Someone Needs a Phone Call

Another day, another member of the American Taliban is exposed:

A Florida mayor ejected one of his constituents from a City Commission meeting on Thursday because he declined to stand during the invocation and pledge to the flag at the beginning of the meeting.

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, a nonpartisan official leading an Orlando suburb of about 37,000, was caught on video demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer, which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

The audience member responded, “I don’t believe I have to do that, thank you.” After the prayer, Rees again instructed the constituent, identified by the Orlando Sentinel as Joseph Richardson, to stand for the pledge to the flag as “children have to in school.” Richardson again politely declined.

“Okay. I asked him to either stand or please be escorted out as we do the Pledge,” Rees says in the video. “It’s just not fair to our troops and people overseas, sir.”

City police then enforced the mayor’s demand and Richardson left.

Should you want to email or make a POLITE phone call to Mayor Rees, his contact information can be found here:

mayorrees

John Rees, Mayor/Commissioner, District 5 – City Wide

P.O. Box 1161
Winter Garden, FL 34777
Phone: 407.656.7372
jrees@wintergarden-fl.gov
Term Expires: March 2017

Betty- will you please move back to the real world?






117 replies
  1. 1
    Seth Owen says:

    And yet they get so insulted when you call them the American Taliban. He loves his country so much he will gladly shit on the Bill of Rights to prove it.

  2. 2
    bemused says:

    The mayor said he gave the resident an “option”. I wouldn’t call stand or get escorted out an option. That was an ultimatum.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Someone needs to have Lee Greenwood blasted into his home 24/7.

  4. 4
    Mike in NC says:

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Florida.”

  5. 5
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    “Freedom OF religion, not Freedom FROM (My) Religion!”

  6. 6
    West of the Cascades says:

    IANA civil rights L, but my sense is that Mr. Richardson will have a fairly nice settlement coming from City of Winter Garden for violating his First Amendment rights. I vaguely recall a Supreme Court case (involving New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die” motto on car license plates) that says that the right NOT to speak is equally protected under the Constitution.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    Sounds better in the original German.
    Ein Volk, ein ReichFlorida, ein Fuhrer.

    “It’s for the troops.” Uh, I doubt the troops ever asked.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, a nonpartisan official

    Uh huh.

  9. 9
    Mandalay says:

    Well this ain’t over. Shit will be hitting the fan one way or another in a couple of weeks.

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the city today spelling out the constitutional violations of which the Mayor is guilty and telling them how they must remedy the situation:
    (1) The government may not force citizens to stand for the Pledge of allegiance.
    (2) Government officials may not ask citizens to stand for prayers or, (3) say prayers themselves.

    To remedy the Pledge violation, at the next meeting, Mayor Rees ought to explain that citizens are within their rights to remain sitting for the Pledge and that it does not reflect a lack of patriotism… [Police] Chief [George] Brennan should make a similar statement. Patriotism and religiosity are not one and the same…
    To show solidarity with Thoreau, several atheist members of the CFFC will attend the city’s next meeting in two weeks and remain seated during the invocation and Pledge.

    The mayor may have won that battle. He is going to lose the war he’s started.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    “It’s just not fair to our troops and people overseas, sir.”

    That’s hysterical. Do “the troops” give a damn if this guy stands or not? WTF? And “people overseas”? Who’s that? Non-Americans are “overseas.” Or does he mean Americans not in the United States, who probably give less of a damn than “the troops” do about this issue.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    J. says:

    I wish I could say I was surprised or shocked. (Also, is it just me or does it look like those guys are about to Sieg Heil? Talk about a furor…)

  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @J.:

    Saw what you did there. Nicely played.

  14. 14
    AndoChronic says:

    As an actual troop who has been overseas (in combat) the conduct of Mayor John Rees is deplorable. Are we defending The Constitution of the United States or The Constitution of Hillbilly White Trash?

  15. 15
    J R in WV says:

    I think it was established in the 1940s that “children DON’T have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance” in a law suit filed on behalf of Jehova’s Witness children in WVA. The matter was finally decided in favor of religious freedom by the US Supreme Court.

    From a CNN round-up:

    1943 – In West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette (319 U.S. 624), the Supreme Court rules that requiring a person to say the pledge is violating the first and fourteenth amendments. The case involved a Jehovah’s Witness student refusing to say the pledge in schools on the grounds it was against his or her religious beliefs.

