The January 2012 issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology reports that fathers who take paternity leave avoid baby care and use the time to advance their professional careers, according to research done at the University of Virginia and the University of Connecticut.
In a survey of 109 male university professors who took paternity leave, only three of them spent any significant time caring for their infants by engaging in diaper changing, doctor visits, feeding and bathing their new-born child and remaining at their home to care for them.
Not surprisingly, 70 of 73 female professors who took maternity leave were found to have spent at least 50% of their maternity leave time on child care duties for their new infants. The survey found they spent considerable time breastfeeding their babies.
Fathers, on the other hand, spent their leave time doing extra research and focusing on publishing academic papers. Drs. Steven Rhoads and Christopher Rhoads opined that their research results indicate that despite lip service to equal parenting, they believe fathers do not enjoy parenting as much as their female counterparts.
They also suggest that while currently only 12% of fathers who are eligible for paternity leave take advantage of it, if the numbers increase, paternity leave could be prejudicial to women in the workforce as men exploit their extra time off to advance their careers, leaving women to dedicate their leave to the purpose it was intended for.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
If your boyfriend or girlfriend is a liar or worse, a cheater, you can “out” him or her, just like Stacey Blitsch and Amanda Ryncarz did when they posted their complaints about their former lover, lawyer Matthew Couloute, on LiarsCheatersRUs.com.
The website is designed to provide a forum for women and men whose wives, husbands or significant others have “done them wrong”, usually by engaging in one or more affairs during what they believed to be a monogamous relationship.
In the case of Matthew Couloute, a former prosecutor and Court TV analyst, when he learned that the LiarsCheaters comments were the first hits for him when anyone searched for him online, he sued both women for compensation for inflicting harm to his reputation and causing mental anguish and economic loss.
Ms. Blitsch was a professional roller derby skater and the mother of Mr. Couloute’s son, while Ms. Ryncarz reported that Mr. Coulote dumped her and married someone else twelve days later. The online comments from the women included “Lied and cheated his entire 40 years of life”;”He’s scum, run far away” and “Has no longterm friends. He rents or finances everything and owns absolutely nothing”.
The website makes it very clear that the material on the site is someone’s opinion and the owners of Liars Cheaters do not guarantee the truthfulness or accuracy of the posted allegations.
Last week Federal Judge Harold Baer threw out Mr. Couloute’s lawsuit saying that Mr. Couloute could not show he had suffered any professional damage and ruled the comments were not defamatory because they were “clearly hyperbolic”. The Judge said that it would be obvious to anyone that the comments were the “opinions of disappointed lovers”.
Mr. Couloute intends to appeal the ruling saying “When you look for a lawyer and the first thing that comes up on Google is defamatory, how are you not harmed?”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
An unprecedented phenomenon is taking place among baby boomers. In 1970 only 13% of adults over 50 were divorced, separated or never married. Today 33% of adults between 46 and 64 are divorced, separated or never married, according to census data compiled by Bowling Green State University in Ohio. As well, experts believe those numbers will increase as younger people approach their 40′s and 50′s, keeping in mind the lower rates of marriage among this age group.
The ramifications of this new reality are enormous for society in general. While older spouses typically rely on their spouses for support and care, the elderly single will look to government programs to assist them.
Statistics show that unmarried boomers are five times more likely to live in poverty than their married counterparts. They are also three times more likely to need food stamps, disability payments and social assistance.
Experts offer the following reasons for the surge in grey divorce:
1. People are living longer and married couples in their 50′s or 60′s are more reluctant to spend the rest of their lives together in a bad marriage;
2. As women become more financially independent they are more willing to leave a situation that their mothers and grandmothers could not, for purely economic reasons;
3. Baby boomers who experienced the sexual revolution of the 1960′s and 1970′s feel less social pressure to marry or stay married;
4. Being divorced or single as an older adult no longer holds the stigma it once did.
In our throw-away, secular society it is not surprising that the marriage covenant between husband and wife no longer has any value. However, spouses who have been abused verbally, emotionally, or physically can never be faulted for getting out to protect themselves and often, their children.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Catherine Gonzalez, age 23, was forced to go to court to get an order that her husband pay child support, an application that is brought routinely in family law courts across North America, when a parent refuses to pay support voluntarily.
