Sunday, September 17, 2017


As I do most years, last Sunday I rode the Saint Paul Classic bike tour. During the ride, I noticed that when people rode tandem bikes it was always, without exception, a man in front and a woman in back. This got me thinking.

I'll admit that if S and I rode a tandem bike I would feel a bit odd riding in the rear. Emotionally not intellectually. I suspect nearly everyone, men and women, would feel the same. But it is still wrong. Just as wrong as my post-college roommate who never let his girlfriend drive despite the fact that she was an excellent driver and they often took her car.

Why is it wrong? Ask yourself this?  Is it uncomfortable to see a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? Not for me but for many it is. But I cannot be so smug because, as I say, it would be a bit uncomfortable for me to ride in the back of a tandem bike. (not that I would ever ride one as in general they seem strange to me) If it is uncomfortable to see a woman in front on a tandem bike, isn't that the same mental construct as being uncomfortable seeing a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? It is a long journey.

Many years ago, I stated that we would not see the light at the end of the tunnel for ending discrimination agaisnt blacks until we regularly saw mixed race couples in advertisements. Ditto for discrimination agaisnt gays. And today, I am happy to say, it is not uncommon to see mixed race and same sex couples. No doubt, we still have a ways to go but the path is clear.

I have also noticed that in the United States, hotel maids are almost always women. But in Europe this is not the case. Another area where we need to make some progress.

My mother was a nurse. Back then nearly almost all nurses were women and most doctors were men. Now the mix of graduates coming out if medical (and law, and dental) schools is pretty much equal between men and women.

And of course the fact that 98+ percent of the time men are the ones who pay alimony is another example of unfairness. 

The important thing, the thing most people do not do, is think about these things. To reflect. That is what makes us human. That is how positive change happens.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Acting Morally Is Acting in Your Self-Interest

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, said that the best economic benefit for all can usually be accomplished when individuals act in their own self-interest.

Economist Milton Friedman has argued that greed and self-interest are universal human traits. Furthermore, he argued that people pursuing their self-interest is way people escape grinding poverty.

Acting in one's self-interest can be thought of as the very foundation of capitalism.

However, people often mistakenly assume self-interest to mean solely economic self-interest. But it is not all about money.  People also act to preserve their reputation as a morally good person as a new study shows.  In fact, most people would choose death rather than live with a reputation as a child molester. 70% would rather have a hand amputated rather than be labeled a Neo-Nazi.

Maintaining or improving your moral reputation is the core reason people act ethically, especially when dealing with strangers.

This makes me wonder if not using real name, for the most part, on this site as been an error on my part. Nelly Wince is a lawyer who commits horrible crimes and gets away with them. She hurts innocents including children. This is not my opinion, I have clear evidence. Ditto for county attorney Bennie Sonsang as well as many others.

I have been reluctant to name names for several reasons including my being a person who simply does not like to make a fuss but mostly to protect my children. However, the children are now adults and will soon be off on their own. And the last threads of hope that the justice system will act in a just rather than corrupt manner are fraying fast.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Innocent But Sentenced

The major issue I have with Spring's divorce of me is not her particular actions. Although she committed horrible perjury and her actions during both the marriage and divorce are reprehensible to a high degree, she is just one person doing bad things.

More important is fixing bad alimony laws. These statutes, especially in Minnesota, are incredibly unjust, arbitrary and outdated. They hurt not only the innocent but even the guilty such as Spring and Nelly Wince because they encourage and reward behavior that in the long run ends up being detrimental not only to society but themselves as well. I would never trade the knowledge of having done what they did for any amount of money. Alimony laws need to be reformed. I fully support the efforts of such organizations as Minnesota Alimony Reform to do so. This is much more important than the bad actions of  any one person.

Yet even more important is the fact that the legal system in Minnesota not only tolerates but rewards clear criminal actions. Not as a one-off but as part of the normal way of operating. This is called institutional corruption and it is widespread, pervasive and completely illegal under current laws. This is a serious. It undermines the fundamental foundation of our civilization - that we live in a just society.

And to reiterate what I have stated before, not everyone involved in the legal system or family law is bad. Certainly there are many fine lawyers, judges  and other professionals acting ethically and doing the best they can. However, as a whole the level of corruption is high and has become so common people tolerate it without even thinking about it much. My goal, more than anything, is to get people to think about their actions.

As I have often argued, the belief that somehow this corruption is limited to family court is false. The same corrupt officials who operate in family court also operated in other areas. And colleges who see just how rewarding and risk free it is to operate illegally become tempted to do the same. The cancer metastasizes.

I heard a segment on This American Life about Carl King, a man who was clearly innocent but still convicted of murder, It took 21 years and the persistence of one person to finally clear his name. The story highlights just how bad our justice system can be. What happened to Mr. King is incredulous. It is hard to understand just how unjustly he was treated by the legal system.  I should qualify that by saying that for most people the story is incredulous. It does not surprise me at all.