In Which I Yet Again Have to Explain Things to People Who Can Read

Via Tiny Pasture, we learn that Martin Kennedy might want to read the studies he’s drawing conclusions from before he draws conclusions from them. (Sorry, Martin. You know I love you, but I can’t let this nonsense stand.)

Kennedy says:

So, women are more likely to report violence against them and less likely to kill those who smack them around when we adopt policies that prevent them from dropping the case against their abusers.

Women are better off if we take away their choice?

Now, I know that, when pulled out like this, you can already see some flaws in his line of reasoning. For one “taking away women’s choice” does not equal “women are more likely to choose to report violence against them and less likely to choose to kill their abusers.” See, by providing abused women protection from their abusers when they do report violence (and making it more difficult for their abusers to manipulate them into dropping charges), it makes it easier for them to choose to report it and to choose courses of action that don’t lead them to feeling like killing their abusers is their only choice.

I’m linking to the original paper here so that you can see the real problem.

Note Kennedy’s language.  “Women are better off…”  “Well it is better if they, the women, don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution…”

But look at the paper.  Men are better off if women don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution.  Over twenty years, we’ve seen “the number of men killed by wives has declined dramatically from 1400 to less than 500 annually.”  (p. 23)

How are things working out for women?

According to the authors of the paper that Kennedy thinks proves that women have it better when our choices are limited:

the annual number of female intimate partner homicides nationally has declined slightly from 1500 to 1250 over the nearly 20 year period (p. 23)


Finally, we find no evidence that no drop policies lead to a reduction in domestic violence as measured by the number of women killed by intimate partners or the number of women admitted to the hospital for an assault. (p. 4)

and (most disturbingly)

We find that counties that adopt a no-drop policy witness a 14-17 percent higher rate of arrest for domestic violence relative to counties that do not adopt such a policy over this period.  However it is not clear from this analysis if this finding is due to an increase in reporting, or an increase in domestic violence as a result of no-drop policies (p. 31)

Let us recap.   Due to the no-drop policy, we see very little change in the amount of women killed by their partners each year, no evidence that it leads to a reduction in domestic violence, and uncertainty about whether it leads to an increase in domestic violence against women.

And this is what Kennedy calls “better” for women?  Perhaps the good professor has a different definition of “better” than I do?  Perhaps he meant to say “men” and not “women”?

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the no-drop policy is a sound one.  Batterers should be prosecuted and they should not have the opportunity to terrorize or manipulate the battered party into backing out of pressing charges.  And, frankly, the less murdered people, the better, so I consider it a good if battered spouses aren’t running around killing their abusers.

But to jump from “some good has come out of proceeding with prosecutions in spite of the wishes of the victim” to “women are better off when we tell them what to do, so let’s take away their right to an abortion!” is a leap no mere mortal should try to make, so it’s no surprise that not only does Kennedy fail to stick the landing, he seems to have left a couple of footprints in the plasticine after the takeoff board.

Ha, it’s not every day that you’re going to read an elaborate long jump metaphor here at Tiny Cat Pants.  Enjoy!

I’m Torn

I am dreading the arrival of my parents. The house is a mess. We don’t know where they’re staying and, if they’re staying with us, I’ve got shitloads of laundry to do.

But on the other hand, I really, really want them to already be here and I want to be curled up on the couch, leaning against my mom, half napping and half listening to my dad and the Butcher talking about football or fighting or whatever.

There comes a point for me at which I have this overwhelming desire to just know what the motions are and to have someone with me to make sure that I go through them, but I want to be able to just kind of shut down and trust that someone else is taking care of everything and all I have to do is do what they say.

That point is right now.

Sadly, that’s not where I am in my week, so I will keep trudging forward.

I had this dream last night, a really vivid dream that I was extremely pregnant, so I was waddling around feeling kind of sick and trying to plan a blogger get together for other pregnant bloggers. Meanwhile, I was living under an underpass on the interstate.

I have this irrational fear that I will pop like a balloon when they cut into my neck.


Well, let’s all look forward to Thursday and the end of the freaked out posts about Thursday, huh?

Attention Liberal Tennessee Bloggers!

