Friday, September 9, 2011

Paternity Fraud "Rampant" In The USA For At Least 5 Years

Is he the Father?? (HT World Net Daily)

Paternity fraud has been a big problem for men for years. Here's proof from World Net Daily:

More than three years ago, a Maine district court judge ruled that Geoffrey Fisher no longer had to pay child support for a child that wasn't his.

But that didn't stop the state from revoking Fisher's driver's license and coming after him for thousands of dollars it says he owes in back payments.

Last year, Maine sent Fisher, 35, a letter seeking $11,450 in child support, even though officials know that DNA tests proved he isn't the father of the child in question.

As the nation experiences an unprecedented increase in unwed motherhood, more men are finding themselves named as "fathers," for purposes of child support, simply because of their ability to pay, say several recent studies.

It's called "paternity fraud," and one state that examined the problem found as many as 30 percent of those paying child support were, indeed, not the biological fathers of the children being supported.

The most recent comprehensive study took place in New Hampshire under the auspices of the Commission on the Status of Men.

The commission found that even men who later were able to prove they were paying support for the children of other men were sometimes still forced by courts and state agencies to continue.

"Paternity fraud is a growing concern for men and children everywhere," concluded the commission in a report completed in November. "It can spawn considerable grief for the men who may or may not be emotionally attached to a child they later discover was fathered by another; and possibly unsettling for children who may discover the false nature of their paternity."

The New Hampshire commission took note of the case of Geoffrey Fisher.

Fisher had a brief relationship with a woman eight years ago and when she got pregnant and told him he was the father, he believed her. He began paying child support but eventually fell behind.

In the summer of 2001, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services took him to court because of delinquent payments. The court ordered him to pay up, and the state had his license suspended under the "deadbeat dad" law.

That fall the girl, then 3, was placed in foster care. When Fisher pushed for custody, the state ordered a paternity test, which proved he wasn't the father.

At that point, one branch of the human services department told him he could no longer see the girl because he wasn't the father, while another said he owed $10,000 and couldn't have a driver's license because he was the father.

Fisher thought the matter resolved when a judge ruled he no longer had to pay child support in January 2002.

But then last spring, the Maine attorney general's office claimed Fisher still owed support payments for the time from the child's birth until she reached 3 years old, when tests proved Fisher was not the father.

"Paternity fraud is a growing problem for both men, who should have a higher level of confidence on the paternity of their children, and for the children who need a reliable history of both parents for the maintenance of their physical and emotional health," concluded the New Hampshire commission.

Carnell Smith, a paternity fraud expert, says that 30 percent of the cases he sampled proved negative.

Like New Hampshire, California has also established a commission to explore the problem, based on reports that 14 percent are being misnamed as fathers. A report is expected later this year.

Florida is about to pass a new law that would end child support if a man proves he's not the father. Like most states, Florida currently requires that child support – once legally established – continue until the child's 18th birthday, regardless of who the real biological father is. Eleven states have changed similar laws since 1994.

A new state law took effect in Colorado this year that permits men, for the first time, to challenge his paternity of alleged offspring – at least during the proceedings of a divorce, separation or child-support action. However, once a final order is entered, the new law says, the man is barred from presenting evidence of non-paternity.

Bottom Line: Men must choose their mates VERY carefully. It's up to them to protect their property, their money, and their lives. As this story shows, most women won't, and the legal system surely doesn't.

Background Intel:

World Net Daily: Paternity fraud rampant in U.S. 30% of those named as fathers bilked of child support unjustly

A Paternity Fraud Horror Story

Her secrets hurt the man and children in her life. (HT

This pretty much explains itself. From the Experience Project:

Dear Friends,

I am writing this letter in the hope that it can benefit you and your family by helping you avoid the agonizing ordeal I have experienced. I have documented each and every bit of information that I reference in here, and I have made the information available if you wish to verify any portion of it. If you still are not sure whether to read further, please ask yourself the following question: Do you believe that the government is corrupt?

If you answered “yes,” then sit back in your favorite reading chair and read on—you’ll see just how deplorable conditions have become in our fine state of Michigan and how these conditions threaten our families and children. If you answered “no,” I hope that for your sake and that of your family, the tale of my past will change your mind.