    There have been many lawsuits since, as asshats refuse to abide by that original finding by the Supremes. The asshats always lose, spending great amounts of $$ on lawyers.

    Actually, asshat may be to august a title for this piece of trash from a Confederate state. Ignorant needs to be worked into his job description.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”
    stand for the pledge to the flag as “children have to in school.” Richardson again politely declined.
    “It’s just not fair to our troops and people overseas, sir.”

    I’d be afraid to see the results of a poll that asked how many Americans saw the five different kinds of stupid in this story.

  17. 17
    c u n d gulag says:

    Calling, now!
    Let”s see if anyone answers – this being a Labor Day Sunday…

  18. 18
    Belafon says:

    @West of the Cascades: Well, you can’t turn this into a Christian nation unless you build on the Roberts’ court ruling that allows (Christian) prayers at a public meeting and challenge people’s rights to not pray.

    // (Borrowing LGF’s sarcasm tag)

  19. 19
    Hungry Joe says:

    Ever since I was a kid, reciting the Pledge — mumblng along with the mumbling crowd — has make me feel like a goddam fool. Generally I just stand up and hold my hand limply in the vicinity of where I’ve been told my heart is. Clearly, this guy in Florida has more guts than I do.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of civics (and lack thereof), civic-minded Wonkette wanders over to the White House to see how National Impeach Obama Week is going.

  21. 21
    shelley says:

    The still of that video is a hoot. Looks like a meeting of various Dr. Evils.

  22. 22

    @J R in WV:

    Stare decisis. In a time of war, no less. Justice Jackson wrote the opinion.

    WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL. v. BARNETTE ET AL., 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

    “…Associated with many of these symbols are appropriate gestures of acceptance or respect: a salute, a bowed or bared head, a bended knee. A person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it, and what is one man’s comfort and inspiration is another’s jest and scorn…”

    “… Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard…”

    “….If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us…”

  23. 23
    Zam says:

    And yet these people claim a violation of their rights when they are told they can’t call other people faggot without any repercussions

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @trollhattan:

    Dragondrones. LOL.

  25. 25
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: What non-partisan means is that the state requires jungle primaries and runoffs if no candidate makes 50% +1.

    So you’re basically not allowed to have a primary. I’m pretty sure white supremacy and protection of the establishment is the motive. With a primary followed by a general those milling masses might stand a chance of running their own candidate. With the Florida system even in a smaller city you still need thousands of dollars to get your foot in the door and it has the bonus of suppressing the vote of people lower on the economic scale since they can’t identify which candidate might better represent their interests. (The rich don’t have this issue as they met the candidate in person at fundraising house parties.)

    HTH.

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Hungry Joe: I don’t worry about saying pledge as adult because it’s my chance to refuse to say “under god”. I attempt to break everyone else’s rhythm by saying “one nation indivisible”. This is double fun as a yankee in the South.

    Otherwise I don’t really care about the pledge except for the misreading in The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson: I pledge allegiance to the frog…

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Polite, my ass. This fascist shitstain needs a slap upside the head.

  28. 28
    Jack Carter says:

    Seems someone has forgotten the 2006 case of Frazier v. Alexandre, in which a federal court held that requiring someone to stand for the Pledge is a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. (http://bit.ly/1tQBRLB)

  29. 29
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    What non-partisan means is that the state requires jungle primaries and runoffs if no candidate makes 50% +1.

    Most small municipalities run their elections this way; I’ve only lived in one city (where I was born) that had partisan elections and primaries, etc. Certainly everywhere I’ve lived since leaving home only has non-partisan elections. Though (thinking back to Somerville), I think many only require a plurality rather than a majority.

  30. 30
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Not only do they need to go after the city, but also go after the mayor and the police chief personally.

  31. 31
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer, which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

    It’s amazing that they can actually say things like that out loud without hearing the contradiction.

    It reminds me of a story Bertrand Russell told about when he was sent to prison for anti-war demonstrations, and when the intake guard asking his name and other details to put on a form came to “religion?” and Russell replied “agnostic”, the guard asked him how to spell it, then as he wrote it down said with a benign smile to Russell “Well, I guess we all worship the same God, whatever we call him”. Russell said it kept him cheered up in prison for days.

