The Mad Parson

As a matter of fact, yes, I do think irreverence is a spiritual gift.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The British call it "shifting". I've moved the Mad Parson over to Northminster's website. You can find it here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Narcissus and his mirror

Sheesh. This is pretty incendiary stuff. And that, in and of itself, doesn't bother me. I actually tend to like incendiary, when it makes a salient point. What I don't like is incendiary for the point of being incendiary. Unfortunately, Mr Arkin falls into the latter category. First, he makes a critical error in both this column and its predecessor column: Divorcing the military from the American people. He makes the statement that the American people are supporting the military, but the military isn't supporting the American people. Mr Arkin, the military ARE the American people. Not the sum of it, no, but not something other than it, either. When the military is considered as something other than the American people, which Mr Arkin has consistently done, then they are almost automatically better-than (which is how Mr Arkin accuses them of acting) or lesser-than, (which is how Mr Arkin himself treats them via his condescension). Second, the idea that the military is "hiding behind the Constitution" removes his column from the realm of the serious and puts it in the land of the farcical. All of us, from the myriad persons who commented on his blog to the kid who wears offensive statement T-shirts to school to the incalculable journalists writing everyday in their respective--not respectful--publications, hide behind the Constitution. We have certain rights--a noteworthy one to you, Mr Arkin, being the freedom of speech--and the Constitution protects those rights. Third, the article does a great disservice to dialogue on the War in Iraq. Our combat in Iraq is pretty definitively either right or wrong. If it's right, than Mr Arkin is off the mark in a myriad of ways. But even if it's wrong, Mr Arkin shows himself completely unable to do what liberals say they are doing: Support the troops without supporting the war. Mr Arkin has written poorly thought out comments on the subject--poor thought often being the risk of writing on a blog, with its immediacy and lack of an editor, or, in my case, Guinness--and as soon as someone points out his error, he screams "Censorship! Squashing of dissent! Right wing jackboot intolerance!" (by the way, Mr Arkin, how does the comfort of that Constitution protection feel right about now, anyway?), and goes on a sanctimonious diatribe against those idiot kids in the military, the evil Administration that's deployed them, and all the mindless fascists who support a plan that anyone with the brain of a pterodactyl can see is a guaranteed failure. Well, so much for reasoned dialogue. What we need in our public square is someone who can stand in the crossfire and offer thoughtful commentary on what is wrong with this war and do so without ostracizing ANY of the opinions offered, except those which are obviously simply vitriol (like Mr Arkin's, for example). The conservatives have trouble hearing dissent without treating it an unpatriotic. But the liberals have trouble hearing dissent, period. They have decided who is mainstream and rational, and who is not. The military is not part of the American people. The conservatives are out of the mainstream. Only the demographic that agrees with Mr Arkin is spared the invective of Mr Arkin. Pity, that. For there is where America is closest to fascism.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Like Rumsfeld's second tour in Defense, my blog server picked a great time for glitches. Anyhoo.

All in all, too little, too late, in my estimation, concerning the State of the Union. The time for firing Rummy and sending in the cavalry was two years ago, not two months. I appreciate Mr Bush's courtesies, and his management of the economy (read: tax cuts); however, I remain unconvinced on the Iraq front, and the talk about global warming and federally-subsidized health care accounts are a bit much.

Mr Webb was simply philistine. He is far too taken with himself, and I am quite frankly embarrassed that he is the junior senator from Virginia. The Commonwealth deserves better, as do the poor viewers that had to endure him last night. First, he use of the English language is a tad boorish. How many metaphors did he mix, anyway? Second, he was flat wrong in his assessments. How can a senator indicate that the economy is going poorly when the middle class is larger than ever before, stocks continue to rise, inflation to continues to be in check, unemployment is at record lows, and tax revenues are at record highs? What's wrong with that picture? And, too, the statement that most of the military is against the war seems off to me. A majority of Congress is against the war; a majority of the populace is against the war; a majority of me is against the war. But there is no evidence--at least not any that I have seen or that Mr Webb referenced--to indicate the majority of the military is against the war. People are ill at Mr Bush for lying--no need to replicate the error, Mr Webb.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Something There Is That Doesn't Love A Wall

Hard to reconcile 'compassionate conversativism' with the whole immigration wall thing, but I do like the temporary worker thing. At least it's not complete, um, stonewalling. I would prefer amnesty, though. . . .

