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I don't want to hear about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston

As a journalist, I’m supposed to be in favor of maximum access to court documents. As a human being -- and in particular as a mother -- I have a hard time seeing why the custody fight between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston ought to be splayed out on the public record for all to see. An Alaska judge has denied Palin’s request to keep the dispute under seal. How can this possibly be in the best interests of the child?

Johnston’s approach, it’s safe to say after his recent appearance in Playgirl, is to let it all hang out. His lawyers argued that “the courts are not refuges for the scions of the elite to obtain private dispensation of their legal matters” and Johnston topped that off with a dig of his own at his former would-be mother-in-law.

“I hope that if it is open she will stay out of it,” he said in an affidavit. “I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin's instinct to attack.” This is more than a bit hard to take from a man who was happy to dish to Vanity Fair about life behind the scenes chez Palin: Sarah and Todd’s talk of divorce, Todd’s nights on the living room Barcalounger, Sarah in her “two-piece pajama sets from Wal-mart.” Talk about an instinct to attack.

When the British newspaper The Guardian later asked Johnston whether his remarks about Sarah Palin might be harmful to his child. “I hope not, but what else are you going to do.” For starters, maybe act like a grown-up?

Law is all about precedents, and Bristol Palin’s lawyers note that the custody disputes between Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline were conducted under seal. The most ironic argument, though, comes in their citing a 1997 Alaska Supreme Court ruling emphasizing that the state constitutional right to privacy extends to minors as well as adults. The decision overturned a state law requiring parental consent for minors seeking abortions -- a ruling then-Gov. Sarah Palin denounced as “outrageous.”

The harder question in the case is whether Bristol Palin’s request for sole legal and physical custody of her son -- with Johnston given visitation rights -- should be granted. It’s clear that Bristol has taken on nearly all the burden, physical and financial, of raising her son; it’s less clear whether Johnston has failed to step up to the plate because he has been blocked from it or because he is a slacker. Has his behavior been so irresponsible that he should be ousted from having any say in his child’s upbringing?

As Emily Bazelon has pointed out in Slate: “Modeling for Playgirl doesn't make Levi a model for decorous fatherhood, but it's hardly enough to strip him of his right to help make decisions about his son's life, which is what sole legal custody for Bristol would mean.”

If I were the judge in the case, I’d want to know more before deciding -- but I’d do it the right way, behind closed doors.

By Ruth Marcus  | December 31, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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Comments

Maybe no comments have been posted because this a waste of time. Maybe Ruth Marcus should spend her time writing about something of value...

Posted by: Nancianne | December 31, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, put a sock in it, Ruth. Puh-leese!

Posted by: mikehike | December 31, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Levi Johnston is not an evangelical so has another viewpoint for his child who needs a father not a grandfather. Blacks have this problem where the father has disappeared and grandparents raise the child with disastrous results. Levi with Playgirl is drumming up money which Americans worship so he can support himself and his child. Closed court proceedings are suspicious when u are dealing with the former governor of Alaska.

Posted by: mascmen7 | December 31, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to tell Ms. Marcus to "put a sock in it..." at least explain why she should put a sock on it, and what she should put the sock on.

Ms. Marcus is, in my opinion, correct in saying the hearing should be behind closed doors. Beyond a "celebrity" interest by a group of people, the issue is not one that pertains to the former governor's public or political leanings. Granted the former governor is an interesting person (in the manner of being a public person), her daughter no longer should be (I could accept, whether I agree or not, the position the as the daughter of the governor, or vice presidential candidate, that there's relevant interest).

As for Ms. Marcus commenting on the issue; that's what commentators do; they choose an issue that they believe people are interested in, and comment on it. That doesn't mean everyone agrees the issue is interesting, or that everyone takes the commentators point of view as their own.

I think Ms. Marcus made valid points; it just happens that I agree with her, just as it has happened that I've disagreed with other positions she's taken.

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | December 31, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I cannot even begin to imagine the precedent that would be set if every woman who posed for Playboy was considered an unfit mother

Posted by: kreator6996 | December 31, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I have but one question: Where -- and why -- did we find these people??? I'm sure McCain is shaking his head in disbelief because he KNOWS he is responsible for bringing such fame (infamy?) to the Palins. And the rest of America will just have to put up with whatever CRAPOLA they create. Sad....

