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June 27, 2006

Back to the Amendment Junkpile

Flag amendment fails. Yet again. Back into its hole for another year. Thank you to the 34 senators whose brains are not made of cottage cheese on this matter.

Posted by john at June 27, 2006 08:13 PM

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Comments

Other Stephen | June 27, 2006 08:54 PM

Thank God. Now congress can get back to doing the people's work - debating Gay marriage.

FusionWhite | June 27, 2006 09:44 PM

Now all we need is for the Neo-Cons to take a nose dive in November.

Gary Boyd | June 27, 2006 10:58 PM

While I agree with the sentment, didn't you just say you wouldn't be blogging for a while...like three or four posts ago (you know, yesterday)? BTW...I just discovered your blog a few weeks back, haven't read any of your books yet but I will be buying one next trip to the B&N...

Soni | June 28, 2006 01:01 AM

didn't you just say you wouldn't be blogging for a while...like three or four posts ago (you know, yesterday)?

Gary - just wait. After about day 3, the really good pointless-photoshopping-fun starts up. On a really tight deadline, you can get wallpaper art off this blog like nothing you've ever seen.

For example:
http://www.scalzi.com/spookyeyealbumcovers250.jpg

Soni | June 28, 2006 01:03 AM

Hey John - bug alert.

On your search page, the main column background is showing up pitch black (I'm using the latest updated Firefox), so you can't see a thing. Had to do a select all to see what I was looking for.

Kurt Perry | June 28, 2006 01:06 AM

John,
I have never heard anyone express them selves as well as you did on this issue. As a retired GI, I have soem pretty strong feelings on the topic but as that same person, who has been a civilin now for 5 years, I find my self more and more frustrated on a dailey basis by all the instances of "big brother" trying to find ways to get into my life. Your thread on Helmets was also a good one.
More and more, I find that I just want to be left alone to do my own thing...whatever that is, without having some busy body trying to protect me from myself. Let them burn the flag, I wont watch if it offends me.

Your point about burning the flag to protest our vanishing freedoms, the flag being the symbol there of, was well taken. Thank you for opening my mind on this issue!!!

Wickedpinto | June 28, 2006 02:23 AM

To pass an ammendment protecting the rights of a piece of fabric is OFFENSIVE! and I think it is good that this effort failed (though I think that the votes were rigged, allowing only those who are safe in their seats to vote against)

I have numerous reasons for opposing this.

To this day, whenever I walk outside of a building, I tend to carry something in my right hand (theres a reason, hold) I never wear a hat, of any sorts tilted in any direction, In fact, when I wear hats, it looks odd on me.

I was in the Marine Corps, I was a good Marine while I was in, and I didn't re-enlist unfortunately. Even if I had, I would feel the same way.

There is a MAJOR difference between a cloth depiction of the national standard, and a flag. A Flag is something people fly on the forth of july in front of their house. A standard is a representation of the nation, through floating symbol over a national property.

All servicemen are not covered with flaggs, they are covered with a standard.

Distinctions, and differences, complicated, and there are rules. I MIGHT fly a flag on july the 4th if it were a standard, but I do not presume to offer a flag that status of being a standard.

I Love my nation, I love it more than I have ever loved any woman, or family member, but I will not fly a flag.

To assign EVERY flag the same value as a "standard" is, honestly? contrary to my training, and contrary to MCO 1410.24F

Kit Smith | June 28, 2006 04:41 AM

For some reason, I think that the flag burning amendment not passing by one vote was actually a shrewed bit of political maneuvering by the Democrats. I mean, think about it: here we have the Republicans trotting out all of these issues to rile up the base like they do every election year. By defeating the amendment vote by one vote, it placates the Republicans (losing by one vote just doesn't bring up the same head of steam that getting annihilated does) but scares the liberal base who is all about protecting free speech regardless. A placated base doesn't run to the polling booths, but a scared one does. Plus, a lot of the Democrats voting for the amendment are red-staters coming up for re-election... some good old fashioned CYA going on as well.

Harry Reid is devious, methinks.

CoolBlue | June 28, 2006 05:46 AM

Kit Smith

the liberal base who is all about protecting free speech regardless

LOL

Chang | June 28, 2006 08:52 AM

What makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside is the fact that both of my senators voted for this.