Please understand my motives. I am not lashing out in search of revenge. I seek neither political nor monetary gain (besides recouping that which has been wrongfully taken from me). But each individual has limits, and when pushed beyond those limits a person has two options: become overwhelmed or push back. I have chosen the latter because nobody—and no government—has the right to deprive any of us of our pursuit of happiness by interfering with the well-being of our families.

If you agree, I ask that you aid me by distributing copies of this letter across the state in an effort to augment the 5,000 copies I will personally hand out. Although this letter results from my personal hardship, I hope it can prevent other families from experiencing similar grief and pain.


Douglas Martin Richardson

I. Background Information About a Corrupt System

A. What is Paternity Fraud?

Counterintuitive as it may seem, it is pretty common in our society that men are forced to pay child support for children who are not biologically theirs—even when the courts and the government are perfectly aware that they are not the father. This is paternity fraud, and it typically happens in two ways. The first, which is described in more detail below, involves an unwed mother who can name any man as the father in order to get welfare funds. The state gets more federal funding if there is a father named, so there is a big incentive to have a man listed so that the state can get support from him. There is no requirement that the man actually be the father. All the mother has to say is that the father is John Smith. She needs to offer no proof of even knowing the man, much less demonstrating a biological link between him and the child. She then provides an address for him, which also does not have to be accurate. She gets here welfare check and the state goes after the man to recoup the funds. The men often cannot be reached because the address the mother gave was not accurate, and typically these men do not even find out about the paternity claim until their wages have been garnished and their time for appeal has expired. This is a fundamental injustice: men who have no notice of what is going on and no chance to disprove paternity have their wages taken from them, and the law will continue to force them to pay child support even if DNA evidence proves the man cannot be the father.

The second form of paternity fraud is what happened in my case. I was married to the mother and believed the child was mine. I fully accepted responsibility for him and was happy to support him. Later I discovered that the child was not actually my son, yet the court still required me to pay child support. This form of paternity fraud involves a man finding out he was not the father of a child he believed to be his own, but the courts still force him to pay child support—even if the biological father is in the picture.

B. Modern-day Slavery

Although it is true that on December 18, 1865, the 13th amendment of the Constitution formally freed the slaves, a different form of slavery remains active today. While pre-Civil War slaves were “chattel slaves”—slaves whose owners held legal title of them—today’s slaves, though not “owned” by another individual in the same sense, are nonetheless involuntarily pressed into service by the plague of paternity fraud.

Almost no human condition can compare to the experience of the black American chattel slaves, of course, and I do not mean to belittle their plight, the effects of which continue to reverberate throughout our society some one-and-a-half centuries later. Rather, I merely mean to channel the outrage a decent society expresses towards slavery by highlighting its trait of involuntary and uncompensated servitude, a trait it shares with paternity fraud. Paternity fraud forces the victim (the man) to forfeit his wages to the fraud’s perpetrator (the woman). Refusing to work is not an option, and, as I frustratingly learned, the effects can easily and quickly progress beyond the point of legal recourse. As the 13th amendment prohibited such servitude in all its forms, the deplorable allowance of paternity fraud should not be allowed to stand.

C. Why Paternity Fraud Occurs

Although defining a child’s “best interest” is an inexact science, most would agree that a child’s best interest involves physical well-being and financial support. Determining who should ensure that well-being and provide the support requires establishing the child’s parentage. If the mother is married, the child is presumed to be the mother’s husband’s; however, if the mother is unmarried she has the broad power to name a father on the birth certificate.

In order to alleviate strains on the welfare system, the state desires to find a father. Thus, the state has made it frighteningly simple for an unwed mother to announce a father of her choosing. Because the mother is not bound to provide accurate information, the alleged father often does not receive notice of the paternity claim, and the window of time to challenge it expires. Frequently, men don’t even find out about any of this until their wages are garnished and it’s too late. Paternity fraud also occurs in cases like mine, when a man believes he is the father only to later find out he is not, but still has to pay for the child.

D. The Government’s Motivation

Many members of the public too readily accept the motives of the government and the courts at face value, believing that these institutions have no interests in mind other than those of the child. A closer look, however, reveals a far less compassionate financial motive.

