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Background: Recently Newsweek magazine and the British UK Guardian have written sympathetic articles about Single Motherhood by Choice--Knocking Yourself Up--Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone (Newsweek, 11/5/07) and There's no shame in going solo, says mum: Career women with eyes on their biological clocks now have a 'how to' guide to single parenting, but the topic is provoking a backlash in America (U.K. Guardian, Observer, 11/4/07). Both articles focus on author/"choice mom" guru Louise Sloan, and hold me up as an example of the "vehement" backlash against single mothers by choice. To learn more, click here. Single mother by choice guru Louise Sloan, author of Knock Yourself Up, and I debated on the BBC Radio 5 Live's Stephen Nolan Programme on the BBC Sunday evening. To listen to the show, click here. The most important part of the show, even though it was a little off topic, was a letter from a 13-year-old boy named James which Nolan read on the air. The letter said: "My mother loves me but she stops me seeing my dad though I want to. I'm starting to hate her for this. Because she hates my dad, why should I hate him?"

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Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. To learn more about the case, see my blog posts In Defense of Judge James Michael Shull (Part I), Part II, or Part III, or read my co-authored newspaper column defending Shull here. Tim Perone of the New York Post writes the following: "A family court judge in Richmond, Va., was removed from the bench after several kangaroo-court moments, including flipping a coin to decide a custody case. James Michael Shull was unanimously stripped of his robe by the state's Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, which also found the jurist guilty of calling a teen a 'mama's boy' and a 'wuss' as well as telling a woman to marry her abusive boyfriend." I've dealt with and have been quoted (and misquoted) by plenty of lazy reporters, but this one takes the cake. The Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission did not "find" Shull "guilty" of anything alleged above. The widely-disseminated Associated Press article by Larry O'Dell that Perone cribbed from states that Shull "had appeared before the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission in 2004 for allegedly calling a teenager a 'mama's boy' and a 'wuss' and advising a woman to marry her abusive boyfriend. That complaint was dismissed..." (emphasis added). There was no finding of anything against Shull at all. The "marry her abusive boyfriend" is dubious, as I explained here. The "mama's boy" allegation is also dubious. Shull asserts that the witness that alleged that Shull called a 14-year-old boy a "wuss" was Guardian ad Litem Kristen Dean. I checked up on Dean and found that, according to the Virginia State Bar's website, the Bar "suspended Kristen Dawn Dean's law license for five years, effective on or before December 16, 2005, for misappropriating portions of a client's personal injury settlement for her own use and then taking steps to deceive and to conceal the misconduct. The board found that Ms. Dean failed to properly communicate with her client; failed to obtain a written contingency fee agreement, failed to provide an appropriate account of the client's funds; made false statements; engaged in deliberately wrongful conduct; and engaged in fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." What a great witness. Shull also asserts that the parties in the case contradicted Dean's accusations. I don't know if this is true, but the JIRC did dismiss the allegation. The New York Post also asserts that Shull "flipped a coin to decide a custody case." Not true--custody had already been decided. All that the coin toss settled was who would get the kids on Christmas, and, given the specific context of the case, Shull was right to determine this in the manner he did. To learn more about this non-incident, click here.

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Background: Newsweek magazine writer Lorraine Ali quoted from my co-authored column Rise in Out-of-Wedlock Births Is Bad News for America"s Kids (Washington Times, 12/4/06) in her recent piece Knocking Yourself Up--Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone (Newsweek, 11/5/07). The piece centers around Louise Sloan, author of the new guidebook Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom. Sloan now has a fatherless 16-month-old son. The piece favors women who decide to have fatherless children. To learn more, click here. The liberal British UK Guardian, one of the world's premier newspapers, has a new piece out extolling the virtues of single motherhood by choice--There's no shame in going solo, says mum: Career women with eyes on their biological clocks now have a 'how to' guide to single parenting, but the topic is provoking a backlash in America (U.K. Guardian, Observer, 11/4/07). The article focuses on choice mom guru Louise Sloan. Needless to say, the article sympathizes with Sloan, and holds me up as an example of the "vehement" backlash against single mothers by choice. The article says that Sloan is "shocked by the vehemence of the backlash" against her. She says: "I think that if you have reservations or shame about having become a single mother and having chosen to be an alternative family in that way, that shame is going to be transmitted to the people you speak to about it. And it's also going to come through to your child...I think that it's really important to make sure that your child feels that the way he or she came into this world was a positive and happy thing. And so you need to have that attitude yourself. Also, in speaking about it to other people, if you present it as a weird, questionable thing, you're more likely to get a negative response." The Guardian counterposes this with my comment: "To openly advocate single motherhood as a lifestyle choice is to fail to understand how powerfully children hunger for their fathers and the immense benefits reaped by the children who do have fathers in their lives. This misunderstanding is very destructive. At the core of this work is a 'you go, girl' belief that mothers can do it alone and always know best. Unfortunately, many women are choosing this lifestyle and it's our children who are suffering for it." The article also has a disturbing statistic near the bottom--one in seven birth certificates in England and Wales in 2006 had no father listed. Sloan has now joined Rosanna Hertz, author of Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice, and Peggy Drexler, author of Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men, to form a troika of feminist gurus advocating voluntary single motherhood. To read my previous critique of Hertz and her book, see my co-authored column Are Single Mothers the 'New American Family?' (World Net Daily, 9/28/06). To see my previous critique of Drexler and her book, see my columns Are Boys Really Better off Without Fathers? (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/31/05) and Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05).