Her husband Paul Gonzalez Jr., a former Marine, was enraged when Judge Geoffrey Cohen made the order and stormed out of the Judge’s chambers. But he returned, and attacked his wife, in front of Judge Cohen and her lawyer, pummeling his wife with his fists. Ms. Gonzalez suffered significant injuries including a broken nose, a broken jaw, a torn lip, a concussion, and severe bruises to her face and eyes.
The beating ended with the intervention of Ms. Gonzalez’s lawyer and court bailiffs who confronted Mr. Gonzalez with a stun gun.
This week Mr. Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the brutal assault on his wife, despite testimony from the a psychologist that he suffered from bi-polar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Judge Cohen was particularly incensed by Mr. Gonzalez’s attack in a court of law, where participants had every right to feel safe. The sentence he imposed was more than three times Florida’s maximum sentence for aggravated battery.
Earlier, Ms. Gonzalez had sought a restraining order against her husband but couldn’t persuade a judge to make that order.
In courts in British Columbia where counsel are concerned that one of the parties may become violent, a special request is made to ensure that a sheriff is in the courtroom during the hearing.
It is a shame that Ms. Gonzalez’s fear of her husband’s threatening behavior was not taken seriously, by anyone.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Whether you read Britain’s Daily Mail, Australia’s Daily Telegraph or any North American newspaper, you can’t escape the reality that students are no longer safe in their classrooms.
An Associated Press study identified 2,570 teachers who had lost their teaching credentials between 2001 and 2001 for sexual misconduct. In another study the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation estimated that between 1991 and 2000, 290,000 students had experienced some type of physical sexual abuse.
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the AP study confirmed that of the teachers who had their licenses revoked only 10% were women, however, you wouldn’t know that from the media coverage. The stories that hit the press focus on younger, attractive female teachers.
So, why would a mature professional woman, often married, ruin her career, her life and her family’s life to sleep with a 16-year old boy?
I have a number of theories:
1. The Cougar Effect
Today’s society has glamourized the notion of an older woman with a younger man. Courtney Cox’s TV show “Cougar Town” featuring Courtney as a 40-something divorcee, is the tip of a trend that saturates the media. After all, what could be wrong with a teenage boy having an affair with an experienced older woman?
2. We Fell in Love
The most infamous teacher/student case is that of teacher, wife and mother, Mary Kay Letourneau, then 34-years old and her 13-year old student, Vili Fualaau, both from Washington State. She was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation for having sex with her young student. Her sentence was more lenient because she agreed she would no longer see Vili, however, shortly after she finished her six-month term, she was found having sexual relations with him in a car.
She then served seven years in prison, giving birth to their two children, conceived when she was out of jail. Upon her release Mary Kay and Vili married, selling the photos to Entertainment Weekly for $750,000. She also wrote a book about her story which was published in France.
Interestingly, her father John Schmitz, who was a California Senator and U.S. Congressman, saw his political career flounder after it was discovered that he had carried on an affair and had two children out-of-wedlock. Her parents separated after the news broke, but later reconciled.
Part 2 of this post will be published tomorrow.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
When I was in high school, albeit many decades ago, I never heard of teacher/student affairs. The closest relationship to that of teacher/student was our school’s male drama teacher, who married one of his students after she graduated from high school. I have no idea when their liaison began but there was no hue and cry, only some whispering in the corridors.
I also remember one female teacher inviting me and another girl in my Grade 12 class to come to her apartment on a Saturday morning to eat cantaloupe with her on her balcony. It seemed perfectly innocent to me. In the 1960′s nobody ever assigned a perverse motive to such an invitation.
Consider the following additional explanations for the scandal of a young teacher bedding a teenage boy:
Psychologists who have looked at teacher/student relationships posit that frequently a teacher will be facing difficulties in her home life, most commonly marital problems. In the case of Pamela Rogers, age 27, who had a three-month intimate relationship with a 13-year-old student, a forensic psychologist who testified on her behalf in court, explained that she was demoralized and feeling empty inside as she realized her marriage was unravelling. From there, she seemingly lost touch with the rules of society and began a process of “magical thinking”.
