Thursday, May 10, 2007

U.S. Divorce Rate Lowest Since 1970

Bill's Pre-Comment: Source courtesy of the Drudge Report.

U.S. Divorce Rate Lowest Since 1970

May 10 02:43 PM US/Eastern
AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - By the numbers, divorce just isn't what it used to be.

Despite the common notion that America remains plagued by a divorce epidemic, the national per capita divorce rate has declined steadily since its peak in 1981 and is now at its lowest level since 1970.

Yet Americans aren't necessarily making better choices about their long-term relationships. Even those who study marriage and work to make it more successful can't decide whether the trend is grounds for celebration or cynicism.

Some experts say relationships are as unstable as ever—and divorces are down primarily because more couples live together without marrying. Other researchers have documented what they call "the divorce divide," contending that divorce rates are indeed falling substantively among college-educated couples but not among less- affluent, less-educated couples.

"Families with two earners with good jobs have seen an improvement in their standard of living, which leads to less tension at home and lower probability of divorce," said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

America's divorce rate began climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the '70s and early '80s, as virtually every state adopted no-fault divorce laws. The rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981.

But since then it's dropped by one-third, to 3.6. That's the lowest rate since 1970.

What's fueling that decline? According to 20 scholars, marriage- promotion experts and divorce lawyers consulted by The Associated Press, a combination of things.

The number of couples who live together without marrying has increased tenfold since 1960; the marriage rate has dropped by nearly 30 percent in past 25 years; and Americans are waiting about five years longer to marry than they did in 1970.

Adding such factors together, Patrick Fagan of the conservative Heritage Foundation sees a bad situation.

"Cohabitation is very fragile, and when unmarried parents split, for the child it might as well be a divorce," Fagan said. "Among those who are marrying there's increased stability, but overall the children of the nation are getting a rawer and rawer deal from their parents."

Other experts, however, are heartened by what they view as the increased determination of many couples to make marriage work. Among them is Bill Chausee of Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, which offers marriage-strengthening programs in a state where divorces dropped more than 25 percent between 2000 and 2005.

"People don't see marriage problems as some sort of stigma any more," said Chausee. "They're really interested in learning how to stay married; a lot of them are realizing they need more skill."

Some states have made concerted efforts to combat divorce with publicly funded marriage education campaigns, although their effectiveness remains in question. In Oklahoma, 100,000 people have attended workshops since a marriage initiative began in 2001, but the latest divorce figures showed no drop, and the campaign's backers no long stress their original goal of cutting divorce by one-third by 2010.

Wayne and Carol Sutton are among the couples who've gone to Oklahoma's marriage workshops; they attended a half-dozen sessions earlier this year in their hometown of Tulsa.
"This was a way to gain some insight," said Wayne Sutton, a longtime petroleum engineer whose wife also works in the energy industry. "They tell you to regenerate the closeness you had when you got married."

Sutton, 51, and his wife, 46, married in 1995 and have a 9-year-old son.

"We're like any marriage," he said. "We've had rocky periods and Cloud Nine periods. ... We decided a long time ago were not going to desert each other; we were going to stay together no matter what."

The Bush administration believes such programs have merit—its Healthy Marriage initiative has disbursed more than $200 million nationwide in the past five years. Bill Coffin, the Department of Health and Human Services' special assistant for marriage education, is convinced the programs are a factor in the declining divorce rate.

"The word is getting out that marriage doesn't have to be a crap shoot—it's not the luck of the draw," Coffin said. "It's how you deal with the inevitable conflict and anger in marriage."
He subscribes to the theory that better-educated, wealthier couples have better odds of success in marriage.

"What we're doing is making sure the poor have access to some help and support," Coffin said.

"So many people never heard of marriage education before."

One of the researchers whose studies detected the "divorce divide" is University of Maryland sociologist Steve Martin. Comparing marriages from early 1970s to those of the early '90s, Martin found that the rate of breakups within 10 years of marriage dropped by one-third among college-educated women while remaining stable among less- educated women.

"Overall, marriages will become more stable only if the lower two- thirds of the population starts behaving like the top third," Martin said. "There's a lot of debate—is that possible? Can marriage training or other programs give all couples the sort of relationship skills that people imagine college graduates have?"

