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November 27, 2010

Affairs – Your Cyber Playmate May Be A Bot

I've always enjoyed basing my erotic stories upon the small Massachusetts coastal town in which I live, so I created Norwich, Massachusetts, which lies in Cape Ann on the coast between Ipswich and Innsmouth. You may recognize Innsmouth as the fictitous town created by H. P. Lovecraft for "A Shadow Over Innsmouth", my favorite Lovecraft story. Yes, live only a few miles from where Innsmouth would be located if it were for real.

So when I wrote "Caught" for my new book "Indiscretions: Vol. 1", I wanted to replicate the homes and atmosphere of the coastal Massachusetts I know and love. Beginning with the two-hundred year old houses. These houses are so close together in some areas that you can roof-hop, which is an important characteristic of the houses Kevin and Betsy live in in the story The distance between the houses lends itself automatically to cheating but in an unusual way. I read long ago that people who had affairs had an easy escape when the spouse came home unexpectedly. Using multiple rooves had something to do with it.

I've always been fascinated with affairs. I know of plenty of marriages that broke up because of them. Now that the internet is a part of most people's daily lives, cybersex is a huge problem. Free porn is easily available. There are stories of marriages dissolving when one partner signs up for Facebook and reconnects with a high school sweetheart who has conveniently divorced. Then there's IM sex chats and sexting which brings me to Jenny18.

Jenny18 is a computer sexbot program created by a geek who wanted to see if anyone would cyber with software. He expected people to at first try but quickly give up out of boredom. He was surprised that Jenny18 ended up becoming quite popular. She has a set of stock phrases that she can use in conversation when people type in certain keywords. The results are hilarious and fascinating. Here is a portion of one transcript:

Sanddman: I'm yours for the taking*wink*

jenny18: thats kewl.

Sanddman: Of course;)

jenny18: mmm.. =)

Sanddman: Got a pic?

jenny18: i am cute, i promise. blonde, blue eyes

* Sanddman runs his hand slowly across your jawline, pushing your hair back behind your ears

jenny18: oh ok

Sanddman: Mmm...I trust you;)

jenny18: u wanna trust me?

* Sanddman moves his head in closer kissing you softly, and tenderly on the lips.

jenny18: o really? ;)

* Sanddman slowly slides his tongue into your mouth running it along yours in small patterns

jenny18: :yelp:: aAAHh... that is great.. keep moving

Sanddman: I trust you, why wouldn't I?

jenny18: u want to trust me, babe?

Sanddman: Yup

jenny18: what?

* Sanddman moves his hands around your waist pulling you against him, pressing his body against yours as he kisses you more frantically

jenny18: what you talking about?

Sanddman: Yeah...

jenny18: good..

Sanddman: Do you want to trust me?

jenny18: errr...

Sanddman: Do you want to trust me?

jenny18: i see

Sanddman: Of course I want to trust you, but do you me?

jenny18: mm. i want to give it to u.

Sanddman: You keep asking me if I want to trust you;p, do you turst me

jenny18: u do?

* Sanddman slides his hands downward a bit, pressing them against your ass, and pulling your pelvic area against his

jenny18: i dunno what u mean =)

* Sanddman slowly kisses across your cheek and sucks lightly on your earlobe, nibbling softly

jenny18: semen?

Sanddman: uh huh

i dunno..?

* Sanddman kisses down your neck softly and pulls your shirt down kissing just above your breast.

jenny18: mm, that doesnt quite work.. i'm already naked!!! Lol

Sanddman: hehe

jenny18: i dunno..?

Sanddman: semen?

jenny18: oh god, just saying the word makes me crave some.

Sanddman: *grin*

Jenny18 is a bot. A computer program. Nothing more. She reacts to keywords you type when you "interact" with her, and many men really thought they were cybering a living woman. Not a chance. So guys, the next time you cheat on your wife or girlfriend having cybersex, not only is there a good chance that hot 16 year old is really a 55 year old guy named Buck who works for the FBI Internet Crimes Division, your hottie might not even be human.

I know that many women would not like to read stories involving infidelity but I had to tackle it at least once, and I do in "Indiscretions: Vol. 1". I think you'lll enjoy "Caught" and "Wild Child" very much. Both stories are over-the-top (which you would expect from me) and very sexy. More information is below:

Indiscretions_1_small

Title: Indiscetions Vol. I
ISBN: 978-1-935757-01-6
Author: Elizabeth Black
Format: E-Book
Length: 7,467 words 36 pp (PDF)
Genre: Erotica
Category: Erotic, Cougar, Romance, Humor
Price: $3.99

Buy it:

Amazon Kindle
AllRomanceebooks
Bookstrand

Trailer For INDISCRETIONS VOL. 1

Blurb:

From the Romance Divine Mistress of Mayhem, Elizabeth Black, come two ribald tales of neighborly lust. Kevin was enamored with his older neighbor, sexy Cougar Betsy, and their clandestine trysts were bawdy bouts of passion. The lovers are surprised by the arrival of Betsy’s husband and Kevin’s rooftop escape is blocked by an angry avian aggressor. It’s man versus seagull in CAUGHT. In WILD CHILD a ginger root becomes the terrible tuber as the lovers get to the bottom of a new kind of love.