Pamela’s case astonished her Tennessee community as she had been a homecoming queen, referred to in the press as a “blonde bombshell”. She was a stunning beauty, who ended up with multiple charges for sexual battery and statutory rape. She plead “no contest” and was sentenced to nine months in jail with an eight year probation period to follow.
Just like Mary Kay Letourneau, she continued the relationship with her young paramour, sending him nude photos, sex videos and text messages. Her inability to stop the relationship led to a nine-year prison term at Tennessee’s Women’s Prison and designation as a sexual offender.
2. History of Sexual Abuse
Women who were sexually abused as children may fall into the same pattern they were exposed to. Dr. Larry Morris, author of the book “Dangerous Women: Why Mothers, Daughters and Sisters Become Stalkers, Molesters and Murderers” opines that many woman who engage in illicit relationships with children come from “conflict-ridden families where they don’t learn healthy social skills. Many learned to get their emotional needs–for love, attention and approval–met through sexual behavior.”
It is sadly disturbing that adult women can inflict such pain on their young charges,ignoring the harm they are causing to these boys or girls. In Part 3 of this post I will review the “Mrs. Robinson” sex fantasy that this conduct doesn’t damage boys, it helps them.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Actor Dennis Quaid, the more reserved brother of Vancouver resident, Randy Quaid, is in the throes of his third divorce. He and his estranged wife, Kimberly Buffington Quaid, were married for seven years.
In 2007 the Quaid’s had twins who almost died after mistakenly receiving an overdose of a blood thinner while in the care of the prestigious Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The Quaids were awarded $500,000.00 in compensation for their infants’ ordeal.
The divorce petition filed by Ms. Quaid last week in their home state of Texas alleges a conflict of personalities and the relief sought includes a division of assets and spousal support.
That’s where it gets tough, especially for Ms. Quaid. Until very recently, spousal support would only be awarded if the potential recipient had suffered physical abuse from her spouse, and the violence resulted in a conviction against the assaultive spouse, or the spouses had been married for at least ten years. If one qualified for support the term of support was limited to three years and the lesser of $2500.00 per month or 20% of the payor’s income.
In September 2011 the support law was amended to provide that support could be paid, in cases of family violence and a ten-year marriage, to a maximum amount of $5000.00 per month for a period no longer than five years. If a marriage lasted between ten and twenty years, support could be paid for seven years and marriages over thirty years could result in support payments for ten years.
While a number of U.S. states are overhauling their spousal support laws to limit spousal support payments and eliminate life-time support, Texas has been ahead of the curve for many years.
If one compares Texas support law to British Columbia support law, there is a stark difference. While Texan spouses are subject to onerous eligibility criteria, British Columbian spouses will typically receive support, particularly if they did not work during the marriage, with the amount being based on the husband’s income and the family’s lifestyle during the marriage. Certainly, there are no caps of $2500.00 or $5000 per month.
In fact, it is not unusual in B.C. to see indefinite support awards of upwards of $10,000 per month. Texan men have it easy when it comes to spousal support
I expect that in troubled Texan marriages husbands have a significant incentive to pull the plug before year ten has come to an end. Sounds like the good ol’ boys club is flourishing.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
In 2008 Iranian lawmakers unsucessfully sought to allow registration of “temporary marriages”, also called “sigheh”, but were compelled to put the legislation on hold after sustained public clamour challenged the bill as destructive to Iranian families.
However, Iran’s Parliament has now passed their version of a compromise bill by enacting a new article in the 1975 Family Protection Act, which mandates the registration of “temporary marriages” where a child is born.
While called “temporary”, these marriages more properly fit the description of plural marriages. The stated purpose of this new law is to provide rights for women who occupy the role of a man’s second or third wife, and to protect children born of these relationships.
These marriages are not considered legal marriages but are contractual unions often with a time frame agreed to in advance.
Iran’s Cultural Commission tried to persuade Parliament that all temporary marriages should be registered, however, legislators determined in a vote of 104 to six, that such a wholesale registration would thwart the attractiveness of temporary marriage and interfere with the private lives of Iran’s male citizens.
