Friday, March 6, 2009

My Sick Little Girl

I was at the emergency room with Cass til about 3:30 a.m. or so. She had been complaining of chest pain for a few days. I was going to wait til Monday for an appointment, but then she had me feel her pulse and her heart was pounding, so I went from concerned to freaked out and took her in. She has pleuricy which is not good, but I'm relieved it wasn't a blood clot (for which they did a CT scan which came out negative) or some other really dangerous thing. I was able to get her an excuse from the E.R. Dr., but I'm just gonna have to live with whatever perception my absence will cause tomorrow. Seems making excuses, however true, does more to call attention to the absence than anything else. My professor is pretty kewl anyway. Cass is sleeping soundly now, and I'm typing in my sleep. LOL 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sometimes I Embarass Myself

It's a special talent, really.

It's one thing to mention Voc Rehab in passing, but quite another to explain. Because I mentioned it passing, I was asked to explain, which was of course akward. "So how can I qualify?" she asked. "You'll want to apply sooner than later," I explained, telling her she would need to provide documentation from acessability testing, doctors, etc. "The more disabilities you can document, the more likely that you'll qualify. I was accepted based on four qualifiers in descending order of magnitude: first, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; second, a severe math learning dissability; third, hearing loss; and fourth...fourth...what was the fourth one? That's wierd, I can't seem to remember. Well anyway, you get the idea."

Later in the conversation, "Oh I remember now! The fourth one was a memory disorder!" This, of course, resulted in both of us succumbing to an uncontrollable case of the giggles in the library.

Yes, it takes unique talent.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Buttars-Palooza, Baby!

Buttars-Palooza! Buttars-Palooza! Buttars-Palooza! 

So here's the viral publicity for Buttars-Palooza (I got the spelling right this time)! Just so you know, that's not a caracature of Buttars, but an actual photograph of his real face. Only, he's not really blue. Click on the link below to hear the invitation to the party and some of his "gems of wisdom" concerning gays from the current session. I bet you could find some from last year about African Americans too, if you checked youtube. Anyway, it's a party so if you get a chance, go down and party for me! :o)

Buttars-Palooza! Buttars-Palooza! Buttars-Palooza! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I wanted so much to go to Buttarspalooza. I had visions of creating a banner with three giant sticks of butter surrounded by a big red circle and slash. No more Buttars...get it? LOL Buttarspalooza is a demonstration at the capitol sponsored by KRCL. It will be a sort of in-Buttar's-face celebration of diversity. Oh how he'll hate THAT! Diversity, God forbid! They'll have music, dancing, games, food, etc. We may very well see people of various colors, capabilities, and convictions in attendance...ooooh scary! What next, a sinister round of Kumbiah?! It's intended to be a totally harmless, "friendly" mockary of Buttars rather than a hate-fest. Oh, don't get me wrong. A lot of people are pretty angry about this. But it is, after all, what you DO with your anger that counts. Of course it's also intended to publicize the old bigot's latest derogatory comments targeted at minority groups in our community.

I found out yesterday just how close midterms were. I swear this is the fastest semster EVER! I have to turn in my first midterm paper a week from last Tuesday! I guess it would be irresponsible of me to go to Buttarspalooza instead of researching and writing that paper and staying caught up on my studies, so I guess I'll have to blow off some steam on my blog rather than let my hair down at the big party.

I agree, Senator Buttars ought to have every opportunity to fully excercise his civil liberties, including his freedom of speech. Free speech is a valuable tool for democratic peoples. It allows ignorant (reminder: ignorance is a three syllable word which refers to a lack of knowledge or understanding, and not to an ornery attitude), prejudiced, pernicious, and dangerous people to expose themselves for what they are, thus warning the general public of their intentions and probable future actions. So you see, I don't have a problem with Chris Buttars expressing himself freely. Surely when he directed his hate politics at African Americans on public record last year, some good but misguided voters must have decided he crossed a line they weren't comfortable with. Come to think of it, I would surely hope the reason he was reelected was not because the majority of his constituents really are members of the KKK or Arian Nations (and in my back yard!), but rather that they were uninformed and voted carelessly out of habit, relying on party politcs rather than their own intellect and values. Not that I appreciate that sort of voting strategy, but the alternative is terrifying by contrast!

So, do I think a senator should be removed from office because he exercised freedom of speech? No, of course not! Do I think a senator should represent his constituent's values and act upon them in senate proceedings? Of course! BUT...our senators should represent us FIRST from within the framework of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I think language which excludes individuals and groups from civil liberties is necessarily inapropriate in our state capitol and serves as a warning of cancer within our legislative branch. I believe continued red flags such as we've seen from Buttars are just cause for...what do you call it when you fire a senator? Impeachment? Something else? Anyway, we ought to fire that biggoted old fool's ass! Come to think of it, we should fire Waddoups ass too because as our state senate president he should have fired Buttars' ass last year.

