Mansfield Fox

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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

More on the NFL Draft

Personally, I think it's a shame this guy and this guy went in the fourth round. They should have gone 2nd to last and last (aka Mr. Irrelevant) in the draft overall. That way, the 2006 NFL draft would have ended not with a Bing but with a Whimper.

Oh, man, I'm funny. So f***ing funny.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

D'Brick is D'Way!!

The J!E!T!S! Jets! Jets! Jets! eschew the glamour pick, taking the colossal left tackle from Virginia over the prettyboy USC quarterback. And the fans in Madison Square Garden erupt into...applause? That's right, folks: smartest damn fans in football.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

On Heroism

Joseph Bottum has an interesting reflection on heroism in the American experience up at On the Square, the First Things blog. Surprisingly, it doesn't discuss this.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

South by Northeast

Displaced Southerner
You are 66% true Southern!
You're pretty Southern, but something is keeping you from being a true Southern Belle or Gentleman. Maybe you've moved, or maybe your parents were Yankees and brought you up without ever taking you fishing or hunting or to Memaw's for chicken and black-eyed peas. You know your Southern facts and culture, but that literature still escapes you. And when you order tea at a restaurant, you expect it to come "unsweet." Yikes.
Next time you have the chance, visit a classic Southern downtown area and spend an afternoon just soaking it in... Montgomery, Birmingham, Jackson, Natchez, Memphis, Charleston, Atlanta, or even New Orleans!

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 21% on Southerliness
Link: The Southern-ness Test written by gwennykate on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

What's with this "sweet tea" business? Tea, like coffee, was meant to be taken hot and straight. Its purposes are to burn the tongue and quicken the heart-rate, not to please the palate!

(h/t: Dappled Things)

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Pops Not Tops

"Hi, I'm Richard Wagner. You may remember me from such films as Apocalypse Now and Beetle Juice. You liked me then? You're going to love this medley of my greatest hits."

Is there any wonder why I love this woman?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fire Billy Martin!

Like George Steinbrenner himself, I often can't see the forest of success through all thr trees of failure, which is why - though the Yankees will probably win this afternoon's game against Baltimore - I'm a little peeved. The Yankees have succeeded in running themselves out of two big innings, with Andy Phillips getting stupidly doubled up to end the 2nd, and Jeter and Sheffield getting thrown out trying to steal second for the first to outs of the 3rd. The Yankees scored in both innings, but not nearly as much as they could have. They should have put the game away by now. Good enough is not good enough! I demand perfection!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Gift You Give Yourself

You know what's pleasant? When you look over something you wrote for your SAW over a month ago, something you'd believed for a while was basically useless (that at best could be mined for a few choice turns of phrase), only to discover that it is, in fact, pretty good. As in, good enough to be dropped into the final draft once it gets footnoted.

Thank you, past-Angus. You wrote better than you knew.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mandate of Heaven

One of the most charming and enduring human characteristics is man's never-ceasing ability to (incorrectly) believe himself wiser and better than his ancestors. We may scoff at the ignorance and paranoia of our witch-hunting ancestors, but the same passions animate us (even if our witches our different). The same lurking fear that there are enemies among us, the same desire to attribute all bad events to human agency (see, eg, the global warming debate).

I was reminded of this while watching a news report on rising gas prices and the political fallout they will doubtless cause. When I was young, and learned about imperial China, I remember thinking the idea of the "Mandate of Heaven" a very silly one. Didn't the Chinese understand (as we wise moderns do) that some things just happen, that floods and famines aren't the gods' way of expressing their disfavor with the Emperor, that there's no use blaming the political authorities for such things.

Silly me.

Of course, human nature has no history, and so the Mandate of Heaven is still with us. We've just discovered more sophisticated ways for the gods to inform us of their will, things like the misery index or the price of a gallon of gas.

Oh Yes, I'm the Great Pretender

Many happy returns to Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, heir of the great usurper and pretended queen of England, who turns 80 today.

Meanwhile the true king of England, Francis II, will turn 73 this July.

