London Times on Anti-Male Advertising, New Column Criticizing Domestic Violence Arrest Policies

August 7, 2007

 
London Times Quotes Sacks, Nathanson, Young on Anti-Male Advertising

I'm quoted on the problem of anti-male advertising in the recent London Times piece Dorks, dweebs and dummies. The article discusses several anti-male ads.

One involved the 2004 anti-father Verizon ad "Homework," which depicted a bumbling, idiot father trying and failing to help his 8-year-old daughter with her homework, as his contemptuous wife tells him to leave her alone and go wash the dog. Several thousand of my readers and radio show listeners called or wrote Verizon, the Associated Press story on our campaign ran in over 300 newspapers, and the commercial ceased airing three weeks later. To learn more, see the campaign page here, and also my column Why I Launched the Campaign Against Verizon's Anti-Father Ad (Pasadena Star-News & others, 11/18/04)

The other anti-male ad discussed is the recent Trojan ad (called "When Pigs Fly," I think), which depicts men as pigs. I told the Times, "A boy looking at that would think that men are just inferior, disgusting animals and have to change and jump through hoops in order to be as good as women." To watch the Trojan ad, click here.

Below is the section of the article (penned by Dan Bell) which deals with American advertisements. Canadians Paul Nathanson and Katharine Young, authors of Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, are also quoted. To read the full article, click here.

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Grunting, dimwit, male stereotypes alarm fathers

In a smart bar lissom, single women sip cocktails and contemplate potential mates. The prospects do not look good, however, for the men in the bar aren't men at all -- they're pigs. This was the premise of a recent US advertisement for that nation's market-leader condom brand, Trojan. The punchline came when one pig trotted off to the gents, bought himself one of its products and was transformed back into Homo sapiens. Ads such as these have led to an increasingly strident protest at the way that men are portrayed in the media.

According to Paul Nathanson and Katharine Young, two authors at the heart of the movement, the advert exemplifies the growing phenomenon of misandry: hatred of men. They insist that misandry is now pervasive and that we should be every bit as alert to it as we are to misogyny.

They argue that men are now routinely defined by a limited set of negative stereotypes: the man as fool, slob or irrelevance. And they contend that nowhere are these archetypes more apparent than in advertising.

But is it really of concern? "Ask women why they thought it was a problem when they were ridiculed," says Nathanson. "I don't think men and women are different in that respect. Do two wrongs make a right?"

Left unchallenged, he says, these images take on the patina of truth that will seep into the minds of those who implement laws and develop policy.

One man making a stand is Glenn Sacks, an American journalist whose newsletter reaches 50,000 subscribers. In 2004 he was alerted to an ad for Verizon. It showed a father trying to help his daughter with her math homework only to be humiliated by her and her mother.

Sacks, who has a son and daughter, says: "The worst thing about it was not that it shows the man being an idiot, because we see that all the time, but seeing the man portrayed as an idiot in front of his daughter and ridiculed by her mother in front of his daughter."

He says his campaign prompted 3,000 people to contact Verizon and the ad was pulled.

But what most concerns Sacks, Nathanson and Young is the potential impact on boys growing up surrounded by images that tell them there is no acceptable or dignified way to be a man.

"If you just have a bunch of negative images, how are boys ever going to develop a positive image of themselves?" says Young.

Sacks is appalled by the Trojan advert, and concerned about the message it sends to boys such as his 14-year-old son. "A boy looking at that would think that men are just inferior, disgusting animals and have to change and jump through hoops in order to be as good as women."

Like Nathanson, he doesn't believe that these stereotypes stay locked harmlessly inside the TV. After a sex education class at school, his son complained, "It's always the boys who are wrong; boys who are trying to put one over on the girls," -- "and they get this drum beat," says Sacks. "They are just fed a steady diet of this."

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.


New Column: Maine's Adoption of Primary Aggressor Doctrine in DV Arrests Will Ensnare Innocent Men

My new co-authored column, Maine's Adoption of Primary Aggressor Doctrine in DV Arrests Will Ensnare Innocent Men (Lewiston Sun Journal, 8/5/07), criticizes LD 1039, a domestic violence bill. Combining with other misguided laws and policies, the bill essentially makes a street cop responding to a 911 call the arbiter of child custody, and of whether the children involved will have their fathers in their futures or not.

In the column, we explained:

"LD 1039, which was recently signed by Governor Baldacci, requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a 'process to evaluate and determine who is the predominant physical aggressor in a domestic violence situation.' While this sounds reasonable, in reality the predominant aggressor doctrine functions as a method of directing police officers to arrest men, not women, when responding to domestic disturbance calls.

"The stakes here are high. Because Maine also has a mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases, instituting the predominant aggressor doctrine will lead to the arrests of many innocent men. Since Maine family courts must consider evidence of domestic violence in determining child custody, an officer's decision on who to arrest can often determine who will get custody of the couple's children after the couple divorces or separates.