If Michigan complies with Title 4D of the Social Security Act, it may receive a federal grant to fund its child support program. In order to encourage compliance, the federal government links the child support grant with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grant. These conditional grants create an incentive for Michigan to collect as much child support as possible, calling into question the level of scrutiny given to the propriety of child support obligations. When single mothers receive welfare, legal, even if not biological, fathers forfeit much of their child support payments to the state in order to reimburse it for its assistance. The net effect of this scheme is that the more child support the state can award, the more revenue it can reap. Given that there are of approximately 800,000 custodial divorced parents in Michigan who receive Title 4D benefits, the state has much to gain by finding men to pay.

The citizens subject to this abuse must demand its end. Well-intended welfare reform is being used to against those it was supposed to help. Furthermore, the judicial system is fueling this abuse with unchecked awards of child support and an often inaccessible appeals process.

E. The Actors

The child support system is a self-perpetuating machine of corruption fueled by greed and power. The foot soldier of the system is the attorney. Although I would highly recommend obtaining the advice of counsel for anyone going through this process, one must keep in mind that the attorney depends on conflict and animus for his or her livelihood. Furthermore, an attorney will not likely raise more than a token challenge to a judge’s authority or reputation, realizing that his or her career may depend on a good working relationship with that judge. This consideration may conflict directly with the interests of the client, and by extension the interests of the child. Although grievance procedures are available, my experience has shown them to be completely ineffective.

Another actor in the system is the Friend of the Court (FOC). The FOC is a statutorily enacted agency created to assist the court in family law cases by, among other things, investigating custody, parenting time, and child support collection, and making recommendations to the judge, to whom the FOC directly reports. Of these duties, the FOC tends to focus heavily on the child support collection, virtually never missing an opportunity to prosecute a “deadbeat.” By contrast, the FOC rarely intercedes upon learning of violations of parenting time. The reason is clear: enforcing child support generates revenue for the state, but enforcing parenting time does not.

Moreover, the FOC does not place nearly as much emphasis on delivering the support as it does collecting it. Michigan has almost $20 million in support funds that it has not delivered to recipients due to an inability to contact them. If the child’s best interest were truly its chief concern, however, the FOC would redouble its efforts to locate the recipients. Moreover, it would enforce the custodial parents’ legal duty to keep such information on file. As the FOC’s superior, the Chief Judge has the power to make this happen, yet it has not been done.

F. The Grievance Process

Anyone wishing to file a grievance against the FOC must do so with the director of the FOC who has 30 days to respond. Having a grievance heard by the very office that is the subject of the grievance presents obvious conflicts of interest. Although the complainant can proceed beyond this level by appealing to the Chief Judge, this does little to assuage the conflict concerns since the FOC acts pursuant to the Chief Judge’s orders.

The state has attempted to address some of these issues, though not with great success. Governor Granholm recommended that each county in Michigan implement a citizens advisory committee as an alternative forum for complaints, but not all counties have followed this recommendation. Furthermore, the FOCs are supposed to assign each grievance a case number in order to better track the complaint, but instead of performing this task diligently, many FOCs liberally dismiss complaints and take no further action. There is some oversight; for example, each year a senate committee reviews grievances filed against the FOC in order to assess the FOC office.

For a while, some progress was made in holding the FOCs and judges accountable, including establishing independent oversight boards that were privy to closed FOC meetings. After controversial revelations, however, the oversight boards have been excluded from FOC meetings. Complainants may still file grievances against judges, but the state-employed attorneys require very high standards of proof to implicate a judge, and so these grievances rarely produce quantifiable results.

II. My Story

A. The Fraud

As I relate my story, you will see the various components of the system that I have described in action. My story spans 20 years and has culminated in ludicrous results, forcing me to reimburse the state for welfare that the mother of another man’s child fraudulently received and compelling me to pay child support to the child’s biological and custodial father. This did not happen as the result of unrelated coincidental misfortunes, but rather from a systematic corruption that infects Michigan’s legal system. What is worse is that my story is not an isolated anomaly, but one of many such atrocities that ruin lives each day.

