Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ask Amy: Son's ex-wife turns kids against him

Last update: December 11, 2007 - 3:32 PM

Dear Amy: I am a mother of a divorced son. He and his ex-wife have joint custody of their four children ranging in age from 11 to 18. It is a bad situation in which she fought for full custody and has not been happy with the custody or the financial settlement decided by the mediator and judge.

My son's ex-wife has been eroding the relationship between the children and my son over the past three years by talking against him. The oldest, a girl, took sides with her mom and chose to live only with her from Day One of the divorce, and now the son, 14, wants to only be with his mom.

Over the years, I've given checks to the children for their birthdays and Christmas, and I've never received any kind of acknowledgment from the older two, unless they are with my son.

I don't have much feeling for them anymore, and I am torn about continuing to send gifts and feeling disloyal to my son who is hurt by their attitude. I live about 1,000 miles away from them, so I only see them once a year.

What do you think I should do?


Amy says: Parental alienation is a very real thing. I only wish that parents who engaged in this extremely destructive behavior realized how cruelly they were using their children -- and to what end? So the kids would have fewer family members to love?

Your question perfectly illustrates how, when one parent "turns" the children against the other, the kids lose more than just one parent in their lives -- they lose an entire side of their own family.

Please don't be a part of this, and urge your son to do everything possible to maintain contact with all of his children. I would challenge everybody in your family to love these children without reservation, even when it seems that there is no reciprocation.

I hope that you will choose to continue to remember your grandchildren on their birthdays and at Christmas. You should also try to be in touch with them occasionally for no special reason at all, but just because you care about them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Understanding Parental Alienation

Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who has more than twenty-five years of experience as a relationship expert, focusing on families, couples, parenting, aging well, managing stress and maintaining balance in one's life. An author of several books, articles and journals for popular and professional audiences, Dr. Atkins is a much sought after lecturer and keynote speaker as well as a recurrent guest expert in the media. She frequently appears on NBC-TV's "Today Show". Dr. Atkins has a private practice in New York City.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Parental Alienation and Domestic Violence

The Idealogical Battle between Parental Alienation and Domestic Violence - what is the real cancer in the court?

Written on October 5, 2006 by Randy Flood

Newsweek recently published (September 25, 2006) an article titled “Fighting over the Kids”. This was an article describing the phenomenon of battered women loosing custody of their children due to batterers using the parental alienation defense. Domestic Violence advocates and some Family Court Councils purport that parental alientation is “junk science” and is a “cancer in the family courts”.

Parental Alienation allegedly occurs when children reject or are systematically alienated from a parent. The unique aspect of the alienation is that it isn’t created by the experiential relaionship with the alienated parent, however by the alienating parent or the dynamics of a high-conflict divorce process. In other words, the children may reject the alienated parent while remaining attached and loyal to the alienating parent out of fear, love, or confusion. The children experience, and as a result, develop an idealogy that it isn’t safe for them to love both parents. They must denigrate and reject one, while idealizing and supporting the other.

In the Newsweek article, they cited a case in which a mother, Genia, lost custody of her children and was barred from contacting them. Is that not a case of Parental Alienation as it is defined? Reportedly, the children are alienated from their mother not due to their experiential relationship with mother, but because of the father’s campaign to alienate her from the children. His motivation? Perhaps it is an extension of his control and abuse, taking away her “prize possesion”, the children. Imagine how that would make him feel powerful or perhaps vindicated; “see, you shouldn’t have divorced me”.

Despite the criticism regarding the origins and applications of parental alienation, it is a well documented phenomenon in divorce cases. Peer reviewed journals such as the Family Court Review have published several articles regarding parental alienation and its intersection with domestic violence. Those who do the work in the trenches and and sit on the benches know very well the blank stare of the child who refuses to go to mom or dad’s house, despite no sound evidence of poor parenting.

