We voted today. Have you?

This election will be historic regardless of who wins, just for very different reasons. It’s important that you make your voice heard and it’s a civic duty one shouldn’t take lightly.

Thanks to an 11PM conference call to provide tech support to someone in India, I got to sleep in this morning and then Anne and I went to vote before I left for work.

We voted! Tah-dah!

We voted! Tah-dah!

I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton and voted blue straight down the ticket. Republicans have had a death grip on Michigan’s government for too long and, with any luck, perhaps we’ll tip the balance a little more towards the progressive side.

Hillary is most likely going to be our next President, but she’ll have a rough time of it if we don’t gain back at least one — but preferably both — houses of Congress. If you feel the same way then you shouldn’t be sitting this one out. Even if you can’t bring yourself to vote for either candidate for President, there’s still lots of other races you can make a difference in so go vote.

Some people can’t be happy unless everyone observes a holiday the same way they do.

I was reading an article at NatGeo’s website titled Memorial Day: How It’s Changed, Why Some Oppose 3-Day Weekend which was partially about the history of the holiday, but also included a section on why some folks are pushing legislation to have the date moved back to the 30th of May.

It seems some folks, mostly Republicans, don’t feel people are observing the holiday with the level of solemnity they feel it deserves:

“The majority of Americans view Memorial Day as a time for relaxation and leisure recreation rather than as a solemn occasion and a time to reflect and pay tribute to the American servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives in defense of our Nation,” according to an American Legion resolution issued at the group’s 2010 National Convention.

Basically they’re upset that some folks aren’t spending the day the way that these people think it should be spent. How dare they take advantage of a three day weekend to have fun!

But they can fix that:

Instead of being part of a long weekend, the resolution asks that Congress “restore the official observance of Memorial Day to May 30 and that all American institutions toll their bells for one minute, beginning at 11:00, on that date in remembrance of those who died defending the Nation.”

Yes, I’m sure ruining a three-day weekend for everyone will suddenly make them more reverent about the sacrifices of service members.

Look, I appreciate the sacrifices that have been made by my fellow countrymen to secure the freedom we enjoy, but isn’t observing a holiday they way I feel like observing it part of that “freedom” thing they died for? For all their talk about Liberty and Freedom, the Republicans certainly seem keen to spell out how others should live their lives and if you’re not living it they way they think you should be then they’ll see if they can’t force you to do so.

I’m really sick of the false-patriotism of the flag-wavers in this country who think that they have a lock on what it means to be patriotic, but can’t be bothered to fulfill basic civil duties such as jury duty. You want to spend your Memorial Day visiting the graves of dead service members? Hey man, more power to you. I’ll raise a toast at the BBQ I’ll be attending instead.

Don’t think breaking a three day weekend will change that.

Who knew reciting the Pledge of Allegiance allowed you to do so much?

At one point Tuesday night during the Republican convention they had a video featuring 15-year-old Victoria Blackstone reading an essay she wrote about the Pledge of Allegiance. It featured all sorts of patriotic imagery and the young woman talking about how, when she recites the pledge, she’s there with the Founding Fathers and she signs the Declaration of Independence and she’s with the slaves as they’re running for freedom and she’s marching with Martin Luther King and helping dig out the bodies at ground zero and with her cousin as he fights over in Iraq. Well, here, see for yourself:

Have you ever heard a bigger bunch of saccharine soaked sentiment? The point she appears to be trying to make is that she feels “united” in spirit with all those other people who, you know, actually did something patriotic without all the fuss of actually doing something patriotic beyond writing an essay full of platitudes. Needless to say, the Republicans just ate that shit up. It’s a pretty shallow attempt at defending the Pledge of Allegiance as this great ritual that gives kids a sense of “being a part of history” or some such nonsense ignoring the fact that, since the inclusion of the words “under God” in 1954, the Pledge is a divisive rather than inclusive patriotic ritual.

Now I’ll cut Victoria some slack because she’s 15 and hasn’t had a lot of time to actually go out and do patriotic stuff as opposed to just talking about it, but the poem seems so perfectly representative of how the Republicans like to talk about patriotism without actually doing anything that I couldn’t let it pass without comment. For example, for all the talk about “supporting our troops” the Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular, have done a pretty piss-poor job of actually doing something to support them. Like make sure they actually have all the body armor and equipment they needed to do the job they were sent overseas to do. Or to ensure that the veterans hospitals are funded well enough to not only provided the needed care to the wounded soldiers, but so that the buildings themselves didn’t literally fall down around them or make them even sicker because they were infected with mold. The Republicans don’t want to improve the G.I. Bill so that it actually provides soldiers with a decent college education because then they might decide not to re-enlist in the service. They also don’t want too many soldiers to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because then they’d actually feel responsible for having to help them in some way so they order them dishonorably discharged for “behavior problems” thus not only preventing costly mental health payments, but also stripping them of any other benefits they might have had coming to them.

But, boy, they sure do love to talk about how much they support the troops, eh?

