Friday, February 18, 2005

Abducting Your Own Child

Do you know anyone that has been through a divorce and lost custody of his or her children? It happens all the time. Maybe it's happened to you. The divorce rate in conservative Oklahoma is among the highest in the nation.

If you are one of the lucky ones that hasn't experienced being separated from your children by a former spouse and the state then take a moment to imagine what that would be like.

Sometimes parents are separated from their children because they truly are a danger to them. But most often a parent is separated from his/her children simply because the other parent had a better lawyer or because the judge flipped a mental coin. In Oklahoma, as in many states, the mother is given custody (80% of the time) because of nothing more than custom.

It's no wonder then that many parents who have had their children taken away from them become desperate in their grinding anguish and do something foolish - like take back their child.

Just this week Tina Faye Lambert, a Sand Springs mother abducted her daughter and spent a night with her before being caught. She was arrested on "child-stealing" charges because her former husband had legal custody of the 8-year old daughter. The Tulsa World article explained that the daughter had wanted to hug her mom goodbye but doesn't say whether the police let her give that hug. I doubt it. Ms. Lambert may or may not be a good mom but you have to understand her longing for her daughter. You have to understand the worried dad too.

Last month in Bartlesville an Amber Alert was issued about an "abducted child". Only later did we learn that it was a case of a father "abducting" his child. Strange how it's always the fathers that get the Amber Alerts.

The saddest part to these awful situations is the children who get torn apart mentally. But I can understand what drives parents to "abduct" their children out of desperation and a feeling of helplessness. To have their action labeled "child-stealing" doesn't seem right.

Courts need to work harder at structuring joint custody arrangements that keep both parents in the lives of their children. Only in cases where a parent really is a danger to their child should they be separated by the state. The Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights are trying to do something about it but while their solution could be right, their focus isn't. They should be focused on the right of their children to have joint custody of their parents.

With more joint custody we'd have fewer parents "abducting" their own children. Best of all, it would be better for the children.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Brenda Reneau Hires ex-Daily Oklahoma editor

OkieDoke has an interesting post about Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Reneau hiring the Daily Oklahoman's former editorial editor.

Oklahoma’s Dept. of Labor is already more anti-labor than the state Commerce Department. Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau thinks her job is to hold Oklahoma labor down rather than build it up. The choice last week of Patrick McGuigan as new Deputy Labor Commissioner shows her level of respect for regular working Okies. McGuigan was a right-wing extremist editorial director of the Daily Oklahoman when it was (accurately) recognized as the worst newspaper in America. McGuigan is to worker rights as Michael Jackson is to children.

While OkieDoke attributes the demise of Oklahoma's labor unions to Reneau and free trade among other things I think is has more to do with Oklahoma's Republican trend and past abuse by unions. It will take awhile for the unions to recover.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Tulsa World Doesn't Want Links

Batesline has an interesting blog on the Tulsa World threatening Councilman Medlock with legal action for, get this, linking to stories in the Tulsa World. Michael Bates points out that it is not an infringment of copyright to link to a site. The World won't let you see their content unless you are a subscriber anyway - so what's the World's problem?

Take a look at the World to see what I mean.
Wicca, astrology and the Dalai Lama

I stopped in at Gardner's Used Books on Mingo in Tulsa today to get my fix of musty tome air freshner and a book or two. I love a ramshackle used bookstore like Gardner's - with its stained easychairs and nooks to hide in. On a rainy day you can't beat the ambiance under the metal roof. But today I was looking for a book by the Dalai Lama. I found the religion section and looked through everything. Lots of books on Christianity and a smattering of Jewish and Islamic books but nothing on Buddhism or Hinduism. Rather than ask (I'm a man) I gave up and wandered into the business section where I happened to pass sections labeled "New Age" and "Philosophy". The books on Buddhism and Hinduism were scattered throughout these sections! Most of the Hinduism books were in New Age and most of the books on Buddhism were in the Philosophy section. Philosophy? Maybe in a stretch but what nitwits would put books on these ancient and major religions in the New Age section with books on astral projection and Wicca! What stupidity.

Somewhere in Bombay or Bangkok I hope there's a bookstore that has the holy books of the Abrahamic religions stuck away in a section on New Age and Astrology. That would be Karmic.