Monday, July 25, 2005

The Translation Theory of Constitutional Interpretation

Lawrence Lessig describes (in 103 pages) a theory for interpreting the Constitution: Fidelity In Translation (PDF). I've just read the first few pages, but it is an interesting idea.

Lessig points out that we have changed the way we read the Constitution. Yet he also points out that sometimes following an underlying principle means doing things differently:
For we all know that sometimes fidelity to an original meaning requires doing something different, and that, in those cases, doing the same thing done before would be to change the meaning of what was done before. Take a simple example to make the point: If a diplomat is ordered to “be polite” while in Iraq (where belching after eating signals approval) and belches loudly at the end of her meal, it would not be fidelity to her order to belch loudly at the end of her next meal with the British Monarch, even though (in an importantly impolite sense) she would have done the same thing as before. Change here—bowing rather than belching—is fidelity. We all know that this diplomat must do something different in Britain if she is to do the same thing as in Iraq. She must change her act to remain faithful to the original command—not to change her act would be to manifest infidelity.
I look forward to reading the whole thing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Durbin Should Have Waited For The Facts

Dick Durbin should have waited for the facts before he popped-off about the American military. See, Dick, the American military is on our side. You are supposed to give the military the benefit of the doubt, not the detainees.
More interesting is what is not in the report. Schmidt and Furlow found no substantiation for Sen. Richard Durbin's allegation that terror suspects were chained for hours and forced to defecate on themselves, nor that Gitmo interrogators kept their prisoners in hot or cold rooms, two claims he made on the Senate floor. They also found no verification that the military denied prisoners food or medical necessities, a favorite charge of the Left.
Congratulations, Dick. Unlike thoughtful, measured Senators, like Brownback or Lieberman, you have earned a reputation of thoughtlessness. When you are quoted I'll think something like this: "Hmmm, Durbin. Not a careful thinker. Likes to throw tainted red-meat to his base. I'll wait till I hear from someone I can trust."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

United We Stand

Ara Rubyan is right. The leaders of this country must unite against terror. But in a democracy the voters are the leaders. With that in mind, I apologize for comments I have made which are divisive and I invite anyone to call me out, both for past, present and future behavior. The one mind I can be sure of changing is my own.

Would Welfare Reform Work for Africa?

This African economist thinks so. Africa doesn't need aid. It needs capitalism.