When I was 19 years old I married my girlfriend. Two months later, I was a father, and a proud one at that. Soon thereafter, my wife gave birth to a second child—like the first, a boy. In our fifth year of marriage, however, we decided to split up. In almost no time at all, the mother reunited with an old flame. Initially, my wife filed for divorce. Later, I would file as well, but not until I had learned some shocking information about the children.

In the early stages of the divorce proceedings, the mother and the boys moved in with her ex-boyfriend. This act raised my suspicions, and they were confirmed when my ex-wife’s eldest son informed me that the ex-boyfriend was his real father (his mother told him as much). Despite this information, the court refused my several requests for a DNA paternity test because the mother testified repeatedly under oath that I was the biological father.

The court was less than sympathetic to my plight. My original counsel advised me that if I wanted to contest paternity, I needed to request a stay to seek new counsel. I immediately did so and obtained new counsel. The new attorney was unable to attend the judgment on such short notice, however, and I had to petition the court myself. Three times I asked for a stay to determine paternity and for representation, and three times I was denied. Over my objections, the judge entered the divorce judgment. The judge patronizingly added that his children were adopted yet he loved them as his own. What difference, he seemed to imply, does paternity make?

After the initial proceedings had concluded, the court honored my request for a paternity test on the condition that its results be used only for medical purposes and not for legal purposes. The test was done and I awaited the results. In the meantime, my attorney appealed my case to the circuit court on the grounds that the judge had abused his discretion in denying my earlier requests in light of the disputed paternity.

Also during this period, my ex-wife declared her intention to isolate me from the two children, although the ex-boyfriend and biological father of the oldest son still refused to officially acknowledge his paternity. In furtherance of that effort she offered me a settlement, via our attorneys, that would eliminate my required child support and health insurance payments in exchange for my forfeiture of all visitation rights for both children. The FOC had brokered this deal and my attorney advised me to accept it and petition later to reinstate my visitation rights.

Against my better judgment and swayed by the specter of complete alienation from my son if I continued to fight, I accepted the deal. We went to court to finalize the settlement. The judge asked the mother if the settlement reflected the outcome she wanted, and she indicated that it did. But instead of asking me the same question, he accused me of wanting to sell my children, and began crossing terms off of the settlement. When he finished, he had eliminated my visitation rights and reinstated my child support and health insurance obligations for my ex-wife’s son. Somehow, I had gone from an unfavorable settlement to an unconscionable “agreement” that required me to pay a father to support his own son but prohibited me from ever seeing that child (or my own child).

B. The Aftermath

Over the years following the decision, I had to develop coping mechanisms to deal with the anguish of alienation from my son and the burden of paying child support for another’s child. I learned to live with the child support and health insurance payments by thinking of them as taxes that came out of each paycheck—as a forgone conclusion of money I would never see. But I could not come up with any clever device for coping with the separation from my son or his brother. I would often find myself wondering what they were up to, how they were doing in school, and what they looked like. I also wondered what they were being told about the source of the money their mother received each month.

Eventually I remarried. At first, I was adamant that we would not have any children. My past experience had cut deeply and, although it seemed well outside the realm of possibilities in this relationship, I could not bear the thought of reliving the experience. As the passage of time assuaged my pain, however, I learned that this relationship was different. My lovely wife and I have now been together for 14 years and have a wonderful three-and-a-half year old son.

Although the pain healed somewhat, my curiosity about how this could have happened remained strong. I had paid over $80,000 in child support, and my employer had been billed almost $70,000 for child health care premiums. I had to investigate.

C. The Investigation

I began to request records from the FOC office. Even as a person with no legal training, I knew something was terribly wrong. My instincts led me to involve the media, who seemed to share my skepticism. They were more successful at obtaining documentation that I could not access. Several outlets aired revealing exposés that all asked the same question: how did this happen?

I began receiving a good deal of positive feedback from the public. My phone rang constantly and I received many letters expressing outrage and support, with some urging me to crusade for other victims of paternity fraud. Even a state senator, during a television interview, agreed that my case raised serious concerns and one must strain to fathom the judge’s reasoning.

In the meantime, I filed a motion to erase all debts owed to the mother and the biological father. This time, the court ruled in my favor. Furthermore, I was granted visitation to see my biological son, whom I had not been allowed to contact in over 15 years.

