.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

ABC newsman does double sex change

There have been more and more stories about problems in the s schools with transgender students. I don't know how a child could ever make a decision like that, when adults cannot even make such a decision.

The NY Post reoports:
He thought he was a woman trapped in a man’s body — but it turns out he’s “just another boring straight guy.”

ABC News editor Don Ennis strolled into the newsroom in May wearing a little black dress and an auburn wig and announced he was transgender and splitting from his wife. He wanted to be called Dawn.

But now he says he suffered from a two-day bout of amnesia that has made him realize he wants to live his life again as Don. ...

“It became obvious this was not the case once I took off the bra — and discovered two reasons I was wearing one,” he said, referring to his hormone-induced breasts.

“I thought it was 1999 . . . and I was sure as hell that I was a man,” Ennis said in the e-mail titled “Not Reportable, Very Confirmed.”

“Fortunately, my memories of the last 14 years have since returned. But what did not return was my identity as Dawn,” said Ennis, who had been wearing lipstick, skirts and heels.

“I am writing to let you know I’m changing my name . . . to Don Ennis. That will be my name again, now and forever. And it appears I’m not transgender after all.
He is an adult, so I guess no one can tell him what to do. We now have laws requiring schools to put up with this sort of silliness.

Here is a weird story:
A naked man who tried to steal a baby was stopped by a rush of citizens at a Gilroy restaurant, according to reports.

It happened outside the Longhouse Restaurant, near the intersection of Monterey and Howson streets, on Friday.

Police were called around 10:20 a.m., according to the San Jose Mercury News. They were alerted to the presence of a naked man who was acting odd, and carrying around an infant, according to the newspaper. The man's actions were described as "violent and erratic" -- which prompted restaurant patrons to jump into action before police could arrive.

"Fear" for the child's safety led restaurant customers to "wrestle" the man, 42-year-old John Anthony Ruiz of Los Banos, to the ground. He's now at a medical center where he's receiving "further treatment," the newspaper reported.

The boy, 6 months old, was taken into the custody of the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services after police interviewed his mother, the newspaper reported.
This does not add up. I never heard of a naked man stealing a baby. If the man were really stealing the baby, then authorities would give the baby back to the mom. But CPS took the baby. My guess is that the naked man is the boyfriend of a crazy single mom, and that CPS is going to insist that she dump the boyfriend in order to get the baby back.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Increase in narcissism and crazy lawyers

A lot of pop psychology has convinced most people that kids need more self-esteem. The NY Times reports on someone who says we have too much, and become narcissistic:
From the triumph of Botox to the rise of social networking and soccer teams that give every kid a trophy, Jean M. Twenge is constantly on the lookout for signs of a narcissism crisis in America. ...

By comparing decades of personality test results, Dr. Twenge has concluded, over and over again, that younger generations are increasingly entitled, self-obsessed and unprepared for the realities of adult life.

And the blame, she says, falls squarely on America’s culture of self-esteem, in which parents praise every child as “special,” and feelings of self-worth are considered a prerequisite to success, rather than a result of it.

“There’s a common perception that self-esteem is key to success, but it turns out it isn’t,” she said. Nonetheless, “young people are just completely convinced that in order to succeed they have to believe in themselves or go all the way to being narcissistic.”
I had a family court judge say that I might be narcissistic, even tho 5 psych evaluations said otherwise. Narcissism has become another meaningless buzzword for people not behaving the way you want.

Other psychologists say she is wrong:
Much of the disagreement between Dr. Twenge and her critics comes down to interpretation. She believes that questions like “I am assertive” and “I like to take responsibility for making decisions” are indicators of narcissism; Dr. Arnett calls them “well within the range of normal personality,” and possibly even “desirable traits.” ...

Dr. Twenge, who grows noticeably irritated at the mention of the paper, calls the analysis invalid because it takes its earliest scores from just two University of California campuses (Berkeley and Santa Cruz) and its most recent scores from a third (Davis). “These are very different college campuses with different cultures and student populations,” she said, adding, “It would be like taking height samples of men from the 1800s and comparing it to recent samples of women and saying, ‘Oh look, height doesn’t change.’ ”
I can speak from first-hand experience that students at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Davis are not very representative of the American population.

If the experts cannot agree on what these narcissism tests mean, they should not be used in routine child custody disputes.

Meanwhile, a lawyer op-ed says:
LAST week, swarms of sun-starved, soon-to-be lawyers emerged from hiding to celebrate completing the bar exam. Passing the exam, however, won’t guarantee them admission to the bar. They also have to demonstrate that they possess the requisite fitness and moral character for the practice of law.