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Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. To learn more about the case, see my blog posts In Defense of Judge James Michael Shull (Part I) and In Defense of Judge James Michael Shull (Part II), or read my co-authored newspaper column defending Shull here. The Virginia Supreme Court's opinion criticizes Shull for "making an improper ex parte telephone call during a recess in the custody hearing to obtain information on a disputed factual matter" and that this "ex parte communication serves to illustrate again Judge Shull"s lack of concern for litigants appearing before him." Nothing could be further from the truth--Shull made the phone call out of concern for the litigants before him, principally the two young children whose placement he had to decide. Shull had to give the children either to the husband, who the wife claimed stabbed her, or the wife, who the husband claimed was a mentally-disturbed cutter. In the case, Tammy G. claimed that her husband had stabbed her and that she went to a local emergency room for treatment. Shull's violation consisted of--brace yourself--calling the local hospital to confirm that Tammy G. had been admitted. Once again, Shull is in trouble for examining the facts in the case before him--he made the call as part of his duty to protect the G. children. Shull also says that he informed everyone in the courtroom that he planned to call before he made the call. It is true that the Virginia Canons of Judicial Conduct states: "A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending proceeding." Shull says, "It is not uncommon for judges in the juvenile and domestic relations court to place telephone calls to ascertain the truth when resolving a factual dispute." The Virginia Lawyers Weekly article JIRC: Censure or remove J&DR judge (5/28/07) contains an interesting tidbit about this issue. The lead judge in the court where Shull heard this case, Elizabeth S. Wills, "testified that she very seldom makes such calls." "Seldom?" So Wills, who is Shull's boss and who is largely responsible for him being railroaded, admits to the Judicial Commission that she too has made the same kind of phone calls--the type of calls which Shull is in trouble for doing once and only once.

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Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. I have examined the evidence in this case and it is clear to me that Shull is being railroaded. The case provides a sad but excellent example of what can happen to judges who take their responsibilities seriously when adjudicating domestic violence claims. To learn more about the case, see my blog post In Defense of Judge James Michael Shull (Part I) or read my co-authored newspaper column defending Shull here. Both the Virginia Supreme Court's opinion and the widely-disseminated Associated Press article by Larry O'Dell ignore the most important facts in this case and criticize Shull for the "coin toss" incident. According to the AP: "According to the court, Shull admitted tossing a coin to determine which parent would have visitation with a child on Christmas. Shull said he was trying to encourage the parents to decide the issue themselves but later acknowledged that he was wrong." What happened was this--a mother and father had shared physical custody of their children, and could not agree as to who would have them on Christmas Day. Shull urged them to come to an agreement themselves, but they were unable to. Normally at this point (or actually, long before it) the judge would've just decided to give the kids to mom for Christmas, but Shull told both parents that he considered both of them to be good, loving parents and that he did not want to have to choose between them. When they were unable to decide, he decided to toss a coin to make the decision, sending a clear message that the court was not going to favor one parent over the other. I applaud Shull for this, yet, amazingly, this non-event is one of the major charges against him. Also, according to Shull, the coin toss was not objected to by either of the two parties, both of whom were represented by attorneys. Shull determined who got the 1st week of Xmas vacation the first year, with vacation to be alternated thereafter. The AP article by O'Dell also says the Virginia Supreme Court's decision was "unanimous," which sounds impressive but is factually questionable. According to Shull: "It is hard to say the opinion was 'unanimous.' The opinion was authored by Justice Keenan, but no one else signed on to it. It does not have any dissents, but in cases of this type, they sometimes do opinions in this manner to mask their differences because it's more politic."

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Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. I have examined the evidence in this case and it is clear to me that Shull is being railroaded. The case provides a sad but excellent example of what can happen to judges who take their responsibilities seriously when adjudicating domestic violence claims. Shull"s problems stem from a case which came before him on December 15, 2006. In that case, Tammy G. had obtained a domestic violence protection order against her husband Keith G., claiming that he had stabbed her. At the time of the G. hearing, the couple"s two young children, then ages three and five, were staying with their paternal grandmother. Keith testified that he hadn"t harmed Tammy, and that if she did have a wound, she had cut herself. Keith also testified that Tammy had committed a similar act on March 22, 2006, harming herself and then calling the police to report that Keith had attacked her. Shull reasoned that he had to find the truth in order to protect the children from either a father who had stabbed their mother, or a mother who is a psychologically disturbed cutter. Shull examined the wounds and found that they were four nearly identical razor blade-like slices in two sets of parallel lines spaced evenly apart--hardly the type of wounds one would receive in domestic combat, and entirely consistent with Keith"s allegations that Tammy had cut herself. Shull also examined the Wise County Sheriff"s Incident Report about Tammy G."s March allegations. According to the report, Tammy "gave a statement that she had done this to herself to get attention,' and "admitted that she had self-inflicted her wounds.' The report discusses charging Tammy with filing a false police report over the incident.Shull got in trouble because, according to the Virginia Lawyers" Weekly, Tammy and Teresa Castle, the deputy clerk, claim that, in order to inspect the wound, he directed Tammy to expose herself twice during the hearing. The Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission "summarily suspended' Shull for "a substantial and serious breach of the dignity and decorum required in a Virginia courtroom.'Shull and Daniel Fast, Keith G."s attorney, assert that Tammy had offered to lower her pants both times in order to show Shull the wounds. According to the VLW, neither side disputes that "the privacy curtains in the courtroom were pulled before G. exposed herself.'Tammy"s wound was on her right thigh, she was wearing pants, and the only way Shull could examine the wounds was to have her lower them. Perhaps Shull should have acted more cautiously. However, his need to protect the G. children by ruling correctly in this difficult, contentious case vastly outweighs Tammy"s privacy concerns. Most importantly, no party in the dispute is even claiming that Shull made the wrong decision in finding that the wounds in question were self-inflicted. Shull"s conscientious pursuit of the truth in the G. case, for which he has been removed, was admirable.To read my co-authored newspaper column defending Shull, click here. The Shull case and the recent Virginia Supreme Court decision are an infuriating example of how lightly our legal system takes false accusations against men. In this case, everyone agrees that Judge Shull was placed in a very difficult situation, and that he had to make a tough call where children could have been in imminent danger. Nobody even disputes that he got it right--and yet it doesn't even matter. Both the Virginia Supreme Court's 29-page opinion and the widely-disseminated Associated Press article by Larry O'Dell ignore the most important facts in this case and are biased against Shull to a bizarre extent. In this series, I will discuss the claims against Shull. O'Dell writes: "The court said [the most 'egregious' incident] occurred when a woman was seeking a protective order against a partner who she said had stabbed her in the leg. Shull knew the woman had a history of mental problems and insisted on seeing the wound, the court said." It is unclear that Shull was in a position to decide with finality that the woman, Tammy G., had "mental problems." More importantly, even if he was, what did the Court expect Shull to do? Shull had three options: 1) Decide that since the woman is mentally ill, he's not going to subject her to a full effort to find out whether or not her husband really did stab her, but instead just give the husband the children. In other words, don't ascertain the truth, but instead turn the kids over to a man who she claims tried to kill her. 2) Decide that since the woman is mentally ill, he won't put her through a full effort to ascertain the truth, but instead give her possession of the kids. In other words, give the kids to a mentally ill woman. 3) Ignore her apparent "mental problems," and make a real effort to ascertain the truth in the case in order to protect the children. Shull did that, and it cost him his job, his reputation, and his retirement pension. In the AP article, Larry O'Dell writes that several years ago Shull had "advised a woman to marry her abusive boyfriend" and that he got in trouble with the JIRC because of it. I have not investigated this charge separately, but Shull very much disputes this account: 1) Shull disputes his alleged knowledge that relationship was "abusive." 2) Shull claims that his advice to get married occurred in a case where a woman's ex-husband had custody of their children and the woman wanted to know what she could do to improve her chances to get the kids back. Shull told her that social services would look more favorably on her situation if she were living in a more stable relationship, like being married as opposed to just living with someone. He didn't tell her she had to get married to get her kids back, he just told her it would strengthen her case. 3) Shull says that when JIRC investigated this accusation and others in 2004, his opponents' versions unraveled. He says, "These cases were dismissed not because of mercy toward a rookie judge, but because they imploded."

