Saturday, December 22, 2012

The First Amendment Prevails in Louisiana and California

Two recent First Amendment victories are in the news this week.

(1) Woman can flip the bird in Christmas lights.
(2) Therapists can try to convert gays.

Both stories are best read in their online versions. They involve free speech and free association.

In the Louisiana case, a woman put up lights in the shape of a hand flipping off her neighbors against whom she held a grudge. She was first told to take it down by police, which she did. Then she put it back up after the ACLU wrote a letter to the paper on her behalf. She was again threatened by authorities with violation of the obscenity law, and finally she filed suit. The court ruled that she has a First Amendment right of free speech and can display the holiday-lighted gesture.

In the California case, a judge put a halt to the enforcement date of a law that was passed recently that prohibited counselors from trying to convert gay youth from their sexual persuasion. The law was passed earlier this year and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. For now the implementation date has been put on hold. The case will be re-visited. But it is a small victory for parents and for youth who believe that "conversion Therapy" might help them, given that they want to try to change. (Isn't that what President Obama called for, after all?)



Two Medical Cases with Strange Outcomes

Two medical cases where things went wrong caught my eye in the news this week. The first is from the Bluegrass State. I heard about it a couple of years ago, and it made me recall my days of medical malpractice defense work. You learn a lot of medical terminology doing that type of work since you have to review a lot of medical records and depose doctors and other medical personnel. Luckily, I never ran into a case like this first one, even though I worked in Kentucky.

Plaintiff Seaton
A man with penile problems was scheduled to have a circumcision to alleviate pain in 2007. Phillip Seaton signed a waiver that stated the doctor could undertake other procedures if he thought they were necessary during surgery. He knew that he had squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, in his penis but he did not know how serious it was. The surgery took place at Jewish Hospital in Shelby County, Kentucky.

Life saver? Dr. John Patterson (right) talks to his lawyer Clay Robinson during the trial at Shelby County Courthouse in Shelbyville, Kentucky
Dr. Patterson (right) and his attorney
During surgery, Doctor John Patterson discovered squamous cancer cells were much wider spread than previously thought. So the doctor amputated a portion of the man's penis. When he awoke, he was pretty upset. He and his wife sued the doctor and the hospital. The hospital settled with the man, but the doctor took it to trial. Patterson claimed he saved the life of his patient by taking immediate action during the surgery.

A jury found that the doctor did not overstep his bounds in going the extra mile to resolve Seaton's problem. Indeed, Seaton signed a waiver permitting the doctor to exercise discretion, so he did consent to the additional surgery in the waiver. A witness also signed the form. Only later was it revealed that Seaton could not read, a fact that he did not tell Dr. Patterson at the time he signed the waiver.

Seaton appealed the decision, and it was the Court of Appeals decision this week that brought the case back into the news. Two of the three appellate judges, both female, found in favor of the doctor and upheld the trial court's decision -- the doctor acted within the parameters of what was medically necessary and prudent and did not violate the medical discretion that is afforded to doctors. Will Seaton appeal to the Supreme Court of Kentucky? That remains to be seen. It has been five years since the surgery, and undoubtedly it will be difficult to find an attorney who will be willing to front the cost. His current attorney may be obliged to file the appeal. But certainly he will not be happy if he is required by the rules of professional responsibility to see the case through to the end.

The second medical malpractice case this week that caught my eye involves a stem cell treatment gone wrong on a California woman. The story was first reported in Scientific American, and this is how they reported on the incident that was the subject of this case.
 When cosmetic surgeon Allan Wu first heard the woman's complaint, he wondered if she was imagining things or making it up. A resident of Los Angeles in her late sixties, she explained that she could not open her right eye without considerable pain and that every time she forced it open, she heard a strange click—a sharp sound, like a tiny castanet snapping shut. After examining her in person at The Morrow Institute in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Wu could see that something was wrong: Her eyelid drooped stubbornly, and the area around her eye was somewhat swollen. Six and a half hours of surgery later, he and his colleagues had dug out small chunks of bone from the woman's eyelid and tissue surrounding her eye, which was scratched but largely intact. The clicks she heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another.
What was causing the clicking in the woman's eyelid? Bones. Yes, bones. A summary from another source explains:
Bone cell
 [T]he very scientific-sounding stem cell facial was administered by cosmetic surgeons who "removed abdominal fat cells with liposuction and isolated the adult stem cells within." Next, they injected those stem cells into the woman's face, which theoretically should stimulate the growth of new, youthful skin cells.