In the same vein, those of us who work with mental illness and read professional journals about this problem, know very well about individuals who are psychotic that display poor judgment and aggressive behavior without any conscious intent to harm anyone, yet do. We also get angry at criminals who use the insanity defense in an attempt to absolve themselves from criminal behavior. Do we denounce mental illness in an effort to hold criminals accountable, and protect the victims of crime? No, we evaluate each and every case to determine the truth in that particular case.

I am dismayed by the current efforts of domestic violence advocates to denounce parental alienation in an effort to take away a batterer’s arsnel. Although it is a noble cause, it isn’t professional, it isn’t judicious, and it isn’t ultimately advocating for the best interests of all children. It is advocating for a discipline, an idealogy, and it is, in effect, trying to simplify a very complicated issue facing Family Courts. It is black and white, litigous thinking, not allowing for depth, dynamics, and nuances.

Those of us who work with batterers understand very well that they are masters of obfuscation. They will bend, twist, and shade facts to avoid accountability and shift blame. Accordingly, Parental Alienation becomes a high powered weapon for them in courts. Some of us who work in domestic violence get scared and angry about this and reflexively seek to remove “the weapon” from society. It is understandable. When your daughter gets shot and killed by a criminal with an unregistered gun, you may wish to rid society of guns to feel safer. A more judicious and less emotionally relexive response is to work on gun laws that develop polices of getting guns out of the hands of criminals and only into the hands of responsible citizens.

This is what I advocate to the Family Courts. I’ve done hundereds of custody evaluations as well as worked with hundreds of batterers. I’ve seen batterers obsessively pursue control over their partner by alienating the children from their ex-wife. I’ve also seen angry, vindictive mothers who act out their abadonment rage systematically by alienating their children from a father with no history of poor parenting. And, I’ve seen cases that are dynamic. One parent has a history of problems such as substance abuse, poor parenting, or abusive behavior toward their partner. This parent experiences a “wake up call” from the divorce and begins a legitimate path to recovery. In other words, they begin changing. Nonetheless, the other parent is understandably traumatized from the past and remains wounded, fearful, and untrusting. This wounded parent begins acting this out with parental alienation tactics. As such, the level of fear and attendant requests for restriction and limitations of parenting time emanates more from a wounded parent with unresloved trauma than current realities. When this happens, the courts needs to afford the traumatized parent treatment not collude with their protracted trauma response by restricting the other parent’s parenting time. At the same time, the courts need to remain vigilant in holding the “recovering parent” accountable.

The real cancer in Family Courts is unwavering advocacy of a rigid idealogy interfacing with a litigious process that promotes bi-polar thinking of winners and losers: Is it domestic violence or parental alienation? This cancer progresses to thinking, “if batterers use parental alienation effectively as a defense to win custody, then we should consider parental alienation junk science and eradicate its use in court”. This is fear based, idealogically based, and it will not forward the best interests of ALL children.

We need to train professionals, including judges, on the intersection of domestic violence and parental alienation. Then we need to evaluate and process each family case by case. Will mistakes be made because we are human? Yes! Do some criminals pretending to be mentally ill get reduced sentences? Yes, but it happens less and less as forensic psychology becomes more advanced in evaluating the insanity plea. I propose that we continue to study, research, and evaluate parental alienation, rather than throw it out. The more we learn about how vindictive parents can effectively alienate children from a good and loving parent, the more we can protect parents like Genia and her two children from Parental Alienation by a batterer.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The End of America

Talk by Naomi Wolf author of "The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot" given October 11, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Parental Rights Are Being Recognized by Judges

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Court rules social workers must follow law
Agencies, cops can't threaten to take kids away from parents asserting rights

Posted: October 25, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007

Lawsuit defendant Sheriff Joe Arpaio

A federal court has ruled that social workers have to respect the U.S. Constitution regarding privacy and parental rights, and if they don't they may be held liable.

The ruling comes in an Arizona case in which social workers, accompanied by Maricopa County deputy sheriffs, made unsupported threats to place a family's children in custody and arrest the parents if they were not allowed to make what ended up being an allegedly illegal search of the family's home.