Posted by: DRFJR | December 31, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dont want to hear... don't write. THE END

Posted by: whocares666 | December 31, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

So, if the subject of these two young people's custody fight should not be brought to our attention by the news media, why Ms. Marcus are you doing it? This subject is their business, not mine, yours or the public. I really don't care. These two young people would not be mentioned at all by the news media if it were not for Sara Palin's name. Must be a slow, slow week for all of you.

Posted by: Listening2 | December 31, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

poor, poor Levi - - he still is totally clueless about how he is being used. everyone matures at different levels and i hope his comes quickly. very, very sad to see and hear.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Joint custody. Took the link from your article and read the Vanity Fair article. I don't know why you feel she didn't deserve it; Palin is what she is and there was more than a ring of truth to all of it. There are over a million children wishing for a father of any sort, especially boys, so why would a rational human being deny their grandson his father. But then of course Palin is a nut case and a narcistic control freak.

Posted by: txajohnson | December 31, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm hardly a Sarah Palin fan, and I think she cynically and improperly introduced her children (in particular, the pregnant Bristol) into the public arena during the 2008 election. But that being said, I can't imagine why any judge would deny sealed treatment to these custody proceedings involving her grandchild.

Ms. Marcus is entirely right that the relevant standard is and should be the interest of the child. Ms. Palin is (thankfully) not running for anything, and this is not a case like Tiger Woods', where a grown man promulgated a fraud on the public for over a decade and consequently deserves to lie in the very public bed he made for himself. So there do not seem to be any potentially countervailing interests at stake here that might require public proceedings.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 31, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

and by the way, with the anti-Sarah media helping him along how come he has no proof that he is sought to see his child and was not allowed to?

and what activities will his child be exposed to with him as dad? the playboy parties and casino parking lots in a truck while waiting for cnn to show up?

he still has time to get this right.
but he needs to demonstrate maturity and a willingness to take the life of a child seriously. so far its still about Levi makeing sure he make the rounds and be SEEN to keep his name in the tabloids - - a child does not comprehend these things. what a child needs is supervision, companionship, parent(s) to take them to child events, and food. he is a parent now and if he lacks the resources to hire help with his child then he needs to be around to do the JOB. otherwise step aside and let the person who is willing to make those sacrifices do so.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Itzajob
"I'm hardly a Sarah Palin fan, and I think she cynically and improperly introduced her children (in particular, the pregnant Bristol) into the public arena during the 2008 election. -.-.-."
===================================

find some decency in yourself... PLEASE.
LOOK at where you allowed yourself to go.
now CONCENTRATE for a second.... which candidate does not introduce their families?

did obama not bring his family along with him on just about EVERY single event?
DID PELOSI HAVE ALL HER CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN WITH HER at her event?

why will some of you sink so low???
this is not an intent to be mean but to crystalize the essence of just how low some of you have allowed yourself to become.
THIS IS WRONG AND YOU KNOW IT!!!

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"As a journalist, I’m supposed to be in favor of maximum access to court documents. As a human being -- and in particular as a mother -- I have a hard time seeing why the custody fight between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston ought to be splayed out on the public record for all to see."
=======================================

then why dont you find something more meaningful to write about?

this is simply about two young adults with some minor problems not unlike millions being played out across this cournty.

how about you get on the case of a missing child and put your hard-thoughtful self into really bringing that child home????

or is propping up obama a bigger problem?

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to hear about the Palins ever again.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | December 31, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"It’s clear that Bristol has taken on nearly all the burden, physical and financial, of raising her son"

Do you really believe that? Bristol's parents have obviously taken on much of the "burden" of raining their grandson. Todd and Sarah are wealthy, powerful, prone to attack, and also prone to lie. If the process is open, Levi has more of a chance to have a fair hearing.

Posted by: jake14 | December 31, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

who needs to lie about anything when Levi's actions spells it out on video, in his own words, behavior and immaturity?

who has proven to be the better parent here? Bristol has shown more maturity than levi and that is not because of Sarah Palin standing right beside her.... you have seen Bristol answer questions on her own... she's inteligent and knows how to handle herself. you have seen Levi answer questoins and his immaturity is very evident. i sincerely hope levi comes around very quickly but right now he is definitely not there.

anyone who lets media use them the way Levi has without grasping the essence of what is at the bottom of it is very, very immature. sorry, but that is just factual.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

who do you think is the bigger draw?
do you see Bristol allowing herself to be used for the tabloids' payoff?

a few years down the road levi will look at his published words and his videos and will want to kick himself in the head for not being more aware at his age. hopefull he will come to the conclusion that we mature at different levels. lets hope it will not drive him to drugs, etc.