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Background: I recently partnered with Dr. Ned Holstein and Fathers & Families in a campaign to protest Florida Department of Children & Families' actions in the "Elian Gonzalez II" case in Miami. In that case, Rafael Izquierdo, a fit, loving father, has faced numerous obstacles to reunite with his 5-year-old daughter. Thousands of you answered our call to action, and the campaign has been covered or cited in hundreds of newspapers. Florida DCF, to its credit, met with us. To learn more or to join our campaign, click here. I discussed our Elian Gonzalez II Campaign on the Maria Sanchez Morning Show on KKZZ AM 1590 in Ventura, CA yesterday. The audio of the interview is available--to listen, click here or on the audio button below.

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We've often discussed how women are sometimes able to get away with practically anything in family court, and the letter below is another example. Part of the reason for this problem is the family law system's anti-father bias. Part of it is the negative societal image of men and fathers, particularly divorced dads. Part of it is that courts are often so jammed that judges don't have the time to make meaningful decisions. Part of it is judges' concern--legitimate,

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Background: I recently partnered with Dr. Ned Holstein and Fathers & Families in a campaign to protest Florida Department of Children & Families' actions in the "Elian Gonzalez II" case in Miami. In that case, Rafael Izquierdo, a fit, loving father, has faced numerous obstacles to reunite with his 5-year-old daughter. Thousands of you answered our call to action, and the campaign has been covered or cited in hundreds of newspapers. Florida DCF, to its credit, met with us last week. To learn more or to join our campaign, click here. Florida Governor Charlie Crist (pictured) has sent out the letter below to those who have joined our protest campaign. We knew, of course, that he couldn't discuss the Izquierdo case directly, but our larger concern is the child welfare system's disregard for fathers, an issue Crist's letter doesn't address. To be fair, I'll give Crist credit for responding, and also for acknowledging to the press that it has been a sizeable protest campaign. I suspect that one reason DCF has acted as it has is that Governor Crist seeks the loyalty, votes, and campaign donations of the large Cuban-American community. Crist (correctly) sees defeating Rafael Izquierdo and keeping his five-year-old girl in the US against his will as a way to win Cuban-American votes. In Florida, sticking it to Cuba's government is a crowd-pleaser, similar to the way politicians win popularity by beating up on "deadbeat dads." Crist's letter is below. Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist. The Governor appreciates your concerns about the Izquierdo child custody case and asked me to respond on his behalf. Governor Crist wants to know how people feel about the many critical issues we face. Rest assured, the Governor is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all children in Florida. The Department of Children and Families is charged with assisting abused and neglected children. The department does this by providing support services to children and their families, and, in some cases, by providing a place outside of the home for children to live while their family problems are resolved in the courts. Governor Crist appreciates your sharing suggestions for changes to the department"s procedures. It is our understanding the Department of Children and Families has communicated with Dr. Ned Holstein to discuss these very issues. Thank you again for contacting the Governor"s office. Please do not hesitate to write in the future to share your concerns about issues that are important to you. Sincerely, Warren Davis Office of Citizen Services

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This ad for Kohler bathroom fixtures is funny, but, as I've said many times before, the "man as idiot" theme got old a long, long time ago. On the positive side, I wish my plumber looked like that... To watch the commercial, click here or see below. To watch some other videos of "dad as idiot" TV commercials, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, or here. To see ads that the National Organization for Women considers to be offensive to women, click here. [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_RLXfxtouE]