U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll ordered that a lawsuit by the family against the social workers and sheriff will be allowed to continue, because the social workers' concerns were based on "an anonymous tip that the … Loudermilk children were being neglected and that plaintiffs' home was uninhabitable."

However, the judge said that under federal law, an anonymous tip, "without more, does not constitute probable cause."

(Story continues below)

The case is being publicized by the Home School Legal Defense Association because of the involvement of the organization's members, the family of John and Tiffany Loudermilk.

"Social workers and sheriff's deputies had come to the home … demanding entry based on a six-week-old anonymous tip that the newly constructed home was unsafe for children," the organization said.

"The Loudermilks declined consent, as was their right under the Fourth Amendment. After an escalating confrontation at the front door that lasted 40 minutes, the social workers, backed by no fewer than four deputies, threatened to take the Loudermilks' children into custody and place them in foster care if the Loudermilks continued to deny them entry… An assistant attorney general repeated this threat to HSLDA attorney Thomas Schmidt, who was assisting the Loudermilks during the confrontation," the HSLDA report said.

Under duress, the family allowed the social workers and deputies inside, who found nothing wrong, the report said.

But as a result of the search, the family sued the social workers and others citing the violation of their Fourth Amendment rights in the search, and violations of their 14th Amendment rights to privacy and family integrity because of the threats.

The judge, acting on motions submitted by the defendants to escape liability, agreed with the family.

"Defendants persisted in their threats to remove the children if Plaintiff Parents did not consent to the search, stating that [they] could arrest or handcuff the Parents in front of the children," the judge said.

"Based on the allegations set forth in the Amended Complaint, viewed in Plaintiff's favor, no reasonable official would have believed that his or her conduct was authorized by state or constitutional law."

Even the assistant attorney general was cited for exerting "coercive pressure" through threats.

"The ruling in this case makes it clear that threatening to remove children to gain a parent's cooperation is unconstitutional," said James Mason, senior counsel for the HSLDA. "We hope that this ruling will change this common tactic used by investigative caseworkers all over the country."

"There you have it, [social agencies and workers] cannot threaten parents with court orders or the removal of children because parents assert their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and refuse to cooperate," added Thomas Dutkiewicz, of the Connecticut DCF Watch organization.

"Parents do not have to cooperate with DCF whatsoever and DCF employees have to go away when parents deny them access to their home and children," he said. "DCF workers here in Connecticut are trained and instructed in this unconstitutional practice in order to conduct an unreasonable search and seizure of the home and child. They are to lie and threaten any way they can. All parents who were threatened should file a federal lawsuit against DCF, their workers, their supervisors and the police."

Now proceeding will be the lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, deputies Joshua Ray, Joseph Sousa, Richard Gagnon and Michael Danner, social workers Rhonda Cash and Jenna Cramer, and Assistant Attorney General Julie Rhodes.

The judge noted that the social workers misrepresented that they had a court order for an inspection of the home, but refused to provide it. He also noted the deputies were uncooperative, refusing to provide the family their cell telephone number so the HSLDA attorney could talk to them.

The claim against Rhodes stemmed from her advice to the family that the social workers were not bound by the Fourth Amendment in their intent to search the home.

The judge said verbal threats generally are not actionable in a federal civil rights proceeding, but in this case, "courts have held that a threat constitutes an actionable constitutional violation in certain circumstances, including 'when the threat is so brutal or wantonly cruel as to shock the conscience…'"

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Monday, October 29, 2007

4 Secrets of the Legal Industry

Most judgments are not merely voidable, but are in fact VOID JUDGMENTS. They can be vacated; made to go away (Although, it is an up hill battle). Rarely has any authenticated evidence, competent fact witness, or even a claim been put before a court and on the record.

Defective affidavits, hearsay as evidence and no stated damages are but a few elements that rob the court of subject matter jurisdiction (at last count there are 22 elements that deprive the court of SMJ). Some of the elements are: denial of due process, denial of access to court, fraud upon the court, and fraud upon the court by the court.

(Although these pages are aimed primarily towards debt, credit card debt, the principals set forth herein apply to virtually all civil and criminal cases.)