"Under the predominant aggressor doctrine, when police officers respond to a domestic disturbance call, they are instructed not to focus on who attacked whom and who inflicted the injuries, but instead consider different factors which will almost always weigh against men. These factors include: comparable size; comparable strength; the person allegedly least likely to be afraid; who has access to or control of family resources (i.e., who makes more money); and others. Given these factors, it is very difficult for officers to arrest female offenders.

"That women are frequently the aggressors in domestic combat cannot be reasonably denied..."

To read more and to discuss this issue on my blog, click here.
 

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When Children Are Born Motherless

Elise Passamani's article "Oedipus Child: When Children Are Born Motherless, Problems Await" (The American, 7/25/07), deals with the case of a man, Roberto d.B., who had biological twin daughters through a surrogate mother. She explains, "When the hospital put the surrogate's name on the children's birth certificates as the legal mother, Mr. d.B. sued to have the certificates reissued without a mother, on the grounds that the surrogate is not genetically related to the children." Passamani is critical of Roberto, and warns against "motherless" babies.

I'm against Roberto, but not completely against him. Just as it is bad for children to be fatherless, it is also bad for them to be motherless. A wave of motherless children would be just as destructive as the current trend towards fatherlessness has been. I've condemned "single mothers by choice" who intentionally have children without a father, and I condemn Roberto for doing the same thing with the genders reversed. However, there are a couple of other points here which merit mention.

Given America's divorce epidemic, given the fact that women initiate the vast majority of divorces, and given that fathers' rights to shared custody of their children after divorce or separation have been abrogated on a large scale, the only way that a man can have a child today and be sure he can remain a meaningful part of the child's life is to have a "motherless" child through a surrogate.

Mothers usually don't have to worry about losing their children in a divorce, but fathers do. Roberto's desire to have a "motherless" child and to not have the surrogate mother on the birth certificate may have been motivated by a desire to make sure he could always retain custody of his child. I don't like it, but I understand.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children is dedicated to creating a family law system which promotes equal rights for all parties affected by divorce. Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237 or visit them on the web at www.acfc.org.

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Representative Mark Olson and 'Battered Husband Syndrome'

Jan Brown of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women has some interesting thoughts below about Representative Mark Olson (pictured)  and his recent domestic violence trial.

Representative Mark Olson and 'Battered Husband Syndrome'

Representative Mark Olson (R-MN) was arrested in November of last year on domestic assault charges. According to the news reports, the charges stemmed from an argument with his wife of three or four years, Heidi. Heidi has five children from a previous marriage, and the argument was over one of her children, who is described as autistic.

What's most interesting about this case is that Mr. Olson's attorney decided (from what the newspapers report) to use a defense of "battered husband's syndrome" at his trial. You rarely hear about this defense being used by a man, though often it is used as a defense for women who are charged with a felony or murder of their intimate partners.

Rep. Olson was charged with two misdemeanor domestic assault charges, one of intending to cause her to fear bodily harm and a more serious charge of harming or intending to harm her. He testified that Heidi was the one that instigated the abuse that led to his arrest. He also testified tearfully that she had been verbally threatening and at times physically abusive throughout their marriage.

The jury found Rep. Olson guilty of the lesser charge and acquitted him of the more serious charge. After the verdict, Rep. Olson is quoted as saying he still loves his wife, which is not unusual for victims to say.

To learn more about how this will affect Rep. Olson's term, click here. A few questions:

If he was a "she" would the jury have acquitted "her" of both charges? If Rep. Olson's attorney didn't use the "battered husband" defense, would he have been found guilty on both counts? Judges and juries need to be educated on male victimization in order to make an informed decision in these cases.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Fathers & Families: Advocacy for the Child-Father Bond
Fathers & Families is a non-profit organization advocating for the right of every child to have two parents. Called by some a "fathers' rights organization," Fathers & Families is made up of men and women who believe that fathers are an essential part of a child's life and that divorce or separation should not change this. www.FathersandFamilies.org 
 
FALSELY ACCUSED IN TEXAS?
Domestic Violence. Child Sexual Assault. Child Protective Services Defense.
Contact the Law Office of Stuckle & Ferguson
www.PaulStuckle.com / falseaccusations@stuckle-ferguson.com

Adoptive Mother Accused of Abusing, Starving 11 Foster Kids

When a woman does something terrible, the media often tries to explain or excuse it, usually by trying to blame the man in her life. A few examples:

When Gilberta Estrada hung her four small daughters, three of whom died, media focused attention on her allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend. To learn more, click here.

When Andrea Yates drowned her five children, media focused blame on her husband, Russell Yates. I appeared on many Texas radio shows at the time to defend Russell, and was so vilified that I often felt as if I were defending the person who had committed the murders. To learn more, see my co-authored column In Defense of a Flawed but Decent Russell Yates (Houston Chronicle, 3/11/02)

Clara Harris repeatedly ran over her husband and killed him, as the dying man's daughter sat in the front seat next to Clara and begged Clara not to kill her father. Many, including Oprah and CBS in its movie Suburban Madness, sympathetically portrayed Harris as a loving, loyal wife who "snapped" when her husband cheated on her. To learn more, see my co-authored column Suppose roles had been reversed in Harris case--Murdered dad deserves sympathy being shown Clara (Houston Chronicle, 1/27/07).

