Mansfield Fox

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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

One Little Piggy

Oh, the things that you'll see on Mercer Street....

Presented without comment, Jim's Pig:

America....what a country!

UPDATE: I've found Jim!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm Not So Sure About This Quiz....

You scored as Punk/Rebel.







Drama nerd








Ghetto gangsta


What's Your High School Stereotype?
created with

(found at the Corner)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Big Sunglasses

I've been bottling this up for too long - I just don't get the big sunglasses phenomenon. What's going on in the head of a woman who thinks the height of sexiness is looking like Elton John circa 1973?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Appasionata Von Climax"

Though I have no dog in the underlying dispute (What's the "most awesome" B-list cast ever?), I just wanted to say how nice it is to see a "Li'l Abner" reference from one of the titans of blogging.

And now, I sing:
Them city-folks and we-ums,
Are perty much alike.
(Though they ain't used to livin' in the sticks)
We don't like stone or cement,
(But we is in agreement,)
When we gets down to talkin' politics....

The country's in the very best of hands,
The best of haaaaaaaaaaaaaands,
The best of hands.

The Treasury says the national debt is climbin' to the sky.
And government expenditures have never been so high.
It makes a fella get a gleam of pride within his eye,
To see how our economy expands.
The country's in the very best of hands!

The country's in the very best of hands,
The best of haaaaaaaaaaaaaands,
The best of hands.

You oughta hear the Senate when they drawin' up a bill.
"Whereases" and "to whits" are crowded in each codicil.
Such legal terminology would give your heart a thrill,
There's phrases there that no one understands.
The country's in the very best of hands!

The building boom they say is getting bigger every day,
And when I ask a fella, "How can everybody pay?"
He comes up with an answer that makes everything OK:
Supplies are gettin' greater than demands.
The country's in the very best of hands!

Don't you believe them Congressmen and Senators are dumb.
When they run into problems that is tough to overcome,
They just declares a thing they calls a moratorium,
The upper and the lower house disbands.
The country's in the very best of hands!
Us voters is connected to the nominee.
The nominee's connected to the Treasury.
When he ain't connected to the Treasury,
He sits around on his thigh bones.

They sits around in this place they got,
This big Congressional parking lot,
Just sits around on they you-know-whats!
Up there they calls 'em they thigh-bones.

Them bones, them bones, gonna rise again,
Gonna exercise the franchise again
While the budget doubles in size again,
When they gets up off-a their thigh-bones.
The country's in the very best of hands,
The best of haaaaaaaaaaaaaands,
The best of hands.

"The farm bill should be eighty-nine percent of parity."
Another fella recomends it should be ninety-three.
But eighty, ninety-five percent, who care's about degree,
It's parity that no-one understands.
The country's in the very best of hands!

Them GOPs and Democrats, each hates the other one.
They's always criticizing how the country should be run.
But neither tells the public what the other's one and done.
As long as no-one knows where no-one stands,
The country's in the very best of hands!
They sits around in this place they're at,
Where folks in Congress has always sat.
Just sits around on their excess fat!
Up there they calls 'em they thigh-bones.

They sits around 'til they starts to snore,
Jumps up and hollers "I has the floor!"
Then sits right down where they sat before.
Up there they calls 'em they thigh-bones.

Them bones, them bones, gonna rise again
So dignified and so wise again.
While the budget doubles in size again.
When they gets up off of their thigh-bones.
The country's in the very best of hands,
The best of haaaaaaaaaaaaaands,
The best of hands.

The money that they taxes us is known as revenues,
They compounds the collateral, subtracts the residues
Don't worry 'bout the principal, or interest that accrues,
They're shippin' all that stuff to foreign lands.

The country's in the very best of haaa-aaaaaaa-aaands!
As true today as the day it was written (circa 1956). (Including the last part about foreign aid, which is just as false as it was fifty years ago, and - I think - just as widely believed.)

Small Comes Up Big

If you look up "journeyman" in the dictionary, there will be a small thumbnail sketch of Aaron Small. He has a career major league record of 17-10 (and a 5.41 ERA) despite having first pitched in the major leagues eleven years ago. The Yankees are his sixth major league team, though he's had two stints with the Athletics and the Marlins each. He didn't pitch in a single major league game from 1999-2001. He's more closely associated with the letters AAA than the Michelin Man.

And yet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jedi Master & Padawan: On the Same Page

See, e.g., this, this, and this.

The lesson, as always, great moustaches think alike.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mel's New Movie - in Mayan?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

They're Rebuses (Rebi?)! They're Puns!