As my investigation moved forward, I began to learn just how out of the loop the FOC and the court had kept me. For example, I discovered that the mother, having abandoned both children to the eldest’s father’s care, had petitioned the court to redirect my child support payments to the father. Moreover, the court granted the request without any regard for the requirement that it notify all parties within 30 days to allow an opportunity for objections. Rather than notifying me within 30 days, the court allowed me to find out through my own personal investigation many years later.

Based on this information and a FOC bureau memorandum I discovered, that directed FOC offices and Chief Judges to adhere to the 30-day notice requirement, I filed a grievance against the FOC. Shortly thereafter, the State Inspector General’s office contacted me concerning an investigation into the mother’s welfare fraud. Apparently, as I was paying for her child’s health care, she was also receiving duplicative health care payments from other providers. Furthermore, the FOC knew that the mother had received payments from providers but shirked their duty to inform me, which would have allowed me to stop my payments.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to dig deeper. With this new welfare fraud information, I filed another grievance against the FOC. I wondered how the FOC could award the mother, and then the father of the eldest son, sole custody in light of these revelations. The FOC should have known these facts, and yet it still concluded that living with these two, completely cut off from me, was in the best interest of the children—even my biological child. This, however, paled in comparison to what I learned next.

Recall that the mother and the FOC conspired to redirect my child support payments to the biological father without notifying me. This took place around 2001, soon after the court allowed the mother to abandon the children to the biological father, whose legal status was no more than “live-in boyfriend.” My research, however, uncovered the father’s felony complaint and arrest warrant from only four years prior. He had been convicted of a felony with a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Ironically, the state’s main witnesses included my ex-wife, some of her girlfriends, and the father’s own son. The episode involved the father returning home intoxicated and abusive. He brandished a rifle and took his own family hostage, destroying property and breaking windows. The son testified that the father told them they would all die. The police surrounded the home, and the father surrendered after a lengthy standoff.

Certainly, the court had access to these records, yet this felon is the man whose parental duties I had been subsidizing all those years. He is the man who the court deemed fit to raise my son and his. He is the man to whom the court awarded my son, entrusting him to keep my son and forbidding the boy from ever seeing me.

The FOC proved as unhelpful in the grievance process as it was in the proceedings. My first complaint went unanswered well past the 30-day limit. So did my second complaint. I filed a third grievance with the Chief Judge who, along with the FOC bureau, assured me an answer was forthcoming. After the time limit for all three grievances had come and gone, I received notice that each was outside the scope of the grievance process.

I appealed my denials to the Chief Judge, and once again received a negative response, this time with the word “DENIED” in all capitals. I also appealed to the FOC to try to stop my wage garnishment, which the state was using to reimburse the mother’s fraudulent health insurance payments. Although the state was aware of the fraud, they refused to stop my garnishment, meaning that I was forced to pay the state for money it had already been reimbursed. I have refused to pay, but to this day, the state continues to pursue my wages, placing a garnishment against my tax returns.

III. What Can Be Done?

A. The Problem

I do not claim that the entire government and court system in the state of Michigan is infested with corruption. Small pockets of corruption exist, however, and can ruin lives when they fester in chokepoints that cut off all recourse for people like me.

The Michigan court system does not operate autonomously, nor do the executive and legislative branches. Ultimately, the United States Constitution governs each to some degree. When the state denies its citizens of due process, the federal government must act to restore justice.

B. The Solution

The federal government must be compelled to launch a federal investigation. An impressive petition is one of the most effective means of bringing this issue to the government’s attention. I hope that those of you who have read this letter and been moved by the outrageous official acts I have described do not succumb to a feeling of hopelessness. Instead, I hope you are motivated to push back, realizing that your signature on a petition does count; in fact, it may be the only chance at righting these wrongs.

This letter has a link to a petition that anyone who has been touched by paternity fraud can sign. It's an uphill battle, but it's one that must be undertaken if there's ever going to be any sort of fairness in the family court system.

Background Intel: Paternity Fraud/Children For Profit

Naughty Teachers Files Vol. XI - French Canadian Twist

The Desperate Housewives Effect happens north of the border too. (HT Montreal Gazette)

The cougar-cub phenomenon has taken hold with our neighbors to the north. From the Montreal Gazette:

Former gym teacher Tania Pontbriand (pictured above) seduced her 15-year-old student during a camping trip, beginning a two-year relationship that would involve sex every day in her office, car or at one of their homes, Quebec Court heard on Friday.