Common pleas such as "open account" or "account stated" are often used in place of, and sometimes in conjunction with, breach of contract. To file under breach a contract would require that they bring in the signed contract, agreement, or note. They don't bring in a contract, they bring in the "terms of agreement" which has no signature or persons name on it, a template that could apply to anyone.

These are just some of the tools used by debt collectors (credit card debt collectors in particular) and their counsel to perpetrate a fraud upon the court, with or without the courts cooperation or complicity.

At the same time, courts, almost as a rule, openly display a bitter and venomous hatred of pro se / pro per litigants. So don't expect the courts to just roll over and give you what you demand without a battle. It doesn't matter to them that you are right, it matters only that you are pro se; an inferior, low life being, and the courts have a position and the income of their brotherhood to protect.

These are the four secrets:

1. Courts of general, limited, or inferior jurisdiction have no inherent judicial power.*

  • Courts of general, limited, or inferior jurisdiction get their jurisdiction from one source and one source only: SUFFICIENT PLEADINGS.
  • Someone before the court must tell the court what its jurisdiction is.
  • Without pleadings sufficient to empower the court to act, that court cannot have judicial capacity.
  • No judge has the power to determine whether he has jurisdiction. He does have the duty to tell when he does not.
....What this means to you is that no court can declare that it has the legal power to hear or decide cases, i.e. jurisdiction. Jurisdiction must be proved and on the record. Without sufficient pleadings, without jurisdiction, no court can issue a judgment that isn’t void ab initio, void from the beginning, void on its face, a nullity, without force and effect.

2. We have a common law system.

  • No statute, no rule, or no law means what it says as it is written.
  • Only the holding tells you what it means.
  • The statute means what the highest court of competent jurisdiction has ruled and determined that the statute means in their most recent ruling.
....What this means to you is that courts are governed/ruled by case law, what has been determined before, what the highest court of competent jurisdiction has said the law is, means. It is called the Doctrine of Precedent. This doctrine is so powerful that it can kill and has. A family in Florida has become quite familiar with this doctrine when they tried for 15 years to prevent feeding tubes from being removed from their daughter who was in a vegetative state.

3. Attorneys CANNOT testify.

  • Statements of counsel in brief or in argument are never facts before the court.
....What this means to you is that no attorney can state a fact before the court. This was more than adequately pointed out in 2000 when thousands of Florida ballots were taken before the U.S. Supreme Court, without even so much as one competent fact witness. Without a witness the court could not see the ballots, the ballots were not before the court, and the ballots could not be introduced as evidence.

4. Before any determination, there must be a court of complete or competent jurisdiction.

  • There must be two parties with capacity to be there.
  • There must be subject matter jurisdiction.
  • Appearance or testimony of a competent fact witness.
....What this means to you is that without jurisdiction, complete jurisdiction, no court can issue a judgment that isn’t void, a nullity, without force or effect, on its face and in fact.

*"The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." U.S. Const. art. III, § 1, cl. 1.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Video Needs Response

Monday, October 08, 2007


Though you're dancing to a different tune,

I do not love you any less,

How could I forsake my child,

Through whom I've been so blest.

I don't pretend to understand,

The things I wish I could,

Did I do something very wrong,

Or not do what I should?

Counselors say don't blame yourself,

And they are right, of course,

But I search for answers everywhere,

I want to know the source.

Then in my deepest contemplation.

Enlightenment occurs,

It's not about myself at all,

The struggle's really yours.

I don't need to understand,

And I guess I shouldn't probe,

Reasons will not solve a thing,

Or make you choose another road.

My job is to support and love,

And that's something I can do,

A mother's love can't be undone,

It's unconditional and true.

Most of all, I want you happy,

Which once was such an easy thing,

But now you must find it on your own,

And reap whatever it will bring.

Baby, if your heart gets broken,

Because your choice is wrong,

I'll be there to help you mend it,

Just as I have been, all along.

Guilt, I'll not lay on you,

I will abide by your decision,

And I'll respect the choice you make,

Without any opposition.

