Question of Atheist Scruples – real life edition

June 20, 2016

An ex reaches out with this suggestion — what would you think of donating sperm?

A bit of anonymous backstory —

Relationships can be complicated and long lasting, even if the participants aren’t really in each other’s social circles anymore. A ten year anniversary apart, in this case, with several years in there of little to no contact at all.

But, this girl’s been involved for some years with a guy who has a history of putting off (and continues to put off) the notion of starting a family due to work or education or whatever may be the reason of the day. They’ve been rocky for this and other reasons from the sounds of things. It also sounds like the girl may just cut her losses and go on alone.. sort of.

She texted the 10 year anniversary guy to pose the question. The Man, being the sweet and honest man he is, let me know what had been going on in his messages yesterday regarding this. We had a good discussion.

I knew the girl briefly; we’d worked at the same place for a while. Saskatoon is smaller than it seems. I didn’t know she knew the Man until I’d known both of them for a while. Different social circles.

Life is fun.

Anyway, obviously nothing of this magnitude should be – or would be – agreed to in 5 minutes by text. It seemed more like “what if” kind of thinking, a contingency plan maybe.

On the topic of thinking, he already has one son from a previous relationship but we have no plans on adding a sibling ourselves. Anything he and the girl may decide to do winds up being between them as an arranged and legal contract agreement stipulating to whatever rights or the waiving thereof that they collectively would agree to.

There’d still be their folks and the Little Man to consider, though. Not that they need parental permission, being in their thirties, but would anything be said – or need to be said – to LM about his big brotherness here? It’d be shocking to discover later that a half-sibling’s in the world, though, wouldn’t it?

I’m reminded of some family history now, of a cousin whose kids learned their dad had a second family in town because those kids were going to the same damned school. The cousin didn’t know about it either but she was married to (or at least living with) the Sperminator at the time. It sounded like a hell of a mess, though.

The girl got her Master’s degree in some kind of biological science, I think, which doesn’t matter per se, except in terms of demonstrating her ambition. She’s no slouch. I’m sure she’s thought about what kind of impact single parenting would have on career prospects. Or at least, easy opportunities. She also has a history of “issues” to use a description that isn’t very explanatory. I can’t elaborate since I have no details, and should just leave it out, actually, but won’t. Everyone has issues that affect how they think or behave in certain situations. Thinking things out in this Q of S kind of way can’t prove you’d behave that way if that situation really happened to you.

I’ll leave it here. Thoughts?


Today’s found on Facebook — bare bum spanks for God?

June 4, 2016

Via Rawstory we learn of a Little League coach taking dubious advice from a Bible-based child-rearing book. Jonathan Shawn Russell was in court in North Carolina accused of spanking his players, ages 8 and 9 at the time. The book’s called Shepherding a Child’s Heart, written by Pastor Tedd Tripp and:

He read a passage from the book aloud on the stand that said, “If you fail to spank, you don’t take God seriously and don’t love your child enough.”

One of the children told his mother he was spanked for saying “dang it.”

He also admitted to spanking his own kids, but that’s not the issue here.

Arrest warrants obtained by the paper [Citizen Times] say he was accused of “pulling down child victim’s pants and his underwear and spanking him on his buttocks multiple times with his hands.”

The assaults happened in 2014 and 2015.

He gets 60 days in jail for this and 18 months probation prohibiting him from being alone with any children for any reason under the age of 18.

I wonder if this goes for time with his kids, too. Seems like it should.

From the original article:

When Russell took the stand, he told the families of those he abused he was wrong after allegations surfaced and was charged by authorities.

“I recognized the misapplication in the sense that these weren’t my children and this wasn’t my place,” he said. “I never tried to hide it from their parents, but I didn’t have their permission either.

“I’m sorry,” he continued. “I want to seek forgiveness … I understand the affect it has had on everyone and from the bottom of my heart I did not mean to do any damage.”

Russell’s actions would not have been illegal had he been given permission for the spankings by parents of the boys, Newman said.

Alarming last sentence there.

When parents pick prayer over health care

June 4, 2016

Children die, of course. This tragedy occurred in 2013 but is in Calgary court now. According to testimony, Emil and Rodica Radita returned from church to find their 15-year-old son not breathing. They waited 2 whole fucking hours before calling EMS, opting to pray over the boy instead. Apparently other church members were in the house at the time, doing the same.

Shauna Mitchell, an investigator from Medical Examiner’s office reportedly heard conflicting stories from witnesses and thought it was possible the boy was already dead before the parents left for church that evening.

The boy, a diabetic, died from bacterial sepsis due to complications from starvation and neglect.

