Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Posted June 29, 2009
An Alliston woman charged with mischief for climbing the Cookstown Outlet Mall's water tower in April is facing about $50,000 in potential restitution costs, including a $36,921 bill by the Bradford fire department because the truck that responded to the call, broke down on the way back to the station.
Paulette MacDonald, dressed as Bat Girl, climbed the tower to draw attention to Parental Alientation Awareness Day, made a second court appearance last week, and learned from the Crown's disclosure the total cost being sought by South Simcoe Police, Innisfil Fire, and Bradford Fire, is $48,944.
Ms. MacDonald had scaled the tower before sunrise, unfurled a banner supporting her cause, then spent several hours unnoticed before "I finally yelled down to a group of young ladies coming out of the mall and requested that she notify the mall security for me."
Police were called, as were firefighters, first from Innisfil, but then Bradford for its aerial truck.
"When the fireman asked me to come down the ladder of the firetruck, I didn't want to," said Ms. MacDonald in a press release from the group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J). "I felt much safer getting back down the way I came up."
The F4J has also weighed into the situation, suggesting that Bradford should thank "Bat Girl."
"In my eyes, Ms. MacDonald should receive thanks for highlighting flaws in the fire department's equipment before it was actually needed in an emergency," said Kris Titus, F4J National Coordinator. "This might have more to do with with the competence of their maintenance system than our featherweight superhero. We're obviously glad that she was safe during the rescue, considering the circumstances."
Ms. MacDonald is due back in Bradford court July 23.My letter to the editor, the Mayor and Fire Chief of Bradford West Gwillimbury
Subject: Letter to the Editor ~ Bradford fire wants Alliston's 'Bat Girl' to pay for broken truck
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
I'd like to see the maintenance records on the 9 self propelled vehicles in the Bradford Fire Department to ensure the tax payers of this municipality their Fire Chief, Lorne Arscott, actually has a grasp on the areas he needs to manage. They send out #1016 (10 one six) - 100' Aerial (E-ONE) truck to a Grandmother standing steadfastly, strongly and resolutely on a water tower, it is not an emergency by any stretch of the imagination, and they say their truck breaks down. Not overly encouraging is it?
The Fire Chief is playing games with a Crown's Office in Barrie, already under scrutiny for corruption relating to breaking the law in having the police, who are also breaking the law, use the Criminal Conviction data base known as CPIC to pre-screen jurors. Simcoe County used to have more going for it than this. Is this Chief also getting sucked into a prosecutor’s questionable judgment or is this the usual manner that public services pick on citizens in this county?
It is using what power they have to intimidate legitimate protest in aid of children. Did the Chief in Toronto send the bill to the Tamils for the overtime and double shifting of emergency personnel in the city recently? Does the Fire Chief want to cover up their possible mistakes by billing a grandmother that kind of money? Something smells in Bradford. What is it? Power does have its corrupting influences.
CC Mayor Doug White , Bradford WG, Fire Chief, Lorne Arscott, Bradford WG
- 1011 - Rescue Pumper (Almonte/Spartan)
- 1012 - Pumper/Tanker (Rosenbauer/Spartan)
- 1014 - Tanker (Dependable/WhiteGMC)
- 1015 - Pumper/Tanker (Rosenbauer/Spartan on order, currently using a loaner apparatus)
- 1016 - 100' Aerial (E-ONE)
- 1019 - Dodge Ram Pickup
- 10401 - Dodge Ram Van
- Car 10-1 - Dodge Durango (Fire Chief)
- Car 10-2 - Dodge Durango (Deputy Fire Chief)
- Specialized Rescue Trailer
Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009
The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.
Father's Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father's Day as well as Mother's Day.
When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.
Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.
Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold -- and not before time.
Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. "Family First" is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.
The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men's movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.
The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.
Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia's most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.
There's nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It's like, "Gees, I've produced this beautiful baby, I'm a man." It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it's not just your wife and you. It's a very unselfish thing, you've now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.
Hayden's passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.
Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
June 19, 2009, 0:00 p.m.
Be on the lookout this week for stories with these bogus memes.
By W. Bradford Wilcox
With Father’s Day almost upon us, expect a host of media stories on men and family life. Some will do a good job of capturing the changes and continuities associated with fatherhood in contemporary America. But other reporters and writers will generalize from their own unrepresentative networks of friends and family members, try to baptize the latest family trend, or assume that our society is heading ceaselessly in a progressive direction. So be on the lookout this week for stories, op-eds, and essays that include these five myths on contemporary fatherhood and family life.