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 05:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part Two

[Part one of this article is here.]

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A father's abusive behavior towards the mother is most definitely a problem with the label of parental alienation because these same abusive men are using parental alienation (with their lawyer's and psych's blessings) as a weapon in court to get child custody away from protective mothers! Ms lc pointed out all that below. Also, see my quote from Silverberg in my previous post. Warshak continues to ignore that parental alienation is used as a weapon by abusive, controlling, and hostile men!

Warshak makes it sound like parental alienation is a problem of epic proportions - an epidemic in contested custody and divorce cases. How common is alienation, after all? Meier reported in "Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews" that "no more than 10% of all children were alienated in a way that fits the alienation paradigm, for example, alienating conduct by an otherwise non-abusive aligned parent. In short, alienation theorists’ own research demonstrates that wrongful “child alienation” (that which is not simply part of a pattern of abuse) is remarkably rare in divorcing and separating families." Johnson, one of alienation's primary researchers, found that (per Meier) "even where the vast majority of both parents used alienating behaviors, only 6% of children were "extremely rejecting" and only 20% "showed indication of being consistently negative." Those percentages included mothers who were victims of domestic violence who were counted as victims of alienation. Those children are more accurately described as victims of abuse rather than victims of alienation.

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Ms lc's responses to Warshak's comment below never went live, presumably because he doesn't want to bring any attention to that Canadian case where a judge ruled against forcing a teenaged Canadian boy into deprogramming from alienation at Warshak's Bridges treatment program in California - at a cost of $40,000 for four days worth of "treatment". Another activist had commented about the case earlier this month, and her comment never saw the light of day.

"I appreciate your passion..."??? So he demeans ms lc by saying she's too emotional? Slick way to insult your critics.

Note Warshak's vague and circular statements about the nature of "alienation" below. Then read more from Meier:

Johnston and others have acknowledged that "there is very little empirical data to back up . . . [their] clinical observations" that alienated children are significantly undermined in their emotional and psychological development (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 84). In fact, Johnston and Kelly (2004b) forthrightly state that "there are no systematic long term data on the adjustment and well-being of alienated compared to non-alienated children so that long-term prognostications are merely speculative" (p. 84). Evaluators and alienation theorists commonly assert that alienation is a devastating form of emotional abuse of children. To the contrary, Judith Wallerstein, the groundbreaking researcher of divorce who first pointed out the problem of children’s sometimes pathological alignment with the custodial parent after divorce or separation, found in her follow-up study that children's hostility toward the other parent after divorce was temporary, and resolved of its own accord, mostly within one or two years (Bruch, 2001; Wallerstein et al., 2000).

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Notice how vague he is in describing alienation? No wonder everyone commenting "sees" alienation. That kind of behavior is common in all kinds of families, even married ones, as ms lc wrote. Alienation doesn't take into account normal behavior children and teens exhibit as a reaction to their parent's divorce. It also doesn't take into account normal and expected belligerent and surly behavior from children and teens that they exhibit as their way of distancing themselves from their parents - as a normal part of of the stages of childhood development. Since parental alienation isn't concerned with the causes of behavior it won't detect any of this. Keep in mind that Wallerstein found that typically children grow out of difficult divorce-related behavior in about two years.

In addition, in his paper "Current Controversies Regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome" (2001), Warshak admitted that "To date, no study has directly measured the extent to which different examiners, with the same data, can agree on the presence or absence of PAS (or, for that matter, alienation in a child). Until a sufficiently high rate of agreement on the presence or absence of PAS is established through systematic research, the diagnosis will not attain the empirical support which is probably necessary to achieve acceptance on a par with the disorders recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s official description of diagnoses. And, until such data exist, the reliability of PAS cannot be supported by reference to scientific literature."

Even Warshak admitted that parental alienation is hooey.

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And now the Canadian alienation case. For more on this case, go to this web site: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked In Child Custody Case (2009):

Pertinent sections about Warshak:

An Ontario judge yesterday blocked an attempt to forcibly send a Toronto child for deprogramming treatment in a controversial parental-alienation program in California.

[...]

Treatment at the clinic – founded by Richard Warshak – involves isolating a child from the parent who is identified as having poisoned his or her emotions toward the other parent. Therapists then attempt to undo the child’s hostile feelings.

[...]

In her ruling, Judge Herman concluded that the arbitrator placed too much stock in an opinion that Dr. Warshak offered to the effect that the children would benefit from his program.