Stephanie Coontz, who teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., says divorces are dropping in the college-educated sector because many spouses "are learning how to negotiate marriages based on less rigid gender roles than in the past."

"College-educated wives are more likely to work than less-educated wives, and a recent study found that unlike the past, a wife's work now tends to stabilize marriage," she said.
Glenn Stanton, a family policy expert with the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, suggested one factor behind the declining divorce rate was simply a societal revulsion toward the high rates of recent decades.

"In the past 30 years, we've had more divorce than any culture has ever had," he said. "A lot of young adults now are coming out of the family upheaval of the '70s, and they are cohabiting out of fear. They don't want to mess up the nice clean carpet of marriage—they saw their parents do that."

Amber Settle and her partner, Andre Berthiaume, are among the couples who have opted not to marry, even as they celebrate 10 years of living together and raise a 3-year-old daughter in Chicago. Each teaches computer science at DePaul University, each is 39, each has parents who divorced.

"We decided a long time ago that marriage wasn't for us," Settle said. "We have a number of friends who got married, and we've supported them. But it's not something we want to do."

Among their reasons, she said, was their belief it would be unfair to get married until same-sex couples across the country had the same opportunity.

Observing her married friends, Settle sees some wonderful relationships and some on the rocks. Married or cohabiting, she said, "you have to work hard at a relationship to make it work."

The per capita divorce rate is different from another method of calculation—the percentage of marriages that will eventually end in divorce or separation. Many experts discount the popular notion that one of two U.S. marriages end in divorce, and suggest the breakup rate, which is hard to calculate, has stabilized in recent years at between 40 percent and 45 percent.

Gaetano Ferro of New Canaan, Conn., president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says overall national trends haven't had a noticeable effect on his fellow divorce lawyers.

"I've been active in the academy two decades plus," Ferro said. "I've never heard anyone say, 'We're in trouble. There are fewer divorces.'"

But North Carolina divorce lawyer Lee Rosen, while reporting that business for his large firm is booming, says he has noticed a trend toward increased realism and civility among couples with marital strains. Many seek mediation as they split, and arrange for joint legal custody of their children.

"People are coexisting more peacefully, whether they stay together or come apart," Rosen said.

"They are more contemplative and serious about their relationships, and I see people stay together who once would have allowed the marriage to unravel."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dan, This One is for You! Re: Global Warming

As some may be aware, there is an individual named Dan who has been posting his comments on "global warming" on various posts that have nothing to do with it. Rather than having him pollute his non-factual filth on just any various post he pleases, I will make this spot just for him. Before I do, I will present my side of this "global warming" non-issue. If Dan wants to contribute, he can add it as a comment to this post ONLY! If any comments about "global warming" are attempted to be made on an unrelated post, it will be deleted.

  1. Global warming is a farce, nothing more than a scare tactic by the left-wing liberals. What folks need to remember is that Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and we can not control weather patterns. History will show that most weather patterns occur in cycles, just like anything else in life. Just thirty years ago, the so-called experts who are now going hysterical over global warming was crying global cooling. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WOULD YOU PLEASE? Oh, I forgot that Algore (aka Al Gore) is the pied piper.,
  2. The former Vice President is nothing but a HYPOCRITE! Most probably do not know this, but he owns a coal mine not far from his residence outside of Nashville; and, is a major pollutant. A truck driver from Tennessee told me this, then I heard this factoid mentioned on Rush Limbaugh's radio program. By the way- He barely passed Earth Science in college. He scored a D-, which means he barely passed. I just wanted to provide some food for tought for those who take Mr. Gore's words as the Gospel. In conclusion, I have never seen "An Inconvenient Truth", nor do I ever, as it is nothing more than a gross exaggeration.,
  3. Life could not exist with carbon, and carbon dioxide is essential for life to exist. We exhale carbon dioxide, which is consumed by the plants, which provides the oxygen we need to breathe. These factual tidbits may come in handy if you should become a contestant on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader"., and
  4. I am aware as to what Newt Gingrich has said about this subject matter, but even I do not agree with everything he says. There is a good chance that I have that post in my "Mr. Newt" folder in my e-mail. If I do have it, I will make a separate post of that article.

I have no problem in finding solutions in energy conservation, but it is not an "end all to be all" type of thing to me. I am aware of what Rupert Murdoch said yesterday. I think that he did this in a business sense, as energy use is a big part of corporate overhead, and not as an endorsement of "global warming". If I remeber, I did not hear him mention the term.

