Mansfield Fox

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stop! Police!

You know, I've been hearing about the police powers for years, in Con Law and poli-sci classes, and it only just occurred to me that we're talking about the polis powers. That is, the traditional powers of the classical city-state. It all makes much more sense now.

Babies in Team Zissou Caps

Rent is Too Damn High!

You know, other than their ideas being totally counterproductive (and poorly spelled), these guys have a point.

(via the Corner)

UPDATE: But not so much the anti-semitism stuff. Not much of a point there, either.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Accidentally Dirty Google Searches

As a way of resolving a dispute with my roommate (over whether gang members are more likely to be heterosexual than the population generally) I googled gay gang members. And then realized that there might be an, umm, alternative meaning to those search terms. In fact, the results are surprisingly non-pornographic.

Don't Let Christmas Swallow Advent

'Tis the season. But not the Christmas season. That runs from December 25 through February 2 (the Feast of the Presentation). It's the Advent season, a time of fasting, penitence and anticipation (you know, all the good things in life). John Zmirak, author of The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living, suggests ways to keep Advent Advent. (Via Open Book)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Liturgical New Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year: Advent!

Purple face paint optional.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This is a Werewolf's World...

...but it wouldn't be nothing - nothing - without a werewoman or a weregirl...

Weird etymological quirk: did you know that the words "world" and "werewolf" are etymologically related? Now you do.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bill Has No Water

I don't know how much people are following the situation in Harbin, China (there was a massive chemical spill that led to mass water contamination) but if people are interested, they may want to check out Immigrant Songs, run by my friend Bill, who's an expat English teacher in the city. He's putting up daily updates.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Talk = Cheap. Turkey = Not So Much.

The New York Post reports that turkey prices have skyrocketed in recent years. A turkey now averages 72.5 cents a pound, up from 62.1 cents just two years ago. What I want to know is this: where's Congress? Why hasn't Big Tryptophan been dragged before the Agriculture Committee and been made to explain this outrageous price-gouging and profiteering?

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

I don't want to lose my street cred as a dyspeptic curmudgeon, but I too am thankful for many things today. Lots of things, from the blueberry muffin I'm about to have for breakfast, to the amazing, beautiful people God has set in my path. And, of course, my delightfully crazy family.

And turkey. mmmmmmm... turkey...

Monday, November 21, 2005

How, Indeed

Father Kimmel notes the link between the liturgical changes of the 60s and 70s and the decline in belief in the Real Presence among Catholics:
Do not mistake me. I am not romanticizing pre-Vatican II liturgy, nor am I pleading for a return to the Latin Mass. But looking at American Catholic liturgy as it has developed over the past forty years, one simply has to wonder, What in the world were people thinking?! How could anyone think that colloquial liturgical language is to be preferred to a formal, hieratic language? How could anyone think that drastic reduction of ritual gestures would strengthen the mystery of the Mass? How could anyone think that the adoption of sentimental pop-music would not destroy the sense of holiness and awe that is proper to the Eucharist? How could anyone think that the radical mutilation of the rite would not undermine the conviction that the Church has received a holy tradition and is not free to make it all up as she goes along? How could anyone think that by turning the celebrant around to face the people the Mass would be magically transformed into an intimate experience of community? How could anyone think that buildings constructed in the functional architectural style of the twentieth century could ever be appropriate to house the Holy Mysteries? Hindsight, of course, is twenty-twenty; but the liturgical delusion that took hold of the Church in the 60s and 70s is truly breathtaking.
*Sigh* Yep.

Can't Sleep

And there's precious little on the TV that doesn't involve girls going wild. Pray for Mojo.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Hardest Part

Greg at the Discernment Dilemma has up a nice post on the Feast of Christ the King and the day's Gospel.
When did we did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, or in prison and not care for you? This brings back to mind one of the hardest things that we're commanded to do in the Gospel. Let's face it - if you just slap yourself around a bit, you can keep from lying or stealing. Similarly, it's not that hard to swallow your anger and not murder someone like I felt like doing in CCD today. Even, for crying out loud, loving your enemy is something that can be done. But seeing Christ in everyone around you...that's a killer. That separates the boys from the men. That brings out our true colors.
See also Father Tucker's homily, in which Father ruminates on what it means to be a courtier to a King whose crown is thorns, whose throne is a cross.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Off to the Harvard-Yale Game

Or at least the tailgate. If you need me, I'll be under the giant orange "Hung Jurists" banner.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Per Request:

"Everything Worth Fighting For"

What were the British fighting for in World War II? Burlesque, apparently. Surely the Weinsteins wouldn't lie to me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Red State Beleriand

Which town sounds more like it was lifted from Tolkien: West Gate of Lomond, VA or Midlothian, TX?