Opposition leader Zahra Ranavard, former dean of Al-Zhara University and now under house arrest, decried the imposition of this change, denouncing the law as a threat to the institution of marriage in Iran.
Prior to the passing of this bill, an Iranian man could only take a second wife with the consent of his first wife. The new criteria ignores the sentiments of first wives and only stipulates that a polygamous husband show proof in court that he can support both wives.
Proponents say the concept of a temporary marriage suits the Iranian culture where sex before marriage is a criminal offence and non-virgins have little hope of entering into a legal marriage. As well, with a large part of Iranian’s population under the age of thirty, the registration of a temporary partner provides a solution for young people who wish to respect Iran’s laws on sexual activity.
However, most of Iran’s women’s organizations oppose the law saying that despite its goal of protecting women and their children, it further legitimizes polygamy in Iran, which is a violation of gender equality.
The point they make has merit because despite sharia law endorsing polygamy, today there are very few polygamous marriages in Iran. The government’s tacit endorsement of temporary marriage may reverse that trend leading to the disintegration of families.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Family law publications and criminal law case books are rife with examples of extreme retaliation, tactics, and tricks parents employ to wrench their child away from a demonized father or mother.
From murdering their child’s other parent, or murdering their child, to kidnapping a child, there are no options off the table for parents seeped in rage over their sudden inability to control their spouse and children. (To read posts on these topics see: November 26, 2011 “4 of the Sleaziest Child Abduction Tactics”; April 23, 2011 “Murder is Cheaper and Quicker Than Divorce”; and February 22, 2011 “Family Law Nightmares”)
The number of recent media reports of separated husbands killing their wives is frightening, particularly when law enforcement lacks evidence to prosecute and convict the offenders.
In these worst-case scenarios, one often recognizes emotional or mental imbalance in the individuals who cannot stand to lose, even if it means a permanent loss of their freedom.
There are, of course, far-less draconian methods of interfering with a child’s parental relationship, such as the strategy used by California mother, Alicia Spenger.
Her estranged husband and the father of their child, Mitchell Katz, was the owner of a California winery.
Ms. Spenger collaborated with a private investigator and a cast of characters who convinced Mr. Katz that his winery should be the subject of a reality television program.
In an elaborate charade, which included meetings, emails and a site visit by a TV camera crew and the show’s producer, Mr. Katz imbibed a few glasses of wine with the crew, only to drive away from his winery and be arrested for drunk driving.
Police Officer Stephen Tanabe’s presence down the road was no coincidence. He was a part of the plan so carefully engineered by Ms. Spenger and her private detective, Christopher Butler, who is no stranger to these kinds of set-ups.
Now Mr. Katz has filed a law suit seeking compensatory and punitive damages against his former wife and others who conspired to lead him into the ruse.
Yes, he willingly drank wine and was not under any coercion by anyone to drive after drinking, however, the act of his wife planning his demise, both from a family court and criminal law perspective is chilling.
A litigant like Alicia Spenger puts her “wants’ before her child’s best interests. Simply devious.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
In a recent speech to a crowd of more than 500 Catholics in Denver, Colorado, Justice Scalia encouraged the group to have “the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity” by society’s sophisticates.
In my view, the same admonition applies to evangelical Christians in North America, who are often the subject of derision and scorn.
While the belief in a creator and the teachings of Jesus do not usually attract disdain, any mention that Jesus is God, that he was crucified, died, and rose from the dead three days later, ascended into heaven and will return to earth at a time unknown to mankind, is typically regarded as “simple-minded” by so-called intellectuals.
Justice Scalia is quick to say that believers should not abandon their reason and intellect as “faith without a rational basis should be laid aside as fraud”.
Scalia’s comment leads inexorably to a consideration of the faith of America’s Republican candidates for President.
With Governor Mitt Romney emerging as the likely candidate for the Presidency, his Mormon faith will undoubtedly be the subject of intense scrutiny.
While the Governor is a fine man and likely the most winnable contender in the race against Obama, the Mormon faith remains an enigma to most people.