The student, now 25, testified at Pontbriand's trial for sexually assaulting the young man, that she showered him with gifts, including a dog tag engraved with the date of their first sexual encounter.

"She had convinced me that we were in love, that I was special and that she didn't do this with other students," he said in a calm, articulate manner.

In 2002, Pontbriand taught gym and leadership, which involved winter camping and bike trips, to the Rosemere High School student, who can't be named.

During the first bike trip, with the entire class, Pontbriand and the student sat up talking until 6 a.m., sharing thoughts and feelings.

"She said that marrying her husband had been a mistake," the man testified. "She said I could look into her eyes and know what she was thinking."

A couple of weeks later, they went camping alone - with the permission of the boy's mother.

While in the tent, Pontbriand stroked the boy's eyebrow, he testified.

"She said 'kiss me,' " he said. "I was completely sexually inexperienced and said 'how?'"

They had intercourse and oral sex twice that night, and the next day Pontbriand drove the boy home.

"She said, 'I'm going to be your biggest fan for the rest of your life,' " he testified, adding that Pontbriand then flashed him her breasts.

"I was confused. I never thought that I'd be sleeping with a 30-year old married teacher of mine."

The two continued to have sex daily in Pontbriand's office, in her car or at her home when her husband was playing hockey or golf, the student said. Everyone at Rosemere knew Pontbriand was transporting him to and from school, and some teachers warned her that her behaviour was inappropriate, but the two told everyone they were just friends.

Throughout the summer, they went cycling together and had sex in the woods, at the boy's house or Pontbriand's home in Mascouche.

One of the photos shown in court Friday was of the student drunk and passed out on Pontbriand's couch. "That was the first time I ever drank in my life," he testified.

She knew his locker combination and would leave him love notes, written in a special code the two had made up.

When the boy went on a family holiday to Florida, Pontbriand gave him money to buy her lingerie at a Victoria's Secret store.

The young man testified their relationship continued on the sly until he went to CEGEP and Pontbriand stopped calling. By the time he entered university in 2006, he was still distraught, trying to get some explanation from his former teacher, he said.

Finally, he consulted a psychiatrist. "He said I'd missed out on a lot at 15, like the normal dating rituals. I think I was still in denial, pretending it was a normal relationship."

Finally, he told his mom, who broke down crying, and his friends, who agreed he should go to police.

Pretty graphic, I have to say. I would love to hear her side of the story. The trial will pick up at the end of November so more details should be out then. Stay tuned.

Background Intel:

Montreal Gazette: 'I was confused': student

A Unique Kind Of Divorce Payout

Men, if your Wifey has this look, watch out. (HT UK Telegraph)

There are a number of reasons why a man would have to shell out some coin to an ex-wife, but this one's pretty unique. From the UK Telegraph:

The 51-year-old man was fined under article 215 of France’s civil code, which states married couples must agree to a “shared communal life”.

A judge has now ruled that this law implies that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage”.

The rare legal decision came after the wife filed for divorce two years ago, blaming the break-up on her husband’s lack of activity in the bedroom.

A judge in Nice, southern France, then granted the divorce and ruled the husband named only as Jean-Louis B. was solely responsible for the split.

But the 47-year-old ex-wife then took him back to court demanding 10,000 euros in compensation for “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage”.

The ex-husband claimed “tiredness and health problems” had prevented him from being more attentive between the sheets.

But a judge in the south of France’s highest court in Aix-en-Provence ruled: “A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent.

“By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”

Very interesting. I didn't think the lack of marital sex would have a pricetag on it. If we used that line of reasoning here in the US, I'm pretty certain that in most cases, it would be the men taking their ex-wives to court wanting compensation for lack of sex. Given the current US culture, most of those cases would either be tossed out or side with the woman, because according to the radical feminazis, asking for sex from your wife is oppressive and all men are rapists.

