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Schoolhouse Rock Videos:
I guess I should have realized that all of the classic "Schoolhouse Rock" videos were posted on YouTube, but for some reason it never occurred to me. Anyway, you can see them all here. It's probably been 20 years since I've last seen Conjunction Junction and How A Bill Becomes A Law, but I remember pretty much every second of them.

  UPDATE: On rewatching "How a Bill Becomes a Law," it occurs to me that this bill probably shouldn't have passed. At the 0:57 mark, we see that the bill requires school buses to stop at railroad crossings. But shouldn't this be a question for the states? Why is Congress enacting a comprehensive national solution to regulating school buses? Whatever happened to federalism? Oh well, I guess that's the 1970s for you.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: Commenter DR engages in the politics of personal destruction with this comment:
Orin Kerr says he cares about our children — he says he'll protect them from danger. So what did he do when Congress tried to pass a law that would have made it illegal for school buses to park on railroad tracks? He opposed it. Said it was "not Congress's problem." Kids in jeopardy? Not Congress's problem? This November, let's make sure Orin Kerr doesn't become America's problem.

Orin Kerr. Wrong on buses. Wrong for America.
Kerr Campaign Headquarters is readying the following response ad:
DR is distorting Orin Kerr's record on children. What does DR know about children? While DR read about childhood in a book, only Orin Kerr has been a child. He spent 18 years as an American child. He rode the bus, and he saw the trains. He didn't just read about it, he lived it.

Commmenter DR. Inexperienced. Totally unqualified.
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

I guess I should have realized that all of the classic "Schoolhouse Rock" videos were posted on YouTube, but for some reason it never occurred to me.


ditto. great waste of 15 minutes. from looking at other videos, i see that lots of admirers spent time to create their own schoolhouse rock segments. flattering for the creators or people with too much time on their hands?
9.25.2008 2:31am
epeeist:
I haven't rewatched the videos, but assuming Federal jurisdiction over railroads (interstate commerce), then are not laws regarding railroad crossings likewise within Federal jurisdiction?
9.25.2008 2:40am
Alix Cavanaugh (mail):
It could be just as easily thought of as a regulation connected with railroads as a regulation connected with schoolbuses. Since railroads are the traditional interstate common carrier par excellence, the federal government has long exercised very broad regulatory powers over them--including regulations to promote railroad safety. Given the appropriate (not unreasonable) factual presumptions about the dangers of train/schoolbus collisions, I think this would legitimately fall within Congress's remit under the commerce clause.
9.25.2008 2:42am
Constructively Reasonable (www):
Sadly, during the spring term exams of my 1L year, the Adverb Song ("Lolly lolly lolly, Get your adverbs here") stuck in my head. Try to think of mens rea when that is running in your head!

For the federalism problem:

Congress simply needs to invoke the Commerce Clause (the bus was probably made out of state-- or at least with out of state parts) or, in the alternative, Congress can use the trick of Spending w/ Strings Attached Power (we'll give you money for school buses, but only if you agree to pass the Bus-Railroad Violence Prevention Act).
9.25.2008 2:44am
OrinKerr:
epeeis, Alix:

My point is about public policy, not constitutional law. The bill would plainly be within the Commerce Clause power, but that does not mean Congress should pass it.
9.25.2008 2:50am
dr:
Orin Kerr says he cares about our children -- he says he'll protect them from danger. So what did he do when Congress tried to pass a law that would have made it illegal for school buses to park on railroad tracks? He opposed it. Said it was "not Congress's problem." Kids in jeopardy? Not Congress's problem? This November, let's make sure Orin Kerr doesn't become America's problem.

Orin Kerr. Wrong on buses. Wrong for America.
9.25.2008 2:55am
dsn:
This is not directly related to the post (or in fact, really related at all, but I thought you might appreciate the following newspaper headline on both linguistic and legal groundsMan charged with battery after passing gas. So many ways to parse it!
9.25.2008 3:13am
M. (mail):
DR, that was magnificent.
9.25.2008 3:19am
Nate in Alice:
This is the funniest thread ever.

Thanks dr.
9.25.2008 3:22am
Dave N (mail):
Why is Congress enacting a comprehensive national solution to regulating school buses?
Particularly since Congress prefers to pass appropriation bills that require states to enact such laws in order to recieve federal largess--you know, the whole, "let's pretend the states actually have a choice but we won't give federal money until they do what we want" thing.