Levi unfortunately didnt have the parents in his life as Bristol did and that is the one thing he still fails to realize is the major reason for his situation. if he loves this child he will leave the child in a loving environment where he is welcomed to come and see and be with the child when he wants, but he wants full custody. Bristol had no choice but to seek full custody. Levi was being pushed to do so by his anti-Sarah Palin devotees, completely missing the fact that they couldnt care less about him or his child.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | December 31, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Bristol could pose for Playboy...

Posted by: umt123 | December 31, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse


Ruth!

We don't give a heck about these hillbillies. Why you, and others, keep on giving importance to these insignificant hicks, just makes me sad, seeing how dull infotainment is killing real journalism.

Your attitude is iresponsible and childish.

If you have nothing to say, stop writing in a newspaper, and get yourself a job more relating to these trifles. Like buy a camera and start hounding the so-called celebs and intoxicating gullible sheeple..

Posted by: bekabo | December 31, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Not really sure what "splayed out on the public record" means. I think it means the results will end up in the public record, but not that the public will be camped out inside the courtroom during the proceedings. This article could have explained the technicalities a little better if it's going to weigh in on them. We all think we know what's going on, but do we really? Is Levi just cashing in, or was he making money so he could fight for and support his son? He has said all along that his visits have been stymied, and now the mother wants sole custody. Can he be faulted for wanting a level playing field? On the other hand, Bristol has no problem with dissing him in the press, so why not for the record? She would paint him to appear as if he has no concerns but for a possible reality show. I find him or her, nowhere near as vindictive and snarky as Sarah Palin. At one time they made a cute couple, but I doubt Bristol can be her own person now. Either way, the saying goes 'the best thing you can do for a child is get along with the other parent'. I do find it ironic that full press was welcome at the beginning of the prenancy, but now it's verboten.

Posted by: Tourist | December 31, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Without any apparent sense of irony, Marcus posts under the headline that she is tired of hearing about Palin and Johnston.

Posted by: turningfool | December 31, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Palin v. Johnston is on the public record, Ms. Marcus, because in our country we don't have secret trials--or at least we didn't before Bush-Cheney tried to remake our justice system into one that Kim Jong Il would approve of. If you make an exception for one set of litigants, then another set of litigants will also want a closed courtroom, then another, and where do you draw the line?

Posted by: angelas1 | December 31, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Some double standard, Ruth. I suppose you'd be right there defending the moral suitability of a mother who posed in Playboy.

Posted by: coloradodog | December 31, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

When the Annie Oakley of the North sells her life stories to television, will they reincarnate as soap operas or sitcoms?

Meanwhile, Levi, who posted a profile on the net saying he doesn't like children is now in a custody court battle.

Alaskans apparently spend too much time inside with each other during the winter where selfish egoism is so contagious.

Posted by: coloradodog | December 31, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that TODAY Mrs. Marcus is no longer interested to hear any more about Levi and Bristol. Yesterday, I saw her on MSNBC where she sided with Levi. Somehow, she changed her mind between yesterday and today. If I were the judge in this case, I wouldn't let Levi get anywhere near the baby. Levi irresponsibly engaged in "unprotected"sex and knocked up a teenager just barely over the age of consent, posed in the nude in a national girlie magazine for profit and publicity, and makes veiled allegations about wrong-doing (possibly criminal behavior) of another person (a former governor. Incidentally, as bad as Sarah Palin may be, keep in mind that Levi's mother is a convicted felon serving a three year term for drug peddling.

Posted by: Paaa | December 31, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Only a Palinite would knock Levi, a high school dropout from cashing out with Playgirl and the talk show circuit. He now has the coin needed to fight for partial custody and maybe the chance to buy a small business allowing him to support his child longterm. Good luck Levi.

Posted by: jameschirico | December 31, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

It is probably in the parties' best interest to settle custody, visitation, and support issues rather that litigate them. That is true in almost all custody and support cases. A settlement is more likely if the proceedings are open.