I worry for some of them. Specifically, I worry for those who have passed the exam and lived upright lives but may still be denied admission to the bar — not because of a criminal record or a history of academic misconduct, but because of a mental illness.

It could have happened to me. ...

At the time, I’d been given a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, which wasn’t on the list. So I wasn’t compelled, under penalty of perjury, to answer in the affirmative. I passed the bar exam and was declared “fit.”

In 2008, after I’d already been sworn in, I was given a correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder. But by then I was in the clear. (As it happens, I was lucky twice: after my swearing-in, Georgia added major depressive disorder to its list.)

Not everyone is so fortunate.
Of all the hundreds of problems with our legal system, I don't think that any of them will be solved by licensing more crazy lawyers. Parents in family court get much more psychological testing than lawyers and judges.

In orther psych news, NPR reports on a study that blames bad mothering on genes:
A gene that affects the brain's dopamine system appears to have influenced mothers' behavior during a recent economic downturn, researchers say.

At the beginning of the recession that began in 2007, mothers with the "sensitive" version of a gene called DRD2 became more likely to strike or scream at their children, the researchers say. Mothers with the other "insensitive" version of the gene didn't change their behavior.

But once it appeared that the recession would not become a full-fledged depression, the "sensitive" mothers became less likely than "insensitive" mothers to engage in harsh parenting.
So maybe in the future the dad will ask the mom for a gene test if there is a child custody dispute during a recession.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Deadbeat mom is the untold story

A reader sends this rant from a black professor:
Most of us know the narrative of the deadbeat dad: The man who shows up to make babies, but never comes by to take care of them. Maybe he doesn’t pay child support, doesn’t spend time with his children, or has more babies mamas than the local maternity ward. I get it, we’ve heard it. We know that horrible fathers exist, and that they should be confronted like the terrorists that they are to the black community.

But the untold story is that of the deadbeat mother. She often slips under the radar because the “N*ggers ain’t s**t” rhetoric drowns out the voices of her defenseless children who are suffering under her regime of blatant selfishness and irresponsibility. Like former North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il, the deadbeat mom reigns supreme over the lives of her kids, seeing them as possessions rather than real human beings. The words “my babies” come out of her mouth like a pimp claiming hookers on the corner, or a farmer talking about a flock of pigs that he keeps in his barn. Her children have become a weapon.

When it comes to the deadbeat mom, the non-existent father never had a chance, as she straps on male gεnitalia and demands that people send her a Father’s Day card every year. In fact, the father might have been dismissed before the baby shower. Yes, she’s doing it all by herself, but doesn’t know the difference between raising kids and teaching them to be successful, productive and well-balanced human beings. Since her kids don’t complain about the psychological damage being done during the parenting process, she presumes that everything must be OK. ...

One man told me that he’d been required to pay child support for years, but that the courts wouldn’t even tell him where they were sending the money so he could track down the mother of his child in order to see his son. It appeared that his son’s mother had decided that she wanted access to his money, but was unwilling to share any of the parental power.
I now refuse to call a man a deadbeat dad unless it is shown that he had an opportunity to be a real dad. And I don't mean just sending money and birthday cards. And not just occasional visits. He should have an opportunity to direct the child's upbringing in a meaningful way. Otherwise I think that paying child support is wrong. It just encourages dependency.

Our welfare policies also encourage dependency in the black community. African-American women are especially prone to thinking that they do not need a man as permanent member of the household or as exercising authority over the kids. For the bad consequences, just look at Detroit.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Psych prof killed his family 46 years ago

The craziest people become psychologists, but this story is extreme:
A small Illinois university said on Friday it was standing by a long-time psychology professor recently revealed to have shot and killed his father, mother and teenage sister in Texas more than four decades ago, although he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Millikin University, a Presbyterian school in Decatur with 2,380 students, said in a statement that the school expects James St. James, 61, to keep teaching at Millikin this fall.

The school said it "has only recently been made aware of Dr. St. James' past. Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, Dr. St. James' efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable."

St. James, originally James Wolcott, spent six years in a mental institution after the killings but emerged to start a new life, changing his name and getting master's and doctoral degrees in psychology, according to the Georgetown Advocate newspaper. ...

In its statement, the university said that St. James had over 27 years "taught a variety of courses at Millikin, served in various leadership roles and built a successful academic career, receiving academic awards including the 1997 Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award."
He is probably still better qualified to do child custody evaluations than most of the shrinks working for the family court.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Positivity ratio of 2.9 debunked

I often denounce the idea that psychologists can say much useful about the best interest of the child (BIOTCh), and that even the top universities are overrun with quacks. Here is a good example.