Let me tell you what Waddoups did last year when Buttars' directed his inapropriate use of free speech toward African American children. He removed him from his position as judicial committee chairman, but not his position on the rules committee. Then, when the excitement died down, he reinstated him. And that's exactly what they did again this year and will probably do next time. The really scary thing is that Buttars isn't an anomaly in the Utah senate. Waddoups, in the press conference concerning the matter, explained they were releasing him from the judicial committee in order to allow him to more fully excercise his right to free speech without being inhibited by his office. He also expressed his support, and the support of all of Buttar's peers in the state senate, saying nobody disagreed with WHAT he said, just HOW he said it. OMG! So apparently the consensus among our entire senate is that African Americans, Latin Americans, Gays and others are disgraceful, the most dangerous threat to America, comparable to radical muslims, and the meanest buggers they've ever seen. Only, they would have codified (sugar coated) it. Wow!

Some people are of the mistaken impression that if the majority vote for something, that makes it constitutional. WRONG! The constitution and bill of rights were designed to prevent minorities, both individuals and groups, from majority tyranny. Our founding fathers were trying to prevent us from doing to "others," Mormons for example, what was done to the puritans who fled Europe, especially England, to the Americas for reasons of religious and political persecution. How quickly we forget what it's like to be the persecuted minority and become a majority perpetuating injustice upon "others" within our own community. As soon as we set foot upon this continent we were persecuting and exterminating its native inhabitants. And of course the more things change, the more they stay the same. Were we all asleep in history class? Apparently!

So, one more time...senators are citizens too, and entitled to freedom of speech just like we ordinary citizens are. Democratically elected senators are obligated to represent and act upon the values of their constituents. But senators are also obligated to serve in their legislative capacities FIRST from within the framework of the Constitution and Bill of rights. When senators, through excercise of their freedom of speech, reveal agendas which exclude individuals and groups from civil liberties intended for all Americans, we ought to fire them regardless of whether or not they were elected in a democratic manner. Senators like Buttars are actually the greatest threat to the constitution and the very fabric of American life. Hate politics are never appropriate in the state senate!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Disobedience: A Thought Experiment

Saturday I attended an event connected with U of U's weeklong Strategies for Social Change Conference. It was a four-hour nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience training. Talk about interesting! I learned a ton, and I met some really great people. During the training we were organized in hypothetical affinity groups in which we practiced much of the things we learned including safety, legal issues, consensus, planning, etc. Our affinity group really bonded and we ended up sharing contact information and making a pact to keep in touch. While everyone else was leaving, we were still having a big group hug. It was hard to get break us up when it was time to go!

I attended this thing because my Psychology of Good and Evil (PSY 3850) professor passed the flyers around the classroom (She and another campus friend attended). Since Mike had the kids this weekend I thought, oh hell why not? It's certainly an intriguing facet of peace and justice, and since I'm a Peace and Justice Studies minor perhaps I ought to know more about it. I was really excited about what I learned and I look forward to putting this new knowledge and skillset to practice. I have no plans to do anything risky (i.e. dangerous or illegal and getting arrested and "going limp," but I think that along with writing my senator and house representative, demonstrations done properly are a right, a privelege, and perhaps even a responsiblity at times in any truly democratic society. Of course I've already been criticized and villianized by those I've shared my excitement with. It was suggested behind my back that wanting to make the world a better place is a nice idea, but that peace and justice are best served when people like me just shut up and obey the law of the land. Hmmm...

I'm thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. He didn't just shut up. He took every opportunity he could to speak up loud and clear. He taught his followers to both love and disobey their enemies. He led a nonviolent movement that was anything but passive. I'm thinking of Rosa Parks.  She wasn't just some poor old lady who finally had enough and cracked down the middle. She played the key role in a carefully planned civil disobedience action, collaborating with civil rights leaders, including King.

King's mentor, Ghandi, led thousands of peasants in a march to the sea as an act of civil disobedience. They broke the law by gathering salt which was an abundant and convenient natural resource for which the British government controlled all sales and exacted an exorbitant tax, expoliting the poorest of Indians. Gandhi spent a year in prison for this action, but it marked the beginning of the end of British colonization in India.