What is beyond debate is that there are no historical records to support the Mormon faith’s central tenet, that founder Joseph Smith was visited by God Almighty in New York State, and came into possession of the “golden plates”, the basis for the Book of Mormon and the doctrine of the Church of Latter- Day Saints.
Even scholars who are adherents to the Mormon faith are unable to verify and attest to the accuracy of the foundation of their religion.
If one studies the history of the Mormon Church and reviews the accumulated literature and research, Justice Scalia’s words find meaning.
Meanwhile, back in the world of American justice and politics , notable Catholics include leading Democrat and Republican politicians or their appointees, such as former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, current Speaker John Boehner, Vice President Joe Biden, Republican contender Rick Santorum, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Kennedy and Sotomayor, all of the United States Supreme Court.
The separation of Church and State in America is constitutionally mandated, but as Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson said:
“The separation of church and state is a source of strength, but the conscience of our nation does not call for separation between men of state and faith in a Supreme Being.”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
In a startling report from the British Journal of Medical Ethics, an Oxford research assistant and professor at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Francesca Minerva, and her co-author Dr. Alberto Giubilini, from the University of Milan, argue that “after-birth” abortion should be available to women on the same grounds “pre-birth” abortion is.
The reasons for their position include:
1. A young baby is not a real person and so killing a baby is not much different than aborting a child;
2. Even if a baby is healthy, if the child’s mother decides she is unable to look after the baby, the mother’s wishes should prevail;
3. Disabled children may be happy, but they will never reach the potential of a “normal” child;
4. To bring up a disabled child, may be a burden on the child’s family and society;
5. The child’s mother may not have the time or energy to care for a baby;
6. While adoption may be attractive, it could cause undue stress on a mother;
Needless to say, the fall-out from Dr. Minerva’s article “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” has been received with shock by scholars, ethicists, and religious leaders in Britain. The question posed is as offensive as promoting the culling of the elderly, once they become less than useful members of the community.
The Journal’s editor defends the piece, saying the publication’s role is to present well-reasoned arguments and not to promote one particular moral view.
The scathing criticism leveled against Dr. Minerva came as a surprise to her she said, and she believes the article has been taken out of context:
“I wish I could explain to people that it is not a policy-and I’m not suggesting that and I’m not encouraging that.”
While infanticide was legal in Rome and other ancient civilizations, it boggles the mind to think that 21st century western culture could ever accept Dr. Minerva’s hypothesis, whether she believes it or not.
Dr. Minerva has the right to say what she thinks, but it is disingenous of her to suggest that her provocative thesis would not be met with alarm, even anger.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
No matter what news sites you frequent or what newspapers you read, inevitably you will see a plethora of articles decrying the state of family law, whether it’s in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, or a myriad of other countries where beleaguered husbands, wives, parents, grandparents and children are taking a stand against justice systems that do not serve their best interests.
The legitimate complaints are legion and run the gamut from too few judges and impossibly lengthy delays; to outrageous legal fees, and a system that fosters disharmony and conflict.
Family law mediation has played an important role in alleviating the worst parts of the family courts, but mediation, which requires two reasonable people willing to compromise on the issues between them, is not for everyone.
There will always be people who are unable to “give in” and would rather have a decision foisted on them, than agree to anything their estranged spouse might suggest. The mere fact that a proposal comes from their former partner is enough to compel them to reject it.
These are the people who end up in court in lengthy trials that have exacting costs: financially and emotionally. When custody of children is an issue, the battleground of the courtroom renders justice that is often demanding, demeaning and destructive.
Certainly it is true that courtroom justice is for the very few who can afford it. Our system of family law has priced itself out of reach of the average middle-class family.
As social reformers and parliamentarians search for a remedy for what ails our family law courts, many jurisdictions have arrived at the conclusion that mediation must be expanded, to include judicial mediation, and that arbitration must be implemented for those cases that need decisive finality.
British Columbia’s long-awaited overhaul of the 1979 Family Relations Act, the pending Family Law Act, codifies family law arbitration, a sign that B.C’s Attorney-General’s Ministry has realized that family law courts are the worst place for couples to resolve their divorce issues.