In conclusion, here are my two tips for energy conservation:

  1. Turn off any lights when not in use, and unplug any small appliance when able (e.g., a toaster), and
  2. If you are heading out in your vehicle, plan your trip to be as continuous but concise as possible. Mapquest does come in handy.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Earnhardt Jr. leaving DEI

Earnhardt Jr. leaving DEI

By Jerry Bonkowski, Yahoo! Sports
May 9, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Jr. officially will say goodbye to Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Thursday morning, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

A highly placed source within DEI as well as additional sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon that both Junior and teammate Martin Truex Jr. will announce Thursday morning that they are leaving the DEI camp at the end of this season and will drive for Earnhardt's heretofore Busch Series operation, JR Motorsports.

Sirius Radio also reported late Wednesday afternoon that the Earnhardt/Truex split with DEI was a done deal and that the new Cup team entry will field Chevrolet chassis built by Hendrick Motorsports and will use Hendrick engines as well.

Sources tell Yahoo! Sports that Earnhardt Jr.'s primary sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Junior to JR Motorsports. Budweiser's contract with DEI is due to expire at the end of 2008, but Yahoo! Sports sources believe there are provisions within the contract for an early exit if Earnhardt Jr. does not drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for DEI.

The press conference, which is expected to be televised nationally, will take place at JR Motorsports headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.

There has been no comment thus far from either DEI president Teresa Earnhardt (Dale Jr.'s stepmother) or company director of global operations Max Siegel.

Earnhardt and sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge have been in often contentious negotiations with Teresa Earnhardt that have sparked considerable posturing from both sides in the media.

Both siblings have said that if a deal with DEI was not in place by the end of May, they would consider a variety of options, including Junior leaving DEI. Just last week, DEI confirmed that it was talking with Robert Yates Racing about a possible merger and also a switch from Chevrolet power plants and chassis to Ford engines and chassis.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his racing career with DEI in 1996, shortly after the organization was formed by his late father, seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, and Teresa Earnhardt.
Earnhardt Jr. won back-to-back Busch Series championships in 1998 and 1999 before moving full-time to the then-Winston Cup Series in 2000. His first career Cup win was at Texas, with a memorable celebration between father and son in victory lane.

Voted the most popular driver in NASCAR by fans the last four years, Earnhardt Jr. has 17 career Cup wins but has yet to win his first Cup championship. He has gone 36 consecutive races without a win, his last being at Richmond in May 2006.

Yahoo! Sports' Bob Margolis contributed to this report.

Veteran motorsports writer Jerry Bonkowski is Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR columnist. Send Jerry a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 6:49 pm EDT
Bill's Comment: Even though this seems to be a bit premature, I would not be surprised. Let us say that even if he gets both the bodies and the engines from Hendrick Motorsports, it does not mean that the new endeavor will be an overnight success. Yes, Junior has won two Busch Series Championships as a co-owner (2004 & 2005 wih Martin Truex, Jr.), being an owner in the Cup Series is a different ballgame.

What do I think? I think that a lot of this is a battle of the egos between Dale, Jr.'s stepmother, Theresa, and sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge. I guess that since he may not be getting as much of a percentage in ownership in DEI as he would like, then this would probably be the next best option. Besides, there are not many seat openings for 2008.

The world will know for sure at 11:00 AM on Thursday, May 10. Stay tuned.

Update: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has announced that he will be leaving Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated (DEI) at the end of this season. This decision is based on his career aspirations to win a championship, as both he and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, will still have involvement in the business success in the company their late father started. He will be testing the waters as to see which owners may be interested. As for if the number eight (8) or his sponsorship, Budweiser, will come along, it seems that all of those logistical details will come at a later time. As for Martin Truex, Jr., Earnhardt, Jr. said that Truex was not part of this situation. (Speculation has it that Bass Pro Shops, the sponsor for Truex's #1 Cup car, may be leaving after the 2007 season.)

When any further updates become available, I will add them, along with any new posts related to this subject matter, in a timely fashion.


Tammy Faye Bakker says treatment stopped

Tammy Faye Bakker says treatment stopped

Wed May 9, 2007 4:01PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tammy Faye Bakker, the disgraced televangelist whose reputations was rehabilitated through a documentary and reality show, has penned a goodbye letter to her fans in which she says doctors have stopped treating her cancer.

