Having solved all other problems Congress takes on Chinese-made American flags.

How’s the economy doing? On the rebound already? And the war in Iraq? All wrapped up and done with? High gas prices? Glad that’s all settled then. Just in time for Congress to get pissy about American flags:

The American flag has many labels: Stars and stripes. Old Glory. And sometimes, made in China.

Congress can’t halt the flow of Chinese-made flags, but lawmakers can try to control where they are flown. The House declared Monday that any flag flown on federal property should be made in the U.S.A.

“It’s not a major problem facing the nation,” admitted Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. “But it’s an irritant.”

It’s bad enough they’re wasting time on something this stupid, but it just had to be a Democrat that appears to be leading the charge. It probably doesn’t help that he’s the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee which pretty much means he has to demonstrate his knee-jerk patriotism on a regular basis or they’ll remove him for his position. Apparently Filner’s first plan was to pass legislation that would force the government to only purchase American-made American flags, but that ran into some trouble:

“But we were told that this mandatory stuff runs into trade agreements,” the eight-term congressman said.

That is because the U.S. has gone to great pains to hammer out trade deals with other countries and can’t impose new limits after the fact.

His solution was a nonbinding “sense of Congress” resolution that cleared the House on Monday. It doesn’t have any teeth, he admitted, but it’s a start.

So not only is this nonsense stupid, but it’s also pointless and unenforceable making it a perfect 100 on the scale of time wasters. Though I can’t entirely fault Filner alone as it turns out various state governments have also been engaging in pointless displays of knee-jerk patriotism. Take for example this stunning law:

A new law in Minnesota says all flags sold in the state must be made in the U.S., with violations subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 90 days. The industry says similar measures have cropped up in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Got that? It’s now illegal in Minnesota to sell an American flag that wasn’t made in America. That’s just nuts. Not as nuts as people getting death threats over a Eucharist, but it’s well on the way there. Of course the folks who make American flags in America are just pleased as punch about all of this:

It’s not just the government — several retail chains have decided to buy American-made flags. Liberman’s company sells flags to Ace Hardware, Target and Lowe’s. But he’s had trouble selling flags to some retailers.

“Others have not had a problem selling flags saying they are made in China or made in Korea,” he said. “We’re constantly trying to convince them there is a difference in quality and usability.”

I suppose I could see an argument over quality, but usability? As long as the damned thing hangs off a pole and flaps in the breeze what the hell else is there to use?