Then there's South Africa. While Nelson Mandela is certainly a heroic figure, his committment to nonviolence, which he studied under Gandhi, failed. But there were many South African's who were stoic in their committment to nonviolence and civil disobedience. These included attorneys, both black and white, who set up secret law offices in the city limits where blacks were not permitted by law to practice so they might work near the court houses in which they provided legal defense for anti-apartheid figures, including Mandella. Bram Fischer was one such attorney, a white Afrikaner who led a life of privelege but gave up everything including his own freedom and eventually his life to fight the unjust legal system that perpetuated apartheid.

I'm just thinking that were it not for nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, we'd still have a segregated U.S., African apartheid, and a colonized India. Were King, Parks, Gandhi, and Fischer more committed to obedience than to human life and dignity, we wouldn't have made the amazing strides toward a more just world that we've seen in the last century. In fact, there is a vast body of literature which indicates that cultures with a strong focus on obedience and authority are prime candidates for perpetuating genocide. In reverse, in all cultures where genocide has taken place, the focus on obedience and authority were key aspects of the continuum of destruction. That's something to think about.

Oh I'm not suggesting a houseful of children without rules (God forbid!), or complete social/political anarchy in a literal context, but rather the questioning of unjust laws (Missouri repealed the legal extermination order on Mormons only a few short years ago). We might do well to consider under what circumstances we might be compelled to perform an act of civil disobedience--a thought experiment, if you will.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

As If I Needed an Extra Dose of Humility!

I've been dealing with kidney stones and infections (everything from my kidneys, south) since the first weekend of Spring Semester. Two weeks after finishing my latest antibiotic, I'm still experiencing a great deal of discomfort and pain, as well as having difficulties peeing to put it indelicately. I called my Dr.'s office yesterday in an attempt to receive sympathy and validation  from an actual medical professional, so today they called me back to let me know they ordered another urinalisis for me at the lab. I went by the lab this afternoon.

I had myself a nice, large iced tea from Carles Jr. before I went over. "That'll do it," I said to myself! When they called me back they gave me my special wipe and clean catch specimine container, and of course they reminded me to follow the directions posted on the back of the bathroom door. I've done this a million times, but I carefully reviewed the directions again, being the conscientious invalid that I am. Step #3 goes something like this: begin urinating in the toilet to clear the urethra of contaminates, then collect the sample in your special cup during midstream. Yeah, that's a paraphrasing, but you get the idea. I did as told, only I could only make a little trickle. By the time I got that little cup in place to catch my sample midstream, it had stopped. My bladder felt full, but it just wasn't happening. I relaxed and waited in vain for that "here it comes" sensatoin to return. Remembering I had a bottle of cranberry juice in my purse, I got up, washed up, and chugged it down, then paced back and forth for awhile (it was a big bathroom). Finally I turned the water faucet on to a nice steady trickle and settled back in to wait. As I listened to the water I closed my eyes and imagined that cranberry juice trickling steadily down through my kidneys, through my ureturs, and filling my bladder with unbearable heaviness. I remained in meditation for about a half hour.

Finally, I put my empty sample container in the special window, washed up, and found the technitian, telling her, "I had difficulty collecting my sample and may I please hang out in the waiting room for awhile and see what happens?" "I'll just leave your cup and a new wipe here, so you can come back when you're ready," she said. I returned to the waiting area where I dug back into my reading for tomorrow's class and four 8-oz disposable cups of water from the conveniently located dispenser. I'd been texting back and forth with Mike on and off all afternoon, and found myself sending a text that read, "I'm at Dr. Nobuhara's office and for like maybe the 2nd time in my adult life I can't pee to save my life!" A few minutes later I received a reply from my boss, the Reverend Dr. Michael Minch (whose name appears in my phone list very near my former husband Michael's) saying, "I'm sorry about your pee problems. I'll be seeing you around."

The Right Tool for the Job

It's almost 4 and I have to get up at 7 to start all over again. Nevertheless, here I am, "Sleepless in 'Zion'." Since I was awake anyway, I decided to read some blogs I've wanted to follow. Now I feel compelled to make a personal assertion in regard to a post I came across. I don't want to be confrontational or direct unkind criticism at an old friend and her numerous supportive friends. It's just that I have a differing viewpoint. Now that I've found voice, I find myself wanting to use it once in a while when it's meaningful to me to do so.


Science Fair projects are a hellish nightmare, more so for conscientious parents than for their little scientists. I've been there and done that, believe me! Sometimes I think it's just asking way too much of us! It's so hard to get through a typical busy evening with homework, chores, dinner, events, and bedtime preparations. There just aren't enough hours in the day for all the planning, research, and preparation that goes into a project like that! If you haven't embarked on a Science Fair project with a child, you have no idea what I'm talking about. It really is agonizing and you just have to experience it to understand. I haven't boycotted the fair, myself, but I've been tempted--believe me! It's been a few years since I was a "good mommy" and undertaken a project with one of my kids. If any of them had the burning desire to do one, I would support and help in any way I could, really. But I can't even start my own homework until they've gone to bed most nights. I confess, I just don't want to do it anymore.