She said that the independent assessment should focus, in particular, on whether the 14-year-old boy, who has Klinefelter’s Syndrome, would undergo psychiatric suffering if his older brother opts out of treatment and he is sent alone.

Mr. Weir said in the interview that he was shocked when the arbitrator ordered treatment since he had little more than Dr. Warshak’s say-so that the program is effective.

“Warshak saw only the mother - but not the father or the boys,” Mr. Weir added. “He said that he wasn’t giving a definitive opinion, but he actually did.”

Mr. Weir said that, at a cost of $40,000 for four days of treatment, the program is expensive as well as unproven.

“Warshak came up a year and a half ago and did his first seminar,” he said. “My impression at the time was, I think he has failed to establish himself with the psychologists or psychiatrists in the U.S., and now he’s coming to Canada.

Earlier this week, Dr. Warshak rebuffed a request to discuss his program. “I have been very generous with my time speaking to journalists at your newspaper and other Canadian media outlets, but now I must turn my attention to other tasks,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

Ms lc didn't bring up the case of Bianca H. (Texas) so I will. It's another case where Warshak recommended his "treatment" for parental alienation and the court put a stop to it. As in the Canadian case, Warshak never met with the child. He viewed a tape of the child interacting with the plaintiff.

Warshak testified that when conflict between “parents” causes a child distress, a court should order counseling and sanction the parent that instigated the conflict. Warshak believed any harm Bianca suffered because of the conflict would be less than the harm she would suffer if she lost Alfano. Indeed, Warshak testified the best way to remedy the conflict would be to increase Alfano's access to the child.

After the testimony, the trial court stated that Alfano had been put in the position of an uncle since the child was twenty months old. The trial court noted that it had attempted to resolve the situation for four years with no progress. The trial court considered limited visitation, but determined that it would only put off the inevitable. Accordingly, the trial court terminated Alfano's visitation rights.

In its findings of fact, the trial court found that (1) Alfano is not legally or biologically related to the child, (2) a great deal of conflict exists between Mother and Alfano, (3) the conflict was unlikely to abate in the future, (4) the conflict was injurious to the child's best interest, (5) the circumstances of the child have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order sought to be modified, (6) the order has become unworkable and inappropriate under existing circumstances, and (7) modification would produce a positive improvement for and be in the best interest of the child. The trial court modified its prior order eliminating Alfano's right to possession of and access to the child.

The appeals court affirmed the ruling.

In conclusion, Richard Warshak's own statements show how specious and vague parental alienation really is. It is a layman's description of an opinion about observed behavior. There are better ways to deal with problems in divorce and custody cases than pretending they can be solved by smacking them with a parental alienation label. And abused mothers and children are not alienated. That label undermines the seriousness and importance of what they experience. They are victims of child abuse and domestic violence, intimate terrorism, control, and hostility. Parental alienation belongs in neither a court of law or in a psychiatrists or therapists office. It's a money-maker for greedy people taking advantage of the new cottage industries springing up around family law cases.


Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part One

[Part two of this article is here]

Dr. Richard Warshak, one of the top promoters of the debunked and unscientific Parental Alienation, now has a column at the Huffington Post in its new Divorce section. Domestic violence activists and protective mothers descended upon his first article, "Stop Divorce Poison", to alert readers as to how bogus parental alienation really is. I won't link to the article, but here is the URL for reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-warshak/stop-divorce-poison_b_778889.html

The response? The Huffington Post (and most likely Warshak himself) have removed nearly all the comments critical of parental alienation, leaving up the glad-handing ones from parental alienation supporters. Two domestic violence activists saw their HuffPost accounts cancelled. What's the matter? Can't take the heat? In addition, possibly due to reading the massive amount of critical commentary all over the web about the Warshak/HuffPost/censorship/parental alienation issue, Warshak had even tried to present himself in a few comments as a friend to abused women. He is anything but.

While a few comments remain up, most notably ones by Morning Show, ms lc, and FamilyCourtInAmerica, Warshak saw fit to respond only to ms lc. This post will critically analyze his own statements and show how specious parental alienation really is and how Richard Warshak is no friend to abused women.

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He is completely missing the point. The kids aren't brainwashed by an abusive father. They are terrified of him and want to be out of his line of fire. They want to be with their mothers, but they are afraid, and the mere act of bringing up child abuse or domestic violence is enough for a mother to be labeled an alienator. In addition, domestic violence is not "divorce poison". As ms lc wrote below, call it was it is - abuse. Domestic violence. I'll add wife-beating, intimidation, and terrorism. The problem is that if you call it what it is and refrain from downgrading it to something as vague and dismissive as "divorce poison", you can't get the kids into expensive treatment designed with parental alienation in mind and make tons of money from the allegation of alienation. First and foremost, parental alienation is a huge moneymaker for the psychs who make their livings from it. To admit that it's vague and specious junk science means the cash cow disappears.