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Background: Newsweek magazine writer Lorraine Ali briefly quotes from my co-authored column Rise in Out-of-Wedlock Births Is Bad News for America"s Kids (Washington Times, 12/4/06) in her new piece Knocking Yourself Up--Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone (Newsweek, 11/5/07). The piece centers around Louise Sloan, author of the new guidebook Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom. Sloan now has a fatherless 16-month-old son. The piece favors women who decide to have fatherless children. To learn more, click here. In the article, Ali writes "Sloan found herself single at 41, though she'd always considered herself 'definitely the marrying kind.'" A few comments: 1) This is a common claim made by single mothers by choice but I don't buy it. Sloan didn't "find herself single at 41"--she chose to be single at 41. If she wants to be single, fine, that's her choice, but it's a choice, not an accident. The choice probably stems from the excessive pickiness which afflicts some women--they're always so good at finding reasons why this guy and that guy and all guys somehow aren't right for them or aren't good enough. I wrote about this in some detail in my co-authored column Men Blamed for Marriage Decline but Women's Relationship Wounds Often Self-Inflicted (Chicago Tribune, 1/21/07). Feminist bloggers Catherine Price of Salon.com/Broadsheet and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon called the column "Hateful" and "Virulent" but sorry, I think it was neither and I stick by it. I wrote: "The current trend away from marriage and towards divorce and/or remaining single has more to do with overcritical women and their excessive expectations than it does with unsuitable men... "Nobody would dispute that, in selecting a mate, women are more discerning than men. This is an evolutionary necessity--a woman must carefully evaluate who is likely to remain loyal to her and protect and provide for her and her children. If a man and a woman go on a blind date and don't hit it off, the man will shrug and say 'it went OK.' The woman will give five reasons why he's not right for her. "A woman's discerning, critical nature doesn't disappear on her wedding day. Most marital problems and marriage counseling sessions revolve around why the wife is unhappy with her husband, even though they could just as easily be about why the husband is unhappy with the wife. In this common pre-divorce scenario there are only two possibilities-either she's a great wife and he's a lousy husband, or she's far more critical of him than he is of her. Usually it's the latter. "Despite this week's media homilies, it's doubtful that many men or women are truly happy alone. Much of women's cheerful 'I don't need a man/I love my cats' reaction has a hollow ring to it, and sounds a lot more like whistling in the dark than a celebration. "Yes, there are some men who make poor mates, but not nearly enough to account for the divorce epidemic and the decline of marriage. While it's easy and popular to blame men, many of the wounds women bear from failed relationships and loneliness are self-inflicted." 2) The degree to which women are (or claim to be) in denial about how they "find themselves single" as they approach or pass 40 has surprised me on numerous occasions. One example was during my debate on the Roman v. Roman Texas frozen embryo case on Fox's nationally-syndicated Morning Show with Mike and Juliet in June. In the case, the couple had tried for several years to have a child (and had one miscarriage) before undergoing infertility treatments. The day before the embryos were to be implanted, Randy Roman told his then-wife Augusta that he was troubled by certain aspects of their relationship and wanted to wait to implant the embryos until they had resolved their problems. They went to counseling for six months and later divorced. Augusta, 47, still wants to have the children, and Randy has refused. On the show I debated the issue with Augusta Roman and her attorney Becky Reitz. The co-hosts, Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, were sympathetic to Augusta, and Juliet at one point got annoyed over my suggestion that Augusta could adopt a child instead of having one herself. I also questioned Augusta's decision to blame the fact that she never had a child on Randy, pointing out that she's 47 years-old and had had many opportunities. Huddy got very angry at me, saying that what I said could apply to her (at age 37) and that it wasn't her (Juliet's) decision to not have had a kid yet. I didn't want to push the issue too far because I didn't want to hurt her feelings and it wasn't central to what we were debating, but we sparred briefly over it and I found it hard to believe that Juliet could claim that she hadn't exercised a choice in the matter. To watch the video of the odd exchange, click here.

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"[Going to a strip club] is ABUSE. It is no different from hiring a hooker for sex except that you don't stick it in...the man did deserve an ashtray in his skull (or perhaps the loss of one important piece he needs to get excited for strippers)..." Syndicated columnist Amy Alkon (aka "The Advice Goddess") often emails me amazing stories, and this one is no exception. Recently one of Alkon's readers sent her the following letter: "My husband of two months has always treated me very well, and is usually thoughtful. But, one week before our wedding, he broke a promise. I hate the whole stripper thing, so he agreed to a coed party at a dueling piano bar. There was a strip club next door, but he promised he wouldn"t go in. All was well until I learned that he and his brother (who"s nothing but trouble) were at the strip club. I went over and went crazy and tossed an ashtray at his head. I was kicked out, they followed, and his brother yelled at me. I wanted to call off the wedding, but we still got married. Since then, I keep bringing this up and he keeps begging for forgiveness, saying he"d never been so drunk, and he didn"t know what he was doing. I just can"t understand how he could hurt me this way.--Still So Angry Inside" Alkon responded: "If your husband tossed an ashtray at your head, do you think he"d be describing himself as 'Still So Angry Inside' or 'Still In Court Trying To Get The Charges Reduced'? "It doesn"t take much for domestic violence against men to be taken seriously…usually, just a chalk outline where a man"s body used to be. The rest of the time, people tend to shrug it off or even find it cute: 'Well, well, well, she"s quite the firecracker!' Granted, male abusers can do much more damage with their fists, but put a heavy object in a woman"s hands, and good morning brain damage!" Alkon then received the letter below: "I just had to write back over this one. My mother sends me your articles and this one just set me off. Just like the woman whose husband went to a strip club, so did my husband of 10 years (we have 3 kids together). I have to say that I had much the same reaction as she did. I do not advocate any type of abuse from either side of a relationship, but going to a strip club IS JUST THAT....ABUSE. It is no different from hiring a hooker for sex except that you don't stick it in. I find it disgusting that you attack this woman for her reaction, and then advocate this strip club behavior as 'normal'...I think the man did deserve an ashtray in his skull ( or perhaps the loss of one important piece he needs to get excited for strippers)...This behavior should not be legal ANYWHERE..." Alkon's full post, including her response, can be seen here. [Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]

