Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Monday, December 29, 2003

YOU KNOW WHO I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR? Howard Dean. We're talking about a man who called the Democratic Leadership Council "the Republican wing of the Democratic Party", and now he's crying foul because other candidates for the Democratic nomination have the temerity to attack him.

It would be one thing if this were next May, and Dean had wrapped up the nomination, and Lieberman and Kerry were still going around saying he couldn't beat Bush. Then, of course, McAuliffe should step in, slap them upside the head and say "Shaddap, knuckleheads!" But Dean hasn't won anything yet. These guys aren't attacking Dean out of pique; they're doing it because they still think they can win, and they see their "electibility" as their big advantage over Dean.

If Dean wants to call of the primaries and declare himself the winner right now, he should say so. Otherwise, he shouldn't go crying to the party chairman every time one of the other kids on the playground pushes back.
THE FATE OF MEDIA WATCHDOGS IN EUROPE Instapundit links to a more-than-a-little disturbing story out of the International Herald Tribune. God, it makes me glad I don't live in a civilized place like Europe. Read the original story here.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Sunday, December 21, 2003

SADDAM & THE DEATH PENALTY Is it possible to oppose the death penalty generally, but support it for Saddam? (or Osama, for that matter?) I actually think it is, for reasons mostly of prudence rather than of principle. Call it the Napoleon Principle: lifetime imprisonment for former dictators (or, I suppose, global terrorist ringleaders) is all well and good, but only insofar as you're actually imprisoning them for life. If Saddam is imprisoned for life, there's still the remote possibility that he can escape, and return to power. Which would be bad. On a scale that the escape of an ordinary murderer is not.

Steven Pollard takes a different view. Read, and see what you think.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

HOW ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN? "9/11 chairman not blaming anyone"

Friday, December 19, 2003

SONY UNVEILS NEW JOGGING ROBOT This story leads me to two questions. Why on earth would anyone want a robot that can jog? (Subquestion: Is the goal ultimately to replace all human joggers with robots? Would Instapundit be OK with that?) And: how exactly does one pronounce the word "Qrio"?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

OH, YES: AND THE JETS WON They beat the Steelers 6-0. Today is shaping up to be a very good day indeed.
GOVERNING COUNCIL, TOE TO TOE WITH SADDAM A riveting account of the encounter between members of the Iraqi Governing Council and Hussein. These men were driven into exile, or imprisoned and tortured by Hussein and his henchmen. And now, with a little help from their American allies, they're finally able to confront him, face to face. And they can see him now for what he truly is, stripped of his wealth, his power, his ability to sew terror in the hearts of others: a pathetic, cowardly old man with nothing left in the world but his own black heart and the coming justice that awaits him.

Stories like this, and pictures like these, remind me why I'm so very glad we did what we did last spring.
THE REAL HUSSEIN-Y We're unlikely to have Victory-in-Iraq Day parades as a result of this, especially in New Haven, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate. Danke to Oxblog for the link.

Money graph? "There's a million of us just like me/Who dress like me/Who walk, talk, oppress like me"
MEMO TO ANTI-WAR TYPES: PUT DOWN THE HATERADE We all know that you thought the invasion of Iraq was a) imprudent, b) illegal, c) immoral or d) all of the above. But can't you quit-yer-bitchin' for a second and acknowledge that capturing that bastard is a good thing? And not for the reelection chances of "that warmonger, Bush." For the Iraqi people, who are finally free from that murderous thug, now know he's never coming back, and can put him on trial to try to get some closure for the hundreds of thousands of victims of his regime.

All morning, I've been dancing around, doing a little boogie for freedom and justice for Iraq. Won't you stop sipping on the haterade for just a second and join me?
WELL, NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS MAKES ME HAPPY Saddam captured. He's still alive (though I wouldn't count on that for long). And man-o-man, he looks like crap. Appropriately, he was found deep in a hole.

Lets give it up for the brave SpecOps forces, and the men of the Fourth Infantry Division who caught the sumbitch. Another proud chapter in the illustrious history of the Ivy Division.
THE CHURCH OF ENVIRONMENTALISM Michael Crichton on environmentalism as religion. Money quote: "We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s."