As for DR's post. I thought it was great, too.
9.25.2008 3:25am
OrinKerr:
Dr,

Best comment ever. I tried to respond in the main post, but your comment was really hard to beat.
9.25.2008 3:39am
dr:
Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. And when she saw what she had done? She gave her father forty-one.

Lizzie Borden was a child. Now Orin Kerr admits he too was a child.

What is Orin Kerr hiding? Can America really afford to find out?

Orin Kerr. If you vote for him, he might kill you with an axe.
9.25.2008 3:46am
Cornellian (mail):
And an axe that was probably made in some foreign country at that. If you're going to be murdered with an axe, wouldn't you prefer an axe made in the good old U.S. of A.? Of course you would, but you won't get that with Kerr and his foreign axe loving buddies.
9.25.2008 3:57am
EH (mail):
Not only has Orin Kerr been a child, he overcame being born without the ability to walk.
9.25.2008 4:24am
dr:
(by the way, not to be ungrateful: thanks, orin, et al!)

(now back to my regularly scheduled smearing.)
9.25.2008 4:42am
E:
Do U.S. Routes have railroad crossings? If so, I think that solves the issue here.
9.25.2008 5:55am
Public_Defender (mail):
If a train hits a bus full of kids, the engineer has to stop and do a lot paperwork. That slows interstate commerce and hurts the bottom line of railroads--two problems that Republicans are traditionally very concerned with.
9.25.2008 6:51am
Big E:
It's a railroad bill, and if Civil Procedure taught me anything it's that the feds seemingly are always involved with the railroads.
9.25.2008 8:17am
Arkady:
AP, Sept. 25, 2008

The race between dr and Orin Kerr turned nasty today as dr accused Kerr of not being child friendly. The Kerr campaign immediately released an ad saying that dr's charge was bogus and Kerr too was child friendly. Kerr, responding to dr's charge said, "I was a child once, and I also really liked the other kids." Kerr then announced that he was suspending his campaign to immediately return to Washington to help solve the Jungle-Gym crisis and suggested that the pending debate be delayed. dr said that he was available to go down to Washington if he was needed to resolve the crisis, but, he said, the debate should go forward. "Hey, you have to be able to multitask on the Jungle-Gym -- you gotta use two arms, you know -- so why can't we still have the debate?"
9.25.2008 8:32am
Mr. Bingley (www):
wonderful, dr!
9.25.2008 8:43am
Public_Defender (mail):
Dead schoolkids on railroad tracks impede interstate commerce.
9.25.2008 8:55am
r.friedman (mail):
Big E about has it right, interstate commerce has meant railroads since they came into existence. Railroads are one of the biggest beneficiaries of federal pre-emption. Cities that have grown up around railroads are always trying to control them -- speed limits, length of time a grade crossing may stay closed, noise control -- and compliance by the railroad is essentially voluntary. There is a federal act that allows a federal authority to decide what grade crossings need gates, and the decision that one is not needed pre-empts state tort law. Federal pre-emption was also used to overcome segregation in interstate passenger service -- even the Louisiana judge who decided Plessy v. Ferguson decided that the Louisiana Separate Cars Act was unconstitutional as applied to interstate transportation.
9.25.2008 9:08am
Chris 24601 (mail) (www):
Yeah, those trains are going from state to state. At least SHR doesn't suggest that school buses failing to stop at railroad crossings would be a Dormant Commerce Clause violation.
9.25.2008 9:09am
Happyshooter:
Railroad crossings have a lot of caselaw placing them under federal law. The actual crossings themselves.

Check for the cases on crossing warning devices and on length of wait laws. The federal courts almost always say it is a federal issue.
9.25.2008 9:37am
genob:
Curses! You've uncovered the plot to use addictive cartoons with catchy tunes to make America's youth comfortable with the idea of an all-powerful and all-controlling Federal government. The plan was to do away with states altogether by now....but we have failed.
9.25.2008 9:47am
Norman Bates (mail):
All the above posts demonstrate that the Volokh Conspiract continues to operate on a much higher intellectual plane and with much greater civility than has been shown elsewhere in the current campaign cycle. Keep up the good work guys. You have convinced me that both DR and OrinKerr are such threats to the country that Congress should immediately pass bills of attainder, entailment, and taint.
9.25.2008 10:18am
R. Gould-Saltman (mail):
. .. and Jack Sheldon cringes again (all the way to the bank) as another generation comes to think of him as "I'm just a Bill..." and never knows he's actually a musician.