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Newsweek magazine writer Lorraine Ali quotes from my co-authored column Rise in Out-of-Wedlock Births Is Bad News for America"s Kids (Washington Times, 12/4/06) in her new piece Knocking Yourself Up--Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone (Newsweek, 11/5/07). The piece centers around Louise Sloan, author of the new guidebook Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom. Sloan now has a fatherless 16-month-old son. As you could guess, the piece favors women who decide to have fatherless children--the only named opposition to the practice in the piece is my short quote. Ali also quotes Rosanna Hertz, author of Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice. Hertz and Peggy Drexler, author of Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men, are the leading feminist gurus of voluntary single motherhood. [To read my previous critique of Hertz and her book, see my co-authored column Are Single Mothers the 'New American Family?' (World Net Daily, 9/28/06). To see my previous critique of Drexler and her book, see my column Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05)] Obviously I disagree with much of what Ali (and Hertz and Drexler) have written, but I'll limit myself to just two: 1) Ali tries to denigrate the importance of fathers in children's lives by downplaying the numerous studies which show the vast differences in child well-being between single mother and two-parent households. She is correct that this difference is narrower when looking only at highly-educated, economically-secure mothers. However, the difference is still there. 2) Not all "well-being" can be measured by social scientists. Are there any adults who really believe that it won't matter to Sloan's 16-month-old boy that he doesn't have a father? Ali's article is below. Knocking Yourself Up--Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone By Lorraine Ali Newsweek, 11/5/07 Sex And The City's" Carrie Bradshaw once asked, "What if Prince Charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a health-care package and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank?" Though it's hard to say how Disney would have grappled with a no-show prince, if Ms. White were to awaken alone today, it's possible she'd take the advice of Louise Sloan, author of the guidebook "Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom." Sloan found herself single at 41, though she'd always considered herself "definitely the marrying kind." Determined to become a mother, the Brooklyn-based writer inseminated herself with sperm from an unknown donor she refers to as No. 2, "a tall, handsome green-eyed actor (Favorite color: blue. Favorite pet: dogs)" in the attic of her conservative family's Kennebunkport, Maine, summer house. Sloan now has a 16-month-old son, and uses her experience--as well as those of almost 50 more unpartnered, educated and financially independent straight and gay females over 30--to propel her humorous "how to" book for aspiring single moms. She offers practical advice on choosing the right donor and informing prospective grandparents in chapters titled "Oops, I Forgot to Have a Baby" and "Trysts With the Turkey Baster." Sloan's amusing take on this provocative subject is already spurring caustic feedback online, though it's the lightest offering among several recent books that include Rosanna Hertz's academic account, "Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice," and Mikki Morrissette's firsthand account/guide, "Choosing Single Motherhood." "We're in a transition period--people are not just getting married because that's what you do if you want to have kids," says Sloan. "Women now have careers, are financially independent and waiting until they find the right guy. Most of us want to meet the perfect person and live happily ever after, but sometimes we don't." Whether by choice or circumstance, the evidence suggests that more and more women are considering single parenthood. Unwed births among 30- to 44-year-olds rose 20 percent from 1991 to 2006, and last year alone, four in 10 U.S. babies were born outside of marriage even though teen pregnancies hit their lowest point in 65 years. Fairfax Cryobank, one of the biggest sperm banks in the United States, says its single-female clientele jumped 20 percent in the last decade and now accounts for 60 percent of its customer base. Not everyone is embracing the unorthodox version of mommy. Fifteen years after Vice President Dan Quayle admonished TV's Murphy Brown for having a baby out of wedlock, a recent review of "Knock Yourself Up" on Salon.com generated plenty of criticism, like that from someone who identified himself as "straight, married white male, three biological children." He wrote that Sloan is an "upper-middle-class white woman pursuing her pregnancy fantasies." And recently, blogger Glenn Sacks wrote on the Fathers & Family Web site that the rise of single mothers by choice was a "disturbing" phenomenon and is "bad news for America's children." "It's provocative, this question of 'Do men bring something unique in the raising of a child?'?" says Hertz, chair of the women's studies department at Wellesley College... Read the full article here.

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Below are some recent articles and items of interest from Fathers & Families' latest News Digest. Larry David's divorce mirrored on 'Curb' (Associated Press, 10-23-07) More seniors consider divorce (The Korea Times, 10-23-07) Divorce will put woman on stand at first-degree murder trial (Vancouver Sun, 10-23-07) Center for Family Development serves in many ways (Shelbyville Times-Gazette, 10-24-07) Domestic Violence Laws Require Reform, Groups Say (Hawaii Reporter, 10-24-07) Divorce: a better way out of marriage (Telegraph, 10-24-07) African American divorce rates outpace other races (Kansas City Call, 10-24-07) Separating with civility (The Globe and Mail, 10-25-07) Couple's divorce experience helps others (SunHerald.com, 10-26-07) Kansas high court rules against sperm donor (Kansas City Star, 10-26-07)

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Background: Last week I partnered with Dr. Ned Holstein and Fathers & Families in a campaign to protest Florida Department of Children & Families' actions in the "Elian Gonzalez II" case in Miami. In that case, Rafael Izquierdo, a fit, loving father, has faced numerous obstacles to reunite with his 5-year-old daughter. Thousands of you have answered our call to action, and the campaign has been covered or cited in hundreds of newspapers, including by the Associated Press, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group, Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, and over a dozen Florida newspapers. Florida DCF, to its credit, has agreed to meet with us. To learn more or to join our campaign, click here. In our letters and faxes to Florida DCF we asked that they contact Dr. Holstein and meet with him to discuss the issues put forward in our protest. As the Miami Herald reports below, today that meeting occurred. In addition, Dr. Holstein met with embattled father Rafael Izquierdo. The article is Fathers' rights group meets with Cuban dad (Miami Herald, 10/24/07). According to the Herald: "A national fathers' rights group has taken on the cause of a Cuban father trying to gain custody of his daughter, an effort that included sit-downs with key players in the case Wednesday. "Dr. Ned Holstein, president of the Boston-based nonprofit Fathers & Families, flew to Miami to meet with the father of the 5-year-old girl at the center of the dispute, Rafael Izquierdo. "Holstein was also scheduled to meet with staffers at the Department of Children & Families Wednesday afternoon to ask them to drop their efforts to keep the girl in the United States. '''We've been following this very closely,' said Holstein, who said members and supporters of his group have sent more than 2,000 e-mails to Gov. Charlie Crist's office and DCF in recent weeks. '''I don't think there's bad faith here,'' Holstein said. 'But I think we're involved in a culture in which a father is considered irrelevant'... "Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri B. Cohen has ruled that Izquierdo is a fit parent. A second phase of the trial -- to determine whether the girl will be harmed if removed from the Cubas home -- is scheduled to begin Monday. Holstein, a physician who founded the nonprofit advocacy group following his own divorce, said he was impressed with Izquierdo's 'dedication to his daughter and determination to do the right thing.'" Read the full article here.