The catch? The stem cells in question can develop into bone, cartilage, fat, or other tissues. The doctors also injected the woman's face with a dermal filler during the procedure, one that contained calcium hydroxylapatite, a mineral that encourages those stem cells to develop into bone, not skin. That lovely combination is what doctors think caused the cells to turn into bone and result in this freakish "side-effect."

Stem cells, which essentially act like chameleons (for want of a better analogy) and take on the characteristics of the nearest tissue that they can replicate, grew into small bone fragments grew in her eyelid. That's what was clicking together in her eye. It just goes to show you that $20,000 cannot buy you happiness.

So, those are the two boner cases in one week that caught my eye because they caused the respective patients a great deal of pain, in one way or another. I just hope these two senior citizens (he is 66 and she is described as being in her late 60s) can find a way to live their late years in . . . fulfillment.



Doctor Fires Assistant Because She Was "Simply Irresistible"

This employment case out of Iowa is interesting and has implications for both employers and employees. A dentist employer fired a ten-year female employee because he said she was too attractive and he found her irresistible. The dentist's wife also worked in the business, and when her husband began showing signs that he was attracted to the female assistant, the dentist and his wife sought counseling. The solution to saving their marriage was to fire the woman who was threatening it -- even though she did not know she was a threat.

Iowa's Justices
The female employee sued on grounds of gender discrimination. But the trial court judge dismissed the case saying the made its way to the Supreme Court of Iowa, where a panel of seven all-male judges ruled 7-0 that this was not discrimination based on gender. Rather the male employer's decision to terminate the female employee was based on his desire to save his marriage.

Whether the female employee will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court remains to be seen. If there is no issue of federal civil law, then she cannot appeal. I do not know what laws she cited in her case, but if they were based on state.  law only, then this case is finished and she won't be getting anything more from the dentist. At least not monetary.

Paris Hilton should be glad she doesn't have to get a real job.

Friday, December 21, 2012

That Stinks: Federal Workers Cannot Use FSA for Beano

I took the liberty of obscuring the identity
of the character in the middle to protect
his identity too.
There is, as of now, no lawsuit filed in the case I am about to alert you to. But I suspect it will not be long before that happens. The underlying reason for the suit will not be that he was fired from his federal government job -- although he was. Rather, it will be intentional infliction of mental/emotional distress. This federal worker was given a formal reprimand for . . . how can I say this with a straight face . . . passing too much gas too often with too much gusto.

Reportedly, the worker was charged with "conduct unbecoming  a federal officer." You can read the actual letter sent to the employee of the Social Security Administration at

I have to wonder: where in the heck did they get the photograph that was on the Internet?



Monday, December 17, 2012

Bucky Balls Going the Route of the Dinosaur

Back in August I posted on my other blog about a fun desk toy called Bucky Balls. At that time the fight was on to save this unique and addictive toy from extinction. Well, the fight is over. Bucky Balls lost. They are days away from going the way of the ... dinosaur. I would have said "dodo" but there are plenty of them left at the CPSC. Here is my video once again that I made for the "Save Bucky Balls" campaign.

You can still get a set a set of Bucky Balls if you act fast. They'll be gone forever from public sale in less than 3 days! Go to If you use the code FinalHours at checkout you can save 20% or so. That equates to getting your shipping for free if you order a full set. I just ordered a set of 10 replacement balls ($3.50) for my two BB sets because it is easy to lose one of the little balls -- which has happened to both my sets. And since they soon will be extinct, you won't be able to get them anymore!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Happens When You Are Too Good at What You Do?

Two years ago this month videos surfaced of a man-child that was wowing basketball fans in Arkansas. A seventh grader named Adrian Moore stood 6'3" tall and was slamming down dunks over his comparatively vertically challenged competitors. Videos of the youngsters antics are still available on the web, such as this Yahoo website. Here's one if you want to see how this young man surpassed his peers in stature and talent.

Naturally there was discussion abut whether it was fair for this young man with adult talents to compete against "normal" seventh-graders. A few weeks later the attention moved on to an eighth grader who stood 6'8" tall in the Philadelphia area, and he dwarfed is teammates also. His name is Horace Spencer, and he dominates on the court as well.