Taiwanese Amabassador to Vatican Converts

This story makes me very happy - it sort of reminds me of the conversion story of my godson Michi - though I suspect the aforementioned People's Republic of China is not similarly pleased.

"China is the Wal*Mart of Evil..."

" matter who you are, they've got something for you to hate."

I endorse today's anti-Hu protests over at Originalisms.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Rumors! Hot, Juicy SCOTUS Rumors!

If you want (slightly frighteningly) thorough coverage of the rumored retirement of Justice Stevens, and of who might succeed him (hint: unlikely to be another white Catholic guy!), look no further than Res Publica et Cetera, who's been all over the story like white on rice.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

But No Human is Illegal!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The New Math

Republicans hate black people! So sayeth the Washington Post:
In fact, white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black, says economist Ebonya Washington of Yale University in a forthcoming article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. White independents are similarly inclined to vote for the white Democrat when there's a black Republican running, according to her study of congressional and gubernatorial voting patterns between 1982 and 2000, including five Senate races in which the Republican nominee was black.
But wait, there's more!
But racially motivated crossover voting is not just a Republican phenomenon. Democrats also desert their party when its candidate is black, Washington found. In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black.
38: now less than 25! (Or, at least, less noteworthy. Apparently.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

News, Good and Bad

The Good News: Dawn Eden has reached the near banks of the Tiber. She'll make her profession of faith this evening, and get confirmed on Saturday.

The bad news: two of my old teachers are in need of prayers. Miss Cathy Bose, my first grade homeroom teacher, passed away last week. In addition, my old Latin teacher, Mr. Jack Fogarty, has apparently seen his health take a turn for the worse. If you could keep them both in your prayers, it would be very much appreciated.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"...locusts of all races and creeds..."

So, after three movies ("Annie Hall", "Sleeper" and "Bananas") I think I finally get Woody Allen. He's a postmodern Charlie Chaplin, right? That's the joke?

Finish What Polk Started!

Here's an easy solution for the problem of illegal immigration from Mexico that's got something for everyone: the United States should annex Mexico!

Think about it:

American employers would get the large supply of cheap labor they claim to want and need so badly. But those laborers, instead of working in an underground economy where they're abused and taken advantage of, will be ordinary parts of the US labor force, enjoying minimum wage rights and OSHA protections, the whole shebang. Immigration hawks would get a much shorter, more defensible border across the Yucatan Peninsula rather than the entire southwest (anyone who's ever played RISK knows that Central America is easier to defend than Western United States and Eastern United States). The Mexican elites would get to do in one fell swoop what they've been trying to do piecemeal for decades - make their country's racial minorities and poor the problem of some country that isn't Mexico. "National Greatness" conservatives would get, well, a greater nation. The Democratic Party gets more voters. America's senior citizens get an even warmer, cheaper place to retire to than Florida. Mexico's citizens get to be citizens of the world's richest, freest, most powerful, and generally most kickass republic.

Seriously, what's not to love about this idea? Somebody get me a writing desk and some quills - it's treaty time!

Study: Obese Have More Sense Than CDC

BMI strikes again. The Body Mass Index, which is one of the crudest possible metrics for gauging physical fitness but which is constantly used as a bludgeon to demonstrate how grotestquely obese Americans are, features prominently in this story (h/t: Human Nature) in which the obese are shown to have difficulty identifying themselves as obese (even though they correctly estimated their height and weight).

This is taken as some kind of a sign that the obese are in mass (and massive) denial about their condition.
Denial as well as skewed perceptions of what constitutes obesity may make people reluctant to define themselves as obese, she added. "Just the term obesity has a lot of negative images associated with it. People might just not want to put that label on themselves."