One might say, "Cammie, Cammie, Cammie! Quit 'controlling' your child and just let her do it her way. It's her Science Fair, not yours!" But one of the problems is that Science Fair projects DO have to follow the scientific method. To be quite honest, young children have a difficult time wrapping their brilliant, creative, energetic young minds around the method and staying on track. After all, there are a lot of exciting possibilities for exploring the world of nature and technology around us that are more fun and don't require a step-process and a four-dollar poster board! It takes discipline and patience (i.e. parental guidance) and a whole lot of graph paper, electrical wire, and glue stick to stay on track and do the damned thing correctly. If the project does not follow the scientific method, it doesn't qualify to place in the judging. This can be so disheartening for a child who didn't, for whatever reason, follow the method. That right there just feels so unfair! There are fewer things as upsetting to a parent as a child with a broken heart! But there is a very important purpose for the scientific method.


In non-scientific terms, let me explain why I understand the scientific method to be so important. We live in a culture in which the majority of friends, family, church members, coworkers, acquaintances, and even strangers we come in contact with will accept "because I believe" as a sufficient answer for any number of assertions. Normally that's just fine and, in our local culture especially, faith is a valued personal attribute. But suppose your doctor wanted to bleed you to get rid of the bad humors causing your bronchitis, diabetes, or cancer? If your doctor suggests such a treatment, you're probably going to leave her office rather quickly, then file a malpractice report. The questions you're unlikely to take the time to ask include: What are humors? Why are they making me sick? How does bleeding me cure my illness? And especially, what are the side effects of bleeding? Very few otherwise faithful people today are willing to take a doctor's word on his faith that bleeding will cure these or any serious illnesses. Does this sound like an absurd scenario? Actually, it was a rather common scenario a hundred years ago. Most of us understand now that bleeding is unnecessary and dangerous. Many people wealthy enough to afford the treatment back then died of blood loss instead of the infections and diseases we now treat rather easily with antibiotics and other conventional medicines and treatments. There are no such things in the body as humors, but doctors and their patients once believed there were. Bleeding was hypothesized as the best medical treatment, but that's where the scientific method ended.


The scientific method is the only method whereby that which is true in the physical world can be proven qualitatively and quantitatively. Scientific method cannot prove anything of a metaphysical nature such as the existence of God, the power of priesthood, or the truth of gospel. It's simply not the right tool for the job of validating metaphysical truth. The nature of the metaphysical world and our physical world are believed by many to have significant connections, but it's not the purpose of science to make those connections or to measure the validity of that which is a matter of faith. That's okay. That doesn't make science bad; science has it's own time and place and purposes, even if they are temporal. One of those purposes is to cure the sick and injured, and to improve the quality of lives. Without the scientific method, we would still be bleeding to death otherwise healthy patients with head colds. 


Another purpose of the scientific method is to aid agricultural experts in producing the variety, quantity, and quality of foods we need to live, grow, and be healthy. One of Stalin's friends, a "scientist," believed in a particular agricultural method. Stalin chose to accept this man's hypothesis when all credible scientists warned him that correct scientific method produced a different result and that his friend's agricultural "wisdom" was faulty. Stalin made it illegal to practice any other agricultural methods or even speak of them. Some scientists were sent to prison in Siberia and even died because they were so convinced of the error that they felt it would be unethical or immoral not to speak up. Because the state-sanctioned agricultural method was based on belief and not scientific method, the Soviet Union had a terrible famine in which citizens died by the thousands. Real human beings just like you and I suffered and died because faith was applied in lieu of science when the tool required to validate physical truth was the scientific method.


Understanding and applying the scientific method correctly is important to medical professionals and agricultural experts, among others, as well as to the scientists who develop new treatments, products, and technologies for those experts. But it's also important to consumers and patients in order to make better informed choices, as our choices evolve and expand daily. Perhaps Kindergarten or even 4th grade isn't the appropriate time to really learn and apply the scientific method. Maybe high school is a more appropriate time for understanding it, putting together complex research projects, then making that cognitive leap to applying it in our personal lives. Of course even teenagers need and/or want a little help with their school projects, but at least they're better able to work with a little more independence and focus than a seven-year-old. I find that I have to let some things go in order to make other things possible. One of those things is letting real and/or imagined implications or accusations that I'm a "bad mommy" go, along with unnecessary priorities and unrealistic expectations, in order to pursue my degree and be an example to my children of the love of learning and the value of higher education. That's why I have a personal aversion to the Science Fair!