    Florida, where you’re free to have any beliefs you want as long as they’re Christian fundamentalist, because, well what else could there be?

  32. 32

    @J.:

    The irony is that supposedly the original compulsory salute while reciting the pledge in the 1943 Supreme Court case was with the right arm extended and the palm down. Until someone complained that it looked too much like the fascist salute so they modified it with the palm up. That makes it look somewhat theatrical.

    The additional irony is that the Pledge of Allegiance (contrary to Evita Mooselini’s opinion, it was not known by our nation’s founders) was written by a socialist minister for a children’s magazine at the end of the nineteenth century. The text was changed during the red scare from “my country” to “United States of America”. “Under god” was added in the 1950’s. I’m this close to starting a White House petition to add the phrase “read the @%$&ing Constitution” at the end.

    I covered the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa in 2007 – right wingnuts went ballistic when then Senator Obama stood respectfully for the national anthem (but did not place his hand over his heart). Those who ignore history are, well….stupid

    I don’t recite the pledge and i don’t place my hand over my heart at meetings anymore.

  33. 33
    Mike J says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    So you’re basically not allowed to have a primary.

    Sure you can. If you want to decide who the one true representative of your party is, you get your party together and decide any way you’d like. You then get that person on the ballot and you tell people, “My party endorses this candidate.”

    What you don’t have is the government paying for some private organizations to choose their leaders while refusing to pay for others.

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, but when was the last time John Cole put up four (4, count ’em) substantive posts before noon? On a weekend, yet? Nice going!

  35. 35
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I did that once too, but I was building a fence.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:
    LOL!

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @trollhattan:

    Sounds better in the original German.

    You only say that because you haven’t heard somebody saying it in German with a Florida accent. Then you’d decide that perhaps English is better.

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    @Michael Bersin:

    The irony is that supposedly the original compulsory salute while reciting the pledge in the 1943 Supreme Court case was with the right arm extended and the palm down. Until someone complained that it looked too much like the fascist salute so they modified it with the palm up. That makes it look somewhat theatrical.

    Conjures some odd images in one’s head. I suggest we change from hand-on-chest to “jazz hands”–the pledge as choreographed by Bob Fosse.

  39. 39
    Patrick says:

    Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, a nonpartisan official leading an Orlando suburb of about 37,000, was caught on video demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer, which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

    If we are truly free, then why is this poor man not allowed to decide for himself if he wants to sit or stand?

    By the way, most western democracies are also free to believe, think and pray. And I have yet see some idiot mayor in a foreign country FORCING their own citizens to stand up for a prayer. Prayers, by the way, that the bible says we should do in private, not in public.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Not only do they need to go after the city, but also go after the mayor and the police chief personally.

    With a crowbar and chainsaw, as an example to others.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Thanks. I do know what nonpartisan means. I think many, if not most, small towns and cities hold nonpartisan municipal elections.

    I was trying to be mildly funny. Dammit, we need a snark font around here!

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    “Okay, that’s one cooter pie, one order of gator fritters, curly fries and two RC Colas, would y’all like any Backpfeifengesich with that, sugar?”

  43. 43
    Fred says:

    Well thank God for allowing us to live in a country where we are free to think, believe and pray. Just so long as we think, believe and pray the way this goose stepping little dictator says we should.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Love the Bertrand Russell story! That’s a keeper!

  45. 45
    Tommy says:

    I fly a US flag. I flew it in the running up to the war in Iraq. Up side down. Known as a distressed. People knocked on my door and asked if I was OK.

  46. 46
    Mike G says:

    which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

    “You’re free to believe the same things I do,” the mayor should have added.

  47. 47
    Redshift says:

    @Patrick:

    If we are truly free, then why is this poor man not allowed to decide for himself if he wants to sit or stand?

    Because the conservative definition of “freedom” is that you’re free to do the *right* thing. Trying to do anything else is “abusing your freedoms.” George Lakoff wrote a whole book about it. It’s bizarre and appalling, but that’s what they mean when they say “freedom.”

  48. 48
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    “I pledge allegiance… to Queen Fragg… and her mighty state of hysteria”

    http://www.gocomics.com/calvin.....ANimj5xjFY

  49. 49
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    A Calvin and Hobbes link leads to moderation?

    FYWP – who knew it was anti-Bill Watterson!