Background Intel:

UK Telegraph: Frenchman ordered to pay wife damages for lack of sex

Patriotic Kicks & Gloves Create A "Fine" Day For NFL Players

The heart of the matter. (HT Yahoo Sports)

Pictured above are the cleats and gloves that Chicago Bears Linebacker Lance Briggs will wear in the season opener on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Other players are following suit.

However the NFL may have an issue with this and may levy fines to those who wear the patriotic apparel. From Yahoo Sports:

Players expressed confusion over why the NFL would deny them the chance to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by wearing different cleats when the league provides pink apparel (including shoes) to be worn by teams to promote breast cancer awareness each October.

I have to side with the players on this one. You provide pink apparel for them to wear for the entire month of October, but you won't let them wear the red, white, and blue for one day in September?? Something's wrong with that picture. I agree with Doug Farrar this is "a simple and honorable gesture. Not a fineable offense."

Background Intel:

Yahoo Sports: NFL players may be fined for wearing unauthorized 9/11 tribute gear

Outright Maternity Fraud In The UK

With the high number of occurrences, this could be a real mag. (HT

This is one of the most outrageous maternity fraud stories I've come across. From the UK Daily Mail:

A man who had his sperm frozen in case he became infertile was astonished to learn that his ex-wife had tricked an IVF clinic into twice making her pregnant.

He then had to pay £100,000 towards the upbringing of the son and daughter he had known nothing about.

The father, a 57-year-old retired haulier, is now demanding a change in the law to ensure no other parents go through his torment.

The astonishing story begins in 1999 when the man was about to have drug treatment for crippling arthritis.

He stored sperm at the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge to ensure that he and his wife, who married in 1979, could have a child if the treatment left him infertile.

In June 2000 the couple decided to divorce and weeks later she visited the clinic and forged his signature, allowing doctors to create embryos from his frozen sperm and her egg.

She gave birth to a girl in June 2001, claiming it was the result of a one-night stand, and a boy in September 2003.

When the boy needed hospital treatment for a hole in the heart, his mother’s sister phoned the haulier to reveal that both children were his.

‘When the girl got older my ex-wife texted me saying she wanted to see her father. The children asked their mum where they came from and she told them, “The freezer”.’ In 2007 the ex-wife demanded he pay an extra £100,000 after she fell into debt.

A judge ruled that a settlement he made after the divorce, in which the woman kept the family home, was unfair because it did not take the two children into account and the man was forced to pay out the cash. He says he has also spent almost £200,000 in legal fees over the years.

Let me see if I have this straight: She forges her ex hubby's signature so she can have children, then she wants him to bail her out? Nice. I also disagree with the judges decision. I believe the divorce settlement was fair because at the time of the divorce there were no children. They came later as a result of the ex-wife's dishonesty. The woman's take? you'll love this:

I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. It was getting later and later for me and I wanted to have a child. If I had not done it then I would not be blessed with my children. I have no regrets.

Given that the UK legal system allowed you to fleece your ex-husband, I'm sure you don't.

Background Intel:

UK Daily Mail: 'Father' ordered to pay £100k for children he never knew he had after ex-wife tricked IVF clinic into using his frozen sperm

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sinkhole Hits Home

The Intruder. (HT Yahoo News)

Here's something you don't want to see at home. From Yahoo News:

Here's something you never want to hear: "That loud booming sound is coming from inside the house!"

That's what one Inocenta Hernandez from Guatemala City learned after a sudden noise caused her to run outside, thinking there had been an explosion nearby. When she realized the problem was inside her home, she returned to find a gaping, three feet wide, 40 feet deep sinkhole beneath her bed.

Hernandez, 65, was relieved that the damage was only to her house, and hadn't harmed her grandchildren, who had been playing near the bed. This was a little too close to home, but she couldn't have been too surprised that a sinkhole had visited her city.

Guatemala City is prone to spawning giant pits, which are often caused by tropical rain storms. Sinkholes are natural depressions in the earth that can range anywhere from a few feet to hundreds of acres wide, and measure a shallow foot to 100 feet deep.

Glad to see her and her grandchildren were not harmed. Sinkholes are serious business. They strike without warning. There is one thing. If you notice that there's low water pressure in your home, check with your neighbors to see if they have the same issue. There could be a water main leak/break and that could lead to a sinkhole as this story shows.

