Mansfield Fox

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's all true. I'm a very happy (if just a little bit overwhelmed) man right now.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The FedSox Take Manhattan

In a little bit I'll be departing for New York and the 2006 FedSoc Student Symposium. Sarah will be there, too, celebrating her birthday the way every young woman dreams - by attending a conference on international law and the Constitution. It looks like it's going to be a great weekend (which will be a welcome relief from the trials of the past 3 days).

Anyway, see y'all on Sunday night or Monday. Do try to have fun without me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

CSTBlogging: Freedom of Religion

Professor Penalver posts a summary of yesterday's CST class.

I wonder if you can't argue for continuity between Dignitatis Humanae and the Church's position in the 19th Century in a similar way that people have argued for continuity in the death penalty context. Theargumentt would run something like this: the Church didn't really abandon the thesis/hypothesis in Dignitatis Humanae. The Catholic confessional state, with at least the theoretical power to sanction heretics and non-Catholics for their disbelief, remains the ideal. At the same time, the "hypothesis" remains in effect - where a Catholic confessional state isn't possible, religious toleration should be the rule. Dignitatis Humanae can be read not as overturning the form of the existing paradigm, but as making a factual claim about the world: that in the context of the modern, globalized world, the conditions under which Catholic confessional states can be established are basically non-existent. Perhaps in some distant era, if the religious uniformity of the 12th Century has been re-established, the Catholic commonwealth might be able to return, but not now. (Just as, in the death penalty context, the Church doesn't deny in principle the power of the state to take life when necessary, but does say that in the modern context the situations in which execution would be "necessary" would be few if not non-existent.) That way you get continuity and change (I sound like Austin Powers: "Freedom and responsibility! It's a very groovy time, yeah!") which, for those of us who like both free exercise and the idea that Catholic doctrine doesn't frequently make complete 180s, has a certain appeal.

The big problem with this is that you largely have to ignore the actual words of Dignitatis Humanae, which seem pretty clearly to treat the endorsement of religious freedom as a matter of principle rather than prudence. So perhaps the above is a version of "What Dignitatis Humanae Should Have Said" or somesuch.

Well, This is Frighteningly Accurate...

I'm a Lifer!

To you, a job is what pays the bills. You put in your hours, follow the rules, and then go home. Occasionally, you consider quitting, but then you think of how bad the job market is and you reconsider. Whatever happiness you get, you get from your life outside the workplace. Relationships, family, hobbies, and outside creative pursuits are what really matter to you. You're probably taking this test at work because you don't have anything better to do.

Talent: 23%
Lifer: 62%
Mandarin: 58%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

(link via, Professor Bainbridge, who's some kind of Iron Man villain)

Emerges My Inner Vesupcci

I seem to have acquired a few new regular or semi-regular readers of late, so I thought now would be a good time to re-engage in one of my uber-dorky past-times and suggest people who haven't already stick a pin in my Frappr map.

Do it. Do it. Do it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mmmm... 64 Slices of American Me....

You Are 64% American
Most times you are proud to be an American.
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!

(via the notably less American David Morrison)

The Perils of Newspeak

From an article on the installation of the new Bishop of Reno (ht: Open Book):
When the Rev. Randolph Calvo becomes bishop of Reno tonight, he will literally take it by the seat of his pants.

Calvo will assume power as leader of the Roman Catholic flock only when he sits in the traditional bishop's chair, according to Brother Matthew Cunningham, chancellor of the Diocese of Reno.

"When he is seated in his chair, he becomes the bishop of Reno," Cunningham said. "When he hits the chair, he is being installed."

It is a tradition that dates to the Roman Empire when governors of provinces such as Pontius Pilate of Judea ruled from a throne. So until he sits, Calvo can't claim to be the diocese's seventh bishop and the first with an ethnic background.
(You stay classy, Nevada.) Now, the prior ordinaries of the Diocese of Reno are: Thomas Kiely Gorman (1931-1952), Robert Joseph Dwyer (1952-1966), Michael Joseph Green (1966-1974), Norman Francis McFarland (1976-1986), Daniel Francis Walsh (1987-1995), and Philip Francis Straling (1995-2005). Please count me among those surprised to discover that "Irish" had been abolished as an ethnicity.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Is There Anything They Can't Do?