Both Mitchell and Const. Larry Pugliese, the first police officer on the scene, said the boy was nothing but skin and bones when they saw him dead in his bed.

Pugliese said Alexandru was “like a skeleton.”

He said it was clear to him the teen was dead.

“The boy was extremely thin,” Pugliese told the Court of Queen’s Bench murder trial.

The parents also claim the boy didn’t want to go to a hospital earlier that day because he had a “bad experience” when he was 3.

The murder trial continues later this week so hopefully I’ll remember to update.

Back in May, the CBC reported on this story, mentioning the fact that the family once lived in British Columbia but left. Why, I wonder…

[They] had their son seized by social services in that province in 2004 after he nearly died from untreated diabetes — the same allegations they now face in relation to his death, according to prosecutor Susan Pepper.

So, this poor kid suffered for a hell of a long time. It’s appalling, to say the least.

The other story that was making the rounds lately was also from Alberta: 19-month-old Ezekiel died of untreated meningitis. That had nothing to with picking prayer over hospitals; that was all naturopathic bullshit masquerading as health care. (Although naming a baby Ezekiel probably means David and Collet Stephan are fairly familiar with the Bible as well.)

Despite the conviction, they remain unrepentant, painting themselves as persecuted and warning that the parenting police are out to get us all.


The message in the conviction is consistent with what our laws and courts have said over decades in cases with similar philosophical underpinnings – parents who refuse blood transfusion, vaccination, cancer treatment and other demonstrably beneficial medical treatments for their children in favour of prayer or other nonsense: As an adult, you can have beliefs, religious or otherwise, and you can raise your children according to those beliefs, no matter how wacky, but that does not obviate the obligation to provide the necessities of life. When a child’s health and well-being are compromised, the rules change, because a guardian has responsibilities as well as rights.


Question of Atheist Scruples – money money money

May 25, 2016

The question:

You and your spouse have trouble making ends meet. You have a nine-year-old daughter who is a natural model. Do you try to make money by promoting her as a model?

Probably not at the age of nine no matter how cute and poseable she is, unless her first gig can be pajama modeling for the Sears catalogue..

All I can think about here is Honey Boo Boo and the celebrity train wreck that has been her family’s life for several years. I’d heard that her mother set money aside for her future, but she still had to parade on TV to earn it.

If it was the Little Man that some talent scout caught sight of somehow and approached us about letting him become a brand icon.. I can’t deny the money aspect wouldn’t be alluring. But if he wound up the new face of some kids’ brand of athlete gear or sport drink, the money he made wouldn’t just be ours; LM’s Mom would be owed half of it. She’s not exactly swimming in a fortune right now either. We’d have to take her finances into account, too.

And also LM’s own thoughts about his future. At 9, he’d have more monetary sense, I’d hope, and understand that his name put to a product would help mom and dad financially. But it would still be his decision, ultimately. If he didn’t want to parade around in his underwear, or pretend to love a brand more than he actually did, we’d support his choices. Otherwise, how could he trust us with any other decisions he’d be called on to make in his life going forward?

Carrying on with the new tradition – TV shows or popular movies about modeling —

All that really comes to mind is Zoolander – During his (baffling) career as a male model, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is lured into a brainwashing scheme where he’s supposed to kill a government leader. Fortunately, things don’t work out as planned.

In terms of fashion, I suppose Devil Wears Prada can get another mention and I’ll add the adorable Ugly Betty into the list. I think I caught the whole show on DVD. America Ferrara plays Betty who lacks all fashion and style knowledge, but winds up working as a personal assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of a high class fashion mag. Initially hired by his father in the hopes of curbing Daniel’s lust for ladies on the job, she turns out to be a good pick for the job itself. A little romance, a little mystery, a little klutziness and all in all, pretty okay.

So, audience, how would you answer?

Another priest, another porn charge

October 17, 2014

This time in Canada:

ICE forensic analysts are currently in the process of analyzing a number of computer and mobile devices that were seized.

“Dozens” of hand-drawn images, which under the Criminal Code are classified as child pornography, have been seized.

Investigators say the man gave the pictures to another person but at this point they don’t believe he distributed them over the internet.

“I have seen some of the images in this case and I can say that it’s not just children posed naked, but that it does depict sexual assaults of children,” said Lokken.

“Anytime anybody has certain influence or a position within the community, it puts them in a position where they could have contact with young persons, and that’s concerning to us,” added Lokken.

His name’s all the way at the bottom:

Richard John Docekal, 58, is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

I’ll have to watch for updates on this one.

Thanksgiving Satan Weekend part 3

October 12, 2014

It’s Satan weekend here. I’m Canadian and for Thanksgiving weekend I decided to give thanks to the fact that I live in a country where I can write about these things for kicks.

