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August 11, 2005

Headed for warzone; leave a will

Outrageous. Ridiculous. Bizarre. Stupid.

The father of a Rock Island national guardswoman killed in Iraq is getting half of a $270,000 death benefit though his entire contact with his 24-year-old daughter was an hour so on the telephone. That's lifetime -- an hour, on the phone.

Oh, yeah, when he got the news about his windfall he was locked up over in Iowa on a third-offense DUI.

He managed grace enough to say that, since he hadn't reared Jessica Housby and had never met her, "maybe I don't deserve the money." But, he "just can't turn it down."

Probably not much point in trying to reverse this injustice, or even in trying the fix the law to cover future cases. Illinois lawmakers, in passing the death-benefit bill, provided that the money would first go to the designee in a will, or to the spouse or to surviving children or, in the absence of all those, to surviving parents.

The longterm fix then, is for people headed to a warzone to be sure they've left a will. Saying that, though, doesn't do anything to lessen the bitter taste of injustice in this case.

Full story

Posted by jcb at August 11, 2005 02:01 PM


I don't necessarily agree it's too late to do anything in this case. Our legislature has passed "one case" bills before to do various things.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 12, 2005 11:39 AM

So much of this story makes me unspeakably sad.

The first thing to consider is the old saw that "no good deed goes unpunished". I'm sure the IL legislature thought they were doing "feel good" business here, but no. It seems there are several disputes, state wide, on who should receive free tax money when a IL resident is killed in Iraq (is Afghanistan included?). Didn't the IL legislature learn anything from the federal 9/11 money doled out to the survivors of the NY 9/11 attack? These are the people who where "offended" by the paltry 1.5 mil offered, and who continue to fight about who is a "survivor". OK, live and DON'T learn.

The other thing is that that the sexual freedoms women won in the '60s carry responsibilities. If Holbrook was really the "father", Bundy should have either terminated his parental rights, or demanded child support. But no. She did neither. Do we know that Holbrook was really the father? We do not. It may have been an even worse bad dude. Women who think they can have the same care-free attitude as men about casual sexual encounters, will find themselves in the same place as Bundy.

It must be a sign that the end is nigh when I agree with one of the political hack Democrats who run our county. In today's Dispatch, hack Mike Jacobs makes a salient point: (First he punts to the courts, then he says) "I don't know how you separate biological parents by the time they put in. I'm sure one parent is always going to say one parent didn't do their job if they're separated. I don't know how in the world the legislation would go about declaring who was a parent and who wasn't a parent." Think about it people---do we really want the government to decide who is a parent based on hours spent with a child? Doesn't the government intrude on our personal lives enough?

Posted by: paladin at August 12, 2005 02:39 PM

Blaming the mother's sexual freedom for all of this? So if it was deadbeat mom surfacing for the money then it would be the man not being responsible with his "sexual freedom"? Give me a break.

While we're at it, why not blame the political leader who sent their daughter there to begin with. Oh wait, we can't do that (he has an R after his name). Let's stick to blaming the looseness of women and to the actions of Democratic-controlled entities like Illinois and Rock Island County.

Posted by: t at August 14, 2005 12:53 AM

Ok t, in your partisan zeal, I understand why you misunderstood my comments, so let me elaborate. Anyone and everyone can screw their brains out as far as I'm concerned, but they should be prepared for blowback. Evidently, Housby's mother thought all she had to do was not name a father on the birth certificate, and all would be well. Not quite.

The press has framed this story in their typical simplistic morality play fashion: bad dude/dad gets rich off child's death. I understand why the press doesn't want to criticize Housby's mom. But there is a larger issue here. It is easy to castigate the father---he's a bum. But Housby's mom knew he was a bum when she chose him to father her child. She hoped he would just "go away". But the legal doesn't work that way. I don't blame a 23 year old person for not having a will(although someone heading to Iraq should have known better)--although I hope it will force them to think about it. I blame adults who don't do the right thing by their children by either not terminating the parental rights of the bad dudes, for by forcing the bad dudes into paying child support.

We live in a nation where "Who's Your Daddy" is the subject of TV game shows/talk shows. Mike Jacobs was probably right to say that the government doesn't want to go there, but we need to have this debate, no matter if the PC police object or not. The trend seems to be to spend "free" taxpayer money on those who have suffered a personal loss. A recent study indicated that 25% of men who thought they raising their biological offspring were wrong. When Channel 8 reported the Housby story, they indicated that there were two other cases in the Illinois courts to determine survivorship. Should all men get a DNA test to prove paternity? It may come to that, but no one in the PC crowd wants to acknowledge the problems with determining "Who's your Daddy?"

As for the problems with the teacher unions, I figured that the reason 55% of the public believes in creationism over Darwinism is because of the public schools have done such a piss-poor (or is it pour?) job of teaching it. But seriously folks, ask anyone in the know who is honest, and not a partisan hack; they'll tell you reform is much more difficult, if not impossible, for areas with strong teacher unions. The job of a union is to get better working conditions for their members----bigger pensions, less working hours, more days off. None of these things will help our children succeed in the 21st Century, unless you believe that If Teacher Ain't Happy, Then Nobody's Happy. I know the Democrats are always crying "It's For The Children". We ought to make them prove it.

Posted by: paladin at August 14, 2005 04:22 PM

Just so you know Jessica did have a will and neither one of them should have gotten it. It was suppose to go to he aunt but because of the laws they did'nt grant her with it.

Posted by: anonymous at August 18, 2005 03:05 PM