Horace Spencer, center, and teammates
Spencer has natural ability, and he is grateful for the on-court attention, but as an eighth grader he wanted nothing more than just to fit in off the court. That was difficult since he stood head and shoulders (literally) above everyone in his school.

Earlier this year, the country was introduced to the tallest youngster ever to play high school ball in the United States. His name is Mamadou Ndiaye, not to be confused with 7' tall Mamadou N'Diaye (b. 1975) from Senegal who played college ball for Auburn in the late 1990s, played professional basketball in the NBA for a few years, and eventually moved on to lesser paying basketball leagues. This Mamadou, also from Senegal, stands 7'5". Yes, that's right. He is five inches taller than the previous Mamadou and nine inches taller than Horace Spencer (and a year older than the latter also). You can see Mamadou II in action here.

All of these young men present a dilemma for teammates, coaches, opposition players, and fans. How do you deal with someone with such clearly superior God-given height and ability? If someone is clearly so much better, is it just a given that opponents have to suck it up and know they are destined to lose against the superior skill?

There are no easy answers. Indeed, a 12-year-old would-be peewee league football player named Elijah Earnhart was told in August of this year he could not play in the Dallas peewee league because, at 6'1" and 300 lbs, he was more than double the weight maximum of 135 lbs for seventh grade students. Naturally, no one wants other participating children to be hurt because of the superior size of a player, and this is more true in football than basketball since football is involves more contact than basketball. But there is no doubt that basketball can result in injuries to players when the disparity in size is great.

Recently there has been a lot of media coverage over a basketball player who presents a unique twist when it comes to players with superior height and strength. The story involves 220 lb Gabrielle Ludwig, who, at age 50, joined her California college team at mid-season. Gabrielle made history this month by being the only player to play on college teams as both a man and a woman. Gabrielle was Robert John Ludwig when she played in college in 1982. Now she is now playing on a California college team, and her teammates love her.

Two ESPN radio talking-heads were suspended this month for calling Ludwig an "it" during a broadcast. I suppose they thought it was funny. And some of their listener probably thought the same. But to laugh at someone who has been through such a mental, emotional and physical struggle is to show that you do not understand the big picture.Naturally, the controversy centers on whether this whole arrangement is "fair" to other teams since this man-turned-woman has a height and strength advantage on other players in the league. But she is also MY age and my husband's age, and I can assure you that neither of us is in any position to take on athletes half our age. Not many of us our age would be.

I do not know the "answer" when it comes to deciding whether this is "fair" or not, but I believe that Ms. Ludwig only wants to be "normal," meaning that she wants to be who her mind and her heart and her physical awareness tell her that she is, and to interact with others and to participate in activities that "normal" people do. This is one case where I wish her the best.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swedish Family Destroyed by Government for Homeschooling

I have written on  my other blog about the uber socialist practices in Sweden. Yesterday a ruling came down from an appeals court that should send chills through home-schooling families around the world.

Christer and Annie Johansson were living a normal lie with their nine-year-old son Domenic in Sweden up until 2009. Annie is a native of India and Christer is Swedish. What happened to break up this idyllic family?
On June 25, 2009, a seven year old boy was abducted at gunpoint from his terrified parents. They had just boarded a plane to fly to the country where the boy’s mother had been born, and where her kin still lived. They were leaving their own country for good, because they had grown weary of the harassment they suffered there from a syndicate of well-placed thugs. They themselves had broken no law.
The boy’s name is Domenic Johansson. He is now going on ten years old, and he has seen his mother and father only very briefly since. The thugs, officials of the Swedish government, have allowed the parents very little opportunity to visit. Domenic’s mother has suffered a nervous breakdown, and is now quite incapacitated. The foster-woman into whose care Domenic was given has informed the boy that she will never let him return to his mother and father, no matter what any court might say. Domenic, once a cheerful little boy, looks haggard, crushed, dull, as if the heart had been ripped out of him. (Crisis Magazine, 2/17/12)
That day nearly 3 1/2 years ago was when Swedish authorities removed Domenic from his parents custody because of the horrendous crime that the Johanssons had committed. They had pulled Domenic out of his state-run school to educate him at home. Yes, that's right. They had the audacity to home school Domenic. Never mind that homeschooling was legal in Sweden at the time. The authorities said that the boy's father, Christer, was narcissistic, and that is why the boy was taken from the parents.

