CSotD: Flag Day in the Committee Room

Dave Granlund posted this, appropriately, on Flag Day, which meant I’d already filed by the time I saw it. But it applies throughout the year, so here it is on Day After Flag Day.

There is no law against wearing apparel that looks like the flag, according to the American Legion, as long as it wasn’t made from an actual flag, and there’s no law against that, either. It’s just a matter of respect.

The Flag Code keeps getting updated, but it’s like the Bible, in that it’s more important what you want to find in it than what it actually says.

Anyway, I’m old enough to remember sitting in school and knowing it had started to rain not because of the drops, which weren’t coming down hard enough for us to notice, but because a custodian would walk out and take in the flag. You didn’t fly it in bad weather or at night, and you didn’t let it touch the ground. You raised it briskly and lowered it slowly.

And in 1970, when Abbie Hoffman took off his buckskin jacket on the Merv Griffin Show and revealed a flag shirt, they blurred it out so as not to offend viewers. In ’68, Abbie had been arrested for wearing the shirt to a House UnAmerican Activities Committee meeting and was convicted of disrespecting the flag.

That conviction was overturned in 1971 by the US Court of Appeals, and then, in 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that burning the flag was protected speech under the First Amendment, and the mix of judges on that really harkens back to a time when judges and other political people listened and thought.

As said, it was a very long time ago. The only flag-burning I had contact with was more of a farce than a protest anyway.

My take on those who make a fetish of the design was set in stone at the County Fair about 15 years ago. I was sitting a booth next to the National Guard and across from a VISA booth where they were giving out American Flag beach towels to anyone who applied for a card.

VISA did a brisk business among military-age people who then walked around the Guard’s display as if they were afraid of catching something.

Sunshine patriots, but not even summer soldiers.


There are a lot of Joe Manchin cartoons out there, coming from both sides of the aisle, but Rob Rogers (Counterpoint) challenges him to defend his logic or come off his high horse, in light of Mitch McConnell’s recent remarks that, if Justice Breyer retires, he will be disinclined to let the Senate consider a Biden nominee.

There were some qualifiers: It was based on the GOP getting a Senate majority in 2022 and the nomination coming up in 2024.

But it’s not much of a leap to suggest that they would stall and oppose any nominee anyway, and while it would be politically more transparent if they did it now, it remains a solid message to Joe Manchin that he is searching for bipartisan cooperation where it simply doesn’t exist.


Speaking of the Senate and 2022, Andy Marlette (Creators) suggests that Val Demings will pose a strong challenge to Marco Rubio’s re-election chances.

She’s a solid candidate, but Florida is less purple than simply unpredictable.

The Democrats had better come prepared better than the fellow I heard opining on some NPR show the other day, who spoke of how, in 2020, they had misjudged the Latino vote across the country, but particularly in Florida.

They’ve just gotta quit yapping about “the Latino vote” as if speaking Spanish meant Cubanos and Chicanos and Dominicans and Puerto Ricans were all on the same page politically.

It’s not even all the same Spanish.

Anyway, Demings would be a good opponent, and I expect the race would attract more than local interest and local dollars.

But take a good look at who else Florida has sent to Congress and don’t get your hopes too high.


Threads to Watch

Here are a pair of samples from the current story arc at Between Friends (KFS), in which a mother deals with a daughter’s crisis on that highwire of caring without interfering. It starts here and is well worth the read so far.


And here’s the first two in an arc at Betty (AMS), in which Betty and Bub have come across a Free Little Library.

Free Little Libraries aren’t new, but most of them have been on hiatus during the pandemic, which I don’t think was necessary but let’s not get into that.

Bub’s dismissive appraisal opens all sorts of conversational topics.

First is that I’ll admit I’m doing most of my book-reading on Kindle, though I know a lot of people for whom reading a book is more than an intellectual activity and they want the sensation of holding a printed volume. Fair enough.

My one regret about the Kindle is that I can’t pass a book on, and, aside from handing a particular book to someone in particular, Free Little Libraries are a great way to recycle ones you aren’t likely to read again.

Another is that there could be a master’s thesis in cross-checking the titles in a Free Little Library with the demographics in that Zip Code. The one nearest to me offers a mix of Belva Plain and Marcus Aurelius, plus children’s titles.

That’s why I live here.


And, to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, Baby Blues (KFS) features an arc in which Darryl discovers that shit happens. (This is yesterday’s start.)


Scooping is one of those things it’s safe for the Elvira Gulch Fan Club to lecture people on, but it’s like any other form of littering: Most people behave responsibly, some people never will.

Polite reminders, absolutely. But nagging is futile and simply creates bad vibes.

If the town with that hostile sign cared that much, they’d set up a few poop-bag dispensers, which they haven’t.

And, BTW, I’d point out that your angel-faced children are more likely to catch diseases from each other, except that then you’d pass laws requiring them to wear plastic gloves on the playground equipment.

Which most of them would, and some wouldn’t.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Flag Day in the Committee Room

  1. An urban legend type story, but I heard that when Abbie Hoffman was in jail because of that shirt, he asked the guards for something to read.

    The guards thought it would be funny to give him a Ladies Home Journal. Turns out that issue had a fashion article with some famous women, including Phyllis Diller(?) wearing a skirt made to resemble The Flag, and some other tops and such.

    Hoffman showed it to the guards and I guess they had a good laugh.

  2. I ran across a Free Little Library yesterday while wandering in a shopping plaza of a nearby town that I rarely visit. I was tempted to grab a Leon Uris paperback, but that would have left only two books in the library; I couldn’t bring myself to reduce the inventory when it’s already well-below critical mass.

  3. I wish our own Little Library had the “down to two or three books” problem. I’ve got bags and bags of books to put out, but every time a few spaces open, someone local stuffs another twenty or so books in (admittedly good ones, mostly, and yes, I realize that’s the idea) so that nobody can see anything beyond the first few, so I have to weed most of them out and add them to the bags and bags of books to put out later.

    And yes, I do carry some around in the car to distribute to other “branches,” but I only know of about four others in the vicinity, and I don’t want to stuff them to the gills either.

  4. One of the little free libraries I pass on my walks had a package of pasta in it one time. It was a gluten-free recipe, and there was a sticky note attached: “MISTAKES WERE MADE.”

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