Jesus Saves, Moses Invests

From today's Gospel:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."
The lesson: don't go to Jesus for investment advice. You've got to diversify, people! You can't put all your money in one pearl!

UPDATE: Yes, well one needs a lot of real estate when one's house has many mansions. Just ask Aaron Spelling.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

John G. Roberts, Jr.

I'd just like to point out that I (kinda, sorta) called this at approximately 6pm yesterday. (I didn't blog about it 'cause I was away from the computer - heading to a performance of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". My quarter-second review: meh.) I did make a point to tell Mr. Misanthropic about it though, and he can verify. I said to him: it won't be Clement, and it won't be any woman or Latino. It'll be Luttig, McConnell or Roberts.

At approximately 5pm, or so, I began to see the forest for the trees and realized we were in the midst of a classic Bush 43 rope-a-dope (c.f., does the president need Congressional/UN authorization to invade Iraq?). The Administration had spent weeks floating rumors that suggested Bush was going to make an identity-politics pick to replace O'Connor. First it was Gonzalez, and then it was "a woman", and then on the final day it was Clement. It's no coincidence that neither of the named candidates were especially impressive, or had a notable or lengthy judicial record. The idea was to make you think Bush was going for a stealth candidate, a person who could slip through without too much of a fight on a combination of their biography and a thin record. Instead, it was a feint.

Why? Surprise. In politics, as in war, surprise is critical. But so is using your best units. And (and I hope I don't sound too chauvinistic in saying) the GOP's best units in this fight are all white men. Roberts, Luttig, McConnell, Alito, Wilkinson, Kozinski, etc. There are some top-tier non-white male candidates - Garza, Alice Batchelder, Mary Ann Glendon, Larry Thompson, etc - but, for whatever reason, the best candidates conservative candidates right now are people of pallor, of the masculine persuasion.

How do you make it a surprise to pick the best candidate, the Court's umpteenth white male? You spend weeks pretending you're going to name a less-qualified candidate for reasons having to do with crude identity politics. Brilliant!

Anyway, so yeah, I called it, sorta, a little before everybody else. Ain't I great?

(One of the PennLawHigh bloggers is similarly bragging.)

UPDATE: Robert Novak writes that Clement was indeed the runner-up. I am now 100% sure that it was a feint.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

How Originalist is Originalism?

A thought occurred to me just now in the shower (a very fine place for thoughts): What were the views of the framers of the Reconstruction Amendments as to how their work should be interpreted going forward? Did they adopt an originalist view, that the meaning of the Amendments is fixed and that the views and practices of 1870s America should govern future controversies? Did they adopt a dynamic view, hoping that future generations would read the Amendments' (especially the Fourteenth's) broadly worded mandates in accordance with the views and practices of their own eras? Did they adopt a natural law view, that the Amendments had a fixed meaning, but that the meaning was tied, not to the views and practices of the 1870s, but to abstractions about justice and the right that their own era captured only imperfectly, and that future generations should through the use of reason try to grasp more perfectly the underlying principles? Something else?

It is, I think, an interesting question. If it turned out that the framers weren't originalists, would the originalist project collapse on itself? Or can micro-originalism be justified outside of macro-originalism? Has there ever been any comprehensive work done on this? I smell an S.A.W.!

UPDATE: Mr. Misanthropic responds (and gets added to the blogroll!) as does Will Baude via e-mail. It does seem like a fertile subject for an S.A.W., which I'll need in the fall (assuming, of course, that I finish my Substantial and there is a fall). So: I call dibs on this subject.

Monday, July 11, 2005

For Deliberative (Not Consensus) Amendment

Will Baude comments on a Balkinization post by Dan Solove on making the Constitution easier to amend.

My thoughts (though bear in mind I'm not as smart as either Will or Solove):

1. It's a good idea, because the underlying descriptive analysis (the fracas over judicial appointments really does spring out of the fact that the Constitution is impossible to amend) is spot-on.

2. The solution, though, is not to stay within the "consensus" framework (large supermajorities needed to proceed with ratification) but to reduce the size of the required supermajorities. I have a hard time imagining that you're going to come up with a number of votes low enough that it won't be subject to the current gridlock problem, but not so low that we won't have too much constitutional amending, with temporary majorities constantly monkeying with our basic law.

