And Two Steps Back

News blog of a college student that's too young to know anything.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Republican's New Clothes

Flag Burning Redux
If this is an election year, it must be time to amend the Constitution.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006; A20

WITH CONGRESSIONAL elections coming, the Republican leadership has found a pivotal issue. Terrorism? Hardly. Entitlement reform? Don't be silly. We're talking about the grave threat to America known as flag burning. Yes, that election-year favorite is back: the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States allowing Congress to criminally punish the "physical desecration" of the American national banner. If you haven't noticed a rash of flag-burning incidents sweeping the nation that's because, well, there isn't one. But that doesn't stop Republicans from trotting it out as a more-patriotic-than-thou card.

They are, as always, close to having the votes to send it to the states for ratification. The House of Representatives has passed the measure and the vote will be tight in the Senate, where the Judiciary Committee approved the amendment 11 to 7. We hope the amendment will fall short of the needed two-thirds majority on the Senate floor; it's depressing enough that a majority of senators will support it.

The amendment would soil the First Amendment's command that Congress shall "make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." Flag burning is an odious form of expression. But there are lots of odious forms of expression the First Amendment protects: Holocaust denial and swastikas, racist rants and giant Confederate flags, hammers and sickles. The amendment's power is in its self-confident sweep: Speech, including expressive acts, will not be censored. Government cannot punish ideas. Members of Congress who would protect the flag thus do it far greater damage than a few miscreants with matches.

Editorial from here.

I think I finally discovered the reason why this is such a big issue (forgive me if it's been known for awhile) : most of the people who want to ban flag burning are usually the ones who are known to hide behind it. Though I can't help but think that even if they are naked and defenseless behind the flag, it would be like a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. When will Bush go proudly parading down the streets naked with everyone laughing. Figuratively I mean, not literally. Eww.

I would probably smile at the idea, but Wal-Mart is trying to get rights to the smiley face, and I don't want to risk trademark infringment.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

First post with a little trivia

Because I really didn't feel like covering my feelings of current news in my Livejournal, I figured I'd get trendy and get a Blogger. Hey, all the kids are getting one nowadays, so why the hell not?

So let's play a game, shall we? Recently, an emergency spending bill of $94.5 billion was passed in the Senate (with a rare 98 to 1 vote in favor) to cover war and hurricane relief expenses. Now, was the ratio of money:
A. Spead out evenly between the war and hurricane relief?
B. War costs were given a little bit more?
C. $66 billion was given to the war, with only $20 billion given the hurricane relief?

If you've picked C, you're correct! But wait, at least the hurricane relief efforts got some money right? Right?

Ooh, too bad the bill also included nearly $2 billion to beef up security along the U.S.-Mexico border (including $708 million to deploy National Guard troops), preventing the immigrants that are HELPING rebuild New Orleans out of the country.

Ouch, that's gotta hurt! Thanks for playing folks!