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Take special note of what Warshak writes below. He dances around ms lc's statement that abusive men use parental alienation as a weapon in court against mothers and children reporting abuse. He refuses to even acknowledge this is happening.

Also notice how he defines "alienation". Does he get the definition from a peer-reviewed journal? No. From the DSM-IV? No, he can't because parental alienation is not considered a valid medical disorder by the American Psychological Association so it doesn't even appear in the DSM-IV. It's not going to appear in the upcoming DSM-V, either, despite heavy lobbying by father's rights groups and parental alienation supporters and profiteers. Richard Gardner, the founder of parental alienation (back when it was called "parental alienation syndrome" - more on that in a minute), had even tried to get parental alienation into the DSM to no avail. Did Warshak look to a medical journal for a description of parental alienation? No.

He looked to the dictionary. Webster's definition. In other words, "alienation" is a layman's term, as ms lc says. It has no scientific basis at all, and Warshak outright admitted it.

Warshak also admitted that "alienation, like the word "attachment", carried no implication about the causes of the state of the relationship." So there is no concern or investigation into why a child may reject a parent? Only behavior that in someone's opinion is "alienation" (whatever that is) and it must be "treated"?

And how can you treat something that isn't medically based? After all, Warshak's definition of alienation came from the dictionary, not a valid, peer-reviewed medical journal. If it's only a layman's term, i.e., anyone can "see" it and "diagnose" it, why the need for expertise to treat it?

There has been lots of criticism that "parental alienation syndrome" and "parental alienation" are not the same thing. In some respects that's correct since Gardner's parental alienation syndrome was primarily used by fathers as a defense against child sexual abuse allegations raised by the mother. It's much more limited in its application. Gardner also stated that in his caseload, 90% of alienating parents were mothers. With the evolution from PAS into the more general parental alienation, the focus has broadened from child sexual abuse allegations to include any complaint by a parent about behavior by the other parent or child. There doesn't have to be allegations of abuse for a charge of parental alienation to be tossed out. Now, both fathers and mothers may be accused of parental alienation although the primary accused alienators continue to be mothers. In addition, parental alienation has become quite a lucrative cottage industry for psychs, especially since the advent of new HMO rules that affect those working in the mental health profession. There's money to be made in contested custody cases and divorces and parental alienation is one great way to make a lot of cash. Regarding the switch from parental alienation syndrome to parental alienation, Richard Gardner himself admitted in his article "Basic Facts About The Parental Alienation Syndrome" that several reasons for the switch in terminology were that parental alienation supporters wanted to distance themselves from him ("lest they be somehow tainted" - because of his misogynistic statements and statements praising pedophilia and incest) and they moved away from the use of alienation as a syndrome because it was "politically incorrect" and falling out of favor in courts. He also wrote "changing the name of an entity because of political and other unreasonable considerations generally does more harm than good." Gardner said that for all intents and purposes, parental alienation syndrome and parental alienation were the same thing. So, it evolved to be the vague moneymaker that it is today.

Warshak stated that he "helped many parents, women and men, whose former spouses, though not violent, have turned the children against them." How does he know this? On the say-so of the allegedly "alienated" parent? After all, there is no search for a cause for alienation, only treatment of it based on lay observation of vague behavior. In addition, Warshak did not state the main scenarios in which so-called alienation plays out, which is between warring parents where the child does not exhibit "alienating" behavior. What about those cases? If parents are so easily able to brainwash their children into hating the other parent, why do most cases involve children of warring parents who don't reject either parent? And what about the other common scenario, that of children who do reject a parent yet the "aligned" parent is not badmouthing or otherwise demeaning the other parent? Since the cause is of no concern when it comes to so-called alienation, these children are likely to end up in treatment just because the rejected parent hires a psych partial to "treating" parental alienation.

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He pays lip service to abused women by continuing to try to claim that abused women who have difficulty interacting with their children because of the abusive behavior of their ex's are experiencing alienation. That's not what it is. As I've already stated, it's abuse, domestic violence, terrorism, dealing with a controlling and hostile man (as ms lc wrote). Another term for what these women go through is "domestic violence by proxy", but alienation proponents don't like that term because they think it sounds too feminist.

And finally, Warshak still does not acknowledge that abusive fathers, their lawyers, and their hired-hand psychs use parental alienation in court to take child custody away from abused mothers. Parental alienation is now the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases. Harvard's Jay Silverman found in his 2004 survey in Massachusetts that 54 percent of custody cases involving documented spousal abuse were decided in favor of the batterers. Parental alienation was used as an argument in nearly every case.

What does Warshak have to say about all that? Nothing. And he presents himself as a friend of abused women.

More in the next post.

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2010

Describe Your Books In Ten Words Or Less

I saw this on GoodReads and had to post about it. Describe your books in ten words or less. What an effective way of getting your point across!

Tinsel Temptations: Remember sitting at the kid's table?

