August 03, 2006
. . . are due to co-blogger Sudeep, for passing his qualifying exam.
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At Balkinization, Stephen Griffin notes that at the moment there is a great deal of conflation between the structural and the consequentialist aspects of departmentalism-- interpretation and implementation of the constitution by the federal executive and legislative branches. Disapproval both of the president's substantive theory of executive power and of the normative consequences of it have caused people to become more dubious of the entire enterprise of executive constitutional interpretation than they should be-- just as Dred Scott or Roe or Bush v. Gore (depending on one's outlook) has caused some folks to balk at the system of judicial review that our constitution clearly empowers and requires. The fact that somebody appointed to a constitutional office makes some errors does not necessarily mean that the powers of that office must be re-defined. It might simply be the problem of the occupant.
But there's also an odd conflation in Griffin's post between a belief that non-judges should interpret the constitution, and a belief that judges should not, or should do so more deferentially, or less, or something. These two views are often held by similar groups of people, and for similar political reasons, so I can see how they get linked as a demographic matter, but not necessarily as a theoretical one.
I am a believer in robust judicial review: I think the modern doctrine of "political questions" is mistakenly broad, that occasionally heroic struggles to avoid passing on relevant constitutional questions are wrong, and that "political safeguards" fail to protect structural principles as well as legally-enforceable rules do. But I also believe in a robust political constitutionalism; the president and congress take oaths too, and nothing about the fact that the constitution is enforceable in a court of law suggests that it should be ignored everywhere else. Furthermore, because congress and the president are coordinate to the federal courts, and only the constitution and the people are supreme to each, I think they are both empowered and obligated to follow their own convictions about the content of the document sometimes. The mantra is "checks and balances": The constitution entrusts itself to no final interpreter and thereby trades tyranny for chaos.
Nothing in this view is inconsistent with what Griffin calls the modern retreat to the "rule of law". This view of robust departmentalism is appropriate precisely because it is the law (in this case the constitution) that sets the relevant legal rules, and not the men and women who are occasionally conscripted to implement it.
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I recently had the good fortune to sample the wares of blogger and scholar Hanah Metchis Volokh. She makes a very good strawberry pie-- particularly the top crust which managed to stay miraculously crispy
and flaky. (Mine always collapse into the central fruity morass, which is perhaps why I gave up and moved to tarts.) My only real complaint is that she has too many friends to share it with.
I do not have the recipe, but it comes from here.
UPDATE: I am told that the trick is that it is not a top crust but simply a crumb topping, 1/2 a cup each of flour and sugar, a dash of salt and cinnamon, and four tbsp of butter food-processed until crumbly and then spread over the pie with 30 minutes to go.
FURTHER UPDATE: Paul Goyette provides more thoughts on pie-baking. I wrote "flaky" above, but that was an error, and I should have stuck with crispy. As to my own pie-failures, the problem is usually not a lack of fruit (quite the contrary) but a lack of cohesiveness in my pie-crusts. I have very warm fingers (bad for buttery pastry doughs, like pie or biscuits), little patience, and until fairly recently did not possess a food processor.
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tiqebezoyicn responded with tiqebezoyicn
The past semester was probably the busiest semester I have had since the winter quarter of my second year of college, when I attempted to handle honors econometrics, honors algebra, and too many extra-curricular activities at the same time. This time around, it was surprisingly easy to find time in the day, but a few projects (mostly academic papers) fell almost entirely by the wayside.
Here are Tyler Cowen's three posts on time-management-- how to be an academic writer, how to manage your time generally, and how to embrace your own weaknesses. The best advice is from the last of those:
Don't confuse a restless nature with seizing life by the throat and living it to the fullest (although, of course, some people do both, including Tyler). In any case the key is to enjoy and indeed cultivate the irrationalities you have (indeed that is all you have), at least provided they do not become destructive vis-a-vis other people.
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