  50. 50
    wenchacha says:

    @J R in WV: My best friend in elementary school was a Jehovah’s witness. She was cool; we both liked Snoopy and Peanuts and secret codes and stuff. I remember her having to sit for the Pledge, in about 1967. The homeroom teacher usually understood the issue.

    Our music teacher, a very solid Catholic woman, would punch my buddy Joyce for not singing the Catholic hymns for our concert in our public school. Joyce also couldn’t sing Christmas songs in December, and other outrages to the very nun-like teacher we had.

    This all goes back a few freakin years. For a nation that is so in love with religious freedom (for Christians,) the lack of knowledge regarding other established religions is an embarrassment.

  51. 51
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    Looks like I mistyped my email address…and FYWP had a freak out. Can someone take take my Calvin & Hobbes comments out of moderation?

    http://michaelyingling.com/ran.....allegiance

  52. 52
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I’m pretty sure this story is going to show up as Chap.1 in a new Carl Hiassen novel. The fun is just beginning.

  53. 53
    wvng says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It is truly great to see John getting back in the saddle. Or back on the bike. Or whatever metaphor applies.

  54. 54
    Betsy says:

    Actually, I think the citizen has a Section 1983 claim. Lawyers??

  55. 55
    My Truth Hurts says:

    “Free to think” which is exactly why that man declined to pray.

    The f uck is wrong with some people?

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    Please, somebody buy this woman a “G.”

    Hopefully before you go outside, grillin’ that steak.

  57. 57
    Steve S says:

    i just emailed.

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    It probably comes from not being raised in American schools, but I’ve always found the whole concept of the Pledge incredibly creepily North Koreanish. Especially when applied to children in schools. Loyalty oaths? Fuck that noise.

  59. 59
    Cervantes says:

    @Betsy: 42 USC 1983 is most often used for Fourth Amendment claims, primarily involving use of excessive force by police. Other grounds: First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection), and, perhaps most relevant here, under Monell, 43 US 658 (1978).

    So … yes, it’s possible.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Chris: It is fairly repulsive, I agree.

    I guess it appeals to a certain cast of mind.

  61. 61
    Cervantes says:

    @My Truth Hurts: “Free to think” does not imply “can think.”

  62. 62
    Mike G says:

    @Chris:

    It probably comes from not being raised in American schools, but I’ve always found the whole concept of the Pledge incredibly creepily North Koreanish. Especially when applied to children in schools.

    This. I grew up as a US expat going through the motions of enforced patriotic rituals in other countries to be polite, but I always found them very creepy. And it inevitably encourages junior douchebags to bully immigrants, or those who don’t conform to their self-proclaimed standards of nationalist obeisance.

    To me it’s like the phrase, “Don’t tell me you’re a Christian, show me.” I know what country I’m in, and if it’s a good place I will have affection for it, because I have chosen it, not because of some authoritarian demand for obedience.

  63. 63
    J. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thank you.

    @Michael Bersin: And thank you for the history lesson. I knew about “Under God” being added but not the history of the pledge. In a word, Oy.

    On a related note, check out Bruni’s Op-Ed in the Times today on the difference between Godliness and Godlessness.

  64. 64
    Suzanne says:

    @Chris: I WAS raised in American schools, and I also find it creepy. I haven’t recited it since I was in junior high school.

    I remember when I told my mom that I didn’t recite it, and I specifically mentioned that I would not pledge allegiance to a piece of fabric. She said, “That’s not what it says…..oh, WAIT….”. She commented that reciting it was so automatic that she had never actually realized what she was saying. I noted that that was fucked up, she agreed, and she never gave me shit about it. Awesome.

  65. 65
    FridayNext says:

    @J.:

    My favorite photo of kids reciting pledge. It seems appropriate here.

    ETA: Missed that someone already explained this. Oh well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  66. 66
    Jacks mom says:

    I emailed him. I doubt it will help. He reminds me of the white Mormon uncles I grew up around. Always telling me about mans free agency to choose & then freaking out when they saw my choices. Obvs didn’t apply to a free thinking female.

  67. 67
    louc says:

    If you really want to get depressed, read the comments from the Orlando Sentinel article. I really fear for our country.

  68. 68
    Mandalay says:

    @Chris:

    I’ve always found the whole concept of the Pledge incredibly creepily North Koreanish

    It’s not as creepy as corporation pledges of allegiance. Here’s one you’ll wish you hadn’t watched: White management guy desperately trying to be cool.