A one-L lama is a priest.
A two-L llama is a beast.
A three-alarmer is a helluva fire.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yet More Netflix Weirdness

Far odder than throttling, in my view, are the weird gaps in their catalog. Did you know that Netflix doesn't carry Glory? They have the entire 5-disc set of the ill-fated Conan: the Adventurer tv series, they have Ghost Ship, they have probably a 1,000 copies of The Notebook, but Glory, which won 3 Oscars and was nominated for 5? Sorry, guy. Check out Hollywood Video....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Dream Palace of the Kurds

Or rather, Dream City. The Kurds seem to be embracing New Urbanism. Now only if we could get their liberators to do the same. (HT: Althouse)

The Church and the Danish Cartoon Riots

On the theory that it's always good to be best at something, I welcome Yale Daily News columnist Daniel Koffler's assertion (regarding the Danish cartoon controversy) that:
The most disgraceful reaction of all came - try to act surprised - from the Vatican, which claimed that "the right to freedom of expression does not imply the right to offend religious beliefs." Thus does Cardinal Ratzinger's church put us on notice, yet again, that it is positively opposed to individual and civil rights.
Now, I'll grant that the Vatican's press release on this subject is more - diplomatic - than I would like (though I suspect the provisions Mr. Koffler cites refer more to journalistic and public-discourse ethics than to a desire to unleash the Inquisition on the editorial cartoonists of the world). Were I in the business of issuing press releases, mine would have included a more full-throated defense of the freedom of the press, and a more vigorous condemnation of the anti-cartoon riots. Nevertheless, I think there's a compelling reason that the Church adopted the position and tone it did, other than Benedict XVI's status as the nexus of all that is evil and illiberal in the world: the Muslim world - in Palestine, Iraq, Nigeria, Indonesia, the southern Philippines and elsewhere - contains a significant, and on occasion imperiled, Catholic population. Those people are already the subject of hatred and occasionally violence from Muslim extremists on the grounds that they belong to an infidel religion; to associate the Catholic Church with the cause of blaspheming Mohammed would only deepen the danger in which those people live. It's worth noting that the day after the Vatican released it's statement, an Italian missionary in Trabzon, Turkey, was martyred by a gunman shouting "Allahhu akbar!".

I understand that it is a feat of great courage to criticize the madness of these Bronze Age fanatics in the pages of a student newspaper in southern Connecticut; I just hope Mr. Koffler can be magnanimous enough to not judge too harshly those, operating in less dangerous arenas (such as, say, the Muslim world), who respond with less boldness.

Hungry, Hungry Tigers

is cannibalism illegal in south carolina? some novel gourmand at Clemson asks Google. The answer: I believe so, yes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Catholicism and Public Reason

So in Catholic Social Teaching on Monday, we discussed (inter alia) the subject of public reason (see also) and whether or not Catholic social teaching comports with it. Our conclusions - as always in law school - were somewhat indeterminate.

As the conversation progressed on this subject, I was struck by a growing sense that the real question was, "Who cares?"* By which I mean: public reason seems to me clearly a distinctively Liberal concept. Rawls proposes it as a device for helping a Liberal polity determine when it can or cannot make use of its coercive powers. But of course, Catholicism isn't a form of Liberalism. It's a separate, rival metaphysical system, one that lacks many of Liberalism's hang-ups about the use of the state's coercive powers. If Catholicism rejects Liberal anthropology, metaphysics, etc, why should it consider itself bound by Liberalism's public debate ethics, except insofar as doing so is practically useful for persuading non-Catholics that Her side should carry the day?

Which brings up the second "Who cares?" point: given that even in the United States - I think unquestionably the world's most Liberal country - the actual commitment of the populace to the strictures of public reason is basically paper-thin, is there any point in tailoring our arguments so they constitute valid public reasons? Take the gay marriage debate. I think there are arguments against gay marriage that satisfy the requirements of public reason, but I think it's clear that the most persuasive** argument, the one that actually gets the man on the street to vote for the state constitutional amendments, is the argument that gay marriage is somehow an affront to the "sanctity of marriage". Which, whatever it's degree of persuasiveness or truth, surely isn't a public reason, since it makes a pretty explicit and specific supernatural claim. And yet, it largely carries the day. The marketplace of ideas seems to impose little if any penalty on non-public reasons, so there doesn't seem to be much of a practical value for Catholics to adopt this mode of argument.

*And in a different sense than I ask "Who cares?" about all my other law school classes. This question actually signifies engagement with the material, rather than resigned acceptance of the pointlessness of the legal-education enterprise.
**My evidence? This is the argument that the politicians (as opposed to the National Review columnists) keep making.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Proud to Be #1

All Hail Ice-Bocce!

I'm generally boycotting the Olympics. This is partially because I'm alienated by the whole "Torino" thing (I mean, WTF?) and partially because I just don't give a crap about ice dancing. I am making an exception, however, for ice-bocce, known to you lesser mortals as "curling". Why do I love it so? (Beyond the fact that it involves brooms?) I like that - like bowling - it's a sport for ordinary mortals. You don't have to use 'roids, or start curling when you're six, devote every waking hour of your adult life to curling. You can be a 37-year old pizza parlor owner or a 56-year old insurance agent. They're some of the only real amateurs left.

