Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Inspiration From Broadway

Linda Eder sings 'I Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha'. This and 'Impossible Dream' qualify on the short list for rousingest anthems. There's currently quite the debate as to who sang better, Richard Kiley or Brian Stokes Mitchell. Linda Eder is here by way of a compromise. All three versions are terrific. And doesn't she have a wonderful voice?

Folk Music Palate Cleanser

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Law and the Face of Evil

This is a hard one to write. I'm still that angry.

Attorneys are required to have a set number of hours of continuing legal education each year. In Georgia, the requirement is twelve hours. Today, I attended this seminar. The speakers were largely well balanced on the issue of the second amendment rights. Most were well-prepared (Bob Barr being the notable exception. I am so glad I didn't vote for him. He seemed nice though.)

Two of the speakers were people I disagree with. One was a Mr. Eric Proshansky. He is leading the New York City civil case against the gun dealers. While I suspect he agrees with his client's stance politically, he was nonetheless professional and did an excellent job of advocating an unpopular position in the face of a polite, but hostile audience. He came across as a fighter and possibly a former debate team captain. Were he in private practice, he is an advocate I would recommend to clients without a qualm.

The second speaker with whom I am in disagreement is the point of this post. Professor Eric Segall teaches Constitutional law at Georgia State University Law School. He is an intelligent man. He was one of two Georgia State Law Profs that discussed the Heller case. And he crawled me.

As a minor point, he referred to the Supremes as being comprised of four conservatives, one swing vote (Justice Kennedy) and four moderates. By definition, the four dissenters are not moderates. They are liberals or leftists, but not moderates. So he did us the favour of signaling his bias and contempt for accuracy in one sentence.

Basically, he exemplified the leftist elite. The stereotypical "we are smarter, better, brighter and more capable than you plebeians. Just go away and let us run the world for you." Unfortunately, attorneys are already arrogant so that kind of condescension did not play well.

But the major point I am making is his utter contempt for precedent and, to a lesser degree, inherent rights. He is a bright fellow. He is intellectually corrupt. If we, as a profession and as a nation abandon precedent as the basis for judge made law, then what we are left with are an aggregation of subjective judgments that can be over-ruled without restraint. We would be a nation held hostage to judicial and legislative caprice. The United States would be exactly opposite of the nation it was founded to be.

Maybe Mr Segall wants to live in such a world, but I do not. Further, if he truly thought his stance through, he would realize that however much subjectivity may be justified as a metaphysical position (which view I do not hold), at law we have to use an absolute standard, even if it means pretending there is such a thing (more on that later). Only by appealing to an absolute set of rules, even if man made, can the laws be enforced evenly. And only if the laws are enforced evenly will they be obeyed.

That Professor Segall does not understand that is horrible. That he teaches a policy driven Constitutional Law class is a shocking waste of the taxpayer's money. The charge that was leveled against Socrates can fairly be leveled against Professor Segall.*

*However, I do not advocate that he meet the same end. Rather, I hope for his conversion from the forces of incoherency over to the side of Truth, Justice and the American Way. With a lot less kryptonite.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Bad News About the Good News

Up until now there have been several dioceses that have consistently grown by any measure (SC, Tennessee etc). The big story of 2007 is that no one grew. Atlanta, where I live, has coasted on a rising tide of immigrants from other parts of the country, some percentage of whom were Episcopalians. This resulted in some pretty statistics for a while.

I think, from a membership standpoint, 2007 will be a watershed year for the Episcopal Church. Absent some bold actions, the negatives for growth (aging membership, defections and lack of children) are going to outnumber the positives (defections from other denominations).

Two of the negatives (lack of children and aging) are going to result in an accelerated rate of decline over the years unless something happens to reverse them.

From a purely economic/business point of view, TEC is in almost exactly the same position as Sears. No new customers, existing customers are leaving (whether by going to another store or dying), huge fixed costs, and the goods are perceived as unattractive by potential customers. Further, much as Sears has backed off of or eliminated long standing policies (the Craftsman guarantee springs to mind), the Episcopal Church has rendered whole areas of belief optional.

The bottom line is this, if we want to buy crappy tools or shoddy clothing, we don't have to go to Sears. Wal-Mart is cheaper. Likewise, if I want false teaching, dubious logic or bad music, I have a tv, with satellite no less. No church membership is required.

{H/T Underground Pewster}


Check out this story about Father Zakaria who has both courage and conviction. There is a desperate shortage of Christians like him.

{H/T Scott}

Monday, December 08, 2008

Apologizing for the Sins of Our Forebears

On behalf of all people my age and older, I offer my sincere apologies for the seventies.

And yes, the lead singer is in fact Sarah Brightman. Andrew Lloyd Webber rescued her from a life of disco.

I'd Say 'Stick a Fork'

In England, they're done. But apparently the sale of tableware is restricted. So I can't.

{H/T Robb}

Standard Answer

In the future, reappraisers ought to reply as follows to any criticism anyone might have of any innovation they wish to introduce:

God is clearly doing a new thing in the diocese of Los Angeles. The folks there are simply being church and living into the all inclusiveness of God’s love. We’ll all get a chance to share our story and do some theology. As for same sex marriage, well, that’s complicated, but by embracing the listening process, walking through life’s labyrinth, and living into the reality that there is much pain in the church right now and we have to allow time for healing, we will all be less shellfish.