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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006


PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Maine uses USU research to support new law protecting pets

By Aaron Falk

April 27, 2006 | Maine lawmakers have cited USU research in support of a newly signed law that includes pets in court-issued protective orders.

USU professor of psychology Frank Ascione has done extensive research linking violence against pets in domestic abuse cases. Ascione said protective orders in most states only apply to people.

"The intention of the law is to not only send the message to batterers, but to indicate to society at large that pets can become pawns in families with domestic violence," Ascione said. "There are occasions where someone threatens to hurt animals to terrorize family members, which results in some women staying with the batterer."

During a study conducted in the late 1990s, Ascione found that 54 percent of women who have been battered reported that their partner hurt or killed one or more of their pets, compared to only 5 percent of women who had not been battered.

Maine Rep. John Piotti sponsored the bill and cited Ascione's research in it. Ascione's study, which will be published in a journal later this year, involved 101 women who had reported being abused from five Utah shelters.

Ascione said he used a control group of 120 women who had never reported being abused.

According to a story in The New York Times, the Maine law is the first of its kind. Ascione said it's a law he'd like to see catch on around the nation.

"I think it's a step forward because protective orders sometimes allow the batterer to remain in the home with the victim," he said. "This tells the batterer to refrain from being abusive or be subject to a separate criminal offense. What this is saying is that they need to refrain from violence against, not just the wife and children, but the animals who are dear to those children."


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