However, the researcher said, it is important for a person to recognize if they are obese, because being obese carries a higher risk of health problems than being overweight.
An alternate (and rational) explanation might be that the CDC's BMI rankings make no objective sense. Under the BMI's metric, a man who's 5'11" and weighs 225 lbs is classified as "obese". Ignore for a second the fact that the notorious non-butterball Shaun Alexander is thus technically obese according to the geniuses at the CDC. The fact is there are lots of people whose bodies contain some idiosyncratic combination of fat and muscle that pushes them over the BMI's 30.0 threshold into the world of undifferentiated obesity who aren't, by any rational definition of the word, "obese". Is a 6'0" guy with a generally athletic frame and a spare tire who weighs 225 lbs "obese"? Technically, yes, but I doubt anyone would class him as such.

This bothers me (you'll no doubt be shocked to discover) because I am myself caught in this asinine trap. I hover in the border zone between overweight and obese, and while I acknowledge that I'm overweight, I find the idea that I'm almost obese silly and insulting. I'm also peeved by the notion that to get down to a "normal" weight (which for those 6'0" tall tops out at approximately 183 lbs - an amount I last weighed when I was a cross-country runner in high school) I'd need to lose something on the order of 40 lbs, just under a fifth of my current body weight. We hear a lot about the mass media promoting unhealthily slender body image, but in all honesty MTV's got nothing on the CDC when it's come to telling me my body is disgusting and unhealthy and exhorting me to shed a drastic amount of weight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You Want Bleak? Oh, We've Got Bleak!

Monday, April 10, 2006

One Step Closer

For those interested, I learned today that I passed the MPRE.

Now all I have to do is write my SAW, graduate, and pass the NY bar exam, and I'll be able to enter into the exciting world of highly compensated indentured servitude. Joy.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Your 2008 Tickets -- Today!

Making bold, unsupportable political predictions is kind of our bread and butter here at Mansfield Fox, so I thought it might be fun to provide people with honest-to-goodness, bona fide, take-it-to-the-bank predictions for the 2008 election. And so, without further ado, the top three presidential tickets for each party, in order of probability:


1. John McCain, Tim Pawlenty
McCain is obviously the GOP front-runner as of today. Palwenty gives McCain a bunch of things: youth, executive experience, policy expertise on domestic issues. Plus, he's from a swing state.

2. Rudy Giuliani, Sam Brownback
A marriage made in WTF?!? No GOP candidate (not even McCain) has stronger War on Terror credentials than Giuliani. The problems caused by his social liberalism can largely be neutralized by a pledge to nominate Scalia-esque judges. His biggest problem winning the nomination may actually be his quasi-playboy lifestyle. Brownback is a sop to the social conservatives, but one without the high negatives with moderates that a Rick Santorum brings.

3. Mitt Romney, Condoleeza Rice
Mormon! African-American woman! All diversity, all the time! Mitt's star is on the rise, especially if health care becomes an issue in the primaries. The secretary of state gives the governor foreign policy credibility.


1. Hillary Clinton, Mark Warner
Clinton in 2008 is like Bush in 2000: probably a bad idea, but just as probably inevitable based on a combination of name-recognition and fundraising ability. Warner, a strong second in the primaries, a Southern governor, appealing moderate, will be a logical choice for the #2 spot on this doomed ticket.

2. Mark Warner, Evan Bayh
Just like Clinton-Gore '92, but shifted north-east a few hundred miles and without the sex scandals. The moderate ticket, probably the Democrats' best hope. But is Bayh too pretty for the vice presidency?

3. Russ Feingold, Bill Richardson
Democrats run on straightforward opposition to the Iraq War, and to President Bush's more aggressive anti-terror measures (like domestic wiretapping). Richardson brings gubernatorial experience and Clintonite moderate credentials. Plus he's Latino, which might help stem the flow of Latinos to the GOP.

Well, there you have 'em - my 2008 picks. Free, and worth every penny!

Obscenity, Si! Profanity, No!

Eve Tushnet links to a nice post on obscenity, profanity and their relative frequency in American discourse. I'm like Ms. T: I've basically trained myself not to use obscenity (in fact, it was surprisingly easy) but I regularly pepper my language with f*bombs.