. . . and now, THANKS to you, Prof. Kerr, I've got two lines from the Simpsons' parody ("Amendment-to- Be") circling through my head AGAIN:

". . . there's a lot of flag-burners who've got too much freedom;

I want to make it legal for policemen to beat'em....."
9.25.2008 10:20am
JosephSlater (mail):
Late to the party, but this is indeed a great thread and dr not only wins it but wins the entire month on VC.
9.25.2008 10:33am
Chris 24601 (mail) (www):
By the way, I've never been happy about the way "I'm just a bill" just blows off the veto-override process at the end, as if it could almost never happen. How are kids supposed to learn the value of supermajority requirements with this sort of education? And why in "Three Ring Circus" is the President the first ring? He's Article II! Legislative primacy! The Preamble one is great, though, especially using a jury as a picture of "We the People." Very Amar-y.
9.25.2008 10:47am
armchairpunter:
Orin Kerr has been attacked for opposing legislation that would deny our children's school buses access to critical roadways, just to make way for massive corporate railroad conglomerates.

Unlike his opponent, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the big freight lobby and tapped a former railroad engineer to help select his running mate, Orin Kerr refuses to be railroaded when it comes to our children's education.

It's time for a candidate who won't throw our children under the bus when powerful interests come rolling into town.

That candidate is Orin Kerr. He'll keep our children on track for a better education.
9.25.2008 11:07am
The Cabbage (mail):
As a child, Orin Kerr only drank adulterated milk for lunch.
9.25.2008 11:15am
Liberal Libertarian:
Chris 24601: No doubt exercising their rights to take poetic license,* the Preamble SHR song leaves something important out:

SHR: "We the People, in order to form..."
The Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in order to form..."

*- or was there a plot afoot . . .
9.25.2008 11:20am
John M. Perkins (mail):
I was a Bobby Dorough fan back when he was with Miles Davis. "Blue X-Mas" is worthy of a Sunday lyric come December.
9.25.2008 11:27am
Chris 24601 (mail) (www):
Oh, wow, never noticed that. At least it has "this Constitution" in it.
9.25.2008 11:29am
Per Son:
Hello:

My name is Timmy O'Toole, and I was run over by a train that did not stop for my schoolbus. I have nightmares everynight, lost both arms and my lower jaw, and am afraid of motorized vehicles. I just learned that Mr. Kerr doesn't care that trains hit schoolbusses and hurt kids like me.

Mr. Kerr, why do you hate me?

Orin Kerr, hates children, receives money from the crutch, cane, and walker lobbies!
9.25.2008 11:31am
Lawrence W-H:
"How a Bill Becomes a Law" is all right, but a far more relevant and realistic view of our political system, I think, is "Amendment to Be."
9.25.2008 11:53am
Happyshooter:
I just got this email from a friend and had to pass it along:

Orin Kerr is opposed to common sense American children's safety. I did some checking, and found out that two years ago he taught four people who were not born in America. That same year, Obama went to his church where the preacher called on God to Damn America.

Then I found the missing key. Kerr gets money from the University. The University has a bus where people pay money to ride. Kerr's money washes though the bus system itself. Every one of his positions is paid for by his bus masters.

Kerr is a secret America hater who wants our children to die!!11!! Kerr's 'research' is bought and paid for by busses11!!
9.25.2008 12:00pm
Ralphe (mail) (www):
There you go again dr. This type of Swift-Busing attack must come to an end so that we can all get back to the serious business of commenting. I ask that everyone on both sides of the issue refrain from such divisive and ultimately self defeating tactics.
9.25.2008 12:05pm
MLS:
dr and his Washington cronies are 20th century polititians out of touch with 21st century reality. The last thing we need is yet another power grab by the Washington "elite" to wrest local control of schools from parents and run them from Washington.

OR is for the people. dr is for the entrenched politicians and lobbyists in Washington.

The choice is yours...parents deciding how their children should be educated or Washington "elites" deciding for you.

It's a "no-brainer". Tell dr and his Washington cronies "NO WAY, NO HOW!"

"I am John McCain and I have approved this message."
9.25.2008 12:20pm
Bill Bentnickel (mail):
I've been a bus person ALL MY LIFE, but there is NO WAY I am supporting Kerr now!

Orin lied...school kids died!
DR '08
Otto Mann '12
9.25.2008 12:26pm
Hoosier:
Kerr says he has "been a child." But this is a distortion of his record. All available documents list him as a "minor." Now, there is nothing wrong with being a minor. But why does he claim to have held the position of "child" for nearly two decades?