  69. 69
    Suzanne says:

    Spawn the Elder just informed me that they are required to also recite the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. Apparently that’s Arizona state law. WEIRD.

  70. 70
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Botsplainer: And ruin a perfectly good crowbar and chainsaw?

  71. 71
    trollhattan says:

    @Suzanne:
    They should do the E Plebnista.

  72. 72
    Botsplainer says:

    @Mandalay:

    He’s like the asshole spawn of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute.

    A living parody of a sitcom.

  73. 73
    Botsplainer says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    And ruin a perfectly good crowbar and chainsaw?

    That’s the beauty. They can be hosed off and reused.

  74. 74
    brantl says:

    We need to bury this guy in e-mail. Polite e-mail, but a shit-ton of it.

  75. 75
    jayjaybear says:

    @Redshift: That’s like the Catholic doctrine of “informed conscience”…you’re free to decide what is right and wrong by your conscience, as long as your conscience is “informed” by the Church’s laws and morals.

  76. 76
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Suzanne:

    I had to memorize the first part of the Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution in grade school. I can still rattle them off.

  77. 77
    Violet says:

    @Mandalay: That is insane. The people standing in the doorway are like, “WTF? We’re not going to clap for this crazy shit. We work here but you can’t make us be cheerleaders.”

    And the woman just in front of them is doing the barest minimum of clapping, probably so she won’t get in trouble. She stops clapping immediately once it’s over and tries to walk away. Whereupon the Dancing White Guy slaps her on the butt or leg. Seriously.

  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    I’m visiting relatives in Alabama at the moment. Makes me appreciate the relative sanity of Florida.

  79. 79
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Zounds.

    Also, too, in addition to Moose Lady, Washington State idiot Republicans to celebrate Labor Day, in this instance by boycotting Labor Day, goin’ to work instead.

    Just what is it a wingnut “think” tank employee calls work?

  80. 80
    Mike J says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I had to memorize the first part of the Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution in grade school. I can still rattle them off.

    For the preamble I still can’t recite it without singing the schoolhouse rock song.

  81. 81
    Tommy says:

    @Suzanne: I kid you not. I got called into the Principals office. The public school in Lubbock TX said the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every school day. I think I was like 7. No clue why. But I refused to do it. The cool thing is my parents had my back.

  82. 82
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike J:

    No musical mnemonics for me. There was no “Schoolhouse Rock” in my day.

    Shit, there was barely even TV in my day.

  83. 83
    Felonius Monk says:

    I have a suspicion that Mayor Ass-Boil will soon be lanced.

  84. 84
    Tokyokie says:

    After 9/11, at the NYC baseball parks, performances of God Bless America started replacing Take Me Out to the Ballgame as the seventh-inning-stretch anthem. Now, long after the ritual has lost any meaning, the practice has become de rigeur at every MLB park, and despite the PA announcer’s request to “rise and honor America,” I refuse to do so. It’s not merely that it’s overly jingoistic celebration of supposed American exceptionalism, it’s one of Irving Berlin’s worst songs. (Really, Irving, rhyming “white with foam” with “home, sweet home?” You weren’t exactly Puttin’ on the Ritz when you penned that one.) Now if ballparks played This Land Is Your Land instead, I’d happily participate, but public expressions of patriotism in the United States are the exclusive province of right-wingers, and a tune from an unapologetic lefty like Woody Guthrie would not even be considered.

    I feel the same way about George M. Cohan’s You’re a Grand Old Flag, but unlike Berlin, I can’t recall any of his songs that don’t suck.

  85. 85
    Tommy says:

    @Tokyokie: I did not know that. I am a huge baseball guy. As a St. Louis guy might call you “pond scum.” Not a fan of the Mets.

  86. 86
    the Conster says:

    @Tokyokie:

    unapologetic lefty

    I hate that phrase. What’s to apologize for?

  87. 87
    gocart mozart says:

    @FridayNext:
    Do you know who else had the swastika as a symbol of their organization?
    http://streaming.lawley.wa.edu.....ption.html

  88. 88
    Cervantes says:

    @Tokyokie:

    Now if ballparks played This Land Is Your Land instead, I’d happily participate

    It’s true that the song gives voice to left values, but it ignores — denies — a big problem: how, exactly, did “this land” become “my land”? As Pete Seeger said:

    This land is your land, but it once was my land,
    Until we sold you Manhattan Island.
    You pushed our Nations to the reservations;
    This land was stole by you from me.