Mr Schwarzenegger's--I mean, Mr Bush's--Health Plan

How is this different from nationalized (read: socialized) health care? And who decides who is poor enough or sick enough?

Still Not Bad for the First Time

The Madame Speaker keeps licking her lips--what's up with that? Still, she's doing pretty well for being under this scrutiny the first time. Mrs Clinton, however, looks like she has recently visited the hair salon from hell. . . .

Surge versus State

So far, Mr Bush is doing far better with this speech than he did with the 'surge' speech. With the former, he looked tired and addled. So far, he looks confident and prepared. The nod to the Madame Speaker was a very nice touch. The Democrats have been playing nice, too; it's almost as if the two sides are trying to outdo the other.

The State of the Union

I still get chills up my spine when the Sergeant at Arms announces: "The President of the United States!"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

America Needs a 'Beast'!

Ha, ha! Yes! I take away two things from this unraveling: First, the sheer joy of knowing that Arsenal's young line is in form. That bodes quite well for the future. Sure, a lot of that is import, and the transfer window gives, and the transfer window takes away. Nonetheless, at its foundation, the Gunner side is playing great football right now. "One-nil to the Gunners!"

The second thing I take away from this is how young the side is, not only for Arsenal, but for some of the Liverpool side, as well. Contrast that with MLS. Recently, Freddie Adu--theoretically, the American version of Theo Walcott--worked out with Manchester United. Sir Alex was unimpressed. Europe has a culture of breeding young footballers that we don't have. You see it in this tie. We can somewhat imagine an eighteen-year-old playing NBA (because we've seen it in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James), and it happens in MLB. But (true) football is a physical and demanding sport, especially at the pace it is played in the Premiership (and the Carling Cup tie today was a conflict of Premiership sides). Who can think of eighteen-year-olds playing in the starting lineup of an NFL team and being competitive? If 'soccer' is ever going to catch on here, the MLS style and structure won't get it; we will have to rethink our expectations for our kids. Now, we expect everyone to go through college. In the future, perhaps we will give our kids the leniency to go to college, trade school, work--or football academy. . . .

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Prefer A Foil, Thank You, Or At Least An Epee

Statements like this one, it seems to me, fail two tests. One is the theology test. This attitude stems from the natural theology tack that what is revealed is what is intended. In other words, what we see is the way things ought to be. It doesn't take long to dispel that notion, however, for surely no one of any grace would say that Down's sydrome is that way things ought to be. Burkitt's lymphona are not the way things ought to be. The Darfur genocide is not the way things ought to be (if I can stretch a bit outside of genetics). The question should be asked: If homosexuality occurs in animals, is that a good thing, or is that a deviation? Assuming that simply because a trait shows up in animals is a good thing strikes me as naive, at best. After all, if this assertion is correct that male whales "penis fence" and only infrequently mate with females, perhaps that is why we now need bumper stickers that read "Save the Whales".

A second, and corollary, test that is failed is the common sense test. If homosexuality is so wonderfully natural, why doesn't the anus self-lubricate for penile penetration like the vagina does? It just doesn't make sense. I'm sure that this somehow makes me homophobic, but I simply don't find compelling evidence here that homosexuality is a good thing. It may be a natural thing, although on this mark I still remain unconvinced. But nature is fallen just as we humans are. Pointing out that something exists in nature doesn't make it a good thing. Thoughtful reflection, if not a casual observance, bear this out.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fifty Minutes With Reality

Patient: "We're going to stay the course."

Shrink: "But it's obvious that's not working."

Patient: "It will. We work for equality for all. We are inspired by hope."

Shrink: "Your tactics are unconstitutional."

Patient: "My lawyers assure me I'm on firm ground."

Shrink: "Folks are starting to think you are out of touch with the average person."

Patient: "Look, I have a vision. We are going to keep our eyes fixed on the horizon. And everyone's going. If you're not for us, you're against us."

Shrink: "The voices of opposition are growing louder."

Patient: "Egghh. They don't know what I know. They don't have all the information. This is a tough job. I make tough decisions. '[T]his kind of work is hard and slow going.' But, the people picked me to lead, and that's what I'm going to do."

Shrink: "You are having a hard time facing reality: Your tactics are unconstitutional, the opposition is growing, and your plan isn't working!"


Shrink: "Orderly!"

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