Thursday, April 19

Partial Abortions, Gun-people, and Cheney vs. Monson

Could someone (preferably someone who is pro-choice, but I’ll take anything) explain the opposition to the “partial birth” abortion ban? The abortion issue is so muddy I don’t know what to think, other than I don’t like mud. Personally, I think the whole abortion issue would be much less of a problem if we had sex education that covered more than “don’t do it,” and people had easier access to plan B medication. And educating teenagers does not encourage them. I think that is a huge myth propelled by fear. Teenagers have hormones. And they have brains. If they want to have sex, they will, whether or not they are educated about it. All this mess about abortion could be greatly reduced if we had better and more comprehensive sex education. And I also don’t think the plan B pill is the same as an abortion. It prevents pregnancy in something like 80% of the cases. Why is this not more available?

English is a sexist language. It has sexist history. ‘Husband’ comes from a word meaning owner, and ‘wife’ from a word meaning woman. On top of that we have mailman, chairman, and most notably, ‘mankind’. I can see why some people would like to change these words to mailperson, chairperson, etc. One word that doesn’t need to be changed is ‘gunman’. I haven’t heard of any feminists lobbying to change the use of this word to ‘gunperson’. Why? Well it’s obvious. There are no female gun-people. Women don’t shoot people. Think about all the shootings in the last decade and tell me how many of them were female. Is it evolutionary? Maybe we do need a female president (and by the way, I’m undecided about that race right now).

Lastly, for those of us Utah Mormons, The U. is having LDS leader Thomas S. Monson speak at the graduation. BYU is having Dick Cheney. Hmmmm. BYU may have won in basketball and football this year, but Utah really kicked BYU’s collective rear in the commencement speaker department. So there.

Monday, April 16

Shenpa Warrior’s April Movie Recommendation

Recently we watched “Scoop,” a sort of comedy/suspense hybrid film starring Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johansson. I usually do not enjoy Allen’s movies, nor his neurotic characters, but we both enjoyed this movie. If you’re in the mood for something light with witty dialogue and a slightly suspensful murder mystery, check this one out. "Scoop" is rated 5.3.4 on

Thursday, April 5

Don't touch the campaign sign!

Back in the 80's my parents had a ‘Dukakis for President’ sign in their yard. I can recall it frequently being the target of unwanted 7-11 slurpees. When my father ran for a position on the city counsel, his signs were often stolen. And more recently, when my parents supported a democrat for the Utah senate race, their signs were defaced. I have to admit I tried to think of many elaborate ways to catch and punish these cruel perpetrators, including hiring someone full time to watch the signs, installing video cameras, and electrifying the signs with a few thousand volts. However, the unfortunate nature of campaigns is that signs get stolen, defaced, or dumped on by tasty beverages (what a waste!).

Recently, in podunk Grantsville, Utah (I'm only saying podunk because the citizens there better be outraged about this, or they are podunk), a former campaign manager was sentenced to six months in jail and nine months probation FOR STEALING A CAMPAIGN SIGN! Even I, one who thinks that campaign sign stealers probably deserve at least the 5th circle of hell, think that it is too extreme. Why not just fine these filthy thieves a few hundred bucks. Isn't that a good enough deterrent? Grantsville is officially now on my list of "podunk, creepy, good-place-to-film-a-horror-movie cities list."

Monday, April 2

Applauding the Episcopal Bishop of Utah

I really didn't want to give this DVD (an Evangelical group's magnum opus about what they think mormons believe and why we're going to hell) any more coverage than it already has received, but this refreshing letter to the Salt Lake Tribune deserves attention:

"I was appalled to read your front-page story... on the Christian evangelicals' crude attempt to “shake Mormons' faith.” This is a hurtful form of evangelism, as I am sure many other denominations and faith traditions would agree. It does not speak well of one's own faith community to attack the faith of others - apart from being an inaccurate piece of work. I hope all of us will promote our own faith traditions in a positive and inviting way and not at the expense of others."
The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish
Episcopal Bishop of Utah

I don't know Rev. Irish personally, but I already have a huge amount of respect for her. None of us should ever promote our views by attacking others. "Postive and inviting" methods are always welcome.

Why do we believe in such malarkey? (or, A Short History of Childbirth)

N and I have been reading “And Baby Makes Three,” by the marriage researchers John and Julie Gottman. It is about keeping your marriage alive after Baby arrives, and is based on a 13-year study. I recommend it. Not just for new parents, but the knowledge applies to anyone with kids at home.

Anyway, there was a brief section on the history of childbirth, which illuminates, as history always does, some of the nonsense that we have believed in. A few of the more interesting examples:

1-Women were dying from an infection called puerperal (post birth) fever. A doctor from Vienna, Ignaz Semmelweis, decided to run an experiment with one group delivering their babies via doctors at a hospital, and the other group via midwives. Turned out those at the hospital were four times as likely to die from the infection. Why? Because the doctors’ hands were dirty. In a remarkable display of cognition, Dr. Semmelweis proposed that antiseptics be used prior to the birth. Well, this didn’t go over well in the medical community. Doctors are ‘gentlemen,’ and they certainly do not have dirty hands. How could patients trust a doctor who needed to use antiseptics? Dr. Semmelweis was accused of trying to ruin the reputation of his fellow doctors, was kicked out of the profession, and died in poverty. I’m sure his reward in heaven will be/is great.

2-A young student at Humboldt State University in the sixties (when husbands weren’t allowed in the delivery room) decided to chain himself to his laboring wife. So the doctor called the cops. While the officer was trying to figure out what to do, the baby was born. No charges were pressed, but word spread about this “crime.” Of course this led to other fathers thinking, “gee, I want to be with my wife at the hospital too,” and since then change has thankfully ensued.

I am grateful that we don’t have such weird opinions about childbirth now, but I am not so naïve to think we have it all down perfect. Look back a few years and you’ll think, “wow, I can’t believe that was the popular opinion then.” In a few more years, what are we going to think about our opinions of 2007? Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes it seems like we were way off. What do you think we are currently wrong/misguided about? Or do you think we have it all pretty much close to perfect right now?