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Too close for comfort

I don't think I have to itemize all the reasons why the flag-burning amendment is a terrible idea. It seems one of the few issues on which rational people on both sides of the spectrum seem to be in agreement. Still, that didn't stop the Senate from coming within one vote of the two-thirds necessary for passage.

Look, I understand that these issues provide great opportunities for congressmen to posture and preen, but this time they just came too damn close to doing some serious damage. I think it's time to try a different approach with these people.

Let's start encouraging them to take expensive junkets. In fact, let's tie their salary to how many boondoogles they take away from D.C. (where they're capable of doing real harm.) Let's give them huge expense accounts so they can buy lavish dinners in the nicest restaurants. Let's distract them with hookers and complimentary booze in the Senate cloakroom. Let's fill their dockets with non-binding resolutions, "sense of the Senate" votes and "congratulate the troops" statements.

How much could all this decadence cost? There are only about 500 of the dudes, so I'm guessing that even with first-class travel, luxury hotels, 5-star hookers and Cristal champagne, we'd still come out under a billion per year to foot the bill for all this distraction. That's a bargain in Washington by any standards. And the side benefit of having them too busy/apathetic/drunk to pass crappy legislation that we'll all have to live with? Priceless.


and that's different from how it's done now in what way exactly?

Being too busy, drunk, and apathetic never stopped anybody from saving the world from such a menace.

Jesus! That's like a rant I could have written. Years ago, the catch-phrase was "legislative gridlock". I used to tell people that I loved legislative gridlock because the less they could do, the safer I felt.

How is a flag burning amendment serious damage to the constitution?

Because breathless hyperbole is what makes blogs cool. ;-)

But let me not answer you glibly. Let me answer with a cliche instead: I really don't want to see the Consitution turned into a penal code. I realize the precedent has already been set for that, but I do believe that amending the Constition is serious business, and I'd hate to see it done for such a non-issue as flag-burning.

Bingo, BNJ. You knocked it out of the park again. The first ten amendments to the constitution are entirely concerned with the rights of the people. Many of the remaining amendments are similarly concerned with rights. Some of the other amendments are about how our government is organized, which is likewise appropriate for a consitution (direct election of Senators, an income tax, etc.). What is not appropriate is writing criminal law into the Constitution. That's what we have the federal legal system for, that's what the states do, that's not a job for amendments. Thank goodness it is hard to pass an amendment.

Oh, and here's a nice reference. Turns out that incidents of flag burning are on the increase and rose 33% last year. They went from 3 to 4. Yeah, we need a constitutional amendment for that problem.


Thank you, Barry (is that your name. I was serious, and afraid I get "hit" with angry hyperbole. But everyone was wringing their hands one way or the other and I just had to ask. And I agree with you.

If flag burnng becomes a crime, can "Hate speech" be far behind?

> Thank you, Barry (is that your name.

Yes, that's me. :-)

At last we agree on something.

The right to burn the flag is just as fucking important as the right to swear.


Even if this vote passed, it has a long way to go before the Constitution is amended.

More election year BS.

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