How does arbitration work? First of all, you need senior, experienced family law lawyers or retired judges with an affinity for family law, a group that is almost extinct. Insiders know very well that most judges would opt out of family law cases if they had a choice. Extensive training is necessary to learn the skills required, akin to those a judge brings to her courtroom.
An arbitrator must be a neutral professional who understands the purpose and goals of arbitration and is an expert in the rules of evidence, rules that are less stringent than those found in the litigation arena. Also important is a depth of knowledge of substantive family law.
The key to arbitration is not to turn the process into a facsimile of the court system. The cornerstone of arbitration is a simplified, expedited decision-making process where both parties are heard and swift, reasoned, justice is fashioned.
The parties and their lawyers choose how they wish to proceed. Often couples agree on a statement of facts, submit their evidence via affidavits, provide a summary of the law relied on, and deliver their material to the arbitrator. Sometimes the parties’ lawyers will request an opportunity to provide oral argument with time limits agreed to in advance.
Where the arbitrator is charged with deciding one or two discrete legal issues, the arbitration can be booked within thirty days and the arbitrator can and should produce a written decision within thirty days after receiving the parties’ submissions.
Family law arbitration is also ideal for couples who do not want their “dirty laundry” on display for the entire world to see. Our courts operate transparently, a value that is cherished in democratic countries; however, the Reasons for Judgment in any given lawsuit are published on the internet, often revealing embarrassing details of family life and finances. Did you know your neighbor Mr. Smith was a cross-dresser?
For couples who have tried mediation and failed, arbitration is the beginning of a future that eschews high-costs and high conflict, an option whose time has come.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Forget the Amazing Race, Survivor, or The Bachelor, the best reality show on TV today is the Republican Presidential race. It has everything these shows have and so much more.
The first episodes focused on Herman Cain, a political neophyte, definitely not the maligned “Washington insider” that voters are urged to run from, CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, and later CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
Cain’s candidacy was initially met with humour, meaning “how funny is it that this guy thinks he has a chance?” But Mr. Cain fooled everyone as his bombastic, yet charismatic personality, began to charm throngs of Republican voters and independents alike. He had a lot of pluses, including his African-American heritage. For a short time he was out-polling President Obama.
Cain was able to quickly brand his message on tax reform in one simple phrase “9/9/9”. However, like scenes from The Bachelor, where one guy dates fifteen women, an entourage of women appeared on the scene, each of them alleging personal, intimate relationships with Mr. Cain. It seemed as if the parade of “tell-all” stories had no end, and when perpetual victimized female defender, Gloria Allred jumped into the fray, as she is wont to do, it was all over for Herman Cain.
Scene two developed around a new, fresh candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry. Like his colleagues, initially his ratings soared as the Republican base responded to his Texan charm and invocation of motherhood and apple pie issues for Republicans, including more guns, more jails and less dependence on government.
However, he too faded fast when it became apparent that he resembled the typical airhead blonde on The Bachelor. He couldn’t keep up with the big boys when it came to public speaking, debating or analyzing core issues. The nail in his coffin was his exclamation “Oops” in one of his last debate appearances, after realizing he had bumbled and fumbled yet again. He left the Amazing Race unable to finish as a Survivor.
The latest episodes revolve around the trifecta of Governor Mitt Romney, Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and Pennsylvania Governor Rick Santorum, an eclectic collection of candidates. Oh, yes, Senator Ron Paul is also running but he has maintained his “no competition” status from the get-go.
Governor Romney has “been there, done that” in 2008, when he was a presidential contender battling Senator John McCain, who took that race. A casting director could not have found a better candidate than Governor Romney. He is a man of extremes, including extreme wealth, an extreme organization and Super Pac behind him, and he is extremely telegenic. Dare I say it? Yes, the guy is a “hunk”, obviously a candidate for People magazine’s “Sexiest Man of the Year”, joining George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and the rest of the beefcake boys.
He is currently the candidate who has won the most delegates and continues on an upward trajectory towards the finish line. His bait has landed the support of independents and middle-of-the road Republicans, while Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum fish in friendlier waters, down south where “grits” and “God” abound. I predict Governor Romney will be the Survivor.