Rising Illegitimacy Rates - A Query

One often hears that the illegitimacy rate is rising, and I don't doubt it's true. I wonder how much the statistic is concealing, though. Specifically, I'm curious as to how many children are born out of wedlock only to have their parents marry shortly thereafter. A kid whose parents marry a month after she's born is just as illegitimate as one whose parents never marry, though obviously they represent substantially different sociological challenges.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Curse of the Were-Rabbit!

The Presidential Turkey Pardon Power

Under the Constitution, the president "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." Does this mean that the turkeys that are ceremonially pardoned each Thanksgiving have to be convicted of some federal offense?

The questions that keep me up at night.

The Opinions of Judge Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson spent 6 years as a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court before entering into his first retirement. In that capacity, he presumably produced some number of judicial opinions. I don't think anyone's taken a systematic look at these, which is too bad, because I suspect they might reveal a lot about Jackson, or about efforts to construct a new legal order in the early Republic, or both.

Just throwing this out there as a potential legal history project for any of the would-be legal academics I know. No need to thank me in the acknowledgments - cash gifts will suffice.

UPDATE: This may be more difficult than I initially supposed.
Rulings were not generally recorded in Tennessee until after Jackson had left the bench, and only five of his written decisions have ever been located. Most sources credit Jackson with having the proper temperament, if not the scholarship, to preside over the state's courts. According to Parton, "Tradition reports that he maintained the dignity and authority of the bench, while he was on the bench; and that his decisions were short, untechnical, un-learned, sometimes ungrammatical, and generally right."
See generally.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It Seems We May Be Full

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Rent Control!

It's finally here! The sesquicentennial StrongBad email! Well worth the wait.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Feet of Clay

We all have feet of clay. (ht: Open Book)

United 93: Too Soon?

People have objected to the upcoming movie United 93 on the grounds that it's "too soon" after September 11th to make a movie about the attacks. Though I disagree (I actually think it's not nearly soon enough) I respect the views of those who object to the movie. I will point out, though, for purposes of reference, that within a year of the Pearl Harbor attack, Hollywood had made five movies (broadly speaking) about the attack:

Secret Agent of Japan

Little Tokyo, USA

Across the Pacific

Remember Pearl Harbor

Submarine Raider

Another three movies (December 7th, Air Force and Blood on the Sun) were released within four years of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Web-Savvy versus Not Web-Savvy

Compare this to this.

It's not just that Simmons actually answers more than one question (although that's nice). It's the absence of the random cross-chatter. It's the basic followability of the discourse. I suppose the relative age of the Cardinal and the Sports Guy (70 and 36, respectively) explains part of the differences in their web-savviness. But I can't shake the feeling that just cares more about having its online chats actually function than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles does.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

E publius unum

Well, this is (more than) a little insane. Bravo.

Questioning Wikipedia's Objectivity

An interesting Wikipedia category: NPOV disputes, articles whose neutrality are questioned by editors.

For many of the entries, one is not surprised that someone disputes their neutrality. Whatever your article says about Accusations against Israel of war crimes during the Al-Aqsa Intifada or Adam and Eve, somebody is likely to object to something you've written. They're genuinely controversial issues about which there are real, passionate debates about the underlying facts.

But seriously folks: the Battle of Muunilist? Don't you people have jobs?

I Think I Know What This Is...

...but still, it looks a little, um, well...

This photo, along with many others is from the most recent Religious Education Congress hosted in the Taj Mahoney by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Hat tip to Amy Welborn, with whom I wait in baited breath for the release of the transcript of Cardinal Mahoney's online chat. How will the cardinal answer questions like
Name: Matt
Question: "Just curious about some new things I've seen at church. May a priest change the liturgy as he sees fit? For example, may he change the words given by ICEL, use a wooden or glass chalice, or allow a lay person to read the Gospel or give a homily? Thank you."

Name: Matt
Question: "Why do you allow leavened bread as the standard norm for the Eucharist at the Religious Education Conference when this is illicit according to Redemptionis Sacramentum?"
Oh, Matt, you cheeky monkey.

What an Odd Holiday This Is