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Below are some recent articles and items of interest from Fathers & Families' latest News Digest. Larry David's divorce mirrored on 'Curb' (Associated Press, 10-23-07) More seniors consider divorce (The Korea Times, 10-23-07) Divorce will put woman on stand at first-degree murder trial (Vancouver Sun, 10-23-07) Center for Family Development serves in many ways (Shelbyville Times-Gazette, 10-24-07) Domestic Violence Laws Require Reform, Groups Say (Hawaii Reporter, 10-24-07) Divorce: a better way out of marriage (Telegraph, 10-24-07) African American divorce rates outpace other races (Kansas City Call, 10-24-07) Separating with civility (The Globe and Mail, 10-25-07) Couple's divorce experience helps others (SunHerald.com, 10-26-07) Kansas high court rules against sperm donor (Kansas City Star, 10-26-07)

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My new co-authored column, From a Felony to a Phone Call: Texas Prop 13 Will Allow Innocent Men to Be Jailed Without Bail (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Austin-American Statesman, 10/22/07), criticizes a Texas Proposition which has drawn the support of many state newspapers. The column appears below. I co-authored the piece with Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. From a Felony to a Phone Call: Texas Prop 13 Will Allow Innocent Men to Be Jailed Without Bail By Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks Texas voters will decide on November 6 whether to approve Proposition 13, a dangerous measure which will harm innocent men by greatly eroding the rights of those accused of domestic violence. The measure grants judges the ability to hold without bail those accused of nonviolent, trivial, or accidental violations of temporary restraining orders. Under current Texas law, the only defendants ineligible for bail are those accused of capital crimes. In addition, judges are provided discretion to deny bail to those who have been both charged with a felony and convicted or indicted for a previous felony. To deny bail, there must be "evidence substantially showing the guilt of the accused.' Prop 13 obliterates this, and opens the road for many innocent men to be held without bail. Like many states, Texas has adopted aggressive arrest procedures on domestic violence calls. The result has been that men are sometimes arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence based on thin evidence. After the arrest, Emergency Protective Orders are entered against the accused, typically barring him from going home or having any contact with his children. Fathers can violate the orders by innocent acts such as calling their own children, accidentally running into them and their mother in the mall, or going to their Little League games. Under Prop 13, judges will have the power to incarcerate without bail men who violate their EPOs. Moreover, the Proposition lowers the evidence standard from Substantial Showing to Preponderance of the Evidence, which can rapidly degenerate into a "he said/she said' contest that men usually lose. Even worse, Prop 13 also encourages the legislature to pass a law which would allow fathers who violate temporary ex parte protective orders to be jailed without bail. Women can obtain these orders by claiming their male partners abused them, and the men are then booted out of their own homes without ever having a chance to defend themselves in court. It is true that ex parte protective orders can be a useful tool to help protect battered women. However, as the Family Law News, the official publication of the State Bar of California Family Law Section, recently explained: "Protective orders are increasingly being used in family law cases to help one side jockey for an advantage in child custody…[the orders are] almost routinely issued by the court in family law proceedings even when there is relatively meager evidence and usually without notice to the restrained person.' These orders have become so commonplace that the Illinois Bar Journal calls them "part of the gamesmanship of divorce.' Dallas/Ft. Worth criminal defense attorney Paul Stuckle explains: "Judges pass out ex parte protective orders like Halloween candy. If judges read the estranged spouse's affidavits, it is typically a cursory review. The judges are handed a stack of these ex parte applications when they arrive in the morning, and they usually just rubber stamp them. There is rarely any meaningful judicial review." According to the Texas House of Representatives" House Research Organization, Prop 13"s proponents claim that accused men "would retain all their rights to due process and other protections. For example, the determination to deny bail would have to be made at a hearing in which the defendant could appeal the denial of bond or make a case for another bond.' This ignores the fact that protective orders--both the Emergency Protective Orders Prop. 13 will apply to or the ex parte protective orders Prop. 13 encourages the legislature to include--often seriously impair men"s ability to obtain legal representation and defend themselves. Protective orders make men homeless and can cut them off from their financial resources. In cases where they work with or near their wives, or operate businesses partly or wholly out of their homes, their incomes can disappear overnight. By contrast, women obtaining protective orders are afforded free legal services by victim advocates at local domestic violence shelters, and remain in the marital home. The House Research Organization also states: "The proposed amendment also could have unfair consequences relating to legislation enacted by the 80th Legislature – HB 1988 by Martinez – which allows some protective orders to be in effect for life. This could result in someone being denied bail for one mistake after years of following a protective order.' Prop 13 is reflective of a dangerous legal trend. Laws and police policies for those accused of domestic violence have been made increasingly draconian, clogging court calendars with weak or evidence-free cases which, were it any other crime, wouldn"t even be acted upon. At the same time, the judicial system hasn"t devoted substantial additional time and resources to investigating and adjudicating domestic violence claims. The result is often assembly-line justice in Kangaroo Courts. Prop 13 will accentuate this trend, and victimize many innocent men and fathers. This column first appeared in The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and the Austin-American Statesman (10/22/07). Mike McCormick is the Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. Their website is www.acfc.org. Glenn Sacks" columns on men's and fathers' issues have appeared in dozens of the largest newspapers in the United States. He invites readers to visit his website at www.GlennSacks.com

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In this Pizza Hut ad, mom and the kids are horrified that dad is going to make dinner, because, of course, he can't cook and only hip, smart mommy knows how to take care of the kids and run things. The commercial is supposed to be funny, and I suppose it would be if it weren't the thousandth time I've seen the "dad as idiot" theme. Chris, the reader who sent this to me, asks, "Why are men always the butt of the joke?" and that's about how I feel, too. In the picture, the mother, who's assigned the standard role of "yes kids, we know dad's a fool but don't say anything," is shocked--shocked!--that hubby came up with a good dinner. A good dinner he bought at Pizza Hut, of course. To watch the commercial, click here or see below. To watch some other videos of "dad as idiot" TV commercials, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, or just turn on your television for 75 seconds. [youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z5fg1ajFGao]