Saturday, December 13, 2003

OK, I'LL ADMIT IT: it's not a very popular opinion among my peers, but I really like President Bush. What can I say? He seems like the kind of guy I'd like to be friends with, the kind of guy I'd have over for a couple of beers (if he still drank) and a honey barb 747 from Wings while we watched football all day. I also think he's been a pretty good president, but I'll go into that more later. My favorite thing about the Bush White House, however, is the Barney-Cam videos. This is brilliant film-making, people!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

WOULD IT NOT BE THE HEIGHT OF ODDNESS if in a few years the New Jersey Nets play in Brooklyn and the New York Giants play in East Rutherford, New Jersey?
MAYBE "THE L WORD" WON'T BE THE SHOW TO WATCH IN JANUARY Could it be the Lingerie Bowl instead? I have to say I think this is another great idea that's time has come. I was a little worried at first when I thought they'd be wearing helmets. That would have been like a weird transsexual version of B.D. from Doonesbury. But apparently they're not.
RE: MY EARLIER POST ON MCCAIN-FEINGOLD John Fund says that the decision is emblematic of how Justice O'Connor has become a "judicial activist". But that's a total abuse of that expression. They upheld the law! They deferred to Congress. You can say that she's wrong, or that the ruling upholds a liberal rather than conservative policy preference, but to say that this is an example of "judicial activism" is just lunacy.

Unless, of course, "judicial activism" is just a code-word that means "judicial decisions that further liberal policy preferences."

Let's try to imagine what a politically neutral definition of "judicial activism" would be. I'll offer up this:
A court have engaged in a judicial activism when either
a) in the presence of an explicit constitutional provision that can plausibly be construed in more than one way, the court substitutes its interpretation of that constitutional provision for an equally plausible interpretation by the legislature or executive, or
b) in the absence of any explicit constitutional provision, the court substitutes its policy preferences for that of the legislature or executive.

But of course, if this is the definition, then it is the dissenters, and not the majority, that are the judicial activists in McConnell v. FEC. That is not to say that they're wrong. They may be exactly right. But they're the ones who want to substitute their reading of the First Amendment for the one that was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, a reading which clearly struck the political branches as being a plausible understanding of the First Amendment and is shared by many serious legal thinkers.

As Seinfeld might say Not that there's anything wrong with that.
NOOOOOOOO! If, as it appears, Andy Pettitte is on his way to Houston, then this is a black day indeed for Yankees fans. I've always liked Pettitte, and was glad a few years back when they didn't trade him for Chuck Finley (man, would that have been a mistake). He's a great pitcher, and a real gamer. But still, he has a right to play closer to home if he wants to, and I actually really admire the fact that he took a decent-sized pay cut ($3 million a year, it seems) because he wanted to be able to live with his children year-round.
THIS I LOVE. I was at the Supreme Court yesterday when they announced that
they'd ruled the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act constitutional. It was very cool to be there for the announcement (and a total surprise: we thought we were just there to hear a Miranda case and a redistricting case). So that I love.

But I also love the decision that was handed down. Not because I'm a huge supporter of BiCRA, or anything. I'm generally ambivalent about this kind of legislation, though somewhat sympathetic to those who say its an unconstitutional abridgment of speech and very sympathetic to those who say that campaign finance regulations are ultimately not very effective at preventing the evils they're seeking to prevent.

What I love about the decision is the message it sends to members of Congress, especially Republicans, and the President. The Court is not going to do their public policy dirty work. When BiCRA was passed, many of its Republican supporters (including the President) seemed to basically be of the position that the bill had some problems, and that parts of it were probably unconstitutional, but that it was OK to pass it because the Supreme Court would hear a case involving the law and strike down all the unconstitutional parts. The situation, they thought, was win-win: they get the public relations victory of supporting the passage of a popular law, but would be insulated from many of the worst effects of that law because the Court would strike them down as unconstitutional.

Except the Court didn't. It refused to do Congress and the President's dirty work for them. This is the perfect example of precisely when to use so-called Thayerite review (heavy deference to the political branches). Part of Thayer's idea is that whenever courts start activistically striking down laws on constitutional grounds, it removes much of the incentive for the political branches and the public to debate issues of constitutional law, to ask about a proposed law not just "is this a good idea?" but "is this consistent with the constitution?". Whatever the proper role of each branch is in interpreting the constitution (and this is a subject of much debate) it seems to me that Congress and the President are at least obliged not to pass laws that they themselves believe to be unconstitutional.