Indiscretions Vol. 1: Nearly getting caught has never been so funny.

Mud Licker: So it's ugly. Doesn't mean it's not sexy.

Fountain of Youth: Be careful what you wish for.

Lost In Her Mouth: Two women. Popsicles. Use your imagination.

Feral Heat: Bisexual sexy male werewolves. 'Nuff said.

The Haunting Of The Sandpiper Inn: "Most Haunted" has nothing on this story.

An Unexpected Guest: Just when you think you figured it out... ;)

Neighbors: Why can't I have sexy neighbors? F/F/F

Posted on November 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2010

Facebook's "Instant Personalization" Setting Violates Privacy

NEW FACEBOOK SETTING VIOLATES PRIVACY. As of yesterday, NEW PRIVACY setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-Facebook websites was installed and it is automatically set to "Enable."

Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites >Instant Personalization > Edit or customize Settings, ...and... un-check "Enable".

BTW, if your friends don't disable the "Instant Personalization" setting, they will be sharing information about you. PLEASE COPY AND REPOST.

Posted on November 20, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Facebook's "Instant Personalization" Setting Violates Privacy

NEW FACEBOOK SETTING VIOLATES PRIVACY. As of yesterday, NEW PRIVACY setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-Facebook websites was installed and it is automatically set to "Enable."

Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites >Instant Personalization > Edit or customize Settings, ...and... un-check "Enable".

BTW, if your friends don't do disable the "Instant Personalization" setting, they will be sharing information about you. PLEASE COPY AND REPOST.

Posted on November 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2010

How many have you read?

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your Facebook notes or your own blog. Or both. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds on Facebook. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien [I hated this book.]

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien [I hated this book, too.]

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger [Loved this book!]

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in French)

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 09:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RH Reality Check - HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?

[This article is reprinted at AngelGroup.com - AngelGroup: HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?]

HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?
By Joan Dawson
RH Reality Check
November 17, 2010

The Huffington Post, in an effort to beef up its divorce section, is featuring controversial psychologist and author, Richard Warshak. In his first column “Stop Divorce Poison,” Warshak speaks of the equally controversial topic of parental alienation (PA); he or HuffPo have censored comments made by domestic violence advocates and survivors, and many of the remaining comments espouse misinformation, stereotypes, and sexist remarks.

Why should this concern women and those in the reproductive rights community?

"Parent Alienation," the idea that one parent (typically the mother) poisons the mind of the child against the other parent, is dangerous because it casts doubt on mothers’ claims of child abuse; the more she tries to protect her child and gather evidence, the more she exhibits “parental alienation.” If she fails--and she’ll face an uphill battle fighting bias, paying exhorborant fees, and fearing for her child(ren)’s safety trying to succeed--she can be fined, jailed and/or she could lose custody. PAS can and has turned the table on women trying to protect themselves or their child(ren) from abuse. (Several cases that have received media attention can be found here, here, and here.

We fight for rights during pregnancy; we can’t leave women in the dust after they deliver. Villifying a protective mother, jailing her or taking her offspring is the worse you can do to a woman – abusers understand this, it’s time we do, too.

Warshak and the idea of PA

Warshak starts off with, “Mother Theresa does not marry Saddam Hussein.” But then we would have to ask, what was Hussein’s wife like?, because Warshak is making a comparison between spouses. Perhaps she was no Mother Theresa, but surely she wasn’t as evil as Saddam. Already we have an imbalance. All human beings can exhibit evil or wrong-doing, but not all humans are equal in this respect, as Warshak wants us to believe. Some are worse than others. And while women are far from perfect, many women in abusive relationships fall in love with a guy only to find out months or years later that he is abusive. Abusers, unfortunately, don’t come with a sign on their forehead.

Warshak then explains that parents who alienate their child(ren) cannot “harness the emotions unleashed by divorce and they exhibit “rage,” “enlist children as allies,” and use “bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations…,” which Warshak likens to political mud-slinging campaigns. Some parents may deliberately or inadvertently denigrate the other parent. This may be evident in their parenting skills, but the main problem with PA is that it’s indistinguishable from the fear that comes from an abusive situation and can harm protective parents while rewarding abusive ones.

Jay Silverman’s study at Harvard, as reported in Newsweek, found 54 percent of custody cases were in favor of the batterer and nearly every case used parental alienation to counter the claims of abuse.

Warshak’s belief that “abused children cling tightly to their abuser” must explain why he seeks to reunite children with potential abusers then. Warshak runs a “treatment facility” in Texas that, for the whopping price tag of $40,000, reunites child(ren), at times forcibly, with the denigrated parent. I’ve included a link to a case in Canada, where an alienated mother, who had the financial resources, sought to reunify with her sons at his center. Note Warshak never actually met the sons but called it alienation nonetheless.

