Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Still Angry After All These Years
There's bent thinking from both sides of the aisle today.

From the right: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia thinks you're an idiot if you believe in "the living Constitution." It is not, said Scalia disdainfully, a document designed to flex with the changes that the Founders knew history would bring to their country long after they were dead. Nope, the Constitution is only a legal document that says some things and doesn't say some others, and that means nobody's got the right to "interpret" it at all, but only to apply what it says.

A few years back, I went back to school and got my teaching certificate in, among other things, civics, so if you don't mind, I'd like to share a little technical educational jargon with you. In the civics-teacher business, we call Scalia's ideas about the Constitution "bullshit." Every civics teacher worth his or her salt teaches "the living Constitution." It's one of those things that's plainly true on its face, based on what we know of the Founders' intentions. Scalia's view is that of the people who opposed ratification of the Constitution back in the day--in other words, of the people who lost the historical argument. And in the brief AP story on the speech in which Scalia made his statement (linked above) you can hear the petulant, pissed-off tone of a loser who's been itching to take revenge on the winners for, oh, about 217 years.

From the left: A contributor at Daily Kos thinks the Cheney hunting-accident story could be the liberal version of conserative memes like "Al Gore invented the Internet" and "John Kerry voted for the Iraq War before he voted against it" as a way to belittle the Bush/Cheney administration. Fine idea, as far as it goes, until the contributor requires nine sentences to explain it. That's not a meme, that's an extended metaphor rich with nuance, and we all know how well the American people do nuance. While I agree that the shooting is indeed a lovely metaphor for the violence and duplicity of the Bush gang, I also think the White House and the mainstream media have already successfully framed it so that it will do practically no political damage to the administration. The White House itself is making jokes about it; the big story today, at least before the victim's condition got worse, was about the late-night comics' jokes about it. The whole thing is essentially being treated as a lark, and larks are not the stuff with which administrations are brought low. (Unless they're Republican larks that involve blowjobs.)

Of course, if the victim dies, all bets are off. This afternoon's stories about the victim's worsening condition seem ridiculously incomplete--Harry Whittington had a mild heart attack when birdshot got into his heart? I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure birdshot in your heart can't be good. Saying he had a heart attack makes it sound like the attack happened independent of the shooting--which it clearly did not--and if it happened independent of the shooting, then Cheney is absolved from responsibility--which he clearly is not.

Feel the Love: Over the weekend, we passed the 20,000-hits mark on this blog. Not a lot by blogosphere standards, but gratifying to me, at least. So for that, and because it's Valentine's Day too, here's your gift: the Calvin and Hobbes Searchable Database. Type in a word, get strips that contain that word. Hours of fun.

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