Third story, the Satanic Children Big Book of Activities — the handy PDF for anyone who wants it — was designed by the Satanic Temple supposedly to counter the habit of Orange County schools agreeing to let outsiders come in to distribute bibles. The Orlando Sentinel had an update on the story. Other sources were taking it as a “this is really happening!” story and some clarification was required.

District counsel Woody Rodriguez confirmed Thursday night that the group hasn’t approached the district with a formal request.

If that request were made, the district would first review the materials. Sublette said he didn’t know if they would be allowed or not. And when I first reported this story several weeks ago, the group said they didn’t have printed booklets on hand and had no local group to give them out.

At a board retreat Thursday night, Sublette strongly urged the board to put in place a policy that would ban the distribution of all religious materials by outside groups on school campuses, even if it would lead to a lawsuit.

That sounds like a good idea. If it can’t all be allowed, then none of it should be allowed. Seems plain and simple if you ask me.

Dear Saskatoon city and Transit: please make up and be friends again…

September 30, 2014

Or, if not friends, at least find a workable compromise and get the buses running again.

I’m glad we forked out for a better car this year. I can’t imagine trying to do all this running around from job to school to job to home to babysitter with the car we had before, which was on the verge of crapping out. At least we have a car. Others are not so lucky and it’s costly and frustrating to work around this.

The transit lockout has left Saskatoon’s Oskayak High School to hire its own bus service in order to get students to class.

During the first school week without buses, only one-third of the student population was able to make it to school.

“I heavily rely on the transit system because I have school, I go to work, and I have dance practices to go to and that’s not happening,” Grade 12 student Heaven Adams said.

“It makes it a lot harder. It’s a lot harder to find rides or I spend a huge amount of money on cabs and it’s just ridiculous.”

Adams, along with all of the school’s 315 students, uses city transit to get to classes.

Today’s adventure:

The Man drove me to work early so he could drive downtown to get the Little Man and take him to school. He and his mother have been stuck walking for an hour every morning but yesterday mom’s chronic back issues were acting up and she apparently had no way to get him there so he missed the whole day. (This is not the first time he’s missed, either, but that’s another issue — had she just asked on Sunday, we could have gone over there to get him Monday morning! I also kick myself for not thinking to suggest that. Poor kid’s gonna fall so far behind and it’s French immersion, too.)

So, the Man picked up the Little Man, drove him to school, then the Man drove back to my workplace so I could drive him to his workplace and drive back to mine. We didn’t have to pick up the Little Man in the afternoon, but I drove home so I could get a few things done and get supper started and then I’m back in the car to get the Man when his shift is done.

The city is into its second week without buses and the ways in which it is affecting people is growing.

Life without a bus ride has been very challenging for Grace Kuhn. She has been taking the bus for years. She uses transit for everything from getting to work, to appointments, to meeting with friends. She’s turned to Kijiji to help fill the transportation void but unfortunately that has fallen through as well.

“I literally sit down and cried,” Kuhn said.

She can’t afford to spend $600 a month on cab fare and she doesn’t want to spend all of her savings. What really frustrated her was the response she got after she wrote an email to her city councillor.

“Saying, sorry this has happened, but here’s a couple of links, you can (go online) to get yourself a ride. You’re kidding me?” Kuhn said.

Like I said, we’re very fortunate we can afford a car. A lot of people in this city rely on transit and even with a car, we use the bus quite a bit, too, on account of shift work schedules and kid trading between houses and other needs. We need a working bus system.

It’s great news that the city has agreed to pay for 10 new buses, but they’re not additional buses, they’re replacement buses for ancient machines that keep breaking down.

A shortage of mechanics that caused a backlog of bus maintenance was the biggest factor for cancelled routes prior to unionized transit workers being locked out by the city on Sept. 20.

Older buses were also partially to blame for cancelled routes after the Labour Day weekend.

Some of the buses currently in the fleet are over 20-years-old and have more than 1.5 million kilometres.

That’s like 2 trips to the moon and back. Small wonder they’re falling apart…

Unrelated, but interesting for other reasons (mostly because I somehow never heard about it), apparently at the start of September, a 9 year old took a brief joyride in a bus that was left running with the door unlocked. The kid promptly drove the bus out of the garage area and onto the street. Eventually he struck another bus parked not far away and another vehicle. Due to his age, the police are unable to lay any charges on him.

No injuries were reported and damage to the buses is estimated between $1,000 and $10,000.

“This is not a case where policies need to be reviewed or practises need to be reviewed, this is a case where, from what I’ve seen, policy and procedures were very clearly violated,” said Jorgenson.

The city is in the early stages of the investigation.