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"A man who was pardoned after spending 18 years behind bars for a rape he didn't commit has been sued for back child support."Dwayne Allen Dail, 39, was cleared in August of the 1987 rape of a 12-year-old Goldsboro girl. The girl identified him as her attacker and hair found at the scene was similar to his. But DNA evidence found on a fragment of the girl's nightgown years after the trial proved Dail wasn't involved in the attack. "Gov. Mike Easley pardoned Dail two weeks ago, making him eligible to receive $360,000 from the state – $20,000 for each year he spent in prison."Dail, who now lives in Florida, was served Tuesday with a lawsuit by Lorraine Michaels, the mother of his son, who is seeking back child support. The suit does not specify how much money she wants, as is normal in North Carolina, but asks a 'reasonable sum for the care and maintenance of the minor child.' Dail did not provide while he was in prison."Dail said he was devastated by the suit. He said his son recently moved to Florida to live with him. "Michaels' attorney, Sarah Heekin, said she filed court papers last week. "Heekin is in the same law office as Don Strickland, the former Wayne County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Dail for rape." The above is from Wrongly Convicted Man Sued for Child Support (10/23/07) from WRAL in North Carolina. A few comments and questions: 1) The man's son--who is 17 and was born after he went to prison--is now living with him--why should Dail (pictured) owe the ex child support? 2) "Dail did not provide while he was in prison"--what a bastard. While he was behind bars for 18 years for a crime he didn't commit, he didn't pay out part of the zero income he earned in prison to pay child support. 3) Lorraine Michaels takes being a greedy, self-centered ex to a new level. Does she really think she deserves a cut of the chicken feed $20,000 a year Dail got for being wrongly imprisoned? A few other facts about the case: 1) According to another WRAL article: "[Before the trial] prosecutors offered Dail a plea deal under which he would plead no contest to charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor and receive only three years' probation in return... "During the trial's closing arguments, [prosecutor] Strickland remarked on Dail's remarkable confidence in his innocence in the face of such serious charges, Dail said. "After being sentenced to two life sentences, plus 18 years, Dail continued to maintain his innocence from behind bars. His exoneration justified all that confidence, Dail said at his release... "In the future, Dail said he may write a book or go to college. He's also enjoying reconnecting with his 17-year-old son Chris Michaels, who was born after he went to prison. "'He's grown up only seeing his father in prison, and that's a terrible way for a kid to grow up,' Dail said. "'It's over, so we can now start spending more time together and getting to know each other a lot better,' Michaels said."

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Background: In my co-authored column, Servicemen victimized by child support system (World Net Daily, 6/27/07), I discuss the ways the child support enforcement system victimizes innocent citizens, particularly military personnel. I wrote: "Many men – particularly those in the military – are targets of abusive child support enforcement practices. While states receive federal funds for every child support dollar they collect, there are scant penalties for abuses. As a result, enforcement agencies have little incentive to give targeted men due process, to fix mistakes, or to write off erroneously or unfairly accrued debt. Instead, the bureaucracy simply charges ahead in trying to collect as much as possible." I have also discussed how difficult it often is for deployed servicemen to litigate or resolve their divorce and child custody matters while they are overseas. In my co-authored column Protect Deployed Parents" Rights (Tucson Citizen & others, 11/9/06), I wrote: "Divorced or separated military parents often lose custody of their children--and sometimes permanently forfeit any meaningful role in their lives--simply because they have served their country. Many married parents deploy overseas, never suspecting that their parenthood essentially ended the day they left home."Here is another example of how our child support and family law system mistreats military fathers. In this case, a father serving with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq comes back to the United States to visit his two daughters and ends up in jail for child support!Yes, he is behind on it--apparently because he was out of work for a while--but he has been paying child support directly out of his pay check each pay period. No, it doesn't sound like this dad did everything right, but it doesn't sound like he did much wrong either. It looks more like he was a victim of the child support system and his inability to fully litigate his divorce while overseas. Moreover, it sounds like this so-called "deadbeat dad" joined the Army and went to Iraq partly because he needed to earn money to help support his children. Now his short two-week visit home, in which he hoped to spend time with his two little daughters, has turned out so badly that he says he's looking forward to going back to Iraq! Welcome home, soldier. Here is another example of how our child support and family law system mistreats military fathers. In this case, a father serving with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq comes back to the United States to visit his two daughters and ends up in jail for child support!Yes, he is behind on it--apparently because he was out of work for a while--but he has been paying child support directly out of his pay check each pay period. No, it doesn't sound like this dad did everything right, but it doesn't sound like he did much wrong either. It looks more like he was a victim of the child support system and his inability to fully litigate his divorce while overseas. Moreover, it sounds like this so-called "deadbeat dad" joined the Army and went to Iraq partly because he needed to earn money to help support his children. Now his short two-week visit home, in which he hoped to spend time with his two little daughters, has turned out so badly that he says he's looking forward to going back to Iraq! Welcome home, soldier. Thanks to Mark, a reader, for sending me the story. Local GI sent to jail Oneonta Daily Star (10/23/07) By Jake Palmateer Staff Writer COOPERSTOWN _ A soldier from Oneonta on leave from Iraq said Monday he can't wait to return. Aaron O'Connor, serving with the 3rd Infantry Division, had 15 days back in the United States and said he intended to take care of personal business at Fort Stewart, Ga., as well as get his divorce finalized in Cooperstown. He said he also hoped to spend time with his two daughters. His ex-wife, Christina O'Connor, has full custody of their 8-year-old and 4-year-old daughters. What he said he didn't count on was spending a night in Otsego County jail on a contempt-of-court warrant issued in January relating to not paying child and spousal support. That warrant is based on a Dec. 13, 2006, judgment by Otsego County Family Court Judge Brian Burns that ordered O'Connor to a six-month commitment to jail unless he remained current on his support payments for 12 months and paid all medical and dental bills for the children. O'Connor said he was arrested on that warrant Friday while in Cooperstown to finalize his divorce. The arrest, he said, came as a shock because he has had his child and spousal support payments automatically deducted from his Army pay. He was released for the weekend to see his daughters but was ordered to report back to the jail Sunday night. After a family court appearance Monday, O'Connor, 30, said he was released from jail after paying $378, including money for an eye appointment and glasses for one of his two daughters. "I just spent time in jail for under $400," O'Connor said from a cell phone as he drove with his girlfriend to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. "This never should have happened." From Dulles, O'Connor will fly to Atlanta and then to Kuwait. After that, he said, his next stop is Camp Korean Village in Ar Rutba, Iraq. A former Marine, O'Conner joined the Army last fall with the rank of sergeant and shipped out to Iraq in January. "I don't like being away from my daughters. But it pays. It's what I know. It's what I do," O'Connor said. In court Monday, Judge Brian Burns pointed out that O'Connor owes $12,400 in child and spousal support since he separated from his wife two years ago. O'Connor doesn't dispute that he owes his ex-wife money and said he wants to set things right, although he did say the amount he owes is closer to $8,000. "There had been a time he did not pay support because he was unemployed," O'Connor's attorney Kara Harmon said after the court session. Christina O'Connor, 31, said she began receiving payments in February 2007. ccording to court documents, O'Connor is obligated to pay $172 for child support; $70 in spousal support; and $50 toward the $12,400 in arrears obligation each week. 'Connor said he makes about $5,000 a month while on duty in Iraq or about $3,000 a month while in the United States and has to pay $1,264 a month in child and spousal support. "Apparently he was ordered to pay child support on a weekly basis," Harmon said. But the Department of Defense only allocates child support, alimony or other deductions from a service member's pay on a monthly basis, Harmon said. This means O'Connor falls three weeks delinquent before he pays the full amount at the end of the month, she said. In court, Burns said O'Connor can very well pay a month of child and spousal support in advance in anticipation of the monthly allotments out of his pay to make up for not paying weekly. "This isn't about his convenience," Burns said. "This is about providing the mother ... child support she needs." Christina O'Connor said Monday night her ex-husband could have been sent to jail for the full six months if she had not agreed to accept just the payment he made that day. "We've been in and out of that court for two years," Christina O'Connor said. Harmon said her client would have been absent without leave had he been detained any longer. "It would have been a nightmare had it not been settled today," Harmon said. "It's outrageous." During the proceeding Monday, O'Connor wore and orange jail jumpsuit. His hands were handcuffed and his legs were shackled. Three armed sheriff's departmental personnel stood nearby. A request to remove handcuffs for O'Connor to sign paperwork was denied. "It's horrible to be treated like that as if I just murdered somebody or raped somebody," O'Connor said. Harmon said there are certain privileges that should be afforded to active duty service members deployed overseas because of the difficulties they may have in dealing with paperwork, mail and access to phones. Harmon said this case may have been different had it occurred in a community near a military base. "Obviously in those kinds of towns, they are much more aware of what these things entail," Harmon said. Aaron O'Connor said he's looking forward to returning to Iraq. But Christina O'Connor said it doesn't matter if her ex-husband is in Iraq or anywhere else. "He still has an obligation back in the United States," she said.