Domestic violence advocates and censorship

The domestic violence community, along with many major medical and psychological associations, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, rejects PA as a legitimate diagnosis. At least eight of us, representing domestic violence advocates and survivors, tried to post comments on Warshak’s article explaining our position. While a few posts remained, most, in our supposition, were deleted because they disagreed with the author. One advocate was banned. Apparently, this is not the first time people have complained about the comment section of the Huffington Post.

Nearly all the comments were citations to research, quotes and other factual information, including how PAS does not meet the standard of scientific reliability, about Warshak’s reunification center and its $40,000 price tag, and quotes from experts in the field, among other comments calling into question his analysis.

I included this quote from Dr. Paul Fink, President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and a former President of the Amercian Psychiatric Association:

“PAS is junk science at its worst…Science tells us that the most likely reason that a child becomes estranged from a parent is that parent’s own behavior. Labels, such as PAS, serve to deflect attention away from those behaviors.”

Mothers have informed us that when they make a good faith allegation, it is they who are doubted (see, for instance, cases such as those of Katie Tagle, where the judge called her a liar, gave the ex custody, and her baby was murdered by its father; or Amy Castillo, another woman who was denied a protective order and lost three children when her ex-husband drowned them in a hotel bathtub) and labeled abusive or ordered to undergo a polygraph test or psychiatric evaluation. The stereotype that women lie to gain the upperhand in custody cases, which occurs in only a fraction of cases, has more branding power than do mere facts. According to research, men in cases where both abuse and custody are in question actually make more false claims, according to research. The American Bar Association provides further information on custody myths.

Poisonous comments

Many of us understand the origins of PA are rooted in the misogynist and pro-pedophilia attitudes of Dr. Richard Gardner, who thought the mass sexual-abuse hysteria was caused by vindictive women falsely accusing fathers of abuse. (8) In reality, many protective parents feel as if this were a witchhunt against them -- mothers are not trusted, they’ve cast a spell on the kids to hate Dad --they must be punished! Jail them! Fine them! Take away their children! Like the “witches” of long past who would either sink or swim, mothers are in a similar bind – if they report abuse, they’re punished for being an alienator; if they don’t report it, they can be punished for failure to report.

Meanwhile, many of the alienating behaviors readers commented on can be attributed to personalities, parenting skills, or, in cases of abuse, domestic violence by proxy, whereby one parent continues to exert control and/or abuse over another. One advocate keeps a blog of parents that kill their child(ren) in cases pertaining to divorce and custody. She’s up to 136. Despite the fact that these marriages ended, the domestic violence continues and these deaths would be classified as domestic violence fatalities.Overwhelmingly, these killings are committed by men – with no tango partner, Mr. Warshak. In other words, party of one.

You can tell from the comment section how much these guys like women. If they got together, I can just imagine them in a big smokey room with leather chairs giving each other the wink and nod about the comment pertaining to Mother Theresa and Saddam Hussein. The idea of ‘equality with a vengeance’ comes to mind.

One poster, Target NoMore, refers to those opposing PA as a ‘special interest group’ that doesn’t want to stop the problem. People who want to protect children are not “special interest groups.

If HuffPo is going to feature controversial authors whose work is not only rejected by the scientific community but also puts children at risk, why not at least allow evidence to be introduced in the comments section? What are they afraid of?

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

U. S. Courts And Protective Mothers - HuffPost

Failures of U. S. Court Forces Mothers To Turn To International Law

By Dianne Post
Huffington Post/Politics

Ten mothers, one victimized child now an adult, and six organizations working in the field of child abuse and family law filed a petition on April 10, 2007, at the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C., against the United States for the pattern and practice of courts awarding custody or unsupervised visitation to child abusers and molesters. The petitioners come from Kansas, Georgia, California, New York, Arizona, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois and Nevada.

Ten years earlier, on Mother's Day, May 11, 1997, a group of mothers who lost custody of their children gathered on the steps of the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D. C. Entitled "Give Us Back Our Children," the event was held to represent the increasing numbers of women who are losing custody of their children to batterers and child abusers. This event, co-sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the House of Ruth, My Sister's Place, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), brought attention to the plight of women and children unfairly victimized by the legal system, and to dispel the myth that women always win custody of their children. That was 13 years ago. The situation today is even worse. The stories of these petitioners are not unique. They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg indicating a grave and growing injury to human rights.

Wendy Titelman is one of the petitioners. Her attorney, Richard Ducote, who has represented battered women for years, said:

After twenty years in family law courtrooms throughout the country, I confidently say that no woman, despite very abundant evidence that her child has been sexually molested by her ex-husband or that she has been repeatedly pummeled by the violent father of her child, can safely walk into any family court in the country and not face a grave risk of losing custody to the abuser for the sole reason that she dared to present the evidence to the judge and ask that the child be protected.