It raises issues of charater, doesn't it?
9.25.2008 12:51pm
fishbane (mail):
OK, that was the funniest blog update ever.

I tip my cowboy hat to you.
9.25.2008 12:57pm
Law School Veterans For Truth (mail):
I was a student at Hanoi Law School in 1970 when the professor came out and began to read Orin Kerr's words. He quoted Kerr as saying that that law students had "raped and pillaged the original meaning of our constitution in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan." I thought at first it had to be a hoax, or a coerced confession. I was shocked to discover that what we would not say even under the torture of the Socratic method, Kerr had said freely in a Senate Hearing.

They used those words to subject us to the cruelty of being forced to read Robert Bork's entire bibliography and by cutting off our internet access in class.

Professor Kerr stabbed us in the back that day.

He is unfit for command.

Paid for by Law School Veterans For Truth
9.25.2008 1:09pm
David Warner:
The Wrong Side of the Tracks: How a young Rove poisoned the minds of Our Children through subliminal anti-busing propaganda, inaugurating our long national nightmare

Coming to a PhD dissertation near you.
9.25.2008 1:16pm
Law School Veterans For Truth (actually A.W.) (mail):
Btw, for my money my favorite is the "shot heard round the world."

Although watching it again, and knowing history better, its, um, interesting.

they mention that the british were going after the arsenal at concord and lexington. (2nd A. anyone?)

They really work hard to spin the fact that, let's face it, we got our asses kicked through most of the revolution (because it wasn't about winning individual battles) and their portrayal of guerilla tactics was interesting.

And it touches on how young some of those troops were... interesting.

And i always loved that lyric "Grab your powder, grab your son, its time to report to General Washington." And all said, it has a nice unapologetically patriotic tone that i wish i would see more of. Cool.
9.25.2008 1:26pm
Forgotten Password (mail):
You all totally missed the point of the Schoolhouse Rock videos....Interplanet Janet is HOT!!! OMG!!!
9.25.2008 1:30pm
JonC:
Here's a link to video of the Simpsons parody several commenters mentioned above. Key quote:

Bart: "What the hell is this?"
Lisa: "It's one of those campy '70's throwbacks that appeals to Generation X-ers."
9.25.2008 1:30pm
josh:
Awsome post and comments.
9.25.2008 1:46pm
Antinome (mail) (www):
A long time back I thought it would be a great trivia to know what statute Bill became. I was disappointed to find that, as far as I could tell after I did admittedly brief research, there is no federal statute requiring school buses to stop at railroad crossings. There is though a Texas law on it. A perfectly cool trivia quesion ruined by actual reality.
9.25.2008 2:33pm
pete (mail) (www):
Opening scene:

Young girl innocently sitting in a school bus picking flowers from a daisy. She counts down from 9 as the petals innocently drop to the floor of the bus.

Man's voice counting down from three to zero as scene switches to bus approaching railroad tracks. Girl turns her head in direction of train. Camera zooms in on little girls eye.

Train hits bus causing giant mushroom cloud.

The End
9.25.2008 2:52pm
Parodymonger:
Orin, didn't you participate in a musical medley parodying the various Schoolhouse Rock songs circa February or March 1997?
9.25.2008 3:00pm
trad and anon (mail):
Orin, DR spent years as a POW. Why are you attacking his service to our country?

Also, Orin is flat-out lying in calling DR "totally unqualified." DR was president of the Harvard Law Review! Was Orin ever president of the Harvard Law Review? No!

If that weren't bad enough, Orin claims he was a child, but he's conveniently forgotten to produce the original "documents" that supposedly prove this. What is he trying to hide?
9.25.2008 3:21pm
trad and anon (mail):
dr and his Washington cronies are 20th century polititians out of touch with 21st century reality. The last thing we need is yet another power grab by the Washington "elite" to wrest local control of schools from parents and run them from Washington.

OR is for the people. dr is for the entrenched politicians and lobbyists in Washington.

The choice is yours...parents deciding how their children should be educated or Washington "elites" deciding for you.

It's a "no-brainer". Tell dr and his Washington cronies "NO WAY, NO HOW!"