With all my heart,

I love you, honey,

I'll never leave you all alone,

Even when the Lord sees fit,

To take your poor old mother home.

So smile, baby,

life's hard enough,

Grab whatever joy you can,

And always know your mama loves you,

Though she may never understand.

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis Copyright June 2004

For my friend, whose young adult daughter is exercising her young adult rights of choice.

God Bless!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Victims of false domestic violence reporting detail experiences

Friday, October 05, 2007
By Lawrence Smith
West Virginia Record (WVR)

Members of Men and Women Against Discrimination, a Vienna-based children's advocacy group, rally in front of the Charleston Town Center along Lee Street on Oct. 1 to raise awareness of inequities in the way domestic violence cases are handled in the West Virginia judicial system. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)
CHARLESTON - The release of a study indicating that most of the petitions for domestic violence protection orders may be used for leverage in a divorce or child custody proceeding comes as cold comfort to those who've experienced it firsthand."I was so innocent, and the evidence was so profound, I was able to beat that in court myself," said Teresa Lowe.Lowe was among the 25 people who gathered along Lee Street in front of the Charleston Town Center Mall Monday, Oct. 1 as part of a rally and press conference held by Men and Women Against Discrimination. To kick off National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Vienna-based children's advocacy group staged the event to release two studies showing inequities in the West Virginia judicial system when it comes to domestic violence.The first study was an analysis of all petitions for domestic violence protective orders filed in Cabell County Family Court during the 2006 calendar year. According the study, 76 percent of all petitions are dismissed.Using the Cabell County statistics as a model, the second study showed that the time and resources lost in dealing with those dismissed petitions is $18 million.Though she now lives in her native Wood County, Lowe, 38, says the analysis of Cabell County holds true in Jackson County, where she used to live with her now ex-husband. In the course of their divorce proceeding, Lowe says he leveled accusations against her of child abuse in an attempt to gain custody of their children.Though the tactic eventually failed, Lowe says she and her children are still feeling the repercussions of those allegations."I've spent six years of my life tied up in court," Lowe said.Likewise, Chris Saunders says the same holds true in Wayne County which not only neighbors Cabell County, but also shares part of Huntington. According to Saunders, accusations of domestic violence were leveled against him on nine different occasions by his ex-wife, not including additional allegations he molested his daughter, which led to two warrants being issued for his arrest.Now since exonerated of all the charges leveled against him, Saunders, 37, who now lives in Burlington, Ohio, says the studies MAWAD released has a therapeutic effect for him."I just like seeing the information get out," Saunders said. "Nobody should have their children torn away for making false allegations."Hopefully, Sanders says, the studies will convince lawmakers to pass bills criminalizing false reporting of domestic violence, and creating 50/50 parenting plan."What we're talking about is children having a right to both halves of themselves," Saunders said.Charles Pope says both he and wife were victims of domestic violence. He for not being provided assistance after she battered him one night, and her for being provided too much assistance under the assumption she was the victim.According to Pope, who lives on Charleston's West Side, his wife become violent one night in January. Unbeknownst to him, Pope says, his wife was taking medication for depression, and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. "She just snapped," Pope said.When police came to their house at her urging, Pope says they were prepared to arrest him. However, with the intervention of his pastor, police placed her in custody.Instead of being arrested, Pope says, his wife was taken to CAMC for evaluation. Believing she was the victim of domestic violence, the hospital referred her to a local shelter for battered women.Later, when he attempted to have a mental hygiene warrant served on her by Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, Pope says, people at the shelter told deputies she was not there. However, when he publicly detailed his ordeal at a conference on male victimization in April, his wife was released from the shelter."And she really never got the help," Pope said.Pope says he hopes that police will begin to investigate each domestic violence-related case on its merits instead of arriving on the scene with the assumption the man is the guilty party. Likewise, he would like to see more services, especially overnight shelter, provided to male victims of domestic violence."There's too many politicians hooked up in the foolishness of all this," Pope said. "They don't believe a man can be a victim of domestic violence.""I'm living proof of it," he addedCharly Young says she knows too well of the man-is-guilty mentality many law enforcement officers have. Though she was not formally part of MAWAD's rally, Young, 29, who lives in downtown Charleston, donned one of their T-shirts and joined them in a march around the Town Center on her way to the transit mall. About two weeks ago, Young says, she and her fiancee got into a heated argument. The argument centered about coping with financial difficulties they are experiencing.Needless to say, police were summoned to their apartment. Despite telling police no blows were struck, and she shared part of the blame in creating the disturbance, Young said police encouraged her to press charges against her fiancee."The police really didn't care," Young said. "They just wanted to take somebody down."For Young, the matter was "culture shock." A native of Washington, D.C., Young said she moved to Charleston after leaving an abusive relationship in Baltimore in 2003. After being nearly choked to death by her former boyfriend, Young says she found it incomprehensible that her word alone could have sent her fiancee to jail.According to Young, the financial challenges she and her fiancee are having stem from a gunshot wound he suffered three years ago. He is still rehabilitating from that wound, and has not had steady employment since then.Though acknowledging money won't solve all their problems, Young says if more were done to alleviate poverty, then that would go a long way in curbing domestic violence."That is where domestic violence comes from in the poor neighborhoods," Young said.
Lawrence Smith