Sol Gothard, Judge of the Court of Appeals in Louisiana said:

There are very few times in law when you can state anything categorically, but I can certainly say that beyond any doubt whatsoever, the problem expressed by Wendy Titelman in this book is epidemic and widespread, and it has been this way for the forty-four years that I have been involved with the legal system.

Karen Anderson has been fighting for her children for 17 years. Her son Jeff Hoverson, now of age, has joined in the petition. He recounts that the day he was taken from his mother at 10 years of age was traumatizing:

So now I had no brothers, no pets, I was 3-4 hours from my home, and again... no mom. This is when I was damaged so severely emotionally... No one told me anything about my mom or why I was at my dad's or why we were in San Francisco on a sidewalk. I asked but received no answers. I felt that if I wasn't told anything that I was worthless to everyone. I was made into a possession rather than a child.

The facts of the individual cases are a catalog of proven domestic violence and child sexual molestation ignored by the courts. The mothers are labeled as mentally ill or having Parental Alienation Syndrome, though PAS has absolutely no scientific validity and is used in a very discriminatory way to remove children from mothers who try to protect the children and themselves from violence and abuse. Yet in these petitioners' cases it is used over and over to punish the protective parent.

This problem has been brought to the attention of family court systems, states and the national government all to no avail. In 1990, Congress passed a resolution recommending the prohibition of giving joint or sole custody to abusers. 20 years later, it continues unabated. Legislation has been passed. Judges have been educated. Still it continues. Thus petitioners are turning to international courts to protect their human rights and the rights and safety of their children.

While state courts are responsible for custody cases, the federal government is responsible to ensure that their judicial systems operate in accordance with the Organization of American States Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Man. The specific articles the petitioners claim to have been violated are:

Article I. Every human being has the right to life, liberty and the security of his person.

The courts place the children directly in danger without regard to their right to life, liberty or security of person. In addition, often the arrangements made for visitation are unsafe to the mother as well.

Article II. All persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties established in this Declaration, without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed or any other factor.

The gender discrimination both in the courts in general and in custody cases in particular has been known, studied and proven for years. The gender bias studies in the 1980's showed bias that has never been corrected. The studies of custody have shown that it is a complete myth that women get custody over men or that men are disfavored in family court. It is such a pervasive myth that years of litigation and proof has not shaken it -- to the harm of the victims of violence.

Article IV. Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.

Litigants, especially mothers, who report child abuse are punished with jail or the loss of custody of their children. The protective parents are in a Catch-22 situation. If they do not protect their children, they are charged with failure to protect and the child protection agencies take their children. If they do act to protect, the courts put the children directly into the arms of the abuser.

Article V. Every person has the right to the protection of the law against abusive attacks upon his honor, his reputation, and his private and family life.

Often the protective parents who report abuse are labeled mentally ill or diagnosed with such imaginative syndromes as parental alienation or munchhausen's by proxy. Often they are ordered into counseling or in the case of one petitioner, taken to the mental hospital.

Article VI. Every person has the right to establish a family, the basic element of society, and to receive protection therefor.

By separating the protective parents from their children for no valid reason, the parent is denied the right to establish a family. Some of these petitioners have not seen their children for years. Every single petitioner was denied contact with their child for some period of time though none was ever proven to have harmed them.

Article VII. All women, during pregnancy and the nursing period, and all children have the right to special protection, care and aid.

Often battering begins during pregnancy, yet special protection is not afforded the mothers, even when they have an order of protection. Much research has proven that children of abusers are likely to be abused themselves and have a higher rate of sexual molest. Yet courts continue to refuse to protect the children. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in the DeSheney case that the state does not owe any right of protection to children even when they know of the abuse and have in fact placed that child in that home with the father. This is in plain violation of the Declaration.

Article XVIII. Every person may resort to the courts to ensure respect for his legal rights. There should likewise be available to him a simple, brief procedure whereby the courts will protect him from acts of authority that, to his prejudice, violate any fundamental constitutional rights.

The lack of due process in family court is legion. Ex parte hearings and communications, decisions without hearings, refusal to admit the mother, refusal to admit evidence of violence is rampant in the cases and violates the most basic principles of due process. Little attention or time is given to these decisions that shape a child's life forever.

Article XXIV. Every person has the right to submit respectful petitions to any competent authority, for reasons of either general or private interest, and the right to obtain a prompt decision thereon.

The gender bias studies of the 1980's showed that courts are not competent when dealing with women. Unfortunately, things have not improved. In spite of training, legislation and lobbying, judges continue to ignore statutes that mandate no custody to abusers. The petitioners have tried to hold the judges accountable by appeal or disciplinary procedures, all to no avail.

Article XXV. No person may be deprived of his liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures established by pre-existing law.

The many children who are put directly into harms way by being placed with an abuser or molester are deprived of their liberty. When courts ignore evidence of violence, they are not following pre-existing law. It is commonplace for judges to completely ignore state statutes that mandate that custody will not go to a perpetrator thereby violating state law as well as putting children in danger.