1. THE ‘MR. MOM’ SURGE
Open a newspaper or turn on a TV in the week heading up to Father’s Day and you are bound to confront a story on stay-at-home dads. I have nothing against stay-at-home dads, but they make up a minuscule share of American fathers.
For instance, less than 1 percent (140,000) of America’s 22.5 million married families with children under 15 had a stay-at-home dad in 2008, according to the U.S. Census. By contrast, about 24 percent (5,327,000) of those families had a stay-at-home mom. This means that the vast majority — more than 97 percent — of all stay-at-home parents are moms, not dads.
The focus on Mr. Mom obscures another important reality. In most American families today, fathers still take the lead when it comes to breadwinning: In 2008, the Census estimated that fathers were the main provider in almost three-quarters of American married families with children under 18. Providership is important to protect children from poverty, raise their odds of educational success, and increase the likelihood that they will succeed later in life. Thus, the very real material contribution that the average American dad makes to his family is obscured by stories that focus on that exotic breed, the stay-at-home dad.
2. WOMEN WANT EVERYTHING 50-50
Another prevailing media myth is that contemporary women are looking for fathers who will split their time evenly between work and family life. It may be true for the average journalist or academic, but it is not true for the average American married mom.
Most married mothers nowadays do want their husbands to do their fair share of housework and childcare. But they do not define fairness in terms of a 50-50 balancing act where fathers and mothers do the same thing at home and work. Instead, contemporary mothers take into account their husbands’ work outside the home when they assess the fairness of the division of labor inside the home.
Moreover, most women who are married with children are happy to have their husbands take the lead when it comes to providing and do not wish to work full-time. For instance, a 2007 Pew Research Center study found that only 20 percent of mothers with children under 18 wanted to work full-time, compared with 72 percent of fathers with children under 18. My own research has shown that married mothers are happiest in their marriages when their husbands take the lead when it comes to breadwinning — largely because his success as a provider gives her more opportunities to focus on the children, or balance childcare with part-time work (the most popular work arrangement for married mothers). So, on this Father’s Day, dads who are fortunate enough to hold down a good job and make a major contribution to their families’ financial welfare should take some comfort from the fact that they are likely to be boosting not only their families’ bottom line but also their wives’ happiness.
3. MARRIAGE IS JUST A PIECE OF PAPER
With the rise of cohabitation over the last 40 years, a large minority of American children will spend some time in a household headed by a cohabiting couple. Experts now estimate that about 40 percent of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting household, either because they are born into such a household or because one of their parents cohabits after a breakup. Faced with this reality, many journalists, scholars, and advocates are tempted to minimize the differences between married and cohabiting fathers and families.
But the reality is that, on average, cohabiting fathers do not compare with married fathers. As Sandra Hofferth of the University of Maryland and Kermyt Anderson of the University of Oklahoma found in a recent study, married fathers are significantly more involved and affectionate with their children than are cohabiting fathers. In fact, from their research, they conclude “that marriage per se confers advantage in terms of father involvement above and beyond the characteristics of the fathers themselves.”
Married fathers are also much more likely than their cohabiting peers to stick around. One recent study by Wendy Manning at Bowling Green State and Pamela Smock at the University of Michigan found that 50 percent of children born to cohabiting parents saw their parents break up by age five; by comparison, only 15 percent of children born to married parents saw their parents divorce by age five. Dad is much more likely to stick around if he has a wedding ring on his finger.
This is because, for men, marriage and fatherhood are a “package deal,” as sociologists Frank Frustenberg and Andrew Cherlin observed a number of years ago. By force of law and custom, marriage binds men to their families and gives them a recognizable role to play in the lives of their children. Try as they might, unmarried men typically find it difficult to be a consistent and positive force in the lives of their children.
4. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Every couple of years, some journalist seeks to revive the myth of the good divorce — often to excuse his or her own bad behavior. Sandra Tsing Loh is Exhibit A this week. In the most recent issue of The Atlantic, she spends several thousand words trying to justify her divorce from her husband of 20 years — a man she admits is a “good man” and “loving father” — under the cover of a sprawling, incoherent, and frankly disturbing review of five books on marriage and family life. (Among other things, the reader is regaled with all too much information about Loh’s private life; we learn, for instance, that one reason she ended up divorced is that she could not replace the “romantic memory of my fellow [adulterous] transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband.”)