Origami Towel Madness!

All-Time Great Political Delusions

In this article (hat tip: Drudge) on would-be presidential candidates buttering up Holywood types, I noticed this comic gem:
And this week, it's Andrew Cuomo (2016, anyone?), before Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. drops by.
Andrew Cuomo? The guy who was trounced in the NY Democratic gubernatorial primary by H. Carl McCall, who was in turn trounced by George Pataki? This is a joke, yes?

chay' Sesame He vIghoS? SIbI' jIHvaD 'e' yIDel

OK, this is funny. The "Sesame Street" theme translated into Klingon and then back into English. Captures the differences between American and Klingon culture nicely, I think. Via da Corner.

Hey, Know What You Can Still Do?

Frapp me.

Don't think I'm not willing to start calling people out individually soon. I am. Believe it, sister.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Yes, I Did See the New York Times Article.

I was wondering why my shoulder was hurting yesterday - turns out somebody was twisting my arm. So, yeah, I'll comment on the New York Times article.

I haven't said anything as of yet because, frankly, I haven't had very much to say. It's nice to see my friends quoted in the paper of record. Beyond that: meh. I don't find myself especially interested in the opinions of the professors in question. (Prof. Ackerman think's Alito's a "judicial radical"? I'm shocked! Shocked!) The question of what duties an institution like Yale Law owes its alumni is an interesting one (the answer, I imagine, is "whichever set of duties maximizes overall alumni giving") though it's not one the article deals with with much depth. I'm enough of a irrationalist/traditionalist/localist that I think there's some kind of duty to support one's academic kith and kin (at least, more than Will Baude and Dan Solove seem to) though I don't think it's especially strong. Maybe a tie-breaker, maybe a reason to be less vocal in your opposition or more vocal in your support.

The thing that bugged me most in the article was what Dean Koh had to say:
The earlier nominations were a turning point for the law school, said Harold Hongju Koh, the current dean.

"This kind of self-awareness of Yale's prominence really emerged for the first time with the Bork and Thomas hearings," Dean Koh said. "The U.S. News rankings started in 1987, too, and we've been at the top of those rankings ever since."

A spokesman for U.S. News & World Report said the law schools at Yale and Harvard were tied in the 1987 rankings. There were no rankings the next two years. In every year since, Yale has claimed the top spot.

The law school at Yale accepts about 6 percent of those who apply, and 87 percent of those who are accepted attend, Dean Koh said. It has about 195 students a year, about a third as many as Harvard.
Now, I'll admit the possibility that Dean Koh's full interview was a parade of insightful, on-point commentary on the subject at hand, and that the reporter merely cherry-picked the banal, anodyne attempts to schill for the law school presented. It's been known to happen. And I understand the pressures that Koh is under, both in his capacity as dean (too strong a statement in either direction risks alienating alumni donors) and personally (as a potential future Court nominee himself, he might want to avoid controversial statements that could later be used against him). But: still. Couldn't we have gotten something slightly more substantive? Are we at the point where we can eliminate "law school dean" as a position from which public intellectuals can plausibly be drawn?

Article III Groupie is a MAN???

Dagnabbit. This is the most shocking discovery since I learned that the Righteous Brothers were white, and not siblings.

Thanks (if that's the right term) to Will.

Funny, He Doesn't Look Jewish....

Hermann Goering, neocon?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Who You Calling American Devil?

Our Man in Red China recounts an encounter with a slur-spewing young student.

Someday I'll Have a Whole of My Own

Worst. Movies. Ever. (100 of 'em!)

I do not endorse this list in full (Popeye is one of the most brilliant movies ever made, and Pokemon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back is a suprisingly thoughtful meditation on the themes of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, much moreso than Francis Ford Coppola's dreadful Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which is not on the list). I do, however, admire the moxie it takes to compile a putatively authoritative list of the 100 worst movies of the 20th century. And so, I link.