The candidacy of New Gringrich could fill a book by itself. That he is a brilliant debater and a treasure trove of political savvy, only matched by his enormous intellect, is hard to deny. But he may be too smart for his own good. He is a man with a gigantic ego who refuses to accept that he can’t win and he won’t win, and it’s not because he allegedly divorced his first wife while she was undergoing cancer treatments. It’s about his wacky ideas.
Early in his campaign Mr. Gingrich introduced his proposal to force judges whose decisions weren’t in keeping with his moral and political views, to appear before Congress to explain and account for their actions. Shades of pre-Glasnost Soviet Union come to mind.
His dislike for Governor Romney is becoming pathological and at this point it appears to me that his continued candidacy is merely to spite the Governor. There is a political role for Mr. Gingrich to play but it is miles away from the Oval Office.
Finally, Rick Santorum is also a viable candidate in this Amazing Race. He has several key criteria down pat. He is not a Mormon, but a more family friendly Catholic, he has a big smile; and he and his wife have seven children. He even out scores Mitt Romney who has a mere five children.
Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich are drawing delegates from the sale pool of voters: hardcore Conservatives. Perhaps the two of them will do a “deal” to outwit and outsmart Governor Romney.
We’ll have to wait and see, because this race is far from over. Tune in next week for further episodes.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Why are we so afraid of our transgendered sisters and brothers? I think it’s because we live in a society that has refused to acknowledge them. We have kept them cloistered and far away from our world. We have tried to ignore them; refused to educate ourselves about them; and confused them with cross-dressers, drag queens and other assorted gender-benders. If we ignore them, they don’t exist.
It seems the media only reports on transgendered people when they are prostitutes who end up in the press for cavorting with well-known actors, like Hugh Grant and Eddie Murphy, or when they are famous like Chaz Bono and Renee Richards. Some of us think they are mentally ill. Most of us don’t really know what they are all about, and don’t want to know.
This week’s news that Miss Universe Canada, Jenna Talackova, was removed from the Donald Trump Miss Universe pageant, brings home all the issues we are afraid to talk about.
Are men and women who transition to the opposite sex, gay or lesbian? What does sexual orientation have to do with gender identity? Are people really “born in the wrong body” or is their perception skewed by childhood sexual abuse or other traumatic events?
First of all, not all people who identify internally as the opposite gender transition to a new identity, however, the ones that do are called transsexuals. Transgendered people are just like the rest of us: they can be heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian. Their sexual orientation is not linked to their internal genetic identity.
While the American Psychological Association refers to a condition called “gender identity disorder”, not all transgendered people have this disorder, only those who are psychologically impacted by their situation resulting in severe stress, anxiety, depression or other anti-social behaviors.
Medical researchers posit various theories on why some people are transgendered. We know that our gender is based on chromosomes: XX for women and YY for men. We also know that some people are born with both male and female genitalia.
Other medical experts opine that fluctuating hormones during pregnancy may affect gender; others link gender identity to brain structure. No one in the medical community believes that transgenderism is a chosen behavior.
Jenna Talackov is a beautiful women who began her gender journey at the age of four, when she realized she was a girl. At fourteen she began hormonal treatments and had surgery five years later. She competed with 65 other women and won Miss Canada. That she fits the Trump beauty queen mold is unquestionable.
Like other genetic anomalies, such as Downs syndrome, education is the key to understanding. Can you imagine a pageant contestant with Downs syndrome being ushered out the door? Never. We must look discrimination in the face and affirm it has no place in our lives.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
You look at today’s decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal in Canada v. Bedford 2012 ONCA 186 and recognize that while you still cannot communicate in public or in a motor vehicle to discuss the sale of sex, you can sell sex, just like before, without fear of arrest, and in twelve months you can legally offer sexual services from your own bedroom, without being charged for running or occupying a “common bawdy-house”.
So, what is a “common bawdy-house”? The words are used interchangeably with “brothel” and connote vulgarity, indecency, and debauchery. The Ontario Court did not strike down the law on keeping or occupying a common bawdy-house, rather they deleted the word “prostitution” from the definition section which now reads:
“a common bawdy-house is a place kept or occupied for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of acts of indecency”.