Terry Barton, a Colorado Forest Service worker, intentionally set a forest fire which destroyed over 100,000 acres and led to the deaths of five firemen in June of 2002. Barton tried to pin her crime on a male camper, and later said she did it because her estranged husband sent her a mean letter. Some in the media bought it. To learn more, see Lisa Nowak, Clara Harris, Terry Barton, and an Incredible Omission.

In the amazing case below, Judith Leekin (pictured) allegedly abused and starved her nine foster children for decades. According to authorities, "Leekin was unemployed and lived off the monthly stipends provided by child welfare authorities in New York. She owned at least two homes and several cars. The adopted children said they had never seen a doctor or a dentist and had not been allowed to attend school or even leave the house."

I'm looking forward to seeing how this is really a man's fault, too. Anybody have any predictions?

Adoptive Mom Accused of Abusing, Starving Foster Kids for Decades
Associated Press, 7/30/07

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- They were often handcuffed, tethered together with plastic ties and allowed to soil themselves, investigators say. They had scars on their wrists. Some had burns.
None appeared to have more than a fourth-grade education, not even the adults in their 20s. All were starving.
In all, nine teenagers and young adults were held like prisoners in Judith Leekin's home in what appeared to be a decades-long scheme to line her pockets with the government payments she received for adopting and raising them, police say.
From the outside, Leekin's home appeared to be as ordinary as the others in this well-kept working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of this Atlantic coast town, 120 miles north of Miami. But its pink and white stucco exterior hid the horrors inside, authorities say.
"Horrible, I think, would be the best word used to describe what was going on in that house," said police Capt. Scott Bartal.

To read more and to discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Jeff Leving's New Book--Divorce Wars
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Help, Resources for Dads
The National Fathers' Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Houston. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers' rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org


Anna Nicole Smith's Mother Had Private Investigators Spying on Larry Birkhead so She Can Find Fodder to Gain Custody

Background: I've previously discussed the Larry Birkhead vs. Anna Nicole Smith/Howard K. Stern/Anna's mother/many others custody battle--to learn more, see my co-authored column Anna Nicole dispute shows system's flaws (Chicago Sun-Times and others, 3/10/07) or click here.

The Birkhead case was an excellent example of the way mothers and their allies are able to prevent fathers from having access to their babies and playing a role in their lives. Were this not a high-profile case, Birkhead may well have ended up like the legions of fathers in my email In Box--allowed no role in the lives of the children who love them and need them. Birkhead is pictured with his little daughter Dannielynn.

I stumbled upon this the other day, and I know I'm way behind on it, but it's nevertheless outrageous. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Anna Nicole Smith's mother Virgie Arthur, who tried to steal custody of Larry Birkhead's baby daughter Dannielynn from him after he got custody from Howard K. Smith, has private investigators spying on Larry Birkhead so she can find fodder to gain custody.

The full article, originally published in mid-June, is below.

Birkhead Laughs Off Parenting Investigation

Anna Nicole Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead is laughing off reports he's under investigation as a deadbeat dad -- because he knows he's doing his best as a single father.

The photographer took charge of the late model's baby girl Dannielynn in April after a lengthy paternity battle. He has since won custody of the child, pending a new legal challenge from the baby's maternal grandmother Virgie Arthur.

In a bid to strengthen her case, Arthur -- Smith's estranged mother -- has called in a team of private investigators to keep an eye on Birkhead and report back if he slips up as a dad.

But Dannielynn's biological father isn't worried: "They can follow me to Chuck E. Cheese's and the toy store and the diaper store or wherever."

Birkhead helped his cause as a single father by appearing on Fox News and CNN earlier this week with his baby girl in his arms.

Both news anchors Larry King and Greta Van Susteren commented how natural he looked as a father and how much he seemed to love his child.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Help for Midwest Fathers
Cordell & Cordell is one of the largest domestic relations firms for men in the Midwest, representing fathers in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia. Men who come to Cordell & Cordell know that their interests and the interests of their children will be aggressively championed. www.cordellcordell.com

Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody
Joseph E. Cordell's Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody  gives fathers clear, easy-to-understand tips on how to achieve the best results possible in a divorce. Comprehensive chapters explain every step of the divorce process, the meaning of legal terms, how courts determine custody, and how to maximize chances of victory at every stage. Cordell is the founder of Cordell & Cordell

The LaMusga Company
The LaMusga Company provides customized solutions to assist individuals and business owners in reaching their financial goals. The LaMusga Company is committed to helping you accomplish your long-term financial objectives. LaMusgaCo.com


Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson Wants to Crack Down on 'Deadbeat Dads'

In this article, Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson says he wants to crack down on so-called "deadbeat dads." When asked what his plan is on "strengthening families," Richardson replied:

"I believe the key is strong child support, finding those deadbeat dads. And, I would have stronger laws between states, because what happens is they move from state to state. We don't have those reciprocal agreements. I would have a national law that would tighten child enforcement."