    Sing that, too, sometimes.

  89. 89
    efgoldman says:

    @Tokyokie:

    unlike Berlin, I can’t recall any of his songs that don’t suck.

    Most popular songs from Cohan’s era suck by our standards. Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like kind of spoiled us.

  90. 90
    dirk says:

    Everybody on that city council is wearing the same shirt? That’s kind of creepy.

  91. 91
    Arclite says:

    Man, I hope he sues the shit out of them.

  92. 92
    Thoughtcrime says:

    What’s with the all light blue shirts?

    These guys also need a haberdasher.

    The obvious fashion choice is brown shirts.

  93. 93
    Chris T. says:

    @Suzanne: Hah, that’s what I said about it. I’m not allied with the thing made of cloth.

    Many of my school years had no early-AM pledge, but for those that did, I used an edited version: “I pledge allegiance to … the U S of A, the republic for which it stands” (meaning, at this point, the ideas behind the country), “one nation … with liberty and justice” (for some). God seemed to have nothing to do with anything, Indivisible was obviously out (there was this thing called the “Civil War”—at the time, I did not know some still call it “the War Between the States”—and clearly there was not justice for all…).

  94. 94
    geg6 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I have never in my life seen a nonpartisan municipal ballot. There is no such thing here. You can be on both ballots for the primary and have the designation of both parties in the general, but everybody knows who is really which party when that happens. Which is much more rare than you’d think.

  95. 95
    moderateindy says:

    What I always find amusing about the Xtian fundies regarding their so-called patriotism, especially when it comes to thing like the pledge, is how blatantly at odds it is with the ten commandments edict about idolatry. They are, after all worshipping the flag, plain and simple.

  96. 96
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl: yep. For all the righties rant about freedom they sure don;t understand it. Listening to a rightie talk about “freedom” is like listening to a first grader explain quantum physics.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    She stops clapping immediately once it’s over and tries to walk away.

    This reminds me of applause during a speech by Stalin. The first guy to stop clapping gets shot…even though he stopped after five minutes or so of clapping.

  98. 98
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Woodrowfan: Dude, my money’s on the first grader in that one.

  99. 99
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    Fuck Orlando, all it’s suburbs, and all of their elected officials.

  100. 100
    Wally Ballou says:

    “Unless we each conform, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.” —Frank Burns

  101. 101
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Redshift: Like gays are totally free to marry someone of the opposite sex.

  102. 102
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    politely, but sternly worded email sent.

  103. 103
    Wally Ballou says:

    @Redshift: A lot of the God-botherer types will argue a distinction between “freedom” (what We have) and “license” (what They want).

  104. 104
    Tokyokie says:

    @the Conster:

    unapologetic lefty

    I hate that phrase. What’s to apologize for?

    We have absolutely nothing for which to apologize, yet those on the left are constantly made to feel as though they are not as truly American as those on the right, and many will capitulate to this social pressure. Woody Guthrie, to his everlasting credit, never did.

    @Cervantes:

    It’s true that the song gives voice to left values, but it ignores — denies — a big problem: how, exactly, did “this land” become “my land”? As Pete Seeger said:

    This land is your land, but it once was my land,
    Until we sold you Manhattan Island.
    You pushed our Nations to the reservations;
    This land was stole by you from me.

    Sing that, too, sometimes.

    Hell, it’s rare enough that the opportunity arises to sing the original lyrics to This Land Is Your Land in public, much less the revisionist lyrics or even the many subsequent verses Guthrie wrote.

    @efgoldman:

    unlike Berlin, I can’t recall any of his songs that don’t suck.
    Most popular songs from Cohan’s era suck by our standards. Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like kind of spoiled us.

    Berlin was more or less a contemporary of Cohan’s, as he was born only 10 years after him. (Berlin wrote his breakthrough hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, in 1911; Cohan’s first Broadway show, Little Johnny Jones, was in 1904.) But then, Berlin was a contemporary of Porter and Gershwin, as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein, shifting his musical stylings with tastes, going from revues in the 1920s and ’30s, to more structured works like Annie Get Your Gun and Call Me Madam in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Cohan, unlike Berlin, didn’t really change as tastes did, which I think is probably why Berlin’s songs are more fondly remembered. Well that, and Irving could pen a much better lyric that Cohan (with God Bless America being a notable exception).