Loh claims that her children appear to be doing just fine. Her two school-age girls — aged 7 and 9 — appear to be “unfazed” and “relatively content” in the midst of their parents’ divorce. Who knew divorce could be so easy on the kids?
In reality, Loh is probably deluding herself. The best social science presents a rather different picture than the rosy one Loh is trying to paint. According to research by Sara McLanahan of Princeton University and Paul Amato of Penn State, girls whose parents divorce are about twice as likely to drop out of high school, to become pregnant as teenagers, and to suffer from psychological problems such as depression and thoughts of suicide. Girls whose parents divorce are also much more likely to divorce later in life.
Moreover, studies indicate that children experience the most harm when their parents divorce after living together in a low-conflict marriage for many years (as Loh appears to have done). Why? These divorces come as the most surprising ones to children who thought that their parents had a good-enough marriage.
Though Loh manages to find for her Atlantic piece a bunch of well-educated friends who are also entertaining thoughts of divorce, she is (fortunately) in increasingly rare company. The work of sociologist Steven Martin indicates that since 1980, college-educated Americans have grown less tolerant of divorce, and the divorce rate among this cohort has fallen off sharply. Thus, well-educated readers of The Atlantic are unlikely to take Loh’s misleading and self-serving essay to heart.
5. DADS ARE DISPENSABLE
The final myth propagated by journalists in connection with fatherhood these days is the myth of the dispensable father. Often conjured up in glowing profiles of women who have become single mothers by choice, this myth holds that fathers do not play a central role in children’s lives.
This myth fails to take into account the now-vast social scientific literature (discussed above) showing that children typically do better in an intact, married families with their fathers than they do in families headed by single mothers.
It also overlooks the growing body of research indicating that fathers bring distinctive talents to the parenting enterprise. The work of psychologist Ross Parke, for instance, indicates that fathers are more likely than mothers to engage their children in vigorous physical play (e.g., roughhousing), to challenge their children — including their daughters — to embrace life’s challenges, and to be firm disciplinarians.
Not surprisingly, children benefit from being exposed to the distinctive paternal style. Sociologist David Eggebeen has shown, for instance, that teenagers are significantly less likely to suffer from depression and delinquency when they have involved and affectionate fathers, even after controlling for the quality of their relationship with their mother. In his words, “What these analyses clearly show is that mothers and fathers both make vital contributions to adolescent well-being.”
This is not to say that all journalists get it wrong when it comes to making sense of contemporary fatherhood and family life. This week, for instance, Sue Shellenberger at the Wall Street Journal had a great piece discussing the ways in which mothers serve as gatekeepers for fathers to their children; she also encourages mothers to allow fathers to engage children with their own distinctive style of parenting. Likewise, Linda Carroll at MSNBC has written an incisive story showing that involved and affectionate fathers play a crucial role in steering their daughters away from early sexual activity; in fact, it turns out that dads are more important than moms in protecting their teenage daughters from early sex.
In the coming years, we will need more tough-minded and honest journalism like the kind offered by Shellenberger and Carroll. This is particularly true because the cultural and economic storms of late — e.g., the individualistic turn of contemporary life and the recession — have been eroding the marital foundations of family life in America. Given the social scientific record on fatherhood, marriage, and family life, the United States could use more journalists who are willing to confront hard truths about the roles that fathers and marriage play in advancing the welfare of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, our children, and the cultural, economic, and legal forces that are now undercutting marriage and fatherhood in America.
— W. Bradford Wilcox is a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Institute for American Values.
By Kevin Myers
Friday June 26 2009
THE mob-leaders who led the hysteria accompanying the passage of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 must now be delighted with themselves.
Several teenage boys are awaiting trial on charges of having had sex with similarly under-age girls -- or as the Act, with a winsome political correctness, puts it: "a female child under the age of 17". If God is good, and the sisters have their way, these boys might well be sent to jail for up to five years. And maybe put on the sex offenders' register. Who knows, they might even have their lives ruined. What spiffing japes!
The scary emotionalising that passed for Dail debate just three years ago was the prelude to our beloved members of the Oireachtas concocting a truly appalling law.
And the hysteria on the issue of teenagers and sex -- whipped up by RTE, as always -- probably fuelled the sinister details of that law.