How exactly this "strengthens families," I'm not sure. Richardson's full interview by Jason Spencer can be found here.

To learn more about "deadbeat dads" and problems with the child support system, click here, or see my co-authored column Most Illinois 'Deadbeats' Aren't 'Reprehensible' -- They're Broke (Chicago Daily Southtown, 6/20/07).

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Online Dating Rights
Online Dating Rights opposes the new federal International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, which requires Americans who seek to meet foreigners via the internet to have a criminal background check and an intrusive report about intimate details of one's life BEFORE any communication--the first time in US history that such checks have been required. www.onlinedatingrights.com
SAMSONLAW--Divorce Lawyers for Michigan Men & Fathers
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Warren Farrell on the Pay Gap: 'If It's About Discrimination, Why Are Young Urban Women Earning More?'

Background: The best recent work on the alleged wage gap was done by Warren Farrell in his book Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap And What Women Can Do About It. Below Warren discusses a recent New York Times article on the subject. To learn more about Warren's analysis of the wage gap, see Warren Farrell on the 'Wage Gap'.

The Pay Gap: 'If It's About Discrimination, Why Are Young Urban Women Earning More?'

The New York Times front page headline recently tells us that "For Young Earners in Big City, Gap Shifts in Women's Favor." The big surprise? New York City women between 21 and 30 working full-time made 117% of men's wages. Everyone is wondering why. Here's why, for starters...

When I did the research for Why Men Earn More in 2005, I discovered that nationwide never-married women who had never had children earned 117% of the wages of never married men who had never had children. Manhattan women in their twenties are less likely to have married or had children than women in their twenties who live in suburban and rural areas. The overall pay gap with men earning more is not about discrimination; it is mostly about the division of labor once children arrive.

The usual men-earn-more pay gap is also about trade-offs. The road to high pay is a toll road. On average, men are more willing to pay the tolls of the more hazardous jobs (accounting for 94% of workplace deaths), to work on commissions, relocate overseas, travel overnight and travel weekends (approximately 90% of the most frequent flyers are men), work late nights and night shifts, work weekends, intensify their work commitment during child-raising years, work in engineering, computer sciences, technology and the hard sciences where the supply doesn't match the demand, and do all of the twenty-five most important trade-offs that on average lead to men earning more.

The good news is that any woman can learn to out earn men should she be willing to make more of the twenty-five trade-offs than the average man makes.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Alicia M. Crowe's Real Dads Stand Up!
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Fathers' Rights Legal Help
If you need help with divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and visitation issues, The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd. is one of the only law firms in the country focused almost exclusively on fathers' rights in divorce. Leving did heroic work on the Elian Gonzalez case, helping reunite Elian with his father. He also co-authored Illinois' Joint Custody Law, and was named one of "America's Best Lawyers" by Forbes Radio. Leving is the author of Fathers' Rights: Hard Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute. Call today for an initial consultation (312) 807-3990 or visit us on the web at www.dadsrights.com.

Are you or someone you love being abused?
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Czech Woman Abducts Kids, Czech Press Makes Excuses for Her

The Czech story Custody bill aims to protect kids: Kidnapping cases show a vague interpretation of international law (The Prague Post, 7/25/07) is pro-feminist mainstream journalism at its finest. The mother is wrong in practically every aspect of this case, yet the article portrays her as a heroic victim. Worse--but typical--the case has helped prompt the Czech government to come up with legislation to help mothers in this position, even though she's wrong.

In the case, a Czech woman married an Argentine man and they lived in Argentina together. Apparently they became estranged (though they're still married) and the woman asked the man's permission to take the children back to the Czech Republic for a visit. We all know what happens next--she left but didn't return the kids, instead staying in the Czech Republic.

The father demanded that the children--a six year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy--be returned to him. Normally mothers get away with this--they normally get away with practically anything, actually--but this case was different. Remarkably, the Czech government actually did the right thing, taking the kids away and returning them to their father in Argentina. The mother was convicted of kidnapping the children.

The mother offered the usual song and dance about the kids suffering from being away from her--conveniently ignoring that she is the one who created the problem to begin with. She also ignores how she hurt the kids by taking them away from their father, though she won't admit it.

Such international parental kidnappings are anything but rare, and men are usually the targets. Some examples include:

1) The Gary S. case, in which an American soldier deployed in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 had his children internationally-abducted with the complicity of a California family court. To learn more, see my column The Betrayal of the Military Father (Los Angeles Daily News, 5/4/03)

2) The Brad Carlson case, in which an Army reservist's three children were de facto parentally kidnapped to Luxembourg while he was deployed in Kuwait in 2003. To learn more, see Pauline Arrillaga's Deployed Troops Battle for Child Custody (Associated Press, 5/5/07).