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

In the Words of Samuel Adams


Epilogue: Securing the Republic
[Volume 1, Page 668]
CHAPTER 18Document 6

Samuel Adams to James Warren4 Nov. 1775Writings 3:235--37

Let me talk with you a little about the Affairs of our own Colony. I perswade my self, my dear Friend, that the greatest Care and Circumspection will be used to conduct its internal Police with Wisdom and Integrity. The Eyes of Mankind will be upon you to see whether the Government, which is now more popular than it has been for many years past, will be productive of more Virtue moral and political. We may look up to Armies for our Defence, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any State shd long remain free, where Virtue is not supremely honord. This is as seasonably as it is justly said by one of the most celebrated Writers of the present time. Perhaps the Form of Governmt now adopted & set up in the Colony may be permanent. Should it be only temporary the golden opportunity of recovering the Virtue & reforming the Manners of our Country should be industriously improvd. Our Ancestors in the most early Times laid an excellent Foundation for the security of Liberty by setting up in a few years after their Arrival a publick Seminary of Learning; and by their Laws they obligd every Town consisting of a certain Number of Families to keep and maintain a Grammar School. I shall be very sorry, if it be true as I have been informd, that some of our Towns have dismissd their Schoolmasters, alledging that the extraordinary Expence of defending the Country renders them unable to support them. I hope this Inattention to the Principles of our Forefathers does not prevail. If there should be any Danger of it, would not the leading Gentlemen do eminent Service to the Publick, by impressing upon the Minds of the People, the Necessity & Importance of encouraging that System of Education, which in my opinion is so well calculated to diffuse among the Individuals of the Community the Principles of Morality, so essentially necessary to the Preservation of publick Liberty.
There are Virtues & vices which are properly called political. "Corruption, Dishonesty to ones Country Luxury and Extravagance tend to the Ruin of States." The opposite Virtues tend to their Establishment. But "there is a Connection between Vices as well as Virtues and one opens the Door for the Entrance of another." Therefore "Wise and able Politicians will guard against other Vices," and be attentive to promote every Virtue. He who is void of virtuous Attachments in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard for his Country. There is seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying his Country, who had not before lost the Feeling of moral Obligations in his private Connections. Before [Dr. Benjamin Church, Jr.] was detected of holding a criminal Correspondence with the Enemies of his Country, his Infidelity to his Wife had been notorious. Since private and publick Vices, are in [Volume 1, Page 669] Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of Children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise Institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouragd by the Government. For no People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when Knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own Weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.

The Founders' ConstitutionVolume 1, Chapter 18, Document 6 University of Chicago Press

The Writings of Samuel Adams. Edited by Harry Alonzo Cushing. 4 vols. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904--8.
© 1987 by The University of ChicagoAll rights reserved. Published 2000