  105. 105
    Chet says:

    @Tokyokie:

    I feel the same way about George M. Cohan’s You’re a Grand Old Flag, but unlike Berlin, I can’t recall any of his songs that don’t suck.

    I confess a certain affection for “Harrigan”.

  106. 106
    khead says:

    @Mike J:

    I had a HS gov’t teacher who lowered the grade of anyone she could catch singing the Schoolhouse Rock version when we had to recite the preamble. No humming, tapping, etc.

  107. 107
    g says:

    @Cervantes: Just after 911, the Seattle Mariners played “America the Beautiful” during the 7th inning stretch, and I thought it was beautiful. Unfortunately, they shortly thereafter knuckled under to the orthodoxy of playing “God Bless America.” I agree with you, it’s an awful song. clunky and tuneless.

  108. 108
    stibbert says:

    Do government oblasts such as Winter Garden carry insurance for legal fees / settlements adjudged against the oblast and/or its mayor / police chief? Would the insurance policy be req’d to pay out, if m & p-c overstepped their legal authority?
    Winter Garden, its mayor & police are gonna get sued 6 ways from Sunday. I could well imagine that the liability insurance policy is written to specifically exclude coverage of this kind of governmental misfeasance. Buh-bye, mayor Schmoe.

  109. 109
    PhilbertDesanex says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): Good on ya. It’s also fun to yell at the end t ‘liberty and justice FOR ALL!’. They hate that.

  110. 110
    coin operated says:

    The residents of that fine community have a healthy settlement coming soon. Within weeks, I see a small strip of road in Winter Garden, FL becoming the most ticketed mile of highway in America.

  111. 111
    The Lodger says:

    @Tommy: You have great neighbors. (I’m assuming compassion rather than twitosity.)

  112. 112
    Arclite says:

    Is it just me, or does more fucked up shit come out of Florida than anywhere else? Well, maybe except for Texas. But FL even has more crazy shit that Arizona.

  113. 113
    TriassicSands says:

    @Mike in NC:

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Florida.”

    (or Texas, or Mississippi, or North Carolina, or…)

    A memorable line from a great film, sadly appropriate in this context.

  114. 114
    Cervantes says:

    @Tokyokie:

    Sing that, too, sometimes.

    Hell, it’s rare enough that the opportunity arises to sing the original lyrics to This Land Is Your Land in public, much less the revisionist lyrics or even the many subsequent verses Guthrie wrote.

    Funny you should say that. Was on a ferry recently and because one of us had a guitar, the crowd turned into a chorus. Dylan and Ochs were heard, as were Seeger and various other folkies, including, of course, the Guthries père et fils.

    This kind of thing tends to happen a lot in our presence.

  115. 115

    At the urging of this thread and my mom:

    Dear Mr. Rees:

    I am quite sure that by now you have received a large response to your action of expelling a member of your audience at your recent meeting for refusing to stand during the invocation and the pledge of allegiance. I have no doubt that you have had support from those who believe that the man’s refusal was an insult to both our country and your faith. But I also have no doubt that you have heard from a number of people who have told you that your action violated the Constitution and numerous court rulings, and I’m pretty sure that you might be subject to a lawsuit.

    I am adding my voice to those who believe your actions were both improper and illegal. Your attorney will advise you exactly how what you did was in violation of the constituent’s First Amendment rights as well as Supreme Court rulings against a requirement for reciting the pledge, but as a citizen of both Florida and the United States, I find such coercion and punishment to be anti-American in both the spirit and letter of the Bill of Rights.

    Please be aware that there are a number of religious denominations, including the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), who eschew public prayer or the taking of oaths or pledges. So what you did not only violated the person’s right to freedom of speech, you also possibly violated his right to freedom of religion. Had I been in attendance, I too would have refused to stand for both the pledge and the invocation since my faith deems it improper to do so.

    Please remember that as an elected official, you represent all of the people, not just the ones who voted for you or those who share your faith and practice.

    In peace,

    [my real name and city]

  116. 116
    brantl says:

    Did we bury this schmuck in e-mail? I did my part.

  117. 117

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