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Dr. Warren Farrell's Shared Parenting Evidence Kit--What You Need to Win Shared Physical Custody
Dr. Warren Farrell, a top expert on children of divorce now offers a complete evidence kit to help you win shared custody.  The DVDs, audio CD and electronic files summarize the best scientific research available collected over decades.  Scientific research has proven that children do far better with near equal time with both parents with minimal conditions.  This video set was developed to educate parents, judges, lawyers, psychologists and other divorce professionals. Most judges are doing exactly what is worst for children with sole-custody.  Submitted as evidence this will maximize your chances. Divorce Reform groups call(508) 381-1450 to use as fundraiser. www.BestInterestofChildren.org

Help for Los Angeles/Ventura County Dads
Certified Family Law Specialist Peter M. Walzer was one of the key figures in our successful legislative struggle to preserve the LaMusga move-away decision. As Chair of the State Bar of California Family Law Section Executive Committee, Walzer lobbied the state legislature to improve California laws on child support and child custody. He's an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Fellow who has authored numerous articles on custody issues, business valuation in marital dissolutions and spousal and child support.  www.California-Divorce.com

Help for Michigan Dads
Michigan family law attorney Mindy L. Hitchcock has experience fighting for noncustodial parents against Michigan's abusive FOC. Her holistic approach to divorce gets results for her clients while avoiding the scorched earth approach to law that leaves families emotionally and financially devastated. Lady4Justice.com


Former Dad-Persecuting LA DA Gil Garcetti Has Goddamned Gall to Lecture Us on 'Ethical Challenges'

In this recent article, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti--an enemy of fathers who should be sitting in a prison cell alongside Duke prosecutor Mike Nifong--has the goddamned gall to lecture Los Angeles on the "ethical challenges" it faces. In my co-authored column Some Progress for California Fathers, but Still a Long Way to Go (Pasadena Star-News & others, 6/18/06),  I explained:

"In 1998 then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti declared a 'get tough' campaign against so-called 'deadbeat dads,' sending out thousands of summonses for paternity cases. The men were given only 30 days to respond.

"Many of the summonses targeted the wrong men, and many never reached the intended parties. Eighty percent of Garcetti's paternity judgments were made by default, locking the men into 18 years of child support. Many took DNA tests proving that they were not the fathers of the children they now had to take second jobs to support. Others were assigned huge support arrearages by mistake. Many became unable to support their own children. Some of their marriages broke up, and some of the men landed in jail.

"Garcetti created so much chaos and heartache that even diehard feminist attorney Gloria Allred protested. Allred, who has perhaps done more than anybody to promote the phrase and concept of 'deadbeat dads,' called Garcetti's office 'an organization without a heart, without any compassion, and without a sense of priorities...[it's] a system run amok'...

"Jackie Myers, a former Deputy District Attorney under Garcetti, said that she quit her job because 'we were being told to do unethical, very unethical things.'

"Garcetti later acknowledged that many of the men had been mistakenly targeted but refused to relent, instead blaming the men for not responding within 30 days. 'The law is the law,' he told CBS's Bernard Goldberg. Incredibly, in 2002 Garcetti was appointed to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission."

The recent article is Rick Orlov's Former D.A. Garcetti ends ethics panel term (Daily News, 7/22/07).

To read more and to discuss this issue on my blog, click here.
 

Are You the Target of Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation cases are among the most difficult and complicated in family law. J. Michael Bone, Ph.D., is an expert on parental alienation. If you're a target parent, he can help you get back into your children's lives. Bone has worked as a custody evaluator and as a therapist and knows how to help the court find the truth. His services are available throughout the U.S. Dr. Bone can be reached by phone at (407) 645-0662 or by email by clicking here. www.jmbconsulting.org

Help for Colorado Dads
As someone who has personally experienced the heartbreak of divorce and family breakup, Brett W. Martin, Esq. works to advance the interests and concerns of fathers in domestic and family law litigation. Personal attention is given to clients to help them through a very difficult time in their lives. www.brettwmartin.com


There Is Something Satisfying in Building Something for Your Wife or Your Kids with Your Own Hands

There is something very satisfying in building something for your wife or your children with your own hands. I used to always have a building project going, but I rarely have time to build things anymore, given my professional obligations. This bunk bed I built for my son 10 years ago was one of my best projects.

When we moved here we had a series of pine trees in the front yard which were dying of a disease. I cut them down and used some of the logs to make the bunk bed. I remember one of the trees was perched precariously near our phone line, so I very carefully cut it so it wouldn't hit the phone line. I succeeded--it fell directly away from the phone line and into the power line instead. It would've made a good scene for Tim Allen's Home Improvement. Good thing my wife wasn't home at the time, or my ears would probably still be hurting.

The bunk bed has allowed my son to enjoy a tremendous amount of sleepovers over the years, including his best friend, the neighbor girl who used to spend 100 nights a year at our house when she and my son were younger.

I suppose the bed would look better if my son's room weren't such a pig sty. But in a few years his room will be clean, and the bed perfectly made, and I know I'll miss him.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

My Family Has Two Houses...and I'm Okay
A workshop for children of separation or divorce in a workbook! In the privacy of your own home, you can provide your child with a safe way of looking at their thoughts and feelings and help to open discussion of relevant issues for them with you. This workbook can make the difference between your child surviving your divorce and thriving despite it! To learn more about My family has two houses ...and I'm Okay! and to order, click here.

How to Win Shared Custody
If you are an active, engaged, committed, dedicated, loving parent facing a divorce, family law attorney Nicholas Palermo's The Ten Essential Elements to Winning Joint Shared Physical and Legal Custody can help you protect your relationship with your children. www.TenEssentialElements.com

Is being a Disneyland Dad taking its toll?  Does your 'career' get in the way of seeing your kids?  
Having dealt with the family law system for over two decades, I understand the frustration of working long hours at a job while dealing with the unfair rules that our system imposes on dads and their kids. I finally found a life-changing income opportunity that allows me the time and money freedom to be there for my kids on my terms. If you would like to learn more about how to take back control and live your life without limits, visit liberatedintexas.com.


'Affluent, professional women may experience less physical abuse and more emotional or verbal abuse'

This Naples News article describes a domestic violence program designed for well-heeled women:

"They live behind gates in glorious homes with swimming pools and manicured lawns. Many drive fancy cars, wear expensive clothing and eat at upscale restaurants. Some have successful careers or have husbands with high standing in the community. They are among the elite -- women who by all appearances seem to live blessed lives. But appearances can be deceiving, said Claire Oglander, a counselor with the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children."

I've no doubt that there are wealthy women who are abused by their husbands, just as there are wealthy men who are abused by their wives. However, I'm very suspicious about statements like "Affluent, professional women may experience less physical abuse and more emotional or verbal abuse." Sometimes these claims are legitimate, but when it comes to divorce and custody battles (as well as restraining orders, which are often used as tactical maneuvers in these cases), "emotional or verbal abuse" can be almost anything. As the California State Bar's Family Law Section recently pointed out, these types of accusations are often employed against innocent fathers.

Also, it is ludicrous to pretend that only men may engage in emotional or verbal abuse. When a wife argues with her husband and then takes the baby to her mother's house, and won't let the father see or talk to his baby until he apologizes, that's emotional abuse. And women can certainly yell as loudly and as angrily as any man.

While on the subject of domestic violence in wealthy families, I would call the reader's attention to the highly-publicized Xavier Caro case. It was a textbook domestic violence case, but no published journalist (with the exception of myself) used the words "domestic violence" in reporting on the case. In my column Domestic Violence Series Substitutes Emotion for Facts (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/8/05) I explained:

"Socorro Caro (pictured) abused her husband Xavier, a prominent Northridge, California rheumatologist, for years, once assaulting him so badly he had to have surgery to regain his sight in one eye. Later Socorro shot and killed three of their four children, the murder spree ending only because she ran out of bullets. The judge in the case said that the children had been used by Socorro against her husband as 'sacrificial symbolic pawns of a failed marital relationship.' Socorro Caro is now on death row in California."

The article on domestic violence and wealthy women is below.

Collier abuse shelter offers unique program for 'women of means'
By Ryan Mills Naples News, 7/22/07

They live behind gates in glorious homes with swimming pools and manicured lawns.

Many drive fancy cars, wear expensive clothing and eat at upscale restaurants. Some have successful careers or have husbands with high standing in the community.

They are among the elite -- women who by all appearances seem to live blessed lives.

But appearances can be deceiving, said Claire Oglander, a counselor with the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children.

To read more and to discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Help for Los Angeles/Orange County Dads--Because They're Your Kids, Too
If you're a dad facing a divorce or separation and you need quality legal representation in Los Angeles or Orange County, the Law Office of David Stone can help. Remember, they're your kids, too. www.help4dad.com
Help for Georgia Dads
Georgia attorney Edwin M. Saginar has 36 years of experience in family law and criminal defense, including domestic violence. He has seen many spouses falsely accuse their significant others of family violence, and knows how to defend your rights. www.edwinsaginar.com

The Stepmother's Bill of Rights

Stephanie M., a stepmom and frequent commenter on my blog, has some interesting thoughts on a "Stepmother's Bill of Rights." Apparently the idea first came from "The Wicked Stepmom" blog. Stephanie's post and the Bill of Rights appear below. Many of my readers either are stepmothers or are divorced fathers who have remarried--what do you think of this list? Is it workable? Does it demand too much? Should there be more "rights" included? I'm interested in your thoughts. 

Stepmother's Bill of Rights

I found the following on The Wicked Stepmom's blog and thought it was a good creed for all stepmothers out there.  Some pieces of it are obviously more delicate than others, but all in all, it's a pretty good foundation.  If adhered to with love and respect on both sides, perhaps it could solve many of the problems we stepfamilies face.

Stepmother's Bill of Rights 

Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.

I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.

People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.

I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.

I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.

I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.

I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.

Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.

I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.

My husband and stepchildren must treat me with respect.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.
 

Expose False Allegations with Technology
Don't let the anti-male bias in criminal law victimize you. If you could be falsely accused by an angry woman, be prepared! Use technology to expose the real aggressor. DontMakeHerMad.com
 
Parental-Alienation-Awareness.com
Stop Parental Alienation--a terrible form of Child Abuse. Eight states have now officially recognized Parental Alienation Awareness Day. To learn more, go to Parental-Alienation-Awareness.com.

Good News: Bill to Make It Harder to Protect Children from Parental Alienation Dies

Background: In April, I called your attention to a new, damaging Parental Alienation bill in the California legislature. In my co-authored column AB 612 Will Make It Harder to Protect Children from Parental Alienation (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/2/07), I explained:

"A new bill authored by Assemblymember Ira Ruskin (D-Redwood City) will harm children of divorce by making it much harder for courts to protect children from alienation. Under AB 612, mental health professionals will be discouraged from issuing findings of Parental Alienation in child custody cases...

"When a parent's children are being alienated, he or she must wage an often long and expensive fight to get family courts to recognize the alienation and take decisive action. AB 612 would discourage independent mental health professionals from issuing findings of Parental Alienation in divorce/custody cases. It would also make it more difficult for target parents to get courts to order psychological evaluations as part of child custody investigations. Under AB 612, such evaluations will be allowed only under 'exceptional circumstances when there is strong evidence that a parent's current mental or psychological status might seriously impair his or her parenting ability.'

"This standard is unreasonably high, and will prevent many target parents from saving their relationships with their children. The legislature should be exhorting family courts to protect children from Parental Alienation, not putting up barriers to prevent them from doing so."

A couple weeks ago I reported that policy consultant Michael Robinson of the California Alliance for Families and Children helped lead successful opposition to AB 612, and that the bill had been amended and defanged. Robinson worked with the Family Law Executive Committee of the California State Bar (Flexcom), the California Psychologists Association (CPA), the Association of Family Conciliation Courts (AFCC), the California Judges Association, and others.

Michael now reports that the bill has died. As has often happened in California in recent years, the Family Law Section of the State Bar (Flexcom) came out in defense of noncustodial parents' rights, just as they did with AB 164 and with the events surrounding the LaMusga decision. I thank them and the other groups listed above for their work.

Robinson is one of the most effective advocates in our movement, and I urge all to support him. To donate to the California Alliance for Families and Children, click here. To learn more about Parental Alienation, click here. The bill may well be back next year, so we need to remain on top of this issue.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Help for Boston Dads
Boston family law attorney Nick Palermo is a shared custody advocate who believes that divorced dads are parents, not visitors. The Law Offices of Nicholas Palermo is a dedicated and committed trial law firm which has worked to make shared custody for all fit parents the law of the land. LAW OFFICES OF NICHOLAS PALERMO

Los Angeles Dads--Free Legal Consultation on Your Case
If you are involved in a divorce, domestic violence, paternity, child custody or support case in the greater Los Angeles area, call Stephen A. Gershman to schedule your FREE initial one hour consultation at (888) 295-1756 or (818) 990-6505. Gershman is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He is an experienced attorney, over 25 years, who will competently and aggressively defend you against unjust domestic violence restraining orders or unfair financial obligations. When Parental Alienation or custody is an issue, he will help you protect your relationship with your kids. www.losangelesfamilylawyer.com


Child Support Enforcement Harasses Teenager for Support for 4 Kids Who Aren't His

We've spoken many times of the abuses perpetrated by Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department. For some examples, see the Taron James case here, the Bert Riddick case here, and the abuses by former LA District Attorney Gil Garcetti here. Also, see the Melinda Smith foster care case, in which LA CSSD billed and collected child support from Thomas Smith for 10 years while refusing to tell him his daughter's whereabouts.

In the story below, LA CSSD tried to beat child support for four children out of a childless 19-year-old kid. The only thing about the story which surprises me is that CSSD resolved it and apologized for the error. To read more about child support enforcement harassing teenage boys, see Child Support Enforcement Accuses Teenage Boy of Fathering Child When He Was Three and Boy Mistakenly Threatened With Jail For Being Deadbeat Dad.

Apology given for child-support error
By Gideon Rubin
Los Angeles Daily News, 7/27/07

PALMDALE - A 19-year-old Palmdale man has received an apology from county officials, who admit they made a mistake when they said he owed child support for four youngsters - including one born seven years ago.

Jason Ellis had received a letter from the Department of Child Support Services, ordering him to pay $650 a month for four children who live in Torrance.

Ellis, an Antelope Valley High graduate who aspires to be a firefighter, has never been married and has no children. An investigation by county officials revealed that they were seeking a different Jason Ellis.

Lisa Garrett, the agency's chief deputy director, said the Ellis case - one of 475,000 cases handled each year - was an anomaly.

"It's really nice to put this behind me," Ellis said. "It's one thing gone, and hopefully it stays gone."

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Legal Help for Fathers in New Jersey
If you're a New Jersey father facing a divorce or separation, the law firm of Pitman, Pitman, Mindas, Grossman & Lee can help. PitmanLaw.com

Help for Florida Dads
Neil Leavitt, PA helps Florida dads defend their relationships with their children during divorce or separation. Leavitt specializes in family law and has practiced law for nearly three decades. The Law Office of Neil Leavitt can be contacted by phone at (954) 989-5858. 


