|Frightening information about the history of the
Pledge of Allegiance is at http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html
(with shocking historical photographs).
For fascinating information about symbolism see http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html
Hear audio on worldwide radio at http://rexcurry.net/audio-rex-curry-podcast-radio.html
click the photo above or see below for a larger example of this picture
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Last August, a fan at a baseball game says he was kicked out of Yankee Stadium by a police officer because he left his seat to use the bathroom during the seventh inning playing of God Bless America. The police officer, unlike the usher, is a government agent, so the fan had a basis for claiming that constitutional rights were at stake. Today, it was announced that the lawsuit was settled, though the city did not admit liability.
I do not begrudge the fan his $10,001 recovery or his attorneys at the NY Civil Liberties Union the $12,000 they will receive in legal fees (based on the 9 years I spent as a litigator, I’m pretty confident that fee is not excessive based on the time the attorneys must have spent on the case). However, it might have been nice to see an eloquent court opinion in this case, quoting the Barnette decision.
Donnie James White, 45, of Tampa, was arrested and charged
with one count of public mutilation of the flag, a misdemeanor on
July 9, 2007
Here is a report from another site -
Tampa man is in jail for violating Florida's flag-desecration law.
Police say 45-year-old Donnie White stomped on the flag, sat on it, and "rubbed it on himself." He's charged under Florida statute 876.52, under the category "Criminal Anarchy, Treason, and Other Crimes Against Public Order" (check it out, it's almost entirely made up of laws aimed at the KKK):
Public mutilation of flag.--Whoever publicly mutilates, defaces, or tramples upon or burns with intent to insult any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States or of Florida shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
First degree misdemeanors are punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. It isn't White's first clash with the cops; Hillsborough County records show several open container and disorderly conduct violations. Yet Donnie may have more than a public defender on his side this time around; flag desecration laws were struck down by the 1989 Texas v. Johnson Supreme Court case (one my Public Speaking students know very well).
I love America. I cheer for us in the Olympics and World Cup. I vote. I blow sh*t up on Independence Day. I have a flag I fly from time to time. Yet I recognize the semiotic difference between signifier and signified. Donnie White wasn't stomping on America; he was stomping on the symbol of an idea -- an idea that, by way of the First Amendment, protects his right to stomp on it (though I doubt Donnie had any particular political expression in mind).Flag desecration laws are fairly ludicrous on their face, however -- regardless of their unconstitutionality.
Today, the flag is a symbol of the USA's growing police state. The federal flag code is so broad and vague that most Americans do not realize that they violate the law constantly. The flag code bans the use of the flag on pins, hats, caps, bandanas, towels, bikinis, underwear, signs, patches, shirts, stickers, book covers, cell phone skins, etc. Individuals violate the law if they do almost anything with a flag besides hoist it up a pole and salute it. and see the US Code TITLE 4, CHAPTER 1, § 8 Respect for flag (g) etc. One hopes that any such law does not actually have any impact and is not enforced and that it does not prohibit photos of flag desecration, especially not those shown in a web image search for "flag bikini" http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=mozclient&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=flag%20bikini&sa=N&tab=wi