Posted by: esch | December 31, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

A father has a right to see his child. A baby isn't a prop, but a real live, breathing, human being. This is why there are so many screwed kids out there. It also shows the level of dysfunction in the Palin family - first the ex-brother-in-law now the ex-future-son-in-law. Maybe Sarah Palin should play at being a mother for a while until she gets those daughters raised and forget her other ambitions.

Posted by: MNUSA | December 31, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Custody trials, by default are public. Palin's desire for a sealed trial are an exception. The judge shouldn't do it.

Posted by: Frazil | December 31, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Ruth,
Are you sure Sarah Palin is not behind keeping the hearing public, after all she does have a book to sell.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 31, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Bristol could pose for Playboy..."

_________________________________________


Nah, may Hustler or do a few adult videos...I'd be a fan.

Posted by: dlkimura | December 31, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly the reason the judge decided the fight should not be under seal is because most of those cases are not. And as Marcus said: "Law is all about precedents".

As to the long term effect on the child I don't think any one knows. If the Palins have any concern on that, they should not be parading Bristol and Levi around during the campaign. If any one else had the same concern they should be pointing that out during the campaign.

It seems to me now is too late to worry about that. Face it, the Sarah Palin was the one who paraded her family around during the campaign.

Posted by: steviana | December 31, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

John McCain welcomed Levi like he was a greeter at a NAMBLA convention in 2008. He'd probably be a great character witness if this goes before a judge.

Posted by: bassetwrangler | December 31, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Going public is the only leverage teen Levi has. The Palins' vindictive streak has been well documented if you do your research and find out the stories from people that have been thrown under the bus. You can find this in Newsweek who did their research & wrote about it: "An Anchorage judge three years ago warned Sarah Palin and members of her family to stop "disparaging" the reputation of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, who at the time was undergoing a bitter separation and divorce from Palin's sister Molly.

As the divorce case dragged on, the judge's concern about family "disparagement" appeared to deepen. In an order signed Jan. 31, 2006, which granted Palin's sister and Wooten a final divorce decree, Judge Suddock continued to express concern about attacks by Palin's family on Wooten. The judge even threatened to curb Palin's sister's child custody rights if family criticism of Wooten continued."

And that's just ONE example so I don't blame a teenager at all looking at who and what he is up against. Shame on the Palin's for trying to take away a baby's father.

If posing partially nude for Playgirl is a reason to have one child's taken away from them, then the same should happen to every single person (many famous) who have EVER posed for Playgirl or Playboy, and that would include Brad Pitt.

Posted by: member8 | December 31, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

eeny, meeny, miney moe, catch a media hound by its toe...

which is the lesser evil in this melodrama: a stripper or politician? they both get paid money for services that we may not necessarily enjoy...

Posted by: glenknowles | December 31, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Joint, equal custody! No shutting Levi out. He is 50% responsible for bringing the child into this world and he should have equal say in his upbringing. Neither his nor Bristol's parents are exactly exemplary when it comes to child rearing. The best that they could do is grow up, move out on their own well away from meddling parents, get married, and raise their son together without anyone's interference.

Posted by: old_sarge | December 31, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Joint, equal custody! No shutting Levi out. He is 50% responsible for bringing the child into this world and he should have equal say in his upbringing. Neither his nor Bristol's parents are exactly exemplary when it comes to child rearing. The best that they could do is grow up, move out on their own well away from meddling parents, get married, and raise their son together without anyone's interference.

Posted by: old_sarge | December 31, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Amen old_sarge! And to Paaa who said,"I wouldn't let Levi get anywhere near the baby. Levi irresponsibly engaged in "unprotected"sex and knocked up a teenager just barely over the age of consent,...", well they were BOTH teens sleeping TOGETHER under the Palin's own roof. It's hypocritical to only blame the boy when supposedly the girl had been raised by the "abstinence only" rule and she's the one that didn't say no and opened her legs. It takes two to tango. I don't see where either teen is any more mature than the other.