(Plus, stones make great flasks.)

I know I'm late to the party, but I hope you guys will still have me.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What the World Needs Now...

Hunting Cheney Accidentally Shoots Attorney

Obviously, he's an even bigger opponent of gun control than we thought.

A Perfectly Cromulent Evening

Ooo! Those Nasty Netflixers..., Part 2

The wise and tech-savvy Publius suggests an alternate reason for Netflix' "throttling" policies, beyond capturing more of the consumer surplus (not that there's anything wrong with that): it may be a covert anti-piracy measure. Which makes (partial) sense: if lots of customers always return their DVDs the day after they receive them, which explanation is more plausible, that there are lots of avid-but-not-otherwise-busy movie-lovers out there, or that people are ripping and burning DVDs to watch at their leisure?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Let Not Man Put Asunder

I'm interested in getting people's views on this subject, which is of semi-peripheral interest to my SAW: to what extent do you think that the Constitution, and maybe liberalism generally, requires the availability of divorce (and perhaps even no-fault divorce)?

Could a state abolish divorce? Make all divorce decrees dependent on a finding of fault? What if it did so prospectively, so that marriages entered into before the abolition could still be ended without a finding of fault? Would it matter if the state recognized divorces granted in other jurisdictions? If the state neither had nor enforced laws against fornication or adultery? If the state had a two-tier system, with "civil unions" that could be ended without fault and "marriages" that required a finding of fault (or perhaps could not be ended at all)?

Anyway, I'm curious to hear what people think. Please feel free to email me (address at the bottom of the sidebar on the right).

(Cross-posted at the FedSoc blog)

Ooo! Those Nasty Netflixers...

This is interesting. Doesn't bother me that much, as I mostly rent non-high demand movies, which aren't subjected to the "throttling" policy. I'm much more annoyed by the occasionally long turnaround times, though whether that's the fault of Netflix or the US Post Office, I cannot say.

(HT: Zorak)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Penguins: They Love Wine.

Smooth and elegant, James Bond and La Femme Nakita could take lessons from you. However, that quick wit of yours masks a sensitive nature that empathizes with other's needs and always offers a helping hand. And just like the Little Penguin Pinot Noir, that only makes you that much more enjoyable to have around.

Kudos on your journey of seabird self-discovery. Now that you’ve come to appreciate your true inner penguin, forward this test on to your friends. Then get the whole colony together with a few bottles of the Little Penguin wines and explore your penguin compatibility. You might discover a whole new meaning to the term "wine pairing".

What kind of penguin wine are you?

(ht: Who else? ;-))

Halfway to the Ultimate Band!

You scored as Tuba. You're a tuba.
That's all.









String Bass
















French Horn


If you were in an orchestra, what instrument would match your personality?
created with

(via Sarah)

Now I just need a theremin!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

In the Quiver of Every Cultured Man

Because you didn't ask for it: the etymology of "mullet".

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Travelin' Man, Part II

Well, I'm back from the Motor City, safe, sound and full of footbally goodness. The Super Bowl was a great time. So many Steelers fans. I'd estimate that inside the stadium there was a 5-1 ratio of Pittsburgh fans to Seattle fans (in the city generally, it was probably 10 or 11 to one). Seeing the stands erupt in a sea of swirling yellow towels was quite an experience. Yes, the quality of play was low (though there were some pretty cool moments, like the halfback pass) and the refs made some fairly dubious calls (though I'm convinced Roethlisberger's touchdown was not among them). My sister has some pictures of me in full Steelers' gear (I love the Jets, but I'm not stupid - you don't wear neutral gang colors to a fight like that) that I'll hopefully post soon.

Speaking of pictures from my travels, I've got up most, but not all, of the pictures from my Vegas trip.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Travelin' Man

I'm about to depart for Detroit, home of the controversial Bishop Gumbleton, but also (and more importantly for my purposes) Super Bowl Extra Large. See you all on Monday.

Go Steelers!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Antithesis of Wreckification

Check out the restored Sacramento cathedral! Bueno!

HT: Society of St. Barbara

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

AKA "Plans Exceed Accomplishments"

You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness.
Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul.
You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable.
Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful.
In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself.
Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend.
You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

ht: Da Dilemma

The Sleeper Wakes

Double-heh. A top secret communiqué between the Vatican and Justice Kennedy, uncovered by the Curt Jester.

SCOTUS Votes 3-1 Against Surrender

78th Oscariad, Part II

Did you know that The Towering Inferno was nominated for the 1974 Best Picture Oscar? Terrifyingly, it was! This doesn't excuse the nomination of Crash, but it does put it in some perspective.