Neuroskeptic blog writes:
British psychology student Nick Brown and two co-authors have just published an astonishing demolition of a top-ranked paper in the field of positive psychology: The Complex Dynamics of Wishful Thinking ...

The ‘critical positivity ratio’ is a popular idea. Fredrickson and Losada’s 2005 paper on it has been cited a massive 964 times on Google Scholar, just for starters.

And yet – that paper is complete rubbish. As are Losada’s previous papers on the issue. I criticize a lot of papers mysef, but this one really takes the biscuit. It’s an open and shut case.

As Brown et al write, the idea of a single ‘critical ratio’ that determines success or failure everywhere and for everyone is absurd in itself:
The idea that any aspect of human behavior or experience should be universally and reproducibly constant to five significant digits would, if proven, constitute a unique moment in the history of the social sciences.
But even were there a magic ratio, it wouldn’t be 2.9013. The whole analysis in the 2005 paper was based on taking a poorly-described dataset and then making it fit a mathematical model, purely by means of elementary misunderstandings.
I am not aware of this research being used for child custody decisions, but it could be. The parents and kids could be assessed to see if their ratio is above or below 2.9. It could be as valid as the inkblots I had to take.

(In fairness to the paper, it uses 2.9 and not 2.9013.)

Such a procedure might be an improvement over what psychologists like Ken Perlmutter, Faren Akins, and Bret Johnson use. They ignore the published research, and make recommendations directly contrary to established knowledge.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Illinois dad loses to Texas oil money

Here is an Illinois appeal of a child custody and move-away decision. The judges tried to deny that it was all based on money, but the deciding factor was that the mom was remarry a man making $130k a year in Texas.
We hasten to add that there is no correlation between money and human worth and that we do not intend the least denigration of either parent. Nevertheless, such economic hardship is not to be taken lightly. Poverty can be grim and corrosive, and social mobility in the United States is not what it used to be. We do not mean to subscribe to an iron-clad determinism, but the opportunities L.C. has during his childhood probably will determine the opportunities he has for the rest of his life.

Sutton is by all accounts a warm and decent person, and no matter what, he intends to marry [mother]. If he is allowed to pursue, unimpeded, his occupations in Texas, he will lift [mother] out of the ranks of the low-skilled and underpaid poor and into, approximately, the upper middle class — and, naturally, L.C. will be elevated with her....
Based on this logic, maybe we should just force poor parents to let their kids be adopted by rich parents. This Illinois dad not only loses his kid because of his ex-wife's new-found wealth, he will probably have to continue to pay child support.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Penn. abolishes parenting coordinators

One of the worst ideas to come out of the family court was to appoint some expert to micro-manage parenting decisions, without recourse to the courts. It sounds appealing to have some neutral objective child psychologist in charge because dumb parents don't know how to raise kids and might be influenced by antagonism towards the other parent. The idea would be a horrible nightmare even if it did work. But it has not worked wherever it has been tried.

National Parents Organization. reports:
Pennsylvania just eliminated the Parenting Coordinator role that it began five years ago. According to The Legal Intelligencer, its demise is related to a couple of high profile cases.

Pennsylvania was one of eleven states with legislation governing parenting coordinators. The other ten states that still have legislated parenting coordinator programs are: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Texas. As with other areas of family law, the laws and regulations vary by state.

Effective May 23rd this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.11-1, Elimination of Parenting Coordination. It states:
“Only judges may make decisions in child custody cases. Masters and hearing officers may make recommendations to the court. Courts shall not appoint any other individual to make decisions or recommendations or alter a custody order in child custody cases. Any order appointing a parenting coordinator shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective. Local rules and administrative orders authorizing the appointment of parenting coordinators also shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective.” Read more...
I had a $28,000 evaluation from psychologist Ken Perlmutter, and his main recommendation was for the ocurt to appoint a parenting coordinator who would have the authority to make all parenting decisions until the kids turn 18 years old, with no recourse or appeal if he is making bad decisions. This was in spite of the fact that he had evaluated our 4 years of joint custody, and could not find a single bad decision that we had made.

The kind of people who do these evaluations and become parenting coordinators are the worst sort of creeps. You would never want anyone like Perlmutter near your kids. I don't know who ever decided that psychologists were good for this sort of thing. There has never been a study showing that psychologist rear kids any better than anyone else.