I’m sorry, but patriotism to me is something you do, not something you stand around talking about while swelling your chest with a false sense of pride over accomplishments you personally had nothing to do with. Whether it’s something as simple as fulfilling your civic duty by taking time off for jury duty or actually being one of the people helping out at a disaster scene such as ground zero. And, no, the action of slapping a flag on your bumper doesn’t really count.

This was all brought about by this CBS news article about how the soldiers that show up in that video clip were just actors. I guess some folks think that’s a problem:

A veteran’s advocate said that with soldiers still deployed and in harm’s way, there is an obligation not to sugar coat reality.

“What it does reveal is a serious lack of understanding and a lack of personal connection to the military,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Rieckhoff, who is at the convention with a contingent of veterans added that a video tribute to Medal of Honor Winner Michael Monsoor, a Navy Seal killed in Iraq, shown on Tuesday night, used combat video that appeared to him and several other veterans of the Iraq war to have been staged.

Staged or real, I don’t see what difference it makes. The poem itself is what they should be annoyed with, not the fact that they dressed some actors up and told them to act all patriotic and stuff. At least that’s the way I see it.

Found via ***Dave.

Man ejected from Yankee Stadium because left his seat during “God Bless America.”

From the You-Have-To-Be-Fucking-Kidding-Me file:

wcbstv.com – Fan Ejected From Yankee Stadium For Bathroom Break

During the patriotic 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, nature called on Bradford Campeau-Laurion. When he tried to leave his seat during the traditional singing of God Bless America, however, he says he was stopped by a NYPD officer who said he’d have to wait until the song was done.

“I then said to him, ‘I don’t care about God Bless America. I just need to use the bathroom.’ As soon as I said that, he immediately pinned my arm behind my back,” Campeau-Laurion told CBS 2.

The 29-year-old says two officers pinned both of his arms behind his back and ejected him from the stadium.

“He shoved me out the front gate and told me get out of their country if I didn’t like it,” he said.

Apparently the New York Yankees have some sort of rule mandating that fans aren’t allowed to leave their seats during the playing of God Bless America and it’s enforced by the ushers, stadium security, and the NYPD. Needless to say, this is absolutely ridiculous and the fan has contacted the local ACLU to look into a lawsuit. Meanwhile the Yankees are saying this is a police matter and what is the response of the cops? They’ve opted to lie about it:

“The officers observed a male standing on his seat, cursing, using inappropriate language and acting in a disorderly manner while reeking of alcohol, and decided to eject him rather than subject others to his offensive behavior.

Campeau-Laurion was at the game with a Yankees season ticket holder who couldn’t believe the cops allegations.

“That’s ridiculous,” said the fan, who asked not to be identified. “That’s completely false.”

Seems to be a matter of policy with some police departments these days to make shit up when they’re caught doing something they shouldn’t.

Hat tip to God is for Suckers.

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?

CRISIS IN PORTLAND OREGON! GRADE SCHOOL DROPS PLEDGE FROM CEREMONIES!

It’s shocking, but true! The Commie Pinko Latte sipping Liberal bastards that run the Capitol Hill Elementary school have opted not to have departing fifth graders recite the Pledge of Allegiance during this years ceremony. One local mom is HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY distraught over this injustice:

“I was sad,” said parent Briana Reese. “The flag was sitting up there, you know. Two of the kids went up and they said ‘everybody rise’ and we rose and I thought for just a second ‘oh yeah, we’re going to put our hands on our hearts and we’re going to salute the flag’ – but no.”

Reese had heard that the principal planned to take the pledge out of the ceremony.

“I think that’s what they should be doing – telling kids you should be pledging your allegiance to this country,” said Reese. “This is a great country. You’re here for a reason.”

Yes, the reason you’re here is because your parents were Americans and they had sex. What better way to celebrate your reason for being than to recite your allegiance to a flag at an age where the sentiment is completely lost on you. How the hell can you possibly grow up to be responsible gay-hatin’, Republican votin’, gun totin’ adults if we don’t indoctrinate the living hell out of you by the time you leave the fifth grade? I bet the ACLU is behind this! BURN ‘EM! BURN THE WITCHES!

And just what did they replace the pledge with? Probably some recitals from the Communist Manifesto no doubt!

The pledge was instead replaced with a singing version of the preamble to the Constitution.

Oh. Well. That is a catchy little tune. Still it’s NO REPLACEMENT for the God fearing patriotism to be found in the Pledge! I’m sure EVERYONE is as outraged about this issue as Briana Reese is!

KATU tried repeatedly to talk with Principal Pam Wilson but got no results. However, in an e-mail response to Reese’s questions, she explained the pledge was removed “out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths.”

Some parents support the principal’s decision.

“I think it’s nice to be trying to consider everybody,” said parent Teri Price. “But I don’t think she necessarily meant it to be that controversial. I think she just wanted a change.”

MORE COMMIE PINKO LIBERALS! BURN ‘EM!