Thanks to Eye of Polyphemus for the link.

Dutch Baby-Blogging

As many of you know, I have a mildly creepy thing about looking at other people's baby pictures. And so I bring you Anjekine okno, a very cute baby-blog from the land of windmills and wooden shoes. And when you're looking at these pictures, remember: in 15 years, this kid will be seven feet tall. Them Dutch is gi-normous.

Citizenship and Illegal Immigration

Does the Constitution require birthright citizenship? That's what I want to know, over at Originalisms.


Stick figure craziness. (IMed to me by the lovely Sarah.)

Ummm, It Was a Miracle?

I really hope nobody's losing faith over this one.

via Professor Althouse

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Angus Khan. El Cud. Charbroilemagne.

Cows in Shining Armor. From Chick-fil-A.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Gas is Cheap

When compared to the per-gallon price of other fluids.

cf, Father Tucker

"Such is life."

In addition to being Armistice Day (and the feast of St Martin of Tours), today is the 125th anniversary of the execution of Ned Kelly, greatest of the bushrangers, champion of the Australian working class and hero of the Irish diaspora.

Kelly and his gang defied the British authorities for almost two years until they were cornered in the hamlet of Glenrowan. After the Gang's daring plan to derail the police train pursuing them was foiled by an informant, they were forced to make a desperate last stand at the Inn at Glenrowan. Facing down a force of about 50 police officers, Kelly and his gang donned homemade suits of bullet-proof iron armor (pictured above) and fought the police head-on. Hopelessly outmatched, Kelly was captured and the rest of the gang killed. He was tried, convicted and hanged on this date in 1880. His final words at the gallows: "Ahh well, I suppose it has come to this.... Such is life." (A classically Irish take.)

Requiescat in pace

For more on Ned Kelly, you may want to check out Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang and the sadly overlooked Heath Ledger/Orlando Bloom movie Ned Kelly, which plays like a less melodramatic Braveheart.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mugging in the Rain, Just Mugging in the Rain...

A question, occasioned by New Haven's recent crime wave and more recent bout of wet weather: do you think that mugging rates increase or decrease during inclement weather? On the one hand, rain would seem to create conditions favorable to muggings: non-muggers are more thin on the ground (fewer "eyes on the street") and those who are out are likely to be harried and distracted. On the other hand, one imagines that muggers are probably less motivated than the general population, and are more likely to be deterred from going out by bad weather.

What do we think? Is rain the ally of the urban highwayman?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hey, Have I Mentioned....

...that you can still sign my Frappr map? I know it's kinda embarassing to admit you're a Mansfield Fox reader, but c'mon, we're all friends here....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Heritage Presents: The Constitution!

Y'know, somebody has a birthday coming up.... Just sayin'....

Innumeracy in Action

The real reason I love watching sports analysis shows on TV is that I can't get enough of the sight of ex-athletes in unbelievably gaudy suits. Without Michael Irvin, I don't know how I could go on.

But a close second is the mildly sadistic pleasure I get from watching the parade of utter ignorance regarding statistics. See, I don't have much of a "head for numbers", and I never studied statistics in high school or college, unlike many of my law school classmates. But I might as well be a Fields Medal winner compared to your average sports commentator.

Case in point: on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" morning show just now, one of the experts just breathlessly announced that the Oakland Raiders needed to run more plays through their running back LaMont Jordan. Why? Because the team is 3-0 in games in which Jordan rushes 20 or more times, and 0-5 in games in which he rushes 19 or fewer times.

Now, this is (I think) a pretty basic correlation/causation confusion. There's a correlation between Jordan rushing 20 times and Oakland winning, but that's no guarantee of a causal relationship. Indeed, the most likely explanation is that Jordan gets more rushes in games that Oakland is leading in the fourth quarter as the team tries to run out the clock, and that he rushes less in games where Oakland is behind and trying to mount a comeback and turns to the passing game as a way to preserve game time. (I quickly perused the boxscores on, and this does indeed seem to be what happened.)

Just a quick reminder that not all magical thinking involves rabbit's feet.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Obfuscating Must Be Utilized!

Lady Death opens up a much-deserved can of whoop'ass on legal writing, both academic and professional.

Be Ready for the Bridegroom, Grasshopper

A nice homily from Father Fox (now on the blogroll). Wisdom! Oil! Kung Fu! What's not to love?