With one stroke of a judicial pen, sex workers can soon legally offer their services from their home, an option that was otherwise unavailable to them. Without this change in the law, sex workers can only work the streets or meet their “dates” in a hotel or a client’s home.
The crime of keeping or occupying a common bawdy-house was legislated to combat neighbourhood disruption or disorder and safeguard public health and safety, however, the Court today ruled that the safety of working girls is more important than maintaining a quiet neighbourhood, recognizing the extreme risks of harm that befall street sex trade workers.
The Court also held that the law against “living off the avails of prostitution”, while intended to target pimps, was inadvertently outlawing reasonable services required by prostitutes including drivers, spotters, and bodyguards. Thus, the Court inserted language into the Criminal Code that only bars commercial relationships between prostitutes and their service providers where the relationship is conducted “in circumstances of exploitation”.
The decriminalization of these Criminal Code provisions raise difficult issues that fall along ideological lines. Prime Minister Harper is on record as saying that prostitution is bad for society and harmful to communities. .
Meanwhile liberal factions believe the Court’s tinkering with the law does not go nearly far enough. They seek complete decriminalization of prostitution laws as modeled by the Netherlands experience.
For Canadians, the jury is out until the Supreme Court of Canada rules on the issue or the Harper government takes a stab at enacting laws that maintain the illegality of prostitution-related offences without offending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of life, liberty and security of the person.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Early on I saw a natural synergy between my family law practice and my access to hordes of soon-to–be-divorced men and women. There was a time when I had a stable of single guys looking to recommit to a lovely lady and an equal quota of bright, attractive women eager to date and mate, if the opportunity arose.
But that was before, not now. Vancouver is bereft of quality single guys willing to date a 40-or 50-something gal. So what has happened in the meantime? Lots.
First of all, we already know that men are loath to make a commitment to a woman even if they are madly in love with her. Guys are just slower to decide whether “the bird in their hand” is as good as the one “in the bush”.
Consider this recent example: my posh 58-year-old friend/client was set up on a blind date with a guy who frequented the same Mercedes dealership she did. After a few phone calls, our guy asked my friend if she wanted to have dinner with him. She said yes and off they went.
However, he chose a neighbourhood restaurant where she was well-know, and apparently he was too. The restaurant proprietor greeted her warmly and then acknowledged her date, noting that he had not seem him in the restaurant lately. That’s when the evening went downhill.
Mr. Mercedes protested that he had never been in the restaurant before and that the owner must be mixing him up with someone else. After ordering a salad and a glass of wine, the formerly amorous gentlemen pronounced the end of their date and drove my friend home.
Yes, my friend later discovered she was friends with his live-in girlfriend’s closest girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, he purchased a large diamond ring and entered into holy matrimony with his fiancee. Who knows how many other women he saw before he settled into domestic life? That’s not classy.
Another reason there are few eligible bachelors for the more mature set, is because they are already spoken for before they even file for divorce. While there are some truly devastated husbands who can’t believe their wife walked away, mostly, they are already paired up before they have paid a retainer to their divorce lawyer.
Why is that? Infidelity is still the leading cause of divorce in my practice. It comes in all shapes and sizes: the old girlfriend he ran into at the high school reunion; his secretary at the office; the pub waitress. One common denominator is they are usually at least ten years younger that the Mrs.
But you say, Vancouver has scores of cultured, attractive, and well-dressed men, just go to the opera, the theatre or the best restaurants in town. Yup, but they’re gay! They make wonderful companions, but the girls I know are after the now-elusive romance they once had.
By the way, Vancouver’s commercial matchmaking game is disastrous. Seems like a tired group of men have made the rounds of all the pros and still haven’t found a woman who would put up with them. You pay them $3000 for a few dates with a guy who needs to be at least 6 feet tall and they pair you up with five guys who are under 5’7″. What a bargain.
We’re left with the internet and frankly, I’ve heard mixed reviews! What’s a girl to do?
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
© 2010 Georgialee Lang