Article XXX. It is the duty of every person to aid, support, educate and protect his minor children, and it is the duty of children to honor their parents always and to aid, support and protect them when they need it.

These petitioners have tried to protect their children. It is the courts that have prohibited them. The cost to both child and parent is overwhelming and devastating.

The Gonzales case, also filed at the InterAmerican Commission, illustrated in their hearing the failure of the American justice system to protect battered women and children. That case dealt with the failure of the police department. This case deals with legal abuse -- the failure of the legal system, the courts, the guardians ad litem, the attorneys for the children, the state protective agencies to both follow the law and to protect the helpless children who face the horror of violence daily.

Unfortunately, the IACHR has not moved on the case. After more than three years, they have not even examined it or forwarded it to the U.S. government. How many children have to suffer before justice is done?

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 03:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2010

My Ms. Mag Article: Huffington Post Censor's Mother's Rights Activists

Huffington Post Censors Mothers' Rights Activists
November 11, 2010 by Elizabeth Black

This week, Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post's latest section: HuffPost Divorce. Her plug: "Breaking up is hard to do - but reading about it isn’t." Upon Monday's launch, however, there appeared a column that women's rights advocates took very hard: a piece by Dr. Richard Warshak promoting the discredited "Parental Alienation Syndrome," or PAS.

Parental alienation is a dangerous custody-battle concept that has been used primarily against mothers – and in particular, mothers trying to protect themselves and their children from hostile or abusive ex-partners and fathers. As R. Dianne Bartlow explained in her Summer 2010 Ms. article, “There’s Nothing Friendly About Abuse”:

PAS theorizes that most accusations of child abuse (especially sexual abuse) made during a custody battle are actually fraudulent. Not only are the charges false, says the theory, but they are deliberately undertaken by one parent (in most cases, the mother) to “alienate” the child from the other parent (generally, the father).

Frighteningly, PAS has allowed abusive or otherwise hostile fathers to gain custody of their children and then forbid the children contact with their mothers.

Yet parental alienation is not accepted as a valid theory by the American Psychological Association, and was rejected from the DSM-V. Without a real psychological definition, it has devolved over the years into a label for any negative testimony about the father by the mother (even if it’s true). It’s also now promoted as gender-neutral, but the parent most often labeled the "alienator" remains the mother. It's also one hell of a cash cow for psychologists who make a living from it.

In keeping with all this, Warshak’s post, "Stop Divorce Poison", gives an overly simplified description of "alienation" that could describe nearly any hostile or cantankerous relationship: "persistent bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations, overlooking positives, and drum-beating negatives."

A half dozen domestic violence and motherhood activists, including myself, descended upon Warshak’s column to leave comments describing how discredited PAS really is. But, as I witnessed and others report, by the evening of November 9, most of the comments (nearly a dozen) posted by critics had been deleted in the space of five minutes. According to those I've spoken with, deleted comments contained valid source material from professional organizations citing:

* how discredited parental alienation really is

* how parental alienation did not make it into the DSM-V

* how it is used primarily as a weapon by abusive fathers against protective mothers

Here is an example of a comment that was removed:

Another activist and I wrote to David Flumenbaum and Arianna Huffington to inform them about the censorship of opposing, critical views. Both of us received an email in return from Social News Editor Adam Clark Estes, who wrote:

I've double-checked the comments and all of those missing were removed in accordance with HuffPost's commenting guidelines. You can read more about those here:

www.huffingtonpost.com/p/frequently-asked-question.html#moderation

That said, we're in touch with Dr. Warshak about his comments and will do our best to keep the conversation flowing in the future.

When considering the above screenshots (pure facts devoid of non-objective commentary) it's unclear which part of these guidelines apply:

(I) The Huffington Post welcomes all users to join our community and to comment and treats all members of the community equally.

(II) We want the Huffington Post to be home to open, transparent conversations in which people connect, discuss, share ideas, and debate the issues.

(III) We are also committed to maintaining a non-toxic atmosphere.

(IV) In order to preserve a functional and civil conversation, we do not allow trolls, trollish behavior, or stalking.

(V) Members of the HuffPost community deserve to be free from spam, and we do not allow posting the same comment multiple times within one thread or on multiple threads.

It's frustrating that the supposedly progressive HuffPost has given a platform to Dr. Richard Warshak, one of parental alienation’s most fervent supporters, but won’t give the same platform to its commenters. We are the pioneers in providing 650-296 and itil v3 certification tutorials with 100% exam pass guarantee. Download our latest pass4sure 70-271 & JN0-332 questions to pass real exam of testking 640-816 in time.

On November 10, activists returned to the article to comment; it remains to be seen if their comments will be deleted–or whether they’ll fall victim to HuffPost-moderation's thin skin. If a blog can delete comments opposing their viewpoint, then what's the point of comments? You might as well change the name to “compliments.”

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 09:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack