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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

Hollywood, CA--Peter Cook--ex-husband of supermodel Christie Brinkley--settled last week for $2.1 million and visitation with his kids--a clear loss, considering his expressed love for his kids and Brinkley"s $80 million plus in assets. Cook"s bad behavior was fodder for endless tabloid TV reporting, including his relationship with an 18 year old assistant, and the alleged thousands spent on internet porn. And yet, far from vengeful, Cook appears to be the mature adult in the aftermath, introducing a concept so rare in Hollywood--shame. In a televised interview this week, Cook said he didn"t regret his ten-year marriage to Brinkley, but denounced the court battle. "Christie has been waving a victory sign as though she just a won a war and I just don't see how there's a victory for anyone at the end of a fourth marriage and what these children were exposed to unnecessarily, I don't see the victory in it."  Readers may remember our June 30 joint blog post with Glenn Sacks, warning of Brinkley"s legal strategy to use the kids as pawns: "Most stars want their divorces private, she"s fighting to keep it as public as possible.' In the interview, Cook took responsibility for the breakup, stating he wished he remained faithful to the marriage, but said, "We learn from our mistakes' and credited the marriage with producing "two beautiful children.' Cook said he planned to be "very involved' with the children, "as I have been their whole lives.' In general, it"s hard to sympathize with any of the parties in these celebrity cases. Yet, the tabloid TV shows, magazines and web sites work overtime to amplify the pettiest of the adults" actions on a nightly basis while minimizing the kids" concerns. There was extensive and live coverage of Britney Spears" various breakdowns, her "shopping therapy,' but the average watcher might have missed Spears and ex-husband Kevin Federline"s turn toward a more kid-focused approach--an approach driven largely by Federline gaining sole custody since Spears" implosion. Federline ('K-Fed') says he wants Spears to remained involved with their boys, "in a very substantial and meaningful way,' and Spears has already won court permission for weekly visitation - a lot better than the "every other weekend' template most non-custodial dads get. In late June, Spears and Federline began custody mediation to avoid a trial set for August. Federline"s attorney says the kids" "stability' and "structure' are central to any permanent order. One final note: it appears that pornography has become a recurring accusation in these kind of cases. We"re not here to defend porn, but given its widespread acceptance in the adult population, and the salacious nature of popular culture, we think porn charges are a cheap shot against men in custody battles unless there is substantiated inappropriate exposure of children to such material. After all, if adult use of porn were a true measure of bad parenting, the courts and child welfare agencies would come to a standstill with an avalanche of neglect cases. Indeed, a small footnote story on Extra"s web site says their poll found a "surprising' 9.4 million women access internet porn monthly; and 1 in 3 visitors are female.

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