You Go Grandma--80-Year-Old Woman Fights for Shared Parenting

Grandmothers are an important ally in the struggle for shared parenting. I often receive heartbreaking letters from grandmothers and grandfathers who have lost their grandchildren in their sons' divorces. When the custodial parent cuts the ex-spouse out of the children's lives, grandparents are usually cut out, too. Sometimes grandparents in these situations are also targets of Parental Alienation. I discussed the important role women should and do play in the shared parenting movement in my co-authored column Why Are There so Many Women in the Fathers' Movement? (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 6/21/02)

The article below details the shared parenting activism of Violet Downs, of Highland, Michigan.

Highland grandmother rallies for family rights
By Alison Bergsieker
Milford Times, 8/2/07

Just like many mothers, Violet Downs, 80, of Highland, is happy to brag and boast about her son, Brian.

Brian graduated from the University of Michigan in 1979 and later received a juris doctor from the University of Arizona in 1991 and served as a patent attorney for many years.

And he's got three children younger than 16, all of whom he's fighting to support and gain joint-custody rights from his ex-wife.

 "As it turns out, he lost everything," Violet said. "When he got his divorce, it was just awful."

Brian and his ex-wife divorced, and she was given sole custody of the children. She moved them to Grand Rapids, requiring Brian to leave his home in Arizona in order to be close to his children, Violet said.

While Violet can't get involved in her son's custody issues, she's getting involved elsewhere.

To read more and to discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Lisa Scott's RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott's RealFamilyLaw.com exposes the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was "tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers" and decided to start her own website. RealFamilyLaw.com

The Secrets of Happily Married Men
How can a man achieve a long and happy marriage? If you've been checking out advice columns or seeing a therapist, you may have been looking in the wrong place. Despite all the advances in brain technology, and all of that we have learned about developmental psychology--men and women are given the same advice about solving problems. But when we ask men what works for them, we hear a different story. www.SecretsofMarriedMen.com

Legal Help for Fathers
If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside or Orange counties and you're facing a divorce, separation, or a child custody issue, the law firm of Oddenino & Gaule can help. www.OddLaw.net


Global Warming Is All Men's Fault, Part III

Nothing particularly wrong with the cartoon above by Chan Lowe of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, except, as I've noted on numerous occasions, it seems strange that we rarely see a cartoon which implicates a woman in global warming, only men.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

How Does Sex Discrimination Affect Men and Boys?
The National Coalition of Free Men Los Angeles is a non-profit educational & civil rights organization that looks at the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys. NCFM-LA helps provide men a unified voice on important political and social issues. www.NCFMLA.org

File Taxes Online with  Professional Help
MENstax.com allows you to file your taxes, check your refund status, and have your return reviewed by an experienced tax professional--all online.


I Was at Dodger Stadium and I DIDN'T Boo Barry Bonds

Last Tuesday I took my family to Dodger Stadium, and we all hoped we would see Barry Bonds break the all-time homerun record (the record is 755, Bonds had 754). There have been many news reports of the hostile, rude, boorish welcomes Bonds has been getting in visiting ballparks, and let me tell you, they ain't lying.

Bonds was booed every time he moved. The fans would start booing and my wife would ask, "What did he do? What happened?", and it would turn out that he was just catching a routine fly ball or stepping into the on-deck circle. Fans chanted, "Barry Sucks, Barry Sucks" throughout the game--certainly an odd description of one of the greatest players in baseball history.

One charmer sitting near us kept yelling "Barry, go back to the Gay Bay," and people had T-Shirts that said "Barry Swallows" and other niceties. Every time he came up he was given a standing boo, and as I stood up and applauded, I wondered if it was a wise and safe thing to do. Security was very tight.

I'm neither a defender nor a critic of Bonds, and I'll decline to go into the Barry Bonds/steroids controversy because it's been beaten to death by people who have followed it much more closely than I. However, I will make one point which I haven't heard, though I'm sure people are making it. Whatever steroids Bonds may have taken in the past, we know he hasn't done it for several years because of baseball's drug testing program. Barry Bonds is 43 years-old--very, very old for a baseball player. (My son asked me how old Bonds was and when I told him Bonds is the same age as me, the dear boy said, "I didn't know ancient people could play baseball"). Nevertheless, Bonds has an on base percentage of .493 and a slugging percentage of .558, making him perhaps the best hitter in baseball, even now.

Unfortunately Bonds didn't break the record, and didn't get much of a chance to. He struck out on three pitches in the first inning, then drew an intentional walk, and then another walk. When he reached base on an error in the 7th inning they pinch ran for him, and that was it. I had wanted my daughter and my son to see a bit of baseball history, but it wasn't to be.

But the night was not without its advantages--the game was long and boring and my daughter was very tired, so she spent most of the game curled up in my arms. Definitely worth the price of admission.

[Late note: Bonds tied the record over the weekend. To watch a video of it, click here. After reaching home plate, Bonds picked up his 17-year-old son Nikolai, a Giants bat boy, who jumped into his father's arms and was carried toward the dugout.]

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks
GlennSacks.com

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