I guess MAine isn't enough of an ass-backwards anachorinism of a state so they gotta lump us in with China, Iran and Cuba. Viva la Democracia! And however you say it is Farsi and Manadarin.

Sheesh...

David | June 28, 2006 09:46 AM

If we *must* amend the constitution, can't we spend the hassle on one almost everyone would agree with, namely, rolling back that idiotic Supreme Court interpretation on eminent domain, the one that says they can confiscate your property to build something that pays more taxes?

Jim | June 28, 2006 10:15 AM

Chang, All the Supreme Court said is there is nothing in the constitution that declares that unconstitutional. If you read the decision it specificly stated that the Supreme Court thinks it a bad idea and recomends people take it up on a state level to ammend the law. I much perfer that to a court that uses the thinnest of excuess to bend the law to their reading.

Chang | June 28, 2006 10:37 AM

So Jim sez: Chang, All the Supreme Court said is there is nothing in the constitution that declares that unconstitutional. If you read the decision it specificly stated that the Supreme Court thinks it a bad idea and recomends people take it up on a state level to ammend the law. I much perfer that to a court that uses the thinnest of excuess to bend the law to their reading.

Yes, it is true that I did not read it. Mea culpa. I guess my beef is that we have in this state - not to mention the country - many other issues facing us of far more importance than an increasingly rare act (one I personally don't support). My dissatisfaction with my senators is more the issue than. That they voted for it, though, I still find it repellent. I can't find Olympia Snowe's exact quotes on it but they reflect someone who is woefuly out of touch with what is going on in her home state.

Free speech in the end means the stuff we want to hear see and say and the stuff we don't.

Tripp | June 28, 2006 10:53 AM

Wickedpinto,

I think I get the points you are making but I'm hoping you can clarify.

You are making a distinction between a battlefield standard which has a special significance and a flag flying over, for example, McDonalds. Am I correct?

If so I can understand that distinction.

Also, could you explain your point about something in your right hand? I thought you might be refering to removing your hat while indoors but you say you do not wear a hat. Can you explain further?

Thanks!

Brian Greenberg | June 28, 2006 02:18 PM

First, I think it's fair to say that 99.999% of Americans will never, in their lifetimes, even conceive of burning the flag, let alone actually burn one. So illegal or not illegal, we're talking about an ammendment here that affects almost nobody.

Second, and this is a point I raised during last year's discussion, if you have a political point to make, and you decide to make it by burning a flag, the odds are pretty good that your point will be completely ignored in deference to your flag burning stunt. This makes flag burning a pretty poor way to exercise free speech anyway (unless, of course, your point is about the right to burn flags).

So basically, what we have here is a proposed ammendment to prohibit an activity that almost no one would dream of engaging in, except for people who wish to protest the ammendment itself. And, of course, we have an opporuntity for politicians to stand up right before an election and talk about how wonderful the flag is.

In short, it's a waste of time, and even if it passed, we don't really lose much in the way of free speech. Therefore, I humbly submit that we smirk at the politicians, give them the ol "nice try, guys, but we ain't biting" and then move on...

SFC SKI | June 28, 2006 03:56 PM

I am also a vet, currently in Iraq, and the flag holds a great deal of meaning for me. I want to punch out someone who is burning the flag, but I never will. Because of that, I am glad that the amendment was not passed. You can't legislate good manners, and I think Congress really has much more important issues to attend to.

CoolBlue | June 28, 2006 08:05 PM

Jim

Chang, All the Supreme Court said is there is nothing in the constitution that declares that unconstitutional. If you read the decision it specificly stated that the Supreme Court thinks it a bad idea and recomends people take it up on a state level to ammend the law.

Um, I don't think so.

If you are talking about the 1984 SCotUS decision in Texas v Johnson, the Supreme Court specifically stated that the flag burning was protected politcal speech (by the 1st Amendment) and that any law, state or federal, used to ban such activity is unconstitutional.

That's why there would have to be a Constitutional amendment.

darren | June 28, 2006 08:58 PM

"First, I think it's fair to say that 99.999% of Americans will never, in their lifetimes, even conceive of burning the flag, let alone actually burn one. So illegal or not illegal, we're talking about an ammendment here that affects almost nobody."