Sweden's Parliament passed a law in 2010 (a year AFTER Domenic's removal) that essentially banned homeschooling as well as any curriculum not approved by the Swedish government. The law took effect in 2011 (2 years AFTER Domenic was removed). The leading proponent for homeschooling, Jonas Himmelstrand, finally gave up the fight and left the country when the law went into effect because he feared persecution  for is views.

One particular politician in Sweden, a leader in the liberal party named Lotta Edholm, has used her power to influence legislation and to have children like Domenic removed from parents who choose to homeschool for reasons that she and the majority (which she influences) in the legislature do not approve, such as religion. Edholm has a blog where she has explicitly written down her fascist views (in Swedish, so translations below are from using Google translator).

Studio, one for vulnerable children
16 January 2012
Last Thursday I attended Studio One (a news reporting channel) to talk about children who do not attend school. It was a good discussion of compulsory schooling and how to look at the absolute most vulnerable children actually kept away from school. My Christian Democratic motdebattör [debater?] Annika Eclund and I had very much the same view of the problem, except that she does not want to open up for increased powers to help these children, but instead focus on creating "long-term trust between school and home." Of course the school should do as much as possible to the cooperation with the home work well, but unfortunately there are indeed cases where it does not work. One way to judge societies by looking at how to treat the absolutely most vulnerable. I would think that this is one such occasion when we must take a step back and say that either we leave these children to their own devices in a home with no school and often social life, or so goes society in to help and ensure children's rights to education to ensure a good life.

All children have the right to go to school
10 January 2012
Lotta Edholm
Today I write with Ann-Katrin Aslund (FP) on Aftonbladet's debate page that the social services law should be amended so that social services are able to intervene when children are kept away from school by their parents - often for religious or ideological reasons. All children have the right to education. The Education Act states that education should "be designed in accordance with fundamental democratic values ​​and human rights." This is incompatible with a system where parents can simply refuse to send their children to school and social services are completely without legal basis to intervene. Deputy Social Maria Larsson, Minister for including children's conditions, should take the initiative to change the Social Services Act so that social services have measures to take when parents keep children away from school.

There is a bitter battle still raging in Sweden over the government's strangle-hold on education. To the Swedish government, the right of children to an education has morphed into the government's mandate that only they can decide what type of education and where it must take place. Never mind that Sweden is supposed to be a democracy.

The state removed Domenic from his parents in June of 2009 simply because they wanted to homeschool him. The state claims it knows best. Domenic's parents were given limited visitation, and at times none whatsoever, over the last three years. In June of this year a court in Sweden ruled that this was violative of the parents' rights and ordered Domenic returned to his parents. But the state appealed, and on Monday of this week a higher appeals court reversed the lower court decision. Indeed, the ruling was that their parental rights should be TERMINATED. Astonishingly, Monday was International Human Rights Day.

This is what Americans are facing with the increasingly socialist-leaning officials in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, and in an increasingly submissive citizen population that is willing to allow the government to take over child-rearing and education and other facets of life that parents used to (want to) be responsible for. The question is who will be the American version of Lotta Edholm? There is no shortage of liberal candidates waiting in the wings to be the star of the show.

It makes me weep. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Union Thugs Assault Reporter in Michigan

Talk about the proverbial "smoking gun," this ridiculously violent assault was caught on tape. Now all that is needed is to identify the thug who whaled on reporter Steven Crowder. No, it was not in a bar brawl or on a subway platform. This was in the midst of a public park in Michigan during a union protest against the new Right-to-Work law that was passed. Union thugs tore down the Americans for Prosperity tent which hurt a woman, and when Crowder attempted to stop the thugs by reasoning with them, they spewed profanities and then one guy assaulted Crowder and his camera man. Here is a video summary.

Dana Loesch has set up a fund to raise money for a reward for anyone who helps identify and locate the thugs on the video. Crowder is sort of a comedian-journalist. He had us in stitches at CPAC a couple of years ago as emcee.

Crowder at CPAC 2011 pretending to be a liberal

This is one lawsuit I can't wait to hear about being filed!