November 10, 2007 starting at 11 am

TN Democratic Party Headquarters
223 Eight Avenue N., 2nd Floor

Nashville, TN 37203 US


Guest speakers: State Rep. Gary Odom and Political Consultant Liz Rincon


If you want a formal invitation, drop me an email.

They Say that Analyzing a Joke Kills It. We Can Only Hope.

Here’s a joke Mack has told in my presence 157 times (give or take 150 times).

Some tourists have been sight-seeing in a quaint Mexican village, but they soon have to get back to their tour bus, and so they approach the one person they can find, a little old man sitting in the village square with his burro.  A man from the group goes up to him and asks him, “Excuse me sir.  Do you know what time it is?”  Well, the villager reaches over, lifts up his burro’s balls and announces, “It’s two o’clock.”

Well, of course, this is the darnedest thing the tourist has ever seen, so he goes and grabs his wife and sends her over.  She asks the villager, “What time is it?” and the villager sighs, but lifts the burro’s balls, scrutinizes a little, and announces, “It’s two o-five.”

She’s amazed and runs back and now the whole group comes over and another person asks the villager what time it is and again with the ball lifting and the scrutinizing and the announcing of time.  And so they demand to know how he’s telling the time by feeling his burro’s balls.  And he says, “Stupid gringos, I’m just moving them out of the way so that I can see the clock on the church over there.”

Okay, it’s funny enough.  You have the stupid tourists.  The seemingly mystical Other who, it turns out, is doing something very ordinary, but unrecognized by the tourists because of their expectation that he is magic.

But I am convinced that the joke would be even funnier with a talking burro.  See if I’m right:

So, some tourists have been sight-seeing in a quaint Mexican village, but soon have to get back to their tour bus.  They are unsure, however, what time it is locally.  One member of the group spots a man standing in the village square with a very young burro.  He goes over to the villager and asks, “Do you know what time it is?” and the burro nudges between the villager’s legs and announces, “It’s two o’clock, sir.”

Well, of course, this is the darnedest thing the tourist has ever seen, so he goes and grabs his wife and sends her over.  She, of course, is incredulous, but asks, “Okay, what time is it?” and the burro sighs, nudges between the man’s legs a little, and says, “It’s two oh five.”

She’s amazed and runs back and now the whole group comes over to see this amazing sight.  They ask what time it is and again with the nuzzling and the scrutinizing and the announcing of time.  And so they demand to know how the burro is capable of this and the burro says, “Stupid gringos, I’m just moving his balls out of the way so that I can see the clock on the church over there.”

See? Folks, I have been laughing now for about 24 hours at the idea of a talking burro and a joke that never explains it.

That‘s really funny.

Would You Lay With Me in a Field of Stone?

I think we’ve talked about this before, but that’s such a good song.  I think you can tell it’s a good song because it stretches to fit the singer.

It’s like when Dr. J and I went to hear Gillian Welch and David Rawlings did the cutest, more-forelorn version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”  That’s a good song, but hearing it completely transformed like that brings into focus that it’s a Good Song.

And isn’t that the thing about a Willie Dixon song or a Robert Johnson song?  They can stand a little transformation.

So, “Would You Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone).”  When Tanya Tucker did it, you could understand why people thought it was scandalous.  It seemed like she was asking “Will you be willing to make these big sacrifices for me since I am about to be willing to make this big sacrifice for you (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)?”

But to hear the songwriter, David Allan Coe, do it, it sounds more like a man who loves a hard life asking if his woman is up for tending to him through the shit he does to himself and, sometimes, to her.

Adn then you have Johnny Cash’s version if it, in which it’s hard not to hear the “field of stone” as representing a cemetery and a man asking if his woman will spend eternity with him if she can.

It’s a beautiful song and, as much fun as other Coe songs can be, in my opinion, he never came close to writing another song this perfect.

According to Wikipedia, “The theme and melody is suspiciously similar to the song ‘If I Needed You’ by Townes Van Zandt.”  You music folks probably could say better than I whether there’s any merit to this claim.  But, to me, considering how Good Van Zandt’s songs are, it feels like it might be true–that a song of his might be good enough to have a strange life as two different songs.