"The doctors have stopped trying to treat the cancer and so now it's up to God and my faith. And that's enough! But please continue to pray for the pain and sick stomach," Tammy Faye wrote in a letter to her "faithful friends" on her Web site.

"My precious daughter, Tammy Sue, and her wonderful friends are staying with me," Tammy Faye wrote. "They don't want me falling down the stairs. I am down weight wise to 65 pounds, and look like a scarecrow. I need God's miracle to swallow."

In 1996 Tammy Faye was diagnosed with colon cancer. In 2004 she learned the cancer had returned, this time in her lungs.

Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim, were household names in the United States, with a television evangelical empire that brought in close to an estimated $130 million annually at its height in the 1980s and reached 13 million homes daily.

Tammy Faye's face was one of the most recognized on American television, the mascara running riot as she tearfully beseeched viewers to open their hearts to Jesus -- and their wallets to the Bakkers' causes.

It all came crashing down amid sex and financial scandals that landed Jim in prison for five years. Tammy Faye divorced Jim and married his best friend.

In 2000, a critically acclaimed documentary about her life, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," was released and did much to rehabilitate her image. Then in 2004 Tammy Faye appeared on the cult reality show "The Surreal Life," where she lived in a house alongside such other "celebrities" as porn star Ron Jeremy and rapper Vanilla Ice, winning over the audience and fellow cast mates with her warmth and humor.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

5 Things Never to Say on a First Date

Mysteries of the Sexes Explained
Provided by Men's Health

5 Things Never to Say on a First Date

Posted by David Zinczenko
on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, 1:53 pm PDT

We all know that first dates are the ultimate relationship chess match. Men and women take their turns making verbal moves -- with the hopes that nobody's going to get rooked. But the truth is that first dates, very often, can be pretty far from the truth, with men and women acting as spinmeisters who do what they can to put their best faces (and personalities) forward. The stats certainly tell us that many people lie on first dates (35 percent of men say they lie about their income, and 35 percent of men also say they lie about their willingness to commit). But if the goal is to determine whether the two of you may be a good match, then part of the process is not just detecting the lies, but also knowing the best things to say-and avoiding the worst. Do that and you'll be well on your way to being the kind of person who will engage, interest, and intrigue your across-the-table mate.

Say This: What do you do for fun?
Not That: What's your job like?

Standard question, sure. But it's one that will elicit a standard answer-good people, I like what I do, blah blah blah. While most will certainly get the employment issue covered, the conversation will be more engaging-and you'll be more appealing-if you try to home in on those outside interests. Certainly skydiving, poodle rescue, or soup kitchens have got to be more interesting than conference calls and Power Points.

Say This: You look fantastic
Not That: Good to see you

It may very well be good to see her, but that greeting is about as vanilla as a McDonald's shake. Instead, it's all about conveying enthusiasm-without having stalker sirens go off. No need for standing ovations, but a simple compliment sets the tone. The tactic isn't just for men to use on women, but can be especially effective in the reverse.

Say This: Got any cool summer trips lined up?
Not That: What do you want to do with your life?

If you sound like you're an HR executive, he's going to feel like a candidate for the position you have open at the moment-boyfriend and potential husband. No matter how much he may dig you, he doesn't want to feel like he's part of some master scheme of how you see your life progressing. He won't mind talking about future plans along the way, as long as your questions revolve around you or around him-not some grand plan.

Say This: How's next Thursday?
Not That: Up to anything interesting this weekend? Want to meet up again soon?

Why be coy? Leave the game-playing for computer solitaire, and you'll come off as confident (and more appealing) by being unafraid to take the initiative. Plus, you'll strike the perfect balance-appearing like you have a busy schedule, but also eager to try a second date. This works especially well for women saying it to men, because men are so used to feeling like they have to make the first, second, and third moves before a relationship gets its bearings.

Say This: Where you headed for vacation? What's on your iPod? Read any good blogs lately?
Not That: Can you believe Sanjaya made it that far?

Current events, pop culture, and hair-boy's shaky voice all make for great conversation-starters-and of course, they can show that you're worldly, smart, and interested in other things besides your own life. But soon after talking about the world at large, you need to find a way to bring it back to the world of your dinner companion.