Here, the Court may or may not be wrong on the substance of the Constitution, but their error, if there was one, is correctable by Congress simply amending the law to strike out provisions it believes are unconstitutional. And in the meantime, the Court's decision creates exactly the right incentives vis a vis the political branches and the constitution. So huzzah! for Sandra D.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

IS AMERICA READY FOR A TV SHOW ABOUT INCREDIBLY HOT LESBIANS? That question is on par with "Is the Pope Catholic?" and "Does a bear shit in the woods?" Or, at least, that's what Showtime is hoping. An obvious follow-up question is: will Angus subscribe to Showtime in time to catch the premiere episode?

Saturday, December 06, 2003

HERE, HERE Nancy Reagan comes out against the Reagan dime. She's absolutely right.
WHEN I WANT TRUTH, I GO TO PRAVDA So naturally I assume it must be the case that US forces in Afghanistan are becoming drug addicts. I mean, why on earth would the Russian drug czar (tsar?) make up something like this just as he kicks off a major anti-narcotics campaign in his own country? If there's one thing I've come to expect from the Putin Administration, it's honesty and forthrightness. So obviously, the 10th Mountain Division is basically just a heavily armed version of the cast of "Trainspotting" over there in Central Asia.
NOW, I'M NOT SAYING THAT ALL PEOPLE OF IRISH DESCENT ARE SUPER-SEXY But heaven knows I am. And this makes it two. Do I dare to call it a trend yet?

Oh, I dare.
TODAY'S BIGGEST GAME? Notre Dame-Syracuse. And not just for us Gaelo-Americans. Wild.
Silent Night

You are 'Silent Night'! You really enjoy Christmas, and you like your Christmases conventional. For you, Christmas is about family and traditions, and you rather enjoy the rituals of going to church at midnight and turning off the lights before flaming the plum pudding. Although you find Christmas shopping frustrating, you like the excitement of wrapping and hiding presents, and opening a single door on the Advent Calendar each day. You like the traditional carols, and probably teach the children to sing along to them. More than anyone else, you will probably actually have a merry Christmas.

What Christmas Carol are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 05, 2003

MUST...CHECK...SPELLING... I'm not a good speller, and I don't like to embarrass myself in public, so I usually spell-check my posts before I publish them. But sometimes, I'm in a hurry, and I don't. See below.
COLYMBOSATHON ECPLECTIOS DISCOVERED The third sentance of this story is arguably the funniest possible English-language sentance.
SHAZAM! The other shoe drops. Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate for a one-year rental of Javier Vazquez. I couldn't have asked for a nicer 23rd birthday present. I really like Johnson and Rivera as players, and I'm going to miss them. On the other hand, they'll get to play everyday in Montreal, and can maybe finally develop into the quality players they have the potential to be.

And for the Yankees, of course, this is a coup. If they can resign Pettitte and pull the trigger on the Kevin Brown-for-Jeff Weaver trade, their rotation next year will be: Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, and Jose Contreras, with John Lieber as a spot-starter. Tell me honestly that you'd rather have Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Scott Sauerbeck as your starting five? Perhaps Boston can sign Bartolo "Fatty" Colon or Kevin "No Game" Millwood and hope to maybe pull into the lead, but for now the Evil Empire has the edge.

But you know what's really going to make me happy? When the Red Sox offense goes into the toilet next year. This is going to happen, no matter how much the Sox fans want to keep their heads buried in the sand. Think about it: Boston was a great offensive team last year, but that had more than a little to do with the fact that virtually their entire offense had career years last year. Manny and Nomar are proven superstars. Johnny Damon is about that good, as are, I believe, Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek. But do any of you Sox fans really believe that Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Todd Walker, and David Ortiz are .300+ BA, 20+ home-run hitters? Of course not. So they're going to fall off, and the Boston lineup is suddenly going to become human again.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense is going to surge. First of all, they've effectively traded in Nick Johnson for Gary Sheffield. That's clearly an upgrade. But even if they hadn't (or don't: the Sheff deal still isn't completed) they'd be a much better offensive team next year than last year. Because while everyone on the Sox was having a career year last year, a good part of the Yankees lineup was hurt. Jeter, Giambi, and Williams all had serious injury problems that hampered their offensive production. Soriano had a down year. Matsui was just getting used to American baseball. Boone had to switch leagues halfway through the season. Only Posada had a career-best year, and I think that his season, like Varitek's and Nixon's, was a marker of his true ability rather than a one-time fluke.

In short: Yanks regain the pitching edge. Boston offense stumbles back to Earth, New York offense leads the league. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth in New England. And the Fox simply smiles....