Posted by: member8 | December 31, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

What a shameful way to write your last column in the decade. Levi Johnson comes from a broken and unstable home and was thrown into the circus created by Sarah Palin. It seems to me that his comments about Sarah have been on the mark. Maybe you should read them, There are worse things than posing naked. Who is he harming? Why don't you concentrate on important matters such as a former vice-president spouting lies which are then repeated and amplified by his daughter? Why don't you comment on the antics in the senate which is creating a dysfunctional government? Instead you end the decade with two columns , the first with callous remarks about a President who was handed the most challenging matters that any President has had to deal with in living memory and this unnecessary and judgemental gossip. Your colleages, EJ Dionne and Paul Krugman, have written eloquently about the lost decade . Perhaps someone should write about the role that jounalists have played in that loss.

Posted by: gwbc | December 31, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

neither do I. why are you writing about them?

Posted by: daphne5 | January 1, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

You ask Levi to "act like a grownup," but seriously, what grownup role models does he have? There's his absent father; his mother who evidently deals drugs; Todd, the 'grownup' who is right now preparing for the very adult activity of snow machine racing; and then there is the lovely Sarah, who says one thing, does another, then lies about it. If he were capable of grownup behavior, maybe Bristol would not have gotten pregnant (same goes for her, by the way.) I always wondered if the wedding was called off because then Bristol and baby would be off Sarah's (Alaska's government) health plan. Or, as Levi had no job after he was canned from the one grandma arranged for him, they would have had to be on welfare. Ouch.

Posted by: smgess | January 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Ruth, I agree with your argument that this custody case should be under seal. Why should it be, observers may well ask? Because the BABY is the person whose best interests are at the center of this case. Not Levi Johnston or Bristol Palin--and not Sarah Palin or anyone else who wants to use this as in an argument of some sort.

You mention the Baldwin/Basinger and Spears/Federline cases which Bristol's lawyers cite as precedents. These cases reflect that celebrity families often attract public attention in ways that most parents don't, and that there are grounds to shield the child from public dissection and interpretation of everything in the case.

Posted by: CherieOK | January 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I love the part where Ruth Marcus writes that Bristol Palin has taken on the financial burden of raising the kid...doing what, exactly? I don't think putting out one's hand and letting a suddenly quite wealthy Mother put money in it counts as a job.

Seriously, what teenage mother with a GED has multiple attorneys retained for a custody case!? Honestly, this is Sarah Palin v. Levi Johnston. Only a fool would think otherise. Moreoever, Palin has has a demonstrated history of interfering in proceedings and abusing her powers for personal gain.

You want to keep her from exercising undue influence in this case: keep it public.

"Sunshine is the best disinfectant"

Posted by: Daedulus | January 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Ruth: What are you going to do when Sarah Palin and family are finally out of the spotlight. You have made a career out of taking every angle you can on this story. The WaPo's one trick pony is back for another round.

Posted by: d-35 | January 1, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I find the caracter assassination of Sarah Palin totally disgusting. The writers above do not know Sahrah Palin at all. What they know, is coming from the rumor factoring mills of tabloids. Sarah Palin is a nice person, and was an exellent Governor of Alaska. Most of the people voicing their opinion have never lived in Alaska, and there for have no knowlege of the real Sarah Palin.
Why should Sarah Palin have hidden the pregnancy of her daughter? We are no longer in the dark or middle ages, where we lock our daughters away. I blame the TV interview with Katie Couric for distroying Sarah Palins reputation. After the interview, she became a victim. Her reputation was damaged by Katie Couric meaness during the interview. Couric invaded her space, by her nose to nose position, which is the most threatening position in an interview. I believe Sarah Palin should be admired and for her great strenght.

Posted by: heidio | January 1, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

No judge can or should seal the public records regarding Sarah Palin's grandchild because the American people have a right to know whether the Sarah PAC funds are going to be used to reward the attorneys involved in this case. The American people have a right to know if the PAC funds are going to be used to support this child born out of wedlock. The American people are entitled to know how Bristol Palin will support a child when she has no meaningful employment. The American people are sick of hearing about this dysfunctional family. However, since Sarah Palin is determined to stay in the public arena, she has no choice now but to have all legal matters affecting her family open to public viewing. The American people have a right to know if down the road the welfare rolls will be needed to support the child conceived when Sarah Palin was neglecting her motherly duties.

Posted by: Lavinsr4207 | January 1, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

This little shendrik is a pisher and uttlerly deplorable. Yet, I can't help wondering if this isn't just a perfect example of someone's bad karma coming back to bite her on the butt.