Adoption Is the Cure for Abortion

When I was practicing law as a sole practitioner many moons ago, I assisted a number of families in the adoption process. It was the most self-satisfying area of my practice, even though it had almost as many heart-wrenching moments as it did happy-endings.

Not unexpectedly, most parents who were looking to adopt wanted newborn children without abnormalities. Indeed, most parent pray above all for a healthy child when they are awaiting the newborn's arrival. And, I am happy to say, that is how all the births turned out for all of my clients and birth mothers.

There was and is a HUGE demand for babies to adopt in this country. That is one of the reasons that I mourn for all the babies who never get the chance to be born.

Just as distressing are those less-than-perfect children who are born and given up by their families. It happens less frequently in this country than in foreign countries. Today I came across a website called Reece's Rainbow that tore at my heart. I cannot read the stories and look at the photos of the children up for adoption on this website without crying. Here are a few of the darling faces of the thousands of children available and waiting and hoping to be adopted.




Most of the children are from Russia, and the majority have Down's Syndrome and/or fetal alcohol syndrome. The pleading for someone to love them and a family to take them in is gut-wrenching, and I know I will be haunted for the foreseeable future by the website. The website has been featured in People Magazine and was promoted by actress Partricia Heaton. The foundress, Andrea Roberts, lives just up the expressway from where I work, in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Those of us who oppose abortion can see the beauty in these less-than-perfect children. So it is we who must help promote adoption and find families for these most innocent and needy of God's children. If you know anyone who is considering adoption or has room in their family for a special needs child, please refer them to this website.

God bless these precious children!

And finally, in case you have not cried enough from Reece's Rainbow website, I offer you this heart-warming story that has ties to the special needs children like Reese (have Kleenexes handy if you are a crier like me). The article's title is "Grandfather's 1982 pro-life poem saves great-grandchild from being aborted."


Monday, December 10, 2012

North Carolinians Must Respect Choice If They Want to Choose Life

Today a federal judge in North Carolina issued an opinion that has outraged a lot of Christians. In part that is due to the way the opinion is being presented by certain media sources. Some conservative media are saying that the court ruled that the "Choose life" license plate is un-Constitutional. I have to take exception to that classification. There is a "because" that has to be added to that.

Now, I am as conservative as anyone I know when it comes to the issue of respecting life. And I am angry inside at the fact that someone challenged the North Carolina law. But the judge in the case made the only decision he could. It is a First Amendment case, pure and simple.

Like many other states, North Carolina issues vanity plates as a means of raising revenue. But the unique thing about North Carolina is that vanity plates are not issued upon petition by the citizens who get enough signatures to warrant issuance of a particular slogan on a license plate. Rather, the state legislature in North Carolina approves the slogans that go on the plates. They approved the "Choose Life" slogan years ago, but have denied those who asked for "Respect Choice" to be put on a plate. And, as much as it pains me to admit, that is wrong. It was just a matter of time before they got called on it.

If you want to put it in perspective, think of it this way. If California granted "Respect Choice" vanity license plates but refused to allow "Choose Life" plates to be minted, would that be fair?

The full 21-page opinion of the court is available online.

The old axiom applies: I may not agree with what what you say, but I will support with my life your right to say it.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Jangnam Style

The news out of New York and other liberal bastions is that South Korean performer Psy, of Gangnam Style fame, hates America. There is much speculation that he will be disinvited to the President's Christmas show where he is set to perform later this month. All because he hates America and call for Americans to be killed because of America's involvement in foreign wars.

What? Are you kidding? The same thing made Jane Fonda a here on the eyes of the centers of liberalism. In fact, Jane and Psy are interchangeable! After all, she's Psy-cho!

Jangnam style!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Yelp Too Loudly or You'll Get Sued

Although I do not do it often, on occasion I have gone on websites like Yelp to look up a particular business -- like my gym or a hotel -- to see what other people have to say about the quality of the services, the goods being sold, the facilities, etc. I don' think I have ever written off a business based on what I read. I just take it as a piece of a puzzle, and there are lots of other pieces that need to be in place before I decide whether or not I will patronize the business.

Apparently, however, one business owner DID lose business based on one review written by a customer. At least, he claims to have lost business -- a LOT of it, in fact. Here's a video of a local news report.

