Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince - R.I.P.

As you probably know, Prince died two days ago. He was only 57. Prince was an incredibly talented musician. For one of his albums, he not only produced, arranged and composed it but played all 27 instruments on the recording. He was arguably the greatest living guitarist when he died.

I can distinctly remember walking out of a theater having watched Purple Rain feeling amazed by Prince's talent.

Minnesota is a land with a rich history of musical talent. Bob Dylan, The Replacements, Husker Du (with Bob Mould) and Soul Asylum to name a few.

I have traveled a lot and everywhere I go I hear Prince. It always makes me proud to be from Minnesota. Not just because of his talent but because Minnesota is the kind of place that a five foot two scrawny eccentric minority kid can become a superstar. Maybe that is why Prince continued to live here.

Prince was well know for denouncing record company contracts calling them a form of indentured servitude and even slavery. Young musicians are often conned into signing contracts when they are just staring out only to later learn that they are obliged to make a set number of albums for the record company. But they cannot make anything they want; often the contracts specify they have to follow the artistic direction of the company and the company can accept or decline the albums. So they are essentially locked into the contract until the record company decides to release them.

I do not know if Prince every spoke about lifetime alimony but you can bet he would have thought it was an even worse form of slavery than a record contract. I love Minnesota but lifetime alimony and a corrupt legal system are huge problems here. Justice is not something that just happens. The laws need to support it and the legal system needs to ensure it.  When that falls apart, as it has in Minnesota, it causes real harm to innocent people and indeed all of society.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why Child Custody And Alimony Reform Should Not Be Mixed

Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed an alimony reform bill on Friday due to concerns over a child custody provision. Scott very likely would have signed the bill if it had only dealt with alimony reform.

The proposed Florida bill would have directed judges to presume joint parenting was best for children before considering the specific details of the case. While this is eminently reasonable, it has nothing to do with alimony reform.
Alimony reform, which has wide support in Florida, was killed because a child custody provision was tacked onto it
Although you can certainly argue that child custody may need reform in Florida, the issue is far less detrimental to children than unjust alimony awards. And making alimony awards more just actually helps with custody issues.

In my case, I am pretty well convinced that the only reason Spring tried to get sole custody of the children was because she thought it would get her more money. In the end, the Court's joint custody ruling ending up being little different than if I had been awarded sole custody. Alimony reform removes one of, if not the primary, reason people fight over custody.

Minnesota Alimony Reform is quite rightly focused solely on alimony reform.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Minnesota Alimony Reform Updates

There has been a huge amount of activity with the new Minnesota Alimony Reform organization.

  • Stephen Hitner, the founder of Massachusetts Alimony Reform, came out to Minnesota and gave a really nice and informative presentation. In 2012 Massachusetts enacted comprehensive alimony reform. The law was passed unanimously in the legislature and had, and continues to have, strong support from virtually every interested organization both nationally and within the state. 
  • A bill to termination alimony due to cohabitation rather than just remarriage is well on it's way to becoming the law in Minnesota. The bill has gone before two committees in the House and one in the Senate and was approved unanimously by all three.  
  • The postings on the Nightmare Stories page continues to grow. These often heart-breaking stories highlight just how injust current alimony laws are and the pain and suffering they cause.
Check out the Minnesota Alimony Reform's News page for more updates. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Immoral Behaviour

I ran across and interesting New York University Study which concluded that doubts about career potential can pave the way for immoral processional conduct.

In a nutshell - if you motivated to go into a profession but are told you don't have a lot of potential for the field then you are more likely to endorse and engage in immoral behaviors.
The results showed that those highly motivated to enter the business world and who were told they did poorly on the test were more likely to endorse the immoral act (i.e., breaking the contract) than were those who were informed they did well.
Students, who were determined to enter the legal field and told they performed poorly on the test, were comparatively more likely to say they performed these “immoral” behaviors.
Now the interesting thing is that in the study the subjects were randomly told that their potential wasn't very good. In real life, the people who lack potential are usually the ones who receive the most negative feedback. So the most incompetent become the most likely to act immorally. Which, I suspect, is pretty self-reinforcing. After all, if being bad is the best way for you as an individual to succeed (because you can't by competency), you are more likely to act immorally.

It is the classic dumb bully stereotype - if you lack brains but have muscle, then use your muscle to get your way.

To prevent the bad people/bullies from winning through bad behavior is exactly why we have laws. But the laws need to be enforced to do any good.