Posted by: freundbd | January 1, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This guy is helping the "QUEEN OF TWITTER"!

Posted by: knjincvc | January 4, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, you brought it up. If you newspaper people insist upon foisting her and the Clampetts on us some of the time you have to hear it ALL the time.

Posted by: majorteddy | January 4, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, you brought it up. If you newspaper people insist upon foisting her and the Clampetts on us some of the time you have to hear it ALL the time.

Posted by: majorteddy | January 4, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin would use a closed hearing to make mischief. (Bristol has "custody"? Really?) Levi may well not be up to being a dad, but the Palin's are a train wreck of a family anyway, so a hearing might tamp down Sarah's vindictivness.

Posted by: Puller58 | January 4, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those here who believe that inasmuch as it is public, it will quell Sarah Palin's Barracuda tendencies.

She and her husband have a long record of going after those who dare cross them.

The kid will need both his parents in his life, and it is stupid, UnAmerican, and wrong headed for Palin to lend a dime or a minute to anything other than joint custody for him.

But when did that stop her?

Posted by: dutchess2 | January 4, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

"I don't want to hear about . . ."

Then why bring up the subject?

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | January 4, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

You said you didn't want to hear about it. And then you have detailed views on all aspects of the case, having read articles about it in The Guardian, Slate, etc. etc. Are you reading all this stuff because it's your duty as a journalist, which you are carrying out reluctantly while holding your nose ... or do you actually WANT to know all about it but don't want to admit it?

Sounds like the old rhetorical trick -- "nor will I tell about this ... nor mention that ... and my gentle readers will not want to know the other thing ..."

Be honest, Ruth. If you really didn't want to hear about it, your little piece would have been a lot shorter.

Posted by: herzliebster | January 4, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Ruth - please, no more, I beg of you. Seriously, what do you want from us? Move on to something else already.

Posted by: wadeb123 | January 4, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Blacks have this problem where the father has disappeared and grandparents raise the child with disastrous results.
Posted by: mascmen7
--------------------------------
Actually, mascmen7, this problem is not just a part of the black culture. Grandparents raising their grandchildren happens more frequently in all communities and the results are mixed just as if the parents were raising them. So save your stereotypes for another board.

As for Bristol Palin, Levi has as much right to be a part of his child's life as Bristol. He has no more showed he would be an unfit parent as Bristol has. They are both young and will have to learn a lot about parenting.

We live in a country where men walk away from their children and never look back. And women continue to downplay the importance of having a solid father figure in their child's life. Both people were responsible for bringing this child into the world and both people should be responsible for raising him. Instead of trying to prevent contact, Bristol should be going to court for mandated visitation and financial support. Just because she doesn't want Levi around anymore doesn't mean she should make that choice for her child.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | January 4, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at all the sympathy expressed for Levi, and the idea, as one commenter put it, that in a few years he will regret his immature behavior. No, he won't.

He's a good-looking wiseguy with no sense of responsibility who likes to make out with girls. He'll probably still be that way until he starts to get middle-aged and fat. (At which time, he will just be sillier.) His behavior has demonstrated just how much human feeling he has for his daughter.

I'm in rare agreement with Pat Buchanan. Hold him underwater until the thrashing stops.

Posted by: hambya | January 4, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh don;t worry

The Quitter knows - LEVI has her by the cajones!

The QUITTER knows her place when it comes to that boy!

Posted by: sasha2008 | January 4, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@ChooseBestCandidate wrote:
"find some decency in yourself... PLEASE.
LOOK at where you allowed yourself to go.
now CONCENTRATE for a second.... which candidate does not introduce their families?"
.
Um, Palin used her 'family' experience as part of her qualifications for the job. SHE brought them into the public domain far beyond simply having them ATTEND her events as Obama and Pelosi did to refute your examples.
.
Since she had so few actual qualifications, using what she did have, her family, became part of the platform. That puts them in to the 'fair game' arena that you decry.
.
If Palin's 'family values' are part of her qualifications, it is perfectly valid to question why, if Palin supports abstinence only education, that HER OWN DAUGHTER didn't follow the same advice. If she can't convince her daughter of this basic tenet of her core beliefs, her using those same core beliefs as part of her qualifications is downright hypocritical.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 4, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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