Jane Perez, who lives not far from my own home, was unhappy with work that a D.C. contractor named Dietz did in her town home in summer of 2011. So, she wrote scathing reviews on both Yelp and Angie's List, claiming amongst other things that he stole jewelry from her. Perez and Dietz had gone to high school together, but apparently there is no love lost between them now. Here is what Dietz posted on one website.

The 27-page Complaint that Dietz filed in his civil suit is accessible on the Washington Post website.

Yesterday, a Fairfax Circuit Court judge ordered Perez to remove several snippets from the Angie's list posting above (she had already voluntarily removed the Yelp posting). Still, the case is not over by a long shot, even though Dietz feels the hearing yesterday was a victory for him.

The crux of the suit will be whether the right to free speech and expression trumps the right to a good reputation and freedom from being harmed in one's business pursuits. Only one of those rights is mentioned in the Constitution. Dietz should probably review the old adage:  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. He has hurled a big stone at Ms. Perez, and, like it or not, she is gathering an army of support. Indeed, Dietz's heavy-handed retaliation has probably caused his company more damage than Perez's emotion-based ravings ever could have.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tragedy Begets Tragedy: NYC's Controversial Subway Death

This New York Post cover from Tuesday, December 4, 2012, has spawned enormous controversy.

Is there any news value to showing a moment in time depicting the final seconds in the life of a man who is about to die? I think that the answer is yes in light of the story of how he came to be on the tracks in front of a rapidly approaching subway train. The victim was pushed by another customer after an argument. CNN posted a video of the two men arguing in the minutes before the victim, Ki-Suck-Han, was pushed onto the tracks. The man who pushed him fled into the train station at Times Square.

The photographer who snapped the picture, Umar Abbasi, has come under heavy criticism for taking pictures rather than helping the man off the tracks. From the looks of the cover photo, either there were not many people around or they had also backed away from the man who was about to be struck. It is an absolute certainty that the NY subway system ill be sued. It remains to be seen whether any charges--criminal or civil-- will be filed against anyone involved in this horrifically sad event.


What's a Girl Gotta Do to Get Satisfied in West Virginia?


OMG, I laughed out loud and cried when I read this story. I am only going to provide the link here, so you have to go off-blog to read it, but let me just say that it involves a woman in West Virginia who has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for making an indecent proposal (demand) of two men, a request that cops say they have never heard before. Here is the link to the story:

And on second thought, I an going to post this image of the police report containing the now-infamous words of Miss Williams ...


Principal Versus Principle: A Tale of Two Families

Two news stories caught my attention this morning, and both have left me shaking my head.

The first is about a 61-year-old Michigan woman whose son died three years ago at age 24. Jermaine had gone to college to study music production, and his mother co-signed for one of his student loans -- the private one. He also had two federal loans. When Jermaine died of natural causes, his federal loans were "forgiven" immediately, which means that the we taxpayers get stuck with the loss of the unpaid debt. In contrast, the private loan repayment fell to Jermaine's mother as his co-signer. Therein lies the rub.

Jermaine left behind an infant child, and his mother reportedly has also assumed partial responsibility for the child because the mother cannot support the child. Jermaine's mother has been paying on the student loan debt for about three years, but with $10,000 remaining to be paid off, she thinks that she should not have to pay any more. She cites her poor health and the fact that she is still grieving her son's death as reasons that the loan should be forgiven. So, Ella Edwards started a petition on the website asking others to join her cause against the loan company.

So far Edwards' petition has garnered 200,000 signatures asking that Jermaine's private student loan be forgiven. Indeed they want all loans in cases like Jermaine's -- where the student dies or becomes disabled before fully repaying the loan -- to be forgiven. The "Supporters" who give their reasons for signing the petition clearly do not think responsibility is a virtue. One Supporter wrote:
nancy l.t. rosenbower STILLWATER, MN    about 1 month ago      
it is time for the money-changers and loan sharks in sheep's clothing to be held accountable for the shameful ways they do business. please, there is no reason for going after this young man's mother. he has not earning power and she is at the end of hers. have a heart and think of the person and not the dollars. shape up! (emphasis added)
Ummmm.... Nancy, there is a reason for "going after" the young man's mother. She CO-SIGNED the loan. That means she legally contracted to pay the loan in the event her son could not pay it back, whether he was alive or dead. The ignorance displayed in most of the Supporters' comments is reflective of the same entitlement attitude we saw during the housing crisis a few years ago (and continuing today) when people who bought homes they could not afford suddenly expected the finance companies to reduce their payments as well as the balance of the principal they owed. The entitlement mentality and the me-me-me-mentality is why this country is in the financial shape it is in.