"I am John McCain and I have approved this message."
Another sign of desperation from the Kerr camp. Orin eats arugula, you can't get more elitist than that.
9.25.2008 3:38pm
Hoya:
Yes, this is no doubt the best one-two update-another update combo that the VC has ever seen.
9.25.2008 3:53pm
Hoosier:
Law School Veterans for Truth:

Was this one of his friends at Hanoi U. College of Law?
9.25.2008 4:11pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
My wife collaborates with, and admires, Bob Dorough, who wrote "Conjunction Junction".
9.25.2008 4:22pm
Constructively Reasonable (www):
Both DR and Professor Kerr broke the law. Neither issued the required, "I'm [insert name], and I approved this message." May the FEC reign down upon you fire from on high!

The PACs supporting each side did tend to remember this vital component of our election laws.
9.25.2008 4:43pm
Waldensian (mail):
Have you ever noticed that none of the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons are actually set to rock music?
9.25.2008 4:48pm
theobromophile (www):
But shouldn't this be a question for the states?

No, it should be a question for PTA moms.
9.25.2008 5:12pm
Ralphe (mail) (www):
I'm confused now. I thought Professor Kerr was a POW. I take back what I said earlier.
9.25.2008 5:48pm
Somedude127 (mail):
Dr.'s second comment made milk come out of my nose.
9.25.2008 6:41pm
Old Buddy Brian:
Professor Kerr was not a POW, nor was he quoted in any law school in 1970. Or rather, if he was, he should have been quoted as saying, "Waaa-haa haa! Waaaa! mommy!" Rumors that such quotes are from his latter day classroom lectures are entirely unsubstantiated, at least to my knowledge.

I went to undergraduate school with Kerr. DR, I know Orin Kerr. And you, sir...

Also, for the record I'd like to point out that what Prof. Kerr was drinking was definitely NOT milk, adulterated or otherwise. As for whether he was a child, childish, or childlike, that depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Nevertheless, in true American fashion, I would be happy to campaign for whichever side lobbies me, while making accidental "gaffes" that serve as excellent entrees for the other party.

Think it's not true? Then ask Prof. Kerr about "Riders on the Storm." :)
9.25.2008 6:44pm
dr:

Dr.'s second comment made milk come out of my nose.


I certainly hope you were drinking milk at the time.
9.25.2008 6:54pm
Hoosier:
If Prof. Kerr has his way, there will be no federal mandate for blinking red lights on the arms of railroad crossings throughout AMERICA. Think of what this MEANS: The safety of our children, of our VERY FUTURE, will be in the hands of STATE legislators. Who, we all know, are illiterate meth-addled inbred dog-rapists.

Orin Kerr TRUSTS these evil rustic mutant sodomite Nazi cretins to protect the LIVES of your children. Do YOU?

Call Prof. Kerr, and remind him that "Without red, our kids are DEAD!"

(Paid for by the American Association of Manufacturers and Marketers of Blinking Red Lights--Governmental Affairs Committee.)
9.25.2008 6:59pm
Hoosier:
"dr:

Dr.'s second comment made milk come out of my nose.

I certainly hope you were drinking milk at the time."


WHEREAS this was yet another brilliantly funny interjection by dr;

And WHEREAS I really needed this after dealing with a borderline-suicidal undergrad today;

And WHEREAS we already have one colored family in the neighborhood;*

I officially proclaim that today will henceforth be known as DR- DAY.


* "WHEREAS"-phrasing always reminds me of Archie Bunker's petition to keep a Puerto Rican couple out of Astoria, QN.
9.25.2008 7:06pm
Hoosier:
Sorry for serial-posting, but I actually have a Schoolhouse "Rock" related question:

Gen Xers: Looking back at the video on the origins of the Revolution, were any of you as shocked as I was at how obvious femmy (and presumably gay) George III was in the Schoolhouse Rock version of history?

(But when the Colonies complained The king said: "I don't care!"
--Because he was clearly too busy thinking about all the window treatments for Windsor Castle he could afford after collecting those colonial tax revenues.)
9.25.2008 7:14pm
dr:
Hoosier, if your motion passes, I am totally putting that on my resume. Fingers crossed!
9.25.2008 7:26pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Where is BruceM to argue that because Orin Kerr is wrong for children, Kerr is right for America?

BTW, Public_Defender, you say:

Dead schoolkids on railroad tracks impede interstate commerce.


Not if you don't brake for them.

Nick
9.25.2008 8:17pm
David Warner:
dr,

"Hoosier, if your motion passes, I am totally putting that on my resume."

Make sure to wipe the milk off first.
9.26.2008 12:06am
Tim A. (mail):
WHEREAS...WHEREAS...WHEREAS...


Seconded!
9.28.2008 12:44pm