Background Intel:

Yahoo News: That sinking feeling: Woman finds giant sinkhole under her bed

Lifesaver At The Ballpark

Great things can happen here. (HT

Everyone knows that heroes are made at the ballpark. Few are made in this fashion. From the Washington Post:

The vendor in question was Emmanuel Marlow, a 49-year old D.C. native who now lives in Bowie. He’s done the vending thing at FedEx Field, RFK Stadium and Nats Park, selling beverages and performing guest services for Rocket Man, one of the contractors at area sports venues.

Marlow’s “day” job — which begins at 3 in the morning — involves caring for patients with Parkinson’s; he helps bathe, shave, massage and feed several such patients. He also said it’s in his nature to help people; he once took a free CPR class at UDC, figuring it might come in handy. And he listened carefully during his vending training session, when his supervisor, Terrie Smith, encouraged her employees to be vigilant at all times as they walked the stadium.

“I didn’t realize they were listening that much to what I was saying in my vendor meeting,” Smith said with a laugh when I asked her about that session.

At the game in question, Marlow told me that he was selling beer when he noticed a little boy in the crowd, coughing, gagging and turning a strange color. The fans in that section seemed to be panicking, but no one had taken charge of the incident.

“I guess they never had experienced a first-aid situation,” said Marlow, who had once worked a game at FedEx Field when a patron had a mild stroke. “[The boy] was actually going to a new color. I knew I needed to jump in and do it. There was no time for hesi­ta­tion. It had to be done right then and there.”

And thus, remembering his UDC training, Marlow indeed performed the Heimlich on the boy, who had a piece of chicken lodged in his throat. It took three thrusts, but the chicken was dislodged.

“I was impressed,” said Smith, the supervisor, who found out about the incident later. “I was like, ‘he did?’ He was just calm with it, didn’t come back and say ‘I did that.’ ”

The boy was examined by officials after the incident. His mother, Marlow said, spent 10 minutes hugging the vendor, crying and thanking him. And like my e-mailer wrote, Marlow confirmed that he quickly resumed selling beer, joking that his manager that day “was like great job, go back to work.”

“I was just glad I was there and knew what to do and did it; that’s the best thing that happened,” Marlow told me. “His mother’s not grieving over a lost child. That’s the most important thing.”

Indeed it is. It's good to know that there are always good samaritans out there.

Background Intel:

Washington Post: Nats vendor performs Heimlich on choking child

Another Lawsuit For The Ring

The Prize. (HT ABC)

Another engagement ring lawsuit has hit the newswire. From ABC:

California business owner James Mekalian is suing his former fiancee, Nichole Grazioli, for the return of a $53,000 diamond engagement ring and a 2006 Hummer, according to court documents.

In court documents filed August 19 at California Superior Court for the County of Fresno, Mekalian, the owner of a truck and tractor company, alleges he presented his former fiancee with a "valuable engagement ring and vehicle" after the two agreed to marry. The civil suit accuses his ex-fiancee of deceit and fraud for keeping them after they split.

Grazioli declined to comment on the lawsuit and complaint. "I'm seeking legal advice right now and I can't say anything at this point in time," she told

According to court documents, in April 2011, Grazioli broke off the couple's engagement. When Mekalian requested the return of the ring and 2006 Hummer, court documents state, Grazilio refused.

From what I understand about the law, If Mekalian did not give her the ring on a holiday or a special occasion, then by law, she has to give the ring back. We'll see.

Background Intel:

ABC: California Man Sues Former Fiancee For $53K Engagement Ring

A Loyal Girlfriend

The Happy Couple. (HT UK Telegraph)

Pictured above is British comedian John Cleese and his girlfriend Jennifer Wade. Wade is doing something that I have yet to see an American woman do: Helping her man pay off his ex wife. That's standing by her man.

Here's the money quote. From the UK Telegraph: "She told me she could sell ashtrays to non-smokers. She looks nice and she is, in the best sense of the word, a sensible and extremely vibrant English lady. Thank God, he’s not with another American." That came from one of Cleese's acquaintances. Proving that not many foreign men want American wives either.

Background Intel:

UK Telegraph: John Cleese’s girlfriend Jennifer Wade helps pay for his wife’s divorce deal