Right. I heard someone else say a flag burning ammendment and subsequent debate is the same as arguing a constitutional ammendment specifically prohibiting climbing onto the Iwo Jima Memorial and dressing all the statues up as The Pointer Sisters. It just isn't an issue.

Jim | June 28, 2006 10:31 PM

CoolBlue, I was refering to the Kelo case Chang was talking about. In reguards to Flag burning, as a Vet, I feel it is a horrible idea. to quote Voltaire, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. "

Wickedpinto | June 29, 2006 12:59 AM

DavidIf we *must* amend the constitution, can't we spend the hassle on one almost everyone would agree with, namely, rolling back that idiotic Supreme Court interpretation on eminent domain, the one that says they can confiscate your property to build something that pays more taxes?

We already ammended the constitution to suite your desires. In fact there are three applicable ammendments, 3, 4, and 5. But the SCOTUS doesn't give a shit, when libs are in charge. The only ammendment that exists for them, is the first, and then, the first means a lot more than it means. To Quote you know? "that word? I don't think it means what you think it means."


Tripp
Wickedpinto,

I think I get the points you are making but I'm hoping you can clarify.

You are making a distinction between a battlefield standard which has a special significance and a flag flying over, for example, McDonalds. Am I correct?

If so I can understand that distinction.

Also, could you explain your point about something in your right hand? I thought you might be refering to removing your hat while indoors but you say you do not wear a hat. Can you explain further?

Thanks!

It isn't just battlefield banners, I was a peacetime Marine. A Standard has flown over a base, or a ship, or held by a battlefield unit. There are many ways in which a flag can become a standard, but yeah, you got it basicaly correct, even sub's, that don't actually "fly" standards, posess one. I'm not saying I don't respect people who don't have the understanding of the standard who fly flags, I love seeing people fly flags, but they must know that they are just batches of fabric that look like the national standard without being a standard of the nation. In the Navy, the word is "ensign" I believe. It's just that I will never fly a flag that is not an ensign/standard.

And the reason I always carry something in my right hand when I am out of doors, is because I have to fight the urge to salute. When "in" and wearing "civvies" I would always carry my keys, or some such in my right hand so that I was reminded that it was improper for me to salute.

When I was "in" and I was in an area that was "under cover" though it was outside, I ALWAYS carried my "cover" (hat) in my right hand. If I catch myself wearing a hat, even now, as a true civilian, and I see someone looking directly at me, I look directly at them, and I touch the bill of my cap.

Does that clarify why I always carry stuff in my right hand? It's a true habbit that is common within the MC, since we only salute in cover, unlike the other services.

Matt McIrvin | June 29, 2006 07:12 AM

I think Kit Smith may be right; Harry Reid knew exactly what he was doing. I read somewhere that he said he didn't think it was the right thing for Congress to be debating right now, but that he was personally voting for it; and when a reporter asked him why, he added that he didn't think it would pass. I'm thinking he knew exactly how many Republicans were voting against it, and apportioned the Democratic yea votes needed for a 66-34 defeat to the senators who needed them most to get reelected.

Remember, for all its stupidity, this amendment is fairly popular; the American Legion's been pushing for it for a long time. If passed by the Senate, it would quickly be ratified. To my mind it's a failure of civics education, but nobody asked me.

Tripp | June 29, 2006 11:29 AM

Wickedpinto,

Does that clarify why I always carry stuff in my right hand?

Yes you explained things very well. It reminds me of baseball tactics where the runners hold their batting gloves in their hands while they run. It reminds them to keep their hands up while sliding instead of trying to 'break their fall' with their hands and possibly breaking a wrist.

I want to thank you for your service to our country. My Dad was in the peacetime Navy which taught him the skills to work in electronics which allowed him to (among other things) get a civilian job and pay for my college.

I'm currently doing the best I can to pay that forward to my kids. The rise in tuition is hitting me kind of hard and I've got four to put through college but it keeps me focused and off the streets!

Besides I knew starting out I'd see my kids through college.

Luke | June 30, 2006 02:32 PM

Brian Greenberg:
"In short, it's a waste of time, and even if it passed, we don't really lose much in the way of free speech. Therefore, I humbly submit that we smirk at the politicians, give them the ol "nice try, guys, but we ain't biting" and then move on..."

I humbly submit that the constitution could really do without such
things, and the political discourse could really do without trying to get such things into the constitution, faked or real.

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