As sad as the situation is for this Michigan mother, I have to side with the loan company. They should not have to absorb the loss for this man's family. Apparently, the clear majority of commenters on this story on the ABC-Yahoo website feel the same. One commenter had a great idea, saying that if each of those 200,000 people who signed the petition would instead send Jermaine's mother five cents (as in one nickel or five pennies), she could pay off $10,000 in one fell swoop. Instead, and sadly, the only thing the petition-signers  are willing to contribute is their two cents worth.

The second story is another one where a family is asking for public support. In this case a Utah family is asking for money to help them pay their legal bills. The reason they have bills is because they are engaged in a custody fight over a 1 1/2 year old child whom they want to adopt. Here is a photo of the family in happier times.

That sounds quite virtuous, but the facts of the case are not so simple. The family has set up a website
for the little girl they named Leah. They tell their version of the story and have a "Donate" button asking for help paying the attorneys who are representing them.

The biological father's version of the story is different than the Frei family's version. Terry Achane was married to the mother of the child when she gave birth prematurely. In my book, that is all that needs to be heard. The judge agreed, and has given the Frei family two weeks to turn the baby over to her father. The Frei family documented their disappointment on the Leah website after the November ruling came down from them judge.

Once again, there is no doubt the facts of this case are sad for both families fighting over this child. She is a beautiful little girl and the Frei family had virtuous intentions in wanting to give  her a good home. But having been involved in dozens of adoption cases, the law in most states favors making sure all interested parties -- namely the biological parents -- are involved and give consent when there is an adoption. I saw several placements fall through when the father (or another family member in a few cases) stepped forward to contest the adoption. As much as the Frei family loves Leah, her father loves her equally or more. He named her Teleah, and he eagerly awaits her return to South Carolina.

There are plenty of details about how this sad case developed. I do not "blame" anyone since I do not know all of the facts. But the law protects the rights of parents, and the Frei family should not be asking for donations for their legal bills. When they took this child into their home, they knew the possibilities and the risks with regard to the adoption. If they cannot pay their legal bills on their own, they should not divide people's sympathies the way their request for money is doing.

In both cases it should be responsibility as a principle over principal without responsibility.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Crazy California Man Boils Wife

A few months back there was a story out of California about a man who killed is wife, boiled her body at his restaurant, jumped off a cliff when running from the police, and then was eventually convicted of her murder. I blogged about this gruesome crime and the subsequent murder conviction back in September.

I don't know what it is with Californians and cooking spouses, but it seems to have happened again. And this case is even more bizarre and gruesome in many respects. Last month, a frail looking man was arrested by police after they went to his home and found his wife's remains boiling in three pots on the stove. Oh, and her head was wrapped up in the freezer.

Here's how TruTV reported on the crime and the arrest.
Oceanside couple Frederick Joseph Hengl, 68, and his wife Anna-Marie Faris, 73, weren’t the perfect neighbors. She seemed mentally disturbed and rarely bathed. He was known around North Ditmar Street as a cross-dresser and general odd bird. When police were finally called in to investigate the overpowering stench emanating from their home, no one expected a scene so macabre.

Police performing a welfare check on Faris arrived to find a locked door and no answer to their knocks, so they searched the perimeter before entering through a window. They found three separate pans of meat cooking on the stove. A neighbor told officers that he had seen Hengl scoot out the front door when the police were checking around back. Officers ultimately found Hengl at a local bar.

After questioning Hengl, police soon concluded that the meat in the kitchen was his wife’s dismembered body. A search of the home turned up Faris’ head stuffed in the freezer. They found a meat-grinder “currently in use,” according to prosecutor Katherine Flaherty, “They also found a work area set up in the bathroom, with saws, a boning knife and other cutting instruments.”

At his arraignment last week, Hengl pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, willful cruelty to an elder, and committing an unlawful act with human remains. If convicted, Hengl is facing 25 years to life in prison. Vista Superior Court Judge J. Marshall Hockett set Hengl’s bail at $5 million. He remains in custody.

Good grief. I know there are a lot of strange people all over the country, but why does California have so many?