3. Instead, the solution is to supplement the current process by adding a "deliberative" option. You allow a majority of each house of Congress to pass an amendment, but require that they vote to approve the amendment twice, once before and once after a Congressional election. Thereafter, it would go to the states under the same procedure we use now. (Getting the states on-board doesn't really seem to be the problem we're addressing here.) This would give individual Congressmen a chance to ponder these issues at length, rather than deciding in a fit of passion after some ill-received court decision. And it would give the people, the "We" in whose voice the Constitution ostensibly speaks, a chance to weigh in, since the intervening election would almost certainly be a referendum on the proposed amendment. But the simple majority requirement would acknowledge that there are fundamental issues critical to the Republic, to which we need an answer - do the states have the power to ban abortion? can the government take account of race? does the 14th Amendment require citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants born in the US? - on which we are simply too divided as a country for a supermajority to be formed in support of any position. "Sustained majorities over time" may not be a great solution, but it's better than "whatever five Supreme Court justices think".

4. This new option should be a supplement, rather than supplant, the procedure we have now, on the theory that in the future there might be some glaringly obvious need for an amendment stat (say, the Supreme Court was full of jurisprudential reincarnations of the Four Horsemen who narrowly read the Commerce Clause and another Great Depression struck; for good or ill, there'd probably be substantial support for authorizing greater regulatory powers for the federal government, ASAP) and it seems imprudent to oblige future generations to go through a potentially multi-year process if there were supermajority support for a change right away.

Anyway, I'm sure you were eager to hear my thoughts on the matter. And there they are.

UPDATE: "not crazy" - a ringing endorsement! :-D

SUBSTANTIVE UPDATE: Yeah, I think there'd clearly have to be time restrictions placed on it, such that it would have to be voted for in 2 consecutive Congresses. As for renunciation, I don't see why not. The goal of the scheme is to promote deliberation; I don't see why, if one Congress votes for a measure, then thinks better of it and repeals it before the next Congress comes in, that decision shouldn't be honored. As for repeals after the measure has been approved twice and sent to the states, I'm not so sure. That would seem to unsettle the situation too much. What are the current rules? Can a supermajority in one house bindingly rescind its vote for an amendment while it's still pending before the states?

UPDATE, THE THIRD: I really have to read Will's post carefully before I reply, so I don't miss all the arguments. The 1/3 of the Senate thing I did realize; I think it's better to just do one election cycle, nevertheless, because a) dragging it out over 3 election cycles seems like too heavy a burden, and b) I sense the issue would lose some of its salience over time, making the effectiveness of the election as a referendum on the amendment diminish strongly over time. I realize there would be ways to game the process (propose conservative amendments just before elections in which the conservatives up for reelection all have safe seats) but I think those are worth swallowing to avoid dragging the amendment process in Congress out over a six-year span. That could be wrong, though, and I'm open to persuasion on the point.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


This sounds about right. (link via Galley Slaves)

They say living well is the best revenge; that may be so, but "smashing your enemies" has a nice ring to it, wouldn't you say?

We still haven't heard from our friends Mike and Adrienne in London. I'm sure it's nothing, but here's hoping they're OK.

UPDATE: As I'd suspected, they're fine. Deo gratias.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My Big SCOTUS Plan

Anyone Bush is likely to nominate to replace O'Connor the Democrats will filibuster, either because he's a genuine conservative or because he's seen as some kind of crypto-con. Anyone liberal enough to get the 60th vote on the left will be too liberal for the GOP's right wing, which will filibuster in turn. And the GOP centrists are too mushy to use the "nuclear option".

What's a president to do? Nothing. Don't nominate anybody. Let the Supreme Court fade into Bolivian via attrition. In fifteen years, the two-man Court will come to decisions after an arm-wrestling match between Souter and Thomas. In twenty years it'll be just Thomas, old and alone as Lear, hurling down originalist decisions like proud Jupiter with his lightning bolts. And in twenty-five years, Old Thomas will have passed, and the opponents of Marbury v. Madison will finally get their way. They won't have SCOTUS to kick around anymore.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth, All!

Though I remain unconvinced that the Revolution was actually justified in principle, the proof, as it were, is in the pudding, and even a skeptic such as I has to admit that the whole independence thing has worked out pretty well for the country.

So: here's to you, America. You don't look a day over 210!

And now, to celebrate the birth of my country, I'm going to go watch a small Japanese man cram dozens upon dozens of wieners into his maw.

UPDATE: Suitably patriotic music added:

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

For Yucks

Friday, July 01, 2005

Justice O'Connor Retires

Just FYI for the Bush Administration: contrary to what you might hear, I am available to fill the vacancy. I'm reliably conservative, deferential to executive power, and, at only 24 years old, could plausibly serve 50-60 years on the Court in relatively robust health. What's not to love?

I Love That Little Zeppelin-Headed Kid