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Miami Herald columnist Ana Menendez discusses the "Elian Gonzalez II" campaign in her column Cuban girl's case is part of the larger story (Miami Herald, 9/23/07). Menendez, whose parents are Cuban immigrants, writes: "I believe the girl belongs with her father, Rafael. I believe children should be raised by their parents." This week I partnered with Dr. Ned Holstein and Fathers & Families in a campaign to protest this injustice. Thousands of you have answered our call to action, the campaign has been covered by the Associated Press, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group, Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, and over a dozen Florida newspapers. Florida DCF, to their credit, has agreed to meet with us. To learn more or to join our campaign, click here. Read Menendez's full column here.

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Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (pictured), though almost 41 years-old and with a history of injuries, has come through for the Red Sox again so far this postseason. With the Red Sox facing elimination in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, Schilling beat the Indians, allowing only two runs in seven innings. He also shut out the Angels for seven innings in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, much to the consternation of my father, a big Angels' fan, and myself. For several innings it looked like the Angels would get to Schilling, but he always avoided the knockout punch. Curt Schilling was very close to his father, and was devastated when his father died in January 1988. Later that year, Schilling made the major leagues, but his father had not lived to see it. Schilling told ESPN: "My father was the glue that held us together. When he died, I kind of lost my family." According to an entry on http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/, in a July 2005 interview, "Schilling revealed that in every difficult situation in life, he first asks what his father would have expected of him. In every game he starts, Curt reserves a seat for his father." The website adds: "Schilling was very close to his father, the dominant influence in his life. His father helped him believe in himself, but also taught him about discipline and duty. Curt"s father died of lung cancer shortly before Curt made it to the Major Leagues. Curt's behavior became erratic and unfocused, threatening his major league career, until a father figure, veteran Roger Clemens, took him aside and told him he was wasting his talent. Schilling then got serious about his career and became a dominant pitcher." In 2004, Schilling pitched for the Red Sox in the World Series, despite having a very painful ankle injury. The injury even bled during the game, but Schilling was effective, and the Red Sox won the World Series. The next year, Schilling had problems because of painful injuries and, being a very competitive athlete, was very upset over his situation. At the time, Schilling's wife commented to the media on how badly Schilling missed his father, and wished he were there to help him during this difficult time. It was quite a testament to the bond Schilling shared with his father--17 years after his father's death, Schilling still looked to him for help in a crisis.

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During last night's Republican presidential debate on FOX News, candidate Fred Thompson (pictured) cited family breakdown and the importance of fathers raising their children as being key to the well-being and education of America's youth. Unfortunately, he also implied that family breakdown was caused simply by fathers "not staying and raising their kids." To watch Thompson's comments, click here and scroll until there's about 2:45 left. Thanks to Kimberly, a reader, for sending it.

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Below are some recent articles and items of interest from Fathers & Families' latest News Digest. Local agencies get grant support (The Troy Messenger, 10-15-07) DHS, courts split on custody case (The Courier, 10-17-07) Local case points out complexities of schools, child custody (Naples Daily News, 10-17-07) Prosecutor: Custody dispute led to death (Winston-Salem Journal, 10-19-07) Documents Show Rowland Asked For Divorce Seal To Protect Kids (Associated Press, 10-17-07) Jon Voight Talks About His Divorce and Family Stigma (ABC News, 10-17-07) A domestic violence court? (Deseret Morning News, 10-16-07) Child support, bankruptcy trail former NBA player Caffey (The Press-Register, 10-21-07) Behind on child support? Forget getting a hunting license in Kansas (Pratt Tribune, 10-19-07)

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