Is Paris Burning?

I haven't posted anything yet about the rioting in the Paris suburbs. This is chiefly because I haven't had anything much to say. I have to confess that on the first night or so I experienced a certain schadenfreude. I'm not especially keen on the French - and haven't been for as long as I can remember, so this isn't an Iraq War thing - and there was a certain pleasure in seeing them, and their vaunted social program, taken down a peg. That was a wicked thing to feel, and I'm sorry for it.

What else is there to say? I'm genuinely shocked by how badly Chirac has acquitted himself over the last week and a half. I wasn't expecting Churchillian leadership, but Chirac seems to have basically sat on his hands for a week while his capital city went up in flames. Even now, he's issuing weak declarations that order will be restored and that those responsible will be punished. (False declarations, too, in all likelihood: does anyone really believe that after the riots are quelled there will be mass arrests in the suburbs? Of course not; there'll be a few trials, and de facto amnesty for the rest.)

The immediate concern has obviously got to be ending the riots. I'm not sure how that happens, short of sending in the army. From everything I've read (which is, admittedly, not even close to everything that's been written) it seems like the French police are totally unprepared to handle the kind of mass violence they're facing now.

And after the riots, then what? Are we witnessing a one-off event, like 1968, or a harbinger of things to come, of a graying Europe locked in a death-spiral with a large, isolated and disaffected Muslim minority prone to periodic outbursts of violence? As a pessimist, I'm inclined to think something like the latter is more likely, though I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

For related thoughts from vastly more intelligent and eloquent men, see the latest pieces by Theodore Dalrymple and Mark Steyn.


You Are a Boxer Puppy

Energetic, playful and good with kids.
You've also got a wild spirit that can't be trained or tamed.

via the Discernment Dilemma

Where in the World is Mansfield Fox?

Stick a pin in my Frappr Map. And yes, you have to do this even if you stuck a pin in my old map. Here at Mansfield Fox, it's new or it's nothing!

"At First I Was an Egg; I Was Petrified..."

This is really, really odd. Really.

UPDATE: As is this, found via the Corner.
Query: is the guitarist is a penguin, a puffin or an auk?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

As if you didn't already know, today is the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Guido Fawkes was an English Catholic who schemed unsuccessfully to kill King James I and most of the Protestant aristocracy in one fell swoop by blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

Protestant non-aristocrat John Derbyshire has a good piece on Fawkes, his place in English culture, the holiday celebrating his capture, and contemporary parallels.

The Future of Conservatism

In the Weekly Standard, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam lay out a vision for the future of conservatism, at least on the economic front. Their goal, as I take it, is to fashion a conservatism that recognizes that it's base is now primarily a middle- and working-class one, and speaks to the concerns of that base without merely replicating the command-and-control liberalism of the old New Deal coalition.

Other than eliminating the deduction for state and local income taxes* I think they're all pretty sound policy proposals, and merit serious consideration.

*I appreciate what they're trying to do here, which is to create incentives for high income blue-staters to vote for lower state taxes. My objections are two:

1) Blue-state tax rates are more extrinsic than they suggest. You might get lower taxes eventually, but in the meantime you'd see the flight of middle-class families and the wealthy to low tax states, which would exacerbate the Red State/Blue State polarization, which I at least take to be a bad thing. The goal of "Sam's Club" conservatism should be to encourage the creation of large, stable, productive families throughout the United States, not just in red-state exurbs.

2) The state and local tax deductions are pro-federalism deductions. They funnel money that would otherwise go into federal coffers into state treasuries. If we think federalism is a normative good, and want the states to take over a bigger share of the governing in the country, we want them to be able to fund that governing. Eliminating the state and local tax deduction would push the states one step closer to obsolescence.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

From the Mixed-Up Files...

...of the Vast Popish Conspiracy to Undermine American Liberties:
Top ten changes a Catholic Supreme Court majority will bring

(via Jimmy Akin)

Belated Halloween Humor

I don't mean to alarm anyone, but I do believe Aereoperro may have found the funniest 1:38 ever posted on the internet. If you like train wrecks, you'll love this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Against a Married Priesthood

Father Martin Fox (no relation) on the number of practical problems that might emerge from eliminating the discipline on clerical celibacy.

(link via the Shrine of the Holy Whapping)

Brilliantly Dumb!