Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Book meme also

Since Chris is doing it, so will I.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

My result:

Limes are used a great deal in Asian cooking, and the rind can be used to flavor curries, marinades, and dips.

Book meme

Via Amish Tech Support:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Here’s mine:

Then, thoughtfully, “Actually I’m rather tired of it.”

Faulkner it ain’t.

Kiddie Wars

Laura of Apartment 11D thinks a war is brewing in academe between the parents and the childless:

Is this war new? I think so. With the pressures of the new economy, workers are turning on each other. Everybody else’s life looks better than their own. The parent workers are jealous of their single counterparts who can work uninterrupted, who get a full night’s sleep and a weekend off. The singles feel that they don’t have the excuse of a soccer game to get them out of a departmental meeting.

Since the decision to have kids has been framed in terms of choice, then that means that the chooser has to accept all the consequences. Of course, you could make the converse argument that the childless choose not to have children, and thus have to accept the consequences. [emphasis mine]

I suppose one can make that argument, but given the relative paucity of women beating on my door begging me to be a sperm donor, I think the “choice” aspect here is massively overstated.

On the other hand, the benefits of not having to convince a spouse and kids that (hypothetically speaking, of course) it’s a good idea for your career to spend the next winter digging out from under snow on the wild chance that a tenure line will open up the next year, especially when you’re turning down a tenure-track offer in much warmer climes to do it, probably shouldn’t be discounted…


Stephen Karlson is the latest to note the news that Duke is getting rid of its 8 a.m. classes in favor of 8:30 a.m. start times. He is also the first to note that the students may not actually be the impetus for the change:

[T]he clustering of classes in the 10 am to 3 pm time blocks, which contributes to a space crunch at many universities, reflects in part a revelation of preferences on the part of the faculty. Northern Illinois University wants at least one third of each department’s class offerings outside prime time. That, too, is not as big a problem for a night owl, or for a morning person. One colleague, now retired, would choose the 8 am classes, be in by 5 or 6 in the morning, and gone by 2 or 3 pm.

Given my future status as “low rung on the ladder,” I don’t expect to have my preferred sleep schedule worked into the formulation of the college bulletin. But I will say the way to this political scientist’s heart is to let him sleep in…

Preprint this!

Jacob Levy notes that my papers page may be heading towards obsolecence, given that the Powers That Be in political science have joined forces to launch

Now, if they can only figure out how to make employers actually pay attention to the vitas posted on eJobs, this discipline might well be organized by the time I’m retired.

I planned to post about this Monday when I got my APSA April e-Newsletter, which helpfully arrived in my email box well after half the events it talks about have already happened, but when searching for my name turned up nothing (when I know for a fact there should be some of my stuff in there, at least if it includes—as advertised—papers from APSA 2003 and MPSA 2004), I concluded the site was useless as-is, being an egotistical snob and all.


Professor Bainbridge thinks some branches of government are more co-equal than others:

Reading the accounts of the Supreme Court’s oral argument yesterday on the Guantanamo prisoner appeal, I am struck yet again by the unweening arrogance of the US judiciary. Set aside the substantive merits of the case, of which I believe Justice Jackson’s aphorism “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” more than adequately disposes (see also my friend and colleague Eugene Volokh’s more substantive critique). Instead, consider how offended some members of the Court seemed to be by the notion that any aspect of American life might lie outside their reach. Breyer, for example, complained: “It seems rather contrary to an idea of a Constitution with three branches that the executive would be free to do whatever they want, whatever they want without a check.”

Apparently only the Supreme Court is “free to do whatever they want… without a check.” If five of the nine unelected old men and women on that court agree, they can strike down any law or executive action. And our elected representatives have essentially no power to constrain them other than the impractical route of amending the Constitution.

In actuality, our elected representatives have a great deal of power to constrain the judiciary: they may, for example, limit its jurisdiction, expand its membership (“court packing”), reduce funding, split circuits, and take myriad other actions designed to frustrate the court. Lower court judges can, and often do, defy the clear precedent set forth by the Supreme Court. Congress and the president routinely ignore the intent of Supreme Court decisions like INS v. Chadha. The Supreme Court has no police power to compel compliance with its decisions; President Eisenhower sent the National Guard to Little Rock, not Earl Warren, while President Jackson gave the (figurative, if not literal) finger to the Court when it told him to stop deporting the Cherokees.

Heck, good money says that if the Supremes had done what almost all agree now is the right thing in Korematsu, and said Japanese-Americans were being deprived of their rights by being interred, it wouldn’t have made the least bit of difference. And, should the Court actually agree with the Gitmo detainees’ case, and if the hypothetical Reinhardt decision comes that some detainees should be released, I’m not expecting the administration to be in any hurry whatsoever to comply—more likely, they’ll just ship them off to the Mossad or something.

To assert that “our elected representatives have essentially no power to constrain” the courts is borderline absurd. Congress and the president have plenty of power—they just choose not to exercise it, given that both parties want to have a Supreme Court that is willing and able to do the dirty work of standing up to the voters when they demand “uncommonly silly” laws (that nonetheless get overwhelming legislative support) like flag desecration acts, public morals legislation, and the like.

Update: Brett Marston agrees with me, at least in part, citing additional constraints on the Court (most notably, that it is restricted to ruling on cases on its docket).

The unbearable hotness of being (or not being...)

While I was off doing better things, apparently some debate arose over whether or not the Hot Abercrombie Chick is really a, er, “chick.” (The hotness and the wearing of Abercrombie & Fitch were not debated.)

I really don’t know what to make of all this. I know better than to think that good-looking women can’t be smart though… and thus my gut feeling is to give Ms. Doerty the benefit of the doubt on actually being Ms. Doerty.