So the notion that a teenage boy and girl having consensual sex results in the boy alone facing criminal charges, is not some unexpected by-product of that law.
No, indeed, for this was both specifically intended and clearly foreseen. Section Five of the introduction of the Bill roundly declared: "Female child under 17 years not guilty of offence." And then, after laying out the punitive consequences for anyone who has consensual sex with a teenager between the ages of 15 and 17, the Bill declared in a single exculpatory paragraph: "A female child under the age of 17 shall not be guilty of an offence under this Act by reason only of her engaging in an act of sexual intercourse."
Not equal? Of course it's not equal. It wasn't intended to be equal.
Over to the DPP, James Hamilton, who wrote in his submission to the Oireachtas on this matter: "But equality under the Constitution does not require that all situations be treated alike -- indeed that would be inequality." Is that clear? Good. Now allow me to pause here, take a couple of Panadol, and to lie-down in a darkened, padded room. I may be some time.
Yet some people clearly saw what was coming down the track. The Fine Gael TD Damien English predicted: "There is a situation now where if two 16-year-olds have sex, and she becomes pregnant, the father could be in prison when she's having the baby. That's madness. . ."
Madness it certainly is. For the Oireachtas of 2006 deliberately devised special gender-apartheid laws in which only males could be culprits. So here's the picture. Take the foregoing couple of 16-year-olds having sex. What indeed if their consensual act resulted in a pregnancy?
Option One. Could the State be seen to be imprisoning an unmarried mum for performing the deed which made her an unmarried mum? Of course, not.
Option Two. Could it devise a legal code in which the girl was guilty only if the sexual deed did not result in a pregnancy? Too messy: suddenly mens rea and menses become inextricably intertwined.
Option Three. Just throw the boy to the wolves, and declare as a matter of law that under-age girls are always innocent. This, apparently, not merely achieves Orwellian dimensions of equality; it also has the added advantage of not alienating any of the simmering feminist army of lobby groups and quangos. There are, of course, no such bodies to protect that unloved species, teenage boys.
Yet this stinking law, probably in some mysterious way, genuinely reflects the will of the Dail; well, at least, over those hysterical few days anyway.
The minister, Michael McDowell, had in fact initially tried to introduce a balanced law which would at least have recognised reality and would, for example, have lowered the legal age of consent from 17 to 16. But he was overwhelmed by the usual media and political hysteria, and the outcome was yet again an Irish solution for an Irish problem.
In sheer fatuity and pious humbug, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 is a match for most of the many preposterous forays into personal morality by the Irish state
Moreover, it is a blackmailer's charter. Any sexually-experienced 16-year-old girl who seduces an under-17 male -- not a difficult task, surely -- is always innocent under this law whereas he is always guilty.
If she chooses to, she can simply ruin his life. (So how much is it worth to him and his family for her not to complain?). And, of course, such a girl can move through the ranks of permanently tumescent 15-year-old lads -- doing this repeatedly if she so chooses. This is not 1950s Ireland. At least 40pc of youngsters under-17 have lost their virginity. Every boy who has had sex with a girl aged under 16 since 2006 is thus a criminal -- unless he was under 14 at the time in which case the girl, if over 14, might somehow or other be guilty. God knows. I certainly don't.
So a moral and legal slum -- and one that is probably constitutionally unsustainable -- has once again resulted merely because, YET again, the mob was allowed to call the shots. Do we never learn? No, of course we don't.
- Kevin Myers
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The bar associations stance is typical as well. They will lose revenue if they cannot continue to foster an adversarial system pitting parent against parent. Why someone with such a vested pecuniary interest in outcomes should be taken seriously is beyond me. It's like asking the makers of heavy duty winter clothing if global warming will affect their income. Duh! They tout the best interest of the child will be compromised. It shows how little they know and understand the studies that conclude more positive outcomes for children when two parents stay in their lives.MJM
The only caveat is we may see an increase in false allegations in a desperate move to maintain the current biased status quo. The bar associations stance is typical as well. They will lose revenue if they cannot continue to foster an adversarial system pitting parent against parent. Why someone with such a vested pecuniary interest in outcomes should be taken seriously is beyond me. It's like asking the makers of heavy duty winter clothing if global warming will affect their income. Duh! They tout the best interest of the child will be compromised. It shows how little they know